Learn Camtasia Studio v8 (for PCs)

Learn Camtasia Studio v8 (for PCs)

Screencasting basics and beyond: Fundamentals, production workflow, audio enhancements, web video overlays and more

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Learn ScreenFlow v4 (for Mac)

Learn ScreenFlow v4 (for Mac)

Learn essentials of video screen recording with ScreenFlow (version 4) so you can digitize your knowledge, flip the classroom and teach online now.

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Learn ScreenFlow v5 (for Mac)

Learn ScreenFlow v5 (for Mac)

Learn the software used by thousands of online course and content creators to digitize and monetize their knowledge.

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[Screenflow video] How to fix video recording errors when editing your screencast video

You may be surprised how often I have to apply the technique above in my screencasting and eLearning projects.  It’s the rare thing when I can record an extemporaneous screencast tutorial perfectly with no blemishes or touches that need to be applied in the editing stage.

In fact (again!), there’s a 3-second snippet beginning at 3:57 in the video above where I had to use exactly the technique I show in the video to cover up a blemish.

See if you can spot this in the video

how to fix text errors in screencast video BEFORE

Before

how to fix text errors in screencast video AFTER

After

Screenflow, Camtasia Studio, Camtasia for Macintosh: It’s all good

Although I used Telestream’s Screenflow (Macintosh only) to demo this technique in the video above (hmmm… come to think of it: I seem to find myself using Screenflow more and more these days…), in fact the same technique can be applied using similar features in Camtasia Studio and Camtasia Macintosh.

Can you find the video artifact?

So, take a look.  Let me know if you can tell what the issue was that caused the artifact at 3:57 that I then had to cover up using the very technique we talk about in this video.

How to Update Obsolete Graphics In Your Published Screencast Video Without Having to Recapture the Whole Project

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Can you replace a video segment from a published screencast video?

Maybe.

If you have the original Camtasia (or Screenflow) project file this wouldn’t be a problem.  You would simply open up either the Camtasia Studio .camproj, the Camtasia Macintosh .cmproj or the Screenflow .screenflow project file, replace the appropriate image or video segment, then re-publish a new video MP4 file.

The problem comes when your client tells you that they no longer have the original project files and only have the published (MP4) output file on YouTube, say.

download-mp4Well, in most cases, this is an opportunity to update the whole video and re-capture a fresh/new screencast.  But, if you’re in a crunch, then you can download the MP4 from YouTube and then import the MP4 into a new Camtasia Studio, Camtasia Mac or Screenflow project file.

Once imported, you can then use the “separate video and audio” feature (or its equivalent in any of the other two software packages) and simply overlay new graphics to replace the old.

“Separate Video and Audio” Technique Saved About 200 Hours Of Re-Work On One Project

The video above shows how I used the separate video and audio feature in our screencasting software (Camtasia Studio in this case) to replace an outdated video segment containing information about a company’s product pricing.

In this case we had about 24 of these demo videos where only the pricing graphic needed to be replaced.  As you can imagine, it would’ve been a huge project to otherwise have to re-capture, -edit and -publish all of them.  At a 10:1 development ratio, that would’ve otherwise have easily summed to over 200 hours of re-work.

But Wait. There’s a Quality Downside.

The obvious downside here is that you’re working with an already compressed video file (i.e., the published MP4) as your source video in the new project.

In this case, we published a couple of test files and saw that the degradation was acceptable relative to the rework effort.  But, you’ll definitely want to be aware of this downside and publish a test file before you go full bore with a similarly large project.

So, this is clearly just one practical application of the “separate video and audio” feature.  Were you aware this existed in Camtasia and Screenflow?  If so, how have you used that feature on your projects?

Camtasia Macintosh Doesn’t Have a Media Library – But Here’s a Workaround

Camtasia Studio (Windows) has a robust library, but…

cs-libraryOne of the reasons Camtasia Studio (for Windows) costs three times more than Camtasia For Macintosh is because it has so many more features.  One of these is the media assets library.

In addition to having a huge set of preloaded callouts, audio, video, images, titles, lower-thirds, and so on for you to choose from straight out of the box, you can also add your own custom media assets.

If you produce web video and screencasts regularly, then you know the value a library has for streamlining your workflow.  A library helps you quickly grab those often used custom media assets like custom title slides, video bumpers, custom lower-thirds, custom callouts, branded music tracks and often used audio effects into any project.  The ability to just drop ’em in to your projects without having to re-create them each time you need them is a HUGE time saver.

*Sigh…* If only Camtasia for Macintosh had a media assets library.

Well, it’s not as bad as all that.  There’s a workaround for creating your own media library in Camtasia for Macintosh.  It’s as easy as creating a special cmproj file that holds ONLY re-usable media assets, and then saving it with a name like, “assets library.”

The video above is an excerpt from a larger course in the Digital-Know-How.com course.  The excerpt above gives the low-down on the utility of a media library in Camtasia Mac, but also with a few additional helpful tips thrown in.  It’s a short video, take a look.

Got any more tips like that you want to share?  Let us know in the comments below.

microphones

The never ending quest for quality audio: What microphones do you recommend?

What microphone(s) do you recommend?

microphonesWell…?  Yes! That’s a question for you.  What microphones do you use when you create your screencast, web video or e-Learning projects?  And, would you recommend it?

Quality audio is a never ending quest isn’t it?  The topic of recommended microphones comes up fairly regularly.  It came up again recently in this LinkedIn thread. (Note: Login might be required.)

For my part, I often switch-off between…

  • Blue Microphone’s Yeti (desktop USB condenser microphone)
  • Samson CO1U (also a desktop USB condenser mic)
  • Audio-Technica ATR3350 (a wired lapel mic which you see me using in a lot of my “picture-in-picture” + screencast videos)
  • A $35 Plantronics headset with boom mic (I can’t even find a link to it anymore because they’ve probably stopped making whatever model this is that I have)

And now I’m waiting for a Shure FP Wireless pack.  (FP5 is the receiver. FP1 is the transmitter.  And it comes with a WL 183 Lavalier microphone.)

Why all the different microphones?

How to record video of your iPad screen and synchronize it with other screencasts

I just posted a new training video in the members area at the Digital-Know-How learning library; it answers the question about how I recorded the iPad screencast from the “sneak peek” video I posted the other day.

About the digital-know-how learning library

That training video, along with the Picture-in-Picture training video series (fyi: login required), lays out how I go about synchronizing media clips like the iPad screencast with other media elements like the video window you see above.  The same synchronization technique can be applied again to synchronize yet another screencast, or potentially yet more media elements, into the same presentation.

While the step-wise details are sorta locked down behind the member wall, I can tell you about the software I used to pull it all off.  While some of us may still be learning about it, the utility itself isn’t a secret.  It’s been out since about last summer.

Mirroring Utility To Display the iPad On Your Desktop

Camtasia Studio v8 vs. Camtasia Studio v7 vs. Everybody Else

Episode 7 – Camtasia Studio v8 – Series: Best Screen Capture Software Comparison

(Click the “gear” icon for higher resolution)
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This is an update to last year’s “Best Screen Capture Software Comparison Series (episodes 1-7)”  This update includes the addition of Camtasia Studio version 8 (CS8) to the mix.  The series remains surprisingly popular here on the blog and also on my YouTube channel.

In the original series, I included Camtasia Studio version 7 where, despite CS7 being the 200 pound gorilla for screencasting software in the Windows/PC space, it still ranked an overall 3.5 out of 5 on the “Mel-rank.”  The biggest impact came from it getting beat up on the “Mel-rank” for CS7’s very limited number of audio and video tracks.

But, with CS8, that has all changed.

Check out the video above to see how CS8 stacked up against CS7 in the “Mel-Rank.”  Meanwhile, you can see the whole series below.

Series (all): Best Screen Capture Software Comparison

How I Track Re-usable Video Assets In Online Learning Projects

I have a tracking problem with regard to my list of video assets

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bento-template-exchange

By using Bento, Filemaker’s personal database product (it’s Mac only, but Filemaker Pro  is their flagship multi-platform database product that will do the same thing–and more), I recently solved a growing problem I was having about tracking my ever growing list of video titles across the similarly growing list of online courses into which I embed those titles.  (By the way, here’s a link to the Bento template exchange site that I alluded to in the video above.  That’s where I submitted my database structure as a template you can download for free.  It has to go through a review process but, once approved, you should be able to find it with the title Video-Module-Course Inventory Tracker.)


Bento DB Template For Videos-Courses Assets Tracking (v-1.0)|580.32 kB|downloads: 689
This is the Bento DB template mentioned in the post about How I Track Re-usable Video Assets In Online Learning Projects. You must have Bento 4 installed for this to work. Simply doubleclick to extract the template from the zip file; then double-click the template to populate it into your Bento installation. I use this DB to associate video titles with course titles so I can quickly see what related courses and course modules need to be updated when a video changes. You can customize this for your needs. Keep in mind, Bento is Filemaker's personal DB for the Mac platform. If you need something for Windows, you may want to look into Filemaker's Filemaker Pro product.

Here was my problem in a nutshell:  As you know I make videos that show people how to do stuff with software.  That’s sort of my thing.  Some folks call these training videos.  (We can debate the merits of “training” vs. “information” another time, but suffice to say that I prefer to call these videos screencasts or “how to” videos.)

Each video can be — and often is — used in one or more course modules that I create for my company’s customers.  These modules can, in turn, be re-used in one or more courses.  The subject matter usually pertains to showing learners how to use some software or website.  The thing is, when that software or website undergoes a new release, it usually includes new feature sets.  Those new features usually trigger the need to change one or more screencast videos… which are related to course modules… and ultimately to courses.

With literally hundres of videos I’ve created over time, I needed a reliable way to quickly check which modules and courses were impacted by one or more videos.  The reverse was also true: if a course or module needed to be updated, I needed a way to quickly determine which video titles were involved.  It turns out, I wasn’t the only one who had this problem.

linkedin discussion about managing courses and modules

What software do you use to manage course updates?

After checking my network, I was surprised to find that there weren’t a lot of hosted or off-the-shelf software that was specifically designed to help with this.  There were some decent suggestions that included fancy spreadsheets, CMSs (Content Management Systems), LMSs (Learning Management Systems), Mindmaps and student grading/attendance software.  And, while helpful, they really were still short of that fingertip solution I needed.  So, I figured it was time to just make a custom solution from off-the-shelf database software.

I started with MS Access, but… well, crap.  It was a pain in the ass.  I spent more time thinking about the tool than the solution I was trying to design.

So, after a little time-off hobbling along again with my handy-dandy (increasingly unruly) spreadsheet, I took a look at Filemaker’s Bento personal database software.  At $50, the price was right, it was pretty much drag-and-drop (that’s more my speed for creating databases), and the moving parts were light enough that my feeble mind could wrap itself around key concepts:  libraries, collectionsfields, and related data.

The video above shows the general structure of my tracker database and how I use it on a day-to-day basis.  Depending on the size of your video titles, you may find that a more powerful database might be better suited, in which case you might want to take a look at Filemaker Pro.  In fact, my requirements may demand that soon.  But for now, Bento’s doing the job nicely.

Check out the video video and feel free to download my template; let me know if it ends up working out for a solution to a similar problem you might be having.