Trainer’s Guide to Camtasia 9

I recently taught myself how to record and edit in Camtasia 9. Prior to this, I haven’t personally edited video before, though I’ve managed video editors for years. Because of that, I had a basic idea of good practices, but no hands-on experience on how to actually do editing.

To start my journey, I jumped onto to take their training on Camtasia 9 Essentials. Corbin Anderson does the training and he was excellent – great voice to listen to, very practical in his instructions, and overall did a superb  job. His wealth of experience in video editing shines through in the way he presents and shares easy-to-apply tips. (There are also many videos available direct from Techsmith or on YouTube that teach how to use Camtasia, I just love so I went there.)

After finishing the training, I tackled my first project: a 5-minute screencast on the Fair Labor Standards Act. Camtasia ran smoothly during the recording. I didn’t miss the hiccups, down-sampling, or clunky controls found in other screen recording software I’ve tried in the past (most notably Adobe Captivate.) Once the recording was complete, based on my settings, Camtasia opened right up into editing mode of the video. I found it very simple to follow the basics of what Corbin taught me and turn those into screen zooms, smooth transitions, content highlighting, and even some reinforcement of material.

My next project was similar, except the recording was a video I saved from a live webcast. It came from GoToMeeting and then I imported it into Camtasia for final edits and rendering. Again it went very smooth and the final output was significantly better than the original webcast, since I enhanced the audio and zoomed into text that was hard to read during the live event.

My third project was a full-fledged edit of raw video footage shot on an iPhone, with a secondary audio recording. This required me to pull in the auxiliary audio file, pull in the video file from the iPhone, split out the iPhone audio from the video (as easy as right-clicking and telling Camtasia to split it), sync the two audio tracks, and then delete the iPhone audio so I was left with the iPhone video file, and the external audio file. It was super easy. Then I went through, added effects and transitions, made necessary cuts, and rendered a completed .mp4 for use as a training video.

The only struggles I ran into were associated with learning new software. Techsmith did a great job automating certain common things and making editing effects (called Behaviors) easy. I wish there were more Behaviors available, though it’s possible to create custom ones and I may just need to understand that better.

Overall, a superb product. For anyone in training that need good, basic, easy-t0-use video editing and screen capture software, this is definitely the way to go. It may not have as many bells and whistles as Adobe Premier or other high-end video editing programs, but it also doesn’t carry the price tag. At only $200 per license, it is very easy to get started, and it doesn’t have any monthly subscriptions. It is quick to learn, easy to edit, and outputs a great video when done correctly.

For trainers, the ability to bring in multiple media types and sources, and export the video in a format that works well in eLearning software, make this program a very versatile tool.

Bottom line: highly recommended


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