Capturing on screen activity to create a movie is so much easier these days with more powerful computers and software -- and it is also a more helpful way of explaining how a task can be done. Such a concept works great if you want to create tutorial movies, and TechSmith's Camtasia Studio is most certainly among the best products for this type of work.
In an earlier review, I had explored how you can use Camtasia to capture PowerPoint presentations, and save them as movies -- and Betsy Weber of TechSmith also created a detailed tutorial on creating DVDs from PowerPoint captures.
Now, TechSmith has released version 4 of Camtasia Studio -- and I'm doing a new review -- again, we will look at the PowerPoint specific features.
Camtasia Studio is from TechSmith, a company based in Okemos, Michigan, USA. TechSmith also creates SnagIt, a screen capture tool with built-in editing and cataloging capabilities. You can learn more about the products from their site.
- Camtasia Studio includes a PowerPoint add-in that allows you to create movie captures from presentations right inside PowerPoint.
- Camtasia Studio works great for capture of PowerPoint presentations since it allows wider distribution of the presentation content in a file format that cannot be edited.
- Recorded presentations can be output to various file formats like Flash, WindowsMedia, Quicktime, Real, etc.
- Camtasia Studio 4 allows you to create movies suitable for playback on Apple iPods or any portable media player.
- You can post your movies as screencasts with accompanying files online at TechSmith's new Screencast.com site.
In addition, you can also edit the captured video along with movie clips from other sources within Camtasia Studio's project window.
My contact at TechSmith for this review was Betsy Weber -- thank you, Betsy.
You can download the installer from the TechSmith site. Once you buy the product, you are sent a serial code -- unless you provide the serial, Camtasia Studio works as a fully featured trial product for 30 days.
Before installing, make sure that PowerPoint is not open. Run the setup routine and follow the instructions. When installed, you'll find a shortcut for Camtasia Studio within your Windows Start menu. In addition, the add-in component creates a Camtasia Studio toolbar within PowerPoint, as shown in Figure 1 -- if you don't find it there choose View | Toolbars | Camtasia Studio.
Figure 1: Camtasia Toolbar
Follow these steps to record a PowerPoint presentation and publish it in Flash SWF format using Camtasia Studio.
- Open or create any presentation in PowerPoint with or without a narration, and then choose the first option (Record) from the Camtasia Studio toolbar (refer to Figure 1 above).
- This causes the presentation to play as a slide show, but it is paused -- you will see the Camtasia Studio dialog box shown in
Figure 2: Begin Recording
- Press the prominent Click to begin recording button, and the recording begins immediately. You can press the Esc key to end the recording, or use any of the other shortcut keys.
- If you don't pause or stop the recording -- and continue until the last slide, a dialog box will appear (see Figure 3) asking
you whether you want to stop the recording or continue. Click the Stop Recording option.
Figure 3: Stop Recording
Camtasia Studio now prompts you to save your work as a Camtasia Studio recording file -- provide a name and location to the project and click Save.
- Once you have saved your project, you can either do further edits
immediately, or you can open your project later and work with it. Camtasia
Studio assumes you want to work with the project immediately -- so it
brings up the dialog box that you can see in Figure 4 --
where you can choose from one of three options:
- Produce your recording -- this allows you to publish the recorded capture in various movie formats.
- Edit your recording -- this allows you to make changes within the Camtasia Studio editing environment.
- Cancel -- this allows you to come back later and work on
the capture project.
Figure 4: Camtasia Studio for PowerPoint
- If you select the first option, this will launch the Production Wizard shown in Figure 5. I choose the
Custom production settings option that allows me to publish the capture to a Flash SWF clip.
Figure 5: Production Wizard
Click Next, and continue making choices in the consecutive screens.
- After all the options are choosen, provide a file name and location to the output, and click Finish. This will render the project (see
Figure 6) -- this can take a while depending upon the length of your capture.
Figure 6: Render the project
All the options on the Camtasia Studio toolbar within PowerPoint are explained below:
Figure 7: Camtasia Studio Options
- Record begins recording.
- Record Audio allows to record narration or other audio.
- Record Camera allows you to record camera video, such as from an attached web cam.
- Camera Preview allows to preview the camera stream as you record it.
- Camtasia Studio Recording options opens dialog box
as shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8: Camtasia Studio Recording options
- Help opens the help page.
Camtasia Studio costs $299.00 for single user license.
Support includes an online FAQ and online learning center.
No other product in its class comes as close in capabilities or ease-of-use as Camtasia Studio -- the new version works even better and has many new abilities up its sleeve. The product is priced right, and the support is amazing.