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How I develop my video courses – Part 2 – How I use Camtasia

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In this session, I demonstrate how I use Camtasia in my video courses. I show the settings I use both in recording the video, formatting it and for producing the video.

Video Transcript

I’ve got an experiment today. One of our other members who’s with us, Jared has asked me several times about what are my sayings for Camtasia and could I demonstrate how to use Camtasia and I’ve said fairly consistently why you can’t really learn how to use Camtasia. Since I record using Camtasia, I can’t really demonstrate using Camtasia while I record using it.

Then at some point, it must have been after you asked me the question that it occurred it to me well, I can always demonstrate it on a different computer and a webinar like this and have a second presenter with a different computer. The recording is still being done on my main computer but the presentation is happening on a second one and that’s my experiment now. We’re going to see how well that works.

Selecting a Screen Size

I’m going to change presenters here. I’m going to make them the presenter and now let’s see what happens here. I have to share my screen, here we go. When I’m working on Camtasia, obviously the first thing you do is record the screen, right? This is Camtasia Studio just rubbed up and when I hit record screen, what I get is this record screen right here. This record screen tool gives me the choice of selecting my screen size. I always work on 1600×900 because that’s the 16×9 aspect ratio which will produce the 1280×720 video.

What I want is to able to show more than 1280×720 pixels in the video frame so I want more of an overview view but then I want to be able to zoom in on it and have the stuff be really crisp so that’s why I do it this way, I do a 1600×900 as my viewing window. If I select record here, the computer that I’m working on here is 1600×900.

Right now, I’m starting to record this stuff at this size and this gives me the ability to demonstrate this web stuff at a nice overview size. Actually, maybe it be better to turn on NetBeans here because the whole purpose of this is to be able to zoom in and see the text. People are getting better at this now but youtube is still full of tons of tutorial videos that might actually have decent content if you could read them.

Jared: We can’t know for sure.

Video Size During the Recording Process

Rick: You can’t read them so they’re essentially useless because they’re not legible and the only thing you can get out of it is the person talking, you can’t actually read the code. What I do then is record the process at this size and when you see it at this size. When I produce the video, I reduce it down to 1280 and so you’re actually seeing it smaller than its normal size.

What I can do then is I can zoom out to 100% and it allows me to zoom in on the text and make the text really crisp. It has to do with the distortion of the image when you expand the resolution. If you’re using a graphic software, you will usually produce your image at quite a higher resolution and quite a bit larger size than you’re actually going to use it.

Then you convert that down to the size that you actually want it and when you reduce the graphic image, you don’t lose any of its clarity when you reduce its size. That’s the same concept just going on here. I started off by reducing its size and then I zoom in on it to its 100% size, it’s actually its original size and it retains all the clarity of the original.

Editing Video Dimensions

We’ve got this recording at 1600×900 and when I stop recording, I save it and then it imports it into Camtasia and it asks me for the dimensions that I want the video to be and this is where I choose the 1280×720. Right now, it went from 1600 down to 1280, the size is being compressed on with.

Now, it’s down to this size but then I don’t think we’re really seeing shrink to fit here. It’s because I’m zoomed, that’s what it is. That’s why it doesn’t look right. If I want to show my website more clearly, right then I would zoom down to this 100% scale here because I don’t really need to see all the white space off on the sides.

I routinely zoom down to 100% and then if there’s some action that’s going on that needs me to move the zoom down, then I’ll move the zoom down or move the zoom around down at that 100% and you can’t really see the 100% because it’s reduced again in the viewing window. It’s going to be produced at this 100% size and then at some point in this process, it happens that I may even want to zoom in further and so I usually do a maximum of 115% just so that I can see the text as clearly as possible but not have the texts get to fuzzier or gets too distorted.

Set up the Production Settings

When I’m done with that, I go to produce it. This computer actually does not have the production settings I generally use so I’m going to show you how I create the production settings.

Custom Production Settings

I start off with producing share and I generally use the web settings, 1280×720. I am actually preparing to change how I do video hosting, video serving and the system that I’m going to be using will take full advantage of a very high definition video and this Camtasia’s web is still a compressed view. I’m now producing them without using Camtasia’s compression and what I do instead is select Custom Production Settings.

I’m going to create a new production set, stick with the MP4 and I keep this pretty much the same except go down to Flash Options and instead of frame rate being automatic, I take it down to 30, key frame every 5 seconds is fine but instead of Quality, I pick Bitrate, instead of 800, I pick 5000 and i n terms of audio, I take it up to 96kbps.

Now, this set of settings is the set of settings that as I transition to the new video hosting system I’m going to be using, that video system will be able to deliver very high definition videos to people who have that kind of a connection and then will serve them a lower definition based on the speed of their connection which will hopefully help me solve some problems that I have on the site with members having to wait for videos to download.

Jared: So it won’t be (12:12) anymore?

Rick: No, it won’t. It’s going to be awhile before I’m fully moved out of that but no, it won’t. I’ll talk more about why I’m making this change in another session. Anyway, I’ve got the Flash options set like that, say okay. That’s pretty much it except that clearly, it wasn’t Custom Production settings. Actually what I needed to do is Add/Edit preset, that’s what it was.

Video Settings Using Add/Edit Preset

I’ll create a new preset, new settings, still MP4, the video width is 1280, height is 720. In terms of Flash options, go to 30, keep frame rate you can say it’s 5, go to Bitrate which is 5000, audio is 96 and hit apply.

Now as it turns out, this doesn’t really produce a video that is much larger in size than the videos that I was producing using just the Web settings but it does produce a higher quality. Let’s go next, finish and close. When I’m doing this now, I just pick my new settings, hit next, let’s see demo, finish and then we’ll just let it render for a second.

What this would end up doing is producing a video that used to be 1600 pixels wide but is now 1280 pixels wide and that I can zoom in on as if it were still 1600 and in 100% resolution. Then I can even zoom in a little bit further when that seems like it’s really necessary.

Using Native Resolution Over Full Screen

One of the reasons why I’m changing is because I want people to have the option of going to the native resolution rather than just full screen. I actually produce these videos to be viewed at 1280×720 but unfortunately, the players that I use right now will allow you to view it at the size that’s embedded or full screen but don’t give you the chance to view it at 1280×720, at it’s native resolution.

The full screen is fine if that’s what you want to see but the native resolution is nice, crisp, clean and it’s not fuzzy at all. I prefer people to have the opportunity just to watch it at 1280×720 so that’s the reason why I’m changing.

Jared asked what do I mean by native resolution. What I mean by native resolution is the resolution that which I produce the video. I produce the video at 1280×720 which is what we’re doing right here. This rending project means it’s producing a video from the screen capture plus whatever edits I made to it when I was editing it.

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