Sunday, 14 October 2012

Recording and producing video tutorials with Camtasia Studio

Several colleagues of mine have decided to start producing tutorial videos.

Good on em!

I promised some of them that I would produce a short guide to help them get started with Camtasia Studio.

Here is the video.

I have included the transcript below.

I hope you find it useful. There are more tutorial videos in production.

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In this short video, I would like to show you how to record and produce video tutorials using Camtasia Studio.

As a Microsoft Certified Trainer or MCT, I am eligible for a free copy of Camtasia Studio, so it makes sense for me to use it.

When installing Camtasia, you are prompted to add a Camtasia toolbar into Powerpoint.

I wouldn't recommend this as I have found it problematic.

The feature begins a recording as soon as you start your Powerpoint presentation.

It then prompts you to stop recording if you press the Esc key. For example, when jumping out of Powerpoint to do a demo. Which I do quite a lot.

For that reason, I do not install this feature.

Furthermore, I have also had Powerpoint crash one me with this feature installed.

To record a session, you will use Camtasia Recorder.

This program will record your whole screen or a predefined region.

It also takes other inputs such as an external microphone and web cam.

Although Camtasia recorder can use a built in Microphone, I find that I get better audio if I use a desktop microphone or headset.

The web cam is useful if you want Picture in Picture.

For instance where the viewer can see a small window with you speaking whilst the main area shows what you are doing on the screen.

I tend not to use this feature as I am usually concentrating on what I am doing on screen and so am looking away from the camera.

It also makes it more obvious to the viewer that you have edited the video as your face shifts on each edit.

I would only use this feature if I made a second recording where I look directly at the camera.

This of course means that I would have to learn my lines and nail them in a single take.

Camtasia can also record system sounds.

Unless you particularly need this feature, I would turn this off as it can be distracting for the viewer.

I would also turn off your own speakers as unexpected noises could be distracting for you.

Before recording, it is worth checking out where Camtasia recorder is storing the recording.

If you spend a long time recording, for example 30-60 minutes, the recordings could be gigabytes in size.

Just make sure you have plenty of storage available.

When you are ready to record, you can click the Record button or press F9.

As I know that I will be doing a fair amount of editing later, I simply start recording and then do whatever it is I wanted to show off.

For instance, I used to get stressed about having an opening slide on screen when I started.

This is simply not necessary.

Once I have begun recording, I would hide the recorder but I am leaving it on screen for this tutorial.

I usually have a plan in mind when I record a tutorial.

In fact, I tend to work out a script in advance.

The script is usually handwritten and sits beside me on the desk.

I am careful to write one clear sentence at a time to remind me to pace myself.

Remember. I can edit out any pauses later.

So I read out a line then pause.

And if I am happy with the way it went, I will continue with the next.

If I feel that I fluffed a line or made a mistake, I simply pause for a second or two and try again.

Now obviously, I am likely to be doing something on screen at the same time.

Well, I have two techniques for this.

The first is to make two recordings.

The first is where I focus on the dialog and take my time.

If I do anything on screen at all it might be as a visual clue that I made a mistake and to edit out this section.

Once I have my dialog in the can, I make another recording where I walk through the on screen action.

I don't bother with dialog for this second recording although I follow my script for order and pace.

Both of these recordings can be edited later. One for video and the other for audio.

The alternative to this technique is to make one recording but whenever I want to repeat a sentence, I put the screen back the way it was.

This isn't always that simple.

One thing to avoid if possible is moving things whilst talking.

Particularly across sentences as this makes editing much more difficult.

When you have finished your recording, you will be offered the choice to save or produce.

I recommend saving the recording and then opening it in Camtasia studio later for editing.

Files save in this way are given the extension .camrec and can be quite large.

Before you begin editing in Camtasia studio, you might want to prepare some additional assets.

For example, I like to add a title to the front and end of my videos.

I create my title screens in Powerpoint and then use Print Screen to capture.

I also like to use a short 5 second or so clip of music as my intro.

Incidentally, I tend to produce my short music clips in Camtasia Studio too.

I also use a graphical overlay (with a transparent background) to brand my videos.

Once you are sure that you have everything you need, it is time to launch Camtasia studio.

Dont worry if you are missing any assets, you can always add them to your project later.

Let's take a look at Camtasia studio.

The first thing to do is load in all the assets.

The assets will include your Camtasia record or recordings.

Any title images and audio and any graphical overlay.

You need to drag your assets onto the timeline.

Before I edit the video, I might drag in my title screen and audio.

I place the title screen on the same track as the video and place the audio on a track by itself.

The title image is assigned a nominal duration, so I stretch it so that it lasts as long as the intro music.

So now I start previewing the video in Camtasia and locate any places where I paused too long or made a mistake.

I can position my timeline at a point before the segment that I wish to remove and then another following.

Once I have two edit points, I can select the segment in between and remove.

This can be a time consuming process but is straight forward.

provided you did a good job when recording.

If you made two recordings, one for video and the other for audio, they can be edited separately.

Make sure that the one you are using for its audio is placed on a lower track.

This is because the upper track or tracks supply the video.

When you think you are ready, you can produce.

I really would recommend sitting through a couple of playbacks from start to finish before you proceed.

Before we produce, we really should save our work or project.

This doesn't mean saving the edited video.

Saving the project simply means saving a project file that contains metadata.

This metadata describes the name and location of each asset and what edits you have specified.

Projects are saved with a .camproj extension and are very small in size.

I wouldn't recommend waiting until you are ready to produce before saving.

It could take an hour or more to do your final editing.

Should anything go wrong such as a crash, you will have lost all of your work.

Make sure you save regularly.

Perhaps every edit or so.

Now when it comes time to produce, you have the option of producing an MP4 file in a variety of formats.

Fr instance, there are options to output as MP4 with a web page with built in player.

If you plan to use your video anywhere other than Youtube then you should choose one of the MP4 alternatives.

My videos are intended just for youtube, so I choose that option.

You must supply your Youtube ID and password which Camtasia can remember if you wish.

You can also enter a title, description and search tags to accompany your video.

Once you confirm, Camtasia will then begin processing your video and uploading to Youtube.

This process could take several minutes depending on the length of video.

Feel free to walk away and get a drink then come back later.

Once the video has been updated, you will be navigated to the Youtube page for your video.

OK. That's it.

In this video tutorial, I have shown you how to record and produce a tutorial video with Camtasia studio.

I hope you have found it interesting and informative.

If you put what I have shown you into practice, then please get in touch and let me know.

I'd love to see what you have done.

I plan to keep on producing tutorial videos on a wide range of subjects.

Thanks for watching this one and I'll see you next time.

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See you soon

Phil Stirpé
"I don't do average!"

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