TechSmith has introduced version 8 of Camtasia beautifully. On their web site there's a short animation of a little guy standing in front of a huge film editing machine and the narration say's something to the effect of "We know you have more important things to do than edit video".
Boy did that register with me. First - video editing software is for lack of a better word "peculiar" it seems you have two choices A) Entry level programs for home video which are time consuming and confusing and sell between $40 - $100. B) The higher end get's you into programs like Corel's Elements and the lower end of the Sony Vegas line.
Or you can take the jump to programs like Final Cut if you're on a Mac and have both the dollars and time to commit - not for me. I've tried many of them over the years and still find myself going back to Windows Movie Maker if only for the ease of use which trumped the long rendering and upload times of more sophisticated and costly programs.
Adding to my seemingly never ending search for a feature rich software program with a learning curve that didn't require you to have a degree in film production - These would include but are not limited to: Sony Vegas (different versions including 7 and 11) HitFilm, VideoPad, Moavi and others. Hitfilm 2 at the same price point as Camtasia isn't difficult to learn, it has some fancy Hollywood quality effects and if you're into green screen (Chroma key) it's a very decent product put out by NCH Software. One of the problems is support. It's entirely fee based from the get go.
With a selection of "premium" packages to buy and none of them are built around value for the buck. For the cost of the program itself you can buy the top support package which gives you 10 support emails and three 10 minute telephone trouble shooting sessions - my response, no thank you. VideoPad has a similar structure with a pretty good selection of tutorial videos but they put on a fairly hard sell to buy the 9 DVD training course which doubles your up front investment.
Once a huge fan of AVG it was their recent introduction of pay per incident tech support which cost them a devastating loss of nearly 20% of their subscriber base - including me. Call me unreasonable but as a consumer I won't pay a single dime to learn how to use your product or have it repaired when it malfunctions through no fault of my own. At least toss in 30 days of support.
Now hang in there, there's a point here somewhere - and here it is:
TechSmith is a great, consumer friendly developer. Support is free - always. You talk to a live person who knows the program inside and out. What is more, via remote access I've found the Techs more than willing to reach into my computer and show me exactly what the steps are - as well as hidden short cuts and keyboard based tricks that get you moving along faster. Even during the 30 day free trial which allows you to take the full version of Camtasia for a spin, there are no limitations like watermarks or video length and full access to Tech support.
It's smart marketing - you fall in love with the speed of the program and make no mistake, Camtasia is one feature rich and powerfull piece of software. If you're into screen casting you should be happy to know Techsmith provides you 2 Gigs of space to host for free on screancast.com - if you need more space you can join up in their Pro package for more discounted allocations of space.
The online library of music, themes, call outs and animations is incredibly extensive and you can access it right from the program and down load anything you like into your video in real time. Most of the options are pretty slick looking and effortless to use. You can build as many time lines as you like and edit via the preview screen or using the timeline it doesn't make a difference. I only use 1-4 tracks even though you can build as many as you like because you can work layers if that's what works for you. I don't care for timelines but it makes no difference because Camtasia could care less it lets you use your natural workflow and that's a powerful and beautiful thing - it also speeds up the learning curve.
Regardless - what you produce it's going to look to great.
As an example 90 percent of the time I upload directly to my You Tube channel. To render a completed video shot and saved in HD 1080 in Windows Movie Maker took about an hour. The same video in Camtasia, 5 minutes or maybe 10 tops it's wicked fast.It's a huge time saver and the applications are many. This is only conjuncture on my behalf but I don't know why so much emphasis is put on teaching and business presentations. The marketing of Camtasia is almost exclusive in this regard. Maybe 35 years in Advertising has made me blind to certain ways companies position products to their audience - or maybe I've learned something, who knows?
The point is there are plenty of consumers who will back away from Camtasia because the positioning of the product is almost excusive for small to mid sized companies using PowerPoint and are heavily dependant on gaining client feedback via Camtasias built in option to include interactive quizzes and call outs as well serving many clients with one presentation and these are all good and innvoative aspects of the program.
However, there's a market of intermediate users who are literally desperate for a decent video editing piece of software that's a leap above the "Look at Juniors First Steps!" and not as consuming an ordeal as Pro editing software. That said, if your applications for video editing software matches the above then Camtasia isn't for you.
On the other hand if your immediate need is to produce great video with some degree of sophistication to the overall look - and can see future potential with all the bells and whistles Camtasia has to offer then it'll be the best $300 you've ever spent on a single software program. The only problems I've encountered have been few. Camtasia can be finicky when importing media, remember it doesn't import from a device but from files.
If it doesn't recognize the file you have to convert it. This is an issue but TechSmith offers you the free version of "Handbrake" which is brilliant and easy to use. I've since converted huge MTS files in minutes. Camtasia is also resource hungry and I find it doesn't load easily without a re-boot. This latter issue may have more to do with my own applications running in the background or a poor install, but I've read about this problem in a few forums and it seems a fairly common glitch.
However, even this wasn't enough of a headache from preventing CNET to award Camtasia with a whopping and equally rare 5 stars for Spectacular. And the review is well earned. It's also worth reading if you haven't already. Considering all Camtasia offers in it's rich albeit hybrid status compared to similar programs which all either lack what Camtasia offers for free or demand you buy add ons or a higher version. Camtasia is a sensational program - an extraordinary feature and benefit rich value.
**One last note - the new version of 8.1 which will either ship or upgrade for free has without question the easiest to use Chromakey (green screen) I've ever seen. Gone are the days of working in layers, hours spent correcting edges are a thing of the past. It's incredibly simple to use. You can move along to the Camtasia tutorial video one time and you've got it - it really is that easy and the results are again seamless and pristine.
on June 25, 2013
All I wanted was screen capture software. I have Pinnacle Studio 12 for video editing. I found CamStudio on the Internet for screen capture. This is free software but you get what you pay for. I was spending way too much time cleaning up after CamStudio so I broke down and bought Camtasia Studio 8.
The best thing I can say about the screen capture on Camtasia Studio is that it just works, brilliantly. The images are sharp and the sound is synchronized (two things the free stuff wouldn't do).
Camtasia does way more than just screen capture. There are a lot of features and I have only tried a few. There are video tutorials on their web site that quickly show you how to do everything. When you click on help within Camtasia it takes you to those videos.
Right now Camtasia Studio 8 does not have support for green screen so I still have to use Pinnacle. For this reason I have not explored fully the many features of Camtasia. TechSmith is working on a green screen upgrade to 8 so if you want green screen you should check to see if it has come out yet.
The features that I have used are very nice, are easy to learn, and make the end result very professional looking. If I lost the screen capture I would still want Camtasia for the extra features that it has (that Pinnacle does not have).
Edit 16 July 2013 - Camtasia Studio now has a free upgrade (8.1.1) that allows you to do green screen. The feature is called "remove a color" and it works better than the green screen feature in Pinnacle Studio 12 so I now do all my green screen stuff using Camtasia. Unfortunately Camtasia still does not import .mts files (what your HD camcorder makes) so you need some other program to convert the .mts file into something Camtasia will load.
Edit 4 August 2014 - Camtasia Studio now has a free upgrade (8.4) that allows importing of .mts video files. I got the upgrade and then it complained that I did not have the right codec. Via help from TechSmith support I was able to get it to work. Tell them you want instructions for getting the right codec without getting any adware. I ended up needing AC3Filter 2.6.0b but be careful to avoid the adware. Now I use Camtasia Studio 8 all the time and the more I use it the more I love how simple it is to use and how the notational features really make my videos look professional. The help videos they have (which were made using Camtasia Studio) quickly show you how to learn this awesome video editing program.
on May 7, 2013
The textbook publisher that I'm working with uses this software for all of their teaching videos that involve screen capture; my editor handed it over to me to produce the media for my latest publication. I watched the on-line training videos provided by TechSmith; they're about 3 - 4 minutes each and very well produced - they explain most of what you need to know to get you up and running. After about a week of using the software, I was proficient, and using selected features to produce top-quality tutorial videos. The features allow for cutting video, audio, and including transitions between scenes (e.g., fade). The software also allows me to selectively zoom in on any part of the screen to show precisely what I'm discussing - it maintains perfect focus at all times. Additional features enabled me to include overlays (e.g., wrap a square / circle around an object, highlight portions of the screen, etc.) in synch with the soundtrack. This software has a short learning-curve; it's easy to use, versatile, and produces broadcast quality videos.
on December 18, 2013
Camtasia is definitely useful, but you have to work around it's limitations in order to successfully create presentations.
Most frustrating is that when running the program on a fast multi-core computer, it starts to progressively slow down on "large" projects after a few minutes of use. The timeline slider becomes sluggish and does not respond immediately when dragged, making it difficult to position yourself within a project. Exiting and restarting the program temporarily speeds things up for a few minutes. Researching the problem on TechSmith's own forum, TechSmith states that the solution to the problem is to fragment large presentations into smaller pieces and then assemble them together as a final step. Unfortunately TechSmith apparently considers a 5 or 10 minute presentation as "large", so for a 10 minute (which I consider "short") or longer presentation you either put up with the sluggishness or end up dealing with an difficult-to-manage number of little scenes.
A couple of other issues include:
1. Not presenting a warning to save your work when exiting the program. I lost a large amount of work because if this, and it's what prompted me to write this review.
2. There is no way to silence or hide work tracks in the timeline. The recommended workaround is to copy elements into the "Library", then delete them from the project.
This review is based on Camtastia 8.2.0 Build 1416.
on October 29, 2012
If you have used Camtasia prior to now, you will probably have encountered some areas that needed improving. In this version 8.0 the makers have at least endeavoured to give the user more control - with things such as:
* ability to add multiple/more tracks to the timeline (I think unlimited)
* more flexibility in tweaking effects
* better editing control than the last ones
* better screen casting frame rates - looks much smoother
* easier to edit the footage making cuts and joins
* better way to overlap transitions
* better control all round
* bigger library of tools (some people use these)
* faster operations & faster with the rendering (important for us)
* the inability to make the tracks on the timeline THINNER in height. Probably not a big issue for most, but when you have lots of tracks in other programs you can adjust the width. Not so in this. Sometimes seems a little clunky.
* needs slightly better text editing options (including being able to see the text at normal size in the text window and only have the preview show the changes, as it is a nightmare editing large text when you cannot see it!)
* cutting of individual tracks could be made a little easier
We've been using this software over the last months in the workplace and I have to say that making a screencast with Camtasia is so much easier and faster now. The previous version was a great concept, but had so many limitations that sometimes we'd use have to use full pro AV editing software to edit the footage quickly and then use Camtasia to simply add effects and spit it out.
It seems to be able to handle itself better and is faster at rendering. I am liking this new version a lot. Sure, there are small things that I can see would be beneficial to add, but for most people, this is now what I could call a comprehensive screen recording / screen capture program that I would now actually recommend. Great for podcasting, screen recording lectures, slideshows with more pizzazz ...any number of uses.
There are cheaper alternatives, but if you are a serious user, a regular screencaster/video blogger, a business user, online lecturer or want the option to make a more professional looking screencast that you can make yourself then I think that buying this software would be beneficial. If you only want to make one or two screencasts then you would need to consider whether the cost is worth it. I suggest you spend the time learning all the features to get the most use out of it.
on June 26, 2013
I've just started creating YouTube videos and this software is currently doing everything I need. The ability to clean out noise in the audio is great. Plus, I can easily edit the tracks until they sound more professional. For example, no Um's or Ah's or deep breaths slipping through.
on January 6, 2014
If I had it to do over again, I may have bought something different.
Longer videos and especially Hi-Def videos render very poorly. There's a lot of jumping/skipping, especially for green screen color removal. It also locks up periodically and sometimes requires a complete reboot to reopen the project file. Thank goodness for the autosave feature.
The user interface is ok, but a few things are hard to figure out and not very intuitive. For example, the default production settings keep reverting back to 480p from 720p so I have to remember to change it every time I produce a video.
It gets the job done, but it could be a lot better.
on March 3, 2014
Got a Sony Handycam, Panasonic or JVC camcorder? Forget it. Camtasia does not open the video formats that most HD camcorders use. Users have been complaining about this issue for YEARS on the Techsmith "support" forum, but all we get from the company is a suggestion that we download a 3rd party "freeware" converter or "Handbrake" to the bring your videos into and have the converter render your video in mp4 format. Many people keep insisting how quick and easy it is to do. I've never gotten an acceptable result. It's difficult to figure out, takes forever and outputs video with an unacceptable loss of quality.
No matter how much Camtasia fans rave about how easy the "converter fix" is and how beautifully it works; it's just not true. I consider myself a Camtasia fan too, and personally, it irks me that I've paid hundreds of dollars for software, and hundreds more for upgrades for a video editor that can't work with the most common video formats. With every upgrade, I fully expect the problem to be resolved, but it never is.
With all that said: Camtasia is STILL my favorite video editor, believe it or not! I originally bought it as a screen capture tool, and it does work beautifully for that. Overtime, while using it for making screen-grab videos, I discovered all the amazing tools built into Camtasia that quickly made it my favorite video editing software. Pretty much any animation, PiP, or text effect that I have ever wanted to add to my videos, I've been able to accomplish in Camtasia. If there isn't a menu option for it, I can usually find instructions with just a google "how-to' search. I've purchased Adobe Premiere, Adobe Premiere Pro, and used free programs like Windows Movie Maker. When I want to make a how-to video for YouTube, I always use Camtasia. For that reason, I'm inclined to give Camtasia four stars.
But the failure to support the most common video format (AVCHD MTS) is just so very unacceptable. With Camtasia 7, I was able to rename the .mod files to .avi and import them directly into Cam7. But after paying $130 (I think) for the upgrade to Cam8, that workaround no longer worked! Many other features I loved were removed or made more difficult to use ... in effect, I paid to make my software LESS useful! That sure left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
I originally thought the problem was that my JVC Everio Camcorder was just old, and saved in an odd format (.mod). A few months ago I purchased a Sony Handycam HDR CX380, and was stunned to find that Camtasia couldn't open the videos from my new camera either! There was a lot I didn't like about the Sony Camcorder, or I would have switched to editing in Premiere Pro. In the end, I purchased a Vixia HF R40, which saves in HD mp4 format, which can be imported directly into Camtasia Studio 8 with no conversion. I have a few videos about the Vixia, Camtasia, and the wifi remote, not sure they belong in this review though.
So as you can see, I have mixed feelings about this software: I hate it AND I love it!
on August 15, 2014
08/15/2014 - Great product up through version 8.3 but now that it is at 8.4 the software crashes constantly. Don't just take my word for this ... search Google for Camtasia 8.4 crash & you'll find plenty of discussion about this issue. If you do buy this product DO NOT upgrade to version 8.4. My retail purchase was 8.0 and upgrades through version 8.3 worked fine. I don't know if 8.3 is available online now or not (luckily I saved my downloads) but if not, don't bother upgrading until they come out with 8.5 or newer. Also, files created in ver 8.4 cannot be opened in earlier versions so save yourself from getting a massive headache and avoid version 8.4.
on February 4, 2013
Have you enjoyed watching high quality instructional videos on YouTube? Very likely they were created with Camtasia Studio by TechSmith. If you are inspired to create and share digital tutorials, you should be very interested in this application. So, what will you need to effectively use this program to create your masterpiece? The processor seems to be the critical component. For Windows users the minimum spec is a dual-core processor, recommended is a quad-core processor or better. For complete system requirements for Windows and Mac, visit [...]. A free 30-day trial download of the program is available at [...]. To continue, you will need a microphone and USB is recommended for best audio quality. I purchased an inexpensive ($30) USB headset. I tend move my head while talking and this way the mike will just tag along.
This latest version of the program boasts of quite a few improvements and added features. Of primary importance, the playback is smoother and the video file size has been reduced! You now have the ability to add multiple tracks to the timeline. The library is installed with a generous amount of content to use in your video - audio tracks, themes, images, and animations. Adding animations such as callouts and scrolling text is simply a matter of a drag from your assets and a drop onto a timeline track. Add a shadow to an element to create a sense of depth, colorize or add a border for emphasis. Create interactivity by inserting hot spots to link to parts of your video, facilitating a jump from here to there, or insert URLs to connect to a web page. You can also add cursor animations for directing the viewer's eye, and transitions between clips.
During the installation process you will have the option to install the PowerPoint add-in. To make use of this you will need to have PowerPoint installed on your computer. Make your video ADA compliant with captions using the speech to text option in Camtasia. You can also paste a script into your project and use the sync captions tool to split captions into ADA compliant segments, or add them manually. If you add markers, your project can then be produced in a format that contains a table of contents and is search ready. When your video is played, the player will provide options for enabling captions and a table of contents with a search bar. But wait, there's more! There are tools for creating a picture-in-picture effect and also interactive quizzes. You can also configure the quiz results to be sent in an email or deposited into a database.
Once completed, publish your video through the Produce and Share button. Your purchase of Camtasia Studio includes a free account with Screencast.com and publishing directly to this website is one production option. Other options include Share to YouTube, MP4 only, MP4 with video player, as well as an option for creating a custom preset with your own production settings. The presets are stored in an XML file and can be easily copied and shared. If you are a prolific movie producer, there is a batch processing option for rendering your files.
From this snapshot of the program you can see that Camtasia Studio 8 by TechSmith is easily the premier application for creating screen capture video documents!