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Camtasia

Camtasia Review

By: TechSmith Corporation

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Detailed Review

Online Videos are now accessed by people of all ages across the world. The types of videos are also numerous. They can be vlogs, sports matches, movies, recordings, etc.

Among all these videos, we see some special effects, even in the live recorded ones. Based on the requirements and budget, we can add magnificent effects in the videos.

We also need a base level editing features like trimming a video, cropping the resolution, applying color filters, etc. Most apps in mobile devices have such preset video filters.

All these can be done with the help of a software called Video Editor. Such video editors are distributed over multiple platforms like mobile apps, desktop apps, and even as cloud products.

Out of these, Offline Video Editor Apps are our current target for review. Among all of the above, offline video editors are the fan-favorite editing tools. Still, they need practice, experience, and knowledge of video editing terms.

Since many of the readers here are first-timers, we will be thoroughly testing one such video editor, and also guide you through its editing process.

Pros

  • Quick editing UI, with amazing preset templates and formatting interface.
  • Most suitable for video content producers and videographers. It comes with an inbuilt interface for streaming and offers web player-plugin for CMS integration.
  • One of the fastest preview and rendering video editor.
  • It has a good screen recorder on it. Features like mouse tracking, voice narrations, CC, and many effects that aid online streamers are readily accessible.
  • The final rendering and publishing are detailed. We can export the videos in many popular formats and even publish or embed them on online websites.

Cons

  • Minimal effects and customization, considering if you are a pro-level video editor. It is only suited for mid-level web related video content.
  • The inbuilt templates are limited. Users need to download many of them separately, which can be a small nuisance for some.
  • It lacks advanced video editor features like keying, detailed personalization of animation effects, and other pro-level video editing options.
  • Quite costly for average video editing.

Introduction

Among many types of video editors, we are to assess a video editor combined with a screen recorder. Yes! You’ve heard it right. TechSmith’s Camtasia is a video editor with a screen recorder feature in it.

The first version of Camtasia traces back to November 1999. Since then, Camtasia has incorporated a multitude of editing features in it. The best part is that they have continued to keep their Screen Recorder in this setup.

A free one-month trial version is available too. In the current scenario, Camtasia does work for most video editing needs, and it is also among the top fastest and plug-n-play screen recorder and video editor.

With this, we step ahead to check the tools of video recording and editing in Camtasia. It is known to be buggy in initial versions, but now, it has one of the most stable video editing interfaces.

One of the notable features noted in many user reviews is its overwhelming setup for beginners. However, most video editors are like that. Only with practice, users can grasp the details in it and utilize it for the best possible video editing.

Running through Setup Process and Initial Intro of Camtasia

The setup task for Camtasia is like every other software product. Like always, register on their website and download the latest version.

Install it and then login into the product. After that, your monthly cost-free test version will be unlocked. In this version, Camtasia has made most of the things accessible. The final rendering will add a watermark in the file, and that’s all to be worried about.

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Apart from this, users can also navigate through the Camtasia website and into the Asset Section. From here, you can download some wonderful extra themes, templates, and effects.

In this tutorial video, they will introduce the users with different workspaces. It will also show different sections used for editing. For further details, their online tutorials, both written and video, are quite helpful.

Nonetheless, close the product once to begin a fresh project. After you restart Camtasia, you can see a launch window with options New Project, New Recording, and Open Project-File. New users must begin with the new project after exploring the first tutorial video.

In the UI of Camtasia, the workspaces are divided into three sections viz., Preview Panel, Effects Panel, and Timeline Panel. Most of the effects and tools are stacked in the Effects workspace, whereas the Timeline Workspace has all the traditional editing tools.

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The Preview Panel is firmly designed and aided with all the playback buttons. There is a properties button too in here that allows a user to view the parameters of the selected frame in the timeline space.

In the latest version of Camtasia, i.e., Camtasia 2019, the skin feature has been removed. This was the most unfortunate thing for old users like us. The current theme is very dark, which most of us do not like, especially when working on video editing.

We hope to see Adobe Captivate style skin editor to be added in it. Regardless, the UI is still workable than many dark-themed video editors.

With this, we should begin the process of reviewing its features one by one. We first test the media manager and elementary video modification tools.

Exploring the Media Manager and Video Formatting tools

The media manager of Camtasia has two sections, viz., Media Tab, and Library. The Media Tab is simply for exporting the media files into the Camtasia interface.

Here, not only can we import the files from local storage but also cloud storage like Google Drive. Camtasia supports most of the file formats.

The files in the media manager create a quick list to access project files. Contrary to this, the Library tab is for the templates of Camtasia. These templates have the preset themes of intros, icons, text & titles, music tracks, etc.

We can create new libraries too and import media separately there. Something on a similar line is seen in most video editors. Files copied in libraries can be instantly accessed while editing and thereby saves time while editing.

Now, we drag a file from this section to the timeline for editing. Let us see what video formatting can be done in the timeline view.

The video formatting tools include video trimmer, split tool, overlap tool, slip tool, etc. These are used in video editors to modify the current video files before adding anything extra to it.

Also, pointers are given to select endpoints in a video that can be later used to split the video or add separate effects to each segment.

Overall, the video formatting was done by the use of these secure options. We hope that TechSmith adds much more advanced video formatting options, especially the ones we mentioned above.

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Moving on to the timeline panel, we can separate the audio and video track from a project or keep it combined. One more exciting feature is to adjust the Clip Speed.

This is done by clicking clip speed option and then dragging the selected endpoints of the media on a track. If you increase the length of a video, it will slow down the video; and if you compress it, the playback speed is increased.

The Ripple Delete feature is used to select and clip a part of the media file in the timeline section. Overall, even in a lack of above-dedicated options of video formatting, like in other top video editors, it is quite possible to do formatting in Camtasia.

There is a properties tab beside the preview pane on top. From here, we can edit some of the video properties like rotation along three 3D planes, resolution, clip speed, and the opacity of video. For audio files, we can only change the gain values.

With this, the general media manager and video formatting are concluded. From the assessment above, we can firmly say that Camtasia is for mid-range users and novices.

Some of the features, like in complex video editors, are missing. However, based on the audience they aim to target, Camtasia still works better than many mid-range video editors in this price range.

Overall, grasping its workability isn’t much harder. After this, we begin exploring various special effect features in Camtasia. The general video formatting is done before adding extra graphics into this setup.

Adding Special Effects and Enhancing Videos in Camtasia

Unlike the noob editing stuff like above, we can make CGI movies or do high-level editing using video editors. Things like chroma-keying, color correction, overlaying effects, etc. are a few of the many advanced editing effects.

Here, we will look for such special effects and review them. One thing to notice is that Camtasia is focused more towards mid-level features, and so super-advanced effects won’t be seen here.

For now, Camtasia has made it simpler to access them. There are tabs besides the media panel that lists all the available editing effects. There is no need to run around various menus to search for them. We can comfortably test them one by one here.

Adding Annotations in the Video

As we know, annotations are quite popular nowadays. We can see numerous videos with shapes, texts, layers, motion paths, etc.

All these can be added easily in Camtasia. To do so, head to the annotation tab on top-left. In this menu, you see all the elements mentioned above that can be added to it.

The first one is to add the text field. Text fields here are provided in many formats like speech bubbles, pointer texts, etc. Users can modify the size, color, shadow, opacity, etc. for each of these shapes.

There are typical font formatting options given by Camtasia here. Once you customized the fonts, users can now focus on the placement on these annotations.

Regarding the placement, we can readily resize the box, move it across any part of the video screen, and add 3D rotations to it.

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The only thing missing here was the transition animation for these annotations. So, how to animate these objects? Well, for that, there is a special provision in the transition section. We will assess it later, but for now, Camtasia must give some animation effects to these annotations.

Also, there is no keyframe feature to alter the effects within their runtime. These are minute details that affect the working of a video editor. Such useful tools are sufficient for pro-users too.

Especially in options like blur, highlight, etc., we may need to change the intensity of the effect multiple times in a frame. That can only be done using keyframes.

Regardless, we need to split a video and then change its intensity in each part. Overall, these perks are good for making regular videos and even pro-level videos.

Using Transitions in Videos and their On-Screen Effects

The transition effects are mostly lightweight. You can access it just below the annotations tab.

In the Transition Tab, Camtasia has added about 40 transition effects, each quite distinct. The method to add transition is via dragging it to slides that need it.

Now, can we edit something in these transition effects? Sadly, the answer is no! Unlike many editors, who allow editing and keying in a transition file, Camtasia’s transitions are static in terms of editability.

The only thing you change is the time span of that transition. And that too, is done by dragging the transition icon on the timeline.

We could not modify the transition animation parameters too. Overall, this cited the need to expand their horizon involving many better-editing functions in the transition section.

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The themes are also limited here, which may cause some picking issues for many users. Although the store page is available, Camtasia needs to incorporate comprehensive editing features in the transitions too.

So, as of now, we will have to work with limited features in the transition section.

Moving to the Behavior Section, we can see some preset animated templates in it. These animations are used to modify the path and movements on-screen.

As you can see, Camtasia offers some basic behavior motions like fade in/out, roll over, fly in/out, etc. Now, as for adjusting their timestamp, we can do so by adjusting them in the timeline section.

The behavior is applied to the entire frame in the timeline, and therefore you must split the required video into requisite sections. Camtasia offers some minor customization provisions for improving its quality.

It even permits to alter the movement and speed of a behavior. Honestly, this can be made more advanced for pro-users. In the current legacy, transitions and object behavior animations are mediocre.

However, both these features hold their fair share in the product and can help in decent modification. We advise Camtasia to enrich these two sections.

Animations and Cursor effects in Camtasia

Like the above sections, we can add further effects to the videos and images. There are some distinct animation features delivered here.

One thing notable here is that the effects reviewed so far are more likely to be seen in a presentation maker software. The animation section is a bit different from the above ones in the sense that we can reach it freely in a video segment and also use keyframes to separate them.

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Well, the same concept of keyframes could be implemented in the previous section, but it’s not. Regardless, we will look into both of them and evaluate them.

In the Animation Tab, Camtasia has given options like angle tilt, fading, scale-up/down, and smart focus to modify the dynamics of the videos/images.

Whenever you add such animations to the media track, it is shown by a small arrow icon. From this arrow icon in the timeline panel, users can stretch it and generate the keyframes.

Each dot shows a change in the animation frame, and you can modify them as per need. When it comes to custom animation, there are limited things we can change. As we mentioned once; scale, opacity, rotation, and orientation are the only changeable assets.

We can only modify these things at each keyframe. E.g., we need to give a roll in or roll out animation to a media file. We also want to add 3D tilt to this section.

As you have guessed, we can manipulate the keyframes and start with a rotating image at the beginning of the screen corner and then end it in rolling motion on others. The position field controls the video frame, and so we can change it on every keyframe.

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This is how animations are possible here. Overall, a custom animation path can be readily worked with to add some significant effect in the photo/video frames.

Like every special effect, Cursor effects are used to manipulate the cursor animations. This is especially for screen recorders. The program auto-identifies the cursor and then assigns various animations to it.

It includes cursor highlights, left/right click effects like ripples, sniper scopes, click sounds, etc. It can be learned from the tutorial videos.

Camtasia has genuinely done great work here. The detailing is also excellent. The use of their screen recorder makes it easier to configure the settings internally.

Adding Interactive Quizzes and Captions in the Video

One of the interesting parts of the Camtasia video editor is its interactivity feature. We all know how communicating online media has become. We can see surveys mid-video on Facebook, YouTube, and even on services like Netflix.

These interactions consist of surveys, quizzes, opinion polls, etc. If you have watched Netflix movie Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, you know how your interactivity changes the outcome of the movie. We can do something analogous in Camtasia too. Thrilling, isn’t it? Well, let’s see how.

Go to the Interactivity Tab in the effect’s menu-bar. From there, Camtasia offers two methods to input interactivity in the videos.

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One is used to add a Quiz to the entire timeline, and another for a specific timestamp in the media track. The quiz in timeline mode is affixed, whereas the one attached to specific media segment can be moved along with the segment.

As for the quiz format, we can add it as MCQs, blanks, true/false, or short answers. We can add many questions and options here.

Now, where are these interactive contents supported? Well, as per their description, we can use them on screencast website, screencast plugin, or as an embedded website plugin. We can customize the quizzes to give scores to the users based on their answers.

All in all, the interactivity features are quite amazing. Another thing needed is to configure more control options based on user input like sound effects, formatting of the text and shape of interactive content, etc.

Akin to this, we can switch to the CC, i.e., Closed Caption Tool, to add subtitles and titles to the video. We have already used a texting tool before. The difference is that the previous one was confined to a particular shape and scene format.

This one is made explicitly for credits and subtitles. Go to the Captions Tab and click add captions. The method of adding captions is simple.

The first step is to pick a time stamp on the timeline. Then add the relevant text. After that, we can modify the formatting of this text too. The position of the captions is also fixed.

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There is an exciting tool given by Camtasia here. We can use the Speech To Text for writing captions. Other than that, the speech catcher allows a user to add captions whenever they hear words in the video. Direct importing of captions is also supported.

Overall, this can help to create good quality subtitles for the videos. However, we would like to have more tools to modify the CC and their animation styles.

With this, the quiz and CC features are assessed. Camtasia has offered an excellent interface in both of them. In comparison with some of the top editors, the CC feature in Camtasia is worth it. As for the interactivity feature, there are hardly one or two products in the market for it.

Managing Audio Effects and Voice Narration Features

Have you seen any videos without crazy audio? How about listening to music without any sound? Or watching any anime without those chilling sound effects?

Not possible, isn’t it? That is why audio is a crucial part of concluding any movie. Without it, entire video editing becomes dull. There are several parts to audio editing. The first step is to determine the type of video you want to make.

The reason here is that we need to decide what audio transformation is best for the video. Once decided, we can easily pick an effect for it.

Now, in Camtasia, there are only 5 audio effects as of now. For more audio effects, we need to head to their online asset library.

It may sound depressing to many users that audio effects are so limited in it. It even lacks an audio mixer tool, which is also crucial in many video editors.

The options of audio effects are noise removal, compression, fade in/out, and clip speeds. The customization parameters are also limited here.

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Comparatively, this is the crucial area that Camtasia needs to focus on enhancing first. We really hope that they do it quickly.

The process of adding sound effects is similar to the other effects. Whenever you add an effect to this section, you will see a green line and graph over the audio track.

This graph is used to control the effect’s intensity. We can double click on this green line, create a keyframe, and then change the graph slope to increase/decrease the effect’s intensity.

Similarly, the clip speed permits altering the playback speed of audio. With this, the audio effects are completed, as available in the default setup.

If you head online, you can download more from the audio assets. It has music, loops, and even sound effects. Based on subscription, you can access them.

After this, there is an Audio Narrator feature too. It is merely a voice recording tool. Users need to connect a microphone to it first. After it recognizes the device, you can hit Start Recording.

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This will begin the process of recording. There is a script field given by Camtasia here. You can type the entire script here to keep track of your words.

Once the recording finishes, adjust it like any other audio. That is all for the audio section in Camtasia. We expected to see an advanced interface for audio editing, but it was ok.

However, as said before, Camtasia has to extend this section’s features to make it competitive with other video editors.

Special Visual Effects in Camtasia

We have already gone through numerous video effects in Camtasia. Here, we will be testing some more, known as Visual Effects.

These effects are inadequate and contain items like adding shadows, borders, colorize, green screen, interactive hotspot, and speed adjustments.

As we can observe, these are discrete from the ones that we have discussed before. And so, let us check out how to add them to the videos and images.

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The first one is the drop shadows. It is used to add a shadow effect on a video or image frame. The steps are rather straightforward. We can alter the intensity, angle, color, distance, and animation effect of this shadow.

The border effect works the same. It has only one option, i.e., add colors and adjust the thickness of the border. There are no options to pick the type of borders, add animations to them, etc.

It is no different than those free image editors. Camtasia must have gone in much detail by adding frames, animated effects like rolling, bounce, etc. to these frames.

Nevertheless, the next one allows us to colorize a video/image. It has animation effects like changing color intensity and ease in/out.

The color adjustment tool has similar features. We can enhance the brightness, contrast, and saturation. Unlike other video editors, we are missing the concept of keyframes here.

All the above effects are very consistent throughout the runtime. In case we need to diversify the intensity with time, we need to split the video/images and then apply the effect intensity in each of them separately.

This is very troublesome. We hope that Camtasia employs the keyframe feature for every such effect in later versions.

The Remove Color option offers to cut a selected color from the video. It can also be used for the green-screen effect. We can adjust the intensity of this color removal accordingly. Overall, it cannot be matched to the high-grade chroma-keying effects, but it is workable for small color replacing work.

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Lastly, there are two more interesting special effects. They are device frames and interactive hotspots. Both of them are unique and are workable in many modern situations.

The device frame is used to stimulate the selected video segment into a device model. This is like a picture-in-picture effect. These primary frames are used to envelop a specific video section.

We can show our videos on different devices like desktops, Pixel phones, iPhones, MacBook, etc. There is no further adjustment for this frame, like animation effect to this frame, custom frame color adjustment, etc.

The Interactive Hotspot is another feature in the interactivity section. Here, we can add effects like pause frames, flash exterior links, and such click-based interactions.

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Overall, this was a lovely feature that can be used in conjunction with the previous interactivity feature. The previous one was mainly used to add quizzes and surveys in the video and had more options for the user input.

With this, we end the special effect features of Camtasia. So far, the stock of this section seemed mediocre. Also, the customization is average. This is a reminder for them that they need to add & improve the stock.

Also, it lacks the vibe of classic video editors we’ve encountered so far. It was more like a cloud video creator. Nonetheless, we hope to see a few more advanced setup in future updates.

Screen Recorder in Camtasia

As said, Camtasia has got so trendy, thanks to combined screen recorder and video editor. Users can use the video editor to edit the video recordings directly. Let’s try using it accordingly. Use the record button on the top left corner of the project.

The process is the same as any other screen recorder. Users can select the size of the screen they want to record and then select their region. After that, press the record button and then record the desired screen. You can use the hotkeys to record games or other Fullscreen stuff.

As the recording finishes, the file is saved and imported into the video editor for editing. From there on, the cursor effects are super useful.

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The program auto-detects the mouse cursor here. It can also track the keystrokes and display them accordingly. Unlike many other screen recorders, this one is much better.

This is because for people like gamers, streamers, tutorial channels, etc., Camtasia has sufficient setup and editing features as per their needs, and it is quite cheaper. This is the reason it is quite popular in the above categories.

Other than this, there was nothing too unusual in it. It can also record the output from the camera and microphones. The only additional thing missing in its UI was an application list to be recorded.

There was an option to lock the recordings to an application. But, it would be better if it were possible to do so even with the app in the background.

Regardless, Camtasia has done decent work here. This is sufficient for mediocre needs, and so it gets a pass from us. Reminding of the last section, we would now move to the final project publishing setup.

Publishing Fully-Edited Projects in Camtasia

The last and concluding step in any video editor is converting the project file from a native program format to a playable device format.

It needs a varied setup and proper customization options to convert the project file. For this, most video editors provide conversion format for all types of popular devices like desktops, mobiles, and game consoles, internet, etc.

In Camtasia, once the final project editing work is done, go to the Share Menu on the top menu toolbar. From here, there are multiple choices for final publishing.

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These are typical ones, like saving as a local file, websites like Screencast, TechSmith review, Vimeo, YouTube, Google Drive, etc. The customization parameters are also given accordingly.

The final publishing method is via a pop-up wizard. This pop-up wizard has all the options to customize the current video settings. If you pick an online website for publishing, the format is automatically adjusted as per the site requirements.

That is why we will check the custom preset first. Select custom production in settings. Click next and choose a file format from MP4, WMV, AVI, GIF, M4A.

In the next menu, we can fully personalize the video quality. Here, you can set the dimensions, bitrate, quality, color mode, captions, etc.

Once done, adjust the watermark and author information in the video. If the users have added quizzes in their video, they will be able to select the SCORM format for it.

Adjust the remaining parameters and hit the publish button. Now, wait for the rendering to complete. Depending on the video size, it will take some time.

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For online content, Camtasia will upload a file to their online server. From there, users can share these files across their website or as embed player. The one issue here that prevailed was the internet requirement to download the Smart Player.

Still, this feature is crucial for other stuff. The reason for the use of a Smart Player is to give a custom CMS to the editors. Users need not to host the video on a separate platform like YouTube or Vimeo.

They can simply integrate this CMS into the site, and it will support all the features that you added in the video. The survey and quiz results are sent to the admin’s email ID.

This is why Camtasia has also emerged as an interactive video host for many people around the world. If you want to do the conversion for offline formats, simply go to the save location of the video project.

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Here, you can view a video/audio file that can be copied to the local storage. The entire package is finished together. Overall, this feature is performing as per the assigned requirements.

For uploading on other sites, login credentials are needed. Once you have configured the login account into this setup, it will remember it for future instances.

Finally, we now conclude the complete assessment of Camtasia and its features. So far, we are content with whatever tools and special effects they had.

Conclusion

The main aim of Camtasia revolves around securing the regular gamers, streamers, and casual video editors. As far as these audiences are concerned, Camtasia has ardently performed its duties.

The combined screen recording and editing are some of its strengths. The majority of effects that can be added into it are plug-n-play type. Also, the UI of the editor and timeline panel is modest enough to be mastered in nominal time.

However, the stocks of OG templates are minimal, and so is their customization parameters. Due to this, Camtasia is not preferred for very high-level video editing. We would still like them to inculcate the keyframe feature in all special effects and animations to change the effect parameters accordingly.

Overall, TechSmith’s Camtasia has done great work in forming such a video editor. The cost range is almost akin to the current market price of most top video editors. Due to this, Camtasia works very well for most mid-range and online video editing needs.

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