Recording with Camtasia Studio Recorder

Two examples of instructional videos created by using Camtasia: Let-It-V (Streaming video) | How to Use Get it for me (Flash video)



Think about some of these questions before recording: What will be the video's final format and why? What is more important: video quality, delivery speed or platform compatibility? How much bandwidth is available if it is for streaming? Will that be viewed by 56K modem users as well? If the movie is supposed to be shown elsewhere, does the designated PC have the right codec to show it? Should I add instructor's scripts to the video? Should I capture my voice separately? Should I make the Web links mentioned in the scripts active? How much storage space is available? Do I have enough time to finish both recording and rendering? Does Media and Reserves have FTP, portable hard drive, CD/DVD burner or other means to transfer my files?

Camtasia 1

Your answers to these or other related questions will help you to decide how you create, edit and encode the videos. For example, if the purpose is to allow the digital videos to be viewed across all platforms, FLASH may be the best encoding option. However, if the videos are a bit too long (say, 20 minutes or longer), then WMV streaming may become your final choice. Here is another scenario. If you want to reduce the file size without shortening the video, you may consider using some of these options - lowering audio quality, lowering color settings, replacing the selected color template with white background (if used in PowerPoint), reducing frame rates, replacing full-screen capture with fixed region capture, using a different codec, changing media bitrates, or replacing voice instruction with vector text callouts. Another option is to use a tool like Sorenson Squeeze (on Workstation DVE) to break a long video into a series of stitched smaller units, which will play in succession. You can manipulate these or other factors in the process of setup, editing and encoding. By selecting the best combinations, you may be able to achieve your design goal without sacrificing presentation quality.


Change your PC default display settings to 640x480 pixels. TIPS #1: Capture in low and play back in high PC resolution. If captured in 640x480, a movie should fit in its media player perfectly when playing back in the "normal" 800x600 or 1024x768 resolution. Avoid doing capturing and playback at the same resolution because the movie screen may not fit in the player's window. However, if you have to use the 800x600 setting for capturing the entire screen, you could use either the "fixed region" mode and set the region 10%7e15% smaller than the screen or the "window" mode and reduce the size of the targeted window 10~15% smaller than that of the screen.

Start > Settings > Control Panels > Display > Setting
Under Screen Area > slide the bar to the very left to select 640x480 pixels
Under Colors > select High Color (16bits).
Ok > Ok > Yes to confirm the setting change.


Camtasia 2


To record instructor's voice, make sure that "Mic Volume Balance" has been selected.

Start > Program > Accessories > Entertainment >Volume Control
Under Option > Properties > Recording >Ok.
Under Recording Control menu, check the "Select" box under MIC Volume Balance.

Camtasia 3

See also Step 5. Do not forget to activate the MIC icon on Camtasia Recorder. TIPS #2: For noise reduction and best sound quality, use a mixer and a unidirectional microphone.


Now it is time to launch the program. Click the Camtasia icon. Click Camtasia Recorder. Check the following settings under the Recorder's Tools Options:

Program - Use it to select all the options desired.
Video setup and audio setup - Leave "video setup" unchanged (do not replace TSCC with anything else). For audio setup, we recommend audio codec:MPEG LAYER 3 audio codec and attributes: 22050HZ, mono, 4kb/s or higher.

TIPS #3 - Record the original capturing in high quality. Reduce it to a desired acceptable lower level when you come to encode it. The principle of recording may be stated as "recording high and encoding low", which is just the opposite of that of PC resolution setup mentioned previously - "recording low and playing back high."

Camtasia 4


Your next step is to select an INPUT method: Screen, window, region or fixed region.

By selecting "screen", you will capture the entire screen. As indicated by their names, the other given options will capture window only, region only, or fixed region only. Capturing the entire screen is the default setting. It is also the one with the fewest complications. If you are going to record voice, please make sure to activate the MIC icon on Camtasia Recorder.

Camtasia 5

TIPS #4 - Under Effect, choose a suitable cursor effect to highlight screen moves and narration if necessary.

TIPS #5 - Mouse speed (important!) - Move your mouse cursor slowly during recording because when the frame rates drop to 5 frames/second during encoding, the "normal" cursor moves may become too choppy to enjoy.


TIPS #6 - Use F9 to start recording and F10 to stop. These are shortcuts to start and finish recording. Other options are Capture Record or pressing the Record button. If you use F9, you may need to press F9 twice (press it once to get ready; press it again to record) depending on the program options you have chosen.


Press F10 to stop recording. File > Save > give a file name, and then save it as an AVI in a local drive.

If you have followed the settings recommended, the resulted AVI should be of broadcast quality in video and FM radio quality in audio.

TIPS #7 - The AVI file created at this point contains a video codec called TSCC. The vide should work fine on the development station. However, if you want to view it elsewhere, make sure that this codec is on the presentation computer. If you want to do some post-recording editing and format converting, use Camtasia Developer or other video editing tools to do that, which is not covered in this handout.