Sunday, July 08, 2007

Camtasia Studio Tips

Camtasia is great software for recording audio/screen presentations.  Here are some tips and standards we've used:

Recording

  • Change the recording options to record to ''AVI format'' (the CAMREC format can lose audio/video sync over a long recording)
  • Recorded movies should be 800x600 or less unless there is a specific reason to record larger.  Using the smallest capture size possible improves the readability and reduces the file size.
  • All videos should start with an announcement of what is being demonstrated (e.g. "This is a demonstration of the Device Capture System introduced in Cashwise 3.7)
  • Don't record the application window; set one of your screens to 800x600 and record the screen.  This ensures that any popup windows or menus remain within the recorded region.
  • If recording other than the primary screen, select 'region' and select then entire alternate screen
  • Hide any toolbars or other desktop clutter.
  • Run a short test to be sure that audio/video are working before recording a long demo

Storage

  • Files should be recorded to AVI format. Recommend settings:
     Video Codec:    TechSmith Screen Capture Codec
     Audio Codec:    MPEG Layer-3 Codec
     Audio Format:    32 kBit/s, 24000Hz, mono, 3KB/s

Content

  • Before delving into details, give a high-level description of the purpose of the feature and a high-level description of the components of the feature.
  • Consider dividing the topic into multiple videos if it is possible that someone might wish to view topics separately
  • Try to keep videos under 10 minutes long
  • Don't script out the content.  If necessary, create a brief outline to ensure each important facet is discussed.  It's hard to listen to scripted speech.
  • If you realize that some topic is missing from a video, record an addendum rather than re-record the whole thing (unless there is a mess of addendums)
  • Keep a reasonably fast pace.  A video says even more than a thousand words.  The viewer can always pause or rewind.
  • Try to keep the content timeless; e.g. do not say things like "this is a new feature".
  • Try to spend more time on abstract concepts, gotchas and special cases that might not be readily apparent rather than mundane descriptions of the obvious.

1 comment:

Peter - Camtasia Guide said...

Great tips, thanks!