In this blog I’ll share some of my top tips for editing Camtasia videos that can save you hours of work.
Tip #1 Get the sizing right
Good, sharp video quality is essential when producing your screencasts in Camtasia, so before you hit that record button, make sure you get your sizing set correctly. There are three sizes you need to be aware of when recording:
Capture size – This is the size of your recording (usually your screen size if you are recording full screen)
Canvas size – The size of the canvas in Camtasia where you do all your editing
Production size – The size of published video
To get the best quality video, these should all be set to the same size (or 100% scale) as any scaling up or down will affect the picture quality.
There are exceptions to this rule, however! If, like me, you create software tutorials, where zooming in to key areas of the screen is helpful for the user, I usually record on a monitor that is larger than my canvas. This means that the screen doesn’t appear blurry when I zoom in.
As a general rule of thumb:
Make sure that your capture size is at least as big as your production size.
Canvas size should be the same as production size
Make sure the screen aspect ratios all match - i.e. don't record in 16:9 if you're editing and producing at 4:3
To set your capture size:
Click Record. The measurements will automatically default to full screen, but you can use the drop-down to select from a set of pre-defined screen sizes, or manually enter the height/width.
To set your project size:
Go to Edit>Preferences and click the Project tab.
You can then select your canvas dimensions from the drop-down.
To set your production size
When your video is finished, click Export and select the required option.
Tip #2 Use Themes
A theme is a collection of colours, fonts and logos that you can create in order to customise various assets that you add to your video – annotations, intros/outros etc.
If, for example, you have a series of videos to produce that all require the same look and feel, you can save yourself hours of manual formatting by creating a theme instead. You can then quickly apply the theme to items that you add to your video.
To create a theme: Select File>Manage Themes
Click the Create Theme button
Enter a name for your theme, then click OK
Now you can use the Colors, Fonts and Logo tabs to customise the various elements
Click Save to complete
Now you’ve set your theme, you can apply it:
1. Select the object on the canvas or the timeline
2. Click the Theme drop-down in the Properties panel
3. Select your custom theme
Tip #3 Create Favourites
I usually find that, even though there are plenty of annotations, transitions, behaviours, cursor and visual effects to choose from, I have some favourites that I use more often than others.
Instead of scrolling through a long list of options, you can add these quickly to your Favourites list.
Click the relevant tab at the left of the window (in this example I’ve used the Annotations tab)
Mouse-over the item you want to add – you’ll see a small star at the top-right
Click the star to add the item to your Favorites tab
Although you can add as many favorites as you want, don’t be tempted to add hundreds of them or you’ll be back to scrolling down a huge list again!
If your favourites list is getting unwieldy, you can weed out those you no longer need by clicking on the star. Don’t worry - this will only remove the item from the favorites tab, not from Camtasia.
Tip #4 Know your shortcuts!
As with all programs there are quite a few keyboard shortcuts, and I don’t suggest you memorise them all but I’ll share some of my favourite timesavers. Note that these shortcuts are for PC. You’ll find many of the standard Windows shortcuts will work – such as cut (CTRL+X) Copy (CTRL+C) and Paste (CTRL+V).
Toggles the tools panel on an off
Toggles the Properties panel on and off
Select the first clip then ALT+Right Arrow
Selects all media on a track
Groups selected media
Split selected track at playhead
Splits all tracks at playhead (ignores any locked tracks
Zoom in on canvas
Zoom out on canvas
SHIFT+E (or ALT + Drag media on timeline)
Convert selected clip to placeholder
Show all media on timeline
Jump to start of timeline
Jump to end of timeline
You can find additional shortcuts (and the Mac versions) here:
Tip #5 Create Templates
If you plan on creating multiple videos with a similar structure, you can convert an existing video to a quick reusable template. For example, our tutorial videos share some common elements:
Intro: Title, custom entrance animation, timing, logo etc.
Main Video: including transition animation with intro and outro
Outro: Titles, custom exit animation, call to action etc.
(You’ll see we’ve added a few more elements to our YouTube videos, but we’ll keep this simple!).
Apart from some minor text edits, the intro and outro will stay pretty much the same, so I usually leave these as they are. The main video will obviously be different each time, so you can convert it to a placeholder. Just select the clip and press CTRL+ALT+P.
Once you’re happy with the template structure, click File>Save Project As Template. Give the template a name, then click OK.
To create a video based on a saved template:
Click File>New Project From Template
Select the template you want to use, then click New from Template
Camtasia will create a new untitled project based on the template
You can now edit any relevant text, drag a new video over the placeholder, then save and export as a new video. The template itself will not be overwritten.
So that’s my top 5 – why not try them for yourself and take some of the pain out of editing!
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