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Camtasia: Some tips

August 4, 2021

As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been testing Camtasia for creating mini Microsoft Word training and tips videos. I’m recording actions in Word on my computer, not people, places, or things.

Here are some things I’ve discovered in my first few days of testing that may help others (no particular order):

  • If the Speech to Text option is grayed out, you may need to install all parts of the language packs for the languages you use in Windows (see https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2021/07/31/camtasia-speech-to-text-not-available/)
  • Avoid using earbuds to record audio as the result will likely not be as clear as you’d like—instead, use a proper microphone, or a headset with a microphone that comes near your mouth. Keep the microphone a few centimetres away from your mouth (preferably above or below your mouth) to avoid ‘pop’ noises on the ‘p’ and ‘b’ words. NOTE: Some microphones are very good at picking up all sorts of ambient noise, so you may need to dampen that noise by screening yourself with blankets (or similar). Or purchase a microphone that only picks up immediate noise (I believe these are called ‘dynamic’ microphones; ‘condenser’ mics pick up all the noise).
  • Use the option to turn off system sounds when recording a screen.
  • Smooth out jerky mouse movements by applying the Cursor smoothing option to the recording.
  • Check the sound level of any music you add as an intro or outro, or across the whole video; reduce the ‘gain’ if it’s too loud.
  • MP4 is the main video output from Camtasia. WAV and AVI are other options, but not MKV.
  • Split the recording track into separate video and audio tracks if you initially record the audio as you create the video. If you decide to rerecord the audio because of too many ums and ers etc., you can just add the new audio as a new track and hide (then delete) the original. You don’t have to record the new audio outside Camtasia either—start a new recording and turn off all recording options except Audio.
  • If you use one of Camtasia’s inbuilt music tracks for intro/outro music, instead of fading the track out for the duration of the main recording, consider exporting that track as an MP3, then using a program like Audacity to cut out the bits you don’t want, leaving you with two short MP3 clips—the intro and the outro—that you can import into any new video you create. Add these to your custom library and template, if you will use them often.
  • When you initially start a new recording of your screen, check and set the dimensions (green dashed lines) so that you don’t capture anything you don’t want others to see (e.g. your taskbar, your name in the title bar of a Word window). If you do record bits that you don’t want the viewer to see, use Camtasia’s blur function to blur out those bits—you should be able to add the blur and stretch it to cover the whole recording without having to rerecord your steps.
  • If you’re going to do several similar videos, consider setting up your own library of ‘assets’ and a template with your main start and end bits (intro/outro music, title screen, ending screen etc.). Consider adding a date (month and year is OK) to the title or end screen so the viewer can see when it was made.
  • Camtasia can only import and export SRT closed caption files, not VTT files or other file formats used for captioning. There are plenty of free conversion apps that will convert SRT to VTT and vice versa, as well as other captioning formats.
  • If you import an SRT file that you’ve modified, and some closed captions are missing in Camtasia, it’s likely because you inadvertently added extra line spaces to the file in Notepad (or similar). There should be NO empty lines between the parts of each caption (number line, time stamp line, caption line or lines), and only ONE empty line between the last line of each caption and the next number line at the start of the next caption. Ask me how I found this out…
  • If you haven’t written a script and you record your voice as you’re doing the recording and you want to transcribe that audio and edit it to create the closed captions (and possibly to rerecord the audio so that it follows your captions script), then consider exporting the audio track to MP3, then using a transcription service to convert the speech to text. A couple of free transcription options are available if you have access to Office 365 online (you cannot do this on an installed version of Word 365 on your PC, only via the web app)—use Word online to transcribe it for you (see https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2020/11/10/word-convert-voice-to-text/), or use another Office online app, Microsoft Stream, to do the transcription (time stamps get added, but they are not in SRT format). You can then edit the resulting Word document, then copy/paste the text into the Captions in Camtasia. Once that’s done, you can also export the SRT file as you’ll need to add this if you’re uploading the video to YouTube. A note about using Microsoft Stream: Upload your video (or audio?; I only experimented with a 1-hour recorded presentation), set it to ‘just you’, click Publish and wait…. you could be waiting a while; my presentation took about 2 hours to process. When Stream has finished processing, go to My Contents > Videos, click the pen/edit icon (‘Update video details’). In the Options panel, click Download File next to Captions.

See also:

[Links last checked August 2021]

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