Camtasia Studio Full Review & Tutorial

Producing video content has been a huge part of my content strategy for Find My Blog Way over the past 3 months. It's something that I've been meaning to commit to for almost a year now and I finally feel like I've got into the flow of things.

Video has helped drive engagement on social media, has added a new dimension to user experience on the blog, and above all else, it's enabled me to demonstrate techniques and methods that I wouldn't be able to do in text alone.

I use Camtasia Studio (note: I have no affiliation with TechSmith) to record all of my video tutorials, as well as editing and producing them - it's a pretty awesome suite. Luckily for you, I've not only put together a full tutorial on how to use Camtasia to build awesome video content, but I've also teamed up with them to give away a free copy of their latest Camtasia Studio software for PC (valued at £220/$350)!

Check out my video tutorial below and then enter in our competition via the widget below the video to be in with a chance of bagging a copy of the software for yourself.

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Video Transcript

Hi, this is Matt from Find My Blog Way, and I’m going to show you the Camtasia Studio software, which is a full video editing suite and probably one of my favorite tools to use whilst running my blog. This tool really is the ultimate suite for when you’re doing the kind of tutorials that you’re watching right now, where I’m recording my screen and also my voiceover at the same time.

What I’m just going to do is I’m going to load up a recent project. Let’s just take my recent review of the Keyword Eye software. What I have within here – and this is something that if you’re running a blog, it can be incredibly useful just to get a quick little intro video made. I’m not particularly skilled at video editing; that’s not my forte. So when I came to look at doing Find My Blog Way intro video, I was kind of at a loose end. What I did is simply went to the ever-reliable Fiverr and got this little video created for $5, and that plays at the start of every single one of my videos. So I have this little clip that I put in every time.

Now, the main feature that I use is the recording of the screen. What you’ll see when I bring out this little thing here, this is the toolbar that you get. You can pause videos whilst recording, so sometimes you’ll see, if you’ve watched some of my video tutorials before, that I’ll be waiting for a tool to gather some data, and I’ll just quickly pause it, then unpause it, and all of the data’s appeared. It just means that you’re reducing down your waiting times within the video. As well as this, you’ve got a few different effects. You can add captions and stamps, and you can use mouse click sounds. Whenever I click the mouse, it’ll make a noise, which is particularly handy. Really easy to use, to be honest. All you do is click “Record” and off you go.

When you’ve went through and recorded a load of your video, you can then have a load of extra editing options. Again, I’m no expert at video editing, but it really is incredibly simple to get things going. You’ll have obviously separate audio and video feeds, so you could retrospectively narrate over the video, which you can use with the voice narration feature here. But what I like to do is, when I’m uploading my YouTube videos, add in some annotations, some call to actions to subscribe to the YouTube channel. Then when I’m in YouTube itself, I’ll add some annotations over that area so that when you’re viewing this on YouTube, hover over and you can click and subscribe to the YouTube channel. Adds a bit of interactivity, good call to action, and actually I get a few YouTube subscribers as a result.

If I wanted to add some in, the first area, and probably the main thing that I use, actually, is this Call Out area. Really cool tool. What you can do is a few different effects. What we can have here is we can have some arrows up here. For example, if I wanted to say, right, let’s get this specific button here clicked, maybe have that running there – then what we’ll do is we can go down, and on the timeline we’ll have our sketch motion thing. Let’s just say draw time, make it 5 seconds. You can change the color if you really wanted to. Green for this example. And then what you can do is live preview this, see what it looks like. There you’ve got a nice little annotation over the top of your videos following in line with what you’re saying and telling the user a bit more, which is great. You can make this go on for as long as you like by just right-clicking here, call out duration, change that. If you want it to stay up for 10 seconds or however long you want it. So that’s one really cool feature.

You’ll see here, this is the same thing that I use every time. I just use the filled rectangle. And you can also add extra call outs that are exactly the same, things like that. On top of this, you can use your own clips, if you really want to. So you can have a whole host of different types of call outs. If you’ve got your own custom ones that you want to put in that that are all branded up, then that’s really easy to do, again. So it’s really cool.

It’s got quite a few features. If you do use Flash files, which I’m not sure how many of you do, then there are extra Flash hotspots you can use, and some of the other features as we go forward, I’ll show a bit more, that can be used with Flash as well.

Loads of opportunities to add in calls to action. Another one that I use all the time is the blur call out. Really important if for example you’re doing a tutorial and you’ve actually got some quite sensitive information. Maybe I had some of my personal login details or credit card details that I was putting in, but I still wanted to show the process. What I can do is just blur that out and change however long I want it to go on for. You can just click and drag if you want, to make it easier. But I’ll just show you what that looks like. My little arrow is going to pop up now, and you’ll see that’s just blurred over. So if you are doing a lot of video tutorials where you just want to show something, but you don’t want to give away all your information, then incredibly handy. I use it probably in every single video.

Likewise, this is another great tool: highlighted rectangle. I’ll just go in here… so we can have a fill of any color, really. If you wanted to particularly highlight a certain passage of text, maybe, here. It’s not always easy to get across what you want to show someone in a video tutorial, so these little extra areas really are great for showing what you want to show.

Now, these are the kind of call outs, and you can have pretty much anything. Like I said, you can just load an image into there, so that can be one of your custom graphics. If you just want some pretty old school, just basic call out stuff like that, you’ve got transparent hotspots, things that can be used which are really handy for getting across information.

But then also, which I like to combine with a lot of these, is the zoom and pan feature. This is awesome. Essentially what it will do is it will set up a key frame here and say, “Right, I want us to zoom in let’s say into this text.” This text here, I want a highlighted area to show this. Then what we’ll do is with the zoom, create a key frame. That will now zoom in, and just after we get past the highlighted area, just want it to zoom out. We’ve got a key frame there. Okay, what we’ll see now is this. Zooms in nicely, and maybe we’re talking about this specific text here, or you want to highlight a certain button, and then it’ll zoom out nicely again. You can do that for all sorts of things. I use that in particular for the URL bar here. So if I’m saying, “Right, go to this website,” and then it’ll zoom in over the URL and then quickly pan out. Really nice, cool little feature that, again, use this all the time within clips. You can see how quick it is. It really is really simple. I mean, when I’m editing a half-hour video, I must only spend about 15 minutes just tweaking a few bits and bobs. Yeah, it’s awesome.

Moving on to the audio tab, you can edit some of the audio. You’ll see here, actually, I’ve actually edited the level of my intro video to fall in line with my actual video tutorial. The intro was obviously recorded by someone else, and the backing music is quite high in comparison to my voice, so you can just adjust, reduce this down really quickly, just make sure that you haven’t got it really loud. People turn on the volume and then they can’t hear you. Simple stuff, really.

Likewise, you can add in fades. You add an audio point, make it fade out. And also you can silence the audio in sections. If you’ve got a bit of background noise, things like that going on, you can just silence that out and it’ll keep it nice and clean throughout the whole of the video. Another tool that’s simple to use, quick, easy interface, not overcomplicated, and even some of the most basic user understandings will be able to easily use the tool.

Here’s your transitions. Going in from one video section to another, you can break up the video into chunks that you want to maybe add in some transitions. Whole host of different transitions that you can use. Your standard fade through black, flip the screen around, the whole wheels, etc – depending on what you want to do with this, there’s a whole load of different transition effects, which is awesome.

This is something that I don’t use a huge amount, actually, but I really probably should use a bit more. Really cool tool for whenever you’re clicking on the screen in your video, you can add in cursor effects. For example, if I want you to know every time I’m clicking, so if it’s not immediately obvious and I want to really visualize wherever I’m clicking on the screen, I can add in – for a left click, we can have a little ripple that comes up, or we can have a couple of rings come around it, and maybe a different one for the right click. We can even add in the sound for the left click as well. Just have a little click noise. Nice little extra to just show whenever you’re actually clicking on things, because when you’re doing these kind of tutorials, it’s not always immediately obvious.

Here you’ve got your title clips. A lot of people use these to maybe add a few bullet points or, at the start of their clip, if you don’t have a video title, you might want to add your own custom ones. At key points throughout the tutorial, you can use all sorts of different background colors, things like that. So you can just simply add a title clip, pop that in there, add an image as the background, and you can fill it in all kinds of color. You can really do what you want. My title clip… text here… and then format this, whatever you want. Again, you can imagine – I’m just showing you a very basic example, but if you just wanted to add in a very basic title clip, and there you’ve got it. It’s simple as that. Add in some images by just going, open up. There’s all sorts that you can do here, and it doesn’t take a genius to do it. Essentially, if you can use PowerPoint, you can use this. That’s how simple the tool is.

Again, voice narration. Here’s something where you can record over your voice. I always tend to record my voice as I’m doing my tutorials. Sometimes, though, I’ll use this for little split seconds where, if I’d been messing up or coughing loads, like I have throughout this video – just getting over my cold at the moment – then sometimes I’ll go in and add in the voice narration, just to go back over a point or if I think maybe I could’ve done the wording a bit better around there. Likewise, you can record the camera, so you can use that picture-in-picture mode and just record your face, the screen. Really simple. And you see my ugly mug in the camera just here. So I could just start recording that, and then I’ll be able to go in and add that in, so if I want to have some sort of ugly face here at the bottom of me, chatting away, talking nonsense, then I could easily do that.

And then going in with some picture-in-picture. If you don’t know what picture-in-picture means, it simply is a video inside a video. One pretty cool thing that you can do with this that I’ve done in the past, adding a brief clip of one of your other videos, add that in here, just showing, and then you could overlay some text saying “Check out my other videos.” Within YouTube, you can then go into the annotations, which in fact I’ll bring up now. YouTube.com. When we go into Video Manager, you’ll see I’ve got a few annotations in here, but what you can do at any point, add an annotation, like a spotlight, add this hotspot anywhere, and then you can link to a video, paste the link to your other video. You can even start it in a specific area at a specific time. “Open link in new window.” And then this could be hovering over your picture-in-picture area. So it’s pretty handy. This is where the tool, where Camtasia in particular, links up very well with YouTube.

Also, I talked about some captions. There’s a few extra little areas that you can do. I tend to do this in YouTube, to have the captions all set up. If you’re not using YouTube, then you might want to do this, so you can have some subtitles running. This is a really good tool to use for setting up captions. I tend to get someone on Fiverr to transcribe most of my video content. Really nice and cheap. I usually pay about $20 for about half an hour of video, so pretty awesome. I use the same person every single time, and she is absolutely awesome for doing this kind of thing.

The last feature here is the quiz feature. Remember, I said there’s a bit more for Flash, if you wanted to do that. You can actually add in, at the end, a questionnaire into the video. If you’re using a video – if I wanted to put in here, “What did you think of the tool?” I could go in, add a quiz, go through this whole process, add that in at the end, and then I’ve got a really cool interactive quiz on top of my video. Now, I don’t really use this feature much, but I would imagine that some of you would find this very useful, because it’s a really handy tool. I know a couple of people that do use this on their blogs. It’s a great effect. Fantastic tool overall.

Just recapping as well, there’s a few other things. You can record a PowerPoint on top of this. To be honest, I haven’t even touched into all of the extra features you can do by importing your own graphics and the different types of customization that you can do here: splitting up the videos, adding in transitions and extra title areas. Like I said, this tool is what I use as one of my really staple, backbone tools that are necessary for me to run the Find My Blog Way blog, and I don’t have a huge knowledge of video editing. So if you don’t have a huge knowledge of video editing, you want to make some videos, but you want to make them look at least a bit engaging and add some call to action in there, then this is really a tool that you want to be looking at. With it being just a one-off fee, it’s more manageable.

Finally, I’m just going to show you, when you actually produce the video, you can produce it for a whole host of different presets. I always just use web. I have recorded this and edited this particular video in full 1080p. You don’t need to do that. You can do it in whatever you want. Save it there; it will save as an MP4 file, which you can then upload to YouTube. You can make it ready for iPod, the M4V movie file, preset it to 720p. There is absolutely loads. You can do it as an AVI, CD-ROM AVI, directly ready for your blog. It’s so simple. And it’s really quick, easy to use. I use it on the go. Using it on my Ultrabook right now, and it’s a joy to work with.

So what I would say is, if you’re going to be looking at video editing, doing a bit of video content for your blog, check out Camtasia, because especially compared to some of the other options, like the Adobe Suite, which is incredibly expensive and probably has more features than you need – so have a little look at Camtasia. Let me know what you think and show me some of your video content.

Okay guys, hope you enjoyed it, and make sure you check out the blog, where we’re actually giving away one free copy of Camtasia Studio for PC. So make sure you check that out, enter the competition widget, and look forward to my next video. Cheers, guys.