Most of WebWorkerDaily’s screencasts are recorded using Techsmith’s Jing Pro screen-recording software, an easy-to-use, low-cost solution that we’ve also written about. Techsmith recently released new versions of Camtasia, its more full-featured screencast recording and editing suite for PCs and Macs (s aapl). I was fortunate enough to be offered the chance to try out Camtasia for Mac 1.1, so I’ve been putting it through its paces over the past couple of days.
Like Jing, Camtasia is a tool for recording your screen (or just a portion of it) together with a voiceover, and optionally, input from a camera, such as a webcam. That’s where the similarities end, though — with Camtasia, once you’ve finished recording, you’re taken to an editing suite where you can turn your recording into a polished movie. Add transitions and fades to your recording, splice in additional video, record a new voiceover, overlay text, edit the audio — there are plenty of robust tools available for creating a truly professional-looking piece. There are some really useful “smart” features available, too. Perhaps most useful is the SmartFocus, which automatically zooms into the portion of the screen where the action is taking pace (perhaps you’re clicking a button, or filling out a form). Adding effects and transitions to the movie is a simple matter of dragging and dropping them onto the timeline. You can also overlay text and shapes, and reposition elements like the webcam shot, just by dragging them on the canvas.
Editing in Camtasia is fairly straightforward, although if you haven’t done any video editing before if may take a little getting used to. However, I think that if you’re doing any kind of serious screencasting work, it’s worth spending the time getting the hang of it. With Jing, if I make a mistake during recording or if there is something in the final version that I’m not completely happy with, I have to re-record the entire thing, while in Camtasia, I can fix little mistakes and just generally produce a much more polished end product with a little editing.
I made a short screencast in Camtasia to show you around the editing suite:
One additional significant difference between Jing and Camtasia is, of course, the cost. While Jing is free (the Pro version that I use costs $15 per year), Camtasia for Mac is currently on sale for $99 (it normally costs $149). A 30-day free trial is available, which I would recommend taking advantage of to see if the editing facilities available are worth the additional cost for you.
Let us know what you think of Camtasia for Mac in the comments.
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