- by Lon Naylor
I’ve been using Camtasia Studio
since 2002 and I’ve searched over the years for a better video screen capture tool. Haven’t found one yet…
Today, Techsmith has released Camtasia version 7 and these are my initial impressions after having been testing out the software for a couple of weeks with a pre-launch evaluation copy from Betsy Weber. 😉
I’ll keep this short for now and give you some highlights. Of course, I’ll have more in-depth tutorials on the way!
Here’s a little preview video I did using the Search Story concept to show off a few of the features:
What’s New in Camtasia 7?
1. A New Look
The first thing you’ll notice is a sporty new look in Camtasia Studio.
I’ll be honest with ya…it does take a little getting used to if you’re a seasoned Camtasia user. It is, after all, a major interface change.
That being said, I’m finding it to be a well layed out structure as I work with it more & more. Especially as it incorporates some of the new features and how you access them.
2. Camtasia Library
One of the most useful things is a new Library feature that let’s you store all of your video elements (music, custom callouts, sound effects, video backgrounds, etc.) in one place! Nice…
One click access to all this stuff is useful enough but it gets even better…
You can also highlight any content on the timeline and right-click to ADD it to your library making it ready for future use! This is especially handy for Title clips & Splash Intros or anything else you might want to “re-use” in future projects with a simple drag-n-drop.
I like the fact that they have include some royalty free music tracks to use and some wicked cool new animated backgrounds, Title clips, and lower third “sets’” from folks like Digital Juice that you can use!
And also, you can share libraries with others.
Techsmith is providing some Library additions that you can grab:
Two Thumbs Up!
3. New Callouts
Camtasia 7 has some upgrades & additions to it’s Callouts. The legacy ones are all there but a new batch of shapes have a much nicer, less cheezy look and Effects like transparency, new Styles with greater control over how they look.
A few new “specialty” Callouts are also available:
Sketch Motion Callouts
I love these! They are animated callouts that you can use that “draw” themselves!
It’s like you have a pen (your choice of color, thickness, etc.) and you can have a circle or oval, square or rectangle, or arrows drawn in the video in real-time to highlight an area. I also like the “scribble it out” one.
These let you show viewers exactly what keystrokes you used and when you used them. I haven’t played with this one enough to decide if it’s useful but you can also just insert a “Control-C, or “ALT-D”, etc. image to indicate keystrokes for your viewer.
Two Thumbs Up!
4. Cursor Effects
This I find to be wicked interesting. In previous versions, you could add a little highlight, or rings when clicked, etc. to your cursor when recording.
Now, as long as you save your recording as a CAMREC file, you can add or modify all those attention-drawing items (and more) at editing time!
Included are also the long awaited “spotlight” & “magnify” effects and a cool new “warp” effect. You can also just make your cursor bigger!
No more having these effects burned directly into your recording. Add or change them while you edit. Nice!
Two Thumbs Up!
5. Audio Enhancements
OK…I’ve always had extremely mixed feelings about Camtasia’s “Audio Enhancements” like Noise Removal, Volume-Leveling, etc. More on that in a minute…
New to this version is the ability to get some nice control over fading in and fading out and volume levels for an audio track.
If you are adding intro / outro music or want a music track playing throughout your video but still be talking over it? This is awesome!
That’s the good news…
Three Thumbs Up!
Now…the BAD news:
The other audio enhancements like noise removal and volume level?
Still mess with EVERY AUDIO TRACK!?!? OMG!!! Ouch…
How can I use this neat feature to get my intro music just right…and then have it basically destroyed if I need to level the volume of my narration??? FAIL.
The workaround is to do noise & volume stuff first, render out to AVI and the pull it back into Camtasia…ugly.
6. Widescreen Presets
As you saw in the video above, there are now more presets available including new widescreen dimension settings. This is becoming increasingly important for certain viewing devices and for uploading to YouTube.
7. YouTube Integration
This feature is now improved from previous versions. Basically, you can now connect directly to YouTube at production time. It works as a preset so…you can’t really change any of the quality settings.
I don’t know…not very useful in my opinion but for those looking for “easy” I guess it’s OK.
No Thumb Opinion…yet.
8. Improved Recording Engine
This is really kinda sweet. Under the covers, Camtasia now records your content much better and faster. On XP machines you’ll notice a significant difference in the speed at which it captures and records motion on your screen.
Vista and Windows 7 users will see upwards of a 40-50% improvement in capture frame rate.
If you are recording videos playing in your browser, Flash animations, full screen motion, stuff like that…this is a big enhancement!
Worth the Upgrade?
The pricing for Camtasia Studio 7 is the same as previous versions and the upgrade bill is still $149.
When you look at the performance improvement, new features and gadgets I think an upgrade is a reasonable consideration.
I think most users will have to weigh in the factor of a bit of a learning curve since there is a new interface (I’m still getting used to how you “select” with the new Timleline Playhead…) and my feeling is that…
As with Camtasia 6 when it first came out…lots of users will take a wait-and-see stance.
You can download the 30-day free trial and check it out for yourself:
This is a fully functioning trial. You can install it and run version 7 right along with any previous versions you have installed…it doesn’t write over your current installations.
Love to hear what YOU think!