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Camtasia Studio QuickStart Guide for Authors, Part 2: Using Postproduction Features to Edit, Enhance, and Produce Your Video

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Tom Bunzel, author of Solving the PowerPoint Predicament: Using Digital Media for Effective Communication, concludes his two-part series on TechSmith's Camtasia by showing how to edit, customize, and produce your specialized video and audio projects with Camtasia Editor.
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Part 1 of this series discussed how to capture a video presentation with sound and import it into TechSmith's Camtasia. Once your video has been captured, it's stored in a sizable Camtasia source file in the *.TREC format. (You can designate a specific folder in which to store these files, as described in Part 1.)

Now the real fun begins! You can combine this video with others, cut extraneous material, and enhance the video's instructional or demonstration aspects by using special features such as zooming/panning, or by pointing out areas of interest with shapes such as arrows and circles.

Camtasia includes some guides that you can choose to use or ignore. For example, if you enable the SmartFocus feature during editing, Camtasia will attempt to use its artificial intelligence to anticipate—based on mouse movement—which parts of the screen to emphasize.

Look Ahead: Identifying Your Distribution Targets

Before beginning to edit a video, you should have an idea of the video's final distribution target(s). Is the video for local PC or Mac users, viewers watching via a web browser on a PC or tablet, or people on a mobile device? The potential targets determine your publishing choices:

  • Local network. Check with IT first (and run a test) for optimal formats and file parameters. Discuss the possibility of mobile devices, tablets, and PCs.
  • YouTube. Keep segments under 10 minutes—that's a good idea anyway—and use Zoom-n-Pan to account for people watching your presentation in a small video window.
  • DVD. This format maintains the best source quality, but requires you to account for manipulating large file sizes.

Target choices obviously affect not only the encoding (publishing) parameters with regard to video quality (megabits per second and file size), but also screen dimensions and special effects. These choices are particularly important when creating video for a small screen; make sure that your screen decisions let viewers really see the content.

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