Video

Camtasia Updates Add 'Professional-Grade' Video Features

Video creation platform Camtasia has been updated with new features designed to enable instructors to make their videos more professional looking. Camtasia 9 for Windows and Camtasia 3 for Mac from TechSmith include new assets, support for 64 bit and cross-platform support.

Among the new features, according to Product Manager Troy Stein, are these:

  • Access to an asset library that has animated backgrounds, icons and music tracks for integration into videos;
  • The use of "behaviors," which allow the user to apply animations to text, images and icons;
  • Motion graphics to set off visual content;
  • "Canvas" editing, a WYSIWYG capability that lets the user view edits and modifications directly on the workscreen;
  • Support for quizzing in the Mac edition, which allows the user to have the video pause, issue a quiz, and then continue; quizzing already existed in the Windows edition;
  • An upgrade in the rendering engine to 64 bit, which, noted Stein, improves performance and stability and provides the capacity for "richer" videos; and
  • Cross-platform support through a common project file that allows users on both Windows and Mac to collaborate on video projects.

Brian McCarthy, a senior instructor at Portland State University in the School of Business, has been a Camtasia user for eight years. He uses the program, which he called "empowering," to create the main video lectures for his online courses "because it brings me to life as their instructor and it adds a personal touch to the class." He also uses it to produce supplemental video lectures for his face-to-face classes to give them "a head start on the materials."

"I can create high production-value videos quickly," he said. "If I need to do a whole new set of lectures for my online class, I can do that in my office at Portland State or my home office. All I need is a PC, a high-quality camera, a high-quality microphone and good lighting, and I can create really good interactive videos."

Although McCarthy has only had a short demonstration of the new features in Camtasia, he said he expects to become a fan of the latest updates. "I want to make my videos as professional as I can and as interesting as I can to the students. so this new release is going to make it easier for me to add animation, text, transitions and interesting backgrounds or music or sounds from the asset library. and I'm really excited to be able to do that."

As he explained, "I think that my videos [encourage] students to learn and to be excited about learning, and they enable us to have more interactive, face-to-face sessions. So if I can bring my videos to the next level, that's just going to help them."

The latest version of Camtasia is priced at $199 for Windows or Mac. Upgrades for existing customers are $99.50.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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