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How to Make and Publish a Video using Camtasia

Why should you make a video?

Making videos is a great way to share things you know with others, on YouTube and for other reasons. Sometimes I make a video to show something to a colleague ... how to use what I built, point out problems with data, questions about what I am looking at ... especially when I see something in the wee hours ... I can record, render, and upload to my web site, skydrive, or another place. The demo will be ready when my colleague has time.

Someone asked why I record audio separately ... talking takes energy, and so does recording video so the mouse pointer isn't in a bad place, what you want to show is IN the capture area (in the video we made, the bottom of the dialog box for cutomizing the QAT is chopped off -- it never got recorded! Had I realized this, I would have moved the Camtasia recording boundaries after the dialog box was opened when I recorded the screen -- pause recording with F9, drag the captain's wheel in the middle of the capture area or a border to move, position the cursor -- then press F9 to start recording again), and things you don't want to show are not showing.

Screen Shots

Below are screen shots captured from a previous version and then annotated with Snagit. The basics of what to know haven't changed.

The first screen shot is my Camtasia project showing

Timeline: The playhead is positioned on a spotlight callout. There is nothing important about this to my video, which is why I didn't zoom in so people can read anything. The only purpose for this callout is to add interest to what would otherwise be a pretty boring picture.

The green box before the playhead is the Begin Marker, and the red box after is the End Marker -- drag these to change the selection, usually for deleting. I most often use SHIFT-ArrowKeys after clicking on the playhead to mark a selection -- or I add a split before, a split after, then delete the middle. I learned my lesson about swapping clips that are parts of a camrec or avi ... don't do it unless you are feeling lucky.

Track Names are listed to the left of each track. The Audio track is locked since I don't want it to be changed while I edit the video.

{ screenshot of Camtasia }

Zoom in to focus on part of the screen

The Quick Access Toolbar, what I am showing for my tip, is located in the upper left corner of the Access window. It is small, so I want to zoom in. To demonstrate to viewers where the QAT is on the screen, the duration (time to get there) of the Zoom is greater than 0 (zero). I would have set this duration to at least a second or longer, but I couldn't do it here unless I wanted to start zooming in the previous clip since zooms and callouts cannot span more than one clip (actually, now I see that there is a little time before the callout started in that clip ... what was I thinking? oh well). btw, Except for audio and pip, imo, if you want to move something from one clip to another, cut and paste instead of dragging.

I had previously Split the video at 11 seconds to make it easier, while I was editing, to mark when I would start focusing on the QAT. I must have moved the zoom marker to the right intending to give the leading duration more time, but I didn't actually adjust it ... you can't see this on the screen shot very well, but there is 0.3 seconds before the zoom starts in the clip. It would have been better to use that time to zoom in slower.

The blue diamond markers on the Timeline indicate that the Zoom changes from what was recorded. Shaded triangles before a zoom marker show the time it takes to change. Most often, I "cut" to another zoom instead of changing it gradually, so in my videos, there are not usually triangles before diamonds.

At the playhead in the below screen shot, there is a red circle sketch motion callout around the icon that will be added to the QAT. This was originally a mistake! I forgot to reset the QAT before recording, but I decided to keep part of what I was about to cut ... to show what I was getting ready to do ... it worked out well. (thanks, Tom)

Many of the blue diamond markers are because zoom has to be set for every clip once you start using it. I usually copy the zoom marker from the clip before, unless I want to change zoom settings. If the zoom isn't set on a clip, then the whole frame shows, which is totally fine!

{ Zoom in on the timeline to add interest }



This video is hosted on YouTube. Play on YouTube in HD or YouTube in standard viewing window, or here ... click on play button (triangle inside filled rounded rectangle) in middle of video below.

Caption Languages: English, Dutch, German, French
Click cc below video window to toggle captions on and off, or change the caption language.
While the video is playing, move your mouse to the bottom of the video to see the controls.
Tom van Stiphout translated the captions to Dutch, thanks Tom!
Time to translate: 18 minutes. Time to generate caption file and upload: 1 minute.
Peter Doering translated captions to German. He said he didn't time it, "but it was certainly more than 18 min. Maybe because German is more difficult ;-)" thanks, Peter!
Fabrice Constans translated the captions to French. Link to his website is in the video description -- he uses the Microsoft Translator on his site :) Thanks, Fabrice!

Please, if you speak another language ...
I am also curious how well the built-in translator does ... perhaps you would watch the video using those captions and take a few notes to share with me?
If you would like to translate captions to another language, email thanks!

Explore the other controls below the viewing window, such as the cog to change quality.

While the rendered video was uploading to YouTube, I opened the text file where I already wrote a Title, Description, and Tags (including #mstips). Copying and pasting that information was quick! Then I set the video Category (ie, How To & Style, Science & Technology), Privacy to Public, and License to Creative Commons, which means that others can use part of my video as long as they attribute it. On the Advanced Settings tab, I then set Comments to Approved. This is demonstrated in my demo of rendering, uploading (publishing), and captioning.

After the video was up on YouTube, I added captions, which was also quick since I time-coded the captions in the second presentation. All I did in Access after the presentation was make a few adjustments, click the "Make Caption File" button, and upload the caption file to YouTube. I watched the video with captions on YouTube and made more adjustments to my caption timecodes in Access. Then I clicked the "Make Caption File" button in Access again. Then I deleted the English caption file on YouTube and uploaded my modified caption file. I did this twice -- total time to fine-tune the captions was about 10 minutes. The process to create Captions is also on the demo.

At 1:16 on the video, I added something in the caption that I forgot to say


Reference Links

Camtasia, Snagit -- TechSmith

Camtasia Studio Learning Center

TechSmith tutorials

TechSmith downloads for Camtasia, Snagit, and more

YouTube Videos

Bill Jelen's YouTube channel

Heather Ackmann's YouTube channel

Crystal's YouTube channel

Albert Kallal's popular video YouTube


Notes & Tips

Notes on Camtasia and Sound

Crystal's Camtasia Notes

How To Adjust Microphone Volume Levels in Windows

Decent, cheap microphone: Logitech 980186-0403 Silver USB Connector USB Desktop Microphone

Heather's pick for a headset: Sennheiser PC 151 Binaural Headset with Noise-Canceling Microphone & Volume Control


Make sure you are recording at ... and remember to click the REC button ;)


Production Tips

Timeline Shortcuts

E = Extend frame -- right-click on an extended frame video clip to change duration
S = Split -- first, make sure tracks you don't want to split, like audio, are LOCKED (lock icon toggle to left of track name)
C = insert Callout -- right-click on callout to change duration, double-click to see properties
T = insert Transition -- first, double-click video clip to make sure you are at the beginning; transition (ie: page turn, fade) will be between wherever you are and the previous clip. Right-click on transition clip to change duration
Z = Zoom -- double-click on marker to see properties -- drag corners and move focus region in upper left


Downloads & Captions

*** DOWNLOAD Caption Tool ***

click to DOWNLOAD free tool to Make Caption Files, written in Microsoft Access

Why to do Closed Captioning (cc)

Demo: Render to a file that can be shared, Upload to YouTube, Create Captions

WMV file showing Render, Publish to YouTube, and create Captions -- no audio -- uses Camtasia CALLOUTS (floating text, highlights, etc) to explain :)

captioning stuff starts @ 2:10
Anytime you want to replace captions, simply delete the caption track and upload another one :)

If you put the captions directly onto the video, they are there forever, and can't be turned off or translated. Separate caption files means that the viewer has control over what they want to see.

To upload captions for a YouTube video:

  1. go to the Video Manager
  2. click on Edit Video button below desired video
  3. click Captions from menu bar across top
  4. click "Upload caption file or transcript" ... and go on from there



    Make a text file with the information about your video such as a good, descriptive Title that conveys what the video is, or will be about.

    Get wordy in the video Description -- repeat text from your video or outline. Make the first sentence pique interest so that when that video shows up on a search page, others will be want to watch. Use your search terms (Tags) in your video description. Tags get indexed by YouTube and other search engines. The video descriptions are also indexed but do not carry as high a weight unless the term is also a tag. The more times you use a term in context, the higher weight it will carry.

    You can put links to resources in your video descriptions ... maybe there is an article that relates to your video and would add value to the viewer. Link to your own blog or website -- the more external links there are to a page, the higher its weight for search engines. This means more people may find you ... and if someone is reading your video description then chances are good they will want to read your other writing anyway.

    Tags should be words and short phrases that people might search for, including your name and screen names.



    enjoy making videos