Camtasia Studio Video Tutorials: Part 1 | WebReference

Camtasia Studio Video Tutorials: Part 1

Camtasia Studio Video Tutorials: Part 1

By Nathan Segal.

Video tutorials are quickly becoming the learning medium of choice these days. Capable of being deployed on the Internet, Intranet or CD, video tutorials promise to cut learning times as users can see tasks in real time. In addition, you can stop the playback, rewind, step through the video and more. Following up the video with audio and printed materials makes for a potent combination, but in this series we're only going to focus on tutorials created with Camtasia Studio 3 (though version 4 is now available).

System Requirements

To run Camtasia (ver. 4), your system will need to match or exceed the requirements listed here. You'll need MS Windows 2000/XP or Vista, with MS DirectX 9 or later. For hardware, you need a 1.0 GHz processor (minimum) or 2.5 GHz (recommended for PowerPoint and camera recordings), a minimum of 500 MB RAM (1.0 GB recommended), plus 60 MB of hard-disk space for the program.

The Camtasia Studio Add-in for PowerPoint requires PowerPoint 2000, 2002, 2003, or later. The Apple QuickTime 7.1 (or later) format is necessary for iPod production.

A Windows compatible soundcard, microphone and speakers are recommended. For a USB webcam, use the Logitech QuickCam Pro 5000 (with built-in microphone) or the Logitech QuickCam for Notebooks Pro.

While it's possible to use DV cameras, Camtasia Studio wasn't designed to support them, so TechSmith doesn't recommend any DV camera at this time. More information is in the Q&A section. For playback, you'll need MS Windows 95/98/Me/NT 4.0/2000/XP or Vista. For hardware, you need a computer with a 166 MHz processor and 32 MB of RAM.

Recommended Microphones

Before we begin recommending a microphone, let's take a quick look at the options, which are the dynamic and condenser types. Sound is picked up by a metal coil (with the dynamic type) while sound is picked up by a membrane of thin metal (with the condenser type). The latter microphone needs an external power source.

Next we look at the pickup pattern, of which there are four basic types:

Omnidirectional - This microphone picks up all sounds with equal clarity.

Cardoid - With this option, one side of the microphone is more sensitive than the other. In actual practice, one side can be used to focus on voice quality while the other part ignores ambient noise in the room.

Super-cardoid - These are the same as a cardoid microphone, except that the range of sound sensitivity is much narrower.

Hyper-cardoid - This is for selective recording of sound, such as recording one voice among others or a voice in the distance, such as birdsong.

TechSmith sells a lapel style of microphone, a small, omni-directional device (for 49.95). It includes a windscreen and a universal holding clip which is removable. This is the one they've tested and recommend. Another option is the Samson Audio C01U - USB Studio Condenser Microphone ($99.95). This microphone plugs into any USB port and is recommended for high quality audio and podcasters (this product is on backorder and will ship during the week of May 4th).

My personal preference is to use a microphone that allows me to move my head as I work. As a result, I chose a Plantronics headset with a built-in microphone. While my headset is a couple of years old, I get excellent results with it (at the time, I paid around $60.00 for it). When using this headset, I make sure that both headset speakers and microphone are on. That gives me a good idea of the sound quality.

Additional Options and Accessories is a hosting service to share content on the Web. With Camtasia Studio 4 you can publish your videos directly to the Web. Currently this option is in beta mode. The cost for the service varies from $6.95 to $24.95/month. Visit the above URL for more information.

Camtasia Accessories - This section offers accessories on how to boost your Camtasia Studio results. You can download the Camtasia Player (to play screen recordings), effects, components for Flash MenuMaker templates (designed to customize MenuMaker CD-ROM menus), and more.

Questions and Answers (Q&A)

Problems with firewire/capture cards and/or DVCams with Camtasia Recorder.

At this point, only USB camera types are supported. It's possible that other hardware devices (such as capture cards, firewire cameras, etc.) will work, buth they might not. One option is to update the drivers, but if that doesn't work the device isn't supported (for use with Camtasia Studio) at this time.

Some digital video (DV) cameras will work, but you'll have to test them individually. As mentioned above, Camtasia Studio was designed for USB Web cameras only. Techsmith doesn't recommend any particular DV camera at this time, nor does it provide support for them.

Webcam Issues

Sometimes, if you pause then resume a recording, the camera video stops being captured. This is the result of stability problems with 10.x versions of the Logitech webcam drivers on Microsoft Vista and Windows XP. Additionally, none of the Logitech webcam drivers will work consistently with Windows Vista. While these problems vary, the Fusion 4000 and 5000 webcams tend to be affected the most.

Recommendations: for Windows XP/200 users, install Logitech webcam drivers from the installation CD-ROM. For Windows Vista, try older drivers. However, Vista drivers continue to have issues. Techsmith has contacted Logitech for new drivers.

Editing Imported File Formats

Camtasia Studio only uses the AVI, WMV, or MPEG-1 file formats, including the .CAMREC format created by Camtasia Recorder. For files in other formats, use the Camtasia Recorder to capture the playback of that file and use it to create an AVI or .CAMREC file.


This article has given you much of the information you need to get started with Camtasia Studio 4. For more information, check out the Support Center of the Camtasia Web site or the User-to-User Forums. Next time, the topics we'll cover are getting ready to record, creating a storyboard, recording tips, audio/video quality, recording times, practicing/rehearsing and cleaning up your browser.

Created: June 5, 2003
Revised: April 25, 2007