Is Camtasia Studio good editing software

Creating software tutorials - Screencast programs put to the test

Screencast, Screen recording or Screen capture are terms used to describe the recording of computer screens and software. In this type of video, for example, the operation of software is shown or a new program is demonstrated. But digital whiteboards - electronic flipcharts - can also be included in the screencast and often result in entertaining instructional videos.

Video reviews can also be created. There are numerous examples of software tests and video game recording on the Internet. Anyone planning a screencast should therefore know exactly what purpose the video should serve.

The criteria

We have classified the screencast that we create for a customer as follows:

  • Software that controls a device is recorded.
  • In addition to the instructions in text form, the videos should be accessible via the online help and introduce the user to the use of the software visually.
  • The screencast should not run through in one piece, but rather broken down into several clips. In the manner of a utility movie, the screencast stops after each step. The user can then decide whether he would like to play the individual clip again or jump to the next step.
  • The video will play in a small window. Zooms and pans are therefore essential so that the user can see something.
  • The screencast has to do without sound, so there is no audio track and comment function.
  • The functions of the device software can only be called up properly if the software is directly connected to a device. The screencast software must therefore be portable or install quickly and easily on the device PC.
  • The device software can be operated using a touchscreen. It is forbidden for the user to connect a mouse and keyboard. The classic cursor in the form of an arrow should therefore not be recognizable in the screencast. An object for optical tracking is didactically useful. How about one hand instead?
  • The visual plays a role. The screencast should look high quality.

The test subjects For our customer project, we have to choose a screencast software that meets our criteria. The following three programs are available:

The price-intensive all-rounder

Adobe Captivate is the king of screencast programs - and it wants to be entertained. The software costs just under 36 euros per month as a subscription. The installation also takes a little. In return, you get an extensive colossus that can be used to create all kinds of things: software demos, screencasts, e-learning applications and training courses, quizzes and knowledge games.

But hardly anything works with a few clicks. The software needs to be learned. There are great effects hidden behind countless, partly hidden, pop-up menus - but you have to find them first. It is positive that the appearance and size of the cursor can be changed afterwards. The arrow quickly becomes a hand. The speed and movement of the cursor can also be adjusted. A crooked movement becomes a straight, soft mouse movement that is nice to look at.

    Unfortunately, Captivate does not recognize all mouse movements. Especially when option menus are opened in the device software, no separate object is generated from the cursor. At these points, the cursor can no longer be adjusted afterwards, which is why the effects are no longer applicable.

    The favorite for video game streamers

    The software OBS Studio (Open Broadcaster Software) began as a project by Hugh 'Jim' Bailey. Today it is referred to as community software as many developers made it what it is. The free software is also well known among professional video game streamers. This is certainly also due to the fact that users of the tool can stream their recording directly live on the Internet.

    The software was interesting for us because it can be taken along on a USB stick. The program can be used without installation. If for any reason it is not possible to install the screencast software on the customer's PC, we have a plan B in hand.

      Why OBS Studio didn't become our Plan A can be explained as follows. At first glance, the program looks rather confusing. The so-called begins as soon as it is open Droste effect or Mise en abyme: an image appears in itself, or literally translated, an image without a bottom. Apart from these initial difficulties, the program is then easy to use. However, the tool is only suitable for recording a video - not for subsequent editing. The recorded screencast must therefore also be edited in an editing program and markups such as the highlighting of buttons must be added manually. In post-processing, it is noticeable that the cursor 'wobbles' and does not run smoothly. A matter of attitude?

      The intuitive assistant

      Camtasia Studio con TechSmith is a program for recording and editing screencasts. Point. No more and no less. The focus convinces us. The result is a simplicity and clarity that makes the program intuitive to use. The screencast can be edited quickly using ready-made effects. For example, zooms can be integrated quickly. The video is visually appealing thanks to the 'Cursor Spotlight' cursor effect. Here a circle of light follows the mouse pointer while the surrounding, unimportant area is darkened. This guides the user and makes the video easier to understand.

        What convinces us is the speed with which good results can be achieved.

        But there is also a shortcoming here. The standard arrow cursor cannot be changed later. Since this cursor should definitely not be seen in our screencast, we have to use a trick: We change the appearance of the cursor in advance in the Windows settings.

          The bottom line

          The screencast can be easily recorded with all tested programs: set the area, select the output format and start the recording.

          We chose Camtasia Studio for this project because the screencasts can be created quickly with this tool and the post-processing is intuitive and very easy. In comparison, Adobe Captivate users must be trained accordingly. Otherwise post-processing will take a long time. However, if you are familiar with the tool, you can also create entire e-learning units. OBS Studio is used to record screencasts and is well suited for live streaming on the Internet. If you want to edit the videos afterwards, you need an additional editing program. Therefore impractical for our application. Last but not least, the program must fit into the framework conditions and customer requirements.