TechSmith Camtasia 2018 Review: More Evolution than Revolution
In June, TechSmith Corporation launched Camtasia 2018. The latest release is definitely more evolutionary than revolutionary, but for large-scale producers, there’s probably enough there to justify the $99 upgrade price, particularly for Mac users who will benefit for the first time from content libraries. If you haven’t already selected a screencam production product, Camtasia itself comes highly recommended.
By way of background, screencams are probably the best way to way to demonstrate how software and websites work, and are useful for capturing PowerPointbased training as well. Camtasia is available on both Mac and Windows, and both versions can capture the screen and a webcam (Figure 1). The Mac version can also capture iOS screens, and both versions allow you to select themes for your presentations.
Both the PC and Mac versions of Camtasia capture the screen and a webcam and offer a selection of presentation themes. The Mac version also lets you capture iOS screens.
In addition to screen capture, Camtasia includes an increasingly functional editor for actions like trimming and organizing multiple clips, plus it handles annotations, special effects, cursor effects for captured computer screens, and gesture effects for iOS capture. You can also add quizzes to Camtasia videos, though the video must be viewed in the TechSmith Smart Player for the quiz or survey to function. Otherwise, the Camtasia editor can output MP4 files that you can upload to various places—your organization’s content management system, an online video platform like Brightcove or Ooyala, and usergenerated content sites like YouTube and Vimeo. You can share them as you would any other MP4 files.
In our last review of Camtasia 9 we discussed the content that TechSmith provided with Camtasia, which included animated backgrounds, icons, motion graphics, intro and outro titles, and music. This may sound trivial, but those all add polish to any production and help grab and retain the seemingly shrinking attention spans of web video viewers. In the Windows version of Camtasia 9, you could access these elements from an internal media library, but on the Mac, they had to be separately imported and applied. In Camtasia 2018, TechSmith added libraries to the Mac version, simplifying access to those media elements (Figure 2).
Camtasia now includes content libraries for the Mac, a welcome addition.
You can use all of the elements from previous versions in Camtasia 2018, and TechSmith also added some new ones. In addition, for $199 a year, you can access more than 500,000 royalty-free stock assets from TechSmith Assets, although the company couldn’t arrange a look at the content before my deadline, so I can’t tell you about quality or selection.
TechSmith made two major editing refinements to Camtasia 2018. The first is the addition of themes, which will prove extremely useful to any producer working on numerous projects with different color, font, and similar requirements. Here’s how they work.
You create a theme in the Theme Manager, which you access from the File menu (File > Manage Themes) (Figure 3). I thought this was a bit hard to find, because all of the other stylistic elements are contained in libraries that are accessible on the upper left section of the interface, not via a menu. Once found, operation is simple enough: You choose the colors for elements shown on the left in Figure 3, and the fonts shown on the right. You can create and name as many themes as you’d like using the Theme dropdown list shown on both sides of the Figure.
Creating a Theme in Camtasia 2018
Camtasia remains an indispensable tool for screencam producers. As an editor, it's ideal for beginners and even pros seeking to quickly produce simpler, business-oriented features that benefit from Camtasia's attention-grabbing effects.
Overall, the latest version offers more streamlined workflow, with a single-screen Recorder that replaces the multistep wizard, and SmartFocus, which takes some of the work out of applying pans and zooms even if it’s not perfect.
Adobe Captivate and TechSmith Camtasia both have killer features that may swing the pendulum in their favor, but once you get to know their strengths and weaknesses, it really is hard to imagine living without either one.
Tues., Aug. 22, by Jan Ozer
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