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Review: Camtasia Studio 8 and Camtasia 2.5 for Mac

If you've ever needed to record a screen with full motion to illustrate a method or process, then Camtasia may fill that gap.

Tutorials, walk-throughs, instructional videos--all of these have been produced in a variety of ways for many years. As video technology changes, so do the methods and tools used to produce these programs. One area that has gotten noticeably better within the last few years is how we capture screens for video.

In the past, producers employed a variety of different screen recording methods. Professional productions may have utilized a video out from the source and recorded directly to tape. In a low-budget model, a camera was simply pointed at a monitor with an agreeable refresh rate.

While these methods got the job done, they’re no longer suitable for today’s viewer expectations of pristine HD-quality images. TechSmith’s Camtasia has been providing producers with quality screen capturing and editing tools since 2006. If you’ve ever needed to record a screen with full motion to illustrate a method or process, then Camtasia may fill that gap.

Recording and Editing With Camtasia

Camtasia is much more than a basic screen-recording application. It will record any number of standard frame dimensions and resolutions as well as custom resolutions (Figure 1, below).

Figure 1. Configuration options in Camtasia Studio 8.

You can choose to use your computer’s built-in microphone or direct it to an external mic. When I recorded the tutorial of Adobe Audition embedded below, I used an AKG USB mic. Different frame rates are available as well if you need to have a compressed file suitable for email or web. Recording is done inconspicuously with only a small red filmstrip icon in your taskbar acting as a sort of tally light.


It’s easy to export files of almost any desired format directly for use in your preferred NLE, but don’t skip over Camtasia’s built-in editor (Figure 2, below). It may appear a bit amateurish with its large thumbnail buttons and less-than-precise frame-level editability. However, for most screen captures, I’ve found it to be more than adequate. Unless you’re doing a lot of cutting, you can do at least the basic video edit in Camtasia before sending the file over to your NLE for final polishing.

Figure 2. Camtasia’s built-in editor. (To see this screen at full resolution, click on the image.)