Rapid Review: Camtasia 2018

Image: TechSmith

Screen recording and video editing are essential tools if you're involved in producing tutorials or other educational materials. Camtasia, which is developed by TechSmith, has been around for many years and has progressed from being a simple screen capture tool into a handy video editor for Mac and Windows systems. I've used it to produce a couple of short videos over the last week. Here's what I found.

What Is It?

Camtasia 2018 is a screen recording and video editing application for Mac and Windows systems.

Requirements

Platforms
  • Microsoft Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 (Required: 64 Bit versions only). (Recommended: Windows 10)
  • MacOS 10.11 or later (Rendering is not supported on external USB monitors)
Windows
  • 2.0 GHz CPU with dual-core processor minimum (Recommended: 2.8 Ghz 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 Processor with 4 CPU Cores or better or equivalent or better AMD processor)
  • Integrated graphics is acceptable however 4K and/or 60 FPS media will perform best with discrete graphics cards
  • 4 GB RAM minimum (Recommended: 16 GB or more)
  • 2 GB of hard-disk space for program installation
  • Display dimensions of 1024x768 or greater
Mac
  • Mac computer with an Intel Core i5 Processor with 4 CPU Cores (Recommended: 2.8 Ghz Intel Core i5 Processor with 4 CPU Cores or better)
  • MacOS 10.11 or later (Rendering is not supported on external USB monitors)
  • 4GB of RAM (Recommended: 8GB of RAM or greater)
  • 4GB of available disk space (minimum)

What's Good?

I created a couple of video projects using video captured on my iPhone, using the screen recording tool on an iPad and recording screen actions using Camtasia on my Mac. I could narrate my video using the built-in microphone on my computer as well as add music or other sounds easily by dragging and dropping. I could also use my computer's built-in webcam to record myself and add that to a project.

Adding effects such as transitions, captions, and stock images, sounds and icons was also easy. An extra subscription of US$199 per year gives you access to a bunch of assets that are easily accessed from within the software.

Although I'm not a professional video editor by any stretch, Camtasia 2018 made life easy. I like having a timeline that makes allow me to precisely place assets.

What's Bad?

As you'd expect from an application that's been around for over 15 years, Camtasia is very mature. And while it started life as a screen recording tool, the extra features that have been added over the years haven't weighed it down.

I did hit a couple of annoying stumbling blocks along the way. For example, I put a tutorial video using footage from my iPad and computer. Editing, adding transitions and altering clip speeds - no one needs to know how slowly I type - was easy but adding focus to icons or button I tapped of clicked was not easy. There are a set of cursor effects for doing this but using them took some online sleuthing.

It turns out you can only apply certain effects on footage created with Camtasia's screen recording tools and not on externally captured videos.

That's not immediately clear and there's no alert or information on the screen telling you.

Should You Buy It

TechSmsith offers a free trial for both the Windows and Mac versions of Camtasia 2018. If you like it, Camtasia 2018 can be purchased for US$249. That's pretty expensive but the software is powerful and, if you're in the business of producing video tutorials that can easily integrate content from multiple sources without being complex to use, it's a very useful application.


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