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Techsmith Camtasia Studio 6
Giving people instructions on how to do things in Windows is tedious and prone to mistakes. Miss out a step and your audience can be completely lost. It's much more effective to show how a particular thing is done and for that you need to be able to record what happens on the screen as you carry out the actions needed for the demonstration. Making screen videos is what Camtasia does.
Techsmith Camtasia Studio 6 is a video recorder for Windows, which can capture every action performed with mouse or keyboard and record an audio narration to go with it. It offers editing facilities so you can join segments of video together and cut them about to produce a finished training aid or demo.
The main part of the application is the editing screen, where videos are assembled, but before you reach that stage, you have to record the segments that'll be assembled there. For that, you need Camtasia Recorder, which can be launched from the main program or separately from My Programs.
Camtasia Recorder is a simple control panel, offering options to select the screen area to be recorded: full screen or just about any custom area within it - useful for recording activity in a single Windows pane. The Recorder also offers to record Webcam output and sound from any source you select, as well as keyboard and mouse activity. When you're all set, click the big red Record button and you get a comforting 3, 2, 1 countdown, so you can settle down and compose yourself. The recorder itself minimises to the utility tray.
There's no noticeable hit on performance as you record actions and when you've finished the video or segment, hit a hotkey to stop recording and call up the recorder, again, where you can playback the clip and save it. Raw clips are saved as AVI files, which makes them convenient for just about any viewer. There's a stanadalone one supplied with Camtasia.
The main part of the application is the editing screen, which is modelled on video editors like Adobe Premiere and Corel VideoStudio. There's a timeline along the bottom of the screen, showing video and audio tracks, a preview player on the right, above this, a palette where you can load your clips to the left and a menu of options at extreme left.