Camtasia, etc.

March 7, 2008, 1:38 pm

I just returned from the Camtasia workshop. The originally-scheduled speaker, it turns out, got stranded in Dallas after that city got six inches of snow last night. (This is Texas, right?) So the conference organizers were scrambling to find somebody with Camtasia experience. I suggested that they go pull somebody from the TechSmith booth in the exhibitor area, and a few minutes later they returned with Dave McCollom and Mike [sorry, can't remember the last name]. Those two proceeded to put on a fun, engaging, and hugely informative workshop on the fly with zero preparation time. They even ended right on time.  I think that says a lot about the company and the product it makes.

Very, very impressed with Camtasia. It has a simple user interface (very similar to iMovie) and lots of options. My partner and I in the workshop put together a 3-minute Flash video on xFunctions, complete with callouts and transitions and the whole nine yards, and honestly we never really felt like we were working that hard. (For the Flash-haters out there, you can also save in something like eight other video formats, including Quicktime.) I didn’t realize that TechSmith also operates, and you can upload Camtasia-produced movies directly to that hosting service. They also have a connection with Jing somehow, although I’m not completely sure what exactly that connection is. (I don’t see it listed as a TechSmith product, but they had Jing stuff all over the TechSmith booth in the exhibition hall.) (Update: On the Jing website, there’s a blurb that says “A project by TechSmith”.)

Anyhow, Camtasia blows Snapz Pro X (which I currently use) out of the water when it comes to screencasting. The only problem is that there’s no OS X version right now. I can run Camtasia under Windows XP on Parallels; I asked David if I could capture stuff outside the Windows XP window if I were running Camtasia under Parallels, and he wasn’t sure. That’s an experiment for later. But he did say that they hope to release a native OS X version, rebuilt from the ground up, some time this year, and he got my contact info to be on the beta-testing “team”.

Now it’s time to get ready for my contributed paper session talk, which is in about 20 minutes. I’ll report on that later in the afternoon since I have a full slate of stuff until dinnertime.

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