Yesterday I trekked over to the Law Faculty to learn all about Camtasia, recording and editing software that allows users to record both images from their computer screens, and accompanying audio. I was keen to get a feel for Camtasia, as we are considering recording training videos in our library and obviously want to use the best software possible for the job.
However, while it was great to see Camtasia in action, and learn about all its features – I particularly liked the fact that sound and visuals could be edited simultaneously or as two distinct entities – I think the session was most useful in terms of the helpful tips I learnt about successful video creation. There were all sorts of things that never occurred to me, but which were obvious in retrospect as elements that would improve the quality of any video. I’m talking about things like:
- Make sure you’re logged in to any institutional logins before demonstrating the use of resources that require logins to access;
- Don’t scroll too fast up and down the screen;
- Don’t wave the cursor wildly around, and make sure it’s not hovering over something that causes alt-text to display;
- Disable audio or pop-up email notifications that may occur during the recording;
- Don’t have multiple tabs open (or set to record a section of the screen that doesn’t show other tabs);
- Likewise, don’t include the section of the screen that displays the date in your recording – a date too long in the past may give the impression of out-of-date information;
- Edit out ambient noise, the sound of typing, and mouse-clicking.
This was really valuable information, and I’ll be sure to take it into account in any training recording I do end up making.
One of the unfortunate drawbacks of Camtasia is its cost – it’s still pretty pricey even with educational discounts. The University currently has very few licenses, and the only way I’d be likely to be able to make use of it is by hiring the laptop (owned by the University Library) which has a Camtasia license. The session did cover alternatives, such as Tinytake, Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Voice, and Explain Everything, so I may look into these in more detail to see if any would be appropriate in our library. All in all, however, the session was a useful overview and got me to consider elements of video recording that I had not previously given much thought.