Saturday, April 30, 2011

Camtasia vs CamStudio

One thing I have learned about taking courses, don't get behind, it may take forever to get caught up. So it has happened to me this semester and I am trying so hard to get back on track, but it is not easy.

So this was an assignment from earlier in the semester and I put off the assignment because I had laryngitis and sounded horrible and the assignment called for narrating a screen with the software Camtasia by TechSmith (With Camtasia for Mac’s flexible recording options, you can choose to capture full screen, window or region. Add in music tracks, microphone, your computer's audio, plus picture-in-picture with your video camera, and you've got a world-class screencast.) Once we used the software we needed to compare it with CamStudio, a free open source software (CamStudio is able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using its built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos. It is only for a Windows operating system). Camtasia is available for both Windows and Mac, but it is not free. You can however download a 30 day trial version to test out before you purchase the software and they offer educational discounts.

Since I am such a fan of the Mac, Camtasia won me over on that point alone. When it comes to ease of use, it also won hands down. It does take some time to learn all of the editing features but it makes a really professional looking video. It took several attempts to get the background audio loud enough to hear it, but still soft enough not to be distracting. It also takes time to get the zooming feature to work, but once you do that is a very nice feature that really adds to your presentation. It is so much more user friendly than CamStudio, and it should be since you have to pay for the software. There is some open source software I love such as Audacity, and others that I would just prefer not to use such as CamStudio, but it is a decision an individual has to make for themselves, depending upon their preferences and bank accounts.

I wanted to create a video that would show faculty in our department how to use our test scanner and software and it turned out to be more of a challenge than I thought. I need at a later date to edit this project and include external video of the scantrons going through the scanner to sufficiently demonstrate the product, but it does give a person the knowledge to get started and that was the point of the assignment. I hope to be using this technology in the near future to create more educational products. I am embedding my presentation in this blog, so feel free to view it and leave me feedback. :)

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