University of Wisconsin–Madison

Camtasia Consultation Checklist

Download Camtasia and Sign Up

  1. Download and install a trial version of Camtasia. To install Camtasia on work devices, please contact ITS.
  2. Open Camtasia and sign up with your wisc email.
  3. Enter UW-Madison’s Camtasia key: VBCYD-EN5ZL-CDSZ2-DTPLP-JEEER

Schedule a Consult

Contact us to schedule a Camtasia consultation where we will discuss features of Camtasia, recommended processes, and answer any questions you have.

Camtasia consults are virtual, one hour-long meetings where attendees can expect to try out features of Camtasia with Teaching & Learning guidance. Please verify that the Camtasia application and your account are active and review how Camtasia works before the consultation.

Camtasia is a screen and webcam recording tool and a nonlinear editor (NLE). You can record synchronized audio and video of yourself, a PowerPoint, your entire screen, or any other application window. You can then alter or update the video in the editor.

Edits to the video may include cutting out a portion of a clip, trimming a recording, and adding visual callouts or music. Because Camtasia is a nonlinear editor, you can edit videos or podcasts in Camtasia that have been recorded elsewhere.

What is a nonlinear editor (NLE)?

Nonlinear editing is nondestructive. When you edit videos in the Camtasia editor, you are not altering the original recordings.  To learn about or refresh your memory of what an NLE is, check out this helpful video.

File Structure and Hierarchy

Camtasia is a powerful recording and editing tool that requires practice to get comfortable. Play around in Camtasia and develop a strong file naming system. First, always write and read Camtasia files locally on your hard drive.

In your hard drive, create a folder where all your videos relating to a broad topic, like Course XYZ, will live. Then Create subfolders inside the Course XYZ folder for each unique video. For example, if there are ten lectures for a course, there should be ten folders. Within each video folder, create the following three folders: Recordings, Project Files, and Exports.

Keep in mind that recorded lecture videos should be no more than 15 minutes in length. The ideal video length is six minutes as studies have shown it is the optimal video length for learning and engagement, and it makes recording, editing, and exporting faster. Aim for one main point or takeaway per six minute video and you will find that the material is more understandable, manageable, and intentional.

If all videos in a lecture are named similarly, keep the Recordings, Project Files, and Exports in Topic/Lecture 1 organized by naming them: How Camtasia Works Part 1 What is an NLE?, How Camtasia Works Part 2 File Structure and Hierarchy, and so on. An example file naming system with folder hierarchy is below:

Camtasia file structure

The next section will delve into what content fits in Recordings, Project Files, and Exports folders relative to their stage in the video creation process.

The Three Stages of Video

When we have thought of Recordings, Project Files and Exports as the stages of the process and named folders after them, it may help to assign actions to these stages. Recordings, Project Files and Exports can be likened to Recording, Editing, and Exporting video.

Though video creation typically follows a Record, Edit, Export workflow, it’s not unusual to revisit stages of the process. A project file may never be totally complete if you update it year after year. And to update the project file, you may need to record new content, which in turn yields a new exported video. The gift of a nonlinear editor is the ability to fluidly move between recording, editing, and exporting so that you can continuously update content to adapt to your evolving course and learning outcomes.

Record

The first step of the video process is capturing the video or audio. First, it will be helpful to preview tutorials for how to record and edit picture-in-picture video, record a podcast, and record a PowerPoint presentation.

The most important stage of creating videos in Camtasia or any other NLE is saving your files to the appropriate folders we covered in File Structure and Hierarchy. Camtasia automatically saves files to a temporary location on your computer’s hard drive. Whenever you stop and start a recording in Camtasia, the recording will automatically open in a project file.

Edit

Though Camtasia ushers you to the editing stage of the video process, you must save your recording (TREC) files to the appropriate folder and rename them or you risk losing or deleting your recordings. Your Camtasia recording will be automatically placed in the Media Bin and in the Timeline.

First, delete the clip from the timeline. Then, right click on the clip in the Media Bin and select Open in File Explorer for Windows and Reveal in Finder for Mac.

Now right click on the clip in File Explorer or Finder and select Rename to a descriptive file name that follows conventions you have established. Move the file by clicking and holding and drag it to the appropriate Recordings folder.

In Camtasia, right click on the clip in the Media Bin and select Update Media. Camtasia will open a File Explorer or Finder window. Navigate to your Recordings folder and select the clip you have renamed. Now you can use this recording in your Camtasia file and know where the real recording lives so you never lose it.

In addition to Camtasia recording (TREC) files, other video (MP4), image (JPEG, PNG), and audio and music (MP3) files can be imported into the Camtasia editor. Drag recordings or any of the aforementioned files from the Media Bin into the Timeline to edit them together.

Move the cursor, or playhead, along in the timeline to advance in the clip. Be sure to click Save As for your project file and check that it is saving to the appropriate Project Files folder with a descriptive name. Save periodically throughout the editing process.

See the image below for a look at the Camtasia editor layout and terminology.

Export

When you are finished making edits to your video, click the Share button in the upper right corner of your screen and select Local File. Export your video project as an MP4 file in 1080p resolution to the appropriate Exports folder. Export podcasts as MP3 files to the appropriate Exports folder. Name your exported file according to the naming conventions you have established.

Do not close Camtasia while the video exports. You can view the status of the export at the top of your Camtasia window.

When the video is exported, you can upload it to Kaltura MediaSpace to share with your students.