Screen Movies with TechSmith Camtasia
Screen Movies are recorded and produced with Techsmith Camtasia. An evaluation
copy can be downloaded from http://www.techsmith.com which
provides full use for 30 days. After that you need to purchase a
licence key for further use. The key for Camtasia includes a key for
Dubit, a program which allows sounds and voice-overs to be added to
Camtasia Recorder is used for the initial recording of the
screen movies. It is recommended that recordings are made and
initially saved using TSCC - TechSmith Screen Capture Codec -
which provides an optimised screen recording format allowing for high
compression and captures all on-screen information without loss.
TechSmith Dubit is an associated program which allows a
soundtrack or voice over-to be added to any screen movies (which is
often easier that trying to record voice at the same time that a movie is
Camtasia Producer can then be used to combine movies and add in
other information or effects as desired prior to saving the final version in a
format suitable for distribution.
AVI File Formats for Distribution
It is suggested that screen movies are produced in two formats for
- TSCC - TechSmith Screen Capture Codec - which gives a screen
recording without any information loss and allows for much smaller
distributed files for downloading.
The TSCC codec is not part of the standard Microsoft distributed
codecs. TSCC.exe is freely available and freely redistrubutable. A
small installer is available separately to install just the codec
ahead of running the TSCC encoded screen movies if required. The
up-to-date version is available from TechSmith at
http://www.techsmith.com or a
(possibly non-current) version is locally available
here (Windows .exe file). Note that
Administrator user rights are required to install the codec on Windows
NT, Windows 2000, XP or later.
- MS-RLE - which provides a standard Windows AVI codec
(Microsoft Run Length Encoding) that should be installed by default on
Windows media players. It is most suited to screen recodings in 256
On Apple Macintosh, the MS-RLE encoded AVI files should automatically
convert to Quicktime, if you have a recent version of Quicktime
installed (e.g., 4.1 or later). Otherwise you can get an older version
of the AVI-to-QT utility at
Screen Movie Recording - Set up Options in Camtasia Recorder
- Start Camtasia Recorder.
- Under the capture menu set the input as full screen and note that the
output is to file.
- Under the options menu preferences seting, set up AVI video
to use the TSCC codec for recording (whatever file format is to be used for
distribution) and select PCM uncompressed audio (these are the defaults if
"auto configure" is on anyway).
- Also, for efficient recording under Windows 2000, XP and later
systems, on the options menu preferences seting, set up the program
options to disable display (hardware) acceleration during capture.
Recommended Screen Capture Format
If possible, set up for capturing screen movies in
256 colours. This will give more compact file sizes
and allow for the MS-RLE codec to be used for distribution.
Screen movies should be run full screen on playback, so, assuming the
playback environment (desctop screen, laptop display or LCD projector)
can be set to XGA (1024x768 pixels) in size, that is the recording
format to be preferred.
Camtasia Recorder - Recording a Screen Movie
You can record a single movie all at once or record separate parts as
separate movies to be combined later with Camtasia Producer. You can
pause and reqstart as often as you wish. Activity performed while you
are paused will not appear in the movie [note you may wish to restore
the mouse pointer to a similar position when you restart to save it
looking like it jumps].
- Start Camtasia Recorder.
- Minimise the recorder. It will be available in the system tray
and can be opened again by double clikcing the icon there.
- Start recording with function key F9.
- Pause and restart with F9.
- Stop with F10.
- Save the screen movie.
Dubit - Adding Sounds or Voice-overs
You can add sounds, background music or a voice-over to any scren movie with
Camtasia Producer - Combining Movies and Saving Distributable Movies
You can combine movies,add static images (JPG, GIF, etc) at points
within the movie (for titles, schematics, etc.) and add transition
effects within Camtasia Producer. You can also then produce the movie
into any of a number of formats suitable for distribution such as
TechSmith's own TSCC screen capture codec, or a standard Windows codec
such as Microsoft Run Length Encoding.
Screen Movie Playback
You can play back the captured screen movies with Windows Media
Player. Full screen playback on Windows Media Player can be toggled
As an alternative, you can use the TechSmith Camtasia Player, which is
a small footprint AVI playback program. Full details are available at:
This player is distributed freely and can be redistributed without
licence. The up-to-date version is available from TechSmith http://www.techsmith.com or a
(possibly non-current) version is locally available here (.zip file). The TSCC codec should
still be installed separately if that is required.
A convenient way to play back a screen movie in full screen mode and
have it repeat is to start it from the windows run command
You can control playback as follows:
spacebar or ctrl/p - pause and resume playback
ctrl/s - stop playback
alt/enter - toggle on/off full screen or a window version of the
Camtasia Player to access other menu commands
Full Command Line Options for CamPlay
When you launch Camtasia Player, by default it has a title bar,
a menu bar, a tool bar, a status bar. You can customize those
elements by specifying arguments on the command line when
launching Camtasia Player. Here is the exact syntax for the
command line arguments:
CAMPLAY [<options>] [<file>]
where <file> is an optional movie file name and
<options> is an optional set of options among the
/E - Exits after playing the movie
/F - Launches in Full Screen Mode
/M - Launches without a menu bar
/MX - Launches with its window maximized
/open - Open the specified movie (<file>) but does not play it
/play - Immediately play the specified movie (<file>) [default]
/R - Repeats the movie forever
/S - Launches without a status bar
/T - Launches without a title bar
/TB - Launches without a tool bar
Problems and Workarounds
- A recording of a screen using a media player or some other video
source may play back with a black or single coloured area. If this is
the case disable hardware acceleration if possible either globally or
in the individual tool used. You may need to have administrator
priviledges to do this on Windows NT, Windows 2000, XP or later.
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