Category Archives: Audio & Video

Use Amazon S3 for Inexpensive Screencast and Podcast Storage

Screencasts and podcasts require lots of bandwidth. Amazon S3 provides an inexpensive alternative to free sites like You Tube or expensive video hosting sites like Screencast.com

While S3 can be complicated and difficult to use, S3 Fox, a Firefox add on, provides a graphical interface that greatly simplifies the process. This tutorial will introduce you to both Amazon S3 and S3 Fox.

3 Free Tools For Better Screencasts with Camtasia

Whether you are using Camtasia 3, Camtasia 5, or Camtasia 6, you will find screencasting infinitely easier if you use three, free tools.

1. Sizer The ability to precisely resize the screen area you want to record to exact dimensions is so crucial to good screencasting that TechSmith built it in to Camtasia 4. But no matter which version of Camtasia you use, you still need Sizer. You can choose from standard 4:3 apsect ratios like 800 x 600 or 1024 x 768 – or you can create you own custom sizes. Choose a profile, click your mouse, and any window is precisely the size you want.

Now that You Tube is accepting widescreen videos, Sizer is more useful than ever. Use it to make sure your videos recording area is 1280 x 720, for best HQ results.

2. Audacity is the one sound editor you need if you want your screencasts to have professional audio. TechSmith has been laboring to incorprate better audio editing into Camtasia – and v6 has finally introduced a third audio track and a way to de-couple audio and video on Track 1 – but they also dropped their stand alone Sound Editor. Even TechSmith now recommends that you use Audacity. How much does it cost? It’s free!

3. Color Cop let’s you find the exact RGB or Hex value for any color. If you want to create callouts that match a particular screen element (like your browser’s toolbar, for instance), Color Cop is perfect.

No matter how much TechSmith improves each new release of Camtasia, Sizer, Audacity, and Color Cop remain indispensible.

Camtasia File Formats

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CAMREC, CAMPROJ, TSCC… it’s like TechSmith lives on a whole different planet with its own secret language.

If you are new to screencasting, the blizzard of acronyms and abbreviations can be overwhelming. Video is bad enough with it’s arcane jargon (which is demystified in GhostLeg’s free PDF eBook, The Language of Video). TechSmith adds another dollop of confusion with its file extensions.

What does it all mean? Why should you care?

CAMREC is the file that is produced by the Camtasia Recorder. In other words, it contains the screencast. TheCAMREC file is what video specialists call a “wrapper” file. It holds the AVI file, which is the main audio and video recording, plus any additional streams of information, such as markers and PiP files.

Even if you record with the CAMREC setting, you can later extract the AVI file for editing with standard video editors that don’t recognize TechSmith’s proprietary format. This is very valuable for large projects or for videos where you want to integrate a screencast with high quality live action footage.

It is also very useful if you want to tweak the audio with something other than TechSmith’s anemic audio tools. (Torley has great audio editing tips in How To Master Screencasts in Seven Steps)

Simply Right Click on the CAMREC file and select Extract from the context menu. If your CAMREC file is large, this process can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Don’t try to multi-task while the AVI is being extracted. just leave your computer alone for however long it takes.

CAMPROJ files are the Camtasia Project files that are produced by the Camtasia Studio Editor. They are usually quite small. If you open one with Notepad, you’ll discover it is a standard XML file, with information about the size and length of your video, the placement of edits, markers, pans, zooms, tracks, etc. In short, it tells Camtasia what to do when you produce the final video.

The advantage to knowing this is that, once you are familiar with XML, you can sometimes make small edits directly to the CAMPROJ file, without having to load a large and complex project into the editor.

TSCC is the TechSmith Capture Codec and, unlike the other files, it is not something else in disguise. It is TechSmith’s way of compressing screencaptures so that the clarity is excellent while the file size stays (relatively) small. You can record with the TSCC codec and later produce the video using a different codec, such as DivX or H.264.

Video Is Changing the Face of the Web

Video has fast become one of the most important tools used by successful internet sellers and educators. In 2009, even Google is changing the way it ranks pages by taking account of video’s popularity.

This half hour overview of the changing web landscape will help you keep your web site and blog popular with both readers and search engines.

Use Free Photo Story Software to Create Videos Without a Camcorder

Photo Story 3 can create professional, fully animated videos without a camcorder, and this 30 minute video will teach you how to do it.

Everyone’s Guide to Photo Story 3 was originally released on DVD in 2007 by Ghost Leg Media. It’s now available to all members of the Web Sellers Circle.

If you’ve ever seen a film by Ken Burns, such as his Civil War series, on PBS, you’ve seen this photo animation technique. The camera pans and zooms across still photos while music and narration tell the story.

It’s a very effective technique in the hands of a master like Burns.

Photo Story 3 takes the guesswork out of choosing an opening shot, selecting the zoom, even adding transitions. Anyone can produce a very professional video right out of the box.

Most surprising of all – this software is available as a free download from Microsoft.

Use These Camtasia 5 Recorder Settings for Best Web Screencasts

Camtasia 5 can create great screencasts for any use, whether it is on your own web site, on You Tube, or on DVD. But to get the best results for a specific use, you need to customize the Recorder’s settings.

These are the settings for a screencast that will be uploaded to the web, using the standard 4:3 screen ratio.

We’ll cover the new widescreen and high quality settings for You Tube in another video.

Best Settings for Camtasia 4 Recorder for Web Video

Camtasia 4 can create great screencasts for any use, whether it is on your own web site, on You Tube, or on DVD. But to get the best results for a specific use, you need to customize the Recorder’s settings.

These are the settings for a screencast that will be uploaded to the web, using the standard 4:3 screen ratio.

We’ll cover the new widescreen and high quality settings for You Tube in another video.

Beyond You Tube – How To Add Flash Videos To Your Web Site

You Tube is a greaat way to grb new viewers and bring them to your web site. But there times – and many reasons – that you will want to host your own videos. This utorial will show you how.

Do you want to add high quality flash videos to your web site without spending hundreds of dollars and countless hours on Adobe Flash? This short seminar will take you, step by step, through the process of turning videos into web-friendly flash movies and adding a flash player to your site – all without spending a dime!

Use Title Cards in Your You Tube Video To Increase Sales and Traffic

Good looking title cards at the beginning and end of your screencast can make your video look more professionl and send viewers from You Tube to your web site.

Many new screencasters make the mistake of launching directly into a video with no identification of either themselves or their products or services. A professional title card will add a consistent look to your screencasts and it can be used to promote other products related to the subject of your video.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to create a title card using Photoshop Elements and Quick 3d Cover.

How To Prepare Your Computer For Screencasting

Good screencasts require preparation – not only for you but for your computer. This video shows what settings to change to get the best screencasts.

Screen resolution, wallpaper, toolbars, and even your cursor’s size and color can all be customized to create less distraction for your viewer as well as smoother screencasts.

Here’s how: