Using Camtasia in the CAT+FD studio

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Camtasia is a powerful tool that can do many things, but as more faculty use the Camtasia Studio Studio, a typical use-case scenario is emerging: Most faculty are using Camtasia to record lectures with PowerPoint slides. The following tips may apply to the vast majority of faculty using Camtasia.

Before You Come In

Before you even get into the studio, you'll want to be prepared to make the best use of your time.

  • Make sure you've got your PowerPoint slides. You can put them on a jump drive. If they're online, you can download them in the studio.
  • Some faculty like to work from a script or notes. Whatever you use for a lecture is fine.
  • Best practices indicate that shorter is better for e-learning. How short? Less than five minutes might be ideal. Typical lectures are longer than that, so you may wish to consider "chunking," that is, dividing your lecture into shorter segments. You may need to revise your slides and script accordingly.
  • Are you ready for your close-up? Come prepared to be on camera yourself. Some faculty are camera-shy, but remember video is a powerful way to make that essential human connection with online students.


  • You've got your PowerPoint slides, right? Open your presentation.
  • Starting your recording is as simple as clicking the BIG RED BUTTON. We'll show you how. But before you click, as a rule, you'll want to make sure you're recording full-screen, with the webcam and internal microphone ON. You probably don't need to record system audio, but it won't hurt if you do.
  • Once you've clicked that BIG RED BUTTON, the interface will disappear and you'll see a countdown. Do not be alarmed. This is normal. Recording begins when the countdown ends.
  • Don't start talking right away. Take a moment to collect yourself. Get your slideshow into presentation mode and make sure you're starting with the correct slide. If you feel nervous, it may help to imagine you are speaking to a live classroom. Take a deep breath, look right into the camera, and begin speaking.
  • Make your presentation. If you make a mistake, such as a verbal stumble or counter-factual statement, don't worry. Just take a nice long pause, then resume, taking care to start at the beginning of a full sentence rather than mid-phrase. The pause makes it easy to correct in post-production.
  • Finished? Great. Don't rush to stop recording. It's less awkward in the final video if you end by looking straight at the camera (your audience) for one long moment. You might even smile if you feel like it. Then stop recording using the keyboard shortcut F10. (Use Shift-Command-2 for Mac.)


Check back soon for more tips.


Check back soon for more tips.

When You Leave

  • I've been meaning to talk to you: It's about your files. That is, your files on the hard drive of the computer in the Camtasia Studio. They won't be there forever. Eventually you'll want to take them with you. Bring a jump drive or some other form of external storage so you can make copies. You'll need a copy of your project and recording files if you ever want to make changes to your video. (Project and recording files are bundled together as a single file on the Mac.)

Check back soon for more tips.

Keep in mind these tips are meant as general guidelines for the typical use-case scenario we've observed here at CAT. This by no means exhausts the possibilities which Camtasia offers. Think outside the box.