Camtasia Chromakey Camera Comparison

I’ve been playing with the new Camtasia:Mac 2.1 update. I love the new chromakey feature. But what difference does the camera make when trying to use Remove a Color feature in Camtasia?

This video shows 4 different video cameras including the built-in iSight camera, the Logitec C910, an iPhone, and a Canon T3i as video sources. Yes, your camera does make a difference.

I find the built-in iSight camera to be too close and unsharp. The Logitech to me was the biggest disappointment. I expected it to be better and I may have to play with it some more. I’ll do the same with the iPhone too because it should be better. The Canon T3i did produce the best results but hey, I guess that’s to be expected with about $1,200 worth of gear.

Camtasia Remove Color Panel

The Camtasia Remove a Color panel gives options for some fine-tuning the chromakey effect.

You can fine tune your chromakey video effect a little bit. This is no where near as good as the chromakey effect that I use in Final Cut Pro X but then again, we shouldn’t expect it to be either. I can adjust the color selection, tolerance, softness, hue, and defringe the color.

In my opinion, the key to making all this work is to have good lighting on us and on the colored background we’re trying to remove. If you get your background evenly lit, the color removal tool will do a good job. If it’s not quite even, you may have to fine-tune the tolerance some to get it to disappear.

All in all though, the cameras do a decent job. But if you want the best possible effect, use the best possible camera and make sure you have enough light.

Camtasia:Mac 2.1 is a Screencasting Game Changer

The new Camtasia:Mac 2.1 upgrade included a pleasant surprise–chromakeying!

I’ve been a asking for this feature since 2009. You see, I got tired of the usual picture-in-picture window that Camtasia and ScreenFlow provided. I never did like the effect. Granted, it’s better than nothing, but to me it looked very boxed in.

That’s when I started experimenting with using two video tracks to create a more natural looking video. I produced a quick tutorial on how I achieved the effect in my post Using Multiple Cameras in Your Screencasts. I like how this effect yields a more natural, conversational type of video. But it still wasn’t perfect in my opinion.

That’s when I jumped on the new version release of Camtasia. Being able to overlay a presenter on top of a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation is the way I envisioned it. I like how I can easily resize and move the presenter around the video. You can’t do this in iMovie. More importantly, it allows presenters to look at the camera so viewers can see your eyes, your smile, and witness your passion and enthusiasm. The presenter is the key component to a presentation and the new chromakey effect puts them front and center.

To the entire gang at TechSmith, kudo’s. You’ve nailed it.

Camtasia:Mac Creative Chromakey Uses

I’ve had a chance to play with the new Camtasia:Mac 2.1 update. I really like the new Remove a Color option and see all sorts of possibilities for using it. This capability is usually called chromakey. Here are 5 unique uses that I see right away:

  1. Repurpose some of your existing Keynote/PowerPoint presentations.
  2. Add a video link to your signature file.
  3. Create custom network follow-up video.
  4. Create a video specifically for your blog sidebar.
  5. Answer your frequently asked questions.

In this video I created the outline in MindMeister and showed my iPad screen via the Reflection app. I recorded my screen with Camtasia and synced it with my video delivery. I then removed my greenscreen background via the Camtasia Remove a Color feature and boom, the presentation was done.

I’ve been asking for a chromakey option in the high-end screencasting apps since 2009. I like how TechSmith listened and really raised the bar on screencasting in general. Telestream, the makers of ScreenFlow, really need to sit up and take note on this one.

What other uses do you see for the chromakey feature in the new Camtasia:Mac?

TechSmith ScreenChamp Entry

I really do believe screencasting is so much more than just software tutorials. This entry into TechSmith’s ScreenChamp contest is targeted for the “Industry” category and specifically the screencasting industry!

I don’t expect to win because it’s not a “traditional” screencast of my monitor. However, I hope to inspire other screencasters to think beyond software tutorials. I also hope developers like TechSmith and Telestream think bigger too. Screencasting tools can do so much more because they empower all of us to communicate more effectively. Now it’s up to us to apply it.

Transcript follows:

Screencasting is a new form of communications. It’s not just for software tutorials. It’s about crafting our physical & digital worlds into clear, succinct, visual messages.

As much as the Gutenberg Press helped spread religion across the world, screencasting empowers each of us to reach, teach, and inspire. It enables us to share our knowledge, anytime, anywhere, to anyone. Subject matter experts are everywhere. Today, we’re all knowledge workers. Screencasting is about sharing today’s tribal knowledge in a digital world.

We’re all familiar with how traditional screencasting tools allow us to record our computer monitors. Now tools like Coach’s Eye enables us to provide real-time performance critiques, along with mark-ups, on our smartphone video. ScreenChomp turns our tablets into narrated, shareable, whiteboards. Mobile devices are ubiquitous and the norm for communicating but they’re truly the future for learning and performance support.

Developers, I’m begging you, give us even more. Help us turn our mobile devices into real-time, on location authoring tools so we can create rapid, relevant solutions!

We’ve seen how Google can tell an emotional story with a screencast. Kahn Academy is teaching children worldwide with simple, yet effective, screencasts. As Sir Ken Robinson talks about it in his landmark TED Talk, I’m asking, in what other creative ways can we apply screencasting?

How can we retrain our workforce and put America back to work? How can we provide more healthcare education? How can we teach remote villages to be self-sustainable and grow more food? Or drill for fresh water? Or even overthrow oppressive governments? How can we reach, teach, and inspire our future generations?

Screencasting is a new form of communications not because it creates a software tutorial but because it empowers each one of us to create a message that can make a difference.

Camtasia Table of Contents

Note: This post originally appeared on MacScreencasting at http://www.macscreencasting.com/camtasia-table-of-contents on 10.20.2010. Due to recent hacking activity, I’m consolidating my sites and moving the MacScreencasting posts into SkillCasting. I’ll then be shutting down MacScreencasting.

TechSmith has introduced a great new feature to Camtasia:Mac version 1.2. It’s a table of contents feature that makes it super easy to navigate to various points in your video. If you create longer screencasts, this tool is invaluable.

[View iPhone version]

This feature is great for longer tutorials or e-learning. You could also record Skype or Google Talk interviews and add markers for each question. This way your listeners can jump right to the question. And I really like the way the table of contents appears when you mouse over the video and disappears when you mouse off of it. Oh, and did I mention the search feature?

The only downside I see to the tool is that the output has to be Flash. In other words, it won’t work with iPhone or iPad video playback. Now I know for some, that’s not a big deal, but for those of us who create content primarily for a mobile audience, it really doesn’t help us that much. I’m playing with a few different options for that though. Look for a new post on that soon.

In the meantime, Camtasia:Mac has upped it’s game with this release.

TechSmith 12-Days of Christmas Contribution

Note: This post originally appeared on MacScreencasting at http://www.macscreencasting.com/the-12-days-of-christmas-guest-post-at-techsmiths-visual-lounge on 12.18.2010. Due to recent hacking activity, I’m consolidating my sites and moving the MacScreencasting posts into SkillCasting. I’ll then be shutting down MacScreencasting.

It’s always fun to share a post on other peoples blogs. You get to connect with a whole new audience. And when Betsy Weber from TechSmith, the makers of Camtasia:Mac and SnagIt asks, well, how can you say no? :-)

Betsy has asked leading screencasters to submit tips for fellow ‘casters. I had a topic and started drafting things out and said to myself, “this one is going to be too long.” So I started drafting another. I thought this would be just right. Well, after finishing, it ended up being a long one too. But, I think you’re going to get A LOT out of it.

I outline how you can use transparent images in your screencasts. I share 3 ways you could use them. Perhaps you know more ways. Either way, it’s a great way to make your screencasts stand out.

Head on over to The Visual Lounge to see the whole post!