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 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.

Using Multiple Cameras in Your Screencasts

Note: This post originally appeared on MacScreencasting at on 8.27.2010. Due to recent hacking activity, I’m consolidating my sites and moving the MacScreencasting posts into SkillCasting. I’ll then be shutting down MacScreencasting.

Earlier this week I did a video over at about using video for your job search. It was about creating videos to share your knowledge and to position yourself as an expert while you’re looking for a job. It was part video and part screencast. What’s key is that I used 2 cameras to shoot it and only ScreenFlow to edit it.

When I saw Lynn Elliot’s post over at the ScreenFlow blog, I thought this might make a good tutorial. And if nothing else, perhaps it’ll plant some ideas as we take screencasting to the next level.

[View iPhone version]

I think incorporating two (or more) cameras into a single screencast keeps it interesting. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Screencasting: A New Form of Communications

Note: This post originally appeared at on 6.21.2010. Due to recent WordPress hacks, I’m consolidating my sites and I’ll be moving the MacScreencasting posts over to SkillCasting. Then I’ll shut down MacScreencasting.

When most people thinking of screencasting, they think of computer tutorials. They think of all the software how-to’s out there. And let’s face it, screencasting is a perfect application for these tutorials. However, screencasting can be used for so much more. In this two part series, I’ll share ideas on how individuals and businesses can get the most from this new communication tool.

Part 1: Screencasting for Individuals

Let’s explore the personal uses of screencasting including:

•    Concept Workers
•    Personal Branding
•    Reinventing Ourselves
•    Productizing Your Knowledge

[View iPhone version for Individuals]

Part 2: Screencasting for Businesses

Let’s explore the business uses of screencasting:

•    External communications for Care
•    Branded e-Learning
•    Internal executive presentations
•    Tribal knowledge
•    Training

[View iPhone version for Businesses]

Screencasting Microphone Comparison

Note: This post originally appeared at on 6.21.2010. Due to recent WordPress hacks, I’m consolidating my sites and I’ll be moving the MacScreencasting posts over to SkillCasting. Then I’ll shut down MacScreencasting.

The quality of your audio is an important consideration for your screencasts. In fact, poor audio can ruin an otherwise great screencast. But which microphone is best?

This tutorial compares 5 different microphones so you can hear the difference between them. Now these preferences may be subjective. The different microphones compared are:
•    The built-in Mac microphone
•    Andrea NC-61 USB headset microphone
•    Audio-Technica lapel microphone
•    Samson CO3U desktop USB microphone
•    Griffin SmartTalk iPhone microphone

These range from free to about $120. Which one do you prefer?

[View iPhone version]

ScreenFlow 3.0 Training Tips

The new version of ScreenFlow was just released this week. It’s a great update to an already great product. There are several new things being introduced with this version and I’ve made a couple of quick videos to show them to you.

I’m also starting ScreenFlow Training as a new online training service. I’ll be offering GoToTraining classes to teach the basics of screencasting, ScreenFlow, and online video. Definitely check out the upcoming classes. And don’t forget, I’m putting the finishing touches on a new online ScreenFlow video tutorial series. If there are specific classes you’d like to see, contact me or leave a comment below to let me know what you’re looking for.

Working with Tracks

ScreenFlow 3.0 makes working with tracks easier. A lot of you know that I use ScreenFlow quite a bit for editing videos. It’s now easier to work with tracks in ScreenFlow 3.0. In this video, I’ll show you 2 new ways you can work with tracks.

Splitting Tracks

ScreenFlow has introduced a new way to split tracks and even remove gaps between tracks. I’ve always liked using the “w” and “e” keys to trim track ends but sometimes find the need to split a clip. Here’s how it’s done in ScreenFlow 3.0.

Privacy Blur

This one is huge for corporate work or anytime you need to obscure part of the screen. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not the most requested feature. ScreenFlow 3.0 now allows you to “blur” part of the screen so you can hide password information or client data. It’s a huge addition!


If you’ve ever needed to callout information on the screen, you’ll love Annotations. Now you can draw arrows, circles, and boxes over your screencast.

Okay, there’s 4 quick tips but there’s one more. I’m going to redo the video for it though because it’s hard to notice the effect in my original screencast. The additional feature is the ability to remove background noise from a recording. If you work in a noisy area, like around fans or ventilation, you’ll love this new feature. Look for this one soon.

And don’t forget about the upcoming ScreenFlow classes. Or, let me know what you’re looking for below!

Greenscreen Video and Screencasts

Note: This post originally appeared at on 6.21.2010. Due to recent WordPress hacks, I’m consolidating my sites and I’ll be moving the MacScreencasting posts over to SkillCasting. Then I’ll shut down MacScreencasting.

A lot of people incorporate picture-in-picture video into the screencasts. But did you know you can incorporate even more dynamic green screen (chromakey) video into your screencasts? And did you know you could use iMovie ’09 to do it?

This video shows you a 5-step process utilizing iMovie ’09. But while it’s easy, don’t kid yourself. It takes planning to get everything working together. Watch how.

[View iPhone version]