You all know I'm a huge fan of Camtasia Studio – but recently I had a very odd and frustrating experience that I wanted to share so that you can avoid the same problem.
My workflow with Camtasia is optimized around one thing: To avoiding having to spend editing the my screencasts. This means I prefer to simply launch the Camtasia Recorder directly, save an AVI file, and then upload that AVI file to Vimeo or YouTube directly (directly = I use the Vimeo or YouTube web site for the upload).
I recently recorded almost 40 screencasts over the last month and only recently discovered none of them had captured the cursor that was so clearly visible on the desktop.
For reference – the cursor above (shown in magnified form) is what I am talking about.
HOW TO REPRODUCE THE PROBLEM
Launch Camtasia Recorder
Look under Effects / Options
Look at the option called "Make cursor effects editable in Camtasia Studio". Notice that it is checked.
This seems rather innocent. Of course we want the cursor effects editable in Camtasia Studio! But I'm not ever using the Camtasia Studio application so this shouldn't effect me, right? (It turns out that is wrong, as I will demonstrate)
So close this dialog and capture some window with the recorder. Make sure the cursor is visible in the window as you are recording.
Once the recording is stopped, the preview window will appear. Notice that the preview quite plainly shows the cursor – it is toward the middle and bottom of the window.
At this point it appears that the video has been captured and includes the cursor.
Next comes tragedy
Let' the arrow underneath Save and Edit and select Save As
One can save in two formats: .CAMREC and .AVI. The .CAMREC format is useful if you are going to do something with the video in Camtasia Studio. But instead for this scenario, save as AVI. You can see the file has been saved in the screenshot below.
Now click on the AVI so that it plays in Windows Media Player or whatever your favorite player is. Below is a screenshot from me playing the AVI in Windows Media Player.
See the cursor? Right. THE CURSOR HAS VANISHED.
It turns out that "Make cursor effects editable in Camtasia Studio" has the unfortunate side-effect of making sure that the cursor is NOT recorded when saving as AVI. Further confusion arises because the Preview video clearly shows the cursor.
So this was a mess for me, and I'll eventually have to redo about 40 screencasts. But it was a valuable lesson learned in double-checking uploaded videos.
- Dear Techsmith – Please consider some ways that this can be more obvious to your users. This was a very frustrating experience for me. And please do feel free to contact me if you want any additional feedback and thoughts.
- Fellow Screencasters – Be aware of this behavior if you are recording to AVIs and always double-check the results of your uploads.