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Tuesday
Dec282010

Camtasia Tip – How not to accidentally lose your Cursor in Screencasts

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.

BACKGROUND

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.

image

For reference – the cursor above (shown in magnified form) is what I am talking about.

 

HOW TO REPRODUCE THE PROBLEM

Launch Camtasia Recorder

SNAG-0056

Look under Effects / Options

SNAG-0053

Look at the option called "Make cursor effects editable in Camtasia Studio". Notice that it is checked.

SNAG-0045

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.

SNAG-0046

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

SNAG-0047

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.

SNAG-0050

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.

SNAG-0051

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.

 

PARTING THOUGHTS

  • 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.

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Reader Comments (3)

so what is the solution? I want the cursor to be shown in AVI so that i can upload to youtube for example?

December 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjamil haddadin

So how do you get the cursor to show in .AVI then?

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLior

It happened to me too! First time I've used camtasia and I spent heaps of hours working on my project on my PC, until it started crashing to the point where I couldn't do anything to it and couldn't finish the project- the cursor was there throughout. I still had to complete my project so had to use my mac instead. The file and all the editing I did was unfortunately not transferable to camtasia on Mac, so I had to restart the whole project from the original screen capture video. The only way I could find to transfer this file to Mac was as an AVI file. However when I opened it up on my Mac- no cursor. I had no idea about the cursor settings until I read this, but like you I'm so disappointed. I just had to complete my project without my cursor as I ran out of time on it, with all the messing around on the PC that kept crashing.

June 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersoph

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