Screen Movies with TechSmith Camtasia

Screen Movies are recorded and produced with Techsmith Camtasia. An evaluation copy can be downloaded from which provides full use for 30 days. After that you need to purchase a licence key for further use. The key for Camtasia includes a key for Dubit, a program which allows sounds and voice-overs to be added to movies.

Camtasia Recorder is used for the initial recording of the screen movies. It is recommended that recordings are made and initially saved using TSCC - TechSmith Screen Capture Codec - which provides an optimised screen recording format allowing for high compression and captures all on-screen information without loss.

TechSmith Dubit is an associated program which allows a soundtrack or voice over-to be added to any screen movies (which is often easier that trying to record voice at the same time that a movie is made).

Camtasia Producer can then be used to combine movies and add in other information or effects as desired prior to saving the final version in a format suitable for distribution.

AVI File Formats for Distribution

It is suggested that screen movies are produced in two formats for distribution:

Screen Movie Recording - Set up Options in Camtasia Recorder

  1. Start Camtasia Recorder.
  2. Under the capture menu set the input as full screen and note that the output is to file.
  3. Under the options menu preferences seting, set up AVI video to use the TSCC codec for recording (whatever file format is to be used for distribution) and select PCM uncompressed audio (these are the defaults if "auto configure" is on anyway).
  4. Also, for efficient recording under Windows 2000, XP and later systems, on the options menu preferences seting, set up the program options to disable display (hardware) acceleration during capture.

Recommended Screen Capture Format

If possible, set up for capturing screen movies in 256 colours. This will give more compact file sizes and allow for the MS-RLE codec to be used for distribution.

Screen movies should be run full screen on playback, so, assuming the playback environment (desctop screen, laptop display or LCD projector) can be set to XGA (1024x768 pixels) in size, that is the recording format to be preferred.

Camtasia Recorder - Recording a Screen Movie

You can record a single movie all at once or record separate parts as separate movies to be combined later with Camtasia Producer. You can pause and reqstart as often as you wish. Activity performed while you are paused will not appear in the movie [note you may wish to restore the mouse pointer to a similar position when you restart to save it looking like it jumps].
  1. Start Camtasia Recorder.
  2. Minimise the recorder. It will be available in the system tray and can be opened again by double clikcing the icon there.
  3. Start recording with function key F9.
  4. Pause and restart with F9.
  5. Stop with F10.
  6. Save the screen movie.

Dubit - Adding Sounds or Voice-overs

You can add sounds, background music or a voice-over to any scren movie with Dubit.

Camtasia Producer - Combining Movies and Saving Distributable Movies

You can combine movies,add static images (JPG, GIF, etc) at points within the movie (for titles, schematics, etc.) and add transition effects within Camtasia Producer. You can also then produce the movie into any of a number of formats suitable for distribution such as TechSmith's own TSCC screen capture codec, or a standard Windows codec such as Microsoft Run Length Encoding.

Screen Movie Playback

You can play back the captured screen movies with Windows Media Player. Full screen playback on Windows Media Player can be toggled with Alt+Enter.

Problems and Workarounds

  1. A recording of a screen using a media player or some other video source may play back with a black or single coloured area. If this is the case disable hardware acceleration if possible either globally or in the individual tool used. You may need to have administrator priviledges to do this on Windows NT, Windows 2000, XP or later.
  2. Share your tips. E-mail them to