I have posted previously on how to make videos from PowerPoint presentations using the native tools in PowerPoint 2010. Today I did a workshop on the subject, and included an alternative method using Camtasia Studio, from TechSmith.com. The Camtasia video went over pretty well, because I took the presentation we created as a group in the workshop, and added a couple of webcam videos and a third-party public domain video to it. I also used picture-in-picture, pan and zoom effects, and overlays, especially the spotlight overlay. I think most attending thought the Camtasia demo had more impact than the straight PowerPoint presentation. Here it is, so you can see what I’m talking about.
Note the use of Camtasia overlays on the webcam video (which I trimmed in the free Windows Movie Maker program). I also used the spotlight tool and several pan and zoom effects that the attendees at the workshop thought worked pretty well. Using a picture in picture also permits instructors to appear at will during the presentation to point out key concepts for students. It is easy to suppress PIP whenever you wish during the presentation, and then just have it appear when you want it.
While it is easy to produce a video right from within PowerPoint, using Camtasia can add a lot of value and really focus the points to be learned. Camtasia Studio is available in our faculty technology center (room LL-111), and a free 30-day fully functional evaluation copy is available through TechSmith. Why not give it a try? TechSmith has a terrific learning center, and it should really only take you an hour or so to become proficient. Learning the PowerPoint capture part is trivial, and in fact identical to the steps you will have to go through to convert PPT to video natively, but learning the editing features of Camtasia will take a bit longer, but worth it.