Video from PowerPoint Using Camtasia

Last week I posted on how to make a narrated video from a PowerPoint presentation using the tools built-in to PowerPoint itself.  In this post I would like to show how to do the same using Camtasia Studio.  The basic process is the same, you narrate while giving the presentation and produce it when your are done, but there are some advantages to using Camtasia with respect to post-recording edits and production formats.  We are fortunate enough to have Camtasia Studio licensed for District computers, so this post should be of interest to faculty who use District computers.  For part-time faculty who do not use District computers, we have computer labs where Camtasia is installed that you can use—even a soundproof recording room where you will not be distracted or overheard.  It is also worth noting that you can get a free 30-day fully functional evaluation copy of Camtasia from to see if it will work for you.  You may like it so much that you will end up purchasing it.  The educational price is (I think) around $180.

Step 1:  Open PowerPoint and use the Camtasia Add-in.

Open the presentation you are going to give and click on the Add-in tab.  You will see the Camtasia Add-in toolbar.  Be sure the microphone (1) is selected and (if you are going to use picture in picture) the webcam (2).  If you want to be sure of your settings (and this is a good idea) click the Recording Options (3) button.

Add-in Toolbar

The recording options dialog box looks like this:

Add-in Options

Note that by default the Camtasia screen recorder will start paused (1).  This is a good idea.  It gives you time to verify that the correct microphone is selected and that audio levels are acceptable.  If you are using a web cam, it also gives you time to be sure lighting is good and that you are clearly visible.  Note also that by default Camtasia is set to record the cursor (2).  If you do not use the cursor for pointing things out as you speak (there are much better ways if you are willing to put in the time to edit the video in Camtasia once it is captured) you may want to turn this option off.

As I say, if you are willing to put in the time, editing in Camtasia is a very good idea (3).  You may also want to change the “Prompt to continue recording” setting to simply “Stop recording.”

Be sure the microphone indicated beneath “Record audio” (4) is the 0ne you think you are using.  If not, select the correct one from the drop-down and be sure the level is acceptable.  If you do not have embedded videos or audios within your PowerPoint presentation where you would want your system audio (i.e., what comes out of your speakers) to be captured, deselect “Capture system audio” (5).  And if you are not using the webcam, be sure “Record from camera” is deselected (6).

Finally, make note of the Record/Pause and Stop hot keys (7).  Change them if necessary.

Step 2: Record the presentation as you narrate it.

When ready to begin, click the red Record button on the Add-in toolbar.  Your PowerPoint will load and, since your have set Camtasia to “Start recording paused” (1 above) a dialog box will appear in the lower right of your presentation with a microphone level meter, a reminder of the hot keys, and a “Click to begin recording” button.  This makes it possible to make any last-minute adjustments you need to make before beginning.

Click To Begin Recording

If you have gone with the default setup you will be prompted to Stop recording at the conclusion of your presentation, or to continue in order to add additional material.  Most often you will want to stop.

Stop Recording

You will then be prompted for a Save location.  What you are saving is the Camtasia “camrec” file.  By default it will be named with the name of your presentation followed by the file extension .camrec.  This is the raw, unedited screen capture file.  I strongly recommend you create a folder for each project, and place all the resources you need for that project within that folder.

Now you will be prompted to either Edit your recording (if you want to add additional callouts, pan and zoom effects, title clips, additional narration, or any of the many things you can do with the Camtasia recorder); or if no editing is needed or desired, to Produce the video.

Edit Or ProduceYour video can be enhanced in many ways be using the editing features of Camtasia, but because this post is meant to show the steps to simply produce a video as you would using PowerPoint itself, let’s assume we now choose to Produce.

Step 3: Produce the video.

Camtasia Studio will start and you will be presented with the Production Wizard.  Now it is a simple matter of selecting the preset (or custom) dimensions for your produced video, giving Camtasia the name and location of the final project, and clicking Finish.  The time it takes to produce the video may be substantial, depending on the size of your original PowerPoint presentation and narrative.

Step 4:  Link to your video on the web.

If you went with the defaults and chose one of the standard presets, Camtasia will generate the embed code you will need to embed your video in a blog, on a web page, or within Blackboard.  Click here to view a Camtasia tutorial on how to embed.  We recommend, however, that you use YouTube to distribute your material.  If so, simply upload the mp4 video file to YouTube, and then create a link to the video or embed using YouTube embed code.