This blog is dedicated (most of the time) to advanced web, semantic web, Web 2.0/3.0, and web media technology.
In the last posting we took a look at the wide spectrum of media and communications technology that more and more of us are expected to use to facilitate our professional interactions. Today, we take a closer look at a tool that I use. It’s not a web development tool, but it’s key to my main teaching website, wordsbybuzz.
Desktop and audio capture.
It’s called Camtasia, and it’s used to create screen capture videos. They’ve had a Windows product for quite a while, but a couple of years ago, they released a Mac product. I jumped on it.
As I teach my introduction to 3D animation class, I use Camtasia to capture everything I do on my Macbook Pro, including running Autodesk Maya, the animation package I use as a teaching tool. At the same time, Camtasia records my voice.
You can do basic editing with Camtasia as well, and add transition effects. You can insert text, as well as icons that direct the viewer to various objects in the screen capture.
Camtasia produces beautiful video. Even the small fonts on Maya’s (extremely) complex interface come out crisp. Camtasia offers a wide variety of format and compression choices for the video and audio. I render Quicktime movies with Camtasia, and then post them on my website.
Essential to teaching software technology.
A tool like this is essential to the teaching of complex software tools, whether they are programming tools or media applications. It allows me to make a permanent record of my lectures. Students can look at them at their leisure, as they struggle to build their projects for my animation course.
The best part is that this all-in-one application is very cheap, between $100 and $150, depending on the current deal they are offering.
A rapidly growing prosumer marketplace.
Camtasia is part of an exploding market of “prosumer” video, audio, vector and raster image, and animation applications, as well as affordable, high quality cameras, microphones, and other equipment.
One nice thing about Camtasia is that it is actually very simple to use – unlike a lot of prosumer apps, which are often versions of highly complex professional level products that, quite frankly, haven’t had enough of their capabilities removed to make them easily usable.
Camtasia was clearly built from the ground up with regular folks in mind.
Other vendors of media applications are beginning to provide powerful applications that are not intimidating and can be learned in a reasonable amount of time. This is particularly true of audio editing apps.
If you have any interest in diving into media applications of any sort, I would be more than happy to point you toward the applications I use. I work mostly of Macs, but I have a number of Windows apps as well.