Two popular desktop capture tools, Snagit & Camtasia, have recently received major updates and improvements in the form of new versions. These are tools that can be very useful for educators and support staff in higher ed. The University of Portland has a site-license to make the newest apps available to UP faculty and staff for use on work computers (both Mac and PC).
Snagit is a great tool for quickly capturing images or short videos of your computer screen. You can use it when it in situations when it is simpler and more effective to communicate visually rather than trying to describe something over the phone or in an email. Snagit also includes an easy to use image editor to allow you to quickly tackle working with your images. Just a few things you can do are:
- add text
- annotate with circles, arrows, or stickers
- blur out identifying or sensitive info
When it’s time to share you can save your image or send it to straight to Word, PowerPoint, email, Dropbox, and other services.
What’s New in Snagit
The new Snagit versions get an updated and modernized user interface, improved customization, and several new features such as the capability to capture an entire scrolling web page. One new thing that stands out to me is the ability to record a short video and create an animated GIF image. GIFs, aside from being popular with “the kids” these days, can be really useful for showing simple animations and workflows and are easy to add to a website or share through email, chat, or social media.
Camtasia is a tool that’s designed to let you capture any combination of video from your computer screen, narration from a connected microphone, and video from connected webcams or mobile devices. One may then edit the video into a professional quality “screencast” with transitions, effects, animations, call-outs, etc. You can do one quick take or edit many tracks of video, audio, music, and effects together. The final product can be anything from a video tutorial to a commercial or PSA, to a voice-over-PowerPoint style lesson. Camtasia is a special tool for teachers because it’s in the “sweet spot” of complexity-to-capability. It’s relatively simple and easy to use but is much more powerful than basic video editors like iMovie or Windows MovieMaker.
What’s New in Camtasia
Camtasia has been overhauled and improved on many levels. In past versions, there have been significant differences between the Windows and Mac versions. With the latest releases, there is finally feature parity and a consistent user experience across Mac and PC. Moreover, the designers did a great job of merging the best features of both versions. Whether you are on Mac or PC, Camtasia now has a modern and simplified drag and drop interface and a much-improved library of video effects and animations to play with. TechSmith’s new marketing line is that Camtasia allows you “to create stunning videos, without needing to be a professional video editor”, and this rings true. It’s impressive how straight-forward it is to add high production values to your videos with Camtasia.
I’ll be diving into the new software and posting tutorials on UP’s MediaSpace video site and on Youtube. All in all, I’d say the new versions of Snagit and Camtasia are well worth the time to upgrade – and if you’re new to creating images or videos for instructions, this is the perfect time to jump in!
If you are a UP faculty member that would like to learn more about screen capture, screencasts, or video lecture, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynda.com Video Tutorial Courses
Want to learn Snagit and Camtasia at your own pace? Lynda.com has fantastic video tutorials you can check out (free for UP faculty; just login with your UP username and password). The series on Camtasia 3 is especially well-done and covers all the technical details you need to understand to screencasting, while also making great practical suggestions for creating excellent screencast presentations that will connect with your learners.