Pros and Cons of Using Camtasia for Training Videos

If you’re creating training videos, you’re probably looking for all-in-one video editing software. Software that can record your screen, is simple to use, and has a robust library of effects built-in.

Finding the best software for your needs can be a real challenge. In the realm of training videos, we’ve tested many programs and landed on a select few that cover all our bases.

At Water Bear Learning, we use Camtasia to create almost all of our software tutorial videos. We’ve found it to be the most useful tool for capturing recordings of screens – desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Camtasia has been our go-to software tool to create training videos for retail POS systems, mobile apps, and ERP software tutorials.

Before we get into our analysis of the pros and cons, let’s start with the basics.

 

What is Camtasia?

Camtasia by Techsmith is a simple, all-in-one video editing and screen recording software program. Built with beginners in mind, Camtasia allows designers to create professional training videos quickly and efficiently. It is available for both Windows and MacOS.

At the time of this writing, Techsmith provides a 30-day free trial to test out the software. But be aware that any exported files will have a watermark. To use the full version of Camtasia you’ll need to purchase the software. In 2020, Camtasia can be purchased for a one time fee of $249.00.

Now that we know the basics, let’s jump into the review. Is Camtasia worth it? Here are our pros and cons for using Camtasia to create training videos:

Pros of Camtasia

+ Very easy to learn: Clean setup and simple user-interface, Camtasia is built for video-editing beginners.

If you have limited experience editing videos, Camtasia is a fantastic place to start. The visual effect buttons are large and labeled clearly. Effects can be applied with a simple drag-and-drop. The timeline has an automatic snap feature which makes editing clean and straightforward.

While not as robust as professional video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Camtasia will get the job done for 70% of your training video needs.

+ Amazing screen capture feature: We’ve tested all of the screen capture software out there. The verdict? Camtasia blows the competition out of the water with the absolute best screen recording feature. 

Not only is the resolution top quality, it’s intuitive to use. When the program is open, a screen capture icon is added to your top toolbar. Which means you can simply select the icon and start recording your screen in a matter of a few clicks.

+ Impressive cursor effects: Overall, Camtasia’s built-in effects are limited. But their cursor effects are out of this world incredible. These cursor effects offer automated effects that can truly sharpen up your video edit. 

One of our favorite cursor effects is ‘cursor smoothing.’ Drag and drop this effect on your clip and it magically removes jerky mouse movements, making all mouse movements smooth and seamless. You can even edit and connect different clips together and (most of the time) the program seamlessly sews them together, preventing the mouse from “jumping” to different parts of the screen.

+ Interactivity features: Training videos often lack user-interaction that is crucial for learning. Camtasia allows you to add interactive quizzes directly to your video. At the beginning, at the end, or throughout the video. While you’ll have to be mindful of your export settings for quizzes to be useful (only helpful for embedding into eLearning modules). Still, Camtasia is ahead of the curve by providing this feature that melds video learning with amble interactivity. For the future of learning, quizzes embedded in videos will certainly become more prominent. Camtasia is the best tool to start practicing now.

+ Good asset library: If you’re short on time and need to find assets right away, Camtasia has many of the basics you need. This includes icons, intro templates, motion backgrounds, music tracks, and more.

While many of the assets are not directly customizable, they provide beginners with a starting foundation to create training videos.

+ Mobile version: If you need to capture screen recordings of your smartphone or tablet, Techsmith has a free app for iOS and Android. The app integrates with the desktop version of Camtasia and allows you to share files directly to your computer.

This is very helpful if you’re creating training videos on how to use iPad or mobile applications.

+ Great customer service: Techsmith has a robust and impressive customer support team. If you have any issues at all, they are quick to respond and typically very helpful to resolve issues. We’ve experienced issues with crashing and exporting and their team was quick to help.

+ Low cost: Some view Camtasia’s cost as high. When compared to other video editing and eLearning authoring tools, we believe Camtasia is well worth the cost. Adobe and Articulate 360 charge on a monthly or annual basis which ends up being much more costly in comparison. For all that you get, Camtasia is a deal!

 

Cons of Camtasia

– Constant crashes and bugs: Compared to other programs, we experience many more crashes and bugs with Camtasia. We edit our videos using the newest iMacs available and have minimal crash issues with any other software. For some reason, Camtasia goes through waves. Some versions are incredible. Others seem to be buggy and cause the program to crash over and over.

Typically, the Camtasia team has been quick to release updates to new versions. And their autosave feature works well, ensuring you won’t lose your work. But just something to be aware of as you decide if Camtasia is a good fit to create your training videos.

+ Limited customization: Camtasia is built for beginners, which means the software is not built for detailed customizations. Annotations, transitions, behaviors – while functional for a basic need, cannot be customized for specific uses.

For most individuals or companies building training videos, the build-in effects will work fine. Just know that if you do need to customize your effects, you’ll be better off using a more robust video editing tool like Adobe Premiere Pro.

– No keyframe tracking: Moving and animating objects is a difficult task in Camtasia. This is because Camtasia doesn’t have any keyframe tracking ability.

There are hacks to move objects on screen. But these often come off as flat and are challenging to control. If you are creating videos that require keyframing, we suggest moving your files into Premiere Pro.

+ Poor keyboard commands: Adobe has mastered keyboard controls. Techsmith? Not so much. While they do have limited keyboard controls, many commands are missing.

We’d love to see keyboard commands for tasks such as clip slicing, changing clip speed, and zooming on the timeline. For now, Camtasia limits keyboard commands to basics such as save, copy, and play video.

+ Export issues: This hasn’t happened in all versions, but some users have experienced issues with the encoding and exporting of Camtasia videos. When moving .mov or .mp4 files from Camtasia into Premiere Pro, some exported files error out stating that the “file encoded with an unsupported format.” Software stability(export issues along with the constant crashing) is certainly a pain point for Camtasia that we’re hoping they can resolve soon.

 

The Bottom Line

Overall, we think Camtasia by Techsmith is a worthy tool to keep in your video-editing toolbox. While not as robust as other video editing software, Camtasia is a great place for beginners to dip their toes into the world of video editing. Even for seasoned pros, Camtasia’s screen recording feature is unrivaled and the best in the market for creating software tutorial videos.

If your task is to create screen recording training videos, Camtasia is the best software currently available. Give it a spin with their free trial and see what you think!

Looking to hire an instructional designer?