Thursday, July 10, 2008

Two New Toys

I've spent considerable time over the past few months trying to find a good screen-casting tool. SnapzX is fine, but not very versatile. It only captures what you actually do, then you have to import it into iMovie to edit, add titles, etc.

I compared both Adobe's Captivate and TechSmith's Camtasia Studio, finally deciding on the latter as it allows me to save the file in multiple formats (AVI, MP4, etc.) while Captivate only saves as a Flash file.

ANYWAY, I just finished playing with my first movie on Camtasia. It's rough--the audio needs work, among other things (it didn't render very well, as you'll hear!), but I like the different tools--the ability to use call-outs (arrows, etc. to highlight key points), add text, titles, zooms--even quizzes. I think this will be a great too for creating all the video tutorials I want to add to the library website.

The big plan is to create a web tutorial for each of the major lessons I do during research projects. That way, if students miss a day (or forget part of the lesson!), I don't have to repeat myself 10 times; I can just point them to the tutorials.

While both Captivate and Camtasia are currently Windows only, I have it on hush-hush authority that both companies have a Mac version in the works for release either later this year or early next year. They also have educator discounts, and Camtasia is offering a deal now where you can purchase both Camtasia Studio AND SnagIt (their excellent screen-capture software) for only $169!

Anyway, here's my final result. See what you think. (BTW--the second "toy" is learning how to use the map viewing tool on the Library of Congress site!)


  1. This was an interesting and very useful post, Jeri. I have played a little with screencasting myself with really second rate results but you have inspired me to try again. Did you see the post about vodcasting in chemistry? It is an intriguing idea, something I'd like to promote with my staff. Be sure to watch the demo video to get a good idea of how it is being used.

    I brought the library's iPod home this summer to play with and hopefully will be able to post some of my efforts in my blog.

  2. Lesley,no I hadn't seen that. Thanks for the link. Will definitely check it out.

    I laughed at your "second rate results" line. BTDT! My first video podcast, the visuals were so small, you couldn't see a thing! That's what inspired the search for different software. One thing I forgot to say, that I'll add into the post, is that while both Camtasia and Captivate are Windows only, both companies are working on Mac versions. Hooray!

  3. Have you tried Screencast-O-Matic. I am playing with it a little and it seems promising. I hope the other two hurry up with developing their Mac versions. While I'm a dual platform gal I do my best work on a Mac. and BTDT?? Haven't heard that one before.

  4. LOL--

    been there, done that!

    Screencast-o-matic? That's a new one for me, too!

    You'll love this--I checked my authority ranking todayin Technorati--I'm a whopping 6 now--and someone posted about my blog in what looks like Thai! They're writing about me in foreign languages! That's so cool!

  5. I think you are the one who has arrived! I'm a mere 3. It's very cool to be written about in Thai. I was once interviewed for a Japanese magazine but could never read the article. LOL.
    Re - BTDT - of course! I must be having a slow day.

  6. grin--well, as my sister pointed out, "They could be saying you're full of it!"

    BTW--checked your vodcasting link. Wow! So cool--one of my teachers was talking about doing that very thing. I'll have to send him this link.