When it comes to producing professional-looking movies and demos from your computer screen, TechSmith's Camtasia Studio continues to strike the right balance between a powerful toolset and ease of use. Version 7.1 adds even more features without making the app any more complex to use.
The feature-packed screencast app--which includes HD production settings--does have a learning curve, but the user-friendly interface and front-and-center icons for most-used tools go a long way toward lowering the intimidation factor a notch. Plus, TechSmith povides a useful online help center that includes several video tutorials that do a nice job walking users through the main functionality of the software.
Even better, when you first launch Camtasia Studio 7.1, you're greeted with an integrated tutorial video that helps get you acquainted with the software. The main window features a content area in the upper right that showcases a variety of options. Here, you can view the clip bin, access your content library, and tweak features such as callouts, zoom-n-pan, audio, and transitions. TechSmith populates a variety templates, music, and outros supplied from a third-party vendor known as Digital Juice, with additional content available for purchase.
As for feature updates, there are quite a few for such a relatively minor boost in version number. Camtasia now includes the ability to record system audio, as well as automatically resize windows during recording. Plus, you get the option to "smartfocus" on key frames and add close captions to your presentation. Additonally, the app offers speech-to-text with a voice training feature; auto output to more formats, such as the iPad; and the ability to overlay text and search within Flash video.
Beyond these additions, Camtasia Studio remains largely the same powerhouse for creating and producing screencasts for the Web, mobile phones, and DVDs. Well-rounded production settings continue to present presets for novices; additional applications, like an audio editor and the CD MenuMaker, round out the features.
At $300, the price of a creative screencasting license is steep, but if the 30-day trial leaves you wanting more, Camtasia Studio is a worthwhile investment for frequent screencast producers requiring a lush feature set. Users looking to develop skills with prolonged use should start here, too.