imageA new version of Camtasia is just out. This is our favorite program for making training and teaching videos. It has been used to teach people how to create digital art, make presentations, teach math, play “Second Life,” make demos, write software and fix a diesel engine.

The basic idea is to capture screens while you’re putting your instructions on the computer and then edit the sequence you want to create a finished work. Using a webcam, the teacher’s face can be shown speaking in a corner of the video, which makes it personal.

You can zoom onto any part of a picture to call attention to details. You can add narration (with or without the narrator’s picture) and “call-outs,” These are boxes of enlarged text that can be used to emphasize a point, call attention to a change in subject, or emphasize anything you consider important.

Here are other new features in the latest Camtasia:

  • A library of background images, audio effects, and dissolves.
  • The ability to copy and paste new clips to the library.
  • A button-click to send your work to YouTube.
  • “Sketch-motion” call-outs that make it look like you’re drawing on the screen.
  • Keystroke call-outs that show what keyboard shortcuts you’re using.
  • Audio controls with fade-in and fade-out.

There’s a free trial of the $300 program at They also offer a free version of the program called “Jing,” great for capturing screens and video. Camtasia is available for Windows and Macintosh.

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