UPDATED April 2009

Summary: Use Camtasia Studio to record your screen and then insert the video into Articulate Presenter.
Difficulty: Medium

Many users of the Articulate Rapid E-Learning Studio Second Edition use Techsmith’s Camtasia Studio application for taking video screen captures of their screen which they then embed into Articulate Presenter or Engage. Techsmith recently released an update to Camtasia Studio 6 which once again gives you the option to export to FLV as in earlier versions. You may well find though that SWF is the better option.

There are two main ways of integrating Camtsia Studio videos and this article looks at the simpler method which is essentially about creating a single SWF (or FLV) file and inserting it into Articulate Presenter . There is no ‘hacking’ as such, but you need to be aware of a few settings.

Embedding SWF files into Articulate Presenter/Engage

By far the easiest way of embedding Camtasia screen captures into Presenter or Engage, is to encode your Camtasia capture directly into SWF format. If you have Camtasia 5 and Articulate Presenter ’09, another option is to publish in FLV format.

Setting the size of your video.

AVOID ANY RESIZING

Resizing a video reduces the quality of the finished product, so it is BEST to do your screen capture AT THE SAME SIZE as you wish to show it in Articulate Presenter. Resizing a video can cause playback issues and generally reduces the quality and clearness of the published video, so try and resize what you are recording so that it is going to fit directly in the Articulate Player without any resizing.

Decide how big your video will be in Articulate Presenter. If you are playing in the slide in “Standard” view, your video can be no wider than 720 pixels and no higher than 540 pixels. If you are viewing your video in “No sidebar” view, then you can push the width of your video to about 980 pixels and the height to 580 pixels. Don’t forget that once imported, you will not be able to change the size of your published SWF but you WILL be able to change its position. By way of example let us go for a video size of 920 px by 400 px, to leave us some space at the bottom or at the top of the slide for a title.

Preparing your recording screen

Next, try to recreate what you are trying to capture in a window of 920 px x 400 px. Open Camtasia 5, and choose “Make a recording” and then “Select area to record”. Now prepare the subject that you want to record and try to make it appear in your box, either by reducing the size of the application window or by concentrating on just one part of the application. Use your cursor to make a box which is exactly 920 px x 400 px. In the screenshot below, I have made an area which covers the Articulate Online product site on the Articulate website by resizing the internet browser.

AO Screen Capture

Record your video, and when you have finished click “Stop” and your video should appear in a preview window. Choose “Save”, type a name for your video, and then choose “Edit my recording”. It is important, at this stage, to choose the right size for your video as Camtasia 5 tends to place your video in a default 640 x 480 screen or other. In the “Project Settings” dialog box, select the “All” presets and then choose the “Recording dimensions” as your preset for your video. This will ensure that you encode your video at the size you recorded it at.

Project Settings

Once you have finished editing your capture in Camtasia, then, if you are using Camtasia 5, choose “Produce Video As” and then select “Custom Production Settings”. Finally choose Adobe Flash output for your screen capture and click “Next”.

Flash setting in Camtasia

Unlike previous versions of Camtasia, Camtasia 5 has a Flash template called ExpressShow, which adds a player control right at the beginning of the video resembling the videos on YouTube and other similar sites. This template is not compatible with the Articulate Presenter player. When using this template, the Camtasia video will not play the first time the slide is viewed, though it will play on subsequent visits. So you must not use the ExpressShow template.

Instead you can opt for the “Legacy SWF output” Flash template.

Select Legacy SWF ouput

(You can also choose one of the other templates. If you do that, Camtasia Studio will create a number of files. You need to make sure you select the main SWF or FLV file which contains your movie and not one of the others which may just be the Camtasia template shell.)

Once you have selected the “Legacy SWF output”, click on the “Flash Options” button:

Flash options

This will open the “Flash Options” dialog box where there are a number of settings we need to change:

Flash Options Dialog Box

  • Change the frame rate to 30 fps. By default this is set to automatic. When you look at the various options, you will see that 30 fps is not a suggested setting. However, you can type 30 via the keyboard. Having a framerate of 30 fps ensures maximum compatibility with the Articulate player. You may also find that 15 fps and 20 fps also works fine.
  • If you want to make your video file smaller and quicker to load, and then select Using “JPEG compression”. Or you can just leave this unchecked which is generally what I do.
  • If you do choose to compress, choose the right quality level of your JPEG compression. 50 may well be good enough for most uses but test. If you find that your file is too large, or the quality is not good enough, change this figure. Make it lower to reduce file size and higher to increase quality.
  • Change the background color of your video. This is not important if you are using the Legacy SWF format.
  • You need to make one more change which prevents Camtasia resizing the video itself. In the Flash Options dialog window, click on the Controls tab and uncheck the box “Allow resizing”. This stops the mouse trailing effect you sometimes see in Camtasia movies.
  • The other settings need not be changed in the “Flash Options” dialog box. Click “OK” and this will bring you back to the “Production Wizard”.

    Make sure that the size is the same as your recording and if necessary change the size settings:

    Size settings

    Finally click “Next”. Click “Next” again unless you want to add a watermark or add copyright information about your video, “Next” again for the “Marker Options” (there are no marker options), and finally choose the “Production name” for your output file. You can leave the default settings. Click “Finish” and the encoding process will begin.

    Embed your video in Articulte Presenter or Engage.

    Now, all that is left for you to do is to import your Flash movie via the “Import Flash Movie” tool in Articulate Presenter. Leave the default settings (Play Flash movie and slide in sync), click “Next” and “Finish”. When you publish your presentation with Articulate Presenter, you should find that your video plays fine and that you can control it via the Articulate player controls. Here is a little demo showing the video of the Articulate Online tutorial page that was prepared above.

    Demo of Camtasia in Presenter

    View Demo

    Similarly, you can insert your Flash movie into Articulate Engage as per normal.

    In another article, I’ll talk about the second method of embedding Camtasia files into Articulate which includes knowing how to insert a multiple-file Camtasia project into Presenter and Engage.


    This post is tagged , ,

40 Responses

  1. Stefano says:

    I’m wondering if you can do the opposite, too. I mean if one can embed an Engage flash into a Camtasia flash file…

  2. daveperso says:

    Hi Stefano,

    You can’t import Flash files into Camtasia so the only thing you could do, perhaps, is to show your Engage interaction in presentation mode (ie. no interactivity) and record with Camtasia and then use that in your Camtasia project.

  3. Steven says:

    Dave,

    Great article…

    Can you speak to the length of SWF files that can be imported?

    Is there a recommended maximum movie length? I have heard that you can’t (shouldn’t?) have more than 8 minutes. So, I am thinking of splitting up my movies into these 8 min segments and then string them together…

    Thoughts?

    Thanks.

    -Steven

  4. daveperso says:

    Sorry Steven, Missed your comment. There is a physical limit to the number of frames a Flash movie can have which is 16000. If your movie is running at 30 fps, then that works out to 8.53 minutes. As this article on the Adobe site says, http://kb.adobe.com/selfservice/viewContent.do?externalId=tn_14437&sliceId=1 you could string videos together using Actionscript, or alternative just place shorter 8 minute videos on each slide.

  5. Raju Hegde says:

    Dave,

    Thanks for the blog. I’m finding it very useful. I was wondering if you knew how to take a camtasia 5 presentation that has a camtasia quiz inside of it and embedd it into an engage interaction. I’ve tried a number of things but I can’t seem to get it to work. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Raju

  6. daveperso says:

    Hi Raju,

    If you haven’t seen it already, this article should help you:

    http://daveperso.mediaenglishonline.com/2008/04/09/how-to-embed-a-camtasia-5-quiz-into-articulate-engage/

    Dave

  7. Ruchi says:

    Hi Kevin,
    Very helpful post as I have just started with this and got suck also. :)

    Problem:
    I am embedding the flash output from Camatasia into Articulate by exactly following the above steps. However, I am still not getting the ‘perfect’ output. The final output in Articulate is blurred (for example, the letter ‘B’ will appear with a blurred, thick, extra vertical line at the start). The mouse paths are also appearing as vertical or horizontal lines.

    Background
    The application I am capturing is a large screen one. So, I am using 1280 x 1024 as the screen resolution and my capture size is 1280 x 680 – the main screen minus the menu bars, etc.

    As we are using Articulate and the maximum screen size available in the standard Articulate view in 720 x 540, I am editing it in these dimensions and applying Smartfocus. I get two horizontal black bars on the top and bottom, which I manged to remove by adding a zoom-and-pan frame, though not very neatly.

    More details
    Flash production settings: 720 x 540.
    Legacy Flash produced without JPEG compression
    When integrating flash in the ppt, I get an error saying that the size of the recording is 721 x 541, which is greater than 720 X 540, though I edited and produced in 720 x 540.

    When I preview the recoding in Camtasia it runs fine (as in no blur).
    In the ppt, the imported flash file appears fine in slide show view.
    However, in the published Articulate version, it comes blurred.

    Any suggestions/thoughts on how to tackle this issue?

    Thanks,
    Ruchi

  8. daveperso says:

    Hi Ruchi,

    The resizing may be be causing the blurring. Have you tried showing your Camtasia movie in the “No Sidebar” view? Generally this removes all mouse trailing. Both the “Standard” and the “Slide Only” views can cause the mouse trailing which is due to the way the Camtasia movie is built and the resizing in the Articulate player. Showing in “No Sidebar” view should at least resolve the mouse issue.

  9. Ruchi says:

    Dave,
    Thanks for the prompt reply.

    I tried all the other options:
    - Recoding in 720 x 540 as well as editing and oublishing in the same dimensions.
    - With no side bar view for the falsh slide. (the mouse trailings are still there.)
    - Opened the flash in a different window.

    In the first two , the problem is still coming, whereas when I set the flash to open in a different window, a window opens, but nothing happens.

    Any other suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Ruchi

  10. Ruchi says:

    I also tried taking a smaller sized recording (718 x 538) and then embedding the generated flash into Articulate.

    That also does not work.

  11. [...] the flash output from Camtasia into Articulate Presenter using the steps detailed in Dave

  12. daveperso says:

    Hi Ruchi,

    I imagine the blurring you are getting is because you are reducing a capture made at 1280 x 1084 to a size of 720 x 540 or thereabouts. Resizing seems to cause this trailing and bad quality. The example I did, did not use the SmartFocus function and because the original was at 920 x 400 pixels, there was no resizing when encoding to SWF or when importing to Articulate Presenter. Similarly the examples of screen captures in this demo http://www.articulate.com/support/dave/blog/imagepanel/player.html show no trailing when showed in “No Sideview” but did in the other views. Again, there was no resizing at any stage of the process. When I have a little more time, I’ll experiment to see how to get a screen capture larger than 920 x 540 pixels in Presenter without the trailing.

  13. [...] template is incompatible with Articulate Presenter. It is preferable to use the Legacy template. This article may be useful. Regards __________________ Dave Moxon ********************************* [...]

  14. Ruchi says:

    Dave,
    I hadn’t resized the capture. I recorded, edited, and published it in 720 x 540. I also tried using Smartfocus for one recording, where I recorded in 1280 x 1084 and then applied Smart Focus. However, in all cases, the mouse trailings and the blur is still there. I had posted it on the Articulate forum also, and there Justing asked me to lock the presentation to optimal size. This seems to take care of a large part of problem (The mouse trailings and blur is reduced.), though the only issue is that the course size is reduced.

    Is there a way where I can keep the course size = browser size and still have neat captures?

    Btw, what are the maximum capture sizes we can use in the three view modes of Articulate?
    Standard: 720 x 540
    No side bar: 920 x 540
    Slide only : ?

    Thanks,
    Ruchi

  15. daveperso says:

    Hi Ruchi,

    Resizing is causing part of this problem. The Slide Only view simply expands what you see in Standard view so you maximum capture sizes will be the same as for Standard. For the moment, I have found that the only way to remove mouse trailing is to show your presentation in “No Sidebar” view and to lock the presentation at optimum size as this, in effect, reduces resizing in the user’s browser. Are you still getting trailing with these settings?

  16. daveperso says:

    Actually I do seem to have found a way of removing the trailing in Full Slide and when opening the browser to full plus it seems that you can use larger sizes for the Full Slide view. Have a look at this demo: http://mediaenglishonline.com/daveperso/blogdemos/trailing/player.html The first slide shows the standard issue, and the second the corrected issue. I’ll write up an article saying what I did shortly.

  17. [...] Flash problems Hi Chris. Daveperso wrote a great blog article on using Camtasia with AP. Hopefully, this will get you going in the right direction [...]

  18. Samuel says:

    Hey Ruchi,

    I just got my trial version of this software, I have one BIG problem, I record everything is fine when the program shows me the auto playback. the I choose save and just put whatever name and save it on a folder.

    The problem is that when I go to the Editing mode and I drag the file to the timeline It wont show up, not even if I right click and select the option to add it to the timeline, It wont preview either, its just there and theres no way for me to save it in another format because it wont add to the timeline.

    Ive done everything, uninstalling and reinstalling the software, updating my directx, uninstalling and reinstalling flash player and setting up the hardware acceleration to none
    Nothing seems to work

    Any help?

    Thanks

  19. [...] Re: Need help with Camtasia SWF and Articulate Try this Daveperso link: Using Camtasia With Articulate Presenter [...]

  20. [...] to the forums! Yes, you can incorporate Camtasia in Presenter, as many of our customers do. Here’s a blog entry about that. __________________ Gabe Anderson Director of Customer Support Articulate – [...]

  21. [...] have not been having any problems inserting SWF from Camtasia 6 as per the recommended practices in this article. If you choose the legacy template, then your movie will automatically be created in SWF format and [...]

  22. [...] point for picking up the basics of integrating your Camtasia movies with Presenter. Check it out: Using Camtasia With Articulate Presenter If you are successful with this and want more information about using FLV let me know and I’ll [...]

  23. [...] Camtasia 5 may help. Camtasia 6 is pretty similar except there is now no option to export to FLV. Using Camtasia With Articulate Presenter __________________ Dave Moxon ********************************* Customer Support Engineer [...]

  24. Bruce says:

    My problem is when I import a Camtasia-generated swf into Presenter/Powerpoint, Powerpoint/Presenter ignores the audio, plays the slide for 5 seconds, and goes on to the next. Some setting somewhere has been changed, but I cannot find it. Any ideas?

    • daveperso says:

      Hi Bruce,

      I am not sure about the audio since that should be embedded in the Camtasia SWF, but it looks like you have set the movie to play independently of the slide and have it move on automatically. Since it plays independently of the slide, Presenter does not know when it has finished and so moves on after the default 5 seconds which is specified in Articulate -> Presentation Options -> Publish. The solution is either to have the play the movie in sync with the slide (which should work for a single-file Camtasia SWF) which means that the movie should finish before moving on to the next slide, or else, keep it playing independently and change the Advance setting in the Slide Properties from Automatically to By User. This means that the slide will not move on until the user clicks on the forward button.

      Regards

  25. paul says:

    I am using Camtasia 3 and Articulate 5. I am getting the shadowing problems, but the major issue is that the flash movie in Articulate is moving MUCH faster than the rate it was recorded at. I have changed the frame rate for both camtasia and articulate, but nothing slows down articulate. HELP!!

    • daveperso says:

      Hi Paul, I think you should try encoding the Camtasia movie at 30 fps as this tends to avoid the kind of problems you are getting (have Articulate Presenter at 30 fps too).

  26. paul says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the info about upgrading Camtasia, it worked. However, I am still getting the mouse trailing and am not sure what you mean in the solution written on July 9. Did you write up an article about this?

    Thanks, Paul

  27. Harlman says:

    Hi Dave Can you please tell me how to resize a video produced as 960×720 from my webcam to 1280×720 in Camtasia? Thanks!

    • daveperso says:

      Hi Harlman, not sure what you are trying to do. If you just increase the width from 960 to 1280, then you’re going to get black bars on either side of the video. Either way, import your video via web cam and in the project settings in Camtasia, select All then Custom and enter the size you want. (directions may vary a little depending on your version of Camtasia).

  28. paul says:

    I have created a flash demonstration and am recording over it with Articulate. Initially, the recording synchs up, but when I publish, it is off. Any idea what is going on?

    • daveperso says:

      Have you checked the framerate of both the Camtasia movie and the Articulate settings? I have found that recording at 30 fps for both is the safest bet. Also, you need to have your video playing in sync with the slide in Presenter.

  29. Payal says:

    Hi Dave –
    Hoping you can help me.

    I’m inserting Camtasia 3 swf files into Articulate using the suggestions I found here: http://www.articulate.com/forums/articulate-presenter/2837-stage-slide-size.html

    Those settings helped remove the ‘trailing’ effect that was happening, but with this recent flash file, the audio ‘echoes’ when I preview it in Presenter 09. Any suggestions on how I can fix this? The only thing different about this camtasia file and previous ones i’ve inserted is that this one is made up of multiple screen recordings linked together with one audio file (as opposed to others that were one screen record and one audio file).

  30. Payal says:

    Another issue I’m having is in Articulate Presenter 09, the slide with the swf file (created in Camtasia 3) is staying on screen for 15 seconds longer than the completion of the movie. . .

  31. Lauren Milstid says:

    Dave–

    How can I get a presenter to make their screen 980×580? Is it possible? I am recording another person’s screen by using Go-To-Meeting. I understand that I must set my Camtasia screen to 980×580 (w/o a sidebar) but how should I ask the presenter to set up their screen so that my recording screen fits perfectly with their presentation?

    I will then be putting into Articulate.

    Thanks for your time–Lauren

  32. daveperso says:

    Hi Lauren, I don’t remember if GoToMeeting makes sure that your colleagues screen is fully visible in its screen or not. If it does, then just change your GoToMeeting window so that it fits into your 980 x 560 window and ask your colleague to fill up her screen. If it doesn’t, then see if your colleague cannot display her presentation such that you can capture it in that window size.

  33. FUCHO says:

    Three Qustions, 1
    1- Is 15fps the last frame rate Speed for the Software?
    I tried to record both the PPt & the Video and the sound altogether but the movement are not smooth is it b/c the speed in FPS?
    2 – What if I want to do cropping my video not the PNP?
    3 – why there is no many video tracks & limited triming options?

  34. Windy says:

    Hi Dave -
    I need your HELP please. I am using Captivate 4 to capture animated screen shots. I have captured shots using the following sizes: 1024 x 768, 720 x 540 and 940 x 400. What I am trying to do is import them into Articulate 9 (insert Flash Video) and choosing to have the screen shot with in the Articulate slide – my client does not want a new window to open. However, the Captivate screen shot is too large for the Articulate slide window. 1024 x 768 works the best with no side bar BUT again my client want the option of having the side bar. So if a learner/end user choosed to have the side bar view “turned on” than the 1024 x 768 size screen shot gets cut off on the left hand side. PLEASE I need your help to resolve my sizing issues.

    Thanks,
    Windy
    alternate email address: poohd@comcast.net

  35. Meredith says:

    The documentation here is out-of-date. With Camtasia 7, the templates option is gone. There is no “Legacy SWF” option available. Could this documentation PLEASE be updated ASAP to reflect producing flash movies in Camtasia 7 so that they can be successfully utilized in Articulate Presenter.

    Thanks.

  36. daveperso says:

    Hi Meredith,

    Point taken :) There have been quite a few releases to Camtasia since I wrote the article. With the new version of Studio ’09 however, you no longer need to worry about the legacy SWF option. You can just publish to MP4 and import that into Presenter. Proper instructions coming shortly.

Leave a Reply

Categories