UPDATED April 2009
Summary: Use Camtasia Studio to record your screen and then insert the video into Articulate Presenter.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
(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:
This will open the “Flash Options” dialog box where there are a number of settings we need to change:
- 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:
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.
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.