Camtasia Studio 8 is able to create powerful, professional and interactive videos and multimedia projects that can be used for education, training, marketing and sales. The number of file formats supported for both import and export is comprehensive, and more extensive than in TechSmith Camtasia Studio 7, and you can say the same about the media assets both baked into the program and available for upload.
For the uninitiated, Camtasia Studio has long been the big beast of the screen capture world. A way of recording footage of what is happening on your PC or laptop screen, and editing it into a slick presentation. Previous updates added the ability to import and edit together video clips, music and images, making Camtasia a great way of creating video tutorials.
I had to take my time reviewing Camtasia Studio 8, because there is so much more to this program than its already excellent predecessor. I suppose this befits an update two years in the making. No longer just the best screen-capture program around, Camtasia Studio 8 is now to all intents and purposes a full-featured video editor. And a pretty good one, too. Indeed, TechSmith now markets Camtasia as 'Screen Recording and Video Editing Software'.
Completed projects can be exported to Flash or HTML5, and watched on iPads, Android tablets, most Android smartphones, on laptops and on PCs - and if you host the file on TechSmith's servers, the process of selecting a format is seemless, delivering an optimized, interactive project or video on nearly any device with just one output process. Camtasia Studio 8 costs £213 inc VAT for a single licence, and £70 for an upgrade.
So. What's new in Camtasia Studio 8?
Camtasia Studio 8: codec
One development of which Camtasia is justfiably proud is the recording engine - the new TSC2 codec now records at a far smoother 30fps (the previous version topped out at 15fps). This makes viewing projects noticeably smoother, which may not be a big deal for a simple screen-capture tutorial, but is critical for projects that include video and interactive features. More importantly, it means that you can capture and utilise a wider variety of source material, including full HD video - of which there is a lot more about now than there was two years ago.
You can't edit the framrate of content you bring in, of course, so 15fps video you add to a project mostly captured at 30fps may look something of a wallflower - although if this happened in our testing we never noticed.
What we did witness is that with great power comes great responsibility: Camtasia Studio 8 is a proper, modern multimedia tool, and it requires hardware to match. Import video into your project and preview it as you work and your PC will be simultaneously decoding and encoding video, and playing it back. Again, in tests our Core i5 Dell desktop with 4GB RAM had no problem handling Camtasia Studio, and the system requirements are refreshingly honest - 2GB RAM is the minimum, 4GB recommended. We wouldn't want to attempt to use Camtasia Studio 8 to its fullest capacity on anything less powerful than a 4-gig system, however.
Sharing your finished project is a simple process
Camtasia Studio 8: sharing content
The most significant change in this version is that whereas in previous versions of Camtasia Studio many of the wizz-bang features could be exported only to Flash, there's now a dedicated iPhone and iPad player, although you have to download it from the App Store. Even better, Camtasia Studio 8 lets you save and view your creations via an HTML5-enabled custom player. So rather than being locked to laptops and PC, other mobile devices can view your projects. If you don't have the means to host your finished video, Camtasia helpfully provides 2GB of storage on Screencast.com, through which you can host and play your clip.
So whatever you can create in Camtasia Studio 8, you can share to any connected device - pretty useful if you are trying to educate, or market to, a wide and varied audience. Sharing is a simple process, although with larger, video-heavy files it can take a while.
Camtasia Studio 8: interactive content
TechSmith has added interactive elements to Camtasia Studio 8, including in-video quizzing, in-video linking to web content and powerful video-sharing options. It's easy to put together a good-looking presentation with an interactive quiz, and when you have distributed your project, easy to harvest meaningful results.