Camtasia 5.0

April 8, 2008

Once again, I chose to challenge myself and learn about another new Web 2.0 tool called Camtasia 5.0 (30 day trial version) to create a video documenting the process that I went through to create my Major Digital Project for EC&I 831 and then decided to do a video reflection about my EC&I 831 Journey. I didn’t realize just how much of a challenge I was up for.

A few months ago I downloaded Jing and used it to create a tutorials about how to use Ning and what is RSS and using Google Reader. I found Jing fairly user friendly and had few problems using it. Perhaps one of the downfalls (or perhaps it is a good thing) is that Jing only allows 5 minutes of recording time. I wanted to experiment with Camtasia, but found out that it was no longer freely available. Then I heard that there was a free 30 day trial available while watching the great videos that my classmate Walter had created and Jing began coming up with viruses on my computer (not sure why).

I downloaded the free 30 day trial of Camtasia and went into the program and had to double-check that I had not accidentally opened Windows Movie Maker, because it looked very similar, which sort of disappointed me because I had already learned and used Movie Maker at the beginning of the semester to create my bio video. Right now, I am thinking it would not have been bad if it was like Movie Maker! Camtasia has the same layout as far as the timeline, storyboard and some of the editing features, but then goes beyond that to let you capture video, audio and information from Powerpoint too.

I viewed several of the tutorial videos that Camtasia has available, however, I am one of those people that learns by doing, so watching a video is only average for me – I have to dive in. I wrote a bit of an outline so that I did not miss anything and then opened a number of tabs in Firefox so that I could move seamlessly from one idea to the next. This worked fairly well, but I had to record several times because at first, I could not recognize when the recording had started, then I was forgetting to include some things, and towards the end, I was losing my voice due to coughing with the cold I picked up last week. After all of the battles with recording, I finally had a finished recording which I now needed to put together on the timeline. This part wasn’t too bad, but it was difficult to align the video with the audio sometimes and took a bit of fine-tuning.

When I finally had all of the information that I wished to include, I went to produce the video. The rendering took a really long time and then was in a format that did not recognize, which was frustrating since is where Camtasia suggests you upload your video to and I had chosen the format that Camtasia suggests. After re-rendering several times, in various formats, and then changing how I got the video into, I had my first video ready. Whew!! One more to go – oh no!

Actually, when you consider that I didn’t spend tonnes of time learning all of the features of Camtasia, the videos turned out alright.  I hope to spend some more time tinkering with Camtasia and see if there is an easier way to render, because this part really made my computer work (it was humming and I was ready for it to either start hovering or go up in smoke).

Anyways, in the end, I created the two videos that I was aiming for, so I am happy despite my struggles.


Jing and Ning

February 29, 2008

It seems funny that out of all of the tools available on Web 2.0, I have been working for the past few days on the rhyming pair – Jing and Ning. I just wanted to share my experiences using them since I am a new user for both tools.

I decided to try out Jing to create a screencast for our collaborative class wiki project in EC&I 831. I had downloaded Jing a while ago, but hadn’t really found a suitable time to use it. I decided that I should try it out to show how to sign up to use Ning, which is a website where you can create your own social network based on a specific interest or focus. Since I had created my own Ning for my Major Digital Project, I thought it would be useful for my own development also.

I found that Jing was fairly easy to use. I read a few FAQ on the website and went through the “Getting Started Stuff“. I played around a few times just to get my microphone set properly and stop stuttering through it with the “uhs” and “ums” which were quite frequent! After the initial few hiccups, I got through the points I wanted and had used up the 5 minute limit for the screencast.

Some lessons learned though and the hard way. DO NOT embed this on a wiki. The screen size is huge and I ended up wiping out the menu on the page that lets you navigate and therefore edit the page – oops! I ended up doing a work around and renaming the page from social networks to social networking and adding the screencast as a link. The other issue I had was trying to figure out where my screencast was. Jing uses to host the items that people create. Once I figured that out, it is as easy as logging into and clicking on your project. Then at the bottom of that screen if you click on details, it displays the information for the URL, the embed code or to email it. In the end, it worked and I was inspired to add more information to the page and hope to add more when I can.

I hope to play more with screencasts and wanted to try out Camtasia Studios, however, that is not offered up free anymore, so it is back to the drawing board. Going to check out some of the ones listed on this site. If you have tried any out, I would be interested to hear your opinions on them.