How to Record a Presentation with Webcam, Narration, and More

Nearly 90 percent of people put “quite a bit” or “a huge amount” of effort into their presentations.

And whether you’re creating a presentation to report data to your team or teach a course, recording your presentation offers a number of benefits.

You can record a presentation in real-time as you present, or do it in advance to leverage the flipped model or make your presentation available on-demand.

While there are a number of ways to record a presentation, I’ll give you my favorite way to record a high-quality presentation in PowerPoint with audio and video. And I’ll even give you my top five reasons why you should record your next presentation.


How to record a presentation from PowerPoint with audio and webcam

Step 1: Set up your presentation video recording

There are a few different ways to record a presentation if you want it to feel professional and polished. First, you’ll need a screen recording and video editing tool. I’d recommend using Camtasia since it lets you record your voice over your slide show all directly inside PowerPoint.

When you install Camtasia, you’ll have the option to include a PowerPoint Add-in Toolbar. The Camtasia Add-in Toolbar allows you to start, stop, and control your recordings right from within PowerPoint — avoiding the need to switch between applications.

screenshot showing the Camtasia add-in toolbar

Just open the presentation you want to record and locate the add-in toolbar under the add-ins tab. If you don’t see the add-in toolbar, you may need to enable it. To do this, go to File > Options > Add-ins. Click on the Manage dropdown, select Disabled Items, then click Go. If the Camtasia Add-in is listed, select it, and click Enable.


Step 2: Customize your recording options

Now let’s walk through each of the options on the toolbar before we begin recording.

Screenshot showing the PowerPoint Add-in Toolbar

Record audio

If you’re planning to record audio, here’s where you select your microphone. The microphone button controls whether or not audio is recorded as part of your presentation.

When you enable it, you’ll be able to record voice narration using a microphone.
Be sure to speak into the mic to test it, and adjust the volume slider as needed. By leaving this box checked, any system audio that comes out of your speakers will also be captured and added to the Timeline.

Record webcam

If you have a webcam attached to your computer, you can also record camera video during the presentation. This video clip can then be used as a Picture-in-Picture clip, perfect for showing the presenter during the presentation.

Screenshot showing the webcam while recording a presentation with the Camtasia PowerPoint Add-in Toolbar

For further customization of your recording settings, click the Recording Options button. Other options include recording with a watermark, opening your recording in Camtasia when you’re finished, and selecting your video frame rate.

There are a few more options to further customize the video and audio settings but leaving everything at the default settings should work just fine.

The bottom of this window displays optional hotkeys to start, pause, and stop your PowerPoint recording. You can customize these to whatever you like, but be sure not to select hotkeys that are already being used by your system.

Click OK to close this window and save any changes made to the settings. You’re now ready to record your presentation.


Step 3: Record you Presentation

Finally, click the Record button in the toolbar to launch your slides into a presentation mode and start recording. When you exit presentation mode, or reach the end of your slideshow, can either continue recording your screen, or to stop and save your file.

You can also turn any presentation into a video by importing it into Camtasia.

How to turn your PowerPoint presentation into a video

Another method is to create a video from your presentation is to import your PowerPoint slides into Camtasia. Then you can create your video in the editor.

The tutorial below walks your through the process.


Need a quick and dirty presentation recording?

Think of this as the informal approach. This method is good enough if your recording will only be distributed internally, and probably not viewed more than one time by anyone. Or if you are practicing your presentation delivery, for example.

You’ll need a screen capture tool. For this sort of recording, I’d recommend using Snagit. You can create the recording in real time. Simply launch Snagit, click the record button, and walk through the presentation. After you can save it as an MP4 (or uploading directly to a hosting site such as YouTube or Screencast).

View the tutorial below to see just how easy it is to record a presentation with Snagit.


Top 5 reasons to record your presentation

1. Practice makes perfect

children practicing soccer in a field

You’ve heard this your whole life, and it’s especially true when it comes to public speaking.

If you are someone who gets nervous talking in a group setting, recording a presentation is a great way to practice!

Record yourself, play it back and take notes, and then try it again, implementing your own feedback. Rinse and repeat until you’re feeling confident and comfortable.

2. Deliver a consistent message

Recording a presentation is a great way to ensure that you are delivering a consistent message to every audience member.

Imagine you need to share information with multiple teams across your organization. If you can deliver your message consistently by recording your presentation, and sharing the same version with everyone, it will provide a shared understanding.

Bonus tip: try recording your presentation, providing time for your audience to view it, and then scheduling a meeting for follow up questions and discussion. This can make for a more engaging experience around the topic, and one that’ll likely resonate more with your audience. Plus, by providing everyone the option to view the presentation at a time that’s convenient for them, you’ve given them the flexibility to finish up a project or watch it in their down time, rather than forcing them into a meeting.

3. Quick and simple way to re-purpose content

Is your PowerPoint deck full of information that would be beneficial to the public? Want to share it with the world? Re-purpose your content!

Start by recording the presentation. Next, transcribe the audio. There are affordable services that will do this for you. is one good option. Once you have your transcript, post it on your blog! It may need a little clean up, but the general sentiment shouldn’t need alteration.

If it makes sense to do so, you can even embed the presentation recording with the post as well, as a visual aid. This allows for consumption options–people can read or watch. Or they can consume it in both forms! Everyone wins.

4. Improved record keeping

Need to look back at your approach from Q2 as you continue your annual planning?

Recording a presentation allows you to maintain an archive.

Room full of archived documents

This is helpful in a couple ways. If there are subject matter experts within your organization, you can capture their knowledge. And in the case of important staff meetings, such as the company’s 5-year business plan, recording the slide deck allows new hires to get up to speed quickly by viewing the content during their onboarding.

5. Now it’s a video!

It’s important to point out, since you may be thinking of your content as a presentation recording. You know what else it is? It’s a video!

GIF of a very excited person

And did you know that people actually perform better when information is presented as a visual or video? Our global research report shows that not only do people prefer information presented as visual content vs. text, but they actually perform tasks better and retain the information longer. You can check out the full report here.

If you aren’t creating video content yet, it’s time to start. And recording a presentation is an easy way to begin. You can even create PowerPoint slide decks with the sole intention of creating a video.

Record your PowerPoint presentation with TechSmith

You can try any of our screen recorders for free. Get everything you need to record on your presentations on Windows or Mac. Record your presentation today.

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How to Make a GIF from a Video in 3 Easy Steps

In the pantheon of great social media content types, there are many respectable entries. There is the viral video, the great image and caption screenshot, the clever tweet, and even the tried and true blog post. But nothing has achieved the popularity or shown to have such awesome versatility and creative power as the animated GIF.

Of course, it wasn’t always so. The animated GIF is, if anything, a storied file type.

Popular in the early ages of the Internet as a way to add texture and pizzazz to dull websites, they fell by the wayside as other, more exciting innovations gave web and content creators new means to express their creativity.

At a point, many people maligned the lowly GIF as childish and outdated, a relic of a bygone era. They scoffed at the idea they were ever considered acceptable in professional spaces.

But a funny thing happened with the emergence of Web 2.0 and social media. The GIF transformed, like some sort of Internet-age caterpillar, crawling into a networked cocoon and experiencing a creative, social, and even intellectual metamorphosis.

Over time, GIFs started popping up in blog posts and quickly became ubiquitous throughout social media. People used them to express abstract emotions and reactions to particular experiences. The previously forgotten GIF became a darling of the social media world for it’s empathy, humor, and uncanny relatability.

In short, the animated GIF, perhaps more than any other file type, came to define the social media era.

Nowadays, it seems there isn’t a situation where a well-played GIF doesn’t make sense. Savvy social media users harvest every corner of pop culture, lifting clips from classic television shows and movies, to create GIFs that take on all facets of human emotion and experience.

Recently, the use of animated GIFs has broadened beyond the social media posts and memes that brought them back to prominence, making them even more relevant.

GIFs often appear in technical documentation, provide clarity in workplace communications, brands use them to show personality, and they enhance learning.

Considering the animated GIF’s astounding popularity and seemingly infinite usage potential, everyone should know how to make a high quality animated GIF from a video. . It’s an easy process and the steps below show you how to do it with TechSmith Snagit and Camtasia.

How to Make an Animated GIF with Snagit

Snagit allows you to turn a section of or an entire video into an animated GIF. It also provides options for customizing the final product, like adding a fade to black at the end of the video. The following gives a quick overview on making an animated GIF. For more detailed instructions, check our our tutorial.

Step 1
Open a video in the Snagit Editor or use Snagit to record one.

Step 2
With the video open in Snagit Editor, separate the red and green playhead handles, placing them at the start and end time of the portion of the video you want to make into a GIF. Then, click the GIF button. If you want to make your entire video into a GIF, skip this step.

Step 3
Choose whether you want to create your GIF from the selection or the whole video. Use the dialog that appears to make customizations like a fade to black at the end of the clip. When done, click Create.

Snagit produces your GIF and displays it on the canvas. Now you can share it with the world!

How to Make an Animated GIF with Camtasia

Camtasia also allows you to create a GIF from a video. With Camtasia, you can turn a single clip into a GIF, or select a particular portion of a video project and export it as a GIF.

Step 1
Open Camtasia and record a video, add a clip to the timeline, or simply open a project you want to export a portion of as a GIF.

Step 2
Separate the red and green playhead handles to select the portion of the timeline that you want to make into a GIF.

Step 3
Open the Share menu, select Produce Selection As…, click Next, and choose the GIF option from the list. Click Next to advance through the production wizard options, customizing what you want along the way, and then click Finish at the final screen.

Camtasia produces a GIF of your selection, which you can now send to friends, colleagues, or simply share on social media.

Thanks for reading this post on GIF creation! If you’ve made it this far, perhaps you’re interested in a couple of our other posts on animated GIFs and how to use them.

How to Post Animated GIFs on Social Media Networks
This post explains the basics of posting animated GIFs on popular social media sites and how they behave on those sites. There are some great tips!

Animated GIFs vs. Screencast Videos
Jake Miller, an Authorized Google Apps for Education Trainer, explains how he went from sharing screencast videos to sharing GIF versions of his videos and why he made the switch.

The post How to Make a GIF from a Video in 3 Easy Steps appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

How to Write a Script for a Video (With a Free Template!)

Have you ever tried to write a script? Or have you hit the record button on your computer only to instantly realize you don’t know what to say?

Without a script, you may feel like you are treading water, floundering.

It can be, well, kind of awkward.


But it doesn’t have to be.

An unscripted video wastes time, effort, and is painful to watch.

The first thing you want to do before you create a video is write a script, even if it’s brief. And although writing a script can seem daunting, don’t worry. You just need a starting point.

Writing a video script is a lifeline for anyone to be more confident and articulate when recording their video.

The reality is, whether you’re writing a screenplay, tv shows, a movie, or a simple explainer video, a good script makes all the difference.

They all contain similar types of information, like who’s speaking, what’s being said, where it’s being said, and other critical pieces of information.

Now, all this information can be super helpful, however, if you’re not creating film that’s for entertainment you probably don’t need all the nitty-gritty details.

You only need a few simple steps and tips to write a great, easy to understand video script.

Video Script Template: Our free script writing course breaks down how to write a script and gives you a perfect script template for all of your video projects. Get started today.

How to write informational or instructional video scripts

Another type of script format is for informational, like product demos or explainer videos. These can be great whether you need show off products or services.

You can format your script in a variety of ways, but generally you need to have the same information.

Your script should include a few components:

  • the words that will be spoken
  • information about the words
  • where they are said
  • how they are said
  • and any other helpful information information

You may also want to include an easy way to reference each line or sentence.

When you write a script, you can use whatever format best works for your needs.

I’ll walk you through just one example of a script that works particularly well for screen recording videos, animations, and videos that are mostly voiceover.

write a script man sitting down and writing

Step 1. Find a good spot to write a script

When it comes time to write your script use any tool you’re comfortable with, including pen and paper.

And maybe choose a writing environment that’s comfortable for you, a place you can focus and be creative. When you write, consider what you don’t have to say out loud. A lot of your message will be shared through visual components.

Keep your writing conversational and think about the words you’re choosing.

Step 2. Be conversational

Scripts that we like tend to use words that are specific and focused. You should probably avoid buzzwords cliches and generalizations. You want your audience to clearly understand you but not roll their eyes.

Step 3. Tell a story

When you’re trying to explain something clearly make sure to follow a good story structure. Make sure your script, no matter how short, has a beginning, middle, and end. That will give the audience watching your video a familiar path to follow.

And who doesn’t love a good story?

write a script editing paper script with pen marks

Step 4. Edit

As you choose your words make each word work for a spot on the page.

They need to have purpose.

Once you have your first draft go through your script and start editing, rearranging, and cutting. As you cut take out as much as you can if it’s not moving you towards your goal consider cutting it.

Step 5. Read your script out loud

I usually like to read my script out loud but make sure my message flows. It’s good to get away from people to make sure you know you can practice in peace.

I recommend you read your script out loud at least one time before recording or moving on in your process. Even if you’re not the one who will read it, this is a way to make sure your message flows.

Words that flow on paper don’t always flow when they’re said out loud. You may find that there are changes you need to make based on how difficult particular phrases are to say.

It’s easier to change it now than during recording.

Step 6. Get feedback

So, you built your script, you’ve read it out loud, you probably think you’re done right?

Finished? Well, not so fast.

If you haven’t you also need to ask someone not involved in the writing to read the script.

Even if you are seeing an angry mob, it’s most likely your imagination running wild.


Don’t get me wrong, most people will want to tear your script apart. But I found as much as it hurts sometimes, it has always made my scripts better.

You can get your feedback through email, Google Docs, or other online methods, however, my preferred method is the table read.

Step 7. Set up a table read

For the table read gather your reviewers, and whoever you choose is up to you, but make sure that our individuals who will contribute and have the projects interests in mind.

Gather your group, and read through your script out loud. As you read watch their faces, listen to their comments, take it all in. Now’s not the time to defend your decisions but ask questions and get clarification.

If the conversation gets stuck there are a few questions to have in your back pocket:

  • Is the message clear?
  • Does the script make sense and achieve its intended goal?
  • Were there words that they would change?

After you get the feedback, decide what feedback to incorporate. You can take a little or a lot, it’s up to you.

Even after running the table read you may want the person recording the script to review it as well. Ask them to read it out loud. They may find parts of the script to be a mouthful.

In an ideal situation you’ll be there listening and making notes. As they read it out loud make adjustments on emphasis and word choices if needed. And as you listen you may find those things you can cut, clarify, or points you’ve missed.


A good script will save you from many problems. Most of all, it will keep you on track and make your message clear.

Oh, and after this entire blog post, if I still haven’t convinced you to write a script, you can always create a basic outline. And that may be just enough to keep you afloat.

Video Script Template: Our free script writing course breaks down how to write a script and gives you a perfect script template for all of your video projects. Get started today.

The post How to Write a Script for a Video (With a Free Template!) appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

5 Steps to Creating a Customer Story Video

The best person to sell your product or service is not you. In fact, they probably don’t even work for you. You best generator of new sales is likely an existing customer who has been wowed with a great customer experience and an outstanding product. 

People trust their friends. They even trust friends-of-friends. They want to hear or read good reviews from existing customers. To a cynical ear, “You’ll be so happy with us!” can sound self-serving and fake when it’s an inside salesperson saying it. So, what’s a marketer to do? 

Let customers say it for you!

There are a number of ways to have current fans advocate for you when reaching new audiences. User-driven marketing can be as simple as using a quote from them on your website or retweeting something positive they said about you. Today however, let’s talk about one of the bigger-ticket items you should consider: a Customer Story video. 

If you’re considering hiring a professional video crew to do this for you, skip to step five.

First time creating a video? TechSmith Academy is available to watch free of charge. It walks you through everything you need, from scripting and storyboarding, through mics, lighting, setup, and editing, and even comes with helpful downloads. You might find this series useful if you’re nervous about creating your first videos. 

Otherwise, here are 5 (relatively) easy steps to set up your customer story for success:

1. Prep (Do that due diligence!)

Start with those clients we already discussed, who love what you do and rave about you online. Before selecting them as your subject, research who they are, what they do, where they work, and how long they’ve been a fan of yours. Get to know your customer before asking them to appear in a video for you. 

Once you have them on board, you always need to have talent release forms and location release forms on hand to make sure you’re set in any legal scenario that may arise. 

2. Script/Outline (Even reality shows have a plan!)

Once you know they’ll make a good fit, then you’ll want to come up with some questions directed at their specific experience. Remember, the focus of this really is the client, but your product plays a prominent role in their success.

Ask them for a quick, one or two sentence elevator pitch, to explain who they are and what their company does (if that’s where they’re using your product). One or two sentences can be tough, so they may need your help boiling it all down.
For example, you’d rather hear “We manufacture the best hiking gear in the northwest,” than have them go into detail about every type of coat, backpack, and accessory they sell. Keeping it short, and direct will move the interview forward. 

Question to ask should aim at summarizing what they struggled with before being introduced to you or your product, so you can quickly show how you helped solve it for them. Show how they’re working more efficiently now, and how your product played a part in that.

3. Film (An important facet of any video!)

Without a large crew, here are some tips to consider as best practices:

  • If you don’t have professional film gear, produce your video on your smartphone. Most smartphones take high-resolution videos. You can find tutorials online showing how to get the most out of yours.
    If you go this route, I still recommend having a tripod, or propping your phone on a steady surface. You don’t want to hold your phone while also trying to have a conversation with your interview subject; it’s distracting and you’ll end up with shaky footage.
  • Find a well-lit area. There should be windows nearby to let light in on your subject and background, but avoid showing windows in your shot so they don’t wash-out your image, or distract our focus.

  • Make them comfortable, but not too comfortable. Slouching in couches or overstuffed chairs doesn’t make anyone look good. You and your talent should face each other, on stools or solid chairs, with your camera/phone next to you (hopefully on that aforementioned tripod), pointed at them. You need to be able to see to make sure it continues recording, but it can come off as rude to stare at your camera. Instead, focus on having an engaging conversation with your interviewee, as if the camera isn’t even there.
  • If you have a microphone, use it. If you don’t have an external mic, definitely think about getting one. Good audio doesn’t necessarily guarantee your video will be better, but bad audio does make for a bad video, every time.
  • Have a conversation! Use your script as a guide, but let the conversation flow naturally so if something unplanned and interesting is brought up, you can explore it more deeply.

Gather B-Roll (additional footage).


(Examples of B-Roll from TechSmith Academy)

Now that you have your interview as the “A-Roll” or main video, you still need b-roll. We don’t want to watch a talking head for your entire video. Film your customer at work, using your product. Show them doing the things they talked about in your interview. Show their office, giving context to where they work, and the building from outside. Get creative with your shots. Make sure to get plenty.

4. Edit (Re-shape what they said, without changing it!)

First time editor? We recommend TechSmith Camtasia, but whatever you use, the best way to get started is by diving in and trying it! There are, of course, some editing best practices to consider, but in principle you want to shorten a long interview into a digestible shorter video. Just because you spoke with your client for 45 minutes, doesn’t mean you’re going to make a 45-minute video. Not even 30 or 15. Select the best of what they said, and reorder it to tell a story. A good way to structure it is “Who they are” as your beginning, “what their problem was and how you solved it” in the middle, and end with “our solution made their life better.”

5. Share (Let the world know!)

A customer story video is most likely going to fall within the Solution Aware and/or Product Aware stages of your marketing awareness funnel. Make sure you get it in front of the right set of eyes, whether you’re paying to advertise it on Facebook or YouTube, sharing it on your website, or another avenue to get it out to the audience it would most benefit.

However you approach it, remember: this video may seem like it’s about you, but it’s about your customers, both old and new. The best thing you can do is to step aside, and let potential clients empathize with a voice they are likely to trust.

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How to Maintain Visual Consistency in Your Documentation

A styled, cohesive document has the power to influence its readers, not only inform them. In this blog post, I’ll cover how you can leverage the power of branding in your documentation for visual consistency. I’ll also cover how you can style graphics with TechSmith Snagit so that all your visuals reinforce your brand.

Show Your True Colors

Branding holds a lot of power, and maintaining a cohesive brand is the even said to be the key to unlocking brand success. If a brand’s elements are inconsistent across platforms, it can cause confusion and may foster distrust.

Thankfully, maintaining visual consistency in your documentation doesn’t have to be challenging. Snagit makes creating visuals with a consistent look and feel a breeze.

It only takes a couple minutes to create a Snagit quick style theme with your brand colors. That way you can avoid eye-balling brand colors and ensure that you’re always on brand. Whenever you need to edit a screenshot or image, you’re arrows, shapes, and text styles will be in your exact brand colors.

Check out this video tutorial to learn how to create a quick style theme.

Add Style

Your brand is more than color. You likely have other stylistic markers that make up your brand identity.

Does your company use drop shadows, or do the graphics look flat? Are there round edges incorporated in your logos and designs, or are the edge angles sharp? You may think these visuals effects are too minor to matter, but when you include them in your documentation it adds a level of professionalism.

To edit a shape, annotation, or text style in Snagit, click on the tool and select a style, then adjust its properties. Once you fine tune your look, save the quick style so that you can reuse it later.

Want to be an all star? Do this for all your styles and then export them for your whole team or company.

Snagit Quick Styles

Apply Borders and Effects

Sometimes your documentation style guide needs to go into more detail.
Decide whether or not you want to add borders to your images to create visual boundaries on the page. You also may want to decide how you want to style cropped images. Do you want to apply a torn-edge effect to indicate that the image was cropped?

Snagit Torn Effect

These and other effects are functions in Snagit Editor in the Effects pane. Deciding up front how you intend to use effects will again help you create a consistent look and feel and strengthen the appeal of your document.

By following these simple steps, you can help build brand recognition one piece of collateral at a time.

The post How to Maintain Visual Consistency in Your Documentation appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

5 Types of Instructional Videos and When to Use Them

Whether you need to demonstrate a technical process for an online class or teach your grandma how to use her email, a video is often a great way to get the job done. The key: Choosing and making the right type of video for the task. To help you, I’ll walk through five of the most common types of instructional videos and when to use them.


What is it: Microvideos are short instructional videos that focus on teaching a single, narrow topic. They’re usually less than a minute long and appeal to today’s media consumers, who have notoriously short attention spans.

When to use it: Anytime you need to teach a simple concept in a few steps. You might make a one-off microvideo that teaches a new software feature. Or for more complex concepts, create a series of microvideos that splits a topic into logical chunks, with a microvideo for each. As instructors shy away from long-form video, this offers them the same outcomes with better engagement from their audience. This strategy also allows for more control over the pace of learning and makes the learning content easier to consume. For more examples of how to use microvideos, check out our post 8 Surprising Ways to Use Microlearning Activities in Your Online Training Course.

Example: This microvideo is short and to the point. It teaches one task and doesn’t include any unnecessary explanation.

Tutorial Video

What is it: A tutorial video is the go-to instructional method for teaching a process or walking through the steps needed to complete a task. Usually between 2-10 minutes long these videos leverage multiple instructional methods, such as direct instruction, follow-along type guidance and even quizzing and interactive elements. Sometimes referred to as “how-to” videos, the best ones are carefully planned and have high production quality. Interested in learning how to make your own? Check out our tutorial on how to make a tutorial.

When to use it: Tutorials videos can teach just about anything. No hard-and-fast rules exist for deciding when to use them, however, there are a few key factors that can help make the decision.

First, is the topic or process best taught through video? Does it need to be communicated visually, or could a written tutorial accomplish the same goal. If you can’t confidently say yes to video, then a quick written tutorial might be a more affordable option.

Second, are there content expectations that require video as the instructional method? For example, our users expect video tutorials that cover the new features we release with our software. This incentivizes us to use video and plays an important role in our decision making process.

Finally, do you have the time, budget and know-how (it’s simple with Camtasia) to create and maintain the tutorials?

Example: In this example, the instructor introduces the software, then walks the user through the steps of recording, editing and sharing their video. It’s a straightforward tutorial video that exemplifies the direct instruction often seen in these types of videos.

Training Video

What is it: Training videos are designed to improve employees’ workplace skills. They commonly cover interpersonal topics, such as compliance and harassment training, or job related topics, such as hardware and software training. Similar to tutorials, training videos leverage multiple instructional techniques, such as direct instructions, follow-along type guidance, quizzing, and interactive elements. However, unlike tutorials, training videos often use footage of real people to help bolster the connection between the trainer and trainee. Interested in learning more about training videos and how to make your own? Check out our tutorial on how to make a training video.

When to use it: Training videos can teach just about any process. Training videos are often used in situations that lend themselves to live video, where the interpersonal connection will improve the content retention.

Example: This is a fun training video from Air New Zealand that focuses on teaching people how to be safe in their airplanes. It plays heavily to the nostalgia of the Lord of the Rings movies in an effort to connect with the audience.


What is it: A video composed primarily of screen recordings designed to teach someone to perform a task or share knowledge. Screencasts tend to be quick, informal, and are usually intended for a smaller audience than tutorial videos. This format lends itself to just-in-time teaching, where an instructor can quickly create a screencast to answer a question or clear up a problematic concept. Often, screencasts are considered “disposable” videos, meaning they can be made quickly, with lower production value, for a specific purpose, and their lifespan is short.

When to use it: Screencasts are great for quick, informal instruction. When the audience is small and the stakes are low, a quick screencast is a great way to visually communicate an idea or solve a question/problem.

Example: This is a quick example of a screencast that demonstrates changing the user interface theme of Snagit from light to dark. The video is short, off-the-cuff and to the point.

Presentation & Lecture Capture

What is it: A recording of a lecture or presentation to make it available for an audience to consume or review after the fact. This might be as simple as recording just the audio for a presentation, or as advanced as recording PowerPoint point slides, a webcam and a separate microphone all at once. Lecture and presentation capture tend to be longer than a tutorial video and span the length of the class or presentation. This makes them more time intensive to consume and requires a higher level of investment from the audience. To brush up on your presentation or lecture captures skills, check out our blog post The Complete Guide to Lecture Capture.

When to use it: To make a presentation or lesson available for later review or to make it available to an audience who couldn’t attend the live event.

Example: This TED talk given by Sir Ken Robinson is a prime example of a knowledge share that that was intended for a larger audience than could be present during the presentation.


With the five types of instructional videos in hand, it’s time to get out there and start creating some video! If you don’t know where to start, head over to the new TechSmith Academy. This totally free program walks you through the entire video production process and provides tons of tips and tricks along the way. Happy editing!

The post 5 Types of Instructional Videos and When to Use Them appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

How to Train Faculty to Create Quality Online Courses

As online learning continues to grow, it’s more important than ever to make sure instructors know how to create quality online courses, including custom video. Faculty new to video need guidance on how to use new technology and connect with students online, while tech-savvy instructors seek ways to make their online courses more engaging.

Training faculty to create quality online courses, however, can be challenging. It can involve overcoming barriers in technology, workflow, student-instructor relationships, and mindset. From colleges across the country, below are strategies and techniques to help get all your faculty to create quality online courses.

How to Train Faculty to Use New Video Software

With numerous schedule and research obligations, it can be tough to motivate instructors to learn yet another new software tool. It really helps to provide training options for different learning styles and preferences, so each instructor can self-serve as much as possible and pick the method that works best for them to learn the software needed for quality online courses.

Provide readable and watchable instructions (plus FAQs)
Create clear, written directions with high-quality screenshots. Create video tutorials, too (screencasts). Both the readable and watchable versions should show faculty where to click for each step, and what to do next.

Including visuals is key. According to new research by behavioral economist Dr. Alastair Goode, two-thirds (67%) of employees are better at completing tasks when information includes text with images (screenshots) or video than by text alone. House instructions in an intuitive place – preferably, in your LMS or other hosting location that is near where they’ll be making their own quality online courses.

Pro tip: Make training relatable with webcam
Include your face from your webcam when recording training videos. Researchers from MIT and the University of Rochester found people pay more attention to videos with a ‘talking head.’ Insert webcam footage as picture-in-picture, or toggle between the webcam and screen when demonstrating steps.

Video training is also a great way to reach out-of-town instructors. “Many of our adjuncts aren’t local in Odessa, they are all over the United States,” explained Jennifer Lee, Web Design and Instructional Technology Specialist at Odessa College “It’s easier to reach adjuncts with video – record workshops and put them in BlackBoard.” Include a table of contents, so faculty can quickly click through topics to watch or re-learn content.

Explain the entire workflow across tools (not just each separate tool)
One of the most common errors when training instructors is showing faculty how to use each digital tool, but not the overall workflow across all tools. Once they record their video, what file type should they save it in, so it’s an acceptable file format for the Learning Management System (LMS)? How do they go back and make changes once a video is saved? Make sure to include enough instructions about every step along the way.

Pro tip: Work with what you have (but plan to get integrated video)
It’s worth saying that one of the keys to successful training is to start with a video platform that is easy to use in the first place. Being able to create and view videos within the system faculty already use (LMS, etc.) is one of the single biggest things you can do to increase faculty adoption.

At the University of Colorado Denver, administrators didn’t see broad adoption until they made their video platform work with their LMS. “It wasn’t until we installed the LTI integration into all of our Canvas courses that faculty usage really took off,” explained Alex Karklins, CU Online Academic Services Senior Professional. Boise State University had a similar experience. They saw much greater adoption after making the switch to an easier-to-use lecture capture system.

Skip all-university invites
Instead, train select groups at a time. Training by department, unit, or other work-related group lets faculty learn in a familiar setting with people they know (as opposed to a huge group of people from all departments who they may not know very well).

“We found that some users who were uncomfortable using new technology were a little more open to trying it if they had friends/coworker who were also going to be trying it,” explains Jennifer. This also lets you provide specific instructions for each department’s particular software programs and workflow (such as nursing faculty who use their smartphone to capture practical skills).

Pro tip: Where do I host training?
Host training in a place that replicates the tools (internal network, or other department-specific system) they’ll need when they’re on their own. Computer labs are great for this. You can also provide dedicated recording areas, or just have faculty meet anywhere and bring their laptop.

Plan for online-only training, too
Remote instructors need more than just on-demand instructions. Record a hands-on workshop session and include it along with written and watchable instructions, as the core training package. When they need assistance, record just-in-time video responses to their questions, and share with the entire remote group.

One-on-one, case-by-case
A smaller percentage of staff will need one-on-one assistance. Plan for this ahead of time – budget the resources to meet with them about their specific questions.

Odessa College offers these personalized training sessions as a final approach to onboarding. “These sessions are usually short and focused, but the faculty seem to find them very helpful,” explains Jennifer. “For many of them, once we show them how easy it is to create that first video, it boosted their confidence a great deal (and even got them excited). They started doing more and more on their own with less guidance from us.”

Some instructors philosophically resist new technology. They’re a challenging set to turn around, however, they are usually a small group. Provide specific examples of how quality online courses will benefit their department and them, professionally and personally. Remind them that technology amplifies the instructor’s importance within a course (not the other way around). Sometimes the best progress happens slowly. Leif Nelson, Director of Learning Technology Solutions at Boise State University, explains that it doesn’t always happen all at once. “There’s definitely a step approach to get people used to what’s possible with technology.”

Pro tip: Employ your rock stars
Faculty who have been creating quality online courses for a long time can be great promoters of your new software system. Encourage these ‘rock-star instructors’ to mentor other faculty to create their first videos.

How to Train Faculty to Build a Quality Online Presence

Now that faculty know how to use the technology-side of things, it’s time to tackle the next step – the elements they’ll need to build quality online courses.

With the right strategies, instructors can interact with online students, be attuned to their questions, and give personalized feedback, all while measuring participation and comprehension. Here are time-tested components you can guide faculty to include when they begin creating quality online courses.

Intro video
Recommended as the first video to create and share in any online course, this lets faculty introduce themselves and talk about goals for the course. Plus, instructors can share a bit about what makes them unique, so students get to know them right away.

welcome video for quality online courses

Tracy Schaelen, Distance Education Faculty Coordinator at Southwestern College, provides a basic welcome video to all her online students.

Course navigation video
In this video, faculty can cover common questions such as ‘Where do you go to find the syllabus?”, “How do I submit an assignment in the LMS?,” and “Where is the lab schedule?” Instructors will notice fewer repetitive questions being asked about course logistics, contact scenarios, and office hours (virtual or in person).

One Odessa College nursing instructor created a quick smartphone video when her blended learning students had trouble locating her on campus. It walked students through the labyrinth of office hallways to get to her door. “It was different, but people loved it because it showed she’s a real person,” said Shawn Shreves, VP of Information Technology, Odessa College. “It made it personal.”

New week, topic, or unit video
Faculty can share their excitement about what’s coming up, so students know what to expect for the unit or week, and feel connected. It sets the right tone for a quality online course, and starts building a personal connection, from the beginning.

Ryan Eash using webcam in his quality online course

Ryan Eash introduces week two of his EDU 651 online course, walking students through what to expect.

Pro tip: When they don’t like the sound of their own voice
Not being comfortable with their own voice is a common complaint you may hear while training faculty to create quality online course videos.

When Stephanie Entringer began recording videos at Southeast Technical University, she was hesitant. “When I was new, video freaked me out. No-one likes to hear themselves.” Soon, she realized that her voice helps build a unique relationship with her online students, and any perceived imperfections weren’t anything to worry about. “We’re all human. It doesn’t have to be perfect.” Encourage them to not only accept their voice, but let their personality shine as they build quality online course content.

Walk through documents
Direct instructors to create personalized ‘explainer’ videos to go along with core course documents (assignments, etc.). These work best as informal, off-the-cuff clips; frequent and personable.

“Students really don’t care if I make a mistake, have a bad hair day, or sneeze on video,” says Tracy Schaelen, Distance Education Faculty Coordinator, Southwestern College. “They want to see me—the real person, not a professional spokesperson.” Instructors can walk students through:

  • Syllabus
  • Course schedule
  • Lab procedures
  • Project or report details
  • Due dates, timelines, and other course goals

Assignment and project feedback videos
Instead of writing assignment feedback, have faculty record their feedback as a quick video. Instructors can record a video of themselves explaining notations in a marked-up written essay, narrate their response to a report or practical skills assignment, or walk through how to correctly do a calculus equation. Students love this type of individualized, conversation-style feedback as part of quality online courses.

Student-created videos
Whether it’s to create a video essay response on literature, prove a complex theorem, or record a group lab project in a blended learning course, tasking students to create their own video assignments helps foster creativity about the subject matter and build digital skills. Faculty can also have students create their own welcome videos, or video responses within discussion threads or forums, for increased student-to-student engagement in a quality online course.

Be responsive
Lastly, it’s hugely important that faculty are reachable and respond quickly to student questions. Huss and Eastep’s study of college students found that students expect email responses from their instructors within 12-24 hours.

In addition to email response times, guide faculty to proactively communicate with students weekly or several times per week, turn around assignment feedback as quickly as possible, and share quiz scores promptly.

How to Train Faculty to Create Engaging Core Course Videos

A huge part of quality online courses are personalized video lessons. Simply assigning PowerPoints, textbook reading, or other written lessons just isn’t enough. Video is essential to bridging the digital distance between instructor and students.

Aim for short, concise video lessons
Instead of recording hour-long lectures at the podium, encourage faculty to create shorter video lessons (around 10 minutes each, or less, according to a study from MIT and University of Rochester) for quality online courses. These mini-lectures are easier for students to comprehend, keep their attention much better than a full-class-length lecture, and make it easier to rewatch topics for test prep.

Faculty can record anything on their screen, right from their own computer – presentation slides, documents, webpages, or any other documents. Or, they can hand-write equations for calculus, physics, and more, right on their screen, as if they are writing on a blackboard.

Make the most of video’s strength – keep it visual
According to research by Richard E. Mayer, professor of psychology at UC-Santa Barbara, the old adage is true about the worth of a picture – people learn more easily from words and images than from words alone, especially when images help us process information.

Diagram of a hydrogen fuel cell in a quality online course

It’s easy to see why students learn the function of a hydrogen fuel cell more easily with narration and the above image, as opposed to with words alone.

Direct faculty to:

  • Use colorful visuals that help students understand concepts (as opposed to only words, or simple icons)
  • Include images, graphs, and diagrams
  • Include their face from their webcam (picture-in-picture, or switch back and forth)
  • Use words sparingly on presentation slides

Compared with a podium lecture, instructors have more control of how they present video lessons in quality online courses. They can use colorful visual aids to make their points, which are often difficult to use effectively in a big lecture hall, as well as music, backgrounds, animations, green screen, and more, to make topics easier to learn.

Pro tip: Bring in content from the web
In addition to their own video lessons, faculty can harness educational video content from YouTube and other places to help demonstrate course concepts. Also known as “bookend-ing,” instructors can add their own introduction clip (to preface the external content) and outro clip (to wrap up what’s been learned), as a supplement to their core lessons.

Using their existing smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device, they can capture labs and practical skills in healthcare, chemistry, culinary, and more.

Instructor Heidi Clippard in one of Mott Community College's quality online courses

Instructors at Mott Community College use the power of video to teach hands-on applications, as seen here by health science professor Heidi Clippard.

Make room for discussions
Have faculty include ways to discuss topics with students, and for students to discuss topics with each other. Discussion boards, forums, and email threads can all work for this within quality online courses. Here’s a few ways to keep discussions lively:

  • Ask open-ended questions (avoid “yes” or “no” questions).
  • Have students add their thoughts to discussions regularly, or set minimums to spark interaction.
  • Faculty can have students lead discussions.
  • Have students record video responses to questions, and share with the class.
  • Use chat or messaging apps, live video cams for group discussions, and video commenting.

Carl Weckerle, Online Learning Director at Macomb Community College, is focused on retention and success in online classes. “Anything that enhances that idea of social presence, especially for online students, would be beneficial. It’s an area of growth for us and I think for online in general, and for community colleges in general.”

Regardless of the method, it’s imperative that faculty are active in class discussion, checking in often, asking meaningful questions, and stirring more conversation.

How to Train Faculty to Measure Quality Online Courses

A crucial component to quality online courses is measuring student outcomes. Are students learning? Are they showing up consistently?

Video viewership is a clear way to gauge basic attendance and ongoing participation. Guide faculty to track (and grade) each student individually regarding:

  • Who watched each video
  • How much they’ve watched
  • When they’ve watched

At Odessa College, instructors monitor viewing percentages to measure online participation and to help identify at-risk students. “We need to know when those students are struggling, when they’re not watching a video, or when they blow a quiz in BlackBoard,” said Shawn. “All that data just gives us more information so we can provide a much quicker response.”

According to Harvard research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), “Enhancing videos with quizzes improves student engagement, reduces mind-wandering by 50%, increases note-taking by 300%, and improves learning outcomes by 30%.”

Direct faculty to include quiz questions directly in their video lessons, to measure learning early and often. Scores can go directly into instructors’ LMS gradebook, and can work for any subject or major of study. Have faculty:

  • Embed quiz questions within their videos (as opposed to have a quiz only at the end). This lets faculty make sure students are actively watching the entire video – they can’t just press ‘play’ and walk away.
  • Ask a mix of choice-type questions and open-ended (essay-type) questions. Quizzes can be formative, summative, qualitative, or quantitative. They can be multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, or open-ended.
  • Tie grade points to quiz results. Tracie Lee, Lecturer in the College of Business and Economics at Boise State University, has found that students won’t take optional quizzes. Instead, she scores them as part of their participation/attendance grade. “Short videos with embedded quiz questions let students interact with the material and get instant feedback on their understanding of a concept,” said Tracie.“It’s amazing how their scores on the video quizzes track how they will do on their exams.”
Tracie Lee’s Business Statistics 207 quality online course video with quizzes

As seen in Tracie Lee’s Business Statistics 207 video above, interactive quizzes throughout measure student comprehension while increasing engagement in the lesson.

Faculty can also do survey/polls after each video lesson to see how many students grasp a specific concept. All of these metrics together show instructors which students are doing well, which ones are getting by, and which are struggling.

Student Feedback, Perception, and Retention
Encourage faculty to gather feedback early and often on the effectiveness of their quality online courses. What are they hearing from students? Faculty can ask for student feedback:

  • At the end of each video and/or video lesson (What did you like about this video? What helped you learn the best?)
  • At the end of each week, unit, or theme
  • Mid-term, or before exam prep
  • At the end of each course

The goal is to ask for feedback often, learn from all feedback, and adjust instruction accordingly.

Third-party verification
Beyond making sure quality online courses meet your own standards, there are several third-party organizations that can check to make sure online programs meet quality guidelines, such as the level and depth of course interactivity, etc. Organizations include Quality Online Learning & Teaching (QOLT), Quality Online Course Initiative (QOCI), Community of Inquiry, and the ever-popular Quality Matters.

Make it Accessible
Ideally, you want an LMS and video platform that allows you to create and share accessible content and includes accessible navigation, screen-reader-friendly web design, playback, and more.

When training faculty to create quality online courses, have them include:

  • Captions for each video – These can be translated by a third-party, automatically generated by your video platform, or written in by hand. An easy-to-use, web-based editor is a huge help to make corrections that are ADA-compliant.
  • Clear titles and descriptions for course videos, syllabus, written assignments, and other materials, so screen readers can navigate the material.
  • Verbal descriptions of anything they are displaying on video (charts, graphs, medical diagrams, etc.), so that visually-impaired students can learn the concepts.

We hope this has been helpful in sparking ways to train your faculty on the technology needed to create quality online courses, the course elements needed, and the mindset for building a quality online course that engages students. You’ll find the methods that work the best for your faculty and staff, and can continue to iterate as you find the best way to do things for your institution.

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How to Get the Perfect Lighting for Video

If you’re just starting out with video production, lighting your video shoot can be tricky. There is a big difference in how our eyes perceive light compared to a camera lens.

Cameras need WAY more light to produce a quality image than you might imagine. But there are further nuances to light and shadow to consider when planning a video shoot.

The biggest favor you can do for yourself is to prepare and plan properly. We’ll guide you through the process we use to get perfect lighting for all your videos.

Free Lighting Course: TechSmith Academy offers you free video courses. Basics: Lighting Your Video, walks you through the entire process.

Step 1: Prepare for the shoot

Whether you’re doing photography or video, it’s a good idea to scout your location ahead of time. Consider the natural lighting entering through windows and casting shadows – be wary that weather can change quickly.

If you have an adequate set of lights (we’ll get into what qualifies as adequate shortly), it’s best to avoid natural light due to its volatile nature. Natural lighting can change in an instant if the sun decides to hide behind clouds, and for video this can be a big issue as lighting changes from shot to shot.

The best shooting environment is one in which you have as much control over lighting as possible.

Step 2: Pick out your lighting options and types


budget At TechSmith we have a drawer full of cheap clamp lights. At around $10 each, these lights are versatile and can be mounted in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, lack of dimming control and diffusion can lead to harsh lighting.

There are a few types of lighting to be aware of as well. Light with no filter is known as hard light. Diffusion helps spread light evenly, creating soft light, and can be improvised even on a budget. So when working with clamps lights, we highly suggest using some type of diffusion material. These lights can also be bounced off a surface like a wall, ceiling, or reflector to create soft light, which is infinitely preferable to blinding your subject and creating an unflattering image.

Mid Range

midrange Sets of purpose-built studio lights can be acquired for $100-$500 with everything you need to set up. These studio lighting kits commonly use large florescent lights and include effective diffusion material.

Kits with included light stands are much better for quickly setting up lighting, and generally provide higher total light output. These lights often have a few switches on the back to control the number of lit bulbs, which provides a greater level of control over your total output.

High End

high end In the higher price range of video lighting kit options, it’s likely you’ll be paying as much for one light as you would for a whole mid-range kit.

In turn, you’ll find many more fancy features, such as full range dimmers, wireless control, ability to change color on the fly, better diffusion and stronger output. Before investing in these lights, it’s a good idea to rent them locally or online and ensure they’ll suit your needs.

If shooting video is something you plan to do on a regular basis, it may be worth the investment. But unless you have specific requirements for these fancier features, it’s a waste of money to invest in such expensive lights when something cheaper will do just as well for basic shoots.

Step 3: Set up 3-point lighting

The most common setup for lights is called 3 point lighting. This configuration consists of a key light, a fill light, and a backlight which can also be called a hairlight.

The key light should be brightest of the three and provides the bulk of light to your subject.

The fill light eliminates shadows caused by the key light. Your fill should be less intense than your key so while it still eliminates shadows, but doesn’t a flat looking shot due to the fill and key lights matching too closely.

The backlight separates your subject from the background, creating depth and also preventing a flat looking shot. Your backlight can be hard light (no diffusion), as it won’t create shadows visible to the camera on the subjects face.

3 point light setup3 point lighting

3 point lighting will serve you well in interview setups, promo videos, webinars, and a variety of other shooting situations. common lighting issues


Step 4: Choose your light color temperature

Not all lights are created equal. Based on the filament in the bulb, lights can appear “cooler” or “warmer” on camera. This is perceivable with the human eye as well.

Consider how a doctor’s office looks (cool fluorescent light) compared to a comfortable living room setting (warm tungsten light.) This concept is called color temperature and can be measured on a scale of kelvin (see image below.)

If avoidable, it’s best not to mix lights of different color temperatures. If lights are mixed temperatures, it can lead to improper color balance which can lead to unnatural looking footage.color temperature picture

Color temperature on a kelvin scale

Step 5: Look out for glare

Glasses wearers, while generally considered to be amicable and friendly folks, can be your worst enemy when it comes to lighting.

Glare on glasses can be a big issue, especially lights with larger diffusion boxes.

One trick that helps with glasses is raising up your lights higher on their stands. If you have someone who can assist, have them raise the lights and look through the camera viewfinder until the light is no longer visible in the glasses lens. If raising the lights doesn’t help, try moving your key and fill lights farther out, while keeping them relatively equal to one another.

In the 3-point lighting image above, your key would be closer to 3:15 and your fill would be 8:45. If your talent is comfortable with removing their glasses, that’s always a good last resort but certainly not always an option.

It’s best to accommodate your shooting subject as best you can before asking them to adjust their appearance for a technical reason.

Next steps

With the basics down, feel free to experiment with lighting that works for you.

Try adding lights to your backgrounds, shaping lights, adding gels, or try green screen!

Want to learn even more? Our free TechSmith Academy course,  Basics: Lighting Your Video, will walk you through the process.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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How to Sync Audio and Video Sources

Nothing turns off viewers faster than a video with bad audio.

If you are recording with mobile devices or lower end cameras, they will most likely have very poor built-in mics that are designed to pick up a wide pattern of sound.

Unless you have a higher end camera that has a built-in shotgun mic, you are going to want consider recording audio separately from your video.

This means that you’ll need to learn how to sync audio files and video clips in your video editing process.

You may think you need complex programs like Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro, but it doesn’t need to be that complicated.

A little bit of knowledge and a simple video editor will go a long way.

Can’t see the embedded video? Watch it on YouTube.

Free Video Course: Learn everything you need to know with our free TechSmith Academy course, Basics: Syncing Audio and Video.

Choose the right microphone

The first thing you’re going to want to do is select the best microphone. Each mic has a different pick-up pattern and connection type so you’re going to want to determine what’s best for your situation.

Lavalier microphone

For one person interviews, I recommend a lavalier or “lav” mic.

These are great for clipping on your subjects shirt and are easily hidden. They do a great job of picking up only the audio that is close by.

Lavalier mic

Shotgun microphone

For capturing location sounds, or dialog between 2 or more people, I recommend a shotgun mic.

Caution though, shotgun mics are very directional, so you need to make sure you’re pointing the mic directly at the sound you want to pick up.

Shotgun mic

Cardioid microphone

And finally you have your traditional hypercardioid mic which is great for your TV journalistic style shoots or stage performances.

Cardioid mic

Select an audio recorder

So you picked out your microphone and now you need a recorder to capture the audio. Here are a few options that I recommend.

Audio recorders

How to sync audio and video sources

microphone in front of computer screen

Step 1: Get good audio

This can be tough. There are so many things that could potentially affect your audio recording. On top of making sure you select the right microphone, you will also need to make sure you select the right location. Here’s a short list of factors you’ll need to watch out for:


Nothing will make a terrible audio experience like wind. Filming an interview outside? Did you bring some wind blocking gear? You will, at the very least need a windscreen, however, the best case scenario would be to find an interview location where the weather is not a factor.


Ambient noise can be terrible to try and eliminate in post production. Some video editors have advanced sound mixing tools, but try to fix as control as possible before the edit. Find a location that is quiet and has low foot traffic to mitigate unwanted sounds.


Yes, this is a real thing! Unless you intend to hear dogs barking or birds chirping during your video, try to find a location where ambient animal sounds are a non-issue. Nothing is worse than having a dog bark when your interviewee gives you a perfect one-liner!

After you have found the right location, you absolutely must do a “sound check”. This means setting up all of your audio recording equipment, recording some test audio and playing that back to assess the quality of the sound. Never jump into your interview without doing a sound check!

Step 2: Import audio

So you’ve just recorded your audio separate from your video?


There are so many video editing software options on the market it can sometimes be hard to choose the best one for your project. If you’re the type of producer who is recording interviews and b-roll, Camtasia may be the best product for you.

With Camtasia, you can import your audio and video tracks independently. If you need to trim a portion of your recording, it’s often easier when the tracks are separate.Then, simply drag each clip onto your timeline.

screenshot of camtasia how to insert media

Step 3: Sync audio with video

The most difficult part of syncing audio with video is actually lining up your audio and video tracks in the timeline. Use the timeline zoom function in Camtasia to begin lining up your audio and video.

You’ll want to make sure that you can scrub through the timeline at frame by frame basis. To do this, zoom all the way in!

Now that you can see each frame and audio spike, it’s time to line up the “Clap Sync”. This is an old school method of syncing your audio to video. You may have even seen this method used in big Hollywood production (see below for the clapboard).

image of a clapboard

The clapboard is used to give editors the visual marker, while the sound produced by the clap provides the audio marker.

On your timeline, you will see an audio spike and in the video you should see your clapboard or hands clapping. This will allow you to sync the video with the audio!

screenshot of Camtasia

If you forgot to include a clap or cue, you’re left trying to find an obvious cough, or louder moment in the audio spike, that you can cue to their mouths movement.

Step 4: Celebrate!

person jumping in celebration

You did it! You synced your audio and video on the timeline. Sometimes it’s just a matter of trimming the ends and exporting, other times you have a lot more editing still to do.

Either way, you are now through the syncing process and ready for what’s next.

Syncing audio and video can seem like a tough and terrible task, but it doesn’t have to be. Use the tried and true method of the clapboard, along with easy to use post production software like Camtasia to get your desired audio and video. This will get you on track to produce great interview footage.

Want to learn more? Our free TechSmith Academy course, Basics: Syncing Audio and Video, will walk you through the process.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Localization, Translation, and Transcreation. What’s the Difference?

So, you may be thinking of going “global”. It’s a big discussion, a huge commitment, and lots to think about. The first question you’ll want to answer is: What does it mean for organization to go global?

Every “thing” that is created for another language market is unique. Do you have a digital software product or a boxed board game? A food item with distribution needs? Or a creative jewelry line to be sold online?

Whatever it is you want to produce for a global audience, you need to begin the process by doing a basic inventory of the scope of the work to define HOW each piece will be translated BEFORE you start localizing content. And, to do this, there are just three basic, but very important, terms you need to understand: localization, translation, and transcreation.

What’s the difference between localization, translation and transcreation?

You will find many, and sometimes differing, online definitions of what these words mean. The subject is both deep and wide, with numerous webinars, books, videos, and whitepapers available on these topics.. But for the sake of clarity and to help you decide which method is best for you, we’re going to keep our definitions  simple.


This is a collective “umbrella” term to encompass all the work and processes that go into making your global strategy a reality. This includes the project plan for the work to be done, the team processes to grow toward scalability and efficiency, encompassing the Localization Model of Maturity (LMM) working with Localization Service Providers (LSPs), translations, etc. Localization is the larger category or “department”, like Marketing or Development.


Translation is the process of putting words or text from one language into another. In the world of Localization, this term infers “directly” or “as-is”. It is pretty much a word-to-word or phrase-to-phrase match taking into account various locale forms of grammar, syntax, etc.

Let’s consider the phrase Where is the restroom? This phrase translates well as-is, though many countries call this room something different, such as bathroom, washroom, toilets.


The process of culturally adapting and translating words, text, images, videos, entire campaigns, etc. from one regional locale into another. In the world of Localization, this term infers “change” or “different”.

Let’s consider the NIKE slogan, Just Do It. What does this mean to you? Ask 10 people what this means, and you will receive 10 very different answers. So, as you may surmise, a direct translation of this elusive slogan would not convey the emotion or personal meaning behind the phrase and it might even end up being ridiculous or offensive. Therefore, an equivalent slogan in other languages was sought. However, for NIKE, translation ultimately proved impossible and they chose to leave this phrase as-is in English for all their target markets.

Transcreation might be a simple change in graphics on your localized webpages, or, it could be completely different products, campaigns, menus, etc. for a global region. Consider this Chinese Pizza Hut breakfast menu webpage. Aside from the red logo image and the words “Pizza Hut”, it doesn’t resemble anything we might know about Pizza Hut in the United States.

Screenshot of what Chinese Pizza Hut represents

Overall, Pizza Hut operates in over 120 countries, each with their own unique website, look, menu, campaigns, etc. What’s more, each of their sites may have several language versions to choose from.

When you consider this scale of this operation, it’s pretty mind boggling. However, it gets even better. Pizza Hut is part of YUM!, the corporation that also owns Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, and more. Overall, they operate in 140 countries and open seven new restaurants around the world each day!

Which is a best fit for you?

Now that you understand more about the two basic ways to take your product to a global audience, your first step is to choose which model to follow to meet your global strategy.

Overall, does your product have a straightforward look, message, or process that is ubiquitous for use around the world? If so, translation should work in 95% of what you need to create for your new market. Software, technology, machinery, technical support, help desks, and instruction manuals are great products to translate since the “how to” is the same in each language. This method is also most cost effective since you typically pay by the word along with some project management fees.

Additionally, these translations are added to your Translation Memory (TM). The TM stores all your words and phrases and you only pay for the first time a word is entered. So, incorporating Controlled Language best practices in translation can really pay off on your bottom line.

Screenshots of Camtasia web page in three different languages

However, if your product, marketing campaigns, logos, slogans, menus, creative descriptions, and web pages need to be changed in any way to meet the market demand in other locales, you have a higher percentage of transcreation needed. The transcreation process often includes market research and analysis, creative writers in the various locales, regional marketing experts and more. Since this is a more hands-on approach to going global, the costs for transcreation services are much higher than translation services. Also, the LSP, advertising companies, etc. are often different since some specialize in one area or another. This means you might be managing and organizing projects across a number of different providers in various time zones.

Screenshots of four different Coca Cola advertisements in various languages

First things first- make an audit sheet

Before your first project is sent off to be translated, you need to know which assets are included and what kind of translation you need. This requires you make a simple audit of your content. It might be a long list, but, that list will grow exponentially with every language you add. So, it’s better to do the audit now, rather than later.

You can use a spreadsheet, like Google Sheets, to list all the content to be localized. Google Sheets also allows others to more easily collaborate with you on the audit process.

  • Include videos, webpages, products, whitepapers, store pages, technical support pages, help files, newsletter version, etc.
  • Use different sheets to keep things organized by category.
  • Make a plan to keep this document well maintained and up to date.
  • In the sheet, create a column for the asset name, file name or URL, file or project location, each language the asset is available in, and whether or not the asset will be translated (TR) or transcreated (CR).

These are just a few things to keep in mind when you start looking at localization for your content. Overall, there’s a huge world of localization out there… but, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Just by learning a few simple terms, you are well on your way to creating a well-organized global plan.

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