Make Your PowerPoint Videos Even Better With Editing Effects

So, you’ve mastered simple screen capture by turning your PowerPoint slides into a video. Why not take your PowerPoint videos to the next level with editing features? Give your slides the polish they need to make them look professional and keep your audience engaged.

According to University of Washington biologist John Medina, a typical audience mentally checks out of a PowerPoint presentation after the first 10 minutes. Luckily, video provides a better solution for creating more engaging content to help keep your audience’s attention. TechSmith Camtasia provides a simple and intuitive way to add effects to a presentation. Below are a few tips on how to add visual interest to your presentation:

Import PowerPoint slides

You can begin by importing your PowerPoint slides directly into Camtasia. Once your media is imported, you can edit and enhance it by dragging your slides into the editing toolbar.

 

Animate with behaviors

Use Camtasia’s Behaviors feature to bring parts of your presentation to life and take it from ordinary to extraordinary.

A behavior is an animation that brings movement to your slides, making it pop on your screen, making it more engaging for your audience.

To add a behavior, click and drag the behavior you wish to use and drag it onto the slide you want to animate. Once added, you can adjust the behavior using the on the properties tab.

 

Annotations

Inserting annotations into your PowerPoint slides helps draw special attention to important information in your presentation.

To insert an annotation, click the annotation tab on the left side of the screen and drag it into the designated slide. You can then re-position and edit the annotation in the properties tab as needed.

 

Add quizzes to increase engagement

When giving a presentation for academics or training, implementing quizzes throughout the presentation can get your audience involved and keep them engaged in your content.

To add a quiz, click the Interactivity tab and choose Add Quiz to Timeline.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of screen capture, it’s time to take your ordinary PowerPoint slides and turn them into an engaging presentation. To add awesome, unique features download TechSmith Camtasia here.

 

 

The post Make Your PowerPoint Videos Even Better With Editing Effects appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

How to Create Visual Process Documentation and Guides

When we complete an important project or process, we always hope for the best results possible. But in the workplace and in life, things rarely go exactly as planned. In those cases, it is still important for us to be productive. Visual Process Documentation helps us do just that. Consider this example:

You’ve just finished designing a complex system to track your office’s productivity. Everyone is proud of you. Your boss even wants to give you a raise. In fact, you’ve done such a great job that she wants you to be in charge of managing the system. But what if you decide to take that vacation you’ve been planning? Or what if you have to call in sick for a day? Even though you’re away, someone still has to be in charge of managing the new system.

In comes Visual Process Documentation. With step-by-step reference guides and materials, the documentation is a very powerful resource to have for many reasons. Tools such as screenshots or quick how-to videos set you and your team for more immediate success. Let’s take a look at some useful information on the use of Visual Process Documentation. You’re in for a treat.

What is Process Documentation?

Kind of an important question. Process documentation is the creation of materials that show the steps and tools used to complete a task or project. Processes that may need to be completed several times should have documentation to make them easily repeatable. The combination of text and visuals in this context is what we call ‘Visual Process Documentation’.

What are some of the advantages of Visual Process Documentation?

Here is what you’re probably wondering: Why does Visual Process Documentation even matter to me? The quick answer is that Visual Process Documentation helps to make processes both better and easier. I think we can all agree that those are two pretty great things. Still, there are many ways in which Visual Process Documentation actually accomplishes both of these goals. I have included a few of those ways in this next section of this post.

Provides a reference guide for what expectations are for process results

Visual Process documentation helps to show what quality of results are expected to result from a process. The documentation shows one possible path geared towards to these goals. Still, this does not mean that the documented process is the only way to our desired result. Visual Process Documentation that lays out the procedures for a process makes it easier to see areas where our time or tools could be used more efficiently in the future.

Offers context for projects and processes

A process may include steps and procedures that apply only to an individual project. While future projects could share many of the same procedures, many things could also apply differently. Some of these differences may even be hard to notice from the outside looking in. Visual Process Documentation makes it easier to compare the circumstances that went into one process versus another process. Doing this helps to avoid mistakes that may result from applying one procedure to a process that it does not fit with.

Facilitates making training easier for new participants in a process

Visual Process Documentation helps eliminate many of the questions that a participant in a process may have. This is because most of those procedures will be directly addressed in the documentation.This allows extra time that would be spent training other people to be focused in other areas where attention may be needed. It’s all about smarter work, not harder work. Furthermore, what happens if the original participants of a project take on another role? Visual Process Documentation ensures that the project can still be completed even without presence of the person who documented the original process.

HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A SCREENSHOT CREATED USING SNAGIT, WHICH CAN BE EXTREMELY HELPFUL IN VISUAL PROCESS DOCUMENTATION.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? These and many other advantages of Visual Process Documentation show how it can be a powerful tool to use in many dynamic ways. With these advantages in mind, now is a good time to introduce a few best practices that will help you get the most out of your documentation.

Best Practices

  • Be specific in how you phrase the procedures in your documentation so that you communicate your message accurately.
  • Document single every step needed to complete a process.Include nothing more and nothing less.
  • Be sure to include any policies or rules that must one must follow during the process.
  • Make sure to arrange both the text and visual parts of your documentation in a consistent manner, so that the order of your process is easy to follow. This article is helpful in how to start a documentation project.
  • Be sure to record the date of the creation of the original documentation , as well as any updates.
  • Use screen capture tools such as Snagit or others to create powerful visuals (screenshots, videos, flowcharts, etc.).This will allow the text of your procedures to be clearly organized.
  • For security purposes, store the documentation in a location where it is possible to control who has access to it.
  • Backup all files that go along with your Visual Process Documentation.

Wow. We’ve just covered a ton of stuff. In fact, you might feel like you need to catch your breath (I know I do). With that being said, I hope that this serves as a good overview on how Visual Process Documentation can expand the usefulness of the processes that you take part in.

Have a few other best practices? Suggestions for which kinds of visuals to use? We’d love to continue this discussion with you Facebook and Twitter– or leave a comment below!

The post How to Create Visual Process Documentation and Guides appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

How to Use Video Marketing in the Solution Aware Funnel Stage

After consumers discover the solution to their problem (or are solution aware in funnel terms), they may still be hesitant to purchase a solution. Why? It could be any number of reasons, but likely they aren’t yet convinced they have time, budget, the talent, the team, the expertise, or confidence that others out there found success in solving this same problem in this way. At this point consumers are likely researching the solution further to validate it’s the route to go, and video marketing can help.

Video is a great way to show others the success they’ve had with a solution and also provide helpful content that builds confidence in the consumer that they are on the right track to solving their problem. The trick here for most marketers? Keeping this content product agnostic. The aim is to build confidence in the solution, not your specific product! This post will dive into tips and how-to’s on how you can make your product present within the content without crossing the line. But first let’s get some background as to what it means to be creating video content for those that are Solution Aware.

The Five levels of Awareness by Eugene Schwartz

Our marketing team at TechSmith has recently adopted the Five Levels of Awareness to expand the scope of our digital marketing funnel. Originally presented by Eugene Schwartz in his book Breakthrough Advertising, this funnel-based concept presents a formula for nurturing leads in a way that provides them with the right content at the right time to encourage them to progress towards conversion. It outlines how aware the people are in your target audience of the problems that your products and services solve within your brand’s niche.

Five levels of Awareness

The five levels of awareness are as follows:text flow chart of levels of awarenessUnaware – Consumers are unaware they have a problem or a need
Problem Aware – Consumers know they have a problem and are looking for a solution
• Solution Aware – Consumers are looking for proof that the solution works
• Product Aware – Help consumers decide to buy your product
• Most Aware – They’ve purchased! Aid consumers in next steps

Where to start:

In our previous blog posts, we focused on the Unaware and Problem Aware stages. We suggest reading those if you haven’t already.

For this post, we will be focused on the Solution Aware stage and specifically what video content can help Solution aware consumers move on to the next of awareness, Product Aware.

Solution Aware – Consumers are looking for proof that the solution works

In this stage of awareness, the leads you’ve generated through the unaware or problem aware touchpoints are looking for further validation. They want to know that the solution they’ve discovered has worked for others and will work for them too. It’s your job to put their minds at ease. It’s at this stage that we can start to introduce consumers to our products as well, but we should be subtle, it’s not yet time for product tutorials or feature checklists.

Some examples of video content within the solution aware stage include:

  • Helpful how-to based content. The goal here is to research what your audience is searching around your solution and ensure you have eye-catching content that is easy to absorb once they arrive at a list after Googling. Be sure to create and post your video content in a way that is SEO friendly. For instance, knowing the idea of video editing can be daunting for new creators, we create helpful content around video editing tips and tricks. Here’s one example:

Notice that the content which highlights how and when to use J-Cuts and L-Cuts when editing video, is very general and could translate over to any video editor the consumer ends up choosing, but we’re showing the examples using our video editor. This is what I mean by subtle. We’re not shouting, “USE CAMTASIA TO MAKE J-CUTS and L-CUTS!” But we are subtly helping the consumer build confidence in how to do something while building familiarity with our product. When they do start to look towards what product to buy, likely the first brand they consider is the one who they have at least some familiarity with.

  • Pre-plan your customer testimonial videos to get each interviewee’s take on the transition they made from problem aware to solution aware. Have them talk about how the solution (not a specific product) solved their problem. For instance, we might present corporate trainers in this category with a video clip of a customer saying “We were struggling to train our remote employees until we discovered video as a solution.” We’re validating that the solution our leads have chosen is the right path because it has proven to work for others.
  • A good old fashioned 30 second commercial works well here, too. During the tail end of the solution aware stage, leads can be pushed to the product aware phase with a validating segment specific commercial that re-establishes their problem, validates this new-found solution, and introduces them to the product. When I say segment specific, I mean that these videos should be created in a way that really speaks to them and all aspects of your audience should be considered. This is likely to be the most expensive video your team makes and often includes an outside actor to be sure it’s polished. Here’s an example of a Snagit Commercial developed specifically for the IT segment. Take note of the subtle touches to ensure anyone in IT feels as though this content would really speak to them. (server racks, showing someone how to connect their printer, casual workplace.)

Remember, the goal is to reach the right consumer, with the right content to match their awareness level, at the right time. Doing so with video ensures that you’re doing everything in your power to keep consumers engaged with your brand along their customer journey. Ready to dive in? Check out our two part series on How to Make a Video – Part 1 and Part 2.

What’s Next?

This post is the third in a series of blog posts that will talk through each level of awareness and how video can be used to guide consumers throughout each stage. Be sure to catch all five by subscribing to our blog so posts are delivered right to your inbox. Next up? What video is a must when leads are product aware and how you can use video to seal the deal to finally turn that lead into a customer. See you there!

 

The post How to Use Video Marketing in the Solution Aware Funnel Stage appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

How to Extract Text From An Image: The Definitive Guide

Imagine there was an easy way to get or extract text out of an image and quickly paste it into another document. The good news is that you no longer have to waste time typing everything out because there are programs that use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to analyze the letters and words in an image, and then convert them to text.

There are a number of reasons why you might want to extract text from an image or PDF.

  • Paste text from an image or screenshot into Microsoft Office or another document.
  • Capture text in an error message, pop-up window, legacy app, or drop-down menu where text can’t be selected.
  • Capture the text in a file directory (filename, file size, date modified).

Regardless of your situation, this type of functionality can be helpful, especially when you need to copy information from a file folder or screenshot of a website that typically would require you to spend a significant amount of time retyping all of the text.

Luckily, there’s a dead simple way to capture text or convert a picture of text to editable text. With Snagit, it only takes a few steps to quickly grab text from an image.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to capture text off your computer screen or pull text out of an image.

How to capture text on Windows or Mac

Step 1: Set up your capture settings

To capture text, open the Capture Window, select the Image tab, and set the selection to Grab Text.

how to capture text on Windows or Mac step 1

You can also speed things up by using  the Grab Text Preset.

Step 2: Capture your screen

Initiate your capture, then use the crosshairs to select the region of your screen with the text that you want.

Snagit analyzes the text from your selection and displays the formatted text. If the font identified is not installed on your computer, Snagit will substitute it with a system font of similar style.

how to capture text on Windows or Mac step 2

Select the text you want to copy or click Copy All… to copy all of the text to your clipboard.

Step 3: Paste your text

Finally, you can paste the text into a document, presentation, or any other destination.

how to capture text on Windows or Mac step 3

How to extract text from an image

Step 1: Find your image

You can capture text from an scanned image, a saved image on your computer, or an image from your Snagit library.

extract text from image step 1

Step 2: Open Grab Text in Snagit

With the image open in Snagit’s Editor, go to the Edit menu and select Grab Text.

Or, simply right- or control-click on the image, and select Grab Text.

extract text from image step 2

Step 3: Copy your text

Then copy the text and paste it into other programs and applications.

extract text from image

And that’s it. It doesn’t take much effort at all to get text from an image.

If you have any tips you’ve found for extracting text from image, we’d love to hear them in the comments below.

The post How to Extract Text From An Image: The Definitive Guide appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

How to Add Music to a Video

By now you know that video is essential to communicating with your customers. Humans are hardwired to process visual content, but adding great visuals to a video is just half the battle. A truly engaging video often includes music, as well. But where do you find music? When you find it, how do you add music to a video? Read more to learn how to add music to a video.

The right stuff

First things first. There’s a difference between adding music and adding the right music. Before you choose your music, think about what type of video you’re creating. For a video showing software or product features, you’ll probably want something upbeat and positive. You want your viewers to feel good when they’re seeing your product. Other types of videos may need something more somber. Who can forget the various animal rescue commercials that are all over our TVs? They pair sad, slow music with photos of sad-looking animals to compound the experience and — they hope — make us more likely to open our wallets to donate.

Not convinced yet? Trying imagining one of those rad videos of skateboarders thrashing out in a skate park with pan flute music instead of grungy guitars.

The right music enhances the experience for your viewers, while the wrong music can send the wrong message entirely. Check out this (admittedly) humorous video for an example of how music can change the feeling of your video.

Now here’s that same scene with different music. Notice anything different?

Where to find music

How can finding music be a challenge? I mean, music is everywhere, right? I have 70 gb of music on my iPhone right now. I’ll just use some of that music.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that easy? Unfortunately, most of the music you own is effectively off limits. That music is copyrighted and, if you use it, you’ll owe the copyright owner money (called “royalties”) for every time someone views your video. Ever wonder why your local Applebee’s can’t just sing “Happy Birthday To You” when it’s your birthday? Same reason. Someone actually owns the rights to that song and Applebee’s would have to pay royalties every time it was sung in their restaurants.

So where do you find music you can use? Well, unless you want to compose your own music, the easiest answer lies in royalty-free music. There are a number of ways to find royalty-free music, but your best bet starts with a simple Google search.

Some royalty-free music is truly free. There are a number of sites that offer music you can simply download and use as you wish (though often for non-commercial purposes, so be sure to read the user agreement). Free music sites will also likely have a limited selection, so you may have trouble finding exactly what you’re looking for, or the music may not be as good as you prefer. That said, I have used free music on a number of occasions and been pleased with the result.

For most commercial purposes, such as product overviews, customer stories, etc., though, your best bet is a premium royalty-free music site. While the music won’t be free, it’s typically inexpensive, and you’ll have a wider range of high-quality music to choose from. Premium Beat is a popular choice (and one I’ve used myself), but there are many other premium royalty-free music sites out there, as well. Pro tip: If good music is a priority, make sure to build this cost into your video budget.

So you have your music, how do you add it to your video?

Now that you know what music you want to add, how do you do it? Luckily, most video editing software makes it easy. In fact, it’ll probably take you way more time to choose the music you want to use than it will to actually add it to your video.

I use Camtasia for Mac to create and edit videos, but most video editors will use a relatively similar process.

Step 1: Open your video

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I wanted to be thorough. In your preferred video editor, open the video project to which you want to add music.

Step 2: Import your media

In Camtasia, there are several ways to import audio and video files into your Media Bin. You can select Media from the menu, right-click in the bin, and select Import Media from the menu.

Or, you can choose File > Import > Media from the menu.

If you’re into shortcuts and hotkeys, you can choose CMD+I.

No matter which method you choose, navigate to the file you want to import, select it, and choose Import.

Step 3: Add your media to the timeline

Once you’ve imported your file, find it in the media bin, click on it, and drag it to the timeline. You can add it to a new track or add it to an existing track depending on your needs. I typically add things to new tracks by default so they’re easier to find later.

If no empty track is available, Camtasia automatically creates a new track if you drag your file to the open area above the timeline.

Step 4: Adjust the audio to fit your needs

Here’s where you’ll need to make some decisions (if you haven’t made them already). Do you want your music to run through your whole video? Is it just for the intro or the outro?

For this example, let’s assume that we want to have the audio run throughout the entire video. Since there will be narration, we’ll want to make sure the music isn’t so loud that it makes the narration difficult to hear or understand.

When you select the audio track in the timeline, a line with shading will appear. To adjust the volume, you can click on the line and drag it up or down to the desired level. The waveform in the track grows and shrinks as you adjust the volume up and down, letting you know that the volume has been adjusted.

In the Audio Effects menu, there are a additional options for adjusting audio. For example, adding a Fade Out at the end of your video can help avoid a potentially jarring abrupt ending.

Now that you know how to add music to a video, try playing around with it the next time you create a video. These were just a few basic steps to get you started, but there are a lot of other ways to edit audio to fit your needs.

Look for more on audio in future blog posts, or check out these great blog posts for more information!

Editing Videos — How to Sync Audio and Video Sources

How to Edit Video — Normalize Audio Clips & Volume

It’s Not Too Late! How to Reduce Audio Noise in Your Recordings (For Free)

Audio Best Practices

P.S. The techniques above work for adding any type of audio to a video, not just music. Whether you’re adding narration, sound effects, interviews, or other types of audio. Camtasia makes it easy to add audio to a video.

P.P.S. Remember that not everyone who consumes your video content can hear it. People who are deaf or hard of hearing — or who may choose to watch your video without sound — also need a way to consume the content without relying on audio. So, be sure to include captions with all your videos. And, if you include music, the captions should note that, as well.

The post How to Add Music to a Video appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

Video Marketing In The Problem Aware Stage

If you are using video marketing to highlight your products, services, or company, you likely have a few product highlight videos, some customer testimonials or a company/brand overview video. And if you’re edging on the advanced side, perhaps you even have a few commercials that cover why your products are the solution to the problem your prospects are looking to solve.

You know video is an engaging medium to tell those stories, and therefore understand that it’s worth investing the time and effort to create each piece of video content. What you might not know, is there is a step earlier in the process that you could start introducing videos to reach consumers who are potential prospects to ensure they are looking your way when they start to look for a solution!

The Five Levels of Awareness by Eugene Schwartz

One seemingly small, yet monumental shift in our marketing team’s thinking over the past year has been expanding the scope of our digital marketing funnel to accommodate the Five Levels of Awareness. Originally presented by Eugene Schwartz in his book Breakthrough Advertising, this funnel-based concept presents a formula for nurturing leads in a way that provides them with the right content at the right time to encourage them to progress towards conversion. It outlines your target audience’s level of awareness of the problems that your products and services solve within your brand’s niche.

Schwartz’s book is worth the read for all the details, but I understand that you are likely a time crunched marketer. So I’ll give you the basics of what you need to know to ensure the effort you’re putting into creating and promoting more videos throughout the funnel gives you the return your brand is looking for. Let’s dive in!

Five levels of Awareness

levels of awareness text graphic

The five levels of awareness are as follows:

  • Unaware – Consumers are unaware they have a problem or a need
  • Problem Aware – Consumers are aware they have a problem and are looking for a solution
  • Solution Aware – Consumers are looking for proof that the solution works
  • Product Aware – Help consumers decide to buy your product
  • Most Aware – They’ve purchased! Aid consumers in next steps

Where to start:

With any type of content you’re creating, it is important to start with understanding the goal. To start, you really need to begin with an understanding of the segment you are communicating to, and ensure you are developing content that speaks directly to them. For instance, those that work in finance have very different needs than teachers. Content directed to these segments should reflect that by using the correct verbiage, imagery, and acronyms that hit home for each consumer base. Your goal throughout these levels of awareness is to create content that makes the consumer feel as though your solution and product were developed with their needs in mind.

Secondly:

The next thing to keep in mind is that your goal is to capture their attention in the stage they are in and only give them what they need to progress to the next level. This can be hard for brands who are accustomed to jumping right into their product features at their first touch with a consumer, but having the patience to guide leads through the levels of awareness does produce results. For the first three stages (unaware, problem aware, and solution aware), keep your product promotions and features tucked away. They will receive their day in the sun during the product aware stage. But until then, remaining focused on the consumers needs is a best practice that will pay off.

Lastly, align your goals (and therefore content) to each level of awareness:

For this post, we will be focused on the Problem Aware stage and specifically what video content can help unaware consumers make the leap from prospect to lead as they start to look for a solution that solves their problem.

Problem Aware –

Consumers are aware that they have a problem and are looking for a solution

problem aware text graphic

Those within this stage of awareness are in research mode and are very open to solutions. This is the time to deliver content that speaks to their newly discovered needs and spoon feed them solutions that guide them towards your product competencies.

At this stage, you should be reiterating the problem they are trying to solve and introducing them to the solution. But as mentioned before, we’re not yet telling them about specific products or throwing product features at them. Why? They aren’t yet fully convinced of the solution they need. These videos should only present solution-based concepts to ensure they are headed in the direction of your brand long term.

But why not just show them the product and let them get on their way?

Simply put, they aren’t ready. Consumers who have just become problem aware don’t yet need a product, they need someone to guide them towards the correct solution. Take this opportunity to let your brand shine with thought leadership content that gains a prospect’s trust and has them eager to learn more from you as they start to look for more specific solutions.

Some examples of video content within this category include:

Webinars: Within the problem aware stage, online events can be a phenomenal lead generation tool which then allow you to deliver follow up information to keep guiding consumers towards conversion with future touches. If you plan ahead and record your webinar using a screen recording tool, you can also later slice and dice your full length webinar into smaller pieces of quickly digestible video content. These bite-size videos can then be used for an educational series of video content, used throughout an email nurture series, within social promotions, email newsletters, and more.

Remember that these videos should be product agnostic, so save the slide deck that goes over features or provides a product demo for later. Instead, focus on what problems your product typically solves and generalize the solution. For instance, TechSmith Snagit might offer a Webinar on how customer service teams can deliver outstanding support that saves their staff time using screen recording. Notice the promotion below doesn’t say Snagit?

 

If you’re already creating blog content focused on guiding problem aware consumers to their solution, enhance your blog post by creating a quick intro video to your blog. Use these videos when promoting your content on social media. You can also provide this video at the top of each blog so if readers only have 30 seconds, they still walk away with your message top of mind having quickly absorbed your key takeaways!

This awareness stage is all about thought leadership, so let’s talk about how you can use video to inspire engagement at your in-person thought-leadership speaking opportunities.

Conferences & Events: While at the event, connect with other thought-leaders in your space and provide your online audience with an exclusive interview that covers a few tips on the latest industry trends. Or jot down your biggest takeaways from the event and provide a candid, authentic message to followers by sharing the best parts of your presentation live. Recently, Matt Pierce, our Learning & Video Ambassador at TechSmith, did a quick video interview with industry influencer Owen Video to accomplish just this!

More engaging presentations: Enhance your PowerPoint slides with animated GIFs or quick videos to mix up content throughout your presentation. Plus, a quick 30 second video will allow your speakers a moment to check your notes and grab a sip of water.

Geolocation Advertisements: Create a quick video to promote what you’re speaking about and an event and use geolocation targeting to target the vertical or segment attending the event within an appropriate radius around the venue. Those attending the conference will see the video and be more likely to attend your session, given they’ve already had an interaction with your brand. And if they don’t, you’re still connecting with the audience you’re after and providing them with a relevant touch. Below is a video we created recently to highlight four presentations our staff was presenting on at Content Marketing World in Cleveland, OH. We then targeted marketers in the Cleveland area in the days leading up to our presentation (and on the day of our presentations), so we could catch everyone flying in and getting settled for the conference.

Remember, the goal is to reach the right consumer, with the right content to match their awareness level, at the right time. Doing so with video ensures that you’re doing everything in your power to keep consumers engaged with your brand along their customer journey. Ready to start adding video to your customer journey funnel? Check out our two part series on How to Make a Video – Part 1 and Part 2.

What’s Next?

This post is the second in a series of blog posts that will talk through each level of awareness and how video can be used to guide consumers throughout each stage. Be sure to catch all five by subscribing to our blog so posts are delivered right to your inbox! We’d love to hear how you’re using video in your marketing funnels. Leave us a comment and share your experience!

The post Video Marketing In The Problem Aware Stage appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

How to Edit a Screenshot

It probably comes as no surprise that the inclusion of images and screenshots throughout your content makes it easier and faster for your audience to receive your message. Did you know that human beings can make sense of a visual scene in less than one-tenth of a second?!

The essence of the modern digital world is constant change. And if you regularly use screenshots, then you know that this change results in screenshots becoming outdated.

image of trees in different seasons illustrating constant change

So, how can we quickly update images without having to recapture a slew of screenshots? I’m glad you asked. Let’s dive in!

 

Why edit screenshots?

There are numerous reasons to edit a screenshot instead of capturing something brand new. The primary, and most obvious reason is to save time. While the most basic screenshot might not take long to re-do, re-creating the exact same scene in order to capture it again, might.

photo-of-a-clock-on-a-table

If your screenshots are beyond the basics, and you’ve included interesting annotations with your image, the time it takes to recreate them will begin to add up.

Whether you are using screenshots for help documentation, on your website, or for internal training, there are some situations when a simple edit or small tweak will do the trick and save time! Here are a few examples:

  • You have recently created technical documentation, but due to a recent user interface (UI) update, need to update the screenshots.
  • You need to create an alternate version of a screenshot with translated text (not to be confused with a localized version), and need to grab the existing text from within the image to provide it to a translator.
  • You have a screenshot that you need to share, but it contains confidential information.

Now you know a few reasons whybut how can you edit a screenshot?

 

Edit…how?

It’s easiest if we stick with the same examples provided above, to explain how you would edit a screenshot in each scenario. And the neat partyou don’t even need the source file!

The first thing you’ll need is an easy-to-use image editing tool like Snagit. If you don’t own it yet, don’t worry! Just download the free trial to test it out, and follow along below.

 

Update the UI in a screenshot

Perhaps you have a screenshot where you want to rearrange the UI. In Snagit, one way to accomplish this would be to use the selection tool. This allows you to select an area, move the selection, and have the background automatically fill in with the same color.

GIF showing the Snagit selection tool in action

Grab the text in a screenshot

Let’s say you have a screenshot that provides information in English, but you need to update it to send to a Spanish-speaking customer. And, you don’t have access to the original, just a .jpg or .png.

Using the grab text function in TechSmith Snagit 2018 (coming soon!), you can capture the text that you need to have translated, and email it to your colleague for translation.

GIF showing the grab text functionality in Snagit

 

Blur out confidential information in a screenshot

Perhaps you have a screenshot that you’d like to share, but you realize that it contains personal information that needs to be kept confidential. Using the blur tool in Snagit, you can easily blur out anything you don’t want to be visible, successfully editing your screenshot to maintain privacy.

sales order with example of an edited screenshot

 

Takeaways

You now have a few new tricks up your sleeve that will help you save valuable time whenever screenshots or images need updating. Developing and maintaining a set of streamlined techniques and practices allows you to deliver high-quality content with speed and accuracy. Show off the latest and greatest your brand has to offer!

Have you struggled with keeping your screenshots and images up-to-date? Or perhaps you have another tip for maintaining your content? We’d love to hear about the challenges you’ve faced, and your successes as wellleave us a comment below!

The post How to Edit a Screenshot appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

Five Benefits of Lecture Capture

The traditional classroom setting isn’t what it used to be. By 2019, experts predict that at least 50% of all classes will be delivered online, as online learning has been steadily increasing for the past five years. To deliver effective content, many instructors are turning to video lecture content to share learning materials without having to be directly in the classroom.

So why use lecture capture?

Below are five benefits of lecture capture:

1. Visual communication
Since 65% of all people are visual learners, it’s important that your lectures include engaging images, graphs, charts, photos, and similar aids to help students understand concepts to have lecture material that students learn from visually. Creating lecture material rich with visuals will help your students follow along with your content as easily as if they were with you in the classroom. Instead of having just an audio recording of lecture material, including visuals allows students to put context behind the recorded lecture.

http://www.cmdsonline.com/blog/the-looking-glass/the-ultimate-infographic-on-infographics/

2. Better availability
Offering video lecture content allows students to access course materials outside of the classroom. With many classes moving toward a flipped classroom approach, students can learn content while studying at home and are able to come to class with prepared questions and discussion topics. Because lectures can be saved and archived, students can refer back to the materials as a study tool, instead of feeling like they have to process all the information during the class period.

3. ADA compliance
Online lecture content helps accommodate students with disabilities. Providing captions and audio for lecture materials can assist those with hearing and visual impairments. Many lecture capture tools are ADA compliant and follow the guidelines of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Traditional lectures may not be the best mode of learning for students, therefore providing material that offers access to students with disabilities gives all students the opportunity to learn. Many lecture capture tools allow you to generate captions and are screen-reader compatible.

4. Increase engagement
Video lecture material can help your students engage in the content you are presenting without you physically being there. Some lecture capture tools allow you to include quizzes that students take while viewing video lectures. This helps students apply what they’re learning and test their knowledge, plus it allows instructors to assess student performance. If a student is confused by a concept, they can pause the video and post a question for their instructor. This creates interaction between the student and instructor, making the online lecture content a two-way conversation.

5. Build instructor-student relationships
Effective lecture capture gives instructors the opportunity to build relationships with their students, despite the fact that they are teaching online courses. The use of quick, personalized videos gives students a more humanized online course experience. For example, an instructor may create an introduction to the course or send a video regarding any class updates throughout the semester. Even though courses are conducted online, instructors and students can still get to know each other on a personal level.

Lecture capture is quickly taking over the academic world, giving students different learning opportunities than the traditional classroom setting. Lecture captures software, such as TechSmith Relay, offers features that are ADA compliant, interactive, and engaging, giving students an overall positive learning experience.

To learn more about TechSmith Relay’s lecture capture platform, click here.

 

The post Five Benefits of Lecture Capture appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

How to Edit Videos: The Not So Complex World of Video Encoding

Before any video can be shared, it must first be produced. In most video editing software, this is the final step of the creation process. The technical term for the process is “encoding”, and it involves making a few decisions. Decisions that can seem daunting when terms like codec, container, and a myriad of file type names start getting tossed around. This creates needless confusion. The secret about video encoding is that you only need to know a bit of information to get great results. In the post that follows, I’ll tell you what you need to know about video encoding to produce great videos.

First, a bit of history

In 1984 the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) developed H.120, the first international video coding standard. While H.120 is now obsolete – only a few implementations of it were ever produced – it laid the groundwork for future video standards. These video standards are arguably some of the most important advancements in digital media communication. Without video encoding standards, the streaming video that revolutionized the Internet would not have been possible.

Since the invention of H.120, video encoding has come a long way. In the following decades, a number of coding standards have been introduced, adopted by the public, and ultimately discarded when a more efficient standard was invented. Though the H.120 standard was only lightly used, it inspired the first commercially-successful and widely used video coding standard: H.261. Since then, video coding standards have continued to evolve and become much more efficient. Subsequent standards have been named in succession. So, following H.261 we had H.261 and H.263. The current most commonly used video encoding standard is H.264. The numbered naming convention helps with knowing which standard is the most recent.

Note: I tried very hard to research why the particular letter and numbers were chosen to name these standards. Beyond some cursory information on the names of working groups tasked with their development, I could not find anything clearly stating how the names were designated. If you’re reading this post and know something about the encoding standard names, please share it in the comments.

What is video encoding?

When we produce a video using video editing software, we are encoding the media to a particular standard or format. The purpose of encoding is to compress a video file to a size – MB or GB, not necessarily duration – that is easy to store and transfer over the web. Most video editing software will give you a choice of video encoding formats. Luckily for us, all the progress that has been made with encoding formats has led to an internationally-embraced video coding standard that can be played on virtually any modern web-connected device or browser: H.264.

If you’ve produced tons of videos and never heard of H.264, don’t worry. You’ve probably been using the standard without even realizing it. This is because encoding is only half the picture. Encoding takes care of the first step in production which is organizing the audio and visual data associated with a video. That data still needs to be packaged for delivery. The package, known as a container, most commonly used is MP4, though it is not the only one. MOV is another relatively common container for H.264 video. The container, often referred to as the file type, is displayed in the suffix of a file’s name (e.g. example.mp4 OR example.mov) While MP4 and MOV are not the only formats used to house H.264 video – there a number of others – they are usually the best choice because they are preferred by video hosting sites like YouTube and Vimeo along with social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

Choosing an encoding

Depending on the software you are using, choosing a coding standard and video file format can range from no-brainer to dizzyingly complex. This is because some software offers a wide array of different encoding standards and container formats, while others simplify choices to a few popular options.

Unless you have a reason to choose a different format, don’t venture into the weeds. MP4, sometimes shown as MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, will usually be the best choice. It’s versatile, offers good quality at manageable sizes, and, as mentioned earlier, is compatible virtually everywhere.

What’s the deal with codecs?

A term you may hear when discussing video encoding is codec. Codecs are the technology and programs used to encode or decode a digital data stream or signal (i.e. a video). The word codec is a combination of the words “coder” and “decoder,” because the programs known as codecs do both.

On the horizon: H.265

Now work is being done to implement a new, more efficient standard, H.265, also known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC). Ultimately, the goal of H.265 is to provide a standard that offers greater compression (smaller file size) with better picture quality than is offered by current encoding standards.

It is likely that H.265 will someday be the chosen standard for video encoding, but work must first be done. Technology companies need to implement the codec in their software and a big part of that is working on patent and licensing issues so that the technology can be packaged and sold to consumers. It also takes more processing power to use this new encoding, and the machines in the hands of consumers have to catch up. It’s an exciting prospect to imagine, smaller video files that load faster with better picture. But, for now, H.264 in an MP4 container is by far our best option.

The post How to Edit Videos: The Not So Complex World of Video Encoding appeared first on TechSmith Blog.

7 Mistakes to Avoid When You Record Your Computer Screen

It’s time to record your video, and you want to make sure it looks good (and doesn’t take all day to finish). Whether it’s for training, tutorials, demos, or presentations, here are seven mistakes to avoid when you record your computer screen.

Mistake #1 – Have too many programs running
How can you possibly guide viewers succinctly through a task when you have 35 unrelated windows open? Clutter on your computer screen is distracting. And there’s nothing worse than having to fumble through unnecessary apps and programs to get what you actually want to show in your video.

A better way: Tidy up your desktop beforehand. Only keep open programs and windows you plan to show during your video.

Mistake #2 – Forget to turn on your mic
We’ve all done this at some point. It’s beyond frustrating to deliver a rousing rendition of your entire presentation only to realize that the mic has been off the whole time. Or, that the mic was on, but the volume wasn’t up enough. Or, it was up too loudly (ouch).

A better way: Make a point of checking your audio levels before you start recording. Do a short (30-second) narration test run, then review it to confirm that the correct mic is on (are you using your built-in mic, or an external one?), and the volume levels are correct.

Make sure to turn on your mic

Mistake #3 –  Stumble over your passwords
Showing on-screen workflows includes logging in – which is suddenly tough to do when you’re used to relying on password-autofill to do it for you. The same goes for usernames and other qualifying info. Hunting for your login information can mess up your momentum.

A better way: Know all your passwords before you begin recording (and make sure you know the URLs of the login screens, too – especially for websites that you have open indefinitely and don’t readily know the “start screen” URL.

Pro tip: Sometimes it’s actually better not to show the ‘typing’ part of logging in. Why? It’s kind of boring. You can easily trim it out. In your finished video put a “wipe transition” on the typing – show the first few characters of your user/pass, then jump to the end, when you’re ready to press “login.” Your audience will get the idea, and won’t have to sit through a straightforward process they already understand.

Mistake #4 – Forget you have a roommate

Whether it’s your kids, spouse, housemate, or dog, Murphy’s Law guarantees they will unceremoniously pipe up at an inopportune time during your recording.  Any of these background noises – crying, laughing, sneezing, yipping, or inquiries into “Who ate the last of the cornflakes?” – distract from your presentation and are a pain to trim out.  This goes for workplace noises, too, such as hallway chatter, printers, and ringing phones, as well as sounds coming in from open windows – trains, motorcycles, birds, and lawnmowers.

A better way: Record in a quiet room, with the windows closed. Put a sign on the door that lets people know you’re recording, to avoid unnecessary barge-ins.Avoid noise when recording your screen

Mistake #5 – Get ‘dinged’ every two minutes

Notifications are great, except when you’re in the middle of a recording. Hearing your email chime every few minutes is annoying at best, and takes away some of the polish from your video. With more apps than ever getting in on the notification game, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll have some unwanted “ding” come through, or an annoying pop-up alert box,

A better way: Turn off all your notifications (email, apps, etc.) before you start. If you don’t need to record sounds from your computer, turn off your system audio altogether.

Mistake #6 – Go too fast

Maybe it’s because we’re just a little nervous. Or maybe it’s because we know the workflow so well that we talk waaay too fast when we’re presenting. Especially when we’re showing detailed digital processes on-screen, it’s easy to overwhelm viewers by slinging your mouse across the screen and clicking too fast.

A better way: Slow down your explanations. What may sound slow to you is probably just the right speed for your viewers to understand what you’re explaining. That goes for your mouse, too. Point and click with purpose. Consider using a screen recorder that has a cursor highlighter, to more clearly show your movements.

Cursor effects while recording your computer screen

Mistake #7 – Wing it

You’ve done this workflow a million times before.  But….once you get off auto-pilot and start actually explaining all the steps, the words don’t seem to flow. Or, they flow too much and you end up rambling.

A better way: Write a script ahead of time. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Even a rough outline can help a lot. For extra credit, do a dry-run walk-though.  You might be surprised how a quick rehearsal changes your strategy on how to present your material.

Of course, there are other ways to mess up a recording (ever run out battery while recording?), but this list covers some common ways. When you know how to avoid these pitfalls, you’ll finish recording with fewer retakes, and be more happy with your overall video-making process.

Ready to start recording? Camtasia is a great screen-recording and editing tool. Try it for free.

What are some funny (or not so funny) mistakes you’ve made when recording? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

The post 7 Mistakes to Avoid When You Record Your Computer Screen appeared first on TechSmith Blog.