Screen Recording for Small Business: Camtasia Studio Review

Video is hot.  It is talked about by most small business marketing gurus and it seems like such a popular, practical method to get the word out about your business.  But where do you start?  Techsmith’s Camtasia Studio 7 is one easy way to create a simple video about your company, even without a video camera.

Camtasia Studio 7 is a screen recorder. It allows you to click record and start navigating in a browser or any program on your computer and narrate as you go in what is called a screencast.  The recorder follows your actions on screen and records them as you move from place to place.  Your voice narration is captured along the way (presuming you’re talking; you could just insert music, instead or both).  All you need is a decent microphone and a written script to help you keep the recording clear and focused.  You don’t even need the script if you’re good at impromptu explanations. But I recommend you script out what you want to say.

What I (really) liked:

  • Free, fully functional 30-day trial.  Download and go.
  • Clear, easy-to-follow screencast tutorials to teach you how to use the various options of the program, right out of the box.
  • Create a slide presentation (Powerpoint, etc) and navigate through and narrate the important points. Save it as a video, upload to YouTube. They even have a button on the start screen that says, “Record Powerpoint.”
  • The application lets me choose to open the entire program, or just the recorder, or just the player, or menumaker. I love that idea.

Video uses by small business that I’ve seen on the web: The Customer Use section on the Camtasia website where you can see all sorts of practical uses for the software. Plus, they have a blog that serves as a forum, of sorts, called The Visual Lounge where the staff post things, but also customers submit their productions.  You can find example screencast videos in both of these sections.

What I would like to see:

The timeline button/concept, although intuitive for movie makers, takes a little while to wrap your head around if you’re not a movie editor type. But once you understand that whatever you insert in the screencast:  images, audio, video will all land on that timeline, it’s a dream.  Think of it as a video assembly line.  Of course, this is just one user’s experience.  Maybe some more prominent explanations of this section.  They have so many screencast tutorials that I might have missed that specific tutorial.


Who is it best for?

Small business owners that want to get started in video, but want to keep it simple. It is also for companies that have a product that lends itself to an educational tour, of sorts, where you walk a person through your site or application. You can think of many different uses for the program, but the beauty of it is it gets you into marketing via video without the challenges of a video camera and all that it entails. You can add picture-in-picture video where you have a video of you talking, within the screencast, to give it a unique touch.

I tested Camtasia on a 4-year old Sony VAIO laptop and on the new Lenovo M90z all-in-one desktop (with neat touchscreen that makes it like a giant iPad!) that I’m testing.  The M90z is quite a bit faster than my old laptop. Camtasia Studio 7 worked fine on both.

Learn more about Camtasia Studio 7.

8 Comments ▼

TJ McCue - Product Editor


TJ McCue TJ McCue is the Product Editor for Small Business Trends and an entrepreneur who publishes Tech Biz Talk. TJ is a former Wall Street Journal columnist. He also writes for Forbes and American Express OPEN Forum. He loves learning about technology apps and software services - share yours with TJ.

8 Reactions

  1. Love this review, TJ. I have used Camtasia for a client’s website content — I incorporate a number of JPEGs and his music for a great display video that we used for his site. I really appreciate the ability to incorporate images in the timeline feature. Because the client was a musician who has used a timeline before for editing, he really appreciated what I had used to put the video together. It does take a little getting used to, but the scale to understand is short and quick. Thanks again for a wonderful review.

  2. Thanks, TJ. (Master Reviewer)

    I’ll bet tons of help-desk types use this tool.

    The Franchise King

  3. I agree, you cannot beat Camtasia studio for screencapture video. It has just the level of firepower to create quality web site videos, but not too expensive, or too complicated for a layperson to figure it out quickly.

  4. I love that they offer a fully functional 30-day free trial, but is it worth the $299 price tag?

  5. hey Robert, sorry for late reply. I think so. There are few tools that can match the full functionality. BUT, you can check out their free web-based screen capture tool called Jing. I used that for a long time before making the switch.
    http://www.techsmith.com/jing/

  6. FYI… If your on a Mac and you’re running the latest version of Quicktime… you can do screencasts for free.

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