Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Camtasia 3 for Free (Official TechSmith Promotion)

I've been making video tutorials for Blender since August 2004, and in those years I've found TechSmith's Camtasia Studio to be the best solution, simply because of the quality of the TechSmith Capture Codec (TSCC). The other alternative is CamStudio, an open source app that works really well, but the CamStudio Codec is not as fast as TSCC. On my new system I get 22 fps with CamStudio in a 1024x576 region, whereas with TSCC I can get a solid 30 fps, and it's easier to get the audio and video to sync up properly.

After using their 30-day trial, experiencing the performance boost was enough to convince myself to buy Camtasia Studio, until I realized it cost US$300.

To my joy, I read today that TechSmith is doing a promotion where you can download their old Camtasia 3, get a software key for free, and later upgrade to Camtasia 5 for US$150 (this is for a limited time).

Just download the software:
http://download.techsmith.com/camtasiastudio/enu/312/camtasiaf.exe

Then fill out the information to get your free software key:
http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia/pcpls.asp

That's it. I've already installed it and it's working great.

So, is it worth it to get a 2-version-old copy of Camtasia? Yes. I just wanted it for the codec, but it does have quite a few useful editing features so I don't have to use VirtualDub anymore.

Unfortunately, I still haven't found a really good solution for Linux that's super easy to set up and works really well. The easiest Linux screencasting program I found was Istanbul, a program that spit out OGG Theora files—in theory anyway; I was using Ubuntu and it would crash every time. I'm not a big fan of Theora anyway, especially after falling in love with h.264. But Theora is patent safe and for that it has merit.

If you want to learn more about screencasting, ShowMeDo has some great resources on their wiki for Windows, Mac, and Linux screencasting tools.

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