The Camtasia Studio Suite provides an elegant way to rapidly build a variety of products based on screen recordings (and even integrated video sequences. ) This makes it an ideal product for creating top notch training CDs for complex software products and tutorials for web applications.
What is Camtasia Studio?
Camtasia Studio by TechSmith is a suite of tools designed to create a professional level “video. " Through its powerful screen capture technology and its ability to work with any type of avi file, it allows you to seamlessly integrate screen captures (with a variety of special effects) with video clips (if desired) to make crystal clear, stunning productions. Camtasia Studio is comprised of the following tools; Camtasia Recorder, Camtasia Producer, Camtasia Effects, Camtasia MenuMaker and Camtasia Player.
Each part contributes in its own unique way to a professional level production. And the learning curve is quite light to get you started. There are a variety of advanced features that can be learned as you use the tool more but the basics, which you can master in less than an hour, will produce an excellent tutorial, product CD, etc.
Each of the tools in the Camtasia Studio Suite performs a specific set of functions.
- Camtasia Recorder - Allows you to capture all or just a portion of the computer screen, record mouse clicks and keystrokes, record an audio narrative and much more.
- Camtasia Producer - Allows you to tie together any number of avi clips on a storyboard, build transitions between clips, publish the finished product in a variety of industry standard formats (Macromedia Flash, AVI, Microsoft Windows Media, RealNetworks RealMedia, Quicktime and their own TechSmith Screen Capture Codec), record and edit audio, add a second audio track (great for music) and much more.
- Camtasia Effects - Allows the addition of a variety of special effects to your video clips both during their recording with Camtasia Recorder and afterwards. Allows the addition of freehand drawings, shapes, etc.in specific positions and timelines of your avi clip.
- Camtasia MenuMaker - Allows you to create a CD-ROM menu of your files sort of like a DVD menu that lets you choose the particular place you want to go. This is a great feature for a training CD as each lesson can be a menu item and allows the viewer to take breaks and get back to the next lesson quickly and easily.
- Camtasia Player - A tool that can be included with the finished product to allow others to view it. This is not needed as you can store the clips in a variety of formats but it integrates smoothly with the other tools and makes for a cleaner presentation, especially when used with the Camtasia MenuMaker.
Why it is idea for training CDs for software
It seems that every day software is growing more and more complex and the software creators continue to to their typical poor job at teaching you how to use their product. This has spawned a wide variety of third party training products for complex software packages - with prices running up to several hundred dollars per training module.
Camtasia Studio allows you to create a training CD that can take a person from the very basics of working with one of these software packages to using advanced features. And it can do it in a show all manner. In other words, you actually create the CD as you do a project. This allows you to show the viewer the exact steps that you are taking to perform a specific task or series of tasks with that software package.
By creating training CDs to teach specific ways to used complex software products, you are satisfying a great want provided your tutorials target the right information. Once you step outside the realm of basic tools - like Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. (i. e. Video Professor type training materials), there are a huge number of products the people need to know to perform their jobs well. These software products can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. And anything that can cut down on the learning curve or teach a new way to use the product (which can mean a new way to make money with the product) becomes very valuable.
Just to offer one example. Suppose you are a licensed professional engineer (PE) in the construction industry. Chances are very good that much of your time is invested in using building design software to calculate all sorts of variables in the construction, stresses of joints, material thicknesses, etc. and since you are a PE, you are personally liable for any errors you make. To you, knowing exactly how to use these computer programs is critical to you doing your job. So when someone offers a training program to teach you how to use your suite of tools more effectively and accurately, you tend to become very interested.
What software products would be ripe for tutorials? The best guideline is to find software products that require a substantial investment (say $400 and above) and are probably used by self employed individuals and small companies. This profile works much better than “corporate" level software because the people using this software have much more motivation to use it as effectively as possible than corporate workers who are often paid regardless of productivity.
Here is the best way to research these products AND figure out what type of training people are seeking on this product (i. e. where is the unfulfilled want that you can fill. )
- Choose an industry and learn what tools are used in that industry. For instance, the small video producer may use Sonic Foundry's Video Vegas, Sound Forge and Acid Music products to create videos (which could be anything from wedding videos to corporate seminar videos to How To videos. )
- Find out where people who own these products congregate on the web. There will generally be a variety of discussion forums available where people discuss these tools and how to use them.
- Find the common themes in these discussion groups; the questions that get asked over and over again. For instance, with wedding video products, it may be asking how to create certain special effects. Remember that for everyone who actually asks a question, there are probably a hundred or more who do have the same question.
- Build a training product that teaches how to solve the problem in number 3 above.
By following this formula, you are sure to make a training product that will sell well. Just be sure that it is produced with quality. In other words, be sure that you know the product well enough to make a meaningful training video for it. Or find someone who uses the product and partner with that person to make the training video.
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