Captivate Versus Camtasia Studio

I’ve been exploring Captivate lately because I wanted to translate some screencasts for a project I’m undertaking. It turns out, Captivate doesn’t work so well for screencasting. Slide-based eLearning, sure. But when you have a lengthy software simulation, it fails because you can’t edit the audio while watching the video play.

Really? Yes. Really. You know, like if you wanted to ensure the timing of the video is correct as you’re listening to the audio, or if you make an adjustment to your video or audio timeline that affects your other actions — good luck trying to resync the audio with the video.

When you edit the audio, it opens in another window, or even in Soundbooth if you have the Adobe eLearning suite. But the video recording doesn’t play, so you can’t tell if the small addition or deletion you make on the audio timeline is throwing everything else out of sync with the video recording.

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By Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer working for The 41st Parameter in San Jose, California. I'm primarily interested in topics related to technical writing, such as visual communication (video tutorials, illustrations), findability (organization, information architecture), API documentation (code examples, programming), and web publishing (web platforms, interactivity) -- pretty much everything related to technical writing. If you're trying to keep up to date about the field of technical communication, subscribe to my blog either by RSS or by email. To learn more about me, see my About page. You can also contact me if you have questions.

7 thoughts on “Captivate Versus Camtasia Studio

  1. Jill

    I’ve used both, but have found Captivate to be much better for videos that are created and then kept up-to-date for successive software releases. Being able to simply replace screenshots and tweak the mouse position if the screens change is priceless.

    I wouldn’t use it for one-off promotional videos or anything that you’d use once and then discard, but for for creating and maintaining basic how-to videos, it’s great.

    Different tools for different purposes.

    1. Tom Johnson

      How do you handle syncing the audio with the video when you can’t watch the video recording while listening to the audio? I could never quite figure that out. Since I do adjust the audio quite a bit after the initial recording, this seemed like a major obstacle to me.

  2. Mariann Foster

    I’m still using Captivate 3, but I haven’t found the audio syncing issue to be that tricky. Now, I should explain I work primarily on eLearning and use Captivate to add user interaction to the demos (I don’t create any straight screencast videos). I’ve found a good way to work with the audio is to add audio to the individual interactions instead of the slide.

    Sounds like I need to take a look at the new version of Camtasia.

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