Tech to Try: The Best Camtasia Alternatives

Camtasia is a great piece of software but it’s also not cheap (we do have the software on many of our computers in Learning Technologies, however, if you really do need it and you can get a 30-day free trial) which makes it less than ideal for many who just want to do really simple video recording and editing and don’t actually need anything as robust as Camtasia.

So what can you use to record video, screencast, add voice overs, or do basic video editing without shelling out for Camtasia or having to come to campus to use a computer with it installed? We’ve got a couple of suggestions for you.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Did you know that you can record a Blackboard Collaborate session? You don’t actually necessarily NEED any outside tools outside of what you already have as a College of DuPage instructor to do basic screencasting. Collaborate offers all the functionality that many, if not most, instructors will need. Even better, it’s easy to find support for it, as Learning Technologies can help!

Pros: Collaborate is already integrated into Blackboard so there’s nothing to install, meaning easy access and lower learning curve. Recordings are stored in your Blackboard shell and you can share the link with anyone, even if they’re not in your course. There are also lots of features (whiteboard, document sharing) that make it very simple to create instructional videos with all the bells and whistles, and most importantly, it records both audio and video simultaneously.
Cons: Unlike Camtastia, there is limited ability to edit and users might need separate software if extensive editing is required. Additionally, videos do take some time to process and are not always available immediately.

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Loom

Need a way to create really quick and instantly shareable videos? Loom may be the tool for you. They even have a helpful list of ways that it can be used in your course! While it’s not as fully featured as Camtasia, Loom is a useful tool for creating short, quick videos that are highly responsive to the changing needs of your course and your students.

Pros: Loom is installed directly into Chrome as a browser extension and easily integrates with Google Apps for Education (Docs, Gmail, Sheets, etc). Videos can be shared instantly, making it a great tool for sharing things on the fly. Even better, you can get instant feedback, as it allows comments directly in videos. It’s also easy to organize videos into folders, which is ideal for those creating numerous videos or for several different classes or sections. Unlike many other tools, there are no limits on how long your video can be or how long you can keep it.
Cons: Loom is more of a recording tool than an editing tool, so options are limited. Some users complain about a lack of volume control, which may or may not be an issue depending on where and how you’re recording. It’s also desktop only.

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Monosnap

Monosnap keeps it simple, and sometimes that’s just what you need. This tools lets you take screenshots, shoot video, draw or annotate them, and easily share.

Pros: With Monosnap, you can record video and audio simultaneously and you get to choose exactly how much or how little of your screen gets recorded. Allows you to draw arrows, highlight or make other annotations and drawings in the video. Videos, once processed, can be shared directly to YouTube, Box, social media, email or any number of other tools. Both Win and Mac compatible.
Cons: Monosnap is recording only so there are no editing capabilities.

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Screencast-O-Matic

Screencast-O-Matic is one of the best known and most popular tools for screencasting. It’s relatively easy to use and can get you up and running quickly, though there are a few limitations as to what you can create in the free version.

Pros: Screencast-O-Matic offers both a web-based and application-based version (those who can’t run Java will appreciate this, as the web version requires this). One of the coolest features is that it allows users to add bookmarks throughout the video, making skipping ahead to certain pieces of content really simple.
Cons: Some of the best features, audio recording, editing tools, drawing and zoom, are only available in the Pro version. Additionally, videos are limited to 15 minutes in length and you cannot customize the screen view (though there are some pre-set versions you can use).

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Bandicam

Bandicam is a basic but still quite functional screen recorder. It shines in that it allows you to capture a higher quality video (recordings are clearer and more seamless) than many other similar technologies while still maintaining a high compression rate (so it doesn’t take up a ton of room).

Pros: Bandicam allows you to choose the part of your screen that will be recorded and offers the ability to do real-time drawings. Cooler features include the ability to attach a video within the video and integrated mouse effects and animations. Voice and video are captured simultaneously.
Cons: Not a full replacement for Camtasia, as it only allows recording, not editing. It’s also Windows only and some features available only in the Premium options. Additionally, some users report there being a learning curve to use.

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Jing

Jing is another screen capture tool that you can use to take photos or videos of your screen and share them with students. While it’s not quite Camtasia, it does offer a full suite of features and will help you do most of the things you need to do.

Pros: Jing makes it pretty easy to record demos, presentations and how-to videos and will capture audio and video simultaneously. It also allows users to customize the area it captures. Sharing is as simple as clicking a button and all videos are save in  your history so that you can reuse them later if you should want to do so.
Cons: The free version of Jing is limited to 5 minute videos (though, honestly, course videos shouldn’t be longer than this in most cases, anyway) which could be a drawback for some. It’s limited in its editing capabilities.

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Keep in mind that all COD faculty (and staff!) also have free access to the Adobe Creative Suite, so if you have some video editing know-how, Premiere is also available (you will need to contact IT to get this set up) at no cost to you—though it doesn’t come with screen recording capabilities—you’ll need something else for that.

Did we miss any of your favorite free or low cost video editing software? Let us know and we’ll be happy to add your recommendation to the list!

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