Are camtasia video PLAYERS hurting your business?

by Josh Anderson 31 replies
Long loading times and splash screens may not the be only reason to NOT use camtasia's video players...

Over the years and many times recently I have noticed camtasia video players sometimes do not recognize that I have flash installed.

Most recently I visited a website of a product which was recommended to me only to find that in both IE and Firefox the website displayed a message that I had to have flash installed so that it could load the camtasia video players.

I don't run into this problem with my own players or flv producer players...

There are so many reasons that I do not like Camtasia players but this really hit me as a problem...

I mean the demonstration video was really important for selling this product and because I could not see it demonstrated I left the site.

I know that this issue is pretty complicated, I know the steps to go through to try and solve it and trick the browser into recognizing the camtasia player by uninstalling flashplayer and resinstalling it (which works sometimes). and it also happens from time to time with various other media players...

but over the years I have seen this issue again and again most commonly with camtasia players.

Again there are many other reasons I do not like camtasia video players and think that they should never be used... but here is what I suggest:

1. Always encode your video to flv, preferably with a professional flash 8 quality encoder and not Camtasia. Save it as an avi in camtasia and then encode it with a real encoding solution like flash 8 video encoder, Flix Pro 8, or Sorenson Squeeze 5.

2. Never embed it using camtasia's players. Choose a good pro solution there are many great flv player both free and paid that kick Camtasia players butt.

Look for players that allow you to control things like buffer time and auto loading. A good pro player will allow you to stream a properly encoded and optimized (that's a whole other lesson) flv video with no loading splash screen almost instantly (I commonly publish my videos setting them to start play in 3 seconds).

Over looking these things is causing a lot of people lower response rates in these attention span-less times.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #business #camtasia #hurting #players #video
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  • Profile picture of the author Tirmizi
    I have always felt the same way using camstudios .... however, about saving the file in .flv i always do that :-)


    another good write Josh , keep good info coming ...



    Regards



    Tirmizi
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe721
      The first time I played with camtasia was the last, no way I was going to use it. That loading time, the loading screen, a whole load of script that gets dumped in by default. I don't want people to wait, a while back it was acceptable, not any more.

      Also, much more subtlety is desireable now, a nice video that just starts playing tucked into a dhtml layer to allow control of position/cookies easily etc. No screens except for first frame or similar, small control bar that is not obtrusive (or is it intrusive?).
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim Franklin
    Josh you are so right about camtasia, recently I purchased some PLR video all done in camtasia, the sound was terrible,

    (the dreaded squeaks, jump and skip audio,) There was little that I could understand about the video because the audio was just plain unintelligible.

    I was disappointed in the video PLR, because it was not something I could recommend to my clients, translation, waste of money.

    I hope people read your post and take it to heart, If at all possible I would recommend not even using Camtasia, for my part, I am using MAC so I have alternatives that out perform camtasia,

    (no need for extraneous, javascript)controls,
    (which can cause problems with cross browser use)

    I believe using SWF as a video format is just not a good solution, FLV is the preferred solution, every time, which is why you see all the big boys using this format.

    Thanks for posting this valuable info.
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    • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
      Its important to point out that no matter what screen capture software you use as long as you can select the codec and save as avi the quality will be the same.

      So whether you use the free camstudio or camtasia the quality you can produce is identical.

      Yeah, there are some people who will have a hard time believing that... but when you know how to use it the free stuff kicks just as much butt as the paid.

      The key is always use professional encoding solutions to encode to flv and pro players to embed in a website.

      Camtasia is not bad software... its just that they try and be everything in one and in the areas of players, swf, encoding, etc they have had problems.
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    • Profile picture of the author mario_a
      Originally Posted by Tim Franklin View Post

      Josh you are so right about camtasia, recently I purchased some PLR video all done in camtasia, the sound was terrible,

      (the dreaded squeaks, jump and skip audio,) There was little that I could understand about the video because the audio was just plain unintelligible.
      Hi Tim,

      That's a known issue.

      There's a fix available : Camtasia Chipmunk Audio fix

      Regards,
      Mario
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    • Profile picture of the author LonNaylor
      Originally Posted by Tim Franklin View Post

      Josh you are so right about camtasia, recently I purchased some PLR video all done in camtasia, the sound was terrible,

      (the dreaded squeaks, jump and skip audio,) There was little that I could understand about the video because the audio was just plain unintelligible.

      I was disappointed in the video PLR, because it was not something I could recommend to my clients, translation, waste of money.

      I hope people read your post and take it to heart, If at all possible I would recommend not even using Camtasia, for my part, I am using MAC so I have alternatives that out perform camtasia,

      (no need for extraneous, javascript)controls,
      (which can cause problems with cross browser use)

      I believe using SWF as a video format is just not a good solution, FLV is the preferred solution, every time, which is why you see all the big boys using this format.

      Thanks for posting this valuable info.
      In fairness to Camtasia, I'll just state that poor audio quality, especially in totally crap PLR videos (are there any other kind???) has zero to do with Camtasia. Bad audio is bad audio no matter what program you use.

      I can appreciate the interest in using different players...I also do it all the time...

      But one thing I've yet to understand is Josh's dislike of Camtasia's rendering of FLV. Techsmith uses the same VP6 codec from On2 that Adobe does and also provides a variable 2-pass rendering (This directly in response to my question about it from their lead Flash developer, Brooks Andrus).

      It's no Sorenson (which I also use for granular control second to none) but...it ain't bad.

      I could be completely off-base but I'd love to understand the details Josh!

      Thanks and a great thread!
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      • Profile picture of the author John Sullivan
        I have had the same problem being unable to watch various videos getting the same message install the latest flash etc when I have it already. As a result I am reluctant to buy certain videos made in this format.

        John
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        • Profile picture of the author Jason Moffatt
          Hey Josh,

          Did Camtasia beat you up as a kid?

          You sure like dogging those guys!

          I'll agree it's not the greatest solution, but for ease of use, it's great.

          Also, using Camstudio will probably cause you more then $300 worth of headaches in my experience. Much easier to just get Camtasia in my opinion. Plus their support department is great.

          Or if you really wanna do it right, get a Mac and use screenflow.
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          • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
            "But one thing I've yet to understand is Josh's dislike of Camtasia's rendering of FLV. Techsmith uses the same VP6 codec from On2 that Adobe does and also provides a variable 2-pass rendering (This directly in response to my question about it from their lead Flash developer, Brooks Andrus).

            It's no Sorenson (which I also use for granular control second to none) but...it ain't bad.

            I could be completely off-base but I'd love to understand the details Josh!"
            Its a great option if you do not have any of the pro solutions or any better alternative available...

            But not all encoders are created the same even when they use the same codec they produce varying results. Also the most important aspect of an encoder after the quality of the compression and image that it produces is the ability to control all aspects of the encoding ie. audio and video bit rates, frame rate, stereo vs mono, swf vs flv and keyframes.

            Being able to control all those things and optimize videos for both quality and bit rate will allow you to also boost response because faster streaming videos and videos that load fast, and videos that do not halt and buffer halt and buffer etc over slower 256 connections prevelent in the US have impact on the bottom line.

            Its no different than optimizing the loading time of a website.

            People do not realize that this a the million dollar question... hardly anyone gets it. Heck even camtasia does not get it which is evidenced by the defautl high bit rates they teach people to use.

            But that is normal in the industry for people who do not work contantly in direct response with clients where faster delivery and boosting response and conversion rates is such a driving force behind seeking better quality lower bit rate video.

            Hey Josh,

            Did Camtasia beat you up as a kid?

            You sure like dogging those guys!

            I'll agree it's not the greatest solution, but for ease of use, it's great.

            Also, using Camstudio will probably cause you more then $300 worth of headaches in my experience. Much easier to just get Camtasia in my opinion. Plus their support department is great.

            Or if you really wanna do it right, get a Mac and use screenflow.
            Screenflow has one major flaw... forcing full screen capture with zooming.

            The reason I contantly bring up the issues with camtasia is because so many people make the mistake of using their players, encoding video at high bit rates when it is not necessary, and capturing their entire screen when it is not necessary...

            And shelling out $300 when you can produce the same quality video with Camstudio which is free ;-)

            For the longest time people would respond to recommendations for Camstudio claiming that it could not perform as well as camtasia.

            Its simply not true. You can produce identical quality if you know how to use it.

            I know camtasia is the long reigning champion of IM but if you can produce the same quality video with free screen capture video then why not recommend it?

            Also if you can make your camtasia videos look better, load faster, and stream better by saving as avi encoding with a better encoder and embedding with a better player would you?

            Some would not.

            But those who are looking for any advantage that they can get wether it be smaller file sizes with lower bit rates that save on bandwidth bills or faster loading time and streaming that increases conversion rates etc.

            I guess I just have a different perspective. It may be because my partners and I deal with thousands of publishers and production companies in markets outside of IM.

            Honestly video in IM is like a third world country when it comes to video publishing compared to what is going on in the major world of video publishing online and what the demand for quality and performance is outside of IM.

            Camtasia is improving all the time. Its a great tool. I own a few licenses of it... then why do I prefer to use Camstudio?

            Most people just scratch their head at that. But I don't mind... it's just because people do not employ the same strategies as I do... but there are companies that look at some of my clients and partners who apply the optimization strategies I teach and they drool and beg for them because they know the value of an advantage in media delivery speed.

            It does not matter whether you use Camtasia or Camstudio or Screenflow (unless like me you consider capturing the entire screen a sin)...

            What I am trying to point out is that the most important thing that people are overlooking is that how fast a video loads and plays, or in the case of camtasia players, whether it loads or plays at all is the most overlooked and most important aspect of video publishing online after content and quality.

            The way to best accomplish that is to save your master video then encode and embed it with higher quality more optimized solutions.

            If you do that... you don't need camtasia. It offers you no advantage over the free solution.
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            • Profile picture of the author Easy Cash
              I just watch one from a Warrior on this site. It took ages to load and stopped half way through. I only let it go - and waited and waited until it finally fixed itself because I wanted to watch the rest of the presentation - but i was pretty close to just shutting it down and forgetting about the whole thing.

              Not a good marketing tool........
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              • Profile picture of the author Hugh Fraser
                Josh,
                Why don't you post a video in Camtasia & Camstudio to show people what you mean?

                Hugh
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            • Profile picture of the author LonNaylor
              Thanks for the clarification Josh!

              I certainly agree that pro encoders offer advantages in the level of control. Camtasia users can set bit rate, frame rate, key frame rates, audio settings, and the mysterious "quality" slider but you're absolutely right...people don't get that and there is a general lack of understanding of what all those parameters buy you.

              Hmmm...sounds like a tutorial series...think I'll take a look into that!
              ;-)
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              • Profile picture of the author Britt Malka
                A tutorial series would be nice, especially with Mac OS X programs ;-)

                I use iShowU to make a .mov. Next my husband works on the movie in iMovie, put a theme on etc. He saves in .flv, and he uses DreamWeaver for the player.

                The problem is that with fairly long videos, the user has to pause the player and download everything before watching. Not ideal :-(

                Which player would you recommend that is better?
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                • Profile picture of the author Roy Carter
                  Hi Josh - And there I was for weeks now thinking that it was just me that was getting told constantly that I needed to install the latest Flash Player (when I already had it).

                  I must have uninstalled and reinstalled about a dozen times, all to no avail. It was driving me mad and I still have some videos I can watch and others that tell me I can't unless I install the latest flash player.

                  I even thought I might have some kind of bug or virus on my PC.

                  Very frustrating.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Quentin
                    From my experience the only reason the request for flash player comes up is that people embed the video in a new page and do not add the header material which the video references.

                    This creates that error and no matter how many times you upgrade the flash player it will not play as it cannot reference the header info. A trap for players as the old versions did not require this.

                    Quentin
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                • Profile picture of the author Scott Lundergan
                  Originally Posted by Britt Malka View Post

                  A tutorial series would be nice, especially with Mac OS X programs ;-)

                  I use iShowU to make a .mov. Next my husband works on the movie in iMovie, put a theme on etc. He saves in .flv, and he uses DreamWeaver for the player.

                  The problem is that with fairly long videos, the user has to pause the player and download everything before watching. Not ideal :-(

                  Which player would you recommend that is better?
                  Hi Britt,

                  What are his bitrate settings for the video? It sounds like he just encodes it at a video bitrate some cable or broadband users can't keep up with. if you are like me and run an mov through a mac system, then the quality (compared to pc pixel screen capture), is much clearer (just because of the codec I use and source of the capture), so for long mov's that I then take to Final Cut Studio to edit, I can still still get away with crystal clear screen capture at 190-265 kbps on the video when exporting the flv file.

                  Also, is he streaming off his own site or using another hosting solution like amazon s3?

                  Anyways, perhaps try those settings and see what happens?



                  Scott
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                  • Profile picture of the author Britt Malka
                    Hi Scott,

                    Thank you for your ideas. We will try changing the bitrate.

                    Also, we found out that Bluehost isn't offering true streaming. We are looking at another solution, but it's of course more expensive.

                    Are you using true streaming?
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                    • Profile picture of the author Keith Boisvert
                      I love reading Josh's threads as it reminds me of how damn ignorant I am when it comes to video.

                      I must have read the op 4 times and still have no friggin clue!! I use camtasia, not for any other reason other than I have it. The quality isn't all that great, and I am sure there are much better alternatives.

                      Why do I still use it? Because I click a few buttons and I am done.

                      Now, I have no problem spending more time to ensure a great video is produced and implemented onto a web site...but where to start?

                      So I have assembled some questions that if anyone wants to answer, feel free, because I am totally clueless.

                      #1) For screen capture video, it is still ok to use Camtasia/Camstudio?

                      #2)If I want to add special effects, what would I use(software)Camtasia seems clunky in this department

                      #3) After I make my awesome video, then what? I assume using camtasia to process my finished product for web is not the best? Do I use camtasia to do anything with it? What program should I use to process it? Is that where the Sorenson Squeeze 5 would come in?

                      #4) Players. ??? I have no clue here either. Do I need a player if I don't use camtasia? If so, what's a good one where I can embed my video on an existing web page? Of even better, one of them there fancy ones that whn I click the play button it fades out the web page and it shows up almost like a pop up in front og the faded screen.

                      Silly questions, but there is so much to learn when it comes to video, for those of us that use something like camtasia, where do we go to learn this stuff?

                      I for one am not just "satisfied" with a crappy video, but I also don't want to own a full blown production studio either. I certainly don't mind spending the money for the right stuff, I just don't know what the right stuff is.

                      Keith
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                      • Profile picture of the author Kat Bartone
                        Hi Josh,

                        I'm clueless when it comes to video, so it's hard for me to read between the lines.

                        Given that, I'm having difficulty figuring out the focus of this thread.

                        You've pointed out some of the problems with Camtasia, including long loading times, splash screens, and troubles with Flash.

                        In your endorsement of Camstudio as a free solution, you've noted you can get the same quality with Camstudio as you can with Camtasia - not that it is a solution to the problems with Camtasia that you first identified.

                        So, that leaves me wondering:

                        I don't run into this problem with my own players or flv producer players...
                        > What are your own players?

                        Its a great option if you do not have any of the pro solutions or any better alternative available...
                        > What are the pro solutions you're alluding to?

                        Also if you can make your camtasia videos look better, load faster, and stream better by saving as avi encoding with a better encoder and embedding with a better player would you?
                        > Are you saying that CamStudio does all this?

                        The key is always use professional encoding solutions to encode to flv and pro players to embed in a website.
                        > Ok, now I'm really getting confused - but which ones?

                        Thanks a lot for this thread!

                        - Kat Bartone
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                    • Profile picture of the author Scott Lundergan
                      Originally Posted by Britt Malka View Post

                      Hi Scott,

                      Thank you for your ideas. We will try changing the bitrate.

                      Also, we found out that Bluehost isn't offering true streaming. We are looking at another solution, but it's of course more expensive.

                      Are you using true streaming?

                      For some video, I stream right off of my hosting plans, but I actually use a private label of Content Delivery Service , which is true content delivery. The company I use is SoftLayer Services: CDNLayer but if someone doesn't have a softlayer dedicated server (which is how one obtains it), then the Amazon s3 hosting will do the trick. You can still stream if your hosting package is coming from decently fast shared servers, but most people nowadays just make the smart move over to Amazon s3.
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              • Profile picture of the author Mike Hill
                Originally Posted by LonNaylor View Post

                Thanks for the clarification Josh!

                I certainly agree that pro encoders offer advantages in the level of control. Camtasia users can set bit rate, frame rate, key frame rates, audio settings, and the mysterious "quality" slider but you're absolutely right...people don't get that and there is a general lack of understanding of what all those parameters buy you.

                Hmmm...sounds like a tutorial series...think I'll take a look into that!
                ;-)

                Hey Lon,

                A tutorial on how to use Amazon S3 on a secure members area that uses amember and Joomla would also be killer dude! Contact me if you are going to do that and I'll be your first customer Testimonial included!

                Mike Hill
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    • Profile picture of the author Instructor
      Originally Posted by Tim Franklin View Post

      Josh you are so right about camtasia, recently I purchased some PLR video all done in camtasia, the sound was terrible,

      (the dreaded squeaks, jump and skip audio,) There was little that I could understand about the video because the audio was just plain unintelligible.

      I was disappointed in the video PLR, because it was not something I could recommend to my clients, translation, waste of money.

      I hope people read your post and take it to heart, If at all possible I would recommend not even using Camtasia, for my part, I am using MAC so I have alternatives that out perform camtasia,

      (no need for extraneous, javascript)controls,
      (which can cause problems with cross browser use)

      I believe using SWF as a video format is just not a good solution, FLV is the preferred solution, every time, which is why you see all the big boys using this format.

      Thanks for posting this valuable info.
      Hello,

      Would you mind sharing what you use for MAC?

      Thanks in advance
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  • Profile picture of the author John Rowe
    Josh, why not put together a 'complete' report on how to do video the right way... using free or paid programs. I'd buy it. And it could be another great front end product.
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    • Profile picture of the author Instructor
      I'd buy it too. I just looked into s3. I like the pay only for what you use feature. Wish they had an a affiliate plan
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      • Profile picture of the author sclarke
        Josh,

        Great information as always.

        One quick question...

        1. Always encode your video to flv, preferably with a professional flash 8 quality encoder and not Camtasia. Save it as an avi in camtasia and then encode it with a real encoding solution like flash 8 video encoder, Flix Pro 8, or Sorenson Squeeze 5.
        So, you're saying to use flv for simple screen capture, as well as, live video presentations? In other words, swf is not the best choice for simple screen capture video?

        Thanks,

        Steven
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        • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
          So, you're saying to use flv for simple screen capture, as well as, live video presentations? In other words, swf is not the best choice for simple screen capture video?

          Thanks,

          Steven
          There are very few encoder software that use vp6 codec and can produce swf.

          Its not about whether it is .swf or not its about compression and image quality and if you don't encode a video using the vp6 codec, or in the case of flashplayer 9's new capability the h.264 codec, you are not going to get the smallest file, lowest bit rate, and the best image quality available.

          Player on the other hand are a different issue... players allow you to control how your video loads, streams, and plays... there are many features missing in most players that are important for optimial visitor experience and response rates these are:

          1. Autoplay on/off
          2. Autoload on/off (really important if you have more than one video on a page... this is the single worst problem encountered by direct sales site owners who put multiple videos in a sales page and have no clue how to do it without killing load time and response).
          3. Buffer time (this allows you to set the buffer period so that an optimized video can start playing as fast as you want it to... it must be optimized though meaning you need to understand the importance of having the right bit rate for your target market's internet connections.
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          • Profile picture of the author sclarke
            Josh,

            I got it now. Thanks for the clarity.

            Thanks again

            Steve
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            • Profile picture of the author Popstar
              Josh,

              Does this information also apply to Camtasia screen capture video that you burn to CD or DVD?

              I have both your trigger and transparent players which I know I can't use on CDs or DVDs. But the optimization bonus you gave us with the recommended settings... does that information still apply if you burn the Camtasia video to CD or DVD?

              If not, what settings do you suggest?

              Also, with CDs or DVDs, what player would you use instead of the Camtasia player?

              Thanks,
              Debbie
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              • Profile picture of the author Josh Anderson
                Josh,

                Does this information also apply to Camtasia screen capture video that you burn to CD or DVD?

                I have both your trigger and transparent players which I know I can't use on CDs or DVDs. But the optimization bonus you gave us with the recommended settings... does that information still apply if you burn the Camtasia video to CD or DVD?

                If not, what settings do you suggest?

                Also, with CDs or DVDs, what player would you use instead of the Camtasia player?

                Thanks,
                Debbie
                Hi Debbie,

                I do not know much about producing CD and DVD... but one of the best people who does and teaches about how to do it is Bill Myers:

                Bill Myers Online

                Bill has an excellent and affordable membership that teaches those things and also sells some info products on it as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author Scott Lundergan
      Originally Posted by John Rowe View Post

      Josh, why not put together a 'complete' report on how to do video the right way... using free or paid programs. I'd buy it. And it could be another great front end product.
      Hey John (and the rest of the warrior forum),

      Sorry, I couldn't resist chiming in.

      The product is Optimize Youtube Video - Optimize Streaming Video - Optimize Web Video and won't be released for another few months, so just opt-in to find out when the exact date will be.

      Josh and I have started organizing the entire membership site the other day with this exact content you are speaking of and more. Josh and I are both aware the teaser page really gives no justification to what the final product will be, with so much more content, strategies and resources video publishers can instantly apply to their business.

      To be honest, here is the deal. We have had hundreds of emails saying "When will this be released, You have held this information back for months, etc"...

      We were suppose to release this product last year in December. The original product has been seen by quite a few affluent video publishers and marketers. As of now, only few of the podcast episodes can be accessed by all my Niche Video Clips and Video Producer Online customers.

      Anyways, we made more discoveries, then we got busy with our own projects while putting many different pieces together. Then we launched our own products. Then, Josh and I combined what he knows about web video online and what I know about it offline (I produce training, educational and promo videos for a living-offline and online) and came up with different blue prints and guides for all different levels for marketers online to optimize their video content, all the way down to subliminal trigger fonts, pixel sizes and kbps of video for optimization.

      Tomorrow, we are putting the final touches on what content will be added. Usually, I would be pretty hard on myself if it took me 9 months to launch a product, but that is not our main source of income...it is a product that will be proven strategies and information from two people who have the most affluent of marketers and small business owners as video publishing clients.

      Hope that helps. Quite a few people have been wondering, so thought I'd lay it all out!

      All the best,

      Scott
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  • Profile picture of the author Instructor
    If someone creates a video using Camtasia can it later be edited with CamStudio?
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