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Camtasia Studio 5 review

We discover that the art of video capture has been made easier than ever before

The SmartFocus tool in Camtasia Studio 5 is an eerily intelligent and helpful automatic zoom function

Our Verdict

The best video capture software around


  • Very easy to use
  • Extremely intuitive tools
  • Good compatibility with different file formats


  • Quite expensive

TechSmith is a company with its sights set on large and small businesses that have a need for capturing their computer screens as stills or videos. The flagship products of SnagIt and Camtasia get bigger and better, but also cheaper.

The latest Camtasia will still set you back £150, but if you make PC training videos for yourself, as a hobby or even for work, then there's no better software package than the new Camtasia Studio 5, and here's why.

Camtasia's video capture has been pretty spot-on since the first version appeared and the streamlined interface of Camtasia 4 has been spruced up a little further here to make life even easier. Dragging and dropping effects onto the timeline is extremely quick and means that you spend little time editing.

Show off

It's the new features in version 5 that make it really rise above Camtasia 4, such as the SmartFocus tool that intelligently works out what you're focusing on and zooms in/out appropriately. If you choose to use it but you don't like its choice, it can be changed in a flash, but it's extremely intuitive, consistent and on top of that it's actually quite scary how much it seems to read your mind!

Camtasia 5 has been tweaked to allow for direct outputs for formats such as the iPod, PSP or iPhone, so you can take captured videos wherever you go. Fileformats won't give you a headache, either.

The ExpressShow tool creates a single Flash (SWF) file that can be easily embedded into any Web site, blog or multimedia project. With a glossy thumbnail image, full-screen playback option and floating table of contents, this is Flash video that looks really professional. If you run your own blog then you'll love the new FTP function or the Upload tool.

You can get screen capture tools for a fraction of the price of Camtasia, but nothing can beat the frame speed or editing functionality on offer here. Yes, it's a niche market, but if you need this kind of tool then it has to be Camtasia Studio 5.