Camtasia Theatre, Alas no More!

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  • Updated 5 years ago
I wonder if there is any alternative to Camtasia Theatre (which has now been dropped from CS8) ?

To understand why I miss it, I will try and explain how I used it in the past.

Let us say I created a Tutorila called "A". (in Camtasia 7.1)
The tutorial had markers to create a table of contents.
The tutorial was a success so I went ahead and did a follow up called "B", with a nice table of contents
Then my customers wanted more and I did even more follow-ups, "C", "D" and "E".

At this point I would use Camtasia Theatre to collect all the Tutorials in the series and place them in a single player that could access all of the Tutorials.
I could then sell this collection, rather than single parts.

Does anyone have a suggestion as to how I can easily achieve this by some other application or workflow, now that I no longer can use Theatre?
Regards,
Douglas
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Douglas Bruce

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Posted 7 years ago

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Chris Guld

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Oh No!!
I too use Theatre to produce a listing of tutorial videos that can be burned to CD/DVD and sold.
If I can't find an alternative (and I have looked) I guess I'll just have to keep CS7 around and use the old Theater.
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kayakman, Champion

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You could use the technique shown here ...

http://www.cookbookplus.com/videos/bm...

another method is exampled here ...

http://www.cookbookplus.com/Kayaking....

CS8 flash videos now let you string them together using end action jump to URL

I've also used button hotspots to link to different videos from all in a set

http://cookbookplus.com/temp/Kayak/Qu...
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Douglas Bruce

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Kayakman,
Those were 2 very interesting and innovative ideas.
However, I am not sure if they would achieve what I am looking for.

I will try and post a short sample later today or tomorrow.
Maybe you can tell me then if you think either of your methods would work.

Thanks for the ideas
Regards,
Douglas
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Chris Guld

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How did you accomplish the menu in the first example? (http://www.cookbookplus.com/videos/bm...)
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kayakman, Champion

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I just added simple links at bottom of the html pages created by the CS Production Wizard; used Visual Web Developer, but any text editor would do. Each link URLs to a different related section of this collection. Each section video was embedded in html; so I added same links to all htmls [highlighting was used to indicate current active section].

Hotspots that jump to URLs are at end of each section video that let a viewer navigate the next section's video.
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Douglas Bruce

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Unfortunately, Kayakman, I am not really at home with manipulating codes in programmes. Even simple ones.

Here is a link to Screencast, where I have now added a short video explaining how I have been using Camtasia Theatre.
Any suggestions?

My suggestion is: If it is not too difficult for TechSmith to update Camtasia Theatre to work with CS8 projects. Please add it again.
I am not asking for new features! I am just asking that it be re-instated as a choice of Tools.
Regards,
Douglas

The Screencast video http://www.screencast.com/t/LwMLqCHY
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kayakman, Champion

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Douglas, I watched your screencast and understand exactly; I too have used Camtasia Theater's nested TOC to logically host many of the software tutorials I have created over the years. It looked and worked great.

The Classic flash controller and Camtasia Theater made it wasy to create video packages such as your example. I believe the issue in CS8 is that they have switched to their "Smart Player" which is somewhat similar to the Overlay controller in CS7. The CS7 Overlay controller was not supported in CS7's Camtasia Theater, so that tool [overlays in theaters] has been out of the picture for several years now.

I've made thousands of screencasts using the Classic controller [and Theater], but found I liked the look and behavior of the Overlay better. I eventually switched over most of my legacy projects to Overlay [and now, to Smart Player, which has much better performance than the Overlay]. But not being able to nest a TOC [using a Camtasia tool] is an issue for me too.

I partically compensated by using jump to URL hotspots in the CS7 Overlay flash videos to give my viewers some sudo-nested TOC like capabilities [CS7 Overlays did not support end action jump to URL, so I just used end-of-video callout hotspots instead].

However, for me, the Camtasia Theater's nested TOC function, althought quite functional, was too restricted for much of what I needed, index wise.

Accordingly, several years ago, I began to manage all my video indexes using a master database index. By doing so, I can easly manage all the links to all my collections while still being able to offer users collection links specific [filtered] to any given subject or collection.

That method is described here ...

http://www.cookbookplus.com/videos/Me...

Although all my media links are managed in one database file, the associated ASPX web pages [or for that matter, the local machine database itself], can easily be filtered to only display links specific to a certain subject.

Perhaps something like this might work for you until Camtasia gets a Theater-like capability [???] for Smart Player videos.
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Douglas Bruce

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Thank you for an excellent explanation of the situation in CS8 as compared to CS7.

The Cookbook was interesting, but far too advanced for my needs.

I will change my workflow a little in the meantime and keep my fingers crossed that Techsmith are reading this and decide that they will do something about re-instating a version of Theatre. or offering a new tool that can do the same job.
Regards,
Douglas
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DSK

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We've just upgraded from CS7 to CS8. Last week we completed some new projects and then, as we always do, went to compile them into a single lesson with TOC using Camtasia Theater ... but couldn't find it!!

I've now found this thread suggesting that CT was left out of CS8 and CT from CS7 will not work on projects produced in CS8.

We do something similar to what Douglas shows in his video and make the compiled lessons available to hundreds of customers ... now we're stuck.

As our products evolve, we go back and update the relevant projects and re-compile them with CT to replace the existing lessons on our website to keep our new and existing customers up to date. It seems that if we use CS8 to update these projects, it will break all of our compiled lessons as we can no longer re-compile them with CT.

This seems like a MAJOR step backwards by Techsmith and I don't yet understand why they dropped such a key component of CS. When we scanned the enhancements on the website for CS8 prior to purchasing the upgrade, we didn't notice anything warning us that CT had been dropped. We have been caught completely off guard and can't publish our new lessons until we find a suitable solution.

Since the posts above, has anyone found a method as easy and functional as CT for use with CS8 projects?
Has anyone heard anything from Techsmith re whether CT is to be reintroduced?
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kayakman, Champion

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I too was a big consumer of Camtasia Theater videos, and I do not know if CT functionality will return in the future. But I have found other ways to offer equivalent functionality with CS8 SmartPlayer videos.

CS8 can produce videos with searchable TOC and captions but the TOC does not offer indented sub levels. However, indented TOCs can be easily scripted in the markers [although they are not collapsible].

You could use CS8 to create the MP4 video clips you want to use in a lesson set, then use CS7 [Classic Controller] to produce a CT production, but you would not have the new CS8 search capability.

Although CT made great videos, it was difficult and tedious to work with, especially with productions that had hundreds of TOC items and especially if you needed to add a new TOC item in the middle of the TOC list.

I now use a bifurcated system to give my viewers a CT like framework for browsing videos. Essentially, I separately host links to videos in a data-driven web application while hosting the actual videos anywhere I want [my web site, Screencast.com, etc]. This approach allows me to take advantage of all the new functions in the new CS8 SmartPlayer.

If curious, you can see for yourself at ...

http://mclm.cookbookplus.com/
username = camtasiastudiohowto
password = cs8
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DSK

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I'm not a programmer or website developer, I'm an eLearning co-ordinator that needs a quick and simple way of compiling CS projects into lessons with TOC's ... ie. CAMTASIA THEATER!

Your video re adding branding and TOC 'within' a produced project is great. However, it doesn't address what CT did ... ie. how to bring multiple produced projects together into one production for publishing/distribution.

What would be really great is a tool that does the same thing but outside the individual projects so that we can generate a master menu/screen with branding and hot spots that open the target produced projects. It would not necessarily need to drill down and show the hot spots that are inside the individual projects. This in effect would be a more graphical, flexible and attractive Camtasia Theater.... a really cool step forward.

... or just give us Camtasia Theater back.

Pulling all of the projects into one mammoth project would allow us to create a nice TOC with branding and hot spots etc, but due to web hosting, file sizes, playback buffering, the need for us to use individual projects in different lessons/courses etc etc, this is not feasible.

Please please please don't just take CT away without a replacement and leave us high and dry. I'm still unsure of how to progress at this point.
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Douglas Bruce

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I was happy to see that DSK took up this topic again.
I have also been helped by Kayakman at the time I started this thread, but I also found that his useful suggestions really require more than a basic knowledge of how to write "scripts" etc. Not at all my area.
I have found 2 workarounds that I now use.
Unfortunately I don't have time to go into detail just now. So here is a quick sketch.
It all assumes that you are willing to modify your present approach using CT.
1. Complete each part as a standalone project. Save it to the library as an Asset. Once you have all your parts saved as assets, start a new project and add the assets to it in the order you want. Make each asset start from a Marker (chapter point)
2. Using Dreamweaver Iand a plugin extension (Webstunning_video_player", I was able to create "websites" which I could put onto a USB flash drive, or just zip together and send the packet to a customer. They could unzip it and play the "website" locally.

Neither method gave me exactly what I could achieve with CT, but at least I can continue with my productions.

I would also be very happy if Techsmith can come up with a suitable replacement for CT.
Regards
Douglas
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Kalle Romanov

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I've used Cam1-7 and its theater in dozes of projects to produce just-on-time (JOT) learning with short 1-3 min videos. The videos (a typical JOT library consist 30-45 short videos) are utilized in hospital organizations  for staff training and so the loading time of a single must be very short. The alternative solutions shown here are not reasonable, leading to large video files or requiring lot of programming which is wasting of resources compared to the production line of Theater.  Cam8 is a great tool, but is cant be regarded as a primary solution since Theather is no more available.  The essential question is that what other software there are to be used instead of Camtasia. I'm not familiar with rivals yet, so any suggestions? Lectora? Articulate? ZebraZapps?


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kayakman, Champion

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You do have several alternatives that do not require any "programming"

1. develop and produce all your short videos in CS8; produce those as MP4 without player

use an earlier version of Camtasia that has Theater to assemble your theater, and produce your final package as usual

2.

using only CS8, create a button style menu project that uses hotspots to launch your short separate videos in a new browser window

here is an example

http://cookbookplus.com/Videos/SalesManager2014/MenusSeparateFolders/SM2014-Menu/SM2014-Menu_player....

this is a 3 level button menu; the entire collection of menu titles is searchable by displaying the menu video's TOC and entering a search word; this allows jumping to any subject's button

the button menu is a 2 min 15 sec video made entirely of hotspots [no video clip[s]; it front ends a collection of 185 short video tutorials; many of the short tutorials are related so they are also daisy chained together using another 135 end-of-video hotspots

the info shown on the button menu's opening frame explains how best to use it

watch the 1st button on right side [sub menu] for more details "How To Use This Menu"
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Kalle Romanov

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Thanks for the solution, hopefully it will do the thing!  With a short&rapid test Cam7 theater seems not to tolerate a mixture of swf and mp4 videos in one and single theater, as far as I got it right. So the suggested solution seems to require the new production of all video material into mp4 format. 
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Kalle Romanov

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Kayakman suggested that we could use CS8 to create the MP4 video clips we  want to use in a lesson set, then use CS7 [Classic Controller] to produce a Cam Theather production.

That seems to be working, but there is some problems.  In flash cam based productions you needed to add a 'stop' hot spot at the end of a single video, and it prevented the theather to jump to the next video when the previous one ended. When using there mp4's this is not working. Any workarounds available to stop at the end of a video in a Cam theater with multiple videos?

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kayakman, Champion

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[it's been a while since I've worked with CS7 and Theater so I hope this is accurate ...]

are you adding multiple separate MP4s to create a theater, or are you adding multiple MP4 production full filesets [including the config.xmls]?

also, I believe stop-at-end, click-to-continue hotspots did work in Camtasia Theater in CS7, but only if they were part of an MP4 production's config.xml's file [i.e., built into the project that created the MP4 production file set]

also, in CS7, if you use several MP4s in a single project, each separated by markers, and you produced using "produce separate files from markers, there was a setting where you could set the play to pause at the end of each marker segment

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