Improved "Start Over" user experience

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  • Updated 7 months ago
When recording the screen, I will frequently get interrupted, need to do a mental reset or start over a recording some other random reason. I know some people will say to just keep recording, but there are times when I have to re-record 4-6 times for various reasons and I do not want to watch and listen to all my mistakes to find the right parts to edit.

Camtasia has a nice feature and shortcut key to pause and restarts the recording (COMMAND+SHIFT+2), however, if I want to scrap everything I recorded, I have to do the following steps:

1. CMD+SHIFT+2 to pause/stop recording.
2. Move my mouse (not always a good thing when recording a screen), to click the Start Over button.
3. Click yet another Start Over button.
4. Click CMD+SHIFT+2 to start again.

Problem statements
As many of you that record screens know, moving your mouse off-screen just to have it appear elsewhere can be jarring to the person you are training (the person watching the video). I have frequently found myself stopping the recording session altogether (further slowing down my workflow) so I can look at the previous video to see where my mouse was located.

The act of Starting Over a recording is pretty commonplace from my experience and when you get "in the zone" recording something. Getting that distraction of multiple keypresses and mouse clicks can slow down your ability to record a session as you have to switch your mental thought process from using the product you are demonstrating back to Camtasia.

Data
I produce about 2 videos per week that are about 15-30 minutes long each. Due to the specificity of what I am recording and a high bar for quality standards, that small video can take anywhere from 4-8 hours to produce. 

For the last three weeks, I calculated how many times I started over and the time to [as they say] get it right. I performed at least one start over action every 3 minutes, so a lot of recordings go onto the cutting room floor. 

Reasons for the restart include, but are certainly not limited to:
* Someone calling me.
* Loud noises like a dog barking.
* Some Mac or Windows notification that displays.
* You realize you spoke the wrong words.
* You get frustrated with the number of takes and need to take a mental break.
* The user interface of whatever app you are using does not work as expected.
* The list goes on...

That said, in many of those instances, I would really like to leave the mouse where it is, but the start over experience is very difficult to do without just moving your mouse and clicking the windows (I know I can do lots of click-shift-click steps, but the mouse is so much easier.

For 15-30 minutes of video, I probably drop 2 hours of video via the start over experience.

Since it takes about 5 seconds to start over with the existing experience.

It takes up to 5 minutes when I need to get the mouse placement just right.

Overall, I estimate that the start over process uses up between 30 minutes to 1 hour of my time, which may be a small percentage of the overall production process, but a huge time savings and also just fewer steps in general. 

Proposal
Create another shortcut key (CMD+SHIFT+3 just as an example) that performs the same function as CMD+SHIFT+2 (start/pause), but also removes the previous recording from memory as a fast "start over" action.

Potential issues
Obviously, performing an action like clearing everything from memory and starting over again can have undesired results. You go from "Yes! I finally recorded that session perfectly!" to "Oh no! I pressed the wrong keystroke and deleted my work!".

To avoid the accidental start over the issue, I propose the product should have some smarts built-in. Here are some things I can think of to avoid accidental start overs:

1. When someone starts over, just throw the previous recording into the Camtasia media container for removal later.

2. Keep an "undo" list in the recording window. Before you exit recording completely, you can simply pick the one you want.

3. Force the user to type the same keyboard twice. For example, if start over = CMD+SHIFT+3, you would have to type those keystrokes twice. Once to stop the recording another to delete.

Included in this proposal are some screenshots to show you the issue and proposal.





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bill.raymond

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Posted 7 months ago

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Ed Covney

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Bill - Watch more movies.

The longest "take" I've seen in a year or two is about 20 or 30 seconds. And they're PROFESSIONALS. Why not start your Camtasia sessions, PLANNING for short 15, 20 or 30 seconds per recording? The shorter it is, the more likely you won't need another  . .  take. Camtasia can put all the recordings together  . .  just like a pro!
I know, we're all in a hurry to get 'er done, but imagine producing even a large project, in LITTLE pieces, then try it!
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Rick Stone

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This article would certainly seem to suggest that you are spot on! 

Click here to read about "The Three Second Rule".
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Ed Covney

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I think there are a lot of great rules, that I normally don't follow because I'm in a hurry. I've started the RamDisk video, and "planning" for the first 20-30 seconds is now underway!
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bill.raymond

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Hi Ed, there are professional videos I do that are so scripted I can crank them out. But my personal videos, I produce seat of the pants with various ideas I try out. It’sa lot of work. The start over experience is something I think could use less friction.
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kayakman, Champion

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I made this tutorial back in early 2017; still relevant; perhaps it might be helpful ...

How To Do Screen Captures While Minimizing Narration Errors 2017-03-31
https://www.screencast.com/t/u6QO3I8CT



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bill.raymond

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@kayakman I watched the video. It is very good and thank you. I follow many of these best practices. There are a number of videos that I do off-the-cuff and sort of design them as I go for whatever reason. When you paused your screen, I noticed you moved the mouse around to practice what you would do. That is something I would not do because it would interrupt the flow for the person watching my video. I can understand you might not do that when you do your recording, but it does showcase one of the reasons I would like shortcut keys.
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bill.raymond

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@kayakman One more thought on this as well. Here are some things that are usually out of my control. I can greatly reduce the risk, but you know.. life :-)

* Someone calling me.
* Loud noises like a dog barking.
* Some Mac or Windows notification that displays.
* I realize I spoke the wrong words or needed a more clear and concise statement.
* You get frustrated with the number of takes and need to take a mental break.
* The user interface of whatever app you are using does not work as expected.
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kayakman, Champion

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looks like you're using the Mac version?

on Windows, wondering if this option might help with the cursor?

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kayakman, Champion

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bill.raymond ... your points are well taken

regarding this issue, there is no one size that fits all

in my own screencasting work, I never work off a script; virtually never have to do voice-overs; basically, I "shoot from the hip" when capturing and narrating; I always work off an initially paused Recorder, and I only do very short "snippet" captures; I make mistakes, but have no problems throwing them away and starting over

one thing that frustrates my making Camtasia tutorials is when it trips over a bug, and/or crashes; kills the capture for tutorial purposes, but I often get great footage for bug reports

:)
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bill.raymond

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@kayakman Unfortunately, that setting does not exist in Camtasia (or at least I don't see it). Camtasia is close to Windows functionality, but not at parity, unfortunately. I understand your other pains  as well :-)
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Paul Middlin, Employee

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Hi Bill, thanks for the suggestion.
One follow up question. You noted a few times that you do not want to have to move the mouse when doing a 'start over' and this seems like a large part of the reason it is onerous for you- because you have to move it back to the right position.
But, I'm assuming when you start over, you don't want the mouse to be where it is now, but where it was at the beginning of the recording, so you are stuck repositioning it anyways? Am I misunderstanding?
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bill.raymond

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That is sometimes the issue. Another problem is that I start over while the mouse is still perfectly located where I need it to be.
The onerous part is changing my thought process from saying the right words and making the right selections to having to fiddle with the Camtasia start over buttons. I may have worded it inappropriately so you think it is mouse positioning, but that’s just one negative side effect, not the major one that takes me out of my mental flow :)
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Ed Covney

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Have you ever tried using two mice?  Windows only provides one cursor, but an add on
driver just might give you 2 mice and 2 cursors?

https://www.pluralinput.com/support/manually-install-driver/


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bill.raymond

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@Ed Interesting idea, but it seems to be for Windows. I did not do an exhaustive search, but looking up the options, it looks like my Mac can take two inputs, but you can only get one mouse cursor on-screen. If you happen to know of a product that can offer two mouse cursors on the Mac, please do let me know and I will keep poking around. I would pay for that :-)
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davemillman

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Bill,

Thank you for the detailed explanation and specification! 

While Techsmith mulls what to do, here is one feature that will help. Under your list of things that cause you to restart, you wrote: 

>Some Mac or Windows notification that displays.

I have the same problem (reminders to backup my hard disk, notifications about incoming files, etc.). I used to use a checklist of things to turn off when screen recording. The good news is, in Camtasia Mac (maybe Windoze too), there is a Visual Effect called Freeze Region which solves that problem with a couple of clicks. You just freeze the region as it was before the unfortunate pop-up notification. This is seamless and does not require copy-and-paste of a still frame. 

(Edited)
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bill.raymond

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@Davemillman thanks. I will take a look.