Camtasia (Mac): Recording Powerpoint for YouTube


What are the best practices for recording and editing a Powerpoint presentation to be shared to YouTube?


When creating videos for YouTube, resolution and the video dimensions (in pixels) will play a crucial role in the overall quality and appearance of the video on YouTube.  YouTube uses a video player that is widescreen format with a 16:9 aspect ratio.  So, in order to have you video look its best on YouTube, the video will also need to be widescreen, 16:9.  A popular use of Camtasia for Mac is to record Powerpoint presentations to be hosted on YouTube.  By default, most Powerpoint presentations are displayed in the standard 4:3 format.  So, when recording, there black bars on the sides of the video.

                                                                      black bars.png


So ideally, we want to playback the Powerpoint in a 16:9 format, record into 16:9 format, and edit at a 16:9 format.  Furthermore, YouTube allows for HD quality content (720p).  So the clearest, highest quality Powerpoint recording will need to be displayed at, recorded at, and edited at this 16:9, 1280 pixel by 720 pixel dimensions.  To accomplish this, we will likely need to make some setting adjustments to Powerpoint, Camtasia for Mac, and yes even YouTube.  


To adjust the aspect ratio for which the presentation will be displayed at (default is 4:3, and we need 16:9), click the Themes tab > Slide Size > Widescreen (16:9).   


Next, we will configure Powerpoint to playback the presentation in a Window rather than in Full Screen mode.  This will allow us to make sure the presentation is exactly 1280x720.  So, click on the Slide Show tab > Set Up Show and select Browsed by an individual (window).



Camtasia for Mac

Now we need to make sure Camtasia for Mac is configured to record a 1280x720 section of your screen.  Open the Camtasia Recorder and click on the drop down menu to see the preset dimensions.  Select YouTube HD/720p (1280x720) from the list. 


Now click on the Record button.  A 1280x720 area of your screen will be highlighted. This is the area of your screen that will be recorded.  If you need to move the recording area, click in the center of the highlighted area and drag it to the desired area of your screen.  When doing this, it is important to note that the recording dimensions may change (depending on the resolution of your monitor).  So once you have the area positioned correctly on your screen, double check the recording dimensions to make sure they are still 1280x720 (and change if needed).  

Now, begin recording your screen, and then begin the Powerpoint presentation.  Position the Powerpoint presentation window so that it fits within your recording area.  You may notice that the Powerpoint does not fill the recording area, or may be too big.  Simply re-size the Powerpoint window to fit within the outlined recording area as shown below. 


Now continue through your Powerpoint.  Once the recording is complete and you have it in a new project in Camtaisa, we will want to verify that the canvas for the project is also 1280x720.  Here is a short video covering how to check your canvas size, and also how to change it if necessary. 


Once the video is uploaded to YouTube, you should notice that there are no black bars on the sides of the video, and that the quality is pretty good.  However, you may expect it to be better.  This is most likely because YouTube is playing back the video at lower quality (unfortunately we have not way of changing this setting).  So, when you are viewing the video on YouTube, click on the gear icon in the transport bar and make sure the 720p is selected for playback.  Once this is selected, you will see you recorded presentation playing back in HD quality. 


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