Camtasia (Windows): Recording Powerpoint for YouTube


After recording my PowerPoint and uploading to YouTube my video is blurry or has black bars.


The purpose of this article is to provide some guidelines for recording Powerpoint Presentations with Camtasia to be hosted on 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 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 are either black bars on the sides of the video which will then appear in the final video. 


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, and yes even YouTube.  


We will start with Powerpoint.  To adjust the aspect ratio for which the presentation will be displayed at (default is 4:3, and we need 16:9), click on the Design tab > Page Setup and select On-screen Show (16:9) from the Slides sized for drop down. 


Next, we need to adjust the resolution that the presentation will be displayed at.  To do this, navigate to the Slide Show tab and select 1280x720 under the Resolution drop down menu. 


Now Powerpoint is ready to record at 16:9, 1280x720. 

*Note that you may notice the appearance of your screen changes when you begin the slide show.   This is because it is changing the resolution of the screen to 1280x720 for the presentation. 


Once the recording is complete, import the recording into a project in Camtasia.  Once imported into the clip bin, add the recording to the timeline.  You will be prompted to select the Editing Dimensions for the project.  We will want to choose one of the presets that is 1280x720 so that it matches our recording dimensions exactly.  Now you can go through an edit your recording to your liking.  Once you are done editing, click on the Produce and Share button at the top and select YouTube to upload the video to your YouTube page. 



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.