Captivate vs. Camtasia: Captivate Wins

I wrote a post awhile back attempting to compare these two software products that can be used for creating interactive screencapturing videos. I spent months learning the ins and outs of Camtasia, creating a number of videos that are now being used in the library. Now we have Captivate keyserved, so I finally have it on my computer and have had a chance to spend time with it and get to know it a little better. Conclusion? Captivate is much easier, cleaner, dynamic, and creates a nicer final product than Camtasia.

We had a training open to all library staff earlier this week on Captivate. Here is what we have determined:

  • Captivate projects are easier to edit: you can copy and paste slides, delete and add sections, & extend time frames in a much easier manner than in Camtasia. In Camtasia you can screen draw and select mouse options before and during the recording phase, but cannot change this in editing mode. You have to start over. Captivate lets you play with these options afterward. So if you mess up during recording, you don’t have to start all over again.
  • Captivate saves you time: this is a smart software, and can actually add captions for you based on what you’re doing on the screen (like “click X,” “you are now on X page”). These are easy to alter or delete if you like, but if you want them this will save you a lot of time.
  • Captivate quizzes are pretty: well, prettier than Camtasia’s. And you can actually preview them without publishing the project.
  • Captivate allows interactivity: this is a big one, and one I mentioned in my previous post. You can select an area on the screen and the user has to click it to continue, or take them somewhere. Allows a lot more customization than Camtasia’s “hot spots.” There’s also a new feature in Captivate 3 called “branching,” where you can make your product even more dynamic as users go to different places and discover different things.

This doesn’t mean to say I’m writing Camtasia off completely. I do like it’s easy ability to record audio with powerpoints, and I like it’s preview screen which Captivate is lacking (have to select “preview” to see what the project looks like in motion and any changes you’ve made). That said, an intern at the library this summer spent 2 months messing with Camtasia trying to make a tutorial on searching for newspapers using Access World News. She was very frustrated, particularly with the screen drawing and audio quality. She spend less than a week with Captivate and made a nice, clean, professional product: That’s enough to convince me in the Captivate vs. Camtasia debate: Captivate Wins.


3 thoughts on “Captivate vs. Camtasia: Captivate Wins

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. I agree with a lot of what you have said. I do like the control Captivate provides during the editing process. We started with Camtasia, switched to Captivate, and are now back to Camtasia. What we found was that we were spending way too much time editing in Captivate when most of our screencasts could be pretty close to what we wanted within a few takes with Camtasia. One other consideration, Camtasia let’s you render your output in almost any format imaginable which is helpful now that we need to send content to iTunes U, YouTube, the website, etc. Unless Captivate has changed, there is only the option to render to Flash. One final thought, the addition of Camtasia Relay makes it easy to add new authors anywhere on campus. And talk about easy to learn.

  2. Captivate vs. Camtasia – It’s Anybody’s Game « Stories of Librarianship

  3. I’m a big fan of Camtasia for small projects, but now that I’m doing a bigger project I’ve discovered that Camtasia has a bug that causes it to hang (with your CPU pegged) for over a minute every time you make an edit. So for every “umm” and “ahh” I cut out, I have to wait for about a minute and a half for it to start responding. The knowledgebase item ( said to export the movie and then start editing fresh on that movie, but you lose control of all your keyframes, transitions, captions, etc because they’ve become rendered. Would love to know if Captivate has this issue.

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