TechSmith Camtasia Studio: Creating Branching Scenarios via Hotspots
by Kevin Siegel
To maximize the effectiveness of your Camtasia Studio projects, you can add interactivity via a hotspot. The hotspots can allow your learners to jump to specific markers within a video, add hyperlinks to websites, and more.
To begin, open the Markers panel via View > Show Marker View. Position the Playhead on the Timeline where you would like a marker and either press the letter M on your keyboard or choose Edit > Markers > Add a Timeline Marker. Once the marker appears, you can name it (I've named the two markers below Home and Lesson 1: Creating New Folders).
Select a callout already on the Timeline and, on the Callouts panel, click Make hotspot. Alternatively, on the Callout panel, add a hotspot manually by clicking Transparent Hotspot.
On the Callouts panel, click the Hotspot properties button to open the Hotspot properties dialog box.
You'll find the following options on the dialog box:
Pause at end of callout: Once clicked, the video stops based on the callout's end time on the Timeline.
Click to continue: The learner must click the callout to continue viewing the video.
Go to frame at time: The video jumps to a specific frame. You can enter the destination in hours, minutes, seconds, or frames.
Go to marker: The video jumps to a specific Timeline marker.
Jump to URL: Opens a web page (enable the Open URL in a new browser window option to open the web page in a separate window).
Because my goal was to create a branching scenario where the learner decides which part of the lesson to take, I chose one of my markers from the Go to marker drop-down menu and then clicked the OK button.
And that's it! To test a hotspot choose File > Produce and Share and select an output that includes the Smart Player.
Two of my major beefs with Camtasia over the years has been 1) the snail-like pace of rendering a video (it would take so long I would frequently drink a few cups of coffee during the rendering process because I certainly couldn't do anything else in Camtasia while a project is rendering); 2) the inability to test a hotspot without first uploading the video to a web server.
I'm happy to report that TechSmith has removed my beefs and lowered my coffee consumption. Rendering speeds seem to be at least 50% faster in Studio 8.6 then previous versions; and you can now test a hotspot locally (no need to upload to a web server). If you find that you are unable to test without getting an error message or your production speeds are slow, ensure you're using the latest and greatest version of Camtasia (you can check for free updates via the Help menu).
You can see in the image below that the callout containing the number 1 is interactive. If clicked, it will take the learner to the marker I specified in the steps above.