Use the morph feature of PowerPoint to make your video edits a little less jarring in Camtasia.
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New Instructional Video On Smoothing Camtasia Video Edits and more...

New Instructional Video On Smoothing Camtasia Video Edits

Are you a hardcore Camtasia user? I just put together a video explaining a way to use the morph feature of PowerPoint to make your video edits a little less jarring in Camtasia.

You can find my video at

If your feed reader supports embedded video format, you should also see it immediately below this line:



I recognize that the technique I describe is overkill for most projects. It takes extra time and effort on every edit. But once you get things set up and go through the process a time or two, it turns into a fairly quick extra few steps. I find it particularly useful when editing “talking head” video of a person narrating. You can create better transitions between takes or after editing out an unwanted bit of speech so that casual viewers aren’t as aware of the jump cut.

This isn’t going to fool a professional, and it’s not meant to replace professional-grade editing tools. But every little bit helps, and it’s kind of fun to combine some products and editing techniques you might not have thought of bringing together.

Hope you enjoy it!



Tell Me How Much You Like This Post

My car has OnStar driver assistance. I tap a button and a live representative comes on the line. I was driving the other day and asked them for directions to a restaurant.

(Yes, this is a post about webinars. Stay with it.)

The representative downloaded the directions into my car’s navigation system and I completed the drive with a delightful Ethiopian meal. I thought no more about it.


The company won’t stop sending me emails. “You recently contacted us. Please tell us how we did. Thinking about your overall experience, on a scale of 0 to 10 how likely would you be to recommend OnStar to a colleague, friend, and/or family member?”

In my mind, I didn’t “contact them.” Of course I technically did, but it wasn’t significant to me. I got the information I needed and went on with my day, giving it nary another thought. I’m not interested in reflecting on “how they did.” That’s more work than I wanted to put into the transaction.

This is now a universal scenario. Every damned time you have a transaction with anybody, for anything, in any context, no matter how briefly, you will be asked for an opinion about how it went. Check your fast food receipt. There’s a feedback request at the bottom (just enter these 28 digits to identify the transaction you are commenting on). Call someone to ask a question about your bill. Have an online chat session to track an order. You’ll be asked to complete a short survey because your opinion truly matters to them.

And webinars are no different. Five years ago I wrote a blog post saying “I am a big fan of post-webinar surveys.” I’ve changed my opinion on this. Oversaturation has soured me on the concept. And I’m not the only one… I administer many webinars for many clients in many industries across many topics. The one common factor I can tell you is that we are getting fewer and fewer responses on our post-webinar surveys. Nowadays you are lucky to get more than a small handful of people to complete the request.

There’s no magic bullet to getting truly high completion rates on post-webinar surveys, but I can give you a few tips that might at least make them high-er!

  1. Shorter! Shorter! Shorter! Every additional question you ask reduces the probability that people will complete it. It doesn’t matter whether they are required or optional. Just seeing a bunch of questions makes people close the page.

  2. Don’t ask ambiguous questions. “Rate the presenters” is useless with more than one speaker. What if one person was good and another was bad?

  3. Don’t ask whether you would recommend the webinar. “Would you recommend this webinar to a friend or colleague?” The answer tells you nothing. Maybe they liked it, but they don’t like recommending things. Maybe it was right for their interests, but they don’t know others with similar interests. Maybe they wouldn’t recommend it because of general dissatisfaction, which still gives you no actionable information.

  4. Pick one rating scale. Don’t swap between 5-point and 10-point scales within the same survey. 5-point scales are general better because they require less thought on exactly where to answer. What’s the difference between a 7 and an 8 response?

  5. Only include one comment box. Don’t add optional comments to every rating question. Just put one box for “Additional comments, clarifications, and suggestions.”

  6. Set up value to the attendee. Tell them you want to refine your webinars to make the content, presenters, and format more useful and valuable for your listeners. Never make the responses about the benefit to you (“Please help us out by answering”), make it about them (“We’d like to make these webinars more useful for you, and you are the only one who can tell us how to do that”).

  7. Give an incentive. Everybody who fills out the survey gets a handout. Or is entered in a drawing. Of course this kills the ability to do anonymous surveys, but in conferencing products where the survey is integrated and you know the responders anyway, you can use that info.

And the most important piece of advice is to step back and truly ask yourself if you are making any substantive changes based on the responses you get to your surveys. In most cases, the answer is no. Somebody glances over the numbers, which look good on status reports, but the next webinar follows the exact same format as every one before it. All you’ve done is wasted your audience’s time and increased their frustration. Give them the information they requested in the webinar and let them move on with their day.


Webex Announces Multilingual Interpretation

Webex put up a blog post announcing support for attendee-selectable interpretation channels in online meetings. This is a good thing and increasingly crucial in reaching international audiences.

One of the features I really like in the Webex implementation is a slider that lets each attendee balance the relative volume of the source speaker and the interpreter. That is great for checking presenter intonation and emphasis that can sometimes be lost in translation. It can potentially be useful for listeners who are somewhat comfortable in the source language, but want a little backup assistance just in case they don’t understand everything.

I grabbed the following picture from the promotional video that Webex made to explain the new functionality:


This simple menu shows how fraught with practical difficulties it is to think about everything involved with multilingual events. First off, I want to give Webex credit for writing the language choices in the target alphabet. It’s crazy to ask someone in China to look for the word English word “Chinese” in a selection list, yet many products do this.

But look at the examples above. There are several things that could potentially frustrate a meeting host or attendee. I’m not quite sure how this list gets generated… Is it all just text entered by the person who schedules the event? Or is it pulled from a choice list offered by Webex?

If you speak Spanish, you’ll notice that the word for “Spanish language” is incorrect. The ñ in Español is missing its tilde. Then you have the interesting fact that languages are listed in association with a single country. That’s potentially misleading, as some languages sound different based on their locality. As I understand it, Brazil and Portugal have differences in their versions of Portuguese. Which one gets listed?

And coming back to China, I can’t read the characters in this menu, but I know enough to understand that my comment a little earlier about looking for “Chinese” as a language choice is silly. Mandarin sounds nothing like Cantonese. Neither one would be exclusively associated with the country of China. You might very well want two interpreters available if you were targeting audiences in that country. A single menu choice for “China” wouldn’t make sense.

And of course, simultaneous interpretation is just the start when you dig into the complexities of true multilingual meeting support. I wrote up a long post about other factors that should be considered when Planning A Multilingual Webinar. I wrote that five years ago, and I have seen very little progress from webinar technology vendors in trying to support things like true multilingual registration, email communications, visuals, and interactions. That’s not surprising… It’s really HARD!

But globalization proceeds apace and we need to keep moving away from a purely English-centric view of online collaboration. Simultaneous interpretation is a great way to start. Let’s hope the vendors keep going and work on full multilingual support for all aspects of webinar configuration and delivery.

[If you are interested in this topic, you may want to check out past posts looking at KUDO, Intrado, and VoiceBoxer for ways that they are working on the problem.]


Get Free Tips About Virtual Engagement

Engagement, engagement, ENGAGEMENT! It’s the buzzword darling of our industry right now.

You can’t click on a link about webinars, webcasts, and virtual presenting without encountering a sentence urging you to find ways to better engage your audience.

Want to know what they ALL get wrong about the concept?

I’ll tell you within the first few minutes of my upcoming webinar next Tuesday, October 26. It’s free, courtesy of Adobe Connect and the American Marketing Association.

We have an hour to go over practical guidelines and “tricks of the trade” that actually work and are easy to put into practice. We’ll take a look at examples taken from real webinars with an eye towards making the presentations more engaging. And of course I’ll answer your questions live in the session.

The start time is 10am San Francisco / 1pm New York / 6pm London (click to see conversions to other locations).

You can register by clicking here. I will be focusing on the needs of virtual marketers, but I’ll bet you can pick up tips that will transfer to other virtual scenarios as well.

I hope to see you there!


You Are Presenting The Wrong Thing

Well, that’s a confrontational title, isn’t it?

The last three presentations I watched all suffered from the same fundamental mistake. It’s very common and there’s a good chance your presentations might feature this design error as well.

Now when I say “design error” I’m not talking about PowerPoint layout or use of graphics or any other visual design aspects. I’m talking about the conceptual design of deciding what you want to share with your audience.

The conceptual error that most presenters make is to think of their task as one of sharing data with the listener. The presentation is primarily a collection of graphs, tables, or lists of reference information on slide after slide. Displaying factual information becomes the purpose of the presentation.

That’s wrong. It’s ALWAYS wrong.

Presentations are the least effective way to make reference information available. White papers, PDF documents, web pages, and textbooks are designed to collect and make information easily accessible. They are mediums that are built around the “whats” in life. The nouns of our existence. “This is a thing that exists. This is another thing that exists.”

A presentation on the other hand is a transient thing. It exists in the world of verbs… a vehicle designed to make people think, feel, or act. “How can you use the information? Why is it important? Who is it appropriate for? Where can you find it?”

Of course you can include data in a presentation. It would be ridiculous for me to say that a graph or table should never appear on a presentation slide. But the point of including the data is never simply to show it. The data must be there to support the way you want to influence the listener. How does learning this information affect them? How does it provide a benefit? If you can’t clearly articulate that, the data doesn’t belong in the presentation. Let it live in a reference location for later study.

You get to choose your role as a presenter. You can offer insights, be a mentor, help to drive behavior changes, encourage new perspectives. Or you can be an audio version of a textbook. I know which I would rather listen to.