Most videos are passive. A viewer just sits back and watches whatever the creator put together. But with Camtasia, you can make interactive videos where users can click on different places in your video and have something happen.
A simple example would be placing your website at the end of a video and when users click the video, a new tab opens in their browser and takes them to your site.
A more complex example would be if you created a non-linear video. In other words, viewers could click and have the video go to another part of your video. Viewers could move forward if they wanted to skip something they already knew or they could review part of the video that they needed to hear a second time.
In this video, we’ll look at:
There are two ways to add interactive hotspots. You can add a hotspot to a specific clip, like a text box, image, or video; or you can add a hotspot as an “invisible” annotation that you can resize to any rectangle you want.
Before adding a hotspot, it’s important to note that you want your hotspot on a top track. If the hotspot is below another track, then it won’t work as expected.
To add a hotspot to an entire clip, like a text box, click the Visual Effects tool from the Tools menu or press “L”. Drag the Interactive Hotspot effect from the tools panel to your clip. You should see the Interactive Hotspot effect at the bottom of your clip and in your Properties panel.
To add a hotspot as an invisible object on your video, click the Annotations tool or press N, and click the Special tab which looks like a drop. Drag the Interactive Hotspot tool to the canvas.
For the hotspot annotation, you can resize the rectangle to be larger or smaller. Click and drag the resizing handles around the hotspot and the hotspot will resize. Hotspots applied to a clip cannot be resized. They stay the size of the clip.
Select the hotspot annotation or the clip with the hotspot effect and look at the first tab in the Properties panel. At the bottom, you’ll see the Interactive Hotspot effect.
By default, it has “Pause at End” and “Click to Continue” selected. This just means that the video will pause when it gets to the end of the clip or annotation. The video will continue playing when the viewer clicks the hotspot.
“URL” lets you go to any website you enter. You probably want to leave “Open in new browser tab” selected so viewers can easily bounce between your video and the new website.
“Marker” lets viewers go to a specific place in the video. For example, you could add a marker at the beginning of your video. When you get to this point in the video, you can give viewers an option to click the hotspot to restart the video.
“Time” lets you specify a specific place in your video without having a marker. Enter the timestamp in minutes:seconds;frames. You could also place your playhead on the timeline. When you click the “Current position” button, it’ll enter the timestamp of your playhead.
Last, you can click the “Test” button to see what happens when a viewer clicks the hotspot.
The most important thing to understand with interactive video, is that it requires separate video hosting. Interactive video isn’t possible on YouTube or with a standard MP4 file. Instead, you need to create your video and include additional files that provide the interactivity.
When it comes time to produce or share your video, you’ll need to choose an option that includes the Smart Player, like “MP4 with Smart Player (up to 1080p).” Producing your video with the Smart Player will create several additional files. Produce everything within a folder to keep it organized.
If you know you want the size of the video to be a specific width, choose Custom Production. When you get to the Smart Player Options page, be sure that “Produce with controller” is checked. When you go to the Size tab, you can choose how wide you want the video to appear. This is important so your video fits on your page.
Instead of producing video files, you can choose the Screencast.com option from the Share menu. Screencast.com is owned by TechSmith - the makers of Camtasia.
Screencast.com requires an account. You can sign up for a free or paid account at, you guessed it, Screencast.com. Once you have your username and password, enter those in the Screencast.com production wizard in Camtasia.
If you’re hosting your own website or if your customer is hosting their own website, then you have a couple options for adding the video.
The first option is the easier of the two. You can just upload the files and directories to Amazon S3. If it’s a public video, set read permissions for Everybody. After uploading it, all you need is the link to the HTML file. Provide viewers with that link and they should be able to watch the video and interact with it.
The second option requires a webmaster to embed the Smart Player on their site. Sites are different in the way they host files. Most webmasters will have to copy the files to their site and set the permissions so the right people can view the video. They might also have to edit the HTML code to point to the file locations and set the right permissions.
You can learn more about interactive hotspots from the Camtasia Mastery 2019 book or course. You can find them both at CamMastery.com.
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