I received an email from someone who recently attended my TechSmith Camtasia virtual classes. She wanted to know some best practices for reducing the size of exported Camtasia projects. That is an excellent question!
To begin, TechSmith says that "larger videos (in resolution) will dramatically increase file size. Limit your video size to no larger than 1280 pixels (width) by 720 (height)."
I completely agree with what TechSmith is saying. In fact, project (canvas) size and recording area size are two concepts that I cover early in my beginner Camtasia vILT class.
You can control the size of your Camtasia project by choosing Edit > Preferences > Project.
Set your project size right away. While it's easy to change the size of your project at any time, once you have added media to the project the new size will likely have a negative impact on media objects already added to the timeline/canvas.
TechSmith also suggests not recording the entire screen unless it's necessary, or consider adding zoom and pan actions in Camtasia. This way, you can still scale down the video but still focus the viewer's attention on a specific portion of the screen.
Here are some other great suggestions direct from TechSmith for lowering the size of the exported video:
Amount of Movement in the Video
The more movement in the video, the larger the file size. Importing PowerPoint slides as images will result in a smaller file size than recording an on-screen video of the PowerPoint presentation. If possible, try not to drag windows around and limit some of the animations in PowerPoint.
It is rare that uncompressed audio is going to make an audible difference to your learners. You can reduce the file size by compressing the audio upon production. The default MP4 format uses AAC audio compression, which has a good combination of sound quality and file size.
Frame Rate and Encoding Mode
The frame rate indicates how many frames per second are shown to the viewer. The custom production settings allow between 1 and 60 frames per second (FPS). The default is Automatic FPS, which is good for most videos. However, for many screen recordings, 15 fps is fine. If you're recording something static, like a PowerPoint presentation, you can drop the FPS down, which will save file size. You can also adjust the Encoding mode to increase or decrease the video quality. The higher the quality, the larger the file size.
The frame rate and Encoding mode options can be changed by choosing Export > Local Legacy Files > Video Settings.