For years, people have asked me how they can make #EduGIFs like mine. When I respond and say “I make them in Camtasia,” there’s normally a 2-3 minute delay while they look up the cost of Camtasia. Then, there’s another question:
“Any less expensive options?”
Camtasia is a fantastic piece of software and is 100% worth the cost if you plan to use it a lot. For video creators, I highly recommend it. But I understand why people are looking for a less expensive choice. Unfortunately, I’ve never had a great answer for them. While I have this post that goes over alternative options, none of the free or low-cost options allow much editing. In that very same post, I go over some of the things that I value in Camtasia, and as you can see, the other tools have few (if any) of those features.
Check out my “Awesome Classroom Uses of #EduGIFs Created with Screencastify” post to see 19 ways that you can use GIFs.
Well, now I’ve got a new tool to suggest. If you have a WeVideo for Education account (they’re currently free until 6-30-2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic school closures), you can now make GIFs within WeVideo!!
Check it out in the #EduGIF below and then, under the GIF, I’ll share some of my thoughts on this new option.
Things that I’m excited about:
In the parentheses after each bullet, I’ll tell you if you can do this in Screencastify, my favorite free option for creating #EduGIFs.
- If you already use WeVideo for making videos, you won’t have to learn to do anything extra. (Screencastify: yes)
- It works on Chromebooks as well as most other devices! (Screencastify: yes)
- You can add annotations! (Screencastify: no, but you can use a “pen” tool while recording)
- You can change the speed of segments of your GIF! With #EduGIFs, it’s essential (in my opinion) to be able to speed up portions of it to make the GIF shorter. (Screencastify: no)
- You can zoom in or move around the screen. This is useful so that you can focus your viewer on specific locations on the screen. (Screencastify: no)
- You can cut out portions of the video. Since GIFs are short, it’s important to be able to trim out portions whenever possible. (Screencastify: yes)
- You can combine multiple videos. (Screencastify: no)
- You can use other elements. Using the stickers and royalty-free items available in WeVideo can definitely kick your videos up a notch. (Screencastify: no)
- You can select a Resolution level for your GIF. When you make #EduGIFs, you need to be conscious of the file size that you end up. Many places limit how big a GIF file can be. Twitter, for example, limits it to 15 MB. MailChimp limits it to 10 MB. Many services that schedule tweets (like RecurPost, for example) limit it to 5 MB. Most email services seem to cap the total size of an email to 25 MB. And, in general, when posting content for people to view on their own devices, you want to keep the file size relatively small. However, you don’t want to go so small that your GIF doesn’t look good. Having options is nice. In the GIF above, I selected Medium Resolution and ended up with a 7.2 MB file. (Screencastify: no)
- You can add a transition at the beginning or end of the video. Since GIFs loop, this helps your viewer know when the loop happens. (Screencastify: no)
Things that I’d like to see get better:
- There’s no cursor highlight or click highlights. These make it much easier for your viewer to follow along, especially when there’s no voice to tell them where to look. One hack is to use your devices Accessibility Features to increase the cursor size or add a circle around it. (Screencastify: yes)
- The zoom in or move around the screen options are tedious. This process is much smoother and easier in Camtasia and other software-based video editing tools. In WeVideo, you can only animate from the beginning of a clip to the end of it, so in order to zoom in, you have to cut your clip at the point where you want the zooming to end and then have the next clip match that same zoom. I imagine that sentence was confusing to read. That’s because it’s a confusing process!
- The Resolution level only has 3 options. As I noted above, it’s important to be mindful of the file size that you end up with when you create a GIF. In the GIF above, I exported a Medium Resolution GIF from WeVideo. It was 7.2 MB, which means it’s small enough to go in my MailChimp newsletter. However, I’d love to have a 9.9 MB GIF–small enough to go in my newsletter, but higher quality than a 7.2 one. Unfortunately, the Large Resolution GIF will probably be bigger than 10 MB. It’s nit-picky on my end, but it’d be nice to be able to select an intermediary resolution.
- There’s no blurring effect in WeVideo. This isn’t essential, but it’s nice to be able to blur out sensitive information. As a hack, you could add something on a layer above it to obstruct the area that you would prefer to blur.
Note: I made the #EduGIF that is featured above with Camtasia. Even though this post is ABOUT making GIFs with WeVideo, the process in Camtasia is still better and, more importantly, is what I’m most comfortable with.