How to Easily Speed Up or Slow Down Your Videos

How to Easily Speed up or Slow Down a Video

Have you ever wondered how to add that extra flair to your video presentations or educational content? Whether you’re trying to glide through a lengthy instructional video or slow down a product demo, altering the speed of your video is a great way to keep your audience engaged. 

The best part? You don’t need to be a professional video editor to pull it off. With the right tools and a dash of creativity, you can learn how to speed up a video, or slow it down, to add that little extra panache that will make your videos stand out.

There are several video editors out there to help you adjust video speed, but we think that Techsmith’s Camtasia is the simplest and most user-friendly. As well as speed up and slow down videos, Camtasia let’s you trim videos to make them shorter, crop the frame for better composition, and even make a split screen video — and that’s just the beginning! 

But before we get too ahead of ourselves, it’s important to understand precisely what video speed is.

What is video speed?

Being able to control the speed of your videos can dramatically enhance your video content. But what exactly do we mean when we talk about “video speed”? 

Video speed refers to the pace at which the frames in your video are played back. Think of each video as a series of still images (or “frames”) that are displayed in rapid succession to create the illusion of motion. The number of these frames shown per second is known as the “frame rate”, often referred to as FPS (frames per second).

By adjusting the video speed, you’re essentially modifying the frame rate at which your video plays. Speeding a video up can give it more energy and or even add a comedic element. Meanwhile, slowing videos down can build suspense and add tension — it’s the difference between a Benny Hill sketch and The Matrix. 

So, whether you’re a vlogger trying to create an engaging narrative, a marketer aiming to highlight a product feature, or simply someone having fun with home videos, controlling the speed can make your content more compelling. And with tools like Camtasia, changing video speed couldn’t be easier.

Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at how to slow down a video (or speed one up!). 

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How to speed up or slow down a video with Camtasia

With Camtasia, there’s more than one way to change the speed of your videos, but both of them are super easy and simple…

Method 1: Add clip speed

Clip speed allows you to play a video clip faster or slower than its original speed. To apply the clip speed effect, click and drag it from the tools panel to a clip on the timeline.

Open the effects tray and drag the clip speed handles to adjust the speed of a clip.


Method 2: Go to properties, then adjust clip speed

Another way to speed up or slow down a video is to select your chosen clip on the timeline with clip speed added, and simply adjust the speed in the properties panel.

screenshot of clip speed panel to speed up video

It’s that simple! Camtasia gives you the power to create clips and videos at whatever speed you want. So now you know how to make a video slow motion, or lightening fast! 

Do you want viewers to change the video speed themselves?

One thing to note is that adjusting the video speed in an editor is different from the playback speed. If you want to allow your viewers to adjust whether the video plays faster or slower, simply upload your video file to the platform of your choice. 

Most hosting platforms — including YouTube, Vimeo, Screencast, and Wistia — allow users to adjust the video playback speed. 

That’s right, you don’t even have to do anything and your audience will be able to watch your videos at the best speed for them! 

Why speed up a video?

Speeding up a video isn’t just a way to show off your editing skills, it serves a variety of purposes that can take your content to the next level. 

Whether you’re trying to make a lengthy process easier to digest, tell a captivating story, or add humor to your video, speeding up your footage can be a magic ingredient if you know how to use it, and understand how it can affect your audience. 

Showing a long process

We’ve all been eager to learn something new, only to be met with an endlessly long, step-by-step tutorial. When it comes to demonstrating inherently lengthy processes — be it a software installation or a cooking recipe — speeding up your video can be great for you, and your audience. 

By transforming what could be an hour-long ordeal into a captivating two-minute overview, you not only make your content more palatable but also show respect for your viewers’ time. This is done a lot with cooking videos where you can swiftly move from prepping the ingredients to pulling a delicious dish out of the oven, all in a matter of minutes!

While cutting an hour-long video down to 120 seconds might seem like a tall order (and might not apply to your content), we’ve seen plenty of unnecessarily long videos out there. Remember, most people want instructional videos to be less than 20 minutes, with a preference for 3-6 minutes long. Click here to find out more about video lengths

Increasing footage’s production value

Vloggers and filmmakers will often speed up parts of a video strategically to introduce a dynamic rhythm that can make their content go from ‘good’ to ‘awesome’ quicker than you can say “FPS”. 

But remember, contrast is key. When high-speed footage is juxtaposed with slower shots, they enhance each other. Imagine pairing a fast-paced montage of a cityscape with slower shots of an intimate conversation. The result isn’t just a video, but an experience that holds your viewer’s attention and leaves a lasting impression.

This blend of pacing can evoke different emotions and emphasize different aspects of your content, which will also enrich the production value of your entire video.

Telling a story

Storytelling isn’t reserved for movies and TV shows, it’s a powerful and important component for almost all types of videos. Whether you’re making a YouTube video or educational content, most videos have an element of storytelling — and speeding up your footage can help tell the story better. 

Imagine using a time-lapse to show a product being assembled, or being used over time to show off its durability. This essentially sets the stage for the problem your product solves, or its superior quality. Time-lapses and sped-up segments act as a narrative device that can fast-forward your story to its crucial points, allowing you to focus on key moments that resonate with viewers. 

In essence, speeding up your video serves as a storytelling shortcut, offering a quicker route to the emotional or informational payoff that keeps audiences engaged. 

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Creating a comedic effect

Have you ever watched a video that was sped up just enough to make an ordinary situation quirkily funny? Whether you’re creating a vlog, producing a skit, or even adding a sprinkle of humor to corporate content, this simple technique can be surprisingly effective. 

Consider a sped-up sequence where colleagues race against the clock to meet a deadline, their rapid movements turning a stressful scenario into a laugh-out-loud moment. Or how about a quick cooking segment that spirals into a whirlwind of culinary chaos? When you turn up the speed, you don’t just hasten the action — you amplify the comedy.

Why slow down a video?

While speeding up a video can inject some humor or make your content more digestible, turning the speed dial in the other direction has its own benefits. Whether you’re looking to emphasize intricate details or build suspense, slowing down your footage can offer a deeper, more nuanced viewer experience. 

The power of slow motion, or reduced speed, isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about creating moments that invite viewers to engage more thoughtfully with your content. So let’s explore some of the key reasons why you might want to dial down the speed in your next video.

Emphasizing details

With so much happening on screen at any one time, it’s all too easy for intricate details to go unnoticed. Slowing down your video footage offers the perfect opportunity to highlight these finer points, whether it’s the craftsmanship in a handmade product, or the expressions on people’s faces during an important moment. 

By reducing the speed, you give your audience the time to fully absorb these elements, turning what might have been a blink-and-you-miss-it moment into a scene that’s memorable and impactful.

Showing a specific skill

Sometimes, the beauty or complexity of a skill can only be fully appreciated when viewed in slow motion. Whether you’re capturing a musician’s intricate fingerwork, or the precise movements of an athlete, slowing down footage allows audiences to fully grasp the magic of what they’re watching. It’s the reason why sports channels show so many slow-motion replays!

Slowing down a video turns a fleeting moment into a detailed study of skill and precision. Whether you’re a coach, a musician, or simply a fan, slow motion reveals those details that are easy to miss but make all the difference.

Adding suspense

Going back to the power of good storytelling, slowing down your video can add a whole new layer of tension and drama. By drawing out key moments (and the build-up to them) with slow motion, you heighten the emotional stakes of the story you’re telling, and pull your audience to the edge of their seats.

The psychological impact of a slowed-down scene can be tremendous, keeping viewers glued to the screen in anticipation of what’s to come. Used strategically, slow motion can turn ordinary footage into a suspenseful narrative that deeply resonates with your audience.

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Focusing on an experiment

If you’re conducting a science experiment, the devil is often in the details. 

For example, you might want to film a chemical reaction — where elements combine and transform in a matter of seconds — to study exactly what’s happening one frame at a time, or simply for fun. 

Slow motion videos provide a unique way to focus on the intricacies of the reaction that might otherwise be missed (and it will probably look really cool). This focused viewing can be both educational and awe-inspiring, because in slow motion, even the ordinary can become extraordinary.

Tips and tricks to change video speed

So, now you know how and why to speed up and slow down your videos, as well as the effect it can have on your audience. While you might be raring to jump straight into the editing suite, we’ve got a few final tips to share that will help you create videos that both look and feel professional.

  • Choose Your Moments Wisely: The art of speed alteration lies in its strategic use. Don’t just speed up or slow down footage at random, instead use these effects where they’ll make the most impact, such as to highlight key moments or to maintain interest.
  • Be Subtle, Be Smart: Slow motion doesn’t mean snail-motion, and fast doesn’t mean frantic. When slowing down or speeding up your video, aim for a pace that enhances, rather than distracts from, your content.
  • Pair With the Right Audio: The right soundtrack can make or break your video’s mood, so if you’re going to add music to your video, make sure that it complements the change in speed. For slow-motion scenes, consider soft, atmospheric music; for fast-paced moments, something energetic may work better.
  • Narrate When Necessary: A well-placed voiceover can add depth to your video, especially if your sped-up or slowed-down scenes lack audio clarity. Narration can guide your viewers through the action in a way that provides context and enhances storytelling.

    If you do plan on narrating your video, you might want to check out our guide to the best microphones for recording videos.
  • Background Matters: The choice of background can drastically affect your video’s impact. We suggest keeping your background as uncluttered as possible to allow your viewers to focus on the action, especially when you’re manipulating speed.
  • Add Closed Captions: Adding captions and subtitles to your videos is a great way to increase engagement and make your content accessible to a wider audience.
  • Review Before Publishing: As with any video you ever make, be sure to always preview your edits before publishing online. This gives you a chance to double-check the video speed changes, as well as branding, captions, and other edits you’ve made.

Trust us, it’s much better to spot potential mistakes before your audience does!

How to Screen Record on Windows 10 & 11 (With Audio)

How to Screen Record on Windows

Have you ever wanted to record your screen on Windows, but found yourself getting frustrated by the limitations of built-in tools? Odds are that if you’ve tried using a basic tool, you’ve struggled with one or more of the following obstacles:

  • You can’t record file menus or dropdowns
  • You can only record one window at a time
  • You can’t add effects or callouts
  • You can’t record your audio simultaneously
  • You can’t add music or background audio

Well, believe it or not, there is a better way. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of how to record your screen on Windows 10 & 11 using a range of different tools, so you can find the best screen recorder to suit your needs. 

This includes TechSmith software such as Camtasia and Snagit, both of which let you record your screen on Windows 10 & 11 with audio. So, if you want to learn how to screen record with audio on Windows, keep reading! 

And if you’re an Apple user, fear not — we’ve got another post on how to record your screen (with audio) on Mac

How to screen record on Windows 10 & 11 with Game Bar

The Xbox Game Bar is a built-in app created by Microsoft that’s readily available on Windows 10 and Windows 11 computers. While it was initially designed for gamers wanting to capture their gameplay, this handy tool can be used to record practically anything happening on your computer screen. 

Here’s how to use it: 

1. Open the Game Bar

Starting up the Game Bar is super easy. All you need to do is press the Windows logo key + G at the same time. This will open up a control panel near the bottom of your screen.

2. Choose your audio inputs

In case you want to narrate or add a live commentary to your screen recording, click on the Record Mic option. But remember, you can record your audio separately and add it later, if you prefer. 

If you do plan on adding a voiceover to your video, you might want to think about the equipment you’re using and whether you’ve got the best microphone for recording videos. While you don’t need to make a huge investment to get great audio, any external microphone will likely produce better-quality audio than the one built into your PC. 

3. Start recording

Next, start your screen recording by clicking on the bright red recording icon. Then, when you want to stop recording, click on the red recording panel that appears in the top right corner of your screen. 

All screen recordings are automatically saved on your laptop as MP4 files and can be found in the Captures folder, in Videos — and that’s all there is to it! 

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How to screen record on Windows 10 & 11 with the Microsoft Stream app

The Stream app is one of the many tools now included in the Microsoft 365 bundle, sitting alongside Windows classics such as Powerpoint, Word, and Excel. 

It was primarily designed to simplify the video-making process across Microsoft devices and is a good tool for capturing screen recordings — if you’re a Microsoft 365 user. 

Here’s how to record your screen on Windows 10 & 11, with the Stream app:

1. Access the screen recorder in Stream

Start by launching the Stream app. Once inside, navigate to the screen recorder by choosing Create > Record Screen or Video from the navigation menu.

2. Configure your devices

Choose which devices you want to include in your recording by selecting one of the following options from the Screen and Camera dropdown menu: 

  • Screen Only to record just your computer screen.
  • Camera Only to record just your webcam.
  • Screen and Camera to record both your webcam and computer screen simultaneously. 

3. Start recording

Once you’ve chosen what you want to capture, you can start recording by clicking the red recording button. You will then be asked if you want to record your entire screen, a specific window, or a tab in your web browser. 

If you’d like to record your microphone audio as well, click Share Audio (and be sure to check out this article on how to record great audio). 

Then, when you’re ready, click Share and your recording will start after a three-second countdown. To stop your recording, go to the Microsoft Stream Screen Recorder tab in your browser and click Next to review your recording.

It’s worth noting, the most you can record your screen with Microsoft Stream is 15 minutes.

4. Pause or end your recording

If at any time you want to pause your recording, simply click the Pause button. Then, when you’re ready to continue, click the Record button again. Once you’ve completely finished, click Next in the lower-right corner of your screen.

5. Review and edit

Once you’ve finished recording, you’ll be shown a preview of your screen recording. Here, you’ll also get to trim the start and end of your video by adjusting the handles on the timeline.

6. Upload to Stream

Finally, after reviewing your recording, you can upload it to Stream. If you’d like to share it outside of Stream then you can download it to your computer.

How to screen record on Windows 10 & 11 with Snagit


If you need to show a process or walkthrough with a short video that doesn’t require much editing, then a screen capture tool like TechSmith’s Snagit is the perfect tool for you.

It’s easy to use and comes packed with a range of features, from basic trimming and editing to more advanced tools that let you remove the backgrounds from pictures and turn screenshots into videos

Short and informal screen recordings are great for off-the-cuff videos that explain and convey information to others. For many people, these are the types of recordings they make the most, which is partly down to the fact that they only take seconds to create!

In this section, we’ll walk you through the steps of capturing your screen on Windows 10 & 11 using Snagit. 

Step 1: Choose what you want to record

Capturing a video with Snagit only takes a few clicks.

To start, all you have to do is open Snagit and select the video tab from the Capture Window. Make sure that Region is selected from the drop-down menu, as this will make it easy to record just part, or all, of your screen.

When you’re ready, hit the big red Capture button — you can’t miss it! Then, the Snagit crosshairs will appear, which you can use to select the area that you want to record.

You’ll notice that the selection will automatically snap to the windows you have open. Pretty sweet, right? However, if you want to manually select a portion of your screen, just click and drag the crosshairs accordingly.

How to use the crosshairs to select a recording region in Snagit

Step 2: Choose which audio to record

With your region selected, it’s time to choose your audio input settings.

To record your voice, select the Record Microphone option. If you want to record the sounds that come from your computer as well, like notifications, make sure to select Record System Audio.

Snagit can even record your webcam alongside your screen so that your face appears in the screen recording. We like to call this a picture-in-picture video, and it’s a great way to bring more personality to your videos and connect with your audience.

Click here to learn more about how to record a picture-in-picture video.

Video tab in Capture Window

Step 3: Start your screen recording

When you’re ready to start recording, click Record. Snagit will then give you a three-second countdown and anything that appears in the recording area will be captured in your video.

Snagit will give you a 3 second countdown before it starts recording

Once you’ve recorded everything that you want to be included in your video, click Stop. Yes, it really is that easy! 

Recording toolbar

Step 4: Trim your video

Once you’ve stopped recording, you don’t have to wait for anything to render, buffer, or load, your video is all set and ready to go. The Snagit Editor will open in a new window and your video will open up in a new canvas, ready to be edited, trimmed, or shared. 

Of course, once you’re finished with your screen recording, you’ll probably want to edit it a little. Even the most carefully planned recordings will likely have something you want to cut, and with Snagit, you can easily trim your recording to remove unwanted clips.

So, if you find anything you want to remove, make a selection with the playhead, and click cut.

How to trim a video in Snagit

On the other hand, if you wanted to bring multiple clips or snippets together to produce a longer video, you might want to make use of one of Snagit’s latest features: Combine Videos. This allows you to collate several videos together and create one cohesive video.

On the other hand, if you find yourself needing more in-depth, high-tech video editing than what Snagit offers, you should check out TechSmith’s Camtasia.

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Step 5: Save or share

When you’re finished with your video, you have the option to either save it locally on your computer or share it with your contacts — or both! 

To save your video, simply go to File and click Save as…, from there, all you have to do is decide where you want to save your file, and click Save.   

However, if you’re in a hurry to share your video with your colleagues then you can click on the Share Link button in the top-right corner of the Snagit Editor. This will automatically upload your video to TechSmith Screencast

The link to your video will be automatically copied to your clipboard so that you can share it instantly with anyone — and best of all, it’s free! Simply paste the link into an email, a direct message, a Slack channel, or any other form of communication (excluding carrier pigeon) and send it!   

How to make a professional-quality recording on Windows 10 & 11 with Camtasia


While Snagit is perfect for creating short and informal videos, there’s really nothing better than Camtasia for creating professional-quality videos. Not only does it have hundreds of easy-to-use, drag-and-drop editing features to give your screen recordings a polished feel, but it also comes with a free trial. 

While many screen recordings don’t need to be overly complex, sometimes you might want to add annotations, closed captions, effects, and animations to your videos.

But don’t worry, despite its advanced functionality, Camtasia is just as easy to use as Snagit — and we’ll prove it! In this section, we’ll walk you through the steps of recording your screen on Windows 10 with Camtasia. 

Step 1: Choose your recording options

First, open Camtasia and click the Record button.

How to record your screen using Camtasia

This will open the Camtasia recorder, which is the control center for your video and audio recordings.

From here, the Camtasia recorder allows you to fully customize the controls for your recordings.

Customize your recording controls with Camtasia

Step 2: Select the region you want to record

Similarly to Snagit, start off by selecting the part of your screen that you want to record. 

While there may be times you need to record your entire screen, if the purpose of your video is to demonstrate how to use software or where to click on a website, it’s probably better to record a single window — or even just part of one.

Select a custom region to record with Camtasia

Just as with Snagit, Camtasia will let you choose to record your whole screen or a specific part of it. You can choose from one of the pre-determined regions or choose “select an area to record” to select a custom region.

Pro tip: If you do plan on recording your entire desktop, it might be worth tidying it up a little to ensure there is nothing distracting or unwanted in your video.

Step 3: Record your audio

If you’re narrating your recording, then we suggest writing a script, or at least some talking points. Having a script in place is a good way to ensure you cover all the most important points without veering off-topic.

How to select your microphone using Camtasia

For now, however, just choose which microphone you want to record from and decide whether you want to record your computer’s system audio.

Then, when you’re ready to stop the recording, click the recorder icon in the taskbar. We told you it was easy! 

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Step 4: Edit your video

While you can do some simple editing in Snagit, Camtasia comes with a much more powerful and feature-rich built-in video editor. That said, it’s still incredibly easy to use.

How to trim a video in Camtasia

When editing your video, the first thing you’ll want to do is cut out any mistakes and errors. You can do this by selecting them with the playhead, and clicking Cut. You can also trim footage from the beginning and end of your recording by dragging either end of the clip in the timeline.


Once you’ve trimmed your footage accordingly, you can play around with Camtasia’s more advanced features and add a wide range of different effects. 

Step 5: Produce and share

Finally, once you’ve perfected your video it’s time to share it with the world. Whether you’ve recorded a webinar or an entire lecture, there are loads of platforms you can use to host your video.

Depending on your audience an online platform like YouTube or Vimeo could be the perfect place to host your video. If, however, you’d rather share it with a select group of people then TechSmith’s Screencast might be a better option. Alternatively, you might not want to share it online at all, in which case you can save it on your PC as a video file.

How to share videos using Camtasia

And that’s all there is to it! Whether you want to use the built-in tools, like Game Bar, or third-party software such as TechSmith’s Snagit and Camtasia, you now know how to screen record on Windows, with audio.

Screen recordings are a great way to produce clear communications for your audience. This could mean you no longer have to schedule Zoom calls to walk a coworker through a process or have countless meetings to explain simple tasks. From now on, you can just send them a screen recording!

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Screen Record on Windows 10 & 11, the FAQs

How do I screen record on Windows with audio?

With Snagit and Camtasia, you can easily record your screen and audio, either simultaneously or separately. Just follow the steps outlined in this guide to record perfect audio every time!

How do I record my screen and myself on Windows?

To record both your screen and your webcam footage on Windows, simply toggle the Record Webcam option in Snagit or Camtasia.

How do I record my iPhone screen?

While Snagit and Camtasia can’t record your iPhone screen, TechSmith’s Capture app lets you quickly and easily record your iPhone screen. Once you’ve downloaded the app, follow these steps:
Step 1. Enable screen recording on your iOS device.
Step 2. Set up your screen recorder.
Step 3. Record your screen.
You can then upload the recorded footage into Snagit or Camtasia.

How do I record my screen and internal audio on Windows?

To record your screen and your computer’s audio, select the Record System Audio option in Snagit or Camtasia.

For how long can you screen record on Windows 10 & 11?

The amount of time you can record your screen on Windows 10 & 11 computers will vary based on the tool you’re using. While the Xbox Game Bar allows clips up to two hours, the Microsoft Stream App limits recordings to 15 minutes.
However, with Snagit and Camtasia, there’s no limit on the length of your recording, allowing you to capture content as long as your storage space permits.

Where do screen recordings go on Windows 10 & 11?

Screen recordings created with the Xbox Game Bar are saved under the Videos folder in a subfolder named ‘Captures’. However, for recordings made with Snagit or Camtasia, you can customize the save location in the application settings, giving you complete control over where your files are stored.

How to Extract Text From An Image?

How to extract text from an image

Imagine there was an easy way to copy or extract text from an image, scanned document, or PDF file and quickly paste it into another document or chat tool.

The good news is that you don’t have to waste time retyping or searching for the original document. Some programs use magic (aka. Optical Character Recognition (OCR)) to analyze the letters and words in an image and convert them to text.

Anyone who’s ever had to painstakingly copy the words on a screen manually will know just how useful this can be. But, if you’re lucky enough to have never been in such a position, here are some reasons why you might use OCR technology to copy text from an image or PDF:

  • Paste text from a picture or screenshot into Slack, Teams, Word, or any other tool
  • Copy text in an error message, pop-up window, or menu where the text can’t be selected
  • Capture the text in a file directory (filename, file size, date modified, etc.)

Regardless of your situation, this function can be super helpful, especially when you need to copy information about a file or from a screenshot that would otherwise mean you spending lots of time copying the text manually. 

Fortunately, TechSmith’s Snagit makes extracting text from images quick and easy! This means you can capture words or make a mere picture of text editable in just a few steps. 

Snagit is an all-in-one screen capture and recording software that helps you capture your screen and camera, edit screenshots, and share images, GIFs, and videos across a wide range of platforms.

With Snagit, you can even watermark photos, remove backgrounds from pictures and turn images into videos

Here’s everything you need to know about how to extract text from an image on your computer screen using Snagit.

Extract text from images today!

Download a free trial of Snagit to quickly and easily extract text from images.

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Use a screenshot to capture text on Windows or Mac

Step 1: Set up your capture settings

To capture text, open the Capture Window, select the Image tab, and set the selection to Grab Text.

how to capture text on Windows or Mac step 1

Step 2: Capture your screen

Start your capture, then use the crosshairs to select the region of your screen with the text you want to copy. Snagit will then analyze the text from your selection and displays the formatted text.

If the font identified isn’t available on your computer, Snagit will substitute it with a similar style.

how to capture text on Windows or Mac step 2

Step 3: Paste your text

Next, select the text you want to copy, or click Copy All, to add it to your clipboard. This will allow you to paste the text into a chat tool, document, presentation, or any other place you can think of.

how to capture text on Windows or Mac step 3

Extract text from an image with OCR

Step 1: Find your image

To capture text from a scanned image, first upload it to the Snagit Editor or take a screenshot on your desktop.

extract text from image step 1

Step 2: Open Grab Text in Snagit

With the image open in Snagit’s Editor, go to the Edit menu and select Grab Text. Alternatively, you can simply right-hand click on the image, and select Grab Text from there instead.

extract text from image step 2

Step 3: Copy your text

Then, copy the text (or click Copy All), and paste it into other programs and applications.

extract text from image

That’s all there is to it! It doesn’t take much effort at all to extract text from pictures, PDFs, or scanned documents when you’ve got Snagit.

Extract text from an image, the FAQs

How can I convert images to text with Snagit?

Upload your image into Snagit. Then right-click anywhere on the image and choose Grab Text. This scans your image and converts it to text.

How do I extract text from an image on Windows?

First, use Snagit to take a screenshot of your image or upload it into the Snagit Editor.
Snagit can use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to detect and extract text from an image on your Windows computers.

How can I extract text from a scanned PDF?

First, open the PDF file and take a screenshot of it using Snagit. Then, in the Snagit Editor, right-click on the image, and select Grab Text.
The text from your scanned PDF can then be copied and pasted into other programs and applications.

How can I copy text from an image?

To start, open Snagit’s image capture window. Then, in the selection dropdown, choose Grab Text. Once you’ve taken your screenshot, a box will pop up with all the text from your screenshot, ready to be copied and pasted elsewhere.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

What Are Video Thumbnails and Why Do They Matter?

video thumbnails hero

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” which is exactly why video thumbnails are so important. They give potential viewers the first impression of your video. 

A great video thumbnail can mean the difference between getting a few views, and a few thousand views. But how do you know what makes a good thumbnail, and how do you create one? Well, allow us to show you. 

In this article, we’ll answer questions like “What is a thumbnail?” and discuss the best practices for creating your own. So, in a nutshell, here’s what you’ll learn:

  • What are video thumbnails?
  • Why are video thumbnails important?
  • The essential elements of effective video thumbnails.
  • Technical requirements of a thumbnail
  • Four ways to make your thumbnails stand out.

However, if you want to learn how to create your own video thumbnails, we’d suggest downloading a free trial of TechSmith’s Snagit and checking out our other post on ‘YouTube Thumbnail Sizes and Best Practices’. 

Why? Because it includes a step-by-step guide on how to make your own YouTube thumbnail. 

Make your own YouTube video thumbnails today!

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What are video thumbnails?

A video thumbnail is a still image that acts as the preview image for your video. It’s kind of like a book cover. And, like a book cover, its job is to entice potential viewers to want to see more.

The actual term “thumbnail” originated with still images (rather than videos). It was simply a smaller version of a full digital image that could easily be viewed while browsing multiple images at once.

A MacOS window showing thumbnail previews of various images files.

Thumbnails are everywhere — even your computer’s operating system uses them! As you can see above, when viewing this folder, the computer shows several smaller representations of each file. 

Although a video thumbnail isn’t a smaller version of the video, it should give your audience an idea of what they will see when they decide to watch it.

You’ve probably been told not to judge a book by its cover, but if that were true, book publishers wouldn’t go to the trouble of making such lavish and exciting covers. The same is true of your video thumbnail.

Why are video thumbnails important?

In a world where video has become the most popular form of content — with video consumption accounting for 65% of all internet traffic — video thumbnails are more important than ever. 

By understanding the value thumbnails bring and using them effectively, you can captivate audiences, increase click-through rates, and ultimately drive more engagement and views to your videos. Sounds good, right?

Thumbnails help rank on YouTube

While video thumbnails themselves don’t directly influence how YouTube handles your video, they play a crucial role in driving viewer engagement once they click through. 

YouTube employs various mechanisms to present your video to users, such as search rankings, video page recommendations, and the YouTube homepage. The performance of your video in these areas is influenced by how viewers interact with it and how others respond to your content. This is where video thumbnails come into play.

An appealing and authentic video thumbnail has the power to entice viewers to click, watch your video, explore more of your content, and potentially subscribe to your channel. On the other hand, a misleading thumbnail that fails to deliver can lead to viewers feeling frustrated. 

This frustration could lead users to stop watching the video early, push the ‘dislike’ button or even leave YouTube altogether. In turn, YouTube’s algorithms take note of these interactions and adjust their recommendations accordingly, impacting the visibility of your videos across search results, video pages, and the YouTube homepage.

By creating captivating and truthful video thumbnails, you can maximize the chances of attracting engaged viewers, fostering positive interactions, and ultimately increasing your video’s reach and success on YouTube.

Make your own YouTube video thumbnails today!

Download Snagit to quickly and easily make your own YouTube videos thumbnails.

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Thumbnails help rank on Google


Believe it or not, your videos can make an impact beyond the platform they’re hosted on, whether that’s YouTube or Vimeo. As you’ve probably noticed, Google search results often include videos, as well as text and web pages. This means that your video — and your thumbnails — could appear at the top of the first page on Google. If that sounds like a big deal, that’s because it is. 

Imagine someone searching for “how to promote your YouTube video” and seeing a load of articles next to a select group of videos. Which do you think people are most likely to click on? Well, if you’ve got a good thumbnail, it could be yours!

Ultimately, if you haven’t got an enticing and authentic thumbnail, your video is unlikely to be featured in Google search results. That’s how important this is. 

By optimizing your video thumbnails for Google search rankings, you can increase your chances of standing out, enticing viewers to click on your videos, and driving traffic to your content — whether it be on YouTube or other platforms where your videos are embedded.

Thumbnails build brand awareness


Even in a crowded digital landscape, thumbnails play a pivotal role in strengthening brand awareness. Imagine the power of having an audience that recognizes your videos from the thumbnail alone. 

Now, everyone has a general idea that brand awareness is important, but not everyone knows that it can directly impact sales and profit. Research suggests that consistent brand representation can increase revenue by more than 20%

When viewers consistently encounter visually cohesive and recognizable thumbnails, they associate them with your brand and its values. Over time, this recognition builds trust and loyalty, driving engagement, click-through rates, and ultimately, conversions. 

By incorporating elements such as consistent colors, styles, logos, overlays, and more, you can reinforce your brand identity and make a lasting impression on viewers. Investing in the consistency and visual representation of your video thumbnails can yield long-term benefits and contribute to the overall success of your brand.

Make your own YouTube video thumbnails today!

Download Snagit to quickly and easily make your own YouTube videos thumbnails.

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Essential elements of a video thumbnail

If a thumbnail is your audience’s first impression of your content, you want to make sure it’s a good one. 

A custom thumbnail allows you to really sell yourself and your video, so give your audience a reason to watch your video — especially if your video is one of many on the same subject.

With this in mind, your thumbnail should always:

  • Clearly convey your video’s subject.
  • When possible, show the face of the person speaking in a fun and inviting way.
  • Include your brand.
  • Be optimized for any device.
Thumbnail for the video "How to Make a YouTube Video."

Looking at our example above, you can see that we’ve managed to tick all the boxes because:

  • The video’s title is large and easy to read.
  • The video’s speaker (our very own Andy Owen) is striking a humorous pose to convey an emotion.
  • The TechSmith logo is clearly visible.

We even earned ourselves a bonus point by letting potential viewers know that there’s a free template up for grabs, which lets them know there’s even more value to be had by watching our content.

When you think about it, that’s a lot of information being conveyed by a single image. And, it helps anyone looking at it decide if that video is right for them.

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Technical requirements of a video thumbnail

A key part of knowing how to create a thumbnail for a video means understanding the technical requirements that will ensure optimal compatibility across a range of devices and screen sizes.  

This isn’t something we need to overcomplicate, you simply need to follow these rules: 

  • Thumbnail Size: The recommended YouTube thumbnail size is 1280 by 720 pixels, with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
  • Minimum Width: It’s best to keep the width of your thumbnails at least 640 pixels.
  • File Size: The file size of your thumbnails should be no more than 2MB.
  • Supported Formats: The commonly supported formats for thumbnails are JPG, GIF, and PNG. These formats provide good image quality while keeping the file size manageable.

By following these video thumbnail guidelines, you can’t go wrong. 

Make your own YouTube video thumbnails today!

Download Snagit to quickly and easily make your own YouTube videos thumbnails.

Download now!
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Video thumbnail best practices

A quick search on YouTube for just about any subject will turn up hundreds, if not thousands, of videos. And, a good number of them will have custom video thumbnails.

So how do you make yours stand out from the crowd?

If you did a random search on YouTube for “How to make a video,” there’s a good chance these will be among the first few results. You can learn a lot about how to design a thumbnail, just by looking at these examples!

Five examples of video thumbnails. Each is unique, but all have several common features, including flattering images of the person or people speaking, the video's title, and pleasing design.

Let’s now take a look at some of the best practices to keep in mind when designing a video thumbnail, and think about which of the examples above tick the most boxes. 

1. Use color

Color can make all the difference. Even thumbnails with a black or grey background can benefit from a splash of color. You might notice that all of the examples above use color to help draw your eye.

2. Use closeups of faces

Every one of these examples show someone’s face — even the one that uses a cartoon — and all of them are conveying emotion. Remember, you don’t want the subject’s face to look bland or emotionless, this isn’t a passport photo! 

3. Use bold, clear text

You want to make sure that anyone who sees your thumbnail instantly knows what the video is about. Don’t make their eyes hunt around for the title.

4. Be consistent

This is especially true if you’re trying to grow your channel and build your Youtube audience. Be sure to use consistent colors and themes in your thumbnails so that your audience can tell your content apart from everyone else’s, no matter how many other videos appear in the search results.

Once you’ve gained credibility as a creator, people will come back for more of your content — so make it easy for them!

Video thumbnails, the FAQs

How to make a thumbnail for YouTube?

Creating a thumbnail for your YouTube video is easy! Start by finding an image that represents your video’s content. Then, use image editing tools, or YouTube’s built-in editor, to customize the thumbnail by adding text, graphics, and branding so that it’s visually appealing and instantly recognizable.

How big is a YouTube thumbnail?

Always aim for a thumbnail size of 1280 x 720 pixels with a 16:9 aspect ratio. This ensures your thumbnail will look great across various devices and screen sizes.

Why can’t I change the thumbnail on YouTube Shorts?

To edit a thumbnail for a YouTube Short, you need to upload your video using a mobile device (rather than on a desktop) via the YouTube app. However, you can’t change the thumbnail after the video has been published. Instead, you’ll need to delete and re-upload your YouTube Short with the new thumbnail.

What is a thumbnail sketch?

A thumbnail sketch is quite different from a video thumbnail. It’s a quick and simplified drawing that serves as an early visual representation or concept for a larger design or artwork. Artists, designers, and creatives often use thumbnail sketches to explore different ideas, compositions, and layouts before diving into detailed work.

How to download YouTube thumbnails?

Downloading YouTube thumbnails is easier than you might think as there are a range of online tools, such as Softr, designed to do exactly that. Simply copy the URL of the YouTube video with the thumbnail you want to download, paste it on the Softr website, and follow the instructions to save the thumbnail image to your device.

How to change the thumbnail on a Facebook video?

First, find the video post that includes the thumbnail you want to change. Next, click on the three dots in the top-right corner of the post and select Edit Video. Next, hover over the video and you’ll see a pencil pop up in the top-left corner, click it. Then click on Change Thumbnail and decide whether you want to Choose Suggested, Upload Image, or Choose From Video.

Ryan Knott

Ryan Knott is a Marketing Content Strategist at TechSmith, where he creates content about easy, effective, and efficient video creation, editing, and tips and tricks, as well as audio editing for creators of all kinds. He/him.

Here’s the Best Way to Quickly Take a Scrolling Screenshot

Here's the Best Way to Quickly Take a Scrolling Screenshot

The majority of basic screen capture tools allow you to capture all or part of your screen, but what if you need to capture more than what’s visible on your screen at any one time? If you’ve ever needed to screenshot an entire web page, you probably know how annoying it is to take multiple screenshots and stitch them together.

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

The scrolling capture tool on TechSmith’s Snagit allows you to take screenshots of content that doesn’t fit within the dimensions of your screen. They’re great for capturing:

  • Long website pages and documents
  • Spreadsheets with lots of rows or columns
  • Lengthy email, chat, and social media threads

In this post, we’ll show how to take a scrolling screenshot in the best and easiest way, using Snagit. 

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What is a scrolling capture?

Put simply, a scrolling capture (formerly panoramic capture) is a screenshot that allows you to scroll to capture content that may not be visible on your screen. You can scroll vertically to capture things like web pages or documents or horizontally for spreadsheets and large graphics.

How to take a scrolling capture (Windows or Mac)

There are many ways to take screenshots on Windows or Mac, but the built-in screen capture tools on both operating systems lack a scrolling screenshot feature. This means they can only capture the visible areas of your screen.

Unless you want to spend lots of time piecing multiple screen grabs together, you’ll need advanced screen capture software to take a scrolling screenshot. 

For the purpose of this post, we’ll use Snagit to show you how to take a scrolling screenshot on Mac and Windows. Unlike browser extensions, where your captures are limited to web pages, Snagit can capture anything on your screen. 

If you don’t already have Snagit, then don’t worry you can try it for free without needing a credit card.

Capture a scrolling area with a scrolling capture

With Snagit, there are two ways to take a scrolling capture: manually and automatically. 

While the automatic scrolling makes it super quick and easy to take a scrolling capture, doing it manually gives you greater control of the area you want to capture. For example, if you’ve got an Excel spreadsheet with lots of rows and columns, you might want to scroll both vertically and horizontally, which is easier to do manually. 

How to take an automatic scrolling capture

Here’s how to take a full-page screenshot automatically using Snagit’s Automative Scrolling capture tool: 

  1. Select the all-in-one tab within Snagit’s capture window and click Capture.
  2. When the orange crosshairs appear, click the window you want to capture, and Snagit will snap to that window.
  3. Next, click on one of the orange arrows to select the direction you want your screenshot to scroll.

    (Don’t worry if you can’t see all the arrows. If the web page or program you’re using can only scroll in one direction, then only one arrow will appear.)
  4. Once you’ve clicked an arrow, Snagit will take the scrolling capture and open it up in the Snagit Editor when it’s ready. 

How to manually take a scrolling capture

If you’re looking for more control over the area that your scrolling capture actually captures, then you’ll need to take your Scrolling Capture manually. Here’s how: 

  1. Select the all-in-one tab within Snagit’s capture window and click capture.
  2. When the orange crosshairs appear, you can either click on the window you wish to capture or drag a custom area across your screen.
  3. Next, click on the icon with the camera and arrows. This will start the scrolling capture process.
  4. Next, scroll through the content you want to capture, then click Done. We’d suggest you scroll slowly to get the best results. 

Once you’ve captured your screenshot, it will automatically open in the Snagit Editor, where you can preview, edit, add markup or callouts, and quickly share it. It’s that easy!

Easily capture scrolling screenshots with Snagit

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Three ways to make your full-page screenshots even better

Screenshots on their own are useful, but when you add a little context, they can be downright magical in helping explain ideas and convey information. Here are three different ways you can use the Snagit Editor to bring the magic out in your screenshots and Scrolling Captures:

1. Annotate your screenshot

Don’t let important information go unnoticed. Use arrows and callouts to highlight specific areas of your screenshot or add more context. Choose from different color themes, or create your own to keep your images on-brand.

2. Rearrange objects within your screenshot

Snagit automatically makes the objects in your screen capture movable, which means you can rearrange buttons, delete text, and edit other elements in your screenshots.

So, if your cursor blocking something, delete it! If you’d prefer that button was on the right and not the left, move it! With Snagit, it really is that easy. You can even magically mock up websites with screenshots.

3. Edit the text in your screenshot

Snagit recognizes the text in your screenshots for quick editing, which means you can change the text’s color, font, and size — as well the actual words —without redesigning the entire image. 

With Snagit, you can even extract text from an image, which is something that no built-in screenshot tool on the planet can do!

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The best way to capture scrolling screenshots

Scrolling captures is a lifesaver when you need to screenshot an entire webpage, extensive spreadsheet, or long chat thread. And as you can’t take scrolling screenshots with native apps like Snip & Sketch, investing in a more powerful screenshotting tool is well worth it.

As well as being the best tool for taking full-page screenshots, Snagit lets you quickly capture your screen, add additional context, and share images, GIFS, and videos to your favorite apps in just a few clicks.

Scrolling screenshots, the FAQs

How do I take a screenshot bigger than my screen?

Snagit’s scrolling capture tool is a great way to capture content that doesn’t fit within the dimensions of a typical screenshot.

Can you scroll while taking a screenshot?

The native Windows and Mac tools don’t have a scrolling screenshot feature, but it can be done with a third-party app like Snagit.

Is it possible to screenshot a parallax website?

Static screenshots aren’t the best way to capture interactive elements like parallax scrolling. However, with Snagit, you can record your screen and quickly turn the video into an animated GIF.

Can you take a scrolling screenshot on an iPhone?

Yes, but only when using native apps like Safari and Notes. Press the Lock button and Volume Up button simultaneously to take a screenshot. Then click on the preview and tap Full Page at the top.

How do I take a scrolling screenshot on Android?

On Android 11 or later, press the Power and Volume Down buttons at the same time. Then, tap the Capture More option at the bottom-left corner of the screen.

Danielle Ezell

Danielle Ezell is a Marketing Content Strategist at TechSmith, where she writes about effective workplace communication, offering tips and strategies for using images and videos to collaborate more effectively in hybrid and remote environments.

What are High-Resolution Images?

learn what hi-res is

Picture this: Your coworker asks for a photo, so you quickly email them one from the web. Moments later, they reply back: “Do you have that in hi-res?” and you think to yourself: “Does it really matter?”

Well, the answer is a resounding yes. Your colleague isn’t just being picky, there really is a difference between lo-res (low-resolution) and hi-res (high-resolution) images. It can mean the difference between a company logo that looks fuzzy, or one that is crystal clear.

But in order to understand when a hi-res image is a must (such as for printing and enlarging), we should first discuss what exactly hi-res means.

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What is the meaning of “high resolution”?

In short, hi-res stands for high resolution, or denser image quality.

Digital images are made of tiny pixels (picture elements), or squares of color. You usually don’t notice individual pixels because they all blend together to form the picture that you see. 

But, those pixels are still there! You can see them either when you zoom in too much, or you try to enlarge an image beyond what it can handle — which is why it’s important to know how to resize an image correctly.


As you can see, the lo-res image on the left looks great at its normal size, but when we zoom in or enlarge the image, it looks choppy. 

In other words, it’s “pixelated” because you can distinguish each pixel, in a block pattern. Anyone that pre-dates smartphones might recall this distinctive, low-tech aesthetic from retro video games.

pixelated image

Early video games looked pixelated because they purposefully used minimal colors to preserve memory and processing power. Today, we usually only see pixelated images when they’re either:

  • Overly enlarged
  • Too zoomed-in
  • Printed from a low-resolution file.

You’ll be glad to know that we’ve got a whole post about how to prevent blurry pictures (and it’s easier than you might think).

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What are high-resolution images?

Lo-res images have around 72-pixels, or squares of color, per inch. This makes them great for the web because that’s usually as much as most computer screens can display. Lo-res images are also very lightweight (because they have fewer pixels), which helps websites load quickly.

Hi-res images, on the other hand, are at least 300 pixels per inch (PPI). This resolution makes for good print quality and is pretty much a minimum requirement for anything you want hard copies of, especially to represent your brand or other important print materials.


Ink is expensive, so using hi-res photos to produce sharp prints without any blurry or jagged lines is the best way to avoid any printing regrets.

How to tell if an image is high or low resolution?

Just because a picture looks good on your computer screen doesn’t mean it’s hi-res, and you can’t tell by the aspect ratio, either. A hefty file size might suggest an image is high-res, but this isn’t always the case. 

The best way to check image resolution is to open it up in an image editing program, like Photoshop or TechSmith’s Snagit, and view the file properties. While this particular feature is currently only available on the Windows version of Snagit, you can also use it to extract text from images and remove the backgrounds from photos — on both Windows and Mac. 

While Snagit is great for quick photo editing, most computers come with a basic editing program that will help you see whether or not a picture is hi-res. 

Do you need high-res or low res-images?

So now that you know the difference between low and high-resolution imagery, and you understand how important it is, the next hurdle is knowing when you do and don’t need hi-res images. 

Ultimately, this all comes down to what an image will be used for. Whether you’re a budding photographer planning your first exhibition, or an entrepreneur working on a new website, understanding the format and context of where your image will be seen is the key to knowing the resolution you need. 

In this section, we’ll look at some typical examples of where low and high-resolution photos are required, to help you decide what best suits your needs.


Whether it’s a computer monitor, mobile device, or television, high-resolution images are often praised for their clarity and sharpness on screen, but there’s still a balance to be struck.

Digital screens have a finite number of pixels, and it’s this pixel count (often referred to as screen resolution) that limits the detail they can display. Using an image with a resolution higher than the screen’s probably won’t improve the picture quality, as the screen simply can’t render the extra detail.

What’s more, because high-res images make for heavy files, they can slow down websites and take up unnecessary storage space on your device. This means that low to medium-resolution images are usually best for screen-based applications.


When it comes to making posters — particularly life-sized ones — high-resolution images are generally the way to go. This is because large-scale prints need more detail to maintain the integrity of the image, ensuring that they don’t appear pixelated when printed.

There is, however, one essential caveat: The viewing distance. If your poster is going to be seen from far away, then there isn’t as much need for ultra-high image definition.

This is because, from a distance, our eyes can’t discern the same level of detail as up close — but you knew that already. This is where intermediate resolutions come into play, as they can provide a perfect balance between giving posters a clear and detailed appearance without needing extremely high resolution. 


Whether it’s a business card or a glossy magazine, you’ll need the level of detail that only high-resolution images can provide to ensure the printed image is crisp and clear.

For this reason, images intended for print should have a minimum resolution of 300 DPI (dots per inch). This isn’t just a random number — it’s the perfect resolution to provide a high-quality image at arm’s length. 

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Artwork and fine photography

When you’re dealing with artwork or fine photography, every detail matters. Here, the texture of a brush stroke, the delicate shading in a charcoal drawing, or the interplay of light and shadow in a photograph can be the difference between an image that looks good and one that truly captivates onlookers. 

As you might expect, high-resolution images are especially useful in such scenarios, as they capture subtle details with the kind of precision that lo-res simply can’t. 

That said, it’s still worth thinking about how your image is going to be used. Are you planning an exhibition where your work will be displayed in large formats? Or are you building a digital portfolio? While high-resolution images are a must for a physical exhibition, low-res photos might be better if you’re planning to display them online.

Nature photography

Nature photography is all about capturing the world around us. From the textured bark of an ancient tree, to the vibrant hues of a sunset, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of intricate details that make each photograph a unique testament to the beauty of nature.

As such, high-resolution photos are crucial for capturing and sharing such photos. Think about it, have you ever seen a blurry picture in National Geographic?… Exactly. 

Hi-resolution images, the FAQs

How to make a low-res image high-res?

If possible, it’s always best to try and recapture an image in high-resolution, rather than make a lo-res image, hi-res.
That said, software such as Adobe Photoshop or online services like Let’s Enhance use sophisticated algorithms to upscale images and improve their resolution while minimizing the appearance of pixelation. However, the end-result might not be as sharp as an image originally captured or created in high resolution.

How big is a high-res image?

While the file size of high-resolution images varies greatly, hi-res is typically defined by its pixel dimensions and the number of pixels per inch (PPI or DPI).
An image is generally considered high resolution if it has 300 PPI or more, with typical dimensions ranging from 2,000 x 2,000 pixels for smaller images to 5,000 x 5,000 pixels (or more) for larger ones. Keep in mind that the specific pixel requirements will likely depend on the intended use of the image.

How can you tell if an image is high-res?

You can determine if an image is high resolution by checking its DPI (dots per inch) and its pixel dimensions. This can be done by looking at the image’s properties on your computer, or in an image editing suite.
Generally speaking, if an image has 300 DPI or more and has large pixel dimensions (usually in the thousands), it is considered high resolution.

How to make a high-res image low-res?

To make a high-res image low-res, you can use software such as Snagit or Photoshop or free online tools like PIXLR. These tools allow you to decrease the image’s size in pixels or change its resolution (DPI).
By reducing these parameters, you can essentially lower an image’s resolution by creating a smaller, less detailed version of the original image.

Are JPG images high resolution?

The resolution of an image isn’t determined by its file format but by its pixel dimensions and DPI. So, any file — including a JPG — can be a hi-res image provided it has large pixel dimensions and a high DPI (usually 300 or more).
It’s important to note, however, that JPG is a lossy format. This means some image data and quality is lost each time the image is saved, which could affect the resolution over time. You can learn more about different file types here.

How to Do a Voice Over Like a Pro: The Complete Guide

How to do a voice over like a pro

Whether you’re making a YouTube video or recording a presentation, if you make videos — especially how-to and explainer videos — you will almost certainly need to record voice overs. In fact, depending on how many videos you create, you may have to do a lot of voice over work.

For many people, the thought of recording their voice and sharing it with the world is horrifying. Or at least genuinely uncomfortable. But it doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful!

So what is voice over recording? And how do you record voice overs that grab and keep your audience’s attention? Well, buckle up, because you’re about to find out! 

In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of what a voice over is, how you can record your own, and go over some voice over tips for beginners. Here’s what you’ll learn:

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What is a voice over?

A voice over recording (or just a “voice over”) is a person speaking (but not seen) during a video — often describing, highlighting, explaining, or providing additional context to what a viewer sees.

It’s often confused (or equated) with narration. And, while they are similar, they are not quite the same thing.

Narration is a specific type of voice over that describes all of the on-screen action, often telling a story based on what’s happening. While narration is more commonly used for entertainment, non-narration voice overs are often used on instructional, informational, and educational videos.

An easy way to think about it: All narration is a voice over, but not all voice overs are narration.

Why is a good voice over important for your video?

Some might think that the audio portion of a video is less important than the visual aspects, but that’s not true. Most people that watch videos say they are more likely to stop watching a video with bad audio vs. one with lower-quality video.

In fact, a recent TechSmith study of viewing habits showed that more than 25% of video viewers watched a video all the way through because the audio was good — more than those who said professional video style was most important.

This isn’t that surprising when you think about it. While the on-screen elements of your video are what makes it a video, in many cases, it’s the voice over that helps people truly understand what’s being shown.

Muddy, muffled, or otherwise garbled or difficult-to-understand audio tracks are frustrating to viewers. And, for people who are blind, but still need the information your video provides, good audio is essential.

So great audio isn’t just important. It’s a fundamental necessity to keep an audience interested and engaged — and to ensure they get the information they need.

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Do I need a professional voice talent for great voice over?

The short answer: No. 

Just because quality voice over is important for the success of your video, it doesn’t mean you need to go to great lengths (and expense) to get it. Some people think you need to have one of those super-snazzy radio voices to produce good voice overs for your videos, but that simply isn’t true. 

Sure, if you have the budget and you’re making professional videos, you can hire a professional voice over artist. But it’s not necessary.

With the help of this guide, you’ll soon see why most videos don’t need professional voice overs and that you really can do it yourself! But how can you record your voice over a video? First, you need to know what good voice over is.

The essential elements of a good voice over

When most of us think of great video voice overs, we probably think of actors like Morgan Freeman or James Earl Jones, usually because there’s a tendency to associate voice overs with having a really great voice. And while that can help, it’s not a prerequisite for doing a voice over.

In fact, with a little know-how and some practice, almost anyone can produce a professional-quality voice over for a video. All you have to keep in mind are the key elements that make a voice over stand out: 

  • Audio clarity and volume
  • Pacing
  • Vocal tone and inflection
  • Pronunciation

1. Audio clarity and volume

The clarity of your voice and speaking at a comfortable volume may be the most essential parts of great audio.

If your voice over recording is fuzzy or muddy sounding, it will be difficult for people to understand and your audience will be distracted and unable to absorb the information or may simply switch your video off. Either way, they’ll miss your message and you’ll miss an opportunity to share your knowledge.

Similarly, if the volume of your audio is too low, it may be difficult for people to hear. And if it’s too loud, you risk distorting it. Fortunately, there is a solid sweet spot for getting the volume just right, which we’ll talk more about in a moment.

2. Pacing

Ever talk with someone who has a really exciting story to tell, but they’re so excited about it that they rush through it and when they’re done you can’t even remember what they were talking about? Or, someone who drones on and on with no end in sight, while you struggle to keep your eyes open? 

This is called pacing, and it’s really important to get right. Too fast and your audience won’t know what hit them. To slow and they’re likely to get bored. 

The best voice overs have a natural and deliberate pace, which is why you should always write a script (and practice it!) before you start recording as this will help you speak naturally. You should also remember that pacing includes things like pausing now and then to take a breath, either for effect or to give the listener a break to process important information.

3. Vocal tone and inflection

Like pacing, vocal tone and inflection refer to ensuring you speak naturally and pleasantly. You want to sound friendly and engaging, but not so much that you sound fake.

No one wants to sound like a game show host (or like Troy McClure). But, you also want to avoid a monotone robot voice which, like pacing that’s too slow, can be boring and off-putting.

4. Pronunciation and enunciation

The final element of great voice over work is ensuring that you pronounce each word correctly and that you speak clearly enough to be understood. Avoid mumbling, but don’t shout or over-enunciate, either.

Be mindful of your regional accent (yes, we all have them) and pronunciations as they relate to your audience. While it’s perfectly acceptable to “warsh” your hands in Missouri or have a great “idear” in New England, those pronunciations may confuse people from other locations.

Don’t worry, though. No one expects you to sound like a professional voice actor. The best thing you can do is speak naturally and clearly — the rest will follow with practice.

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How can I make my voice sound better on voice overs?

This is the number-one issue most people bring up when they have to do a voice over for their video.

Most of us rarely have to hear our own voices in audio recordings. We’re used to the rich, warm sound of our own voices in our own ears and there’s no way around the fact that you sound different on a recording than you do to yourself.

So how do you stop hating the sound of your own voice? Well, you just have to get used to it.

Think of it this way: Your voice on recordings is how you actually sound to everyone around you. When you speak to others, that’s what they hear. the only one who hears a difference is you.

So, there’s really nothing to be embarrassed or feel shy about.

Everyone who does voice work has to overcome this hurdle. But, like most things, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Once you’ve done enough voice-over work, your voice will sound just as normal on recordings as it does in your own ears.

Of course, if you really can’t get over it, you can always ask someone for help. Whether that means enlisting a friend or colleague, or hiring a professional to do the work for you.

How to record a voice over

1. Preparing to record

Not all videos need a ton of preparation. Quick one-off screencasts or a fast demonstration of a new user interface for a colleague can probably be done on the fly. But, for videos where you want a more polished look or need to cover more information, a bit of preparation goes a long way.

Find a quiet place to work

You’ve probably seen what a recording studio looks like. Professional voice over artists typically have a room somewhere with walls covered in sound-absorbing foam, a fancy microphone setup with a pop screen, and a computer workstation that looks like NASA’s Mission Control.

Luckily, you don’t have to go that far to get great results. You can create a great voice recording space with minimal effort and very little expenditure.

First — and most importantly — you’ll want a space that’s free from distracting noises and where you are unlikely to be interrupted. Most decent microphones pick up even faint ambient sounds, and those sounds will make it into your recording.

If your space is at work, avoid areas where you can hear your coworkers talking, etc. Or, plan to record when no one else is in the office.

Wherever you are, be mindful of the sounds of your heating and cooling system. If you can’t find a spot where you can’t hear air rushing through your ducts, you may want to shut down your furnace or AC while you’re recording.

If your recording space is near a window, listen for sounds from outside, such as wind, birds chirping, and dogs barking. Be especially mindful of traffic sounds — particularly loud delivery trucks as these will almost definitely be picked up in your recording.

Nowhere is going to be completely silent, so find the best place you can — even if that means thinking outside the box.

For example, you might find the quietest place you can find to record is in your car (with the engine off, of course). It might not be the ideal setup, but if all you need to do is speak into a microphone, it might be the quietest environment you have access to — and you might be surprised by the results! 

Choose a microphone

Next, you need a decent microphone. We won’t go too in-depth with this here, but we do have another article detailing the best microphones for recording video.

What we will say, however, is you should definitely avoid recording your voice ovesr on your laptop microphone, if possible. While built-in mics are fine for the likes of Zoom meetings, even a low-cost external microphone will be better for a video voice over. 

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars, either. You can get a decent USB microphone for $50-$100, which is well worth the investment if you’ll be doing a lot of voice over work. However, even the headphones that come with your smartphone (which usually have a small built-in mic) will record a better sound than just your computer’s microphone.

If you do intend to use an external mic, we’d also recommend investing in a pop filter. They’re cheap and help minimize the distracting sounds caused by hard consonants such as “p” and “b.”

The Easiest and Fastest Way to Record and Edit Voice Over Audio!

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Choose your audio software

There’s no shortage of audio recording software on the market and most of them will offer more or less the same level of functionality. But, for the average user, these tools are often complicated and come with a high learning curve to be of any practical use.

So, with that in mind, we’d recommend checking out TechSmith’s Audiate — which comes with a seven-day free trial. 

2. Write a script

Having a script is probably the single most important thing you can do to ensure your voice over sounds professional. Nothing ruins a good voice over faster than a lot of “uhms” and “ahs” as you try to remember what you wanted to say.

The best scripts will include everything you intend to say, word for word. Taking the time to write this out before recording helps ensure that you will cover everything you want to without the risk of wandering off into unrelated topics.

To write a script, you should first outline the points you want to make and then write the full script based on that outline.

Once it’s written, read your script aloud several times before recording, and be mindful of words or phrases that may feel awkward or difficult to say. A script often sounds and feels different when it’s read out loud compared to how it sounds in your head.

This great blog post will give you more information on writing your script.

3. Do a test recording

Now that all the essential tools are in place, it’s time to record your voice over!

Before you get down to the real thing, though, be sure to run a test recording to ensure your equipment is working as it should, and your audio levels are good.

Even if nothing has changed from the last time you did a voice over, it’s still good practice to run a test first. There’s nothing worse than jumping straight into the recording, only to finish and find that something wasn’t set up properly. 

You don’t need to record the entire script for your test recording, but a few paragraphs will give you enough to ensure that the audio is clear and doesn’t include any stray or ambient noises.

Top Tip: When you listen back to your test recording, use headphones to check the audio quality. These will be much better than your computer speakers at picking up any unclear audio, feedback, or weird noises.

While you’ll obviously want the audio to sound good on the cheapest speakers, you (and your audience) will be much happier if you use headphones to check for quality. Remember, many of your viewers will probably listen via headphones, so you want to make sure they have the best possible audio.

The Easiest and Fastest Way to Record and Edit Voice Over Audio!

Audiate makes recording and editing your voice as simple as editing text in a document.

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Microphone placement

You also want to consider where to place your microphone. If it’s too close to the person speaking, it will pick up all kinds of weird mouth noises and air puffs. However, if it’s too far away you might sound lost in a large room.

Ideally, place the microphone about six to eight inches from your mouth, and slightly below your chin. If you’re using an LAV (clip-on mic), make sure it’s about six to eight inches below your mouth.

You should also be mindful of the surface where you place your mic. Some microphone stands will be susceptible to picking up noises from the desk or table they’re sitting on, so be sure to listen for those types of sounds on your test recording.

Check your volume levels

Getting the volume level right for your audio ensures that it’s easily heard and not distorted. If the volume is too low, your audience will have trouble hearing what you say. If it’s too high, you risk garbled audio or blowing out your people’s ear drums.

While you can always make a video louder and adjust levels when you edit, starting with the best possible audio level as you record is always your best bet.

The folks over at Premium Beat have a great post on recommended audio level settings, but here are a few basics.

  • Audio levels are measured in decibels (dB).
  • In audio editing, 0db is actually the maximum you want to achieve. It sounds weird, but trust us. 
  • For the most part, your ideal audio level is between -10db to -20db. Your audio should peak around -6db.
  • Never go above 0db, as your audio will distort or “clip.”

Most audio recording software will have indicators that let you know when your audio is in danger of being too loud and clipping.

The image above shows TechSmith’s Camtasia interface with the waveform (a graphical representation of your audio recording) on the left and the level indicator on the right. The indicator shows that the audio peaked at just under -6db and is well within the acceptable levels.

4. Record your voice over

Once you’re satisfied with your microphone placement and audio levels, you’re ready to record your voice over! With Audiate, it’s as simple as clicking the record button and speaking.

As you record your script, remember these key tips for ensuring a great voice over:

  • Speak slowly and clearly: Enunciate each word, but don’t concentrate on it to such an extent that you sound like a robot.
  • Consider your tone: You want to sound pleasant, but not overjoyed or overly excited.
    • Pro Tip: Smiling while you read your script can help you sound happier and more natural.
  • Don’t stop: If you make a mistake, you don’t have to start over — you can always fix it when you edit. Just go back a sentence or two in your script and start again.
    • Pro Tip: With Audiate, you’ll be able to see and edit your voice over’s text, so you can easily go back and fix any mistakes when you’re done.
  • Take breaks: If you struggle with the script or it just gets too hard to keep going, pause your recording and take a break. Rewrite any parts of the script that may be giving you too much trouble and try again.
  • Practice makes perfect: As with anything, voice overs get easier the more you do them. Don’t give up if it’s not perfect the first time!

5. Edit your audio

When you finish recording, it’s time to edit. Even if you didn’t make any mistakes, there’s a good chance there’ll be a few things that need fixing. At the very least, you’ll want to trim the beginning and end to remove any dead space.

However, Audiate makes it so easy to edit that you’ll barely have to lift a finger. The video below gives a great overview of how to work in Audiate.

With traditional audio software, you have to hunt through your recording to find your mistakes and edit them individually. Even a short video could take an hour or more to edit depending on how complicated your edits were.

Traditional audio software only displays your recording as an audio wave, making it much more difficult to edit your audio.

But with Audiate, you can just read the text before highlighting and deleting any mistakes you find. You might also notice that the Audiate interface (below) is much less complicated than the software shown in the screenshot above.

With Audiate, you can still edit with the wave form if you like but you can see that the text is displayed, allowing you to more easily see where to make your edits.

When editing a voice over, it’s always worth listening to the entire recording from start to finish, before making any changes.

While you might find it useful to make some notes to remind yourself of something you want to edit later on, you should try and focus on listening to the overall pacing and tone of your recording on the first listen. 

Does it sound like you hoped? Are there any parts that sound rushed, or too slow? Are any words unclear? Did you mumble? Are there weird silences or strange sounds? There’s no better time to answer these questions than on your first listen. 

Once you’ve listened o your voice over all the way through you can go back to the beginning and start editing and reducing audio noise. You might also want to cut out any abnormally long silences between sentences or statements. 

But remember, pauses are ok! In fact, they’re necessary to help break up the audio and make it feel more natural and conversational.

6. Import your audio into your video editor

In Camtasia, importing and working with audio only takes a couple of clicks and with Audiate, it’s even easier. You might also want to check out this post on syncing audio and video in Camtasia, but for the most part that’s it! You have just successfully recorded your voice over!

It’s worth remembering that Camtasia can also be used to add music to your video, trim your footage and even crop the frames of your videos

The Easiest and Fastest Way to Record and Edit Voice Over Audio!

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Don’t forget the captions and audio transcription

We’ve already mentioned that a large portion of your audience will probably listen to your video via headphones. But, what if we told you that there’s also a high chance that many people will watch your video with no sound at all? 

This is why adding captions and subtitles to your video, as well as providing an audio transcription, are so important. For those who can’t, or otherwise won’t, listen to the audio elements of your video, captions allow them to digest all of the information your video provides.

This is another reason why Audiate is so incredibly helpful.

With most other audio tools, you would have to send your audio out to a professional transcription service to have an audio file transcribed and timestamped. Even if you typed out a full script, it won’t have the necessary time stamps to be used as a captions file.

But with Audiate, the transcription happens automatically, complete with time stamps that can be used as captions.

Once you’ve recorded and edited your voice over, you can export that transcription as a caption file (and SRT file) and import it directly into Camtasia. Then, Camtasia will automatically insert the captions into your video. It’s practically magic! 

How’s it feel to be a voice over pro?

Recording a voice over like a pro is easy when you know what you’re doing, and you have the right tools at your disposal. 

However, taking the proper steps before you hit the record button — and then taking the time to edit your audio appropriately — will go a long way to ensure your voice overs sound professional and engaging.

And remember, practice makes perfect! The more you do it, the more natural it will become.

Making a voiceover, the FAQs

Do I need a professional recording set up to do voice overs?

No! You can do great voice over work with minimal investment. All you need to get started is a microphone and audio recording software.

How do I improve the sound of my voice?

The short answer is you just have to get used to it. But, there are a few things you can do to improve the overall sound of your voice, including speaking from your diaphragm rather than at the top of your throat.
Also, be sure to have some water handy for when you’re recording. It’s important to keep your vocal cords hydrated!

What software works best for voice over recording?

There are many options available for audio recording, but if you only need to record voice overs, TechSmith Audiate is your best bet.

Will my laptop microphone be ok for recording voice overs?

Probably not. While a laptop mic is fine for calling into a Zoom meeting, you’ll want an external microphone for your voice over recording. Fortunately, you can pick up a good microphone for between $50-$100.

Do I need to hire a professional to get a great voice over?

No! You can do it yourself with great results. You just need the right tools and a little practice.

Note: This post was updated in July 2023 to include new information.

Ryan Knott

Ryan Knott is a Marketing Content Strategist at TechSmith, where he creates content about easy, effective, and efficient video creation, editing, and tips and tricks, as well as audio editing for creators of all kinds. He/him.

YouTube Thumbnail Sizes and Best Practices

YouTube Thumbnail Sizes and Best Practices

Are you looking to get more views on your YouTube videos? While you may want to consider finding new ways to promote your content, there is one really easy and effective solution to getting more clicks: improving your video thumbnails.

Whether it’s a learning video, a product demo, or a video podcast, your video’s thumbnail is just as important as its title when it comes to attracting views. Thumbnails draw the attention of potential viewers and help them decide which video they should watch — hopefully yours!

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the exact size your YouTube thumbnail should be and go over some best practices for creating your own thumbnails  — but first, what exactly is a thumbnail? 

What are Thumbnails?

Thumbnails are small versions of images or videos that give a visual preview of what’s inside the file. They originally got their name from being about the size of a human thumbnail, and in the world of online video, YouTube thumbnails are a bit like book covers.

People’s decisions on whether or not to click a video will often depend on the thumbnail. While an eye-catching image can draw people in, they’re more likely to scroll past boring or blurry thumbnails.

Ensuring your video thumbnails are better than those of other content creators will make your videos more likely to win video clicks on YouTube and other search engines — which is vital to building a YouTube audience.

Of course, having a good thumbnail is one thing, but you still need to make sure you have a great video behind it. If you’re just starting to make your own online video content, we recommend checking out our Ultimate Guide for How to Make a YouTube Video.

Make your own YouTube video thumbnails today!

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2023 YouTube Thumbnail Sizes

Now that you know what a thumbnail is, let’s talk about getting the perfect YouTube thumbnail dimensions.

The ideal YouTube thumbnail size in pixels is 1280 × 720, with a minimum width of 640 pixels. On the other hand, the ideal YouTube thumbnail size ratio for YouTube players and previews is 16:9.

As well as getting the size and ratios right, you’ll also want to keep in mind the file size and file type of your thumbnail. To help you get started, we’ve put together this handy guide you can refer to as you create your video thumbnails:

1280 x 720 pixels
– Minimum width: 640 pixels
– Recommended ratio: 16:9
– Maximum file size: 2MB
– Accepted file types: .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG

Fortunately, some other video hosting platforms, such as Vimeo, support the same thumbnail sizes. This is great if you want to repurpose your videos as you can post your content on multiple platforms without needing to do twice as much work. However, there are other differences between YouTube and Vimeo that might be worth familiarizing yourself with.

Now that we’ve covered the technical details, it’s time to get creative. How do you make a great-looking thumbnail that entices potential viewers? Great question! We’ve pulled together some expert tips to help you create the very best YouTube thumbnails for your content.

YouTube Thumbnail Best Practices

Keep it simple

Be concise! YouTube thumbnails are small. And they’re even smaller when they’re viewed on a mobile device, which is extremely common since YouTube is often watched on mobile phones. In fact, as of November 2022, almost 90% of worldwide YouTube visits were made from mobile devices.

 With that in mind, try not to add too much text to your thumbnails, or text that’s so small it’s hard to read. Ultimately, anything in a thumbnail that’s difficult to see or understand is a waste of valuable thumbnail real estate.

To make sure you keep your thumbnail simple, avoid adding the entire title of your video to the image — remember that the title will appear right next to your thumbnail anyway.

You should also try to shorten your title to just a few short words, or if possible, simply use a still image with a logo. Stills are great for thumbnails because they give quick snapshots of what viewers will find in your video, without you having to create a new image from scratch.

Use contrasting colors

We’re willing to be that you’ve seen online videos make this tragic mistake before: white text on a light background or black text on a dark background.

Remember, thumbnails are small and there are usually a lot of them on the screen at any one time. Yours needs to stand out, so if a viewer can’t easily read the text on your thumbnail, it’s unlikely they’ll click on it.

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Pay attention to logo placement

Adding your logo to your YouTube thumbnails is always a good idea as it can help boost brand awareness. However, how and where you place your logo on your thumbnails is crucial.

Firstly, you need to make sure that your logo isn’t too big as you don’t want to distract from the thumbnail’s message. However, if it’s too small there’s hardly any point in adding it at all.

Adding your logo to the corner of the thumbnail image works well, especially if you have other text on your thumbnail, but you should always avoid the bottom-right corner. Why? Because that’s where YouTube displays the length of your video. If you put your logo there it’ll be covered up and make your video look unprofessional.

Avoid irrelevant or misleading images

No one likes clickbait. That’s why it’s important to ensure your YouTube thumbnail accurately depicts what your viewers will find in your video. If it doesn’t, you could hurt your reputation or brand. But worse than that, YouTube could stop showing your videos in search results if your bounce rates are too high.

A thumbnail’s purpose is to give context, so using an image that doesn’t depict what a viewer is actually going to see won’t benefit you. It’s a good idea to find the most important point of your video and highlight that by creating a thumbnail around it. 

Try to create a visual teaser of your video, but without revealing too much information. The idea here is to show just enough that users want to click through and see what you have to say.

Make your own YouTube video thumbnails today!

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Bonus! How to Make Your Own YouTube Thumbnail

Now, let’s put these tips to good use by actually creating a custom thumbnail image. We may be biased, but we’d say that one of the easiest ways to create a YouTube thumbnail is to use TechSmith’s Snagit.

Here’s a step-by-step on how to create a YouTube thumbnail in Snagit.

1. Download a free trial of Snagit.

Yes, the first step really is that easy!

2. Import your video into Snagit.

If you’ve used Snagit to record a screen or your webcam then you can skip this step. However, if you used a different recording tool, all you need to do is: 

  1. Open Snagit
  2. Click on File in the Menu Bar
  3. Go down to Import and click Import to Library…
Import Video to Snagit Library

3. Use Snagit’s convert to PNG button to turn your video still into an image.

Once your video opens up in Snagit, find the exact spot that you’d like to turn into an image for your thumbnail.

Convert Video Still to PNG

4. Add text, callouts, arrows, your logo, and more right within the Snagit Editor.

Remember all those best practices we listed earlier? Good! Now’s the time to use them. Be sure to use simple text, contrasting colors, and be mindful of where you place your logo.

YouTube Thumbnail with Text and Logo

5. Save your image to upload to YouTube for the video thumbnail.

Once you’ve created your custom YouTube thumbnail, all you have to do is upload it to YouTube before posting your video. We told you it was easy with Snagit! 

Hopefully, your new, customized thumbnail will bring you more views, clicks, and engagement!

Youtube Thumbnail Sizes, the FAQs

What is the ideal YouTube thumbnail size?

The perfect YouTube thumbnail size is 1280 × 720 pixels. This maintains an aspect ratio of 16:9 — which is perfect for ensuring optimal visibility across most screens and devices.
Remember, the width of your thumbnail should be at least 640 pixels, anything less than that might result in low image quality.

Can I change the thumbnail size on YouTube?

You can’t change the size of a thumbnail directly on YouTube, since they control how it shows on the platform. But, you can upload a new and larger thumbnail, which YouTube will automatically scale down to make it fit.

Can I add a full-size thumbnail on YouTube?

You sure can! Just remember to follow the best practices for creating thumbnails — this is where the aspect ratio is crucial and you should always aim for a 16:9 ratio.
If you go with a 4:3 ratio, your thumbnail won’t cover the width of the entire screen.

Is 1920×1080 a good size for YouTube thumbnails?

YouTube can support thumbnails with a resolution of up to 1920 x 1080, but as a small image, it’s unlikely anyone will notice the high definition. Remember, you also need to ensure the file size doesn’t exceed 2MB, which might be an issue with high-resolution images.

Lauren North

Direct Marketing Specialist at TechSmith. I enjoy painting with watercolors, visiting our National Parks, and eating nachos.

B-Roll: The Secret Sauce of Any Great Video

B-roll for a great video

If you’ve ever been drawn into a film, captivated by a documentary, or compelled to watch an advert until the very end, you’ve likely been influenced by the artful use of B-roll. Yet, despite its power to engage and enthrall, B-roll remains one of the least understood aspects of video production, especially for those who are new to the field.

But, what is B-roll? Why is it so important, and how can it make a difference in your videos? 

As its name might suggest, B-roll may play a ‘supporting role’ to the main footage (known as A-roll), but it’s a game-changer in terms of impact and storytelling. B-roll is the secret weapon that can add context, enhance the narrative, create interest, and hold your audience’s attention.

Whether you’re a marketing professional looking to make a demo video or a YouTuber looking to make an instructional video, understanding the power of B-roll and how to use it effectively can seriously enhance the quality of your work.

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What is B-roll?

Imagine you’re watching your favorite documentary, and as the narrator speaks, you’re captivated not only by their words but also by the seamless flow of images and video clips complementing the story. These compelling visual elements that enhance the narrative, providing context and depth without breaking the stride, make up what we call “B-roll”. 

At its most basic, B-roll is the footage intercut with the main shots in a video production. If the main shots, or the “A-roll” (the central interviews, narrative, message, etc.) is the burger and bun to your Big Mac, then the B-roll is the secret sauce that brings it all together.

So, while the A-roll focuses on delivering the main narrative through principal footage and dialogue, the B-roll adds flavor and texture, enhancing the visual experience for your audience. It helps paint a richer, fuller picture of the narrative by supplementing what’s being said with complementary visuals.

The different kinds of B-roll footage

B-roll is a broad term that encompasses several types of supplemental footage, each serving a unique purpose for storytelling. And what’s more is, it’s everywhere! 

Whether it’s a shot of a bustling city street while a news reporter narrates or a close-up of a chef’s hands prepping a dish in a cooking show, B-roll is used all the time across virtually every type of video. From YouTube videos to Hollywood blockbusters, B-roll footage is an integral part of video production. 

So, to give you context here are some more B-roll examples:

  1. Cutaway Shots: These shots usually deviate from the central action to capture something at a medium or far distance. They’re often used to subtly reveal details to the audience that the characters don’t notice, which may set up anticipation, divert attention, or even deliver a visual punchline in a comedy production.
  2. Establishing Shots: These are often panoramic shots of the location that will set the stage for the narrative. Remember all the times you’ve seen the outside of a New York apartment block in Friends? That’s an establishing shot.
  3. Atmospheric Shots: These shots are carefully composed captures of locations, objects, or people that evoke a specific mood or atmosphere. They are, in a way, similar to cutaway and establishing shots in the sense that they work to immerse the audience in the narrative.
  4. Candid Shots: Unlike scripted scenes, these shots are typically spontaneous, capturing subjects in their natural state or behind the scenes. Most of the time, they’re found in documentaries and non-fiction productions.
  5. Dramatic Reenactments: These are dramatized portrayals used to bring narrations and interviews to life. With or without dialogue, these enacted sequences can make the content more engaging, as the narration continues as a voiceover.
  6. Stock Footage: This refers to pre-recorded footage, which could either be royalty-free or licensed. These supplemental clips serve to illustrate concepts, demonstrate machinery, insert animations, or even add humor to lighten the mood.
  7. Archival Footage: This includes historical images, recordings, and footage from archives and/or libraries that may be licensed or in the public domain. More often than not, archive footage depicts significant events, locations, subjects, and individuals.
  8. Repurposed Primary Footage: Sometimes, even A-roll can be used as B-roll. For example, a discarded take (or part of it) could be used in the editing process to enhance the narrative.

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What is B-roll used for?

While you might not think much about the B-roll when you’re watching a film or TV show, these clips play a pivotal role in shaping narratives and adding dimension and depth to a story. 

It’s also an editor’s best friend as it gives them plenty of ways to enhance a scene, break up a monologue, or distribute information more fluidly. In fact, if there’s a small glitch or error in a scene you love, B-roll provides an opportunity to work around it, ensuring the final cut is nothing short of perfect. 

With all that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how B-roll is used:

  • Setting the Tone: B-roll can create ambiance, subtly guiding the audience’s emotions and perceptions.
  • Providing Editors with Choices: B-roll offers a range of alternative footage, which can be used to help enhance the narrative.
  • Offering Exposition: B-roll can communicate crucial background details or context, providing depth to the story.
  • Emphasizing Key Details: A well-placed B-roll shot can highlight important details that might go unnoticed.
  • Introducing Characters: B-roll can be used to give viewers a glimpse of a character’s personality or background.
  • Concealing Errors: If the primary footage has an error, B-roll can be used to cover it up! 

Why is B-roll so important?

While B-roll footage might appear secondary to the main action (and technically, it kind of is) it’s no less important than A-roll — in fact, it’s often the difference between a good video and a great one.

In the following sections, we will explore how B-roll adds interest, allows for seamless edits, and maximizes the value you derive from your shoots.

B-roll makes your videos more interesting

If you want to make your video more exciting, B-roll can do exactly that! Imagine that you’re interviewing a woman about sports cars and, during the course of this hypothetical interview, she explains the differences between regular tires and rimmed tires…

When you watch the footage back, you might think “Wow, this is so dull”. 


Or, you might think: “This is a perfect time to insert some B-roll!”

By overlaying footage of tires while she’s talking, you’ll create a much more engaging interview, as opposed to just having her talk on screen the entire time.


Here’s a tip: If someone says it, show it. 

For example, if you say the word “pizza” in your screencast, consider showing a pizza. If you’re creating a training video about “interoffice communication,” think about adding some stock footage of office workers talking, or taking a quick video of your coworkers with your phone. 

If you’re using TechSmith’s Camtasia to edit your video (and we strongly recommend you do) then you can easily add B-roll to your video timeline by placing it above your interview footage.


B-roll is a great way to cover up mistakes and tighten the overall edit

As we’ve already touched on, B-roll is a great device for covering up mistakes and cutting unwanted footage.

Let’s say you shot a great interview with your CEO but it went on a little too long and you’re worried your audience will become disinterested. There are hundreds of reasons an interview might overrun, such as:

  • They go off topic
  • Their explanations go into too much detail
  • They cough or sneeze on camera
  • They keep glancing at their watch
  • They think about their answers for too long
  • They just love to talk! 

Now, for the sake of this example, let’s imagine you’ve got this overly-long interview with your CEO, and you need to trim it down. Anyone who’s ever been in a similar scenario will understand the anxiety that comes with such a high-stakes edit! 

For one thing, you can’t chop it all up in the edit, making it look like you manipulated the answers. However, you don’t want to leave things that could make them look bad on camera. 

So how can you trim an interview while ensuring your CEO still looks great? That’s right: By using B-roll! With a little bit of B-roll thrown in throughout the interview, you’ll be able to effectively hide your edits. Here’s how:

  1. First, edit out all the bad parts of the interview and anything that’s not relevant.
  2. Then, insert your B-roll on top of the edits.

example of b-roll


Now you have a condensed interview that doesn’t look like you manipulated or overly edited the footage, and we’re willing to be that your CEO will be glad you only kept the best parts. However, most people are so used to seeing B-roll during interviews, they probably won’t even notice! 

However, now that you know the trick to the trade, you’ll start seeing it everywhere. Local newscasts and documentaries on Netflix use B-roll all the time to cover up edits — especially those made during interviews.

B-roll maximizes the value you get from shoots

The value of B-roll becomes increasingly clear when you consider the efficiency it can bring to a shoot. By capturing B-roll, you are essentially investing in a stockpile of additional footage that can be used in any number of ways throughout your project. In other words, by filming B-roll, you’re making the most out of every minute you spend on set.

This means that when it comes to editing, you’ll have plenty of footage at your disposal, all of which can be used to expand your narrative, fill gaps, and add visual variety without needing to spend more time shooting. This can be particularly useful on projects with tight deadlines or smaller budgets. 

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Tips to make a great B-roll

Now that you know the full power of B-roll and what it can bring to your videos, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to create B-roll footage of your own. 

1- Plan ahead 

The key to shooting great B-roll starts with understanding your story and identifying the key themes or ideas you’d like to reinforce through your footage. Having a clear vision of what you want to communicate will guide you in deciding what kind of B-roll shots you need.

Before you start shooting, it’s worth making a list of potential shots that complement your primary footage. Consider the locations, actions, or objects that could add value to your narrative. Remember, B-roll should serve a purpose, not just fill space. 

If possible, create a shot list or storyboard (and write a script if you haven’t already). This helps in visualizing your ideas and makes the shooting process more organized and efficient. You could also label your shot list with ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’ to ensure you don’t miss any crucial footage during the shoot. 

The more you plan ahead, the more time you’ll save on set, and the better your B-roll will be.

2- Find a great location

The environment you choose for your shoot should align with the theme of your story and add a layer of depth and intrigue. When scouting for locations, think about how they can serve your narrative, contribute to the mood, and enhance the visual appeal of your footage.

Consider the variety of shots you could capture in each location. Spaces with interesting architecture, dynamic lighting, or unique features can provide a wide range of opportunities for capturing captivating B-roll. 

As well as the aesthetic of a location, you should also think about how practical it will be. Is the location easily accessible? Will there be uncontrollable noise? Do you need a permit to shoot there? Are you going to need any special equipment? Answering these questions ahead of time will save potential headaches during the shoot.

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3- Try several angles

Shooting B-roll is your chance to get creative and push beyond your comfort zone. The more angles you try, the more material you have to work with in the editing room, and the more visually compelling your final product will be.

A varied collection of shots from different perspectives can add depth, interest, and dynamism to your video and work to keep your audience engaged. With this in mind, it’s well worth experimenting with different camera angles, as this is a great way to tap into the versatility that B-roll footage can offer. 

For example, rather than limit yourself to eye-level shots, try shooting from a low angle to make a subject look larger and commanding. Or, from up high to make them appear small and vulnerable. Each angle tells a different story and evokes a different emotion. 

Even the simplest scene can be transformed through the lens of a new perspective. 

4- Get more footage than necessary

While it’s important to value quality over quantity in the editing suite, it’s usually better to take on a ‘more is better’ approach when shooting your B-roll. It can be all too easy to stick to a specific shot list but having a bank of extra footage can provide both a safety net and a broader canvas to paint your narrative.

By ‘overshooting’, you’re giving your future self a wider variety of shots to work with, which can be invaluable. This allows for greater flexibility during the post-production process. Take it from us, there’s nothing worse than wishing you had ‘just one more shot’ when you’re editing. 

It is, however, still important to stay focused. While you should definitely capture lots of B-roll, you should still make sure that all of it has the potential to add value to your video. Ultimately strive to shoot more, but don’t lose sight of what you’re shooting.

Making B-rolls, the FAQs

A-Roll and B-Roll Footage, what’s the difference?

A-Roll refers to the primary footage, typically featuring the main subject or speaker and carrying the central narrative. B-Roll, on the other hand, is the secondary footage that complements and adds depth to the A-Roll, often used to provide context, create visual interest, and enhance storytelling.

How long should B roll clips be?

B-roll clips should ideally be held for at least 10-15 seconds for short videos, and up to a minute for slow-paced or feature-length videos. The amount of B-roll you need to shoot depends on the project, but a good guideline is to capture four to six times the length of the video. This will ensure you have plenty to work with while editing.

Ryan Knott

Ryan Knott is a Marketing Content Strategist at TechSmith, where he creates content about easy, effective, and efficient video creation, editing, and tips and tricks, as well as audio editing for creators of all kinds. He/him.

Image Cropping 101: The Basics

image cropping is the act of improving a photo or image by removing the unnecessary parts.

By now you know that images are essential to creating great content and clear communication. Whether you’re trying to explain something, show how something works, or add elements to help grab a reader’s eye, images add interest and can help get your point across better and faster.

Images can even help you save time.

But there’s a big difference between using an image and using the RIGHT image. And while there are many ways to decide which image is right for what you’re trying to communicate, nothing ruins a potentially great image like a bad crop.

What is image cropping?

First, cropping has nothing to do with farming, so we won’t be asking you to plow or sow or anything like that. To “crop” an image is to remove or adjust the outside edges of an image (typically a photo) to improve framing or composition, draw a viewer’s eye to the subject, or change the size or aspect ratio.

In other words, photo cropping is the act of improving an image by removing unnecessary parts.

Chances are, you’ve already done some image cropping without even realizing it. If you’ve ever taken a photo with your phone’s camera and then posted that photo on Instagram, you might probably needed to choose how much of the overall photo to include in Instagram’s square traditional image format. That’s picture cropping!

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The Rule of Thirds in image cropping

It may seem illogical, but the most interesting and eye-catching photos rarely have their subject smack-bang in the middle of the image. In fact, it’s a fundamental rule of photography that your primary subject shouldn’t be in the center.

But if it’s not in the center, where does it go? That’s where the rule of thirds comes in.

The rule of thirds divides all images into three equal horizontal and vertical sections (or nine individual boxes) separated by grid lines. Generally speaking, you want to place the points of interest near the spots where these grid lines intersect.

Have you ever wondered why the view on some phones and digital cameras has a grid? It’s all thanks to the rule of thirds. As demonstrated in the screenshot above, these grid lines are there to help you compose your image. The idea is that when you’re lining up your shot, you can use them to ensure your image follows the rule of thirds.

You can also see Reo from TechSmith’s doggo department. Isn’t she cute?

But composing your image when you take a photo is just the beginning. Many times you’ll want to adjust and edit your photos even further. The first step, however, is always cropping. There are many reasons why you might want to crop a photo, including:

  • The discovery of background elements you didn’t realize were there
  • Issues with the framing or composition
  • To better focus on your subject

To crop your image, you’ll need a photo editor to act as your image cropper. For the sake of this article, we’ll be using TechSmith’s Snagit, but most editing software and apps (even the ones on mobile devices) will offer basic picture-cropping functions.

So, without further ado, here’s how to crop a picture with Snagit. 

Firstly, open your image in Snagit and click on the Crop tool. 

Similarly to your phone’s camera app, photo editing tools provide grid lines to help you make your crop according to the rule of thirds. The photo above is a computer screenshot of Snagit — taken with Snagit (how meta!) — and, as you can see, there’s a photo open that definitely needs to be cropped. 

In the next screenshot, you can see our adjustments:

Here, you can see that the grid lines have moved as that image has been cropped, to show how it fits with the rule of thirds now that it’s been adjusted. 

Which photo do you think is better? The original image…

… Or the cropped image?

The cropped image brings us closer to the subjects and cuts out unnecessary elements from around the outside of where the skaters and coaches are standing. What’s more, all the visible faces are in the outer or upper thirds of the image. It’s not quite perfect, but it’s definitely a lot better.

It’s important to point out that the rule of thirds does not dictate that your subject can only be in one-third of the photo area. You can easily divide the image into two-thirds areas, as well, like so:

Other image cropping tips

But the rule of thirds is just the beginning.

Take a look at this photo of two friends at senior prom:

First off, the photographer chose to show the subjects’ entire bodies because, unlike our very own rebel Ryan Knott who provided the photo, most people at prom are dressed in beautiful dresses and tuxedos. So it makes sense that they would want the photo to show their whole outfit, including the shoes.

However, Ryan’s clothes aren’t really that important (sorry Ryan!), which gives more freedom to play around with cropping to emphasize different aspects of the photo.

This cropped version brings more attention to Ryan and his friend’s face (and amazing early-90s hair!) and distracts a bit from the fact that Ryan wore his teen angst on his sleeve (or, on the lower half of his body, as the case may be).

Generally speaking, when using photos of people or animals, the closer the crop, the more “dramatic” the photo.

For example, in this photo of a smiling woman, you get a complete view of what she’s doing and where she is. We have a lot of context of her surroundings, which helps tell the story of the photo.

But in this cropped version, we’re drawn more to her face and the fact she’s focused on her phone. The setting isn’t as important as the subject herself. We’ve narrowed the story a bit to capture only what she’s doing.

Cropping it further takes the phone out of the image entirely and now we’re left with just her face to contemplate. What is she thinking about? What’s making her smile? Did we catch her in mid-laugh? By taking out parts of the overall story, we’re left to create it for ourselves.

This also provides another great example of why you might want to crop an image: to change its shape and/or aspect ratio. The original image was horizontal. The first crop turned it into a vertical image and the final crop made it square. Depending on how it’s going to be used, the shape of an image can be very important.

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Potential pitfalls of image cropping

So, we’ve learned the basics of how to crop a photo, but what’s the downside?

Firstly, when you crop an image and save it, you’ve deleted the original image. For that reason, we suggest saving a copy of your image and making any edits to the copy, rather than the original. At TechSmith, we’ve all lost great images to bad editing at some point, and we can’t stress this strongly enough.

Secondly, the closer you crop, the smaller the actual image becomes. If the original image is 1280×1024 pixels and you crop it down to 640×512, you have reduced the size by half. So, always make sure any cropping you do will leave an image large enough to fill the space you need to fill. 

Remember, with photos, you can’t simply adjust it back up to the size you need. If you don’t resize your photo properly, you risk losing resolution and ending up with a pixelated, blurry photo.

Third, it’s really easy to over-crop a photo. Especially when cropping close to a person’s face. Give the subject some room to breathe. In the final photo of the smiling woman above, that crop is probably a little too close, but we wanted to show what would happen when we removed the phone. If we were using that photo for publishing in another capacity, we probably wouldn’t have cropped it quite so tightly.

Finally, don’t get too caught up in rules. Play around with cropping and see what pleases your eye. Rules are rules, but rules can be broken, sometimes to great effect.

Image cropping, the FAQs

How to crop an image in Photoshop?

In Photoshop, cropping an image is a breeze. All you need to do is open your image, select the Crop Tool, drag the corners to mark out the part of the image you want to keep, and hit Enter on your keyboard. It’s easy, just be sure to save or export your image when you’re done.

How to crop an image in Illustrator?

In Illustrator, begin by placing the image you’d like to crop with File > Place, then select your image. Once the image is in place, use the Selection tool to choose the image, before clicking on Crop Image in the Control panel. Next, adjust the crop boundaries by dragging the corners, and finalize your changes by pressing Enter on your keyboard.

How to crop an image on Mac?

If you’re using a Mac then you’ve already got a secret weapon for picture cropping — the Preview app. First, find the photo you want to crop and double-click on it, this should open it in Preview by default.
With Preview open, you’ll notice that your mouse cursor turns into crosshairs when hovering over part of the image. This is the Selection Tool, which you can use to drag a rectangular shape over your photo. Once you’ve outlined the part of your image you want to keep, push Cmd + K on your keyboard to make the crop, then Cmd + S to save it.

How to crop an image in Indesign?

In InDesign, you can crop an image by first selecting a frame with the Selection tool. Then, go to Object > Fitting and choose between ‘Fit Content Proportionally’ or ‘Fill Frame Proportionally’ to adjust the image within your frame. To maintain your cropping when resizing the image later, select Auto-Fit and remember to save your changes.

How to crop an image in Powerpoint?

PowerPoint provides easy-to-use tools to help you accurately crop images. Upon selecting your image, head to the Format tab and click on the Crop tool. This will bring up some adjustable handles around your image that you can use to cut out the parts of the image you want to crop.
Once you’ve made your adjustments, simply click the crop button again to set your crop — it’s that easy!

Ryan Knott

Ryan Knott is a Marketing Content Strategist at TechSmith, where he creates content about easy, effective, and efficient video creation, editing, and tips and tricks, as well as audio editing for creators of all kinds. He/him.

JPG vs. PNG: Which is Better?

Differences between JPG and PNG

As with many of the world’s greatest battles — Batman vs. Superman, Ninjas vs. Pirates, Cats vs. Dogs — the fight between JPG vs. PNG has been raging for centuries. 

Of course, when we say ‘centuries’ we mean since the mid-90s, and when we say ‘battle’ we mean the conundrum faced by people wanting to know which file format is best for exporting their images. It’s a decision that can be as hard as choosing coffee or tea on a Monday morning. 

As with most things, PNGs and JPGs have their own pros and cons — so it’s good to understand all the different formats — but the best file type for you will depend on how you plan to use it. While PNGs offer high-quality compression, JPGs take up less space and will load faster on the web. 

The decision between JPEG and PNG isn’t just an abstract ultimatum, it’s a choice that impacts how you edit, share, print, and archive your images.

If you’re caught in the tug-of-war between JPEG and PNG, don’t panic! This post is your guide to understanding each format. Whether you’re a graphic designer, a budding photographer, or just someone who wants their photos to look good online, we’ll discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each file.

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The JPG format: makes big files much smaller

The JPG, typically pronounced “jay-peg”, was developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) in 1992. The group recognized a need to make large photo files smaller so that they could be shared more easily.

Some quality is compromised when an image is converted to a JPG. This is because the compression is ‘lossy’, which means that certain unnecessary information is permanently deleted. A JPG does, however, allow you to create a smaller file size than you could with a PNG.

JPG vs. PNG side by side comparison picture of Zion National Park

Generally, a JPG should be used whenever it’s important to have a small file. Beyond initially saving an image as a JPG, there are also tools that will allow you to compress the file even further. This is useful for web images, as smaller files will boost the speed at which the web page loads.  

Although modern broadband and fiber optic internet connections are making this less of an issue, those with slower connections or less powerful computers will thank you.

Key benefits of JPEG/JPG format

The JPG (or JPEG) format is a popular (if not the most popular) choice in the digital world, and it’s easy to see why. This image format brings several key benefits to the table:

  • Efficiency: JPG files are designed to effectively compress image data, which means they occupy less space on your storage drive or website. This is great for those who have limited storage or manage websites with lots of imagery. 
  • Speed: Smaller file sizes mean faster load times, and JPGs are much quicker to download and share across different devices, networks, and online platforms. Again, if you manage a website, you’re likely to rank higher in Google search results if your website quickly loads. Even if it’s only a few microseconds faster, every little bit helps. 
  • Compatibility: Virtually every photo viewer, editing tool, and device in existence supports JPG files, making the format a safe choice for most applications.
  • Minimal Post-Production: When photos are shot in JPG format, they usually require less post-production work. Aspects like white balance, contrast, and sharpening are often already well-adjusted, saving photographers a lot of time when editing images.

The key to getting the most out of a JPG lies in understanding these advantages and how they can accommodate your needs. Through this understanding, you can ensure your images are optimized for how you plan to use them.

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The PNG format: enhanced colors and improved image quality 

The PNG file format, usually read aloud as “ping”, was created in 1994 to act as a replacement for the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF). We won’t go into why — this is about PNG vs JPG after all — so let’s just say the GIF had some limitations that prompted the creation and prevalence of the PNG.

An important benefit — and often a deciding factor for using a PNG file — is that the format supports transparent pixels. This means you can have a transparent background around an irregular-shaped object and avoid a white (or other colored) box outlining your image. 

So, if you’re looking for transparency, you’ll need a PNG.

Unlike the JPG, compression for a PNG file is ‘lossless’. As the term suggests, lossless compression retains all of the data contained in the file during the compression process, which is important when you have images that need resizing several times or require multiple rounds of edits. 

Because PNGs hold more information than JPGs, they’re often used when images are more complex (with lots of fine details) and when storage isn’t an issue. 

It’s also ideal to use a PNG for a graphic image

Key benefits of PNG format

The PNG format is another formidable player in the world of digital images, boasting features that make it a standout choice for certain applications. Here are some of the key benefits of using the PNG format:

  • High Quality: PNG employs a lossless compression algorithm. This means the quality of the photo remains high, even after compression and decompression. Unlike some formats that sacrifice quality for smaller sizes, PNG keeps images looking crystal clear.
  • Sharp Graphics: When it comes to creating crisp graphics, the PNG is a real winner. Whether you’re designing a logo or a text-heavy graphic, a PNG will keep the edges sharp and the colors vivid.
  • Creative Freedom: The humble PNG is a favorite among graphic designers for creating background effects and overlays. It supports a wide array of colors and shades, allowing for greater creativity and precision in design.
  • Transparent Backgrounds: One of PNG’s standout features is its support for transparent backgrounds. This is incredibly useful for creating images that need to be layered or placed over different backgrounds. You can even create a semi-transparent watermark, so nobody tries to pass your image off as their own. 

Understanding these benefits can help you leverage the PNG format to its full potential. Whether you’re designing a logo or a website banner, the PNG format offers powerful capabilities to ensure your images are visually stunning.

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What are the differences between JPEG and PNG files?

JPGs and PNGs each offer distinct qualities and are optimized for different uses. While these differences might seem subtle, they can have a substantial impact on your images, depending on how you intend to use them. 

In this section, we’ll explore these differences in detail to help you pick a side in the title fight of PNG vs. JPG.

Lossless vs. lossy compression

One of the major talking points when looking at JPG vs. PNG, is the compression method they use — specifically, lossy (JPG) and lossless (PNG) compression.

Lossy compression, as the name suggests, involves some degree of data loss, which is what a JPG does. When you save an image as a JPG, the algorithm deletes some data to reduce the file size. The resulting image is a balance between file size and image quality. 

While this process might lead to a slight reduction in image quality, it’s usually undetectable to the human eye. However, any data that’s deleted in the compression process will be gone forever, and this will happen every time the image is saved. This means that the more you edit and/or save an image over time, the more likely you’ll notice the reduced image quality. 

On the other hand, PNG uses lossless compression. In this method, no data is deleted during the compression process. Instead, the algorithm finds efficient ways to represent the same data, resulting in an image that’s identical to the original after decompression. While this ensures high quality and detail preservation, it often results in larger file sizes than JPG.

Your choice between lossless and lossy compression will ultimately depend on what matters most to you — storage efficiency or image quality.

File size

The size of an image can really affect storage, loading times, and data usage — especially on websites and mobile apps.

While JPGs are known for smaller file sizes, some image data is lost in the compression process, which can compromise the picture quality over time. That said, the effect on quality is usually negligible. If you’re prioritizing speed and efficiency, particularly for web usage where quick loading times are essential, JPEG’s smaller file size might be the way to go.

PNGs, on the other hand, tend to create larger files due to their lossless compression method. This quality preservation, however, comes at the cost of larger file sizes, which might be slower to load on the web.

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JPGs do not support transparent pixels — it’s as simple as that. When you save an image in a JPG format, the transparent pixels will be filled with a solid color, usually white. This lack of support for transparency makes JPEG less suitable for images that need to be placed over different backgrounds or layered with other images.

Meanwhile, if you ever need to remove a background from an image, you’ll probably save it as a PNG, because this format does support transparent pixels. This is especially useful when designing websites and digital graphics, where images often need to blend seamlessly with different backgrounds.

In short, if you need to work with transparent or semi-transparent images, you need a PNG.

So, should I pick JPG or PNG?

There is no right or wrong answer here. It all comes down to what you need the image for. Think of your choice as an exercise in optimization, and allow the factors we’ve discussed so far to guide you in your decision.

But, just in case you’re not sure which format is best for you, let’s take a look at some of the most common ways people work with and use image files. 

PNG vs JPG for Editing

With high-resolution image quality, lossless compression, and transparent pixel support, PNGs are much better than JPGs when it comes to editing images.

While JPGs can handle simple edits efficiently, they’re no match for the intricate editing and compression capabilities of PNGs — which is why professionals will often opt for PNGs in the editing suite. They’re perfect for editing graphics, illustrations, product pictures, and icons across all mainstream editing software.

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​​PNG vs JPG for Archiving

When it comes to archiving images and saving hundreds (or thousands) of photos, the smaller file size of a JPG makes it the obvious choice. 

As JPGs take up less space than PNGs, you can save a lot more photos without needing loads of storage space, whether it be on a physical hard drive or on the cloud. Quantity isn’t usually more important than quality, but it is when you’re archiving.

JPG vs PNG for Printing

When printing, the choice between PNG and JPEG depends on your needs and the resources at your disposal. PNG’s high-resolution images offer superior color depth and can deliver high-quality prints on home or industrial printers. Meanwhile, lossy compression could make JPG photos become blurry or lose color when they’re printed.

That said, neither PNGs nor JPGs are perfect for commercial printing tasks, like posters and T-shirts. Why? Because these formats support RGB color, but not CMYK, which is the preferred format in the commercial printing industry. 

So, if you want to print your design on a load of tote bags, you might want to consider a different file type altogether.

PNG vs JPG for Web

When it comes to posting images on a website, you might opt for using a mixture of JPG and PNG formats.

JPEG’s smaller, compressed file size gives it an edge for website use, as faster loading times contribute to a smoother user experience and improved SEO ranking. However, PNG’s support for transparency can make it the ideal choice for including graphics, such as logos and icons, on websites. 

Still, it’s important to consider the trade-offs. While PNG may deliver higher quality, the larger file size could impact your site’s loading speed. Therefore, striking the right balance between image quality, size, and website performance is crucial when deciding between JPG and PNG.

PNG files versus JPG files, the FAQs

Are PNG and JPEG files compatible with CMYK?

No, PNG and JPEG files are not compatible with CMYK color mode. Instead, these formats support RGB color, which is used for digital screens. For printing purposes, where CMYK is often the preferred color mode, files such as TIFF and EPS are probably more suitable.

When to Use the PNG Image Format?

If you need high-quality, lossless images — particularly for digital graphics, logos, and web design elements — then use a PNG! This format is also excellent for images that need to be partially transparent or if you plan on doing multiple edits, as the format doesn’t lose quality with multiple saves.

When to Use the JPEG Image Format?

JPGs are best when you need to balance good image quality with smaller file sizes, such as for web images, email attachments, or archiving large photo collections on limited storage devices. However, keep in mind that repeated editing and saving of a JPG image may result in a loss of quality over time.

Allison Boatman

Allison Boatman is a member of the Marketing Team at TechSmith.
Follow her on Twitter @allisonboats

She can often be found aimlessly wandering around local craft stores.
Personal motto: "Work hard, stay humble."
Favorites: Alaskan Malamutes, Iceland, and 90's pop culture.

How to Remove the Background from an Image?

Remove the background from an image

Picture this: you’re working on a presentation, but there’s a problem. You want to include logos and icons in your PowerPoint, but they all have backgrounds and it’s totally messing up the clean and consistent look you’re going for. 

Sound familiar? 

We’ve all been there! And we know how frustrating it is when you have a clear idea of how you want your presentation to look but can’t figure out how to remove the background from a picture.

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Fortunately though, making an image background transparent isn’t as tricky as it sounds. Whether you’re using an advanced editing suite like Photoshop or a handy tool like TechSmith’s Snagit, there are plenty of ways to make backgrounds transparent. In fact, Snagit can remove the background from your image in just a few clicks! 

So whether you’re a Photoshop wizard or simply dipping your toes into graphic design, this guide will walk you through the process of background removal. You’ll have your images looking just the way you want them, in no time.

How to make a picture’s background transparent with Snagit

It’s worth noting that Snagit isn’t quite as sophisticated as a professional editing program like Photoshop, and it may struggle removing more complex backgrounds. 

However, if you aren’t familiar with the more high-end (and complex) tools, Snagit isa great alternative to make a background transparent. 

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how to make the background of a picture transparent with Snagit. 

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Step 1: Insert the image into the editor

Start by taking a screenshot with Snagit, or uploading an image from the File menu. Images that have white or solid color backgrounds (or high-contrast backgrounds) usually work best.

An image of the Snagit editor featuring a black and white teacup.

Step 2: Next, click the Fill button on the toolbar and choose Transparent

Adding transparent to quick styles.

If you need to add the Transparent Fill option to your Quick Styles for the first time, it’s pretty simple. All you need to do is click the Fill Color option in the Tool Properties and select Transparent Fill.

You are now one step closer to removing the background from your image.

How to make transparent a default fill option.

Step 3: Adjust your tolerance as needed

If you find that the Fill tool is removing too much, or not enough, of your background then you might need to play around with the tolerance settings. 

Adjusting the tolerance is easy, and the simpler your background is, the easier it’ll be to get right. However, if you’ve got a complicated background with lots of colors and shades, it might be a little trickier. 

For example, if you have an image with lots of similar shades and gradients in the background you may end up with some bleeding around the parts of the image you want to keep.

Showing how to adjust the tolerance and opacity of a fill.

When adjusting the fill tolerance, keep in mind that 1% is the most strict setting, and 100% means it will pretty much wash out your entire image. 

Meanwhile, adjusting the opacity will dictate how transparent you want your fill to be. The more opaque, the less transparent it will be. In other words, if you want to erase the background from your image completely, go with 0%.

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Step 4: Click the background areas you want to remove

If you’re editing a screenshot or a PNG image, any background you remove will become transparent by default. However, if you’re working with a different file format, like a JPG, you’ll need to adjust your background color in the Snagit editor, or it will default to white rather than transparent.

To do this, simply click Image > Canvas Color (on Windows) or Image > Change Canvas Color… (on Mac).

Step 5: Save your image as a PNG

Once you’ve finished making the transparent background on your image, make sure you export it as a PNG file. 

Each file format is different — so it’s worth taking the time to understand image file formats — but PNG is one of the few formats that supports transparent pixels. If you don’t save your image as a PNG, your background will probably turn white. 

And that’s all there is to it! You now know how to get rid of the background of a picture in just a few steps. This is a great skill for creating a seamless look for your documents, marketing materials, and presentations.

Removing the background of a picture, the FAQs

How to remove white background from an image?

If you want to know how to get rid of a white background in an image, you’ll be glad to know that TechSmith’s Snagit makes it super quick and easy. First, import your image into Snagit and click the Magic Wand tool from the toolbar. Then, click on the white background to select it — while making sure the Background Fill is set to Transparent — and hit Delete.

How to remove white background from an image in Illustrator?

To remove a white background in Illustrator, place your image in the workspace and reveal the transparency grid by clicking on the View menu and selecting Show Transparency Grid.
Next, open the Image Trace window, select your image with the Selection Tool, and choose the appropriate preset in the Image Trace window. Then, convert the image into a vector by clicking Object > Expand, and use the Direct Selection tool to select and delete the background.
Finally export your file as a PNG or EPS, while ensuring the Background Transparent box is checked.

How to remove white background from an image in Photoshop?

Perhaps the easiest way to remove a white background in Adobe Photoshop is to use the Magic Wand tool, which is perfect for white backgrounds.
First, make sure the image layer is unlocked. Then, with the Magic Wand tool selected, click on the white area you wish to remove. Once selected, hit Delete on your keyboard before exporting your image as a PNG.

How to remove white background from an image in Canva?

To remove a white background in Canva, upload your image, click on the Effects tab, and select Background Remover. 
It’s worth noting that this feature is only available to Canva Pro users.

Danielle Ezell

Danielle Ezell is a Marketing Content Strategist at TechSmith, where she writes about effective workplace communication, offering tips and strategies for using images and videos to collaborate more effectively in hybrid and remote environments.

Best ways to convert WebP to PNG

Convert WebP to PNG

You’ve probably come across common image file types like JPEG and PNG in your time, but have you heard of WebP? Developed by Google, this relatively new file format offers impressive compression capabilities, which means it can support high-quality imaging without taking up much storage space.

Despite this, WebP files aren’t without their limitations, and you might find yourself needing to save a WebP image as a PNG to edit or share it, but how exactly can you convert a WebP image? 

In this guide, we delve into the differences between WebP and PNG files and walk you through the best ways to convert WebP images to PNG formats. Whether you’re using a Mac or Windows computer, Photoshop, or even an online WebP to PNG converter, we’ve got you covered.

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What is WebP?

In the world of digital images, WebP is like the new kid on the block. Created by Google, WebP was designed to keep pictures and images looking sharp but with a much smaller file size than traditional formats like JPEG or PNG

If you’ve not heard of WebP until recently, then you’re not the only one. Although the file type was created back in 2010, it is yet to be as widely adopted as other image file formats. 

So what’s the point of using WebP? And if WebP is so great, why isn’t it used everywhere? Well, as with all things, WebP has its own set of pros and cons: 


  • Smart compression: A WebP file is 86% smaller than a JPEG and 43% smaller than a PNG, according to KeyCDN. The fact that they can be so heavily compressed while losing very little image quality is great for creating fast-loading web pages. 
  • Flexible formats: WebP is a chameleon — it supports both lossless (like a PNG) and lossy (like a JPEG, slight quality loss for smaller file size) compression.
  • Transparency: Similar to PNG files, WebP supports transparent backgrounds. 


  • Compression is still compression: While WebP images are much better at retaining image quality when they’re compressed, even a small amount of compression can reduce the quality of an image – even if it’s invisible to the naked eye. 
  • Web Compatibility: While modern browsers like Chrome and Firefox do support WebP, older browsers, such as Internet Explorer (IE), don’t. On the plus side, IE users will still see non-WebP versions of the same image. 
  • Software: Sharing, displaying, and editing WebP images can be tricky because the format isn’t universally compatible with all software — at least, not yet. This means people will sometimes need to convert their WebP images to a more universally accepted format, like PNG.

What is PNG?

The PNG, or Portable Network Graphics, is another digital image file — only this one has been around the block a few times. Introduced in the mid-90s, PNG was developed as a patent-free answer to the GIF format but is most commonly used to replace JPEG files.

PNG files are known for their reliable and robust image quality. They support lossless compression, meaning no matter how many times you open or save an image, a PNG won’t lose any of its original quality. This is in contrast to the lossy compression methods used by formats like JPEG, which lose quality each time they’re saved.

However, what makes PNG really stand out is its support for transparent pixels. As anyone who’s ever needed to remove the background from an image knows, PNG files are the go-to choice for images with transparent backgrounds — which are great for creating logos, icons, and other web graphics. 

Of course, with high-quality images come larger file sizes. A PNG file will often be larger than a JPEG of the same image, which can lead to slower load times for web pages. This is where WebP comes in…

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WebP vs PNG, what is the difference?

Understanding the difference between WebP and PNG can help you decide which format is best for you. While they may seem similar on the surface, each format has its own unique features and uses. 

Here are some key differences between these two image formats:

  • Compression: Both WebP and PNG support lossless compression, but WebP is the star when creating smaller files. If you’re looking to speed up your website’s loading times, WebP might be the answer.
  • Quality: With top-notch image quality, the PNG format is like the HD TV of image files. However, while WebP can support similarly high-quality images, it can also be compressed further than a PNG, while only compromising a sliver of quality. 
  • Support and compatibility: PNG has become one of the most widely-used image formats on the web, and as such it’s supported across the board. On the other hand, WebP is supported on modern browsers and some software but hasn’t quite reached universal appeal.
  • Animation: Here’s where WebP shows off a bit. Unlike PNG, WebP supports animation, making it a one-stop shop for high-quality static and animated images.

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Why convert WebP files to PNG files?

While WebP is the more modern, efficient, and widely-applicable image format, there are times when you might need to convert a WebP to a PNG file — the main reason being that PNGs are universally compatible. 

Almost every web browser and image editor supports the PNG format, and this broad acceptance makes it an incredibly versatile and reliable option when sharing or editing images.

So, if you’re having trouble with a WebP file, you might be able to save time and energy by simply converting it to a PNG. Fortunately, converting a WebP to a PNG is very straightforward, when you know how.

How Do I Convert WebP to PNG?

Whether you’re working on a Mac or Windows PC, using professional software like Photoshop, or a handy online WebP to PNG converter, we’ve got you covered. 

In this section, we’ll show you how to change a WebP file to a PNG across a range of devices and software.

Using Snagit

TechSmith’s Snagit is a powerful tool for sharing, editing, and capturing screenshots and videos. But did you know it can also help you convert WebP images to PNG? Here’s how:

Start by opening Snagit. If you’ve not used Snagit before, you’ll be glad to know that Mac and Windows users can download and try Snagit for free.

Click on ‘File’, then ‘Open’, and select the WebP file you want to convert.

How to turn a WebP into PNG
Converting a WebP to PNG

Once the image is open, head back to the ‘File’ menu and click on ‘Export’, which will open up a new window. 

How to save a WebP to PNG

Next to ‘File format’, you’ll see a drop-down menu. Click it, and select PNG.

How to change a WebP file to PNG

Finally, choose where to save your PNG by clicking the ‘Browse’ button next to ‘File Location’. Then, when you’re ready, click ‘Export’.

Find a WebP to PNG converter

And that’s it! In a few simple steps, you’ve learned how to change a WebP file to a PNG using Snagit. This can be really handy if you use Snagit for other tasks — such as, cropping images and resizing photos — and want to streamline your workflow.

Snagit also has loads of neat tools that allow you to extract text from images, add watermarks to pictures and even turn screenshots into short videos.

On a Mac

With a Mac, you can convert an image from WebP to PNG in just a few simple steps. Here’s how: 

  1. Open your WebP file in Preview. As this is the default image viewer on Macs, all you have to do is double-click the file, and it should open in Preview.
  2. Once your file is open, click on ‘File’ in the menu bar, then select ‘Export’.
  3. In the box that opens up, you’ll see a drop-down menu labeled ‘Format’. Click it and select ‘PNG’.
    1. If your image has a transparent background, you’ll also want to make sure that the box next to ‘Alpha’ is ticked. 
  4. Finally, choose where you want to save your PNG image and click ‘Save’.

That’s it! You’ve just learned how to turn a WebP into a PNG on Mac! This new image can now be opened and edited in a wider range of software, and displayed on more browsers.

On Windows

Converting WebP files to PNG on Windows is just as easy as it is on a Mac. In fact, the only real difference is you’ll use MS Paint instead of Preview — here’s how:

  1. Open your WebP file with Paint, the default image editor on Windows. You can do this by right-clicking the file, selecting ‘Open with’, and choosing ‘Paint’.
  2. Once your file is open, click on ‘File’ in the top left corner, hover over ‘Save as’, then select ‘PNG Picture’.
  3. A dialog box will open. Here, choose where you want to save your PNG image.
  4. After you’ve selected the location, click ‘Save’. 

That’s it! Now you know how to save a WebP as a PNG — we told you it was easy. 

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Using Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a popular image editing software with a wide range of advanced features and powerful editing tools. It’s used by both hobbyists and professional photographers alike, and can run on both Windows and Mac computers. 

While more recent versions of Photoshop do provide full support WebP, you might want to use it to convert your image to a PNG. Here’s how:

  1. Launch Photoshop and open your WebP file. You can do this by clicking on ‘File’ in the top menu, then ‘Open’, and selecting your file.
  2. Once your image is open, go back to the ‘File’ menu, but this time select ‘Export’.
  3. Next, click ‘PNG’.
  4. Once you’ve decided where you’d like your PNG image to be saved, click ‘Save’.

You’ve done it! Your WebP file is now a PNG, ready to be used anywhere PNG files are accepted (which is pretty much everywhere).

Using a PNG converter

If you want to skip the manual labor altogether and simply have a WebP turned into a PNG for you, you can always use a WebP to PNG converter instead. These tools are usually found online, and are a low-effort, user-friendly option for converting files. 

The first thing you need to do is choose which converter you want to use. Fortunately, there are plenty online and most of them are free, including Convertio, OnlineConvert, and Zamzar.

Each online converter will be slightly different, but the overall process of saving your WebP image as a PNG will be more or less the same.

  1. Depending on the converter you’ve chosen, you should see a button that says ‘Choose File’ or ‘Upload’, or something similar. Click it.
  2. Next, there should be an option to select the output format. Choose ‘PNG’ from the list.
  3. Then, click on ‘Convert’ or ‘Start Conversion’, or a similar button. The converter will begin converting your image, which should only take a few moments.
  4. Once the conversion is complete, there will be an option to download your new PNG file. 

And there you have it! An easy, fuss-free way to convert images from WebP to PNG.

WebP to PNG FAQs

How to convert WebP to PNG without losing transparency?

Tools like Adobe Photoshop, the Preview app on Mac, Paint on Windows, or an online WebP to PNG converter all respect the transparency of original WebP files when converting them to a PNG. By following the conversion steps outlined in this article, your PNG file will retain the transparent background of your WebP image.

How to download WebP as PNG?

If you come across a WebP image online that you’d like to save as a PNG, you’ll need to convert it first. Simply save the WebP image to your device, upload it to a file converter, select PNG as the output format, and then download the converted PNG image.

Is there a Chrome extension to convert WebP to PNG?

Yes, there are several Chrome extensions that can convert WebP images to PNG. “Save Image As PNG” is one popular example. These extensions often allow you to right-click on a WebP image and save it directly as a PNG, making the process incredibly fast and convenient.

How to download PNG instead of WebP?

The easiest way to download an image as a PNG instead of a WebP is to use a browser extension, such as “Save Image As Type” for Chrome, which allows you to save images, in a variety of file formats.

Ryan Knott

Ryan Knott is a Marketing Content Strategist at TechSmith, where he creates content about easy, effective, and efficient video creation, editing, and tips and tricks, as well as audio editing for creators of all kinds. He/him.

How to Make a Meme (+Free Template)

Make a meme

It’s unlikely that anyone with internet access has avoided seeing a meme. They’re everywhere! You can find them on social media, in blog posts, and on dedicated image sites like GIPHY.

Guess what — they aren’t just for funny tweets. You can use them in your workplace communications, too! But how did internet memes come to exist? What exactly are they? And how in the world do you even make or use one at work?

Don’t worry —  we’ve got your back! Read on to learn all about these internet phenomena and how to make your own memes.

What is a meme?

Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, first coined the term meme in his 1976 book ‘The Selfish Gene.’ He noted that they are a way for people to pass along social memories and cultural ideas to one another. Fittingly, meme is short for the Greek word mimeme, meaning “imitated thing.”

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Most image memes are captioned photos intended to be funny, often as a way to publicly ridicule human behavior. Memes spread virally through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, where people notice and share them with others. 

If you’re creating a meme for a social media account, you might even want to add a watermark to mark to make sure your sense of humor gets the credit it deserves!

A Willy Wonka meme

Public relations, advertising, and marketing professionals have embraced memes as a form of viral marketing. They’re hilarious, easy to create, and packaged perfectly for earning shares on social media channels. In an era where 350 million images are posted on Facebook every day, compelling and humorous images or videos could be your best shot at standing out and earning engagement.

So, you want to know how to make your own meme… Whether you’re creating one for work or for fun, we’re here to help. TechSmith’s Snagit is a great tool for creating a meme in just a few steps — it’s practically your own custom meme maker! 

How to make a meme

Step 1: Come up with your meme idea

Usually, when you go to make a meme, you’ll have an idea in mind. But if not, think of something funny.

Step 2: Choose your images 

Are you going to put your own caption on an existing image, or do you want to caption your own? 

You can save an image from the web, take a screenshot, or choose a meme template. Once you’ve got your image, you’re ready to go. You can always upload multiple images if needed for the format you want.

Step 3: Open your images in Snagit

Open Snagit and click Create, then choose Image from Template. Select the Meme option, and drag your image into the placeholder.

How to make a meme in Snagit with templates
How to make a meme in Snagit with templates

Step 4: Edit and add text

Now you’ll want to edit your image, but remember that the imagery for most memes is kept relatively simple, so you’ll probably only really need to crop your photo and add some text. 

Memes typically use white, bold capital letters with a strong black outline. Snagit’s Quick Styles are perfect for this, and you can easily create and move text boxes anywhere on the canvas. 

Play around with text size and placement to get the image exactly how you want.

A Dwight Schrute meme about how in-person meetings aren't necessary.

Step 5: Save and upload

Save and upload your final image directly to your email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to share with coworkers or friends.

Now that you know how to create a meme, it’s your turn! If you don’t already have Snagit, then be sure to download the free trial. Then, create your own memes and share them with friends, send them to coworkers, or use them to market your product.

But make no mistake, Snagit is more than just a meme maker — it comes with a wide range of tools that you can use to do things like remove backgrounds from pictures or extract text from an image — you can even turn screenshots into short videos

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How to Make a Meme FAQs

Why should I make a meme?

Memes are a great way to share funny jokes or information with friends and coworkers. Plus, they’re super easy to make! No experience with any tools is needed.

Can I make a GIF meme?

Absolutely! Use the GIF feature in Snagit to easily turn any video clip into an animated GIF meme to share with others.

Can I use memes at work?

While you should be conscious of your organization’s workplace culture, memes are often a great way to switch up your communication and have fun at work. We say go for it!

10 helpful types of video that every business can use

Video for business

Using video for business is no longer some up-and-coming trend, it’s an essential part of any business plan. Statista reports that consumers spent an average of 19 hours per week, watching online video content in 2022 – that’s 163 minutes per day! And according to a 2023 report from Insivia, viewers retain 95% of a message when they consume it via video, compared to 10% when reading text.

The figures show that not only are people watching more video content than ever before, but that it’s also an incredibly impactful and effective means of communication. 

If your business hasn’t started making videos yet, the good news is that it’s not too late. Whether you work for a big brand or own a small business, video content is great for building trust with potential customers and clients. 

In this article, we’ll explore why video is important for business and look at the 10 types of corporate video that organizations use to take their internal communications and customer outreach to the next level.

Let’s dive in!

Why is video important for your business?

Businesses need new and innovative ways to attract and retain customers. As such, videos have quickly become an essential part of modern marketing strategies. 

Why? The short answer: Video is awesome. 

The long answer: Videos can increase brand awareness and boost engagement by conveying messages in a way that’s striking and memorable, making it easier for your target audience to remember your brand. Videos can also enhance customer engagement and help build trust and credibility by showcasing the values and personality of your business. 

Additionally, videos can educate customers about products and services, explain complex ideas in an easy-to-understand format, and highlight key features and benefits – all leading to improved customer satisfaction!

So yeah, they’re awesome. But if you’re still not convinced, let’s take a closer look at why businesses need video.

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Video is widely accessible

One of the great things (and possibly the greatest thing) about the video format is that it’s available to almost everyone. With the rise of the internet and social media, businesses can now create and distribute videos to a large audience, at a low cost. This means businesses can easily increase their reach and visibility. 

By sharing videos on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and similar platforms, businesses can expand beyond their existing customer base. What’s more, viewers can share videos with their friends, family, and followers (shout out to influencers!), which can increase the reach of content and generate organic web traffic.

All of that means way more opportunities for businesses to engage with their target audience and reach potential customers around the world – something that entrepreneurs could have only dreamed of years ago. 

Video adds value to a business

The power of video in boosting business value knows no bounds. Which is why savvy marketers are increasingly turning to video content to reach a wider audience and make a bigger impact.

Not only is it a format that’s easy and affordable to create and distribute, but research shows video content can increase conversion rates by up to 86% when featured on landing pages.

On top of that, videos can even save businesses time, money, and resources. For instance, rather than answering the same questions over and over again, businesses can create instructional videos that customers (and employees) can refer to when they need help. This can free up company time that can be used on more important tasks.

Leveraging the power of video is essential for staying ahead in today’s business landscape. Whether you’re looking to improve your social media presence or educate potential customers about your products, video content is arguably the best way to engage your audience and increase your business value.

Video tells a story

Video can also add significant value to businesses by telling stories that connect with audiences on a deeper level. Storytelling is a powerful tool for evoking emotions and creating a sense of empathy and understanding – and no other medium can tell a story quite like a video can. 

Through this emotional connection, businesses can build trust and loyalty with their customers. This presents an opportunity for businesses to showcase their products or services in a way that’s unique and memorable. In turn, this creates a distinct experience for the audience that sets the brand apart from its competitors. 

By using video to tell their story, businesses can establish a long-term relationship with customers, which will ultimately lead to customer growth.

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Video can help train employees

By creating training videos, businesses can provide their employees with consistent training materials, ensuring that everyone receives the same information and is equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to perform their job effectively.

Video training can also be more engaging and effective than traditional training methods, such as classroom lectures or written materials. Through video, employees can see and hear real-world examples and demonstrations, making the training more interactive and memorable. This can lead to better retention of information and a more effective learning experience.

Businesses can also save time and money by using training videos, as they can be created once and used repeatedly. This reduces the need for in-person training sessions or updating written materials, and is particularly helpful for businesses that rely on remote communication.

The different types of videos for businesses

So videos are important, useful, and awesome – that much we know. But there are many different types of videos that businesses use, and all are used to achieve different goals.   

For example, while product demo videos can showcase product features to potential customers, explainer videos are great for introducing brands and explaining services in a way that audiences find engaging. 

By understanding how different types of business videos can achieve specific goals — such as increasing brand awareness, driving web traffic, or boosting sales — you can make informed decisions about which types of videos to create for your own business. 

Let’s take a closer look at the top 10 formats for corporate videos: 

1. Screencast videos

A screencast video is a recording of your computer screen and will often (but not always) include audio, such as the sounds of your computer or your own voice – or both! 

Screencast videos can be used internally or externally and can either be a stand-alone video, or used as a feature in another video. For example, you could use a screencast to show a colleague something simple, like how to crop a video, or as one small part of an all-encompassing training video. 

With such versatility, screencasts have several use cases, including: 

  • Creating quick, disposable videos for colleagues and clients
  • Recording meetings
  • Providing clear feedback
  • Making basic tutorials

Production time

Due to their wide range of uses, the amount of time spent creating a screencast can vary depending on the complexity of information it’s conveying and the audience. 

For instance, a screencast titled ‘Rocket Science for Very Important People’ is going to take a lot more time to create than a basic screencast intended to teach your grandma how to use Zoom.

Knowing your audience, and understanding the information you need to convey is the key to figuring out how long a screencast will take to make. Something simple could take 10 minutes, whereas a more complicated one could take several hours. 

Video length 

Similarly, the length of a screencast can vary depending on what you’re presenting and who you’re presenting to. However, you should always aim to keep your screencasts as concise as possible.

If you plan to narrate your screencast, it’s always worth taking the extra time to write a script. This will keep you focused on the key points, and help you avoid making mistakes. 

Metrics that matter

Viewer feedback is one of the most important metrics to consider when gauging the success of a screencast and how helpful its content is. 

Be sure to always seek feedback from your audience – and listen to it! Whether you ask people for their thoughts directly or encourage viewers to leave comments, feedback can help you identify areas to work on for future screencasts.

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2. Social media videos

Videos for social media can be presented in a variety of formats and styles. These types of video are designed to share on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Each social platform has its own technical specifications for video content, such as aspect ratio, maximum length, and file size. To save yourself time (and any potential frustration) make sure you know the requirements for the platform you intend to use before you start filming. 

That said, there is one feature that all social media videos should have — regardless of platform — which is captions. That is, assuming your video features someone talking in it. 

This ties back to the accessibility of videos, because you never know where someone will be watching your content, or on what device. While they might be watching a video on their laptop at home, it’s just as likely they’re watching it in a public space on their phone. 

This is why adding captions (or subtitles) to your social media videos is absolutely critical – because many of your viewers will watch videos with the volume turned down. 

Production time

What’s great about social media videos is that many businesses can repurpose pre-existing videos that were created for different reasons, such as event promos and product updates. 

This means that with just a little editing (in most cases), you can post content online that’s already been made. A lot of businesses may not even realize just how much social content they have that’s ready to go. This is a super quick and easy way to get your message out there and increase brand awareness. 

Depending on whether you’re using existing content or creating something from scratch, making social videos can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of days.

Video length 

When it comes to social media videos, brevity is key. You’ll want to aim for a maximum length of 2 minutes, but ultimately: the shorter, the better. 

The most effective social media videos are those that can quickly capture the attention of viewers and get to the point in 30 seconds or less. By mastering the art of trimming videos so they’re short and sweet, you’ll be a social video rockstar in no time.

Metrics that matter

With so many social platforms, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for measuring the success of your social media videos. Based on each platform, you’ll want to track metrics such as views, likes, shares, and comments to get an idea of how well your videos are performing. 

It’s also worth keeping an eye on engagement metrics — such as how long viewers are watching your videos for and whether they’re clicking through to your website — to ensure that the video is achieving the goals you hoped it would. 

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of videos or formats to see what resonates best with your audience. And remember, social video is all about building relationships and starting conversations, so prioritize engagement and building connections over views.

3. Promotional Videos

Promotional videos can be a powerful tool to advertise events, products, and services. Ultimately, these videos exist to generate leads, but they should give your audience a feel for your brand while pitching your offering.

Promo videos should include a brief but detailed overview of what you’re promoting, and a call to action (CTA) that encourages viewers to take the next step. Whether you want your audience to register for an event, subscribe to a newsletter, or buy a product, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to take action. 

So why is video marketing so important for business? Because they’re a powerful way to establish a personal connection with your audience and generate excitement about your events, products, and services.

Production time

Depending on how important and/or complex your product, event, or service is, the time it takes to produce a promotional video could range from one hour to a number of days. 

Video length 

Without wanting to over-simplify, promotional videos are fundamentally ads (though the best promo videos don’t feel like adverts). With this in mind, it’s best to keep your promotional videos short and sweet. Anything between one to three minutes is ideal.  

Metrics that matter

There are two metrics you need to keep an eye on with promotional videos, the first being the play count. A successful promo video is one that manages to reach audiences far and wide. However, a trillion views doesn’t mean much if nobody is taking the next step, which is why it’s also essential to include a CTA and watch the click-through rate. 

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4. Onboarding Videos

Once you’ve made a good promotional video that’s converting leads into customers, you’ll need to think about how you can optimize their first interaction with the company. It’s important to make new customers feel welcome and ensure they understand everything about your product or service. 

This is a crucial step in the sales cycle — one that can make or break a customer’s loyalty — and it’s also where onboarding videos come in. These videos show customers the ropes to help them get started and hit the ground running.

It’s essential to take the time to create high-quality onboarding videos that are easy to understand and provide real value to your customers. This will help ensure that they start off on the right foot and have a positive experience with your brand from day one. 

Production time

Because they’re so important to new customers, it’s essential that onboarding videos get the time and attention they need to be done right, which is why they can take a few days to make. 

Remember, you reap what you sow, and the time you put into creating a great onboarding video will pay you back tenfold.

Video length 

In the same way that the production of an onboarding video shouldn’t be rushed, nor should the consumption of the information it conveys. While you should try to keep all your videos as concise as possible, it’s important to give your audience clear instructions on how to use your product or service – and this can take time. 

This makes it more important to keep your viewers engaged throughout the video. It’s not easy to get people to give up 10 minutes of their time, so try to keep it compelling and fun.

Metrics that matter

With onboarding videos, it’s important to track audience engagement and make sure your video is watched all the way through. 

You should also check if any parts of the video have been replayed multiple times, or by multiple people. This could suggest that part of your video is unclear, or that they’re having difficulty using a particular feature.

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5. Explainer videos

Explainer videos do exactly as the name suggests: they explain things. 

These videos are usually short and are often used to explain products, services, and concepts in a way that’s simple and engaging. They typically use clear and concise language and are often combined with visual aids, such as animation or illustrations, to break down complex ideas to make them easier to understand and digest.

Explainer videos are often used by businesses to introduce their product or service to potential customers or provide a quick and easy-to-understand overview of a topic. They can be used on a variety of platforms, such as a company’s website, social media, or email marketing campaigns. 

The goal of an explainer video is to grab the viewer’s attention, explain the benefits of the product or service, and encourage them to take action, whether it’s to sign up for a free trial, make a purchase, or share the video with others.

Production time

Creating an explainer video can take more time and effort than other types of videos because they may require detailed planning. On average, it can take about 20 to 24 hours to produce a high-quality explainer video. 

However, don’t let this put you off however! It’s important to remember that new and returning customers, as well as potential leads, all stand to benefit from your content – so it’s well worth the investment.

Video length 

We’d recommend keeping the run time of an explainer video between two to five minutes. To do this, you’ll need to ensure that the content is not only informative but also dynamic and engaging enough to keep the attention of your viewers. 

A well-crafted explainer video can help you effectively convey complex concepts or ideas in a way that’s easy for your audience to understand and remember. By keeping the running time under five minutes, you’ll be able to do so without overwhelming them with too much information at once.

Metrics that matter

Engagement is the ultimate metric to measure the success of your explainer videos, but there are also other essential factors to consider. 

You should pay close attention to any parts of your video that viewers watch more than once. This could indicate that a specific section requires more clarity, or that the content is particularly valuable to your audience. By monitoring these metrics, you can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions about your video content.

Remember that explainer videos are a powerful tool for educating and engaging your audience. By analyzing viewer behavior and feedback, you can refine your messaging and create more effective content over time. So, don’t just use metrics to measure success; use them to reflect on, learn from, and improve your content. 

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6. Demo videos

A demo video is a powerful tool for showcasing your product’s capabilities while visually demonstrating its functionality in action. 

The goal of a demo video is to show the benefits and features of your product, rather than just telling your audience about them. This is especially effective for software, where recording your screen directly can provide an immersive experience for your viewers.

With a demo video, you can give potential customers a taste of what it’s like to use your product before they even sign up for a free trial. A well-crafted demo video can help you stand out from the competition and can lead to increased engagement, conversions, and ultimately, sales.

Production time

​​Demo videos are typically given a prime spot on company websites, so it’s essential that they’re crafted carefully. As with any media meant for customers, this can result in a longer production time, as well as several rounds of editing and revisions. 

It’s also really important to ensure that the concept and script are perfectly aligned and that all the necessary stakeholders provide their input. These alone can be two of the most time-consuming parts of creating a demo video. 

While they might take considerable time and effort to create, a polished demo video will be an incredibly effective marketing tool, so it’s definitely worth it! 

Video length 

The length of a demo video is an important factor to consider when it comes to engagement. On one hand, you want to make sure that your video is long enough to cover all the important information about your product. On the other, you don’t want to make the video so long that viewers lose interest.

Striking this balance between being brief and comprehensive is key. For optimal engagement, we’d recommend keeping your demo video within the two to five minute range. This way, you can provide a concise, yet informative overview of your product that is more likely to be watched, shared, and acted upon by potential customers.

Metrics that matter

When evaluating the performance of a demo video, the play and engagement rates are the two primary metrics to consider. Since demo videos usually convey a lot of information in a short amount of time, it’s important to ensure that viewers watch the entire video. 

By analyzing the number of re-watches, you can identify which parts of the video may have been unclear to viewers or which features generated the most interest and excitement. Such feedback can be used to optimize future videos or even influence future product development. 

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7. Customer story videos (aka testimonial videos)

Testimonial videos, also known as customer story videos, feature your customers sharing their experiences with your product or service.

To make these videos, we suggest interviewing your customer and editing the footage to tell a compelling story. These videos are an effective way for potential customers to identify with real-world situations and see the tangible benefits of your product or service.

Customer story videos also highlight the problems or pain points that your customers faced, and showcase how your company’s solution provided value and solved those problems.

Production time

Testimonial videos can typically take one to two days to film and edit, depending on factors such as the location of the customer and whether or not you have to travel to them to get the footage. 

If you have an in-house video team, it might be worth sending them to the customer to ensure that the video is consistent with your brand’s production style – rather than asking the customer to film it themselves. This can also make the process easier and more convenient for the customer, who is essentially doing you a favor by providing a testimonial.

However, if traveling to the customer’s location isn’t feasible, you might consider asking them to film their own testimonial. This could be a great option if you work with corporate clients that have their own video team, or if your clients are the Cohen brothers.

As a backup plan, this ensures you still have valuable customer feedback to share with prospects, even if the production style is a little different.

Video length 

As a general rule, testimonial videos usually range between five to 10 minutes long. This should be plenty of time to communicate the customer’s experience and the value of your product or service, but not so long that your audience loses interest. 

Metrics that matter

Measuring play rate and conversion metrics is crucial when it comes to customer story videos. Your play rate provides valuable insight into how many viewers are actually interested in watching the video. 

Meanwhile, monitoring your conversion rates will allow you to see how many viewers were convinced to take the next step, such as subscribing to a service or making a purchase. These metrics can help you refine your marketing strategies and optimize your videos for better results.

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8. Training videos

A training video provides guidance on how to perform a particular task or process. These videos can be used internally and externally, and can teach audiences how to do virtually anything. Yes, anything! We told you video is awesome… 

These instructional videos can cover a wide range of topics, from basic skills such as logging into a program to more complex processes such as how to make a split screen video. By demonstrating and explaining the task visually, training videos can be an effective tool for providing hands-on learning and ensuring consistency in training across teams and departments.

Production time

Internal training videos typically take longer to produce than customer-facing videos because they often require specific information, and intricate details, and may need to comply with certain guidelines and regulations. 

The production time can also vary depending on the complexity of the task being taught, and the level of detail required in the video – so there’s a lot to consider! 

The final video needs to be easy for employees to access, understand, and should be interactive and engaging to maximize knowledge retention. With so much to think about, the time required to produce training videos can vary depending on the complexity of the task and the resources available.

That said, we’d say you can put a decent training video together in as little as 1.5–3 hours (for relatively simple videos). 

Video length 

When crafting internal training videos, your first priority should be to ensure you deliver all the essential information, even if it means extending the length of the video. 

As training videos are usually meant for internal consumption, there shouldn’t be as much pressure to create something highly polished. Instead, take the time to cover all relevant information in detail, and don’t shy away from diving deep into the subject matter. 

If your video ends up being fairly long, say between five to 10 minutes, then so be it. What’s important here is to effectively communicate and transfer knowledge to your team. 

Metrics that matter

As training videos are most often used for onboarding new employees, it’s important people watch them from start to finish, which is why it’s crucial to monitor the play and engagement rates. 

This also presents an ideal chance to assess your video content. For example, if certain sections are being re-watched, it might indicate that specific information is difficult to understand, which can signal areas for improvement in future videos.

9. Presentation videos

A presentation video, sometimes referred to as lecture capture, is a recording of a presentation that’s made available after the event. 

This type of video could be as simple as an audio narration combined with a PowerPoint presentation, or an on-stage presentation, or lesson, such as a college lecture. By recording and sharing your presentations, you can extend the reach of your message and provide valuable content to a wider audience.

Whether you’re using presentation videos for educational purposes, internal training, or marketing efforts, they can be an effective way to engage with your audience and share your message in a way that is easily accessible and digestible.

Production time

As with so many of the videos we’ve discussed, the time it takes to produce a presentation video can vary greatly depending on the subject being discussed, the audience it’s intended for, and how polished you want it to be. 

Behind every TED Talk there’s a production crew, multiple cameras, lighting technicians, and a whole lot of other people – not to mention the speaker, who will have written and rehearsed a script. Then, once a video has been recorded, it needs to be edited, shared online, and promoted. So, as you can imagine, TED Talks take a lot of time…

However, if all you need to do is record a presentation and send it to a relatively small group of people, then you might just need a camera and a few light edits before it’s ready – and that might only take a couple of hours. 

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Video length 

The length of your presentation video is likely to be as long as your presentation, but these too should be kept short where possible. The benefit of having a video of a presentation is it can be cut down to only the most essential bits of information. 

While trimming a video may not always be appropriate, you can still shorten your video without undermining your message. Be sure to cut out any ‘dead time’ such as small mistakes, loading screens, and “uhms” & “ahs”. 

You can also make presentation videos feel shorter by making them more engaging. For instance, professional presenters will know if their audience becomes restless, and use it as an opportunity to make a joke or invoke some audience participation. 

In fact, the best presenters can predict when this might happen ahead of time, and include something in their presentation or script that will reignite the audience’s attention. This is exactly what you need to do when making a video presentation.

Metrics that matter

With presentation videos, you’ll want to make sure that your audience is watching the entirety of your content from start to finish. If they’re not, it might suggest your video is either too long or not quite engaging your audience.

10. Microvideos

If you’ve ever wondered how to make short videos for business, the key is to make them as short as possible – which is exactly what microvideos do. 

These short, instructional videos focus on teaching a single and narrow topic. When you create a microvideo, it’s important you show only what is essential in order to understand the concept.

Production time

Creating a video that’s laser-focused on a narrow topic may require a good amount of planning, but a solid plan will make the filming and editing phases much easier. So while a microvideo should take no more than one minute to watch, it could take up to an hour to produce one. 

However, the value of being able to share knowledge and information in less than one minute is high! 

Video length 

According to eLearning and Development Consultant Josh Cavalier, a good length for a microvideo is between six and sixty seconds. Yeah, it’s super short, but they’re called microvideos for a reason. 

Metrics that matter

When it comes to assessing the success of a microvideo, you’ll need to refer to the most human metric of them all: feedback. 

Don’t be afraid to ask your audience what they thought of your video, and how helpful they found it. If you’ve only taken 60 seconds (or less) of their time, then it will be easy for them to provide succinct and comprehensive feedback that you can use for future videos.

Ryan Knott

Ryan Knott is a Marketing Content Strategist at TechSmith, where he creates content about easy, effective, and efficient video creation, editing, and tips and tricks, as well as audio editing for creators of all kinds. He/him.