How to Get Crisp, Clear Screen Video

Learn to use recording dimensions, project dimensions and productions settings to your advantage to get crisp, clear screen video.


Screen video loses quality when scaled

Scaling is stretching or shrinking a screen recording to display it at a size different than the original recording size. This causes screen video to quickly lose quality, and appear blurry or distorted.

One way to get crisp, clear screen video is to display your screen video at its original size, which avoids any scaling

a scaled down screen video in comparison to its original size

Three key things to know

Before we dive in too far, let’s cover three key things you’ll need to know to get crisp, clear video.

Recording Dimensions: This is the size of your recording. If you record full screen, it’s usually the same as the resolution of your monitor.

Project Dimensions: This is the size of your canvas in Camtasia, or the area in which you build your video

Production Settings: These are the options you choose when producing your video, including the size of your video.

A shortcut to crisp, clear video

The easiest way to get crisp, clear screen video is to match your recording dimensions, project dimensions and productions settings.

This guarantees your screen recording is shown at its original size, or 100% scale. This is the highest quality you can get from screen recordings.

screen recording set to 1920 x 1080px, Canvas set to 1920 x 1080px, production settings set to 1920 x 1080px

Sometimes you can’t avoid scaling

Sometimes it’s not possible to match your recording and project dimensions. For example, if you record a screen that is bigger or smaller than the size of the video you want to create, or if your monitor doesn’t fit a standard 16:9 aspect ratio.

In these situations, scaling the recording is unavoidable. The upshot is that you can use scaling to your advantage, and I’ll walk you through how we do just that.

three different sized computer screen monitors

Use scaling to your advantage

For our tutorial videos, we record on a monitor that is twice the size of our project dimensions. We know that when we fit the screen recording to the project, it will be displayed at half its original size and will have some quality loss. This is fine for us, because we spend most of our time zoomed in and focused on specific parts of the user interface, which is where we want to see the highest quality.

To get the highest quality and most detail, we zoom to the original size of the recording, or 100% scale. When we need to show something on an adjacent part of the screen, we pan over, remaining  at 100% scale.

To learn about zooming in Camtasia, check out our Animations In-Depth tutorial.

Follow the one-hundred percent rule

When in doubt, keep your screen recording at 100% scale. This will display it at the highest quality possible.

Scale set to 100%