3 Ways to Edit a Video for Technical Documentation

Learn three techniques for editing video for technical documentation. This video covers breaking up the steps of a process with lower thirds, reinforcing text with video and adding narration to a video.


1. Break up the Steps of a Process with Lower Thirds

Break up long, multi-step videos by adding lower thirds to clearly indicate each step. This simple process helps reduce the viewer’s cognitive load, which means they’ll have less to process, and creates an organized experience where users can quickly jump back and review steps as needed. Let’s look at an example.

This training video walks through the 3-step process of setting up for an audio recording. The video recording is in Camtasia, ready to edit. 

2. Reinforce Text With Video

If you’re just getting started adding video to your technical documentation, we recommend you start small.  A well crafted 2-3 step video reinforces your message, takes less time to create than a full length tutorial, and can often better address your learning objectives. With this in mind, let’s look at how to edit a short video for technical documentation using Camtasia.

For this example, we’ll reinforce a section of our Snagit help documentation that teaches a user how to capture their screen. We’ve already recorded the process and have the video in Camtasia, ready to edit.

The first thing to do is remove any mistakes and extra content. To remove unnecessary footage from the ends of your recording, click and drag the end of the clip in. This is called trimming . If you trim too much, drag the clip back to restore it.  To remove mistakes from the middle of a clip, make a selection, then click cut to remove it. A stitch appears where the section was removed.

Next, focus your viewer’s attention by zooming in on what’s important. Most of the time we record full screen and use zoom to focus the viewer’s attention on a specific detail.

For example, when I show how to open the Snagit capture window I should zoom in on the Snagit icon so my viewers can clearly see what I’m doing.

To zoom, select a clip on the timeline and adjust the scale slider in the properties panel. Then, position your clip on the canvas by clicking and dragging. To learn more about zooming and animations, see our tutorial on animations and effects.

Adjust the scale slider to zoom

Lastly, we recommend you fade out at the end of the video to clearly indicate the end. This is especially important if you plan to loop your video, as it makes it easy for viewers to discern when the video begins and ends.

To fade out your video, drag the fade transition to the last clip on the timeline. Adjust the transition by clicking and dragging.

3. Add Narration to Video

Create tutorial content from video documentation by adding narration. In the video above, I teach how to set up an audio recording, but I only use visuals and lower thirds to communicate with the user.

Adding narration to this video allows me to provide context and detailed information about each step. With Camtasia open and our video ready to edit, let’s add narration.