Choosing Dimensions for Quality Video Production

The quality of your final production can have a lot to do with your recording and production settings. Before you start recording your screen, you should spend a few minutes determining the size of your final video. This makes your decisions about recording, editing, and sharing a lot easier. Here are some questions to ask to help you choose your dimension settings:

  • Where do I plan on hosting my final video?
  • Where will my audience view my final video?
  • Do I want my video to be produced in widescreen?

There are two standard settings for aspect ratio, and those are 4:3 (standard) and 16:9 (widescreen). When choosing production dimensions, you most likely want to choose dimensions that maintain one of those aspect ratios. If you choose to produce a video that does not conform to these standards, you may see black bars on the sides of your video, or your video may be stretched or compressed when viewed on YouTube or QuickTime. In some exceptional cases, players won’t rescale or re-encode your video, and it plays as you produced it, but again, that is the exception.

It is recommended that you choose your recording and production dimensions strategically, at either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio. Here is a list of popular dimensions for each:

Standard 4:3: 320x240, 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768

Widescreen 16:9: 640x360, 800x450, 960x540, 1024x576, 1280x720, and 1920x1080

The reason you want to choose your output first is so you can record and produce at the same aspect ratio. For example, you can record at 1280x720 and produce at 640x360 and your aspect ratio is the same. Or, you could record at 800x600 and produce at 640x480 and again, your aspect ratio is 4:3. Ideally, recordings should be larger or the same size as productions, but never smaller. For example, you would not want to record a 320x240 video and produce it as 800x600 because the video will stretch and lose quality at that size.

Record: Configure the Camtasia Recorder

Once you have determined your final video size, set your Camtasia Recorder settings. The following is a list of three options for setting your recording dimensions:

  • In the Camtasia Recorder, select one of the preset dimensions from the dropdown options.
  • Select Custom Region and, using the crosshairs as a guide, select an area of the screen to record.

  • Select Custom Region, select part of your screen with the crosshairs, and then enter custom dimensions before you record.

Edit: Adjust the Canvas

Once you have completed your screen recording and opened the Camtasia Editor, you should adjust your canvas. This ensures that your preview is a direct indication of how your project will look when produced.

  1. To adjust the canvas, first click on the canvas zoom dropdown and select Adjust Canvas.

  2. Set your canvas dimensions to match the production size you determined early on, either by selecting from the available presets, or by typing in your dimensions.

    Adjust Canvas dialog
  3. Click Apply. Now you can confidently edit your project, knowing that your canvas is sized with your final size in mind.

Produce: Share Your Video

When you have finished editing your video, click the Share tab and choose how to produce your video. Maybe you decided to vary your recording and canvas sizes -- that is okay. The important thing is that you maintain the aspect ratio from recording to editing to production. If you have done that, you are on the road to producing and sharing a high-quality video.

Note: When it comes to sharing to YouTube or, only YouTube re-encodes videos that are not 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios. plays your videos at whatever ratio you produced them. If you used a non-standard aspect ratio and want to avoid having your video stretched or compressed, try uploading it to

Title Category Level Format
000 - 0: Introduction Getting Started I Video
001 - 1: Make a great recording: Prepare, Script, Rehearse Getting Started I Video
002 - 2: Make a great recording: Select, Start, Pause Getting Started I Video
003 - 3: Editing essentials: Explore the Editor Getting Started I Video
004 - 4: Editing essentials: What You Really Need to Know Getting Started I Video
005 - 5: Editing essentials: Preview, Trim, Cut Getting Started I Video
006 - 6: Increase viewer understanding: Zoom, Pan, Bam Getting Started I Video
007 - 7: Increase viewer understanding: Annotations Getting Started I Video
008 - 8: Increase viewer understanding: Cursors & Clicks Getting Started I Video
009 - 9: Make your screencast stand out: Transitions Getting Started I Video
010 - 10: Make your screencast stand out: Animations & Video FX Getting Started I Video
011 - 11: Make your screencast stand out: Maintain Consistency Getting Started I Video
012 - 12: Create better audio: Mics, Recording, Audio FX Getting Started I Video
013 - 13: Share your screencast: The Great Export Getting Started I Video
014 - 14: Share your screencast: and YouTube Getting Started I Video
015 - Zooming: The Often Misunderstood Half-Holy Grail of Screencasting Quality Main Concepts I Video
016 - Editing Dimensions Basics Edit I Video
017 - Recording Tips Record I Written
018 - Keyboard Shortcuts Reference II PDF
019 - Add Interactive Hotspots to Your Video Additions I Written
020 - Composite Assets with the Mask Effect Effects II Written
021 - For Camtasia Studio 8 Users: Feature Comparison Chart Reference II Written
022 - Add a Device Frame Around Your Video Video FX II Written
023 - Apply an Animated Highlighter Effect Animations II Written
024 - Brand Your Video with a Watermark Additions II Written
025 - Captions Audio II Video/Written
026 - Change the Canvas Background Color Canvas II Written
027 - Choosing Dimensions for Quality Video Production Reference II Written
028 - Create ADA-Compliant Captions Audio II Written
029 - Create a Table of Contents for Video Navigation Additions II Written
030 - Create a Title Additions II Written
031 - Embed Video on a Web Page or Blog Share III Written
032 - Magnify the Cursor with Cursor Effects Cursor FX II Written
033 - Maintain Privacy with the Blur Annotation Annotations II Written
034 - Markers Edit II Written
035 - Record a PowerPoint or Keynote Presentation Record II Written
036 - Remove a Color from a Video Effects II Video/Written
037 - Replace a Section of Audio on the Timeline Audio II Written
038 - Save an Annotation for Reuse Annotations II Written
039 - Speed Up or Slow Down the Speed of a Clip Effects II Video/Written
040 - Working with the FX Drawer Effects II Written
041 - Connecting Your Mobile Device Mobile I Video
042 - Creating and Sharing Mobile Content with Windows Devices Mobile I Written
043 - Access and Share Files with My Places Sharing II Written
044 - Recording Your iOS 8 Device Mobile I Video