[A How To] Intro Videos That Don’t Make You Drink

I’m not going to bore you with a first impressions speech. But if you are human (or part human) it means you pretty much got 10 seconds to capture your audience, otherwise they will run like it’s the zombie apocalypse.

So what to do? Make a killer intro, duh.

But how?

And will it hurt like the morning after a night of Fireball shots with your old college friends?

No. It actually won’t.

So let’s get to it. (put down the Fireball)

First, I need to point out that you can make a intro you are proud of. BUT just know you may have to do several steps over and over again because some things are more complicated than they originally let on…

But don’t lose your lunch. It’s not all that bad.

Now, for this exercise, I suggest getting a brand spanking new project together. Everything blank? Good. If not, well mister; don’t hold me responsible for you wanting to do it mid edits and on the fly… You have been warned.

If you liked the intro in the video above, you know, the first few seconds of video and audio, then we will be recreating it. If not, this will lay the foundation so that you can create your very own.


We will open up the Library menu. It’s up there on the left. Click it. You should have been graced with a bunch of folders. We will use 3 for this How To, but go ahead and look through and listen to what they included. It’s not really bad to get started with.

Camtasia New Project.png
Default Library Folders.png

Now, in the Intro folder, we are going to grab that spinningcomputer file. If you doubleclick it, it will give you a preview; which also applies to every other file in here. But I just stated the obvious, because you already knew that. Now, click it once; hold that click, and drag it down into the play area.

Spinning Computer.png

Now you can put in anywhere in there. Camtasia is mean enough that they will create a new track for your media, and they will even create dead space (meaning that there will be silence before and after it, if that is the only media on the track) for you if you don’t want that media clip starting immediately. But we want to slide that sucker all the way to the left, and we want it on Track 1 for now.

Spinning Computer Properties.png

Our goal is to use 2 different fonts and colors. If you don’t want to mix and max text and colors, just look to the right hand side of the canvas to see the properties tab where you can replace the text in one shot. But doing it this way means that everything is uniform. Everything gets the same font, the same color. Ugh. That’s just… moving

Good. Now click that plus sign in the upper left of the clip box. Doing that will show you that there is a lot more going on than it’s really showing. Like every angsty teen. But what we want to worry about is the upper most box because that is our text.

I find it easiest to slide that playhead bar to a point where I can see all the text in the canvas area. Now we will be using a highlight method to achieve our desired effect, by first double clicking on the inside of that box that has all the circles. I found that doing it close to the left center circle highlights the word TechSmith so we can stylize just that one. It isn’t always easy to see what’s going on, because Camtasia likes to use a pale white method (which makes the black text grey… but blue is still so much more common) so make sure you got your glasses on.

I find it easier to choose my text font first, and change the color before replacing the text that is already there; but it can also be done in reverse. All that is required is that the specific text is highlighted so that any changes made affects just that part and nothing else. So for you rainbow letter (each letter has to be a different color) people out there; have fun! I love dark colors myself, I mean black is everything to me.

Now you can repeat the process by highlighting the Camtasia text and replacing it with a contrasting color and font style. Go have some fun with it. But if you are following this for your own business endeavors; consider using the same font and color elements found on your website.

Now you can collapse that clip and give it a whirl. Honestly, admire your handiwork.


Now we need our Lower Third. So back to the clip bin and this time into the Lower Thirds folder. And we are going to snag the one called Stan. Stan was a good song. We like Stan. So we are going to put Stan on the play area and watch Camtasia make a whole new track to use it on.


Ok, now let’s get a few things out of the way. I have my own set of opinions, things like Orange and Brown -do not- go together. I also dislike pumpkins. But this is my opinion. It is also my opinion that Stan shouldn’t be hanging on the left of the play area so that it starts right as the spinningcomputer clip starts. That, to me, is just bad form. Throw in a few letter ‘f’ starting expletives about that too.

Now, Stan should be his own man; and he should be joining the show as spinningcomputer is wrapping up. Similar things are done in Hollywood films. Finding that sweet spot, well… that’s all a personal opinion. But Stan likes holding things together.  So find your sweet spot.

Stan Overhang.png

We aren’t adding other visuals at this time because we are creating a completed element, but we will be able to adjust future media clips to make use of that naturally forming transition.

As for the customizing, this time it will be easier to use the properties sidebar for the text, the colored bar and the colored line will fall victim here as one color change will affect both. But we smart cookies and can open Stan up and tinker with the individual elements. I left the line alone and just changed areas within my rectangle to match my brand colors, but also left it with some miniscule variations when it plays out.

Stan Extended.png

Just pay attention to text placement. In the quick editor (the properties area when the whole of Stan is selected), the Title is what will be shown under the colored areas. The Subtitle is what is actually within the colored field.

Stan Properties.png

Since Stan is what I am going to be using to give these videos titles, I am leaving the template as default text to make sure that I change the damn thing when I put it with a video.

Now, we are close to being finished, but…


All good videos have music in there somewhere. Maybe not when the good stuff is going on; like your lecturing me on how good I have it playing video games; but definitely during the intro. I suggest that you go purchase yourself a piece of royalty free music that you enjoy if you don’t like anything that Camtasia shipped with.

Being of the metal listening persuasion, I actually enjoyed the gearsofsteel track. So go ahead and play each of them and give them a chance (I know I did, not all the way through; but a solid minute each) to find one you like and save yourself some money.

Seriously. Save yourself some damn money. Go buy a track that is royalty free, or use what TechSmith was nice enough to add. Using radio playing songs without having the correct WRITTEN PERMISSION will most likely end badly for you.

I am not a lawyer by day, nor by night; so we aren’t going to argue what ‘fair use’ constitutes. Do that shit at your own risk.

Now adding gearsofsteel is as easy as making coffee. Like everything else we have used today, we are just going to drag it down into the play area and make a Track 3. Now, there’s a lot of information in that track. With anything audio related, Camtasia is nice enough to supply us with sound waves. You also have a green bar that is your level bar. It acts the same way that your volume controls do. Pull that bar up and it gets louder, pull it down and it gets softer.

Gears of Steel.png
Gears Green Line.png

But we want to really play some mind games. The easiest way to explain what I mean is to ask you to think of any movie you have ever watched that had film action going on with music. Which is like any movie ever. But now, watch a section of it; at the beginning of movies it tends to be softer and builds up. This can be achieved with the Fade In Behavior, or manually adjusting the track. Then the music becomes synonymous with the section of film, the more intense it is, the more intense the music. But all good things in films must come to an end, and eventually the music calms down and Fades Out into nothingness. I’m looking at you George Lucas, and specifically the scene that pits Obi-Wan against Anakin in Revenge of the Sith.

Now I said that this can be done manually, and not using the behaviors called fade in and fade out. We will do this through a trial and error method of audio points. First we determine how loud we want the track. Default is 100%, Camtasia supports upto a 500% increase, so you can really get some flows and ebbs in your videos.

I find myself editing this aspect based on my visual perception. Does the music match what is going on on screen? So it’s kind of hard to write out how to locate something you would need to watch and feel for. But, to create the build up, we need to determine where our music should be at its loudest. Right click on the green line inside the music track and select add audio point, then do the same thing again where the music should start falling off, and one last time where the music should be completely gone.

Now we get to do some dragging of this green line to make it work. The half circle at the very beginning we should bring down to manually get the fade in effect. The first dot we made is where the music should be built up to and stay for a moment; it kinda sets the tone for the intro. The second dot we made is where it should end, and start lowering. So we drag the 3rd circle down to be really really low if we want music throughout or to 0% to make a silent portion (if we aren’t cutting the clip at the end).

Gears Audio Points.png

The image has 36% starting until 100%, then holds there for a moment, then decreases to 14% to level out for the rest of the track at that 11%. You can change these values up and down as well as left and right to change how the audio comes out through the speakers. However you can go no further left nor right that your previous or following audio points; just like you can not go any lower than 0% and 500% when you move those points up and down.


Once you have fiddled your way into some clips that you like, in a way you like; it’s time to actually produce that clip. This is something that we may want to edit on the fly one day; but for the moment, all we want is the first 25 seconds.

short production.png

We moved the playhead all the way back to the beginning and then just grabbed the red arm and dragged it to the 25 second mark. If you want the entirety of the musical track; just drag that red arm to the end of the music, where a yellow bar will appear to tell you have synced up the ends of something together.

long production.png

However, everything between the (now invisible green arm) starting point and the red arm will have a blue overlay. Right click anywhere in the blue and select Add Timeline Section To Library. Give it a name when prompted and go get yourself a beer. You now have your very own intro that you won’t have to recreate each and every time you decide to produce a video.

Add to Library.png

We saved it to the library so that we can edit it on the fly in videos. Actually producing that section (whether it’s the short or the long one) creates a video that we will not be able to edit on the fly. What is done is done.
Of course, if any of this drives you to the liquor store for Fireball instead of a celebratory beer, why not just go ahead and schedule a call with me? Afterall, I  do this stuff in my sleep so that you don’t have to.



Frank AmelioComment