The central problem is that Camtasia’s zoom-n-pan editor can’t handle multiple image proportions. I’m pretty sure the central issue is size, not proportions (but I’ll be testing this right now, so stay tuned…). It wants to make every image the same proportions even if they’re not.

So, my solution is to get all the images to the proportions of my final video. For me, this will be 4:3.

So, obviously, this only presents a problem for portrait-orientation and odd-sized pictures. So, before dragging anything into Camtasia, I’m going to go through all the images and perform this simple triage:

  1. Is it something other than a 4:3?
  2. Can I simply crop it down to a 4:3 and keep all the important stuff? (pretty unlikely — why would you have taken it as a portrait?)
  3. …if not, then drag it into a photoeditor and “outcrop” or place onto a black background layer that is the proportions needed and that is larger than the limits of the image.

So, for example, if I have a 1536 x 2048 image, then I need a background layer that will expand the entire image to a width of 1.33333 (because 4 is 1.3333… times larger than 3) times 2048, which is 2730.6666… pixels.

Obviously I can’t use partial pixels, so let’s go up to the size where both numbers are divisible by four: 2736 x 2052.

The way to do this in Photoshop would be as follows: in the Editor mode go to Image: Resize: Canvas. Then just enter the dimensions you need. I’m entering 2736 x 2052 and I’m going to make the canvas black just in case I ever want to include it in a screen shot.

I’m actually using Photoshop Elements for this and was unable to find a batch method for multiple photos. So this is pretty time-consuming for more than a couple of photos.

Now I just pull my new, bigger pictures into Camtasia and I’m ready to use the drag & drop functionality!

After testing: yes, it worked, but the drag & drop method is slow and tedious, like real video editing. I’m going to try to avoid needing to use it.