About SmartFocus Not Working...

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  • Updated 2 months ago
Hi everyone - We realize the SmartFocus feature is broken in Camtasia. The feature was originally designed to solve a problem of high resolution screen recordings being consumed at lower resolutions due to bandwidth or device restrictions. For instance a 1080p recording being used on a 720p canvas. Or even, dare I say, a 480p canvas. With the majority of devices now capable of displaying full resolution content, this is less of a problem today. In fact, because many people are recording at 1080p, then publishing at 1080p... SmartFocus is simply providing less benefit. 

However, to reiterate, it’s buggy and broken. Not trying to gloss over that in any way. 

So... Are we going to address this? Yes, but I don’t know what that is going to look like yet. We need to perform a deeper evaluation of the work and more importantly, prioritize it. Our queue is currently full for at least the next ten weeks. 

In the spirit of transparency, I can tell you this: One solution to SmartFocus not working is to remove the feature from the product. It’s not my favorite choice, but if we can’t fix what we have in a meaningful way within a reasonable amount of time, then removing the feature is the path that makes the most sense until we can re-introduce a tool that helps our customers easily draw attention to an area of focus in their videos. 

Thank you for your continued feedback and support. I may reach out to connect with some of you experiencing issues so I can better understand your needs. I realize this is not an ideal response if you've been frustrated with SmartFocus, but I will share what I know and keep you updated. 

-Jake 
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Jake Pechtel, Strategy Lead - Camtasia

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Posted 2 years ago

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John French

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled smart focus for Camtasia for Mac 3 - help needed.

Hi, I need documentation to get Smart focus working on Camtasia for Mac 3. There doesn't seem to be any that I can find, and every time I use it I get error messages. Mostly canvas size too big, but when I make canvas smaller than recording, I get just blank video where the preview should be and no icons above the preview area. Undo does not them work and I have to reload the project to continue. Can someone explain how I can use this very useful feature? Or is there bug in it.?
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johnCla

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled smartfocus not working?.

Using Camtasia Mac 2.9.1, when I drag/drop the smartfocus effect onto my timeline, nothing seems to happen. I've looked at the tutorial, and at the help topic on smartfocus, AFAIK I'm doing it right...My steps:
1. record at 1280x720 using the camtasia recorder
2. save, then shrink the canvas slightly - this is required, right?
3. click/drag smartfocus down to the video track

Expected - I'll see edit icons on the track indicating smartfocus animations, and when I play the track I'll see zoom in and out

Actual - I see no edit markers, and I see no zoom and pan when I play.

What am I missing?
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Richard Moir

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This makes me sad. Your own tutorial for SmartFocus nails the reason why this such a great feature. It's all about focusing the user's attention to a particular area of the screen while maintaining context. Smaller devices may now be able to display 1080p, but it doesn't change the fact that the screens are tiny, making details very hard to see. SmartFocus is surely still very important and I'm shocked to hear it's been neglected!
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Jake Pechtel, Strategy Lead - Camtasia

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Totally agree with your statement on smaller devices, Richard. Just because a device CAN display a high resolution file doesn't mean it's the best choice for the viewing experience. If you chose to produce on a canvas that is optimized for an iPhone (just as an example), and were using content recorded at high resolution on a laptop or desktop, then SmartFocus is probably going to help your editing process and focus your viewers attention. 

Are you currently using SmartFocus or zooming and panning for your videos, Richard? I'd like to hear about your experience and what is or isn't working for you when trying to direct the attention of your viewer.  
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Richard Moir

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This was the first time I made a video with mobile devices in mind, so I haven't used smart focus before. However, I knew the feature was there and thought it would be perfect for what I wanted to do.

The most frustrating thing was that the feature is there but fails in a really obscure way. Note that I'm still on Camtasia 2 admittedly, hopefully it's better in 3. If you know that a feature is broken, it would be nice if the program explained that to me.

My workaround was to resize and crop my source material then use transitions. That gave me an acceptable result.
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Paul Middlin, Employee

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Richard, I just want to make sure I am clear on what you're doing and what your options are. SmartFocus was intended to automatically apply the zooms and pans to your video. However, you can still choose where you want to zoom and pan to yourself throughout the video; you shouldn't have to crop? But maybe we're saying the same thing.
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Richard Moir

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My mistake, Zoom In/Out does do what I want! Here's what happened: I watched your tutorial on zooming and panning and it talks about smart focus for the first 5 minutes then only mentions manual zooming in the last bit. I didn't watch the last little bit of the video because I thought I knew what I needed to know and already assumed smart focus was the only way to do it.

Now that I understand that SmartFocus is supposed to automatically zoom, I don't think I would ever use it.

Thanks for listening!
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david_griffiths

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Hi All,  would be awesome if the auto smart focus could just pick the current cursor position and magnify that area of the screen by a pre-selected percentage (and perhaps ensuring that the video didn't move off of the canvas if the cursor is at the edge of the screen).
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Andy

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Same issue using Camtasia 3. It's a real shame this feature doesn't work. Doing screen casts on a retina display means you *have* to use Zooms and pans a lot for anything that you're doing to be visible (even if viewed on a reasonably sized screen). Creating all of these manually is such a pain. So much easier if you could plan your mouse movements during recording so that smart focus would give you a decent 'draft' of potential zooms/pans that you can then edit. In other words, so much easier if the feature did what it was supposed to do. So, fixing this gets my vote ....
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screencast

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I toss in my vote, as well. I record on a retina display, and the movies I generate are on a smaller canvas. SmartFocus was one of my favorite Camtasia features when I started using Camtasia. I'd like to vote to bring it back, if that's possible. It save a ton of time!
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fletchermartin

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This is a very useful post. Thx for sharing this.
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jim

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Looking for Smart Focus to come back... would like to see some automation of zooming in / out on screen areas when doing screen recordings.  Gets a little tedious doing this manually. Any updates regarding the status?
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seth

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I am trying to use the SmartFocus and/or SmartFocus at Time feautre to record a click by click video where the viewport follows the mouse. It's actually fine if the viewport is a small screen - it will ultimately be in a small ~5 second gif - it doesn't need to be in the native resolution of my laptop. Please see my thread, I would appreciate any help.
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evan

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It's a feature that was included, and thus should be fixed.  I can't use it at all, yet it's a feature that I constantly want.  Bad form Camtasia.