Audio Levels

  • 174
  • Idea
  • Updated 4 months ago
  • Implemented
(This idea comes what we’ve heard here in this community as well as from other customer feedback methods we utilize. The feedback we gather here will help us gauge how well it fits our users’ needs. Please let us know what you think)

The Problem
Audio levels vary across devices and environments. When recording audio I want to know if levels are good or I want to correct it in editing.
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David D, Technical Product Manager - Camtasia

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Posted 2 years ago

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christopher.clephane

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Re: Brooks.

Politely * The search function for the forums indicated this was the most relevant thread for 'Audio Levels.'


My continued OPINION:

Auto leveling is not helpful when trying to train users on how to set proper levels (when recording) in the first place.   
- Understanding the  presence of noise in their environment, etc.
- How to project properly into the microphone, etc.   

Auto-leveling is a quick fix. 

Ultimately I predict it will create more problems than it solves -- especially for new users -- and those with minimal experience/understanding of how to properly record their voice.  

Apologies for the Ad Homenim -- but continued sheepish politeness is not getting us desired results.
Whats wrong with directing frustration? 
Your perceived approach of  "Argumentum ad temperantiam" is giving us 'features' that miss the mark.

That's feedback.
And an opportunity to engage.


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christopher.clephane

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My scenario:    Teaching engineers, coders and scientists that "having a big timeline squiggly" is better than "a small squiggly" .....is simply absurd past the initial giggle.     The real world exists in measurement...not squigglies that have no point of reference.   

For work to be reproduce-able and consistent ....you need a point of reference while working. 
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Brooks, Camtasia Technical Product Manager

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In the tests we've run we've actually seen great results with new / inexperienced users. I's difficult to train people to record like a pro. Some users don't have the equipment, some users don't have the patience, most are just trying to get a job done and want to move as quickly as possible. That's why record time metering wasn't prioritized over auto-leveling of volume. We made the calculation that we could do the most good for the most people with auto-leveling. 

Auto-leveling doesn't address clipping and that's one area where better record time metering would help. We'll continue to evaluate that. I would encourage you to create a new post for it and let forum users vote on it. I'd also encourage you to give auto-leveling an opportunity. Use it on a bunch of projects, see where it helps and where it doesn't. Provide feedback after you've had the opportunity to see the results.

As far as feedback, the old saying that you will catch more flies with honey than vinegar applies. After years of watching the corrosive impact of humans yelling at each other on the Internet, I'm of the view that you should feel free to give direct and honest feedback, but you should never attack, put down, demean, dogpile, or shame. Those tactics don't promote the professional and constructive exchange of ideas and they don't create an environment where customers or employees feel comfortable engaging with each other. I think reasonable people can all agree with those terms. 

There are many areas of Camtasia that could improve. We're doing our best to move the product forward and create value for our customers. I hope you will see that as we release more frequently over the next several years.

Thanks for all the feedback. I know you are passionate and I believe your intentions are good. I will be as transparent as I can be about our intentions and perspective.

Brooks
Camtasia Technical Product Manager
Mobile Technical Product Manager
TechSmith
(Edited)
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Jess Wilkinson

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So, experienced quality customer feedback was de-prioritized over a user "auto-level" quick fix that will be difficult to work around since it is turned on by default?

BTW I'm not calling names, nor piling on. Just annoyed that feedback given over the years was ignored because "record time metering wasn't prioritized over auto-leveling of volume." 

When a person is recording and gets lost in the result they hear, they need a way to tell where they are, that's what db level metering does.  Newbie or not you need a visual speedometer for better results (Log db metering please.) 

Automatic stuff always over-complicates a simple system, I'm an engineer and believe  me I have seen this pattern a lot.

To ask users, and then listen to them, is a gift for both engineers and marketing. Sadly priority choices must be made, deadlines too. I understand and at the same time don't agree as to the choices that were made here.
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Brooks, Camtasia Technical Product Manager

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Characterizing auto-leveling as a quick fix would be complete inaccurate. We sunk significant engineering muscle and time into building a really robust solution. It can be toggled on or off at the project level manually. It defaults to on for new projects and defaults to off for existing projects.

We do weigh the needs of the entire user base and the level of savvy and expertise that our user base as a whole has. How often will a feature be used? How many people will be impacted? How much skill is required to use / master? What skills do we have on the team? What can we realistically engineer in our cadence? How much does it cause to license third party solutions? Those are all questions we ask ourselves. 

I totally appreciate the desire to have sophisticated capabilities. I feel the same way myself whenever I use Camtasia's animation keyframing given my background in motion graphics and grasp of pro tools. The truth is, for the vast majority of Camtasia my desires for pro level keyframing isn't desirable, would increase the learning curve and wouldn't make a significant impact. We're not trying to go toe to toe in the pro tools world.

I do think audio is an area that continues to need more investment. I get to balance that against all other areas that need investment, the requirements of my internal stakeholders and the requests / needs we get from across our entire user base. Our product team interviews customers daily, goes out and visits customers, takes videos of workflows and problems facing customers--that's how we decide what to work on.

FWIW, TechSmith has spent the last two years investigating the needs of pro audio users. There's a team exploring options there. I don't know where it's going to end up and can't make any promises, but it is something that's being looked at very seriously.

I can't speak to past years and decisions that were made. I started managing the product last summer. We identified audio as something we wanted to include in the 2019 release and we tried to find something where we could deliver the max value given the time we had. The team is fired up and operating at a good clip. We've moved to a yearly cadence and we have a slew of cool things we are working on that we believe are going to make a difference for a large chunk of our users. I look forward to engaging with all of you as we crank out product over the next several years.

Best,

Brooks
Camtasia Technical Product Manager
Mobile Technical Product Manager
TechSmith
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Joe Morgan

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It's not that audio leveling isn't a good feature. It is.
But the excuses offered for not having a meter are overwhelming.

A DB meter has been requested going back as far as the Get Satisfaction forum.
https://feedback.techsmith.com/techsmith/topics/wish_list_audio_level_meter

Auto-volume leveling  received 1 request and 1 vote as near as I can find/tell 4 years ago.
https://feedback.techsmith.com/techsmith/topics/automatic-volume-leveling

An audio meter is as rudimentary and basic as it gets with regards to audio tools. It should have existed before the first audio filter. Yet TechSmith always has a reason not to add one.

I won't bother trying to list the many benefits of incorporating one.

Regards,Joe

(Edited)
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christopher.clephane

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Without measurement -- its all guesswork.
RGB values?
Rotation in Degrees?
Position in X-Y-Z Coordinates?
Playback Position in TIME?

Audio levels = missing

REMAINING ISSUE:
This tool (Camtasia) has LONG IGNORED one of the most basic needs that come with timeline editing:  "The ability to accurately control and manipulate your individual audio signal levels in a reproduce-able manner that allows consistency across independent productions."

OBSERVABLE REALITY:
Most EVERY timeline editing package (that I am aware of) contains audio metering of some form.  

THE NEED:
A lot of us are required (by our employer corporations) to use this tool. 
Why Camtasia? To your credit and longevity....Camtasia is generally billed as an "....industry standard..." and "...a comprehensive tool..." that allows average users to forego the learning curve of Adobe and other higher-end products.

And -- again to your credit -- that's a truly accurate portrayal. 
I CAN get learners up and running quickly.
And its also very easy for me to use as an experienced pro.
All at the expense of audio quality.

Which becomes an issue when creating libraries of material (hundreds of videos) and trying to maintain consistency/quality across all of those separately produced pieces - generated in different business units all over the country.

Numbers are required for measurement.


The point that keeps getting swept under the rug is that ...
(Garbage in = garbage out.)   
If I can't give my users/trainees the tools to capture and evaluate their audio levels properly (numerically against a known scale)...no amount of output filtering (regardless of how clever or well-implemented) will fix the issue.


Yes, the solution was an attempt a being responsive. 
But you missed the mark  (for the customers who need it the most ) -- the pro's and people charged with training others to use this package at a higher level.


No measurement = not reproduce-able
Camtasia is still missing one of the MOST BASIC TOOLS associated with timeline editing (audio metering).   
And I have no issues saying that out loud.
Many of us are super-frustrated every time you leave us behind.
(This is my 6th major release.) 

** A good majority of the people who would benefit from this simple addition --most likely don't understand it well enough to ask for it by name. ** 
(That's a probable part of the ongoing disconnect.)



(Edited)
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Jess Wilkinson

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By the way I don't characterize an audio level meter as a sophisticated pro tool it is - basic - 

A simple calibrated db level meter is more like a speedometer is to a car.  Without it you're guessing  speed based on stuff moving outside your window, or trusting cruse control to drive at the right limit under all conditions.
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Brooks, Camtasia Technical Product Manager

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Again, thanks for all the feedback on this thread. Because of the large number of different feature requests it's difficult to gauge how much support any single feature request has within this community. There are at least 16 different feature requests that I've been able to identify in this post. 

I will be closing down comments on this post in a day or two and creating individual posts for each of these requests. I encourage you to vote for and follow the features you want. Please give details about about what your expectations / dreams for the features are. Links to examples and existing implementations in other products are always helpful. Please do not add different requests to these posts.

If any of you want to continue to engage with me further about the topic of audio in general, your frustrations with the product, or anything else, please contact me at b[dot]andrus[at]techsmith[dot]com. 

Best,

Brooks
Camtasia Technical Product Manager
Mobile Technical Product Manager
TechSmith
(Edited)
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Jess Wilkinson

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Brooks, I understand there's a lot remaining in the audio feature thread. Can you at least split out the level meter request info into it's own thread? Probably best to have one official entry to track and focus on.

Thanks
Jess

P.S. Original post here was:
"Audio levels vary across devices and environments. When recording audio I want to know if levels are good or I want to correct it in editing."  Still not answered nor implemented.
(Edited)
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Fred Grover, Champion

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I would like to say I like the new feature for audio normalizing but, as with any software there is always room for improvements and added features.

I would like to see the Audio Level Meter and also have the ASIO Audio implemented and these requested features have been going on for years from users all over the World. I personally feel that TechSmtih is losing out on a lot of users who would want to purchase or would use the software with some audio upgrades for the Professional Audio Guys and Gals and new users trying to upgrade to get the Professional Audio into Camtasia without using a separate 3rd Party Software. Just my 2 cents worth and I hope TechSmith will take more notice on what the users are asking for with the Audio Features and possibly upgrade them.

I will be emailing you in the future Brooks. Thanks for posting everyone and I would like to be updated on this feature request if possible.
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Petter Dessne

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Just wanted to say I have used the audio levelling tools (adding the envelope points) quite a lot over the last year. It has worked very well! I come from a DAW background and have used Camtasia to do both lectures for my univ students and YouTube videos for professional websites on music software. In both cases, I have successfully increased and lowered the audio levels to levelize the contents, and done crossfades, fade ins/outs etc.

I haven't yet received the upgrade to the new version from my IT department, but I must say I personally am quite content with the audio levelling of Camtasia (I think this needs saying due to the rather harsh tone of some posts in this thread). 

Not that it matters much to me, but it does surprise me that there is no VU meter (if that's indeed the case): after all there _is_ a VU meter during recording, so it's obviously already implemented.

Finally, I still hope for my FR regarding auto-insertion of markers (see first page in this thread). It would be so cool for music productions and for getting video clips of the same lengths. Note that there is nothing like that on the market, and it should be a breeze to implement (basically do a for-loop and do some basic BPM conversion; I've done the UI already) in comparison to all other stuff the TechSmiths do. :)

Petter




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Brooks, Camtasia Technical Product Manager

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Hey Petter,

Thanks for the feedback. What platform are you on. We actually did a beta of an innovation project affectionately called bars & beats. It didn't get much response when we tested it, so we put it back on the shelf. I may be able to find a video of it that you could take a look at and give feedback on. Hit me up at b[dot]andrus[at]techsmith[dot]com if you are interested.
(Edited)

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