Best practice for longer duration videos in Camtasia Studio 8.6 (windows)

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Hi all. I tried to find this information but I couldn't really get all the pieces together related to the most current version of Studio which I'm using. I have a project that will play back on a Panasonic 42" TV via a laptop pc. That TV goes up to 1440x1880 at 4:3 and 1920x1080 at 16:9. The video I'm creating will having a running time of around 40 minutes with several edits (annotations, call outs, animations) in addition to the photos, small video clips and full narration.

My questions are:

a) What is the best practice for overall duration for a single project? Should I be planning to split this into one or more project files?
b) If I should split the video into multiple project files, what is the best way to pull it all back together as a single video file to deliver to the client without sacrificing quality along the way?
c) What is the recommended resolution given the playback options above? This video will never hit the public space (youtube or the like) and will stay contained in a corporate boardroom for playback on the TV mentioned.
d) I presume .mp4 is the best format but would you also consider .avi for this scenario?

Thanks for any help, ideas and advice!
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Posted 4 years ago

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Photo of Sharyn


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I usually encounter issues when I use lots of video clips (usually about 10 seconds each) in a presentation. Once the presentation gets longer than 1.5 minutes I start having hardware issues and Camtasia Freezes. I have no such issues with only one or two vid clips. I am also interested in the answer to this question.
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kayakman, Champion

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based on what you've described, you may be OK with a custom MP4 production [with controller], but a lot depends on the details of your project specifics [#, type, dimensions of video clips; # of image clips; how many timeline objects [like callouts], how many editing cuts; etc

could you post a full screen screenshot of the project on timeline at ctl-F9 zoom?

when building out projects, it helps if the clips [video, image] are the same dimensions; I'd try using editing dimensions of 1920x1080 at first; for best quality, set video quality slider at 70%, with H264 at high

I assume the TV will behave as a PC monitor?

40 minutes duration is long, but not excessive for a g file production; a lot depends on how good the laptop is [editing, production, playing]

I'd try producing as described above; if playback will be off a laptop HD [not from a web site], all should be OK

you can also break up a production into smaller, automatically connected files, by putting markers in the project, and production to multiple files from markers; the video will play all the way through even though each marker segment will play as a separate clip

let us know what happens ...
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Hi. Thanks for the quick reply. The project consists of hundred of photos all various sizes that will be animated onto the screen in some fashion. Those form the bulk of the content that was originally done using a tool called Swish (to produce a flash output).

The content also includes narration that will come in the form of 50 or so smaller clips (mono, 16 bit, mp3). The on-screen images and call outs will be timed to appear and fade away at specific points in the narration. Kind of a documentary style production. There are only a couple of small video clips that will be inserted in a certain points.

The playback laptop that the client has is much lightweight than my production equipment. That said, the end result will reside on the playback laptop's hard disk so as you mentioned, there really shouldn't be any playback issues and overall video size isn't really a constraint either. The TV acts like a computer monitor.

For ease of editing, I'm thinking that splitting the files into several would be a bit less resource intensive at the production end so I will learn more about markers as you suggested.

The big question, really, is if Camtasia is the best solution for this. I produce e-learning as a normal course of work using tools like Camtasia and Articulate Storyline, but this project is intended to be a video without interaction. I have Adobe Premiere/After Effects. I could use these, but was thinking it was overkill. Do you have any particular thoughts on stability of using Camtasia for this purpose or any other suggestions for software that you might turn to to create this type of production?

Thanks again for your reply.

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Joe Morgan

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Here's my two cents worth. 

I use Camtasia for creating HD  video tutorials that rarely exceed 20 min. in duration. Camtasia 8 is a 32 bit program and becomes unstable when utilizing  2 to 2.5 GB of RAM memory in total. It will usually crash before hitting 3GB of RAM usage.
Kayakman knows how to squeeze long videos out of Camtasia. I'm sure he can guide you through the additional steps to accomplish your goals. 

I use  Premier Pro CS6  for all of my video production work. If you are reasonably proficient with Premiere Pro. I recommend using it.
Especially if you are using a 64 bit computer and 64 bit version of Premier Pro.

I'm responding here because in my opinion. Premiere Pro is better suited for your project.
1920 x 1080p is the only way to fly from my standpoint. 64 bit programs are much better suited to that type of editing.

Regards. Joe
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kayakman, Champion

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based on your your last post, Camtasia should be a good tool to use

I make photo slide show music videos, among other types of projects; many have 200+ color photos [6 second duration images] as source clips on timeline; Camtasia has worked perfectly for these

you have a lot of narration clips; try producing just those together to get a single WAV file as output; use that single WAV file if possible in the project; fewer clips in project, the better; Camtasia sometimes has issues with MP3s, so you may need to convert them to WAV outside Camtasia[?]

you did not mention what dimensions your photos are; if you use 1920x1080 as editing dimensions, be sure that the photo dimensions are no larger than that

my work involves 35mm digital images; I scale my native JPGs down to 1620x1080 [using Lightroom], then use those in the project; do not use any images with dimensions larger than 2048x2048 as Camtasia Editor will have problems handling them; my scaled down images will show with a small border around them in the video; I use a background color so this does not look bad at all

suggest you break your project into sections; work on 1 section at a time; use the Library to hold the different section projects

I'd suggest you give it try and see what happens; Camtasia should handle your needs just fine

keep in mind that if you heavily edit a project, that will affect editor performance; you can overcome this by periodically producing to AVI [simplifies the project]; that will give you a single, clean clip to continue editing with; add any interactive objects as a last step before final production

I've made a "linked" production that involved over 4,100 photos; there are numerous separate productions that are linked together with jump-to-URL hotspots, all front-ended with a menu-like presentation; runs for many hours
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Well, here's my opinions...

a) I've been in the e-learning space for about 4.5 years now and I agree with the masses in that short is sweet. I'd chop this into multiple parts. You could always have it in one presentation (Keynote, PowerPoint, Articulate, etc.) but as separate video pieces later. I understand that it seems like a specialty presentation, but 40 minutes is a long long time for one sitting. We had a piece that was 21 minutes last week that we split into 2 parts so people viewing could watch it in two sittings if needed. Of course, you know your audience best.

b) Our LMS allows us to have blended learning modules that consist of many pieces. So, the piece I talked about in the last paragraph comes off more like 2 chapters. That's the best option. If you've no LMS, consider using Keynote, PowerPoint, or something of the like.

c) I'm a big fan of 720P, but I'm warming up to 1080P. The reason being that most people only had the bandwidth to handle up to 720P until just the last 2 years. I still use mostly 720P.

d) MP4 is your best bet. It's going to be visible on the most devices out there (Win, Mac, Mobile, etc.) and I'd compress with h264 in the MP4 wrapper. I believe that should be an auto setting in Camtasia though.

I hope this helps. I stand by what I'm saying.

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Thanks for the comments, I really appreciate your time and expertise. Based on your suggestions, I'm going to do this in 1080p in Camtasia using a "sections" methodology to keep resource consumption lower during production. I take it the more call outs, annotations, etc . done within Camtasia, the more memory that gets consumed - converting to an avi occasionally is a do-able work-around. I'm on a 64-bit machine with access to other 64-bit programs like Premiere but would probably spend too much time fiddling around as I'm not that proficient with Premiere. PowerPoint might work, producing to an MP4 using PPT 2016, but timing of objects/animations seems more tedious in PPT (no real timeline to work with) and the type of effects and smoothness of motion I'm needing for this project isn't really possible in PPT.

As an aside, the final result will be a training video that personnel need to watch in order to gain access to a military base - so it's a sit back and watch sort of thing but well produced and visually interesting to help people not fall to sleep during the 30 to 40 minutes they have to watch it. : )

Thanks again for all of your help!
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Kelly Mullins, TechSmith Employee & Helper

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Hi slhice,

I applaud you for getting help from the experts BEFORE you begin your project.

Preplanning is always recommended for something like this.

Good luck on your project!

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