Choppy Preview Tip for iPhone Created .MOV

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  • Updated 4 years ago
  • (Edited)
After a lot of research, and a loss of more of my hair, I found a good tip for those of us creating video with our iPhones and trying to use it with Camtasia Studio.

I, like many others, experienced very choppy video playback in the Preview window of Camtasia. My systems specs are more than enough to run the program and the choppiness was making the software completely unusable. I tested the same videos on multiple systems, all meeting the minimum system requirements, all with the same experience.

Nothing worked and I was ready to ask for a refund. I just couldnt efficiently edit videos using Camtasia with the amount of lag and horrendous video Preview.

The tips for turning off hardware acceleration, changing screen resolution, doing a "render as..." for portions of the video I was trying to edit, and converting each file to another format, were not acceptable when working with multiple video snippets.

What finally seemed to work, and is efficient (for me at least), is to create a single Track in Camtasia. Drop all of the videos for your edit into that single Track and export as an MP4. I can now open that MP4 in Camtasia and edit with Preview and no choppy video.

It isnt the best solution, since I think the software should be able to import the video from a massively popular video creation device like an iPhone, but it works for me and I thought I would share with others. It would have saved me hours of research and troubleshooting...
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Ron Mills Jr.

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  • annoyed, optomistic

Posted 4 years ago

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Timbre4, Champion

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Has no one mentioned Variable Bit Rate (VBR) to you? I have dozens of iPhone videos and these typically have to be converted to CBR (constant bit rate) MOV files to behave properly in a video editor. I convert my Apple videos in SONY Vegas (there are other solutions out there) and then work on editing them.

It is my understanding that Apple MOV files are usually variable bit rate due to the desire to manage variations in exposure (light levels, etc.) to keep file size down, Someone else (or Google) might explain this approach better.

Looking at your videos on the iPhone doesn't reveal any issues, they just play as they were shot. Nobody would know any difference. Putting them onto any video editing platforms that demand constant values, reveals the issue that has to be dealt with in order to have something stable to work with.


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It blows my mind that Camtasia cannot handle .mov files recorded with iPhone.  Camtasia is so frustrating and disappointing.  And their developers leave issues like this one unresolved for years.
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Robert R., Online Community Admin

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Hi there!

Given that modern iPhones can take video up to 240 FPS (Frames Per Second) and Camtasia Studio 8 supports a maximum of 30 FPS, the issue may be related to framerate. While the behavior is not typical of Camtasia with some files, DSLR, DV Cameras, and Smartphones record extremely inefficient videos where Camtasia works best when editing more efficient videos (i.e. lower-bitrate videos). For now it will be best to transcode your source files before bringing them into Camtasia for Editing. Fortunately transcoding is generally a speedy process and you can use a free tool called HandBrake. We have a download link and a tutorial video on how to transcode using HandBrake at the bottom of the following article:
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"DSLR, DV Cameras, and Smartphones record extremely inefficient videos where Camtasia works best when editing more efficient videos (i.e. lower-bitrate videos)."

Said it himself, Camtasia works better with worse fotage. Disappointing is the least I could say it is.