Why does my video's color change from preview to rendered?

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When I export videos in any format I've tried (avi, mov, mp4, wmv) the white is showing up as slightly greyish beige, even though in the preview window inside Camtasia it looks proper pure white. It may be that the whole video is somewhat murkier, I am not sure, but this is not acceptable export quality for my business.
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Damon Muma

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Posted 8 years ago

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Kelly Mullins, TechSmith Employee & Helper

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Hi Irene,
I would be very interested to see what the result of your testing will be. Will you be sure to post back here with the results?

When you try a custom production; on video settings tab, set H264 profile to
high, encoding mode to quality with the slider
at about 70%.

Also, what format is your image from Snagit?

Kelly
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ComputerLady

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Thanks for your interest, Kelly! This has been an interesting experience to say the least. Hopefully I'll make it clear here what program/version of Windows was in use for each test...

1) Windows Media Player/Win 7 - colors looked fine.
2) Windows Media Player/Win 8.1 - color shift issue evident
3) Windows Video/Win 8.1 - colors look fine.
4) Windows Multimedia 8/Win 8.1 - colors look fine.

Summary - Something very odd is going on within the codex's for Windows Media Player on Win 8.1.

As to Snag-It, that was output to a JPG file.  
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Kelly Mullins, TechSmith Employee & Helper

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Hi Irene,

Thanks so much for sharing this information and for performing this test.
I'm sure others will find this very interesting.

What is does show is this is not a Camtasia Studio output issue, but is instead, as you deduced, a software/graphics card/codec issue.

This is a complicated problem and it boils down to how viewers are viewing your video.

Kelly
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Michiel Brand

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Having the same issue here. I have a video intro with my logo. If I export from Camtasia to MP4 and then upload to YouTube, my logo appears red instead of orange. If, however, I export from Camtasia to WMV and then upload to YouTube, the logo is more orange (although still darker than it should be).

I used to do this with Windows Movie Maker and then I didn't have this issue when exporting to MP4. So I guess it not only has to do with MP4 compression, but also with the way Camtasia handles this.
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Fred Grover, Champion

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Michiel did you try any of the suggestions above? Are you using the PC or Mac Version just to check as you did not say. Also, what OS are you using. I have not had any issues with this and if you continue to maybe put a support ticket in with TechSmith and see if they can reproduce it or if they can help find a reason to why this is happening. The support information is below:

TechSmith Support Information

http://support.techsmith.com/

Phone: +1.517.381.2300
Toll Free: 800.517.3001
(U.S. & Canada Only)
8:00 AM to 7:00 PM EST Monday through Friday

Let us know and thanks for posting. Have a great day/night and sorry I could not be of more help.
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cathy.raymond

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You won't get any joy logging a support ticket on this.  Seriously, who has time in a busy work day to muck around trying to solve this problem that's been going on for ages ?   Surely TechSmith should be doing the testing and working out what the problem is ?  I just put up with the greyness now, but it's annoying when you go to so much effort to make a video look great and it produces to a sub standard.
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Kevin Mojek, Employee

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Just wanted to chime in here that we are actively looking at this issue. It's a tricky one and there may not be a solution that guarantees accurate colors on all players, but we are currently doing some internal testing on a potential improvement.

Without getting too technical, the problem is related to color conversions that occur when encoding a video for MP4 and the subsequent conversion back to RGB color by the player. When compressing video frames or images, one thing that is commonly done is to convert from a red-green-blue (RGB) representation to a luminance-chrominance representation. The luminance part is what you would see on an old black-and-white TV. The chrominance part more-or-less describes how to "colorize" the grayscale image. The human eye is not as sensitive to changes in color so what's typically done is to scale the chromiinance part of the image down to half the scale of the grayscale image. Doing that color conversion is good, because it cuts the size of the image data in half, before there's even been any compression applied.

So... what's the problem? This color conversion is obviously nothing new... that's part of the problem actually. Over the years, there have been a few different sets of formulas for color conversion. If the encoder and decoder aren't on the same page, the result is a color shift. I can view the same video via Chrome, Firefox, or IE and see slightly different colors. The good news here is that (a) within Camtasia production, we can choose whichever color-conversion standard works best and (b) there is a provision within the H.264 spec (the video format that's commonly used in MP4 files) for us to specify which color-conversion standard was used in encoding the file. The bad news... the color-conversion info is optional; players may choose to look for it and apply the same color-conversion standard on the decoding side... or they may just ignore it and use a hard-coded conversion. Our internal testing so far seems to show that many common players may be in the second category. That's not the best news obviously, but if we set our default encoding to match up with that, we should have more viewers seeing accurate colors than they are currently.

So this ended up being a much longer answer that I intended, but just wanted to reiterate that this is a problem we are taking seriously and are hoping to have some sort of resolution going forward.
 
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jay

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I have found a workable solution which I posted earlier, but I think most people missed it. Render your video in avi format. Under compression settings, select "full frames (uncompressed). This will give you an ENORMOUS file size (a 30min camtasia recording will be about 150gigs) but the colors should be identical to the source.

In order to do this properly, you may need a backup hard drive that has space equal to DOUBLE the size of the rendered video, because I believe you'll need the same space available in the temp directory (so if the final video will be 150gigs, you will need to have 150gigs available in temp PLUS 150 gigs available on the drive the vid will be stored on - so 300 gigs of total space).

The good news is, you don't need all of that space to be on the same drive. You can go to tools>options>temp and change the temp directory folder location to one of your backup usb drives and render the video to a 2nd one. And if lack of space becomes an issue, you can do it the slow way by breaking up your video into parts and rendering each part separately.

Now once you have your new monster avi files, just open then up in another program like sony movie studio, join them on the timeline, and export them as a single mp4, etc. and they'll be shrunk down to a normal size, while keeping most of the original quality intact (contingent upon your export settings, of course).

I have tried every possible suggestion I've read on this thread and others, and this workaround was the only way I was able to keep my white powerpoint presentations looking white (and not an ugly, washed out grey). All other colors also seemed to remained true to the originals. Yes, it's a pain, but it works.
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cathy.raymond

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Hi Jay,


Thanks for positing - I downloaded a trial version of Sony Moviemaker and that certainly seems to do the trick.


On the downside of course it's a lot of mucking around and means having to purchase a second application in order to get professional results from the Camtasia application already purchased which is an unsatisfactory situation and one I'm not taking to my Manager !   Any videos that I have with hotspots in them will be lost as producing to avi file is not compatible with this function.   Although a lot of hotspots in my videos were mailto links which are no longer working following recent updates, unless it's been fixed since I last checked.


I'd imagine that any videos I have created with built in indexes will be lost when producing to avi.  And then also I'm losing the ability to customize my video with selected control bars, unless that is available in the Sony application - didn't check or really care to learn another application to get Camtasia behaving :).... and I'd be losing the nice little package that Camtasia produces with the HTML file etc.

Really just don't think I can be bothered with the mucking around given that I'm churning out videos quite regularly....... well, I shouldn't have to anyway :)

But thanks Jay, I'll reserve this solution for those special videos that are really important to get top notch..... and I better get cracking before my Sony trial runs out :)


Cheers,

Cathy



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Michiel Brand

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Yes, it's definitely a lot of mucking around. Especially considering the huge resulting file sizes and the extra time it takes to process and render the videos.

I don't understand quite frankly how a big software program like Camtasia does not manage to properly render accurate colors in a video? And what I really don't understand is how this hasn't been fixed yet. The first comment in this thread was 4 (!!) years ago. So an important issue like this is just ignored for years.

It's pretty ironic that a free program like Windows Movie Maker can render MP4 with accurate colors, while an expensive program like Camtasia can't. My workaround process for including a logo animation with accurate colors is to export from Camtasia, then import to Movie Maker, add the logo animation, and export to MP4. Lot of fuss.

I may look into other screen recording software like BB Flashback to see if that gives better results than Camtasia.
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cathy.raymond

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Yes, I agree.   I hear them say that they are working on it and it's not a simple problem to solve..... but come on, 4 years !   If it were my business I think by now I'd have devoted more resources to solving the problem.   It is essentially the difference between a great product and a not so great product.   People are paying for a package that only half delivers in my opinion.

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Michiel Brand

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Agree, 4 years seems like a reasonable time frame (lol) to solve an essential problem like this. It looks very bad for my videos to have a completely different color of the logo. I haven't tried out recording Power Point presentations, but according to the original poster this will result in white backgrounds appearing as gray...

Maybe they can just contact Microsoft and ask how they manage to pull off accurate color rendering during MP4 encoding :). I believe Windows Movie Maker won't be available anymore under Windows 10 so my neat little workaround also won't help anymore when I upgrade my Windows version :(
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Michiel Brand

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Good to know that you are actively looking into this issue, Kevin. I hope you come up with a solution.

After doing some testing, here's what I found:

So....the problem lies with Camtasia and does not have to do with MP4 file format itself. Exporting to MP4 with Windows Movie Maker gives best results.

Windows Movie Maker does a much better job with MP4 encoding, keeping original colors. I tried modifying MP4 encoding settings in Camtasia, but this didn't improve things.

EDIT!

I just found out that the browser you view the YouTube video in also has a big impact. The video that I exported as MP4 looks pretty bad in FireFox: my light orange logo looks like dark red in that browser.

However, I now found out that when I watch it in Chrome, that same video displays the logo as dark orange instead of red. It's still not close to the actual colors of the logo, but is much better than how FireFox renders it. The video I exported to WMV looks good in Chrome with colors that match almost my actual logo. So, exporting to WMV still gives better results than MP4.
(Edited)
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Antonio Nakić Alfirević

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Same issue. When I export to gif colors are even worse than when rendering to mp4. Also exporting to gif takes forever ("Encoding animated GIF Frames" takes 10x the duration of the video).
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Dave O'Rourke, Senior Software Engineer

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Antonio,

The Animated GIF is limited to 256 colors with no audio.  These are limits of the Animated GIF format, not limits in Camtasia Studio.  The colors change because you likely have many more than 256 colors in the video(s) on the timeline, and these need to be reduced down to only 256 colors for the GIF format.  If you need more colors than this, you will need to produce to a different format, such as MP4.

Animated GIF is intended for short animations of small dimensions.  We do not put a limit on the dimensions or duration of the Animated GIF output.  But you'll probably get a better result if you keep the timeline as short as possible, and the canvas dimensions as small as possible.  The larger the dimensions and the longer the timeline, the harder the production must work to reduce down to 256 colors.  By keeping the video smaller and shorter, you can reduce the production time for this format.

The issues you're having with Animated GIF are separate from the issues others in this thread are having with MP4.  They are similar in that they both have to do with color, but they have different root causes.

Hope this helps.
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Antonio Nakić Alfirević

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Hi Dave and thanks for the quality answer.

I really should have asked about my gif gripe in a separate thread, my apologies.

I understand that gifs are supposed to be short, mine are about 10+ seconds, high res, it's a wait until they're done which is a pain if I'm trying out a bunch of times. Still, it's just a minor inconvenience, and I probably shouldn't have put it in this thread. Ditto for the gif colors.

I am having the MP4 issue though (washed out grayish colors) and that's the main issue for me. The scene I'm mostly recording is Excel, so it's predominantly white with green as the secondary color. FWIW I think it gets worse the more white there is in the scene, but not sure. 

Any chance of a fix in the near future? Not trying to be nosy, but I am interested... I don't know much about mp4 encoding but it doesn't seem to be exotic, is there something specific to camtasia that's causing this issue, or is it due to a performance optimization? Personally I'd settle for slower rendering in exchange for color fidelity. 

Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with Camtasia, I think it's an awesome product, but this seems to be rather big issue to have for so long. 

Best,
Antonio
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Dave O'Rourke, Senior Software Engineer

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The grey-ish colors in Excel when producing to MP4 are likely caused by the same color shift issue described in this thread.  If you read the response above from Kevin Mojek, this explains the issue in some technical detail.  Note that playing the same MP4 video in different players may yield different results.  This is because each player needs to perform a color conversion when decoding the video.  If this doesn't match the way the video was encoded, you'll see different colors on the screen.  It's a tricky issue, mostly because we don't control the color conversions that VLC, Windows Media Player, Chrome, IE, Firefox, etc. and sometimes your graphics card/driver perform on the way to delivering the pixels to the screen.

We're looking at different ways to render the MP4 that would improve both the accuracy and consistency of results across different players, and we hope to deliver some improvements in a future release.  I can't comment on when that might be available, because it's not up to me, and because there are a myriad of factors that affect release dates.  All I can do at this point is to assure you that we're working on it, and we will deliver any improvements at the earliest opportunity.
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Mona Soliman

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thanks for yours opinion i face this problem too  .
(Edited)
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Matt Watts

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I've experienced grayish-looking MP4's and MOV's when opening with VLC. When opening with Windows Media Player, they looked colorful. I found this link talking about allowing your NVIDIA graphics card to use more range in colors and this even made the movies I opened with VLC vibrant and colorful-looking. https://sekharpadikkal.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/fix-washed-out-colors-or-black-levels-in-vlc-player/
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Nicola

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Hello, I also have this problem with colour changes when rendering. I have tried all solutions above, different browsers etc, yet my company brand colour is still being altered when rendering.  Is a solution still being worked on? Thanks for any help or feedback.
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lalunecreative

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This is still an ongoing bug. I spent two weeks trying to work it out with a support hero named Jimmy B from techsmith.

The results are that Both Snagit, and Camtasia have a bug when exporting in .mp4 format. Snagit can't export in anything else, so it just always captures and exports videos with desaturated colors. It's a frustrating thing, especially since I've been using both Snagit and Camtasia for years without having any of these issues. Then I bought a brand new iMac Pro a few weeks ago and can't seem to get rid of the issue.

My testing (which I did thoroughly)

- Camtasia captures video and exports in .mov with accurate colors
- Camtasia captures video in accurate colors but then exports in .mp4 with desaturated colors
- Snagit captures and exports video with desaturated colors
- Snagit captures and exports images with accurate colors
- Camtasia captures and exports images with accurate colors
- Loom captures video and exports with accurate colors
- Screenflow 7 captures images, and video and exports to .mp4 with accurate colors
- Quicktime captures images, and video in .mov and .mp4 with accurate colors

This is strictly a Techsmith software issue, and it's obviously not being resolved. The desaturation of colors makes the exports terribly different enough to where we're looking at other software to use. Screenflow works perfectly fine, as does Loom, and any other we tested so it's likely we won't be using Camtasia or Snagit until this gets resolved. If this issue has been on-going for six years, and they know perfectly well what's causing it, and refuse to fix it. I'm afraid we're all stuck and it won't ever get fixed.

Here's Jimmy B's response on the issue.

"It plugs into how Camtasia uses Mac's AVFoundation (Snagit uses this as well) to encode H.264/MP4 media files. Unfortunately, it's still under investigation so I do not have a confirmed answer on the cause of this happening on the iMac Pro vs the 5K iMac nor do I have a time frame on the fix as of yet. When I tested this on my MacBook Pro (recording the accurate colors image you sent), the colors looked accurate in Camtasia  and after export for me."
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Dominic Pouzin

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Setting my Intel HD display to full range (suggested by another customer) also fixed the issue for me. White backgrounds are white instead of grey in video recordings.
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info

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This solution worked with SnagIt. It did not help with Camtasia Studio, however. So I chose the option to publish to YouTube, and then used an online converter to download the result, which was correct.
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Silentwisher

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I've checked both my monitor's colors using windows and the menu buttons on the monitor itself. I can say with 100% it is something with Camtasia Studio. When I use premier I never ever have these color issues. Here is a screenshot of the RAW mp4 file and the "rendered" mp4 file side by side using VLC player to view them. As you can see, there is a dramatic color difference. These VLC players are side by side on the same screen.

I don't think I will be ever re-purchasing Camtasia studio anymore. I have for the past 2 years and I'm very disappointed that it is still an issue.


(Edited)
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akarimov

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Yup, still getting this issue. Bought the 2019 camtasia for my pc as an upgrade from my old version of camtasia on the macbook pro. Doing some editing I found that occasionally moving the playhead over a videoclip  had about a 65% chance of permanently making a clip gray, which is inconvenient for montage editing as it results in some clips being fine and others looking like they're covered in smog.

Tried all solutions above, no fixes worked, and rendering it wouldn't get rid of it either. On the left of this image is the render of a clip and on the right is the source file on my PC. I'm right there with @Silentwisher, I don't think I'll be purchasing camtasia again. This bug never existed with the old versions but for some reason for the newer versions this has existed for the last 4 years and still exists today.


(Edited)