H.264 Profile and Level

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1) What does H.264 Profile and Level mean? I want the best quality video possible so what settings do I pick from this menu?

2) As for Encoding mode..do I want it set to bitrate, then move the slider to max? Or Set it to Quality and put it at 100%?

3) And is it better to save a video as .avi or .camrec?

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talormanda

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Posted 7 years ago

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Dave O'Rourke, Senior Software Engineer

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The default settings will give you excellent quality. You should not need to tweak them in most cases.

1. The H.264 Profile and Level settings are constraints that are placed on properties of the H.264 encoder. The Profile is a constraint on which optimizations from the H.264 standard the encoder is allowed to use. The Level is a constraint on both frame rate and dimensions of the final video. Together, these constraints allow for hardware manufacturers to create levels of hardware at different performance and price levels. In general, Baseline profile is more compatible than Main or High. The lower the Level, the lower the frame rate and dimensions are allowed to be. This allows hardware vendors to offer cheaper phones with support for smaller, lower quality video, and more expensive phones that play larger, higher quality video. The Level=Auto setting means that the Level is not used as a constraint, but instead is set based on the frame rate and dimensions that you configure. The H.264 Profile and Level settings are sometimes important for targeting older phones and tablets, which is why they are exposed. It's a complicated topic, covered in much more detail on wikipedia, if you want more details. We debated quite a bit on whether or not to expose these settings. I'd recommend leaving it Profile=Baseline and Level=Auto, and then adjust them only if you have a specific reason to do so.

2. For encoding mode, we recommend Quality mode, not Bitrate mode. The Quality mode generally produces better quality at a smaller file size. Adjust the quality slider upward (toward 100%) and you'll get better quality at a larger file size. Adjust the quality slider downward (toward 1%) and you'll get worse quality at a smaller file size. The default is 50%, which seemed to test as the smallest file size where people were still satisfied with the visual quality. I wouldn't recommend going all the way up to 100%, as the file size usually goes up significantly with little to no perceptible difference in visual quality. But it is subjective, so you're welcome to experiment for yourself.

3. For recording, again, we recommend leaving the default of .camrec. The .camrec is a container which holds the .avi, along with some other metadata that enables features in the editor like SmartFocus and Cursor Effects. If you go with .avi, then you lose out on these features. As far as visual quality, they are identical. It's important to note that .avi and .camrec are intended to be inputs into the editor. These are your source recordings, and are not meant for sharing. Rather, they're meant as source footage for the editing/production process. You put them on the timeline, optionally edit them, and then produce to MP4 to get a file you can share.

Sorry for the long post. Hope this helps.
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talormanda

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Thank you that helps.
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talormanda

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Do you know what audio format I can set to, to get the best sound while recording? (format)
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Dave O'Rourke, Senior Software Engineer

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Again, the defaults should give you excellent quality audio. You don't need to change them.
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talormanda

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Okay. I meant for recording system audio also.
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Fred Grover, Champion

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I believe System Audio when recording is determined by your computers speaker playback levels for the volume. There is no real setting in Camtasia for the levels of recording system audio. I hope this helps. dro correct me if I am wrong.
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talormanda

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I am not sure about that.

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