How can I reduce my source file size?

  • 1
  • Question
  • Updated 4 years ago
This isn't directly a Camtasia question but the problem happens in Camtasia because it's crashing on me on a regular basis.

I've started recording myself with a camcorder and recording the computer screen with Camtasia. Today, the camcorder generated a file that was 18 minutes and 3.2GB. I used Handbrake to reduce the file down to 1.2GB. I tried several settings and that's the smallest I could get it.

I then load the 2 clips (myself and the screen capture). My next step is to cut out all of the mistakes, interruptions, etc. Then I start editing in the transitions, pan/zoom, animations, etc.

The final video might be 9 minutes. But there's a lot of crashing, particularly around splices and transitions.

Is there something I can do in my process to ease the stress on Camtasia?
Photo of Oz du Soleil

Oz du Soleil

  • 165 Posts
  • 54 Reply Likes
  • perplexed

Posted 4 years ago

  • 1
Photo of pearsonm


  • 25 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
I have mention this one before.  Try putting your source file into a program like video converter free from  You can convert the source to any definition you want.  Your camcorder will likely be in HD.  You can take this to DVD or even TV quality very simply.  it will convert to Mp4 etc.  Only care is when you install,  read all instructions carefully as it will install 3rd party (this is what makes it free) that you likely do not want. I think you need to uncheck all the boxes as you move through.
Photo of Timbre4

Timbre4, Champion

  • 680 Posts
  • 273 Reply Likes


It sounds like Camtasia is really being asked to do a ton of work here and this is why it crashes.

I believe that if you were to try this workflow you could reduce the workload presented: 1) Do a first pass to get the basic track edited down to final 9 minutes, 2) render that to AVI to minimize loss. Do this for both your clips if possible, at least the screen track.

3) Start a new project and load this AVI into it as your starting point. 4) On this second pass add the transitions, animations, pan/zoom elements towards your finished product to be rendered in the format you require.

This means Camtasia only has to keep track of your effects and not the video track with a bunch of cuts in it. I strongly recommend staying in the trec or AVI format to retain quality and not convert it. If you can get the workload under control you won't have to. Good luck

Photo of Oz du Soleil

Oz du Soleil

  • 163 Posts
  • 54 Reply Likes
It's taken a while to realize that Camtasia has its own limits. I discussed some of this with the tech support staff (and it was a good conversation. So, I've got no complaints). 

After upgrading my i3 laptop with 12GB of RAM to an i5 desktop with separate video card and 16GB of RAM, Camtasia was still crashing at the predictable places: splices and transitions.

It helps to know that Camtasia is what's being stressed out and not my computer. Now I can revise my workflow.
Photo of Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan

  • 7137 Posts
  • 3873 Reply Likes

It’s true that you can render bits and pieces of a project to achieve success. There are some projects that will become so large it’s the only option you will have.

However, pre-rendering individual video clips is a real workflow killer and can add man hours to a project.

Media that is incompatible with Camtasia and other issues can crash the program as well.

 Camtasia’s biggest drawback is that it is still a 32 bit program. Video editing requires a lot of RAM memory and 32 bit programs struggle as a result.  Especially when working with HD footage.


So here’s a technique that serves me better than anything else I’ve ever tried.

Camtasia’s crashes are relatively predictable if you know what to look for.

Camtasia will usually crash when the program is utilizing roughly 2.25 GB of RAM or above. It varies depending on the type of media, number of edits, callouts, animations, etc.

There are a number of indicators that can alert you RAM memory usage is reaching its maximum level in most cases.

The timeline slider will get sluggish or unresponsive when you try and drag it left or right.

Video playback tends to not play very well. 

As you are cutting out sections of a video, adding a callout, applying an animation, etc.The speed of the changes being applied will slow down. The sluggishness will continue to increase and the inevitable Camtasia crash will rear its ugly head.


 I produce a lot of videos at 1080p. I apply a large number of edits and animations. I use Pan and Zooms extensively. I animate a lot of still images and change their properties. In short, I push the boundaries of Camtasia’s performance capacity quite often. I use a lot of .trec recordings, .mov’s with transparency, and more. Most of my video files are long in duration and the file sizes are quite large. The timeline can easily contain well over 10GB of video files.  

I don’t bat an eye when I need to produce a video that exceeds 20 minutes in duration or more.  I rarely crash the program. WHY? I monitor RAM memory and pay attention to the warning signs.

I also use one simple trick to keep RAM usage down.

The best thing to do when working on an intense project with a lot of editing is to monitor RAM usage.

You do that by opening Task Manager and monitor RAM usage with it. See Image Below Click to Enlarge.

As Ram usage approaches 2,000 MB. You need to save your project.

  1. First, it’s best to make sure you are satisfied with your applied edits. This is because when you save your project and close Camtasia.” You will lose the ability to select undo when you first reopen your project.”

  2. Save your project.

  3. Close Camtasia.

  4. Reopen Camtasia.

  5. Open the project and resume your work.

  6. Don’t forget to monitor RAM going forward.

Here’s another Important Tip!

Whenever you are starting a new project. Make sure you close and reopen Camtasia as well. The RAM usage from the previous project will remain until after you do so.

If your project becomes too large then saving your project  may not be enough. But the odds of you ever crashing the program again are dramatically reduced.

 For this response I opened an old project that utilizes 18 tracks of media. I threw in some edits to up RAM usage. The first image of the Task Manager posted above was RAM usage before saving my project.

This next image is my project after saving it. RAM usage dropped by 50% just because I saved the project.

 See Image Below, Click to Enlarge.

 It’s not a cure all solution but it does the trick for me.{: >)

Regards, Joe

Photo of Oz du Soleil

Oz du Soleil

  • 165 Posts
  • 54 Reply Likes
Thanks for the tips. I typically save one project then open another on. It help to know to close and re-open.

I'll also keep the Task Manager open. It would help to see a crash coming and avert it.

I'll also start combining the 2 clips before starting my editing.

BTW: today's final clip ended up being 77MB and 6 minutes.

Photo of the-minds-eye


  • 5 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
please give me a hint what's your limited budget for the person living under the subway is 5 dollars, so for Bill Gates is 5 million ???? I'll tell  you what I believe what the best , my choice was I have a dell precision laptop running 4gb video card ... paid    under 700.00 perfect cond.
Photo of Oz du Soleil

Oz du Soleil

  • 165 Posts
  • 54 Reply Likes
I think you wanted to post this in the other thread.  :)