Imported video is choppy

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This conversation has been merged. Please reference the main conversation: Import, edit, & produce 60fps video

I'm using Camtasia 8 and importing .mp4 files filmed with a Flip camera. The video is incredibly choppy and not synced with audio at all. Help! Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
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Sara Hunter

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Posted 7 years ago

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Logan S.

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Hey Sara,

Is the video choppy when you play it back outside of Camtasia Studio? Is it choppy in the preview window of Camtasia? If you produce it out of Camtasia locally, and watch it, is it choppy then?

Also, does your computer meet the minimum specs for using Camtasia 8?
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Sara Hunter

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Hi Logan,
No, the video plays smoothly during playback outside of Camtasia. Yes, it is choppy in the preview window of Camtasia. I haven't experienced this when producing video directly out of Camtasia.
I'm not completely certain about computer specs, I'm pretty sure it does meet all the specs.
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Logan S.

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Hey Sara,

First thing is to make sure you are using 8.0.4. Numerous performance updates with that version.

Second, I'll copy a previous answer to a similar issue:

In any case, this is a hardware performance issue. My guess is that you have a lot of high motion content and perhaps a video with very large dimensions? The preview window is struggling because it's trying to play back the video in real time, and dropping frames because it can't keep up.

One trick that will show you exactly what you have without having to render the full video is called "Produce selection as". To try this, select the portion of the timeline you wish to review. Right-click the selected area, then click Produce selection as.

This is also a great way to tweak the quality settings and optimize the quality vs. file size you might be looking for without having to render the whole video.

Let me know if this helps!
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Eric Deyerl

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These are not great answers to this question. I too am having a similar problem when editing HD video in an MOV format. I am using the latest release of Camtasia and have a screaming fast Dell Alienware machine, and yet the video is choppy when playing in the preview window, making it very difficult to synch audio properly. It renders out just fine when "produced", and it also runs fine on this PC when played in QuickTime.

I noted the following comment that this issue would be addressed in a future release:

https://support.techsmith.com/entries...

Is this true? Can we expect a solution soon?
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Eric Deyerl

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OK, here's a weird follow-up...(1) when i "produce" the MOV as an MP4 via Camtasia, then open the MP4 in a new Camtasia project, it runs fine, as suggested in the link above. (2) when i then add the original MOV file to the new Camtasia file along with the MP4 and introduce it on a second track parallel to the first clip and then have two windows for these two clips in the editor, now the MOV plays smoothly in real time right along with the MP4(!), but (3) if i import the MOV first into a new Camtasia file and *then* import the MP4, the MOV plays jerkily in the editor!

This really clearly seems to be a software issue with Camtasia, rather than any kind of hardware issue. Please, TechSmith, fix this! Thanks for listening...
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Kari

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I'm having the same issue and TechSmith's customer service / tech support is completely unhelpful. I'm amazed that they're ignoring this because it's such a well-documented issue.Has anyone gotten any help from TechSmith with this issue?
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Greg

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I've been battling this for days. Has anyone found answers? If I don't find the solution quickly I need to jump ship to another product that works. 

Please help!
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richard

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This is seriously bad. This is an editing program but the moment you put any kind of edit on to an original video, you cannot review how it looks. 

Really very bad. Doesn't happen in Windows Movie Maker.
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demarest

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Camtasia Studio has led to me making a few computer upgrades not because I needed to but because I wanted to get the most out of it (love video editing). One of those upgrades was maxing out to 32 GB of RAM. I decided to check out RAMdisks. I started running Camtasia completely within memory and at the start of my next project, I was going to try out doing the whole project (including source files) completely within memory.

Well, my project ended up having source files much larger than my memory, so I thought maybe I'd make a smaller copy of the source files. I made an MP4 with high settings and then recompressed it as a test to make sure being compressed twice wouldn't ruin it. I was good to go. RAMdisk up and running, MP4 copy of a source file completely within RAM...

"Why the heck is everything lagging?!" I wondered. Why was my RAMdisk, which benches at 7900+ MB/s sequential read doing conspicuously poorer than the platter drive I used for the previous project, which benches at 100 MB/s? I also noticed that my CPU fan was speeding up and down a whole lot and task manager was reporting my 4 core CPU spiking from just doing a few frames at a time.

The answer: Well, it's because the source was an MP4! We can get great file sizes with good quality, but that's because the CPU has to do that much more work to interpret it. When I exported my sources as AVIs using TechSmith 2 codec, not only was I able to get my sources down enough to be able to do the project completely within RAM, but I also didn't have the CPU overhead, which makes for some really smooth frame by frame. Even previewing transitions looks about as good as a rendered finished product. Even with multiple clips, tracks, and numerous animations, I can zoom in and out of my timeline with very little latency.

So consider the source. Literally.
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richard

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Avi produces massive files that not only clog your machine but make it almost impossible to upload to online video sites such as youtube. Youtube also use mp4 as standard so you are making yet another conversion. They in fact recommend always using mp4 as they then don't need to do much to display it.

I have tried most methods and avi is possibly the worst format for file size and production. Camtasia really should do something to make viewing edited video as smooth as possible.
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demarest

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I wasn't saying to use AVI for your finished product. Was talking about what you import to edit. If you import MP4, your preview is going to be choppy, your frame by frame advance is going to have latency and tax your CPU. No more no less.
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richard

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So take a video in mp4... convert it to avi... edit it... then convert it back to mp4? Would that do the trick, do you think? Or one or two conversion too far? I wish I had a large avi handy to check, but only have a small one and that also goes choppy if you edit. I don't suppose you have an edited avi in camtasia you could post up to show it running smooth?

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demarest

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If my input is of no use to you, feel free to disregard it. MP4s take CPU to interpret which leads to latency on something as simple as a single frame advance, let alone playback in preview. This has nothing to do with me.

If you're importing an MP4 that you're later rendering, you've already passed the double compression threshold. What settings you'd have to use to make that look good is going to depend on the nature of the video's content. When I use TechSmith2 codec (AVI) to create interim source files, even at 1080 there's no appreciable loss in image quality. Whether this is because the files are larger temporarily or because the codec is by the same company as the software I'm using to interpret, I don't know.

Don't take my word for it though. Take one of your MP4 sources that you find to be problematic. Select a one minute segment and tell it to produce special as whatever MP4 settings you intend to use. Now produce special that same segment as a TechSmith2 interim file, create a new project, bring that file into it, and produce as whatever MP4 settings you use. Compare the 2 videos. For that matter, compare what editing (again, even as simple as frame by frame advance) feels like in that AVI vs your MP4.

Or, as I recommended up front, disregard my input as a load of hooey from somebody that doesn't understand that you want to compress things as infrequently as possible to preserve quality.
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richard

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I was genuinelly asking if you think all that conversion from one format to another would be ok! Why would I then want to disregard your advice. Written words are often misconstrued.

I find it amazing that the moment you split an mp4 file, Camtasia struggles to even play it so I would want to know if anyone has a solution without losing quality. When you first mentioned using AVI, there was no mention of quality loss or uploading to youtube, etc., so I was asking. I am sure you know those answers without me/us spending days trying to find them.

I actually have very high quality (imho) videos loaded on to Vimeo (an example https://vimeo.com/79436829) where I believe the loss of quality is insignificant. But producing them probably took twice as long as was necessary because I constantly had to refer to the original to decide where to cut as the preview within Camtasia spent most of its time in jammed up mode.

I wonder if you would be kind enough to explain how to produce a special segment as a Techsmith interim file? I really don't know what this means.

Apologies if you thought I was disregarding your advice. I certainly was not. :)
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demarest

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Sorry for the ambiguity with produce special. The default interface of 8.1.2 has a produce and share button wide out in the open. In the file menu is a produce special submenu where the top option is produce selection as. If you just want to produce a small portion of your project, just use the green and red tabs of the playhead to highlight the section you want to produce and produce special -> produce selection as.

Then when it asks for a profile, go down to add/edit profiles and add a new one. What works for me is AVI using TechSmith2 codec. I forced the frame rate at 30 since that's everything I use it for. You can choose what audio rate you feel will preserve your data best. The TS2 codec has a configure button associated with it and a slider bar. Unfortunately in my experience, it encodes at the same level of video quality regardless of where that's set to. I don't know if that's a bug on my end or not. Or if it's something 8.2 addressed.

The files you make will be much larger than MP4, but much smaller than raw data streams. So it might be perfect for both of us if you have the hard drive space to spare. The raw source files of my current project is 57 GBs (~31 minutes). When I went to use MP4 sources (before I knew about the CPU overhead killing the editing experience) I had the files down to 8.5 GBs (went with high settings to preserve data). Using TS2 to make interim source files, I had it down to 21.3 GBs with no noticeable CPU overhead during editing beyond what you'll always have limited by project complexity and bandwidth to where your source files are located.

My first project, which I was doing off of a 100 Mb/s platter drive (SLOW), I had loaded up with all kinds of effects and animations. As a result, just changing the zoom of my timeline was choppy and most animations I couldn't view in preview without losing so many frames, I couldn't tell if it went well or not. So I produced a few 20 second clips to verify. After Camtasia batting 1.000 with spitting out videos exactly as I'd anticipated, I stopped spending the extra time.

Also, no hard feelings. I was just saying that because I say something doesn't mean it's true and doesn't mean you have to use it. Frankly, I understood your skepticism. Adding another layer of "compression" is no way to deal with overhead that stems from compression at face value. I don't know what the TS2 codec is meant for or why it doesn't obey me changing the quality slider, but it does a really good job of getting my source files down AND not making me edit amidst choppy editing/previewing.
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tom

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I have the same issue but I found an easy solution. First convert your MP4 video file to a MPEG -1 file. There are many converters that can do this. Then import the MPEG 1 file into your project. When you try to play this, you will get an error message. Do not despair. Just click on the MPEG 1 file and select separate audio from video. When the two split, just delete the audio portion. The remaining video track will run perfectly in the preview without and choppiness and skipping. Then you can sync it to an audio track very precisely.
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paranormaltalkradio

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I too am having similar issues...
I need help too.

I have version 8.1.2 build 1337 ( Camtasia Studio 8 )
I am running on a laptop Toshiba Satellite C75D-A, Windows 8
64 Bit, AMD A6, 8GB RAM, High Definition

When I import a WMV file and preview the video it lags. It comes and goes. I even made sure I am not running many programs or windows when I use Camtasia so it runs fast. The specs on this laptop should be more then plenty. It's brand new.

Thanks


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richard

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Wow, 52GB!! I have the space no problem, but wouldn't have for too long! ;)

Anyway, my clips are much shorter and I the one in the link I sent you was just 300MB!

So if I am understanding this correctly and Camtasia handles avi better than mp4, would it make sense for me to immediately convert my mp4 to avi before introducing to Camtasia? Then hopefully in Camtasia it will run smooth and I can then produce in mp4 to keep the size down?

Or like many things, have I totally misunderstood you? :)

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demarest

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The only misunderstanding is "Camtasia handles AVI better than MP4." When I first posted in this thread, the bottom line was that what you're seeing is an effect of MP4, not Camtasia. You'd be more accurate in blaming your OS or your CPU.

You could convert to AVI before introducing it to Camtasia. I wouldn't only because Camtasia's TS2 codec does a good job for my needs in this manner. Unless you go with uncompressed AVI (my 57 GB would be more like 570 GB), there's no way to know for sure that the type of AVI you're making won't be laggy in the same way. After all, MP4 is a container for AVI.

So if it were me, I'd import your source MP4 and immediately produce it as a TS2 AVI. Then start a new project using that AVI as your source. When you're all done with editing that AVI, produce it as an MP4 as you would've before. Then any lag you get during editing/preview you can blame on your hard drive :-P That you can take my word at because I've tried on two different hard drives, an SSD, and a RAMdisk and the results were proportionate to the storage medium's bandwidth.
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richard

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I see what you are now saying. The problem I have here is that I take maybe 5 or 6 films that are all mp4. So I would need to do this with all 4 of them before I can even start editing? This feels like a big job. Or do I just need to do it to the first one to sort of 'set the defaults' for the video editing?

I was very much considering an SSD. Do you think it would make any difference to editing/producing in mp4 format?
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demarest

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Any MP4 you try to edit will offer choppy preview and laggy editing. You would need to change the format of every file you wanted to edit and avoid this characteristic of MP4.

Absolutely an SSD would make a conspicuous difference in editing. Not all SSDs are the same. The main thing you're looking for in the context of this conversation (and generally IMO) is read and write speeds. It's not hard to find models these days that will do both at over 500 MB/s. That will be at least 3 times as fast as any platter drive you could be using.

Please note that even on an SSD, heavily edited projects will still drop frames during preview and such, just nowhere near as much. Also note that having an SSD will likely not speed up your encode times since your CPU is likely the bottleneck for that step.
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richard

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Right, that's it then. I am going to switch back to my PC, change to SSD drive, put all my mp4's for a particular project into Camtasia and make one big AVI... then edit that AVI before producing it as mp4 again. All sounds simple. Will let you know the outcome :)
Thanks very much for all your advice.
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webhelpus

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For me, I had to make sure all the videos imported used the same resolution.  I had my sequence set for 720 but one of my videos (which was choppy) was 1080.
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dorianggg

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I know its late and all but ive been having the same issue. The only way ive found that it fixes what ever choppy or laggy you have with your videos is just produce the video then do editing. Its annoying but its the only way ive found that works. Hopefully later in the life of this program they will make a update to fix this. For a 300 dollar video editing program i was expecting it to handle any format that i throw at it. But im hoping they fix it in the future. 
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Kyle Heney

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So are you saying that you import the unedited MP4 video, Produce it (without any changes), then import the Produced video into a new project and proceed with edits?

Edit: Just tried the above (as I wrote it) and it made no difference.
(Edited)
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C.P.

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I have been doing this very thing --- but it's super annoying, because it can take several minutes for the "produce as" to convert the file. It's just bizarre that Camtasia does not automatically do this? If it were presentation software, or LMS software, I'd understand. But it's allegedly "video editing" software that doesn't actually support basic video (unless you do stuff to it first)
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Kyle Heney

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I too am experiencing choppy HD video after producing the project. The project is a comparison of an old video (1999) vs a new video (HD from 2015). The old video portions play perfectly, but the portions with the HD video are all choppy. The videos themselves (when played separately in WMP) are not choppy at all. The HD videos I am importing are MP4.
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Kyle Heney

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Okay I think I have found a relatively easy fix for my situation. My HD videos were originally MOV files. I use Handbrake to convert them to MP4 for importing into Camtasia. I just played with the settings in Handbrake a bit so that my converted video is better quality. My settings are:

- MP4 output
- MPEG-2 codec
- 60 FPS
- Highest quality

These settings made my HD video as smooth in my produced Camtasia project as the original video in MOV format.

Hope this helps someone else.
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Robert R., Online Community Admin

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Hello, Kyle and thanks for posting your solution!

One thing I would like to note is that currently Camtasia Studio has a maximum framerate cap of 30 frames per second, this means that essentially every other frame in your 60 FPS video is being cut out by Camtasia. This will lead to the poor performance. Moving forward try recording at 30 FPS to see if you can eliminate the need to transcode with Handbrake (though, depending on the device you are using it may still use a massive bitrate which would also cause this behavior).
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jasperwelsh

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Hi Robert... I am Curious.... Are there plans to up the frame rate to 60 or 120 FPS with Camtasia Studio?
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HenrikoMagnifico

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This is the reason MOV files are weird in Camtasia, since all later iPhones (by default) records at 60 frames per second. I think it's poor design my Techsmith to not support 60 FPS export in Camtasia Studio.
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rainer

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I captured a live video feed from my screen and it is very choppy in the timeline. It also produces a very choppy mp4. Does this mean that the live video feed I was capturing was at a frame rate that was too high for Camtasia? Any way to fix the .avi capture? Btw it looks like it's just skipping frames, i.e. it jumps seconds. Am I just missing some kind of codec? I have 6.0.0 Studio.
(Edited)

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