Previewing: Performance or Quality?

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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One thing that has always been important for Camtasia Studio is that the preview window should reflect the produced content as accurately as possible. This means that not only should all callouts and videos be in the same spot they will end up in the produced video, but the quality in the preview window should reflect the quality in the production. This is particularly useful when determining if a Zoom/Pan key frame will cause the video to look distorted in the final output.
One challenge that comes with that territory is maintaining performance AND quality as videos get larger and larger. HD webcams and large screen dimensions are becoming ever more popular. At some point, achieving both quality and performance becomes nearly impossible, since they are at opposite ends of the same spectrum. Many of the higher end video editors allow the user to prefer one over the other. For instance, Sony Vegas has several levels of preview quality, each with several sub-levels. Their editor seems to focus on maintaining a constant playback frame rate, so the video quality will degrade to make sure you see all the frames. At production time, you can pump up the quality setting and be assured that it will look much better than it did in the preview window.

So, here are the big questions:

As a user of Camtasia Studio, would you like the option to choose between quality and performance in the preview window?

Would you prefer that CS degrade the quality of expensive operations such as scaling/blurring/etc. to improve the frame rate of the playback?
Photo of Randy Schott

Randy Schott

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Posted 9 years ago

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Photo of Logan


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Yes, I would like the option to choose, and degradation for some operations wouldn't be a problem if I can switch back to a quality preview. The more Premiere Pro-like features you can add to Camtasia, the better, especially multiple video tracks for editing.
Photo of schneby


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I would also like the option to choose. Perhaps a High/Med/Low quality playback option.
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Si Ka Lang

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no problem with me. i also like if camtasia can add some multiple video tracks for editing. it would expand our creativity to make a very powerful tutorial-like video.
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Ute Simon

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Most work I do with Camtasia Studio is "traditional" screenrecording for software tutorials. The editing speed for this type of video is sufficient for me most of the time. And I would not want to trade output quality for more speed. If it's only a temporary editing preview loss of quality, that would be OK.
But I bought one of those small Zi8 pocket video cameras recently and sometimes want to make smaller edits to that footage. It would be nice to be able to switch to something like "real life video mode" for those occasions.
As the two others already wrote, if you are going to change editing mode, make it a switch. (And make the switch button large enough, so that beginners easily find it.)

Best regards,
Photo of RJ


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I'd like a smooth preview.
A lot of my video edits are of window bars and popups from the program I'm using that I want to edit out for the final video.
Right now, when I start to cut up my video clips the preview start to lag, which makes it harder to spot the windows popping up unless I manually scrub each frame with the arrow keys,
Photo of Randy Schott

Randy Schott

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Hi everybody,

I know it’s been a while, and I wanted to thank you for all your patience. Camtasia Studio 8 has been released, and the rendering engine has been rewritten from scratch. We decided against a performance/quality toggle for now, but it’s not off the table. Our goal has always been to have the preview window reflect as closely as possible the final output.

However, the performance of the preview window should be much better in this version. We are taking advantage of GPU acceleration for some of our rendering, and it makes a big difference.

The editing experience has also been greatly enhanced, allowing as many tracks as you want and some great new workflows such as the ability to group clips.

The 30-day trial is fully functional and can be installed alongside existing versions of Camtasia Studio. You can learn more about the new version here:

I want to thank you all for your feedback, and please keep it coming. We are committed to helping you get the most out of Camtasia Studio.

Photo of Dan Cernese

Dan Cernese

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Has this decision been revisited?  Considering how many hits I get when searching about choppy preview, this is a deal-breaker for me (using the trial).  [have since switched to Adobe Premier Pro CS6, no issues in preview]
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Michał Kancelarek

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Please include the quality toggle.
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I would like the ability to enlarge the camera preview window even at the expense of a lower frame rate.  My concern is image composition which is a challenge with the tiny preview.
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Paul Middlin, Employee

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@david3, with our latest release, version 9, we added the ability to detach your canvas so you can get a better look while you're editing. Take it for a test drive and see if it helps?