Source Files Too Large?

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I just started editing a new project and ran into a few hiccups.
First, the source files were .mxf which I had never encountered before.
Camtasia (2018) didn't seem to know what to do with them either.
I used HandBrake to convert them to mp4 and (hours later) got to work.
However, now I see that the video is jerky and stuttering and just BAD.
I went back and looked at the HandBrake-converted file and it's just fine when playing in VLC.
That's when I noticed that the average file size of these clips is between 9 and 12 GB each.
Is that the source of Camtasia's distress?

Any suggestions on how small these chunks should be, once I start paring it down?

Thanks, folks!
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jimflory

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Posted 7 months ago

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rg

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Large source files can be a problem for any video editing program, even ones like Vegas Pro which use proxies instead of copying entire files into memory.  Basically, they place a burden on the computer's resources -- even a powerful computer with a fast chip & sufficient RAM (and even with a solid state drive).

A 9GB source file is pretty hefty -- in fact, most broadcast cameras cap the file size at just under 4GB but seamlessly continue onto a new 2GB file as the camera continues to record, resulting in a series of 14-minute files.

So ... if the source *.mxf files are smaller than the Handbrake output, it's a good bet that Handbrake is not doing anything to add quality to the video (you can't add information where there was none) so my first thought would be to adjust the conversion settings to reduce file sizes.  When converting, instead of altering the parameters you could convert the source files into 2-4GB chunks (see above note re camera recordings).  Or -- if the source files are 4k video -- you could easily reduce to 1080p or even SD (720).  If you're not mastering to a DVD, reduce the audio from 48kHz to 44.1kHz (a very minimal loss that is usually almost unnoticeable if you're not playing from a DVD).

Last:  As an alternative to the free Handbrake program there are other conversion programs around (Bigasoft, WinX, Telestream) which do a good job and result in smaller files.

PS - Avoid Variable Bit Rate if you can, in favor of Constant Bit Rate (VBR versus CBR).  VBR can cause problems for some editors.
(Edited)
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Joe Morgan

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What is the size of your original source files?

Are these 1920 by 1080 videos or 4K by any chance?

What version of Camtasia are you using?
Because if you’re running a 64 bit version of Camtasia. Meaning Camtasia 9 or Camtasia 2018.  12 or 32 GB file shouldn't give you any problems. And you should be able to work with multiple videos of that size without crashes or issues. That’s what 64 bit editing is all about.

That’s not to say you won’t have problems with smooth playback in the editor. But that’s a different issue altogether.

As far as handbrake goes. It usually converts a video to a lower bit rate then the original video. Meaning that in general, a handbrake converted video shouldn’t be giving you grief. That’s what leads me to the questions I’m asking.

Regards, Joe

(Edited)
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Ed Covney

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The movie industry works with 15-30 second clips then pieces them back together in the final edit. So if you can get all the pieces rather than the final edit MXF file, I think your project would be better off.
BTW, where did you get the MXF file?

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jimflory

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The mxf was supplied by the client, who
received it from the crew which did the filming/recording.  The entirety of the project was given to me via external harddrive.
After checking with the client, I have been assured that this is the only format of the recording to which they have access.


(Edited)
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Joe Morgan

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What is the duration of these 12gb clips?
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jimflory

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1:25:36
and
1:23:55
(Edited)
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jimflory

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Thanks folks, I really appreciate you jumping in to help.
Let's take the questions and suggestions one at a time.

The mxf files are a lot bigger than the HandBraked files.  The first started at about 26 and dropped to about 9.  I encoded them using the preset "Production Proxy 1080p".  I've never used that before, so I suppose that's also a potential reason for the stuttering?

As an alternative to HandBrake, I also have access to Adobe Media Encoder; just in case that's a better option.

All of the clips appear to be 1906x1080

I'm using Camtasia 2018



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Ed Covney

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Jim - 

Not sure how you worded your client request, but if they have all the smaller MXF pieces, that's your best bet.

Else, I think your only chance at success will be to find "splitter" software that can chop MXF files into 30+/- second pieces, then convert all the pieces to MP4 in Handbrake. Converting to MP4 first is not a good idea.

One other thought is, if you have an MXF media player, re-record the movie in a Camtasia - recording the screen session. Again, its a pain, but recording a 100 - 60 second chunks is far superior to recording 1 hour of MP4. 

Anyway, good luck.
(Edited)
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rg

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Telestream Switch -- assuming it can handle MXF -- would provide "1-stop shopping" to chop and convert.  Bear in mind that some "splitter" programs don't really carve up video leaving the pieces un-reprocessed, but instead decode the video stream going in and then re-encode the video going out (which is not ideal).
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jimflory

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30+ second pieces?
Hm.
The entire project is slated to be approximately 10 hours long.
That's a heck of a lot of tiny files!
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Ed Covney

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Does 10 hours long mean 1 - 10 hour video?  I have a hard time believing anyone would wish a single 10-hour video on anyone! What's your current favorite movie that you own a Blu-ray of dvd of? Now watch the movie. 
Every time a scene changes in any matter, you're defining a segment length. In a 2 hour movie, there is likely 150-400 segments either stitched together or played from an ordered list.  Short pieces prevent syncing problems (sound and video) and allow for several versions of a finished product.  
Ted-Talks limit their speakers to 18 minutes, about the limit of an adult's attention span. And even those folks will switch cameras (angles), every 20-40 seconds - the longest segments. Here's a Ken Robinson video, 20 minutes but about 65 segments that are easily determined by watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9LelXa3U_I 
I have a hard time believing any pro would produce a 90 minute video in from one piece. If they have, then IMO, your in for an impossible journey into frustrations galore.

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jimflory

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Welcome to my world, Ed! :)
This is a total of 21 hours of footage, from 2 separate cameras (and multiple mics) covering 2 days worth of lectures for a continuing education professional real estate course.
The 21 hours of footage are spread across a total of 24 individual .MXF files, coming to a grand total of 403 GB.
The final result will be a total of approximately 10 hours of edited video.
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Ed Covney

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OK, the way "pros" would have shot it would be to have the two cameras on two tripods - 5 feet apart. Camera #1 starts a shoot, after 30 or 40 seconds, Camera #2 starts, #1 is turned off, there is 2 or 3 seconds of cross-over that is later edited out. #1 is now off and can be re-positioned before getting turned on again. It also gives the lecturer rest time, both cameras off.  Actually pros would've used 4 - 6 camera with red and green lights so the lecturer always knew where to smile.
But I get it, you take what you're given and do your best. But if your client isn't pleased with the finished product, you can refer him to this thread or any "how to"  document on wiki. 
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rg

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Wow, your description takes me back to producing computer training back in 1979 -- we were often tasked with making series with, say, 8-hour durations.  (Ah, the good old days ... 2" helical tape ... no computer animations ... horizontal phase shifts ....)
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Rick Stone

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Weren't those red and green lights known as "tally" lights?
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Ed Covney

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I still call them, "Port" (red) and Starboard (green) lights. (And a white light meant the camera was aimed at somebody else.)
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Joe Morgan

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Well jimflory I want to start by apologizing all over the place to you.

I removed some of my previous posts because they were so wildly inaccurate. I don’t know what in the world I was thinking. Well I know what I was wasn’t thinking, my head wasn’t in the game.

First things first, have you try disabling your graphics card in preferences? You will have to restart Camtasia for the change to take effect.

If that doesn't correct this for you, you may have something else going on with your computer, or your files. You shouldn’t be having serious playback issues haunting you. Unless you have an underpowered computer, or the videos you converted are not correct.

After I got some dinner in me my brain started to function. I realized your original video files are not that large. Oh sure their big, because their high quality videos. But these are not earth shattering bit rates by any stretch of the imagination.

I’ve got some MP4 video game recordings that were captured at an equally high bit rate. And can play them back in Camtasia 2018 and Camtasia 9 flawlessly. No stammering no stuttering no nothing. I’m talking smooth, smooth, smooth.

I have a 20 minute 60 frame per second 1920 by 1080 recording. It is 6.8 GB. I like using it as test footage in Camtasia. I’ve used it in both Camtasia 9 and 2018.


20 minutes X 3 equals 1 hour. 6.8 GB times 3 equals 20.4.

20.4 GB X 21 Equals 428.4 GB. That’s roughly 25 more GB than the 403 total GB your 21 hours of footage totals.


See what I’m getting at? My footage plays flawlessly in Camtasia. At a much higher bit rate than your footage does converted. Granted, my computers no slouch. But your converted files are roughly 1/3 the size of mine.

Which leads us back to this. The conversion process, which should have never been converted to a production proxy to begin with, that I’m confident of. It should have been converted to a format Camtasia could recognize. If it’s a good high quality MP4. The degradation during the rendering process would be minimal, and should go unnoticed by all. A high quality AVI would be “My” first choice.

I’m also wondering if this isn’t actually some issues with your computer. Or if you have a low powered rig that isn’t up to the task?

I think the final production should be broken up into more than one video.
Even if it’s a marathon real estate training session. You would think there could at least be a part A and apart B.
But if the boss insists on only one video. So be it.

Once again, sorry for getting so far off track in the beginning. I’m usually not this sloppy with my responses.

Regards, Joe

(Edited)
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Joe Morgan

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Okay this is my follow-up to this subject.

There seems to be a lot of misconceptions about what you should be able to throw at Camtasia with regards to file size, and the timeline.

So here’s what I did. I recorded a 1hour 48 minute session of myself playing Crisis 3 at 2560 by 1440 resolution. At 29.97 frames per second. That video is 15.12 GB in size.

I placed my Nikon DSLR on a tripod and pointed it out the window. It’s limited to 10 minutes recording at a time. When recording at 1920 by 1080 and 60 frames a second. It uses the MOV format and the file was 2.47 GB.

I also tapped into my old faithful. Crisis 2 recording. It’s 1920 by 1080 and 60 frames per second. It’s 19 minutes and 20 seconds long at 6.80 GB.

So there is currently 24.39 GB of video on the timeline. Totaling 2 hours and 18 minutes in duration.Between the 3 of them.

As you will see in the image below. I created a project at 1920 by 1080 60 FPS in Camtasia 2018. I use the longest duration, and largest resolution video. Crisis 3 as the main video.

Then I took the other two videos, and used them as picture in picture videos. This in effect more than doubled the video bit rate every time I hit the play button.

If you want to compare the bit rates I’m currently working with to jimflory’s. He said his 21 hours of footage came to a grand total of 403 GB.

This project works out to 1.44 GB per 2 minutes. Totaling 907 GB if it were 21 hours.

I still get smooth timeline playback. If I started adding a lot of cuts, callouts, pan and zoom effects. Eventually, playback in the editor could start getting dicey. But you have to take into consideration what I’m throwing it.

Take a look at the image below and you will see all the details from each video. Project dimensions and settings.


Also, with Camtasia 2018 there’s a problem with Nvidia graphics cards. I have to use the Microsoft basic render driver. Because TechSmith can’t seem to fix a bug that makes videos that are not TREC recordings, appear washed out in the canvas area. And, they export that way as well.

So my graphics card only performs at 50 percent capacity if I’m lucky, meaning Camtasia is somewhat crippled by this as well.

I recorded myself in Camtasia using Nvidia’s shadow play recorder. Taking even more resources away from the computer/Camtasia.

Without further ado, I'll let the video speak for itself.

If you really want to analyze it. I suggest you click on the Vimeo link. So you can watch it in full screen on their website.



(Edited)
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Joe Morgan

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So jimflory,

I’m wondering if you have any follow-up for those that tried to help you?

To make a long story as short as possible, I recorded three hours of video play “Enjoyed every minute of it”. When this thread began. For the purpose of acquiring a large continuous video file for testing Camtasia.

Because A. You had issues, and B. I had Zero continuous videos that were both long and large to work with. It seemed like a good thing to add to my toolbox.

 When I saved the recording, it was not where I expected it to be. I thought something went wrong and it didn’t save. That’s when I made a second recording that was only 30 minutes long. I changed the default save location just before recording, didn’t restart Nvidia, and it was saved to the old location. I restarted Nvidia as a knee jerk reaction before my next recording. And found it where I expected it to be. By that time, I didn’t have 3 hours of video play energy left in me. So it was a much shorter recording, but captured at as high of a bit rate as GeForce Experience would allow me to select.

That led to my picture-in-picture test to bring the GB up to 20 in an attempt to stress out Camtasia.

I stumbled across that 3 hour recording this morning. That’s what reminded me of your situation. I placed that recording on the timeline along with four others. The total duration was four hours and 14 minutes. Total Timeline content 68.9 GB’s.

The 3-hour video is 52 GB  2560 x 1440. So are the project settings.

They’re all placed on the timeline in succession. No picture-in-picture just one straight video. Playback is flawless. I can bounce the playhead from towards the very beginning of the video to all the way towards the end and hit play, and it will playback immediately and smoothly. No hesitation, no hiccups, no errors.


However, given time to mull over the whole situation. It does strike me as a bit like shooting yourself in the foot, to fight through 21 hours of footage all at one time.

If you haven’t made any progress to date.

 If it were me, I would convert the footage without degrading/downgrading the quality. I would tackle it a couple hours at a time or so “Max”. To keep it more simplified.

Then, I would export the smaller videos as high quality AVI’s. Then, stitch them together however you see fit, in the long run. Because a high quality AVI. Will re-render and look great. Whereas an MP4 will introduce degradation that you cannot avert.

Regards, Joe

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jimflory

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It's been a hell of a week.
Thanks to all of you who jumped in with suggestions, theories, and helpful information.
It really turned out that the root of my problem was the formatting of my conversion.
It was absolutely the fault of the HandBrake preset "Production Proxy 1080p."
I even attempted doing the editing with Adobe Premiere Pro.
The upside was that it handled mxf files with no troubles, the downside...I have zero experience using it, so it was taking me way too long to do everything.

Converting the mxf to a high resolution mp4 and then working with that in Camtasia has absolutely done the trick.

Thanks again for all the assistance.  It was all very informative!

Jim