Suggestions on minimizing loss when working w/ Camtasia, esp. around videos converted from VCR tape.

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  • Updated 9 months ago
Greetings....
Any general best practices or suggestions around working with mp4 files to avoid degradation in quality?  Does simply copying an mp4 affect it's quality?  Compressing it in a zip and emailing it?

And a follow-on question:
Is there any issue if one person creates a project on a Mac, saves it in Camtasia, then a person with a PC continues working on it?

My workflow is to take archive video, often from a VCR tape conversion), and combine it with Intros and Outros that I record on a Mac or even on an iPhone.  The quality of tape conversion is obviously not going to be very high, but I don't want to diminish it any further!

In reading this very old post on this forum, my takeaway is that the degradation is not very noticeable, so no need to worry too much about it, BUT...
I'm wondering if there have been any improvements with Camtasia 9 around lossiness since this post was answered.
https://feedback.techsmith.com/techsmith/topics/can_i_do_lossless_trim_and_splice_of_two_mp4_videos_...


Thanks in advance!
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Tereza

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Posted 9 months ago

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Jack Fruh, Champion

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Tereza, 
  Just copying the file, around will not change the file so there is no loss if you, for example, copy it from your main computer to a back up hard drive.

 You have to be careful when emailing - some email programs will 'help' you by compressing the video to make it smaller and may reduce the quality.

 As for the lossless trim and splice question, the answer is no for Camtasia, but there are other products on the market that do this. They are often focused on just one thing (cut and splice) and they are often very fast and very inexpensive. The down side is, they only work in very specific use cases.

In camtasia, and on your mac in any other video editor, the area of loss you have to be concerned with is the export piece - if you use high enough settings for things like bit rate, and you match the resolution to your original, you should be fine, and your new video will look as good as your original.

- Jack
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Tereza

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Thanks Jack...
Good to know.

Can you define what you mean by "high enough" settings?  I always match the resolution to what it was recorded at, but  always just take the defaults  regarding frame rate and bit rate.
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Jack Fruh, Champion

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Bit rate is the most important. you can match the resolution but if you set the bit rate too low, you'll lose detail on scenes with lots of changes.

A nice tool for this is MediaInfo, it will tell you the bitrate and codec of your source video and you can use that as a guide for your export settings. Ie if you recorded a VHS tape at 3000kbps, you wouldn't want to export it at 1500kbps, and likewise, there should be very little benefit in exporting at 6000kbps, picking something close to 3000 in that fictitious example should yield output similar to the input.

Also it's worth noting this is all in the context of Motion video - screencasting has it's own unique qualities, and often can look just fine with lower bit rates than you would expect. 
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Tereza

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Perfect !  And also nice hint about screencasting, which is another thing I do a ton of.
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Paul Middlin, Employee

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I think Jack was on target with everything he said. One small thing, if your video is zipped/unzipped, that will not lose any quality (zipping is a lossless process) and it should 'protect' it from any of those email clients that might try to compress or re-encode it. It won't get any smaller by zipping it, fwiw.
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Tereza

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Really good to know about zipping.

Brings up another question...
If I use the File> Export as Zip, and ask for all media files to be included, 
Then...
Delete the huge MP4 from the resulting  zip file, that's perfectly OK , right??

What I want to do is:
I create a project - import a 1.5gb mp4, a few jpgs,  and some music, then do lots of edits, and Export as Zip with all media, delete the huge mo4.

Mail that to a colleague.  Relatively small file, since it's only the stills and audio.

That colleague Imports thee Zip,
He already had the MP4, since we shared that via  google drive.

He can just point the project to his (identical) version of the MP4, right?

Is there any problem with that as a back-and-forth collaborative workflow???

BTW - I love the Zip functionality!
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Jack Fruh, Champion

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He will have to relink the missing MP4, but yes, it's not necessary to send that back and forth if he already has it. Camtasia will not "Change" the source file, it will just use it based on the edits you make in the timeline. This means as long as no one changes/renames the source 1.5GB mp4 file, it should be valid in both locations.

As a suggestion, I would practice this with a much smaller file, just to be sure you both know the steps.
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Tereza

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Good idea.  Now - if only Techsmith would improve the Media Library structure - the product would be perfect... ;)