Users can't view Camtasia-created video

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  • Updated 4 years ago
I'm creating some short tutorial videos for distribution on a handout CD at an upcoming conference. I sent one of my early efforts to a friend, and he told me he can hear the audio, but can't see any video. I suspect this is a codec problem, but I need to find a way to resolve it before the conference. The people who will be getting this CD are not tech-savvy, and if the video won't play, they won't have a clue what to do.

I created the video in Camtasia Studio 7.0 (7.1 being downloaded as I type) on a Win7 64-bit machine, and he was trying to play the video on a Windows XP machine.
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Tim Dees

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Posted 7 years ago

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Mike Curtis, Employee

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Hi Tim,

Something similar happened to me once. I'm curious if they are running the video from the CD (as opposed to copying the file to their system). I assume they are. If you video file is large, and their computer isn't the greatest, (In my case it was an older XP machine too) they could experience choppy performance.

Here's how I attempted to solve the problem:

1. Put a hi-res and low-res (640x360) version on the CD.
2. Encourage people to copy the file to their computer (I know that's asking a lot)
3. Put a copy of the video online, such as YouTube or Screencast.com. Make a short URL and encourage people to view the video online and share the link with others. Have you ever made a custom bit.ly link? You could probably get one like: http://bit.ly/DeesPresentation

I would try some version of these strategies with your friend. How are you producing the video? What is the file size? You might want to sacrifice a little quality in order to obtain a smaller file. It made a big difference on the XP machine I was testing on.

Do you know if your viewers will be on Windows or might some be on Mac? If the former, I was going to suggest trying WMV.

Mike Curtis
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Tim Dees

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Yesterday, I created a new problem report without realizing that it's just an extension of this one. Here the text from my other message:

I just finished creating a series of tutorial videos, producing them in *.avi format. I used Camtasia MenuMaker to create a menu and write the files to a CD with what I thought was going to be a self-running player (which is why I used *.avi files). When I went to test the CD on a separate machine that doesn't have Camtasia installed, I got an error message that the video won't play because of a missing codec. Camtasia Player opened and the audio played, but there was just black for a picture. I thought using Camtasia Player automatically brought the necessary codecs into the mix?

Camtasia and MenuMaker produce videos that are clearly supposed to run from a CD. I NEED these to run from the CD, not be available for download. I thought the incorporation of Camtasia Player into the CD distribution would include the proper codec(s) and resolve the problem. I also produced the video in *.avi format, as the help files indicated this would be a better choice for a distribution CD.

I have a lot of time invested in this project and I need to finish it up so I can duplicate my disks. If it's a matter of tweaking the disk creation to include a codec, I probably have room for that. I don't want to use a solution that depends on downloading a video from the web or including high- and lo-res versions on the disk, as my users may not have internet connections all the time and there isn't room for multiple video versions on the disk. I'd just like the software to do what it is supposed to do.
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ms

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Agreed.
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Dave O'Rourke, Senior Software Engineer

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Tim,

I think I see the problem. The default avi production settings were changed with ver 8 to use the new TSC2 codec, which yields smaller file sizes. The Camtasia Player includes TSCC but not TSC2, which is why you're getting the black screen on different systems where the TSC2 codec is not installed.

You can get keep your existing workflow with distributing avi files on CD using MenuMaker and Camtasia Player. The only change you need to make is to switch the codec to TSCC when producing to avi. Since the TSCC decoding is baked into the Camtasia player, this will play on other systems without the need to install anything extra.

Sorry for the trouble. I hope this helps.
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Tim Dees

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To quote the Adam Sandler film, "This could have been brought to my attention yesterday."

Here's why this is helpful, but still frustrating:

I was learning the system as I went along, and did not immediately appreciate that each video, not a group of videos with a similar theme, constituted a Camtasia project. As each video was completed, I deleted the screen capture and sound clips from the time line and left behind the opening and end title sequences, which were the same for each video. In order to produce those videos again using the new preset, I will first have to reconstruct each video from its components in the clip library. This will be very time-consuming. Those of us in the training biz call this "a pain in the ass."

It's becoming clear to me that this software upgrade was rushed to market before proper documentation was developed and users could be properly advised of the program's workings and idiosyncrasies. It's a great technological accomplishment, but this poor level of support for the unsuspecting customer leaves me very unhappy with the company.
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Richard Campbell, Champion

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Tim - I disagree - ANY program has a learning curve - and Camtasia is no exception. But If every user would spend an appropriate amount of time going through the online tutorials on the basics of Camtasia, and its workflow, a lot of grief could be avoided. In these days of huge hard drives, why would you delete your camrecs?

And Techsmith's level of customer support is without without equal in the software business. Look at the number of employees who respond to customer queries on the right hand side of this page.
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Tim Dees

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Richard: I agree that the tech support here in the forum is excellent. My issues are:
1. Some people learn by watching, others by doing, others by reading. I'm kind of a combination of the last two. When I run into a problem, I want to go to a reference where I can look up the answer and move on. Video tutorials don't satisfy that need.
2. Responses here in the forum can take up to 24 hours, Granted, I got a response to a question in about an hour tonight, which was pleasantly unexpected, but my previous question took overnight to generate a response. I'm working on a deadline, and every time I run up against a wall with a problem like this, I'm stuck until I get a response that should have been available for me to look up in software documentation. I expect I'm not the only Camtasia user who has to complete work on a schedule.
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keybounce

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"Why would you delete your camrecs"?

*SERIOUSLY?*

They are big. Gigabytes, multiple, each.

Big hard drives or not, I do not have terrabytes of space inside my laptop (nor is it easily extendable), and externals are sadly not reliable (perhaps it's just my laptop, but that cable will disconnect/reconnect very often when I nudge my laptop or a cat walks next to it.) And I don't have that with me, generally, when traveling.

I don't care what the quality of your codec is, nor the reason why you choose to use a custom one. Frankly, the idea of "We have a good, high-quality codec that makes it smaller, so we'll use that" is fine, *if you have the decoder available!*.

Product lock-in is never welcome by consumers once they realize it.

In my case, I'm using Camtasia/Mac, 2.4.1, and fortunately, my export to mp4's gives me stuff that seems very portable, and goes to YouTube, or QuickTime, or iMovie, very nicely. So I'm not running into this. If I was, I'd be complaining loudly.
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Dave O'Rourke, Senior Software Engineer

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@keybounce: just to be clear... we're not trying to lock you in. In fact, before writing the TSC2 codec used in our recorder, we looked at every available commercial implementation of standard codecs, including GPU accelerated variants, and none delivered an acceptable level of quality and real-time encoding speed at 30fps. Most real-time encoders achieved the necessary speed by dropping quality to a point where it was blocky, or text would become blurry. This was not acceptable. When optimized for quality, these same encoders dropped off in speed so that 10fps - 15fps was all that could be achieved at record time. This was not acceptable either. So we wrote our own codec, got near lossless quality at 30fps, and made the decoders freely available.

We don't expect, or even recommend, that you distribute a file encoded with TSC2, as this requires the viewer to install the codec. The intent is that you would use this as you would a hardware camera. This is your raw footage, and you want these recordings to be high quality. You bring these recordings, and any additional images or videos, into the editor, slice and dice it, add fx, and get it the way you want. Then produce to MP4 to bring the file size down to a point where you have a portable file that can be shared. This is precisely what we recommend.

Occasionally users do share TSC2 AVI files, against our recommendation. For this reason, we make the decoders freely available. I should point out that YouTube now accepts a TSC2 encoded AVI video, at our request. QuickTime works too, because we've written a component that makes the TSC2 decoder work in QuickTime, mac or win. So we've actually gone to great lengths to ensure that your files are not locked in our system.
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keybounce

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Let me clarify then.

First, I am using Camtasia:Mac, and enjoying it.
Second, I am aware that the new codec records much better than the old one did -- I have some footage from last may (2012) that recorded horribly, and in comparison, the current version records just fine. So using a custom codec to record isn't the problem. (And ... actually, that's not the cause of the issue: I just double checked, and last year's recording was also .tsc2. So ... well, the current one records nicely.)

I saw this commend in the above:
" The Camtasia Player includes TSCC but not TSC2, which is why you're getting the black screen on different systems where the TSC2 codec is not installed. "
and realized that a custom codec/decoder that works with your software, only, isn't actually that wonderful.

I actually have run into the issue that the .cmrecs are not really a recording that can be played back -- as you said, these are more like raw camera footage that is only usable in the camera. Playing them back requires making a project that contains the file, and then using the editor at "normal speed" playback. (Even then, as I just recently found, the cursor capture isn't accurate -- it doesn't display the spinning disk, and I'm not certain it catches all shape changes, but can't properly test that either).

I am outputting mp4's from Camtasia. I did try to use the .tsc2 raw codec in iMovie at one point, only to discover that while I could get video and audio, I could not get cursor -- additionally, iMovie would force a "copy with optimize", kinda ruining any space savings. So it became moot that .tsc2 did work. But it does, and that at least lets me do quick silent previews.

It looked like, from this previous response, that while you recorded with a better .tsc2 codec, only the earlier .tscc decoder was available in the player. I just now noticed that this was a year ago (sorry, it came up when I was posting something tonight and so I thought it was current).

But yea ... these raw recordings are big. Not nearly as big as QuickTime Player's, but still too big to keep around forever.
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Dave O'Rourke, Senior Software Engineer

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Tim,

If you don't have the original projects, you can use the avi files you do have. For each avi file, put it on the timeline, and then produce to avi, choosing the TSCC codec on the avi options page down the custom settings path in the production wizard. You can then use those files in MenuMaker.

In general, we do not recommend avi for distribution. The mp4 format will generally give you much smaller files. I suggested using a tscc avi only because it was closest to the process you already had. The only down side with using mp4 with MenuMaker is that the file will play with the default mp4 player on the viewer's machine, which you don't control.

Hope this helps.
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Tim Dees

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I tried your suggestion for re-encoding the AVI files I have, but the resulting files are huge. Two of them would fill the CD, and I have seven to put on there, plus some related software. With the TSC2 codec, the files were large, but just manageable.

In response to your previous message, I tried re-encoding the files as *.mp4. By themselves, the *.mp4 files played on another machine that does not have Camtasia installed (yay!). Unfortunately, when I tried to create a distribution CD with this with MenuMaker, I got the following "no, you won't either" message:


Curiously, I tried a test with making an*.mp4 file with player included, which brought over a bunch of HTML and XML files. That one tried to load in my browser, and wouldn't play at all.

So, now, I have a new problem. I have playable MP4 files that are ready to be written to disk with MenuMaker, but MenuMaker won't have anything to do with them. By the way, there is close to no documentation for MenuMaker, other than the help files bundled with the program. No tutorials, either, and nothing I can find about this issue.
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Tim Dees

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Maybe I should start another thread, but I'll try here: can anyone tell me how I can get MenuMaker to accept MP4 files created with Camtasia, without any HTML coding?
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kayakman, Champion

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I can't get it to work either with MP4 productions; a menu gets produced if the selected MP4 is in a folder with an HTML produced by the production wizard; but the MP4 never will play; I guessing here that the Menu is trying to use CamPlayer to view the MP4, which it can't do

curious, buy why not just make a MP4 multi files production with table of contents and distribute that on CD? any viewer with a browser should be able to play it OK
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Wendy

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I cannot view a camtasia video either. I can hear it but I don't see anything but a black screen. I have Windows 7 and ie9. I unchecked the GPU excellerator and thatn didn't help either. no one else at work is having this issue not sure why I can't view them. they are on our intranet at work and we click on a link to launch the camtasia video. I already have the KB2803821 dix installed so it isn't that either. Any ideas??
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kayakman, Champion

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Wendy

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Thank you Kayakman
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Wendy

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Well unfortunately they didn't fix the issue.  The one guy I had was really helpful but he went on vacation and I got another guy who was handling his stuff while he was away and he couldn't fix it and said it must be a setting with my machine.  Totally frustrating.
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Logan S.

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Hey Wendy,

Do you have a ticket number? I can take a look at what the issue was, and get an idea of what the situation is. Thanks!
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Janie

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I have several camtasia videos I saved and now they won't play! I was going to "produce" them and upload to my dropbox. I have only used Camtasia 7, so what's the deal? HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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