Archive for January, 2013

Camtasia rotten workflow with audio – another crash/bug

So the voice over dude has recorded the script and gone home. Now I am sitting here with 8 movies that have captions loaded with the text script.

Before voice over dude, I had fed each script line (caption) to a text to speech bit of software and created a ton of mp3 files of a computer speaking the script.

Then I placed the mp3 files on the time line and I had a rough edit of the finished movie.

The mp3 files are all named with numbers and letters representing the scene and the line of text position.

So I chop the voice over dude’s reading up into the same named mp3 files and drop them on top of the computer’s mp3 files.I have just swapped the dude for the computer.

Now when I start camtasia I will have a movie that might need a little timing adjustment – but hey it’s 99% finished – right?

 

WRONG!

 

Camtasia starts up and says hey! all the media files have been changed. It represents each one with a cute ghost icon and says it that it wont include that file in the render until you import the new media.

This means in my case about 89 ghost icons need

  • right click on the ghost icon
  • select update media
  • go to the original file in the original location and select it
  • are you sure?

It’s like 2013 right – DOS era work flows are dead arent’ they.

But that unbelievably, is not the worst of it.

Update say 10 of the ghosts and then save the project because you never know when Camtasia will crash and destroy your project file. You really need to get out and make a backup copy of your project file or you will loose a lot of work – often.

However, when you try to save the file with some ghosts updated – you are told there has been an error and you are offered to save your work as a new project file. When you do this – you get told that there has been an error and you are offered to save your work as a new project file

you get the picture another stinking bug!

So now I live in the hope that I will be able to remove all my media files from my project and then re- add them and finish my movie…… what’s the bet I can’t.

Once this job is finished – if I am ever able to finish it with Camtasia – I will be removing Camtasia – it’s way too poorly coded.

Clearly no one at Camtasia is using Camtasia to do real work – you wouldnt release software this disfunctional.

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Posted by Tim - January 23, 2013 at 4:54 am

Categories: repairs   Tags:

Camtasia kills my movie again

I am sitting here – I have just lost a 2 minute movie that was fully developed. It wasn’t open in Camtasia Studio – I was batch rendering. I am still swearing at the screen.

I was batch rendering the 7 parts of my movie – it was only last week I couldn’t get a batch render at all. I don’t know what part was being rendered when it crashed – but part 2 seems likely – BUT it might be that part 2 was open in Camtasia when I launched the batch render – I can’t be sure.

Anyway Windows wound up completely locked up. I don’t see Windows lock up like that so often now. When I get Windows going again – the project file for part 2 wont open – but hey! Camtasia has a backup and autosave. Ok we will go with that.

Uh-oh the autosave is from a previous version of Camtasia? Wonder how that could be?

Nope we cant load that autosave.

My part 2 is gone.
I have that sicky feeling you get
when you loose a lot of work
and the deadline is too close
to work all night and save the day .

Today, I had been making one word script adjustments ready for the voice over dude in 2 days time. Now I got nothing.

What really sucks is that I haven’t committed my changes since I discovered 50+ Gb of files being created by Camtasia because I had foolishly used their library functionality. That sad story is here. If your a Camtasia user and you aren’t aware of the library issues I have raised – take a look.

So I been caught with my pants down – no backup for a week or more – because backing up the 50gb of excessive bloat in the Camtasia libraries, would seriously pollute my svn and cause major problems checking out on my other machines.

Worry: My 2 minute video needs about 5 days of edits reapplied -not 5 full days but tweaks and bumps and timing changes. And once they are all done – are we going to crash again?

DeadProjectFile

BTW when this happens the original project file looses ALL the edits and resources – captions, clips  – the file is void of anything representing my work and the autosave – has had a lot of the xml from the front of the project deleted and starts part way through my edits. More excitingly following the crash, the autosaves include binary data which….. well take a closer look at the image above. There’s more than one binary blob in there – so extracting the xml is probably not worth it. So whilst we are rendering we also have the autosave file open in write mode? Really?

My Camtasia tips as of today:

  1. Don’t use the Camtasia library, create clips in your project directory
  2. Don’t ever render or batch render without making a full backup first. Especially of your project files – they get hammered all too often.
  3. Don’t ever batch render with a project open. Launch Camtasia with no project and then batch render – if you dare….
  4. Autosave – hasn’t ever rescued me from a crash. Perhaps your luckier than I am.
  5. Camtasia clearly don’t know the old programming rule about closing files when your not using them and opening them read only when you don’t need to write to a file. Or do you need to update the project file whilst your batch rendering… autosave files? Why?
  6. I suspect changing project files a lot – like I have been today triggers memory leak issues in Camtasia – and that then triggers the rendering crashes I have and then finally it kills your movie. But this is only my speculation. One part of my movie is over 10 minutes long…

I am sure Camtasia works great at some level – but it’s kicking my arse.

Once this job is done – I will definitely be seeking a software solution that’s more mature.

See I didn’t swear once as I wrote this..

 

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Posted by Tim - January 19, 2013 at 3:04 am

Categories: repairs   Tags:

Camtasia 8 – Problems Galore

I am writing this waiting for my movie to render in Camtasia. Rendering takes a long time – I’m fine with that.

Here’s a little background…..

I am producing a long awaited video for SyringePumpPro one of my software products. It’s taking way way longer than I had anticipated – I have been involved in doing this sort of thing before. The delays have been mostly bought about by

  • GoPro issues – you can read about that in another post,
  • Constantly running out of disk space
  • Rendering issues

I have a mostly fully developed script – I confess I build the scene to the script and then tune the script and the video edit to taste.

The script currently is attached to the video as captions, which I have fed to a computer who has read them and made mp3 files. So I have a narrated video – that has approximate timing.

I have broken the movie into 8 segments the largest being about 5 minutes and the smallest being 30 seconds.

Anyway, voice over dude will be here in 6 days, and then unavailable for at least 8 weeks. So the pressure is on to produce a first draft of the entire video in the next couple of days. Then after having the script recording done, I should be able to chop up the audio, into the same named mp3 files and thus switch the golden tones of my human for the nasal bored sounding computer.

My computer: Windows 7×32 8Gb ram running in Vmware workstation 9 on top of the most amazingly stable host operating system Centos 6.3. The host machine has 16Gb ram, quad core processor. Not the latest but no slouch.

Here’s some things I am not fine with:

  • Crashing and out of memory
  • Batch rendering
  • The Camtasia Library System
  • Camtasia in Windows under Vmware is ‘not supported’

Crashing and out of memory

Camtasia was stable for me until I started batch rendering. Then the crashing started. I did loose an entire movie segment that was basically complete except for the voice over. However, I use subversion and so I lost basically nothing – no thanks to Camtasia.

After adding some 2 second cuts from some live footage yesterday, previewing in the editor has become very halting – audio repeating 2-3 times – really stuttering. Cpu use went through the roof with this 6 seconds of extra video – why? read on….

Batch Rendering

One of the things I like to do is start work for the day watching yesterdays ‘rushes’. It puts my head in context and I can start the day doing trivial edits. This way I haven’t seen any video for 12hrs, so my head is the least saturated with the task. So I would like to have my videos rendered nightly. The facility Camtasia offers is batch rendering.

Simply que up all 8 videos – go eat dinner – rushes ready for end of work day or morning viewing. For me – it never worked.

C804Crash

This meant sitting there manually rendering 8 movies individually.I logged a support request and one of the first communications was VMware not supported. Ouch!

I did try installing Camtasia on a Windows 7 x64 build on bare metal. The rendering worked! But that’s when I learnt my first lesson about the Camtasia library.

Automated Renders

Being a software developer – I have a build server and it’s got a number of virtual machines configured to build software. When I commit changes to my subversion repository, my Jenkins server then builds executables, pdf files of manuals and program/manual installers and let’s me know about errors etc. It’s automated.

What if I could render my Camtasia from the command line? Then my build server could have a video production virtual machine and render my videos whilst I am in bed…

Nope no command line render facilities for Camtasia. They already have a batch facility – how hard would it be to make a utility to control that from a command line.

The Camtasia Library – SUCKS!

During my adventures with Camtasia – I tried to move a project to another computer using my subversion installation. I work on a number of computers – laptops you name it. Subversion lets me commit my work to my development server and then reproduce the directory and files on any computer. Brilliant!

When my movie arrived on a Windows bare metal build, heaps of bits were missing. They were supposed to be in the Camtasia Library.

Back to the machine where the video work was done…. no sign of this library. Bit of googling – ah ha the Library is hidden (WHY??). It’s in c:\ProgramData\Camtasia – if your looking for it.

Well this sucks – some parts of my movie – assets don’t exist in my project directory. They are not being backed up. I can’t come back to this on another machine or down the track – IF the library is compromised.

Then I discovered where all my disk space had been going…

I needed some footage of a syringe pump pumping. So I shot about a 20? minute sequence. It was just under 4Gb long.

I actually shot about 10 things I needed all in the one take. Hey the talent is a programmable pump, so there were no giggles or other human problems. Squirty, the pump-star of my movie did it in exactly one take – start to finish.

In Camtasia studio, I decided to use their library facility. The first thing I took was a one second snap of the pump beeping. It took ages to save selection at playhead to library. I thought they were running through the clip and taking the one second slice.

After 3 clips – I am out of hard disk space. I had known there had only been about 8gb free for some time. So I resized my C drive (vmware makes this so easy).

After my 10th clip I noticed that my extra 100gb  of disk space was 50% full.

Camtasia was copying the entire 4Gb raw footage with every add to the library.

Talk about lazy coding! Why do it like that? This is version 8 for crying out loud.

I worked around the problem by using VirtualDub to chop up the raw footage and not using the library facility. Sheesh!

The Refund

It was at this point I requested a refund – and got it in about 24hrs – no questions asked.

So I am looking for a more serious and mature Video editor. Suggestions?

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Posted by Tim - January 14, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Categories: repairs   Tags: , ,