Archive for February, 2014

Camtasia 8.3.0 Still A Project Killer!

It’s about a year since I tried to make my video. Back then, I simply gave up the fight in the desperate hope that the Techsmith would get it together and fix their bugs.

Last year I was so disappointed with Camtasia, I abandoned my video work and did something else – anything else. I did look around for a Camtasia alternative and there are plenty out there. So it looks like I will have to chuck many many hours of work in the bin and start creating my video all over again in some one else’s video editing software.

Why I am revisiting this? Now?

A customer request yesterday, asked for the video I was making a year ago. So I decided to see if there had been an upgrade and get my video fixed and published.

BAD IDEA!

I am not going to yell nothing’s improved in Camtasia – I can see there are improvements and new features, but the important things for me are still broken. And not a little bit broken – really screwed.

I bet you might be safe if you are playing with editing – but once you learn Camtasia and start trying to make significant videos – your headed for a disaster.

It’s not only me either – I have seen others who have abandoned Camtasia for an other product. And there’s some fantastic looking Open Source alternatives out there!

So what’s my experience this time round?

Batch Rendering

Doesn’t like more than one file at a time. Yup I know!

Certainly not batches of files. My video consists of several sections:

01TitleSeq
02InDepth
03PPLEntry
04PumpTour
05FingerPokingFullPokeFrontExtraction
05FingerPokingFullPokeCentreExtraction
05FingerPokingFullPokeEndExtraction
05FingerPoking – relies on the 3 05’s above
06SPPUpload
07Credits

Example2Move – this is made from all the above – after they have all been rendered.

  • So if I attempt to batch render 01TitleSeq on it’s own – fine.
  • If I attempt 01TitleSeq and it would seem any other video – crash – Camtasia vanishes.
  • I have yet to find any two projects which will render in a batch, and frankly I am too scared to play with this because Camtasia punishes hard by killing your project file and your edits.

Doesn’t understand dependency

My movie is made from parts and one of the parts is made from parts (see the 05’s in the list above), so when you list them in the order I have – Camtasia sorts the file names and attempts to render in it’s own order.

A render in a batch can fail – but why?

Who knows? It’s a secret!

How I wish I could enter that list above into a batch production and see my video come out at the end.

How I wish I could submit that batch list via command line – then I could have it rendered automatically. I have a need to update some of my video components from time to time, and re-release an updated video.

Just the ability to render one video from the command line would really make my day!

Destroyed Project Files

Beware – as it was a year ago – if you open a project and Camtasia wants to recover it – DON’T.

REALLY – DON’T RECOVER PROJECTS.

Camtasia - ready to kill

Click recover to loose all your editing NOW!

Because what your recovered project will be is the last project you successfully opened not the project your trying to open after it’s been recovered. Your movie sequence and all that editing is GONE!

To get around this I use version control, and delete the damaged project file locally, and then retrieve the project file back from the version control system.

Truth is I just did that very thing –  I am writing this post whilst trying to render my movie to see where I was up to and recover something for use with my customer. The screen shot was taken seconds ago!

What is damaging these project files?

I am not 100% sure but it seems to correlate to a crashed render. You really need to pay attention to the render crashes and maintain your project files. Backup people!

Camtasia doesn’t think project files are sacred.

If you export your captions prior to deleting them because they wont $#@#!& turn off in the render and you cunningly plan to use the project name for the exported captions, Camtasia will suggest you save them over your project file and do it quite happily. Then the screaming begins. Did I mention I use subversion – to back up my files? This is why. Should over writing projects with any other kind of data be simply not possible?

New Issue With Captions

Several of my projects in the list above – but not all, render with captions. I can’t seem to turn them off. I produce and share them as MP4 only (up to 720P) and I make sure that the Show captions check box is cleared in the Captions task area. Still get captions though – on some of them and not others. Why? Is this finger trouble on my behalf?

To over come this – I had to nuke my captions – which I really didn’t want to do.

Wont Remember the Output Folder

When you produce and share you choose the output folder.

Last night I chose a folder away from everything so that I didn’t accidentally over-write last years renders – perhaps I might need them. After all Camtasia might play up. :-}

Today some of my projects – not all, simply will not remember the new output folder location I am trying to set today – which happens to be the original output folder.

Although Camtasia will remember the Output Folder IF you can set it during a batch render – if it doesn’t crash, AND if your project files aren’t kicked in their private parts.

Why does a project need saving after it’s been rendered?

If you save a project, render and then exit Camtasia – you will be asked if you want to save it. What’s changed? Is this when things go sour? You wont know till next time.

Summary

CRAP! As in extreme frustration. I am not saying Camtasia is crap. I bet plenty of folks are having a great experience with it.

I wish I was having a better experience with Camtasia – but I am not.

It’s possible my project files created a year ago were damaged by an earlier version of Camtasia and that’s causing my issues. The amount of work it would take to start again from nothing is huge and I sure wouldnt invest that time with Camtasia for fear of – well what’s happened to me.

Will I be able to get my video completed?  I just don’t know.

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Posted by Tim - February 13, 2014 at 6:20 am

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