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?