repairs

Help Camtasia Stop Crashing

I think I might have stumbled on a trick to stabilize the beast Camtasia 8!

Note: I have nothing to back this claim up – and someone might say this is ridiculous. It really works for me – so far…..

This is offered to all of those out there wrestling with Camtasia crashing constantly. I hope this helps – if it does – please let me know.

Camtasia has me backing up my video work 3-4 times a day out of shear fear…. coz when she blows – she takes your work with her. She loves to scribble all over your project file. Just like it used to be back in the days of CPM – you probably don’t know what I am talking about here…. 1970’s computing.

The story behind the discovery

Recently whilst attempting to edit my movie – see my other Camtasia stories…. I noticed that I worked for an ENTIRE DAY on a 30 minute film with lots of edits and NO Camtasia crashes.

It dawned on me whilst driving the next day….. so what had I done different?

I was filming a pump and I needed to crop the video. So I had used Virtual dub (what a legend!) to run over the video from my camera and used a null transform to crop the film. But I hadn’t compressed the video.

Loading this into Camtasia just fed it’s bugs.  We were crashing our brains out, audio was stammering – you name it it was happening.

It was then I chose to create a new project with just the cropped video and get Camtasia to produce it at the same resolution. I was trying to see if Camtasia and I had met the end of the road as I feared we would. It successfully produced the video but it choked on it if you tried to play it in Camtasia (the original clip).

However when my movie project was changed to use the Camtasia produced render of my virtual dub cropped movie, Camtasia IMMEDIATELY become sane and has since behaved, and not crashed.

There was a substantial size reduction in the movie clip, but I wonder if the Camtasia codec is also way, way less memory hungry and less crash happy than their other codecs

So try using Camtasia to produce your original footage in their codec – Yes that seems to mean a separate project for each piece of your source footage. Yes it’s a pain – but you might stop the beast crashing – think about that!

Now if I could just batch encode all my source footage with the Camtasia codec….

I can’t get this done in Virtual Dub or I would. Surprise! The Camtasia codec wont let you encode with software other than Camtasia. Way to go Camtasia!

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Posted by Tim - February 6, 2013 at 2:08 am

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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

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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

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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

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Goodbye GoPro Hero 3

Come on GoPro be MY Hero!

Thinking about buying a GoPro 3? Or an earlier model? Here’s my story, for others – google GoPro wont turn on.

As I write this I am reluctantly filling in the the RMA request to GoPro to return my GP3Black and collect my full within 30 days refund. I don’t want to do this for 2 reasons:

  1. When it works it’s amazing! No really this thing ROCKS! If you see my earlier post Maggie Strike! you will have some idea what I was planning to do with the GP3. I also have this instructional video I need to make.
    With my GoPro (and many many others it would seem) you don’t just turn it on and use it. You have to charge, remove the battery, remove the memory card, pray to your gods, stand on one foot, cross your left index finger – or who knows what scheme to beg it to turn on. If you need to film something – it just wont turn on at that moment.
  2. I have to pay about $80 to ship it back to the USA – that will mean $160 in totally wasted shipping. Oh and a slightly broken heart. I want this thing in my life.I have a better idea – let me pay shipping for a replacement unit and let me keep the dead one. What’s going to happen to the dead one in the USA? and how much is it really worth in it’s current useless state? Bet it’s not worth the $80 shipping to return it.

It’s a crying shame because of the image clarity – ease of use – quality of engineering – I love it!

I have tried contacting GoPro support – I have a case number (419103) – but no response so far. Hmmm????

Yes I have updated the firmware – automatically and by hand. I am using the recommended 64Gb class 10 memory cards. I have two – neither makes any difference. Yes I have formatted them.

I have asked if an exchange  can be made here in Australia – saving me a lot of postage…. but will I hear from anyone at GoPro?

So if your thinking of buying a GoPro3 – buy locally so you can get to your store and make an exchange. But be prepared – this turn on fault seems to be rather common in the GoPro 2 and 3 family and seems to appear from out of the box or out of the blue. Mine was playing up from out of the box.

I can’t find anyone saying ‘GoPro told me to……’ to try and diagnose the fault, but in fairness I can find ‘GoPro RMA …. quickly and painlessly’. I am now hoping to join the second group so that I can use the cash on something else as amazing. Suggestions? – email me please.

If only GoPro would:

  • answer emails (must be busy shipping GoPros that turn on – they can’t all be bad),
  • answer support requests in a couple of working days…,
  • talk about this particular fault. There seems to be little or no mention of this fault officially.

My RMA request

PS Don’t re-size the text box on the bottom of the RMA form – the box and then the page dies and you have to start again – sigh

My RMA text – gotta paste it somewhere to redo the form

My GP is faulty – it has the wont turn on fault. It does turn on – occasionally but not with out battery removal and much plugging and unplugging of chargers, usb connections. I have yet to find a reliable turn on proceedure. A red led glows dimly on the rear of the camera when it wont turn on – indeed that will turn on but nothing more. My guess is the software wont boot.

I lodged a support request a week ago – heard nothing.

I have manually updated the firmware and automatically. It says it’s up to date. It has taken footage since the updating.

Looking round on the internet for a solution – clearly a lot of people have this same fault. I have lost confidence that these wonderful devices are reliable. They seem to be able to take a punishment and yet the simple function of turning off and on didn’t last 24 hrs on my desk? The video from this unit is amazing – if only I was able to determine when I used it – not the camera.

I would like take advantage of the 30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE to  minimise my financial loss.

Not particularly pleased about this – by the time I have paid for shipping twice between US and Australia – I will be $160 worse off with no camera.

Is it possible to exchange the unit at a dealership in Australia? That would be a far better outcome.

Reluctant to give up on this camera. But I need a working camera urgently.

There’s more on my blog at https://www.tbitc.com/goodbye-gopro-hero-3

thanks
Tim Burgess

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Posted by Tim - December 1, 2012 at 6:12 am

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Emailing large photos in Thunderbird – How To

This is for Thunderbird users…

The Problem:

Your on holidays and your taking lovely snaps and you want to email them home. So you write your email and then attach your photo and click send. Then you get messages about your photos being to big.

The Fix

  • In Thunderbird, select Tools -> Addons from the menu
  • In the search all addons box type photo resize and then click search (the magnifying glass)
  • Select the addon Auto Resize Image and click the install button
  • Exit Thunderbird
  • Restart Thunderbird
  • Write an email, attach your photos – DON’T click send yet

 

  • Click the resize button
  • Answer yes to the question

 

 

 

  • Your images are re-sized
  • Click send

 

How’s that 18.2Mb of images are now only 734kb!

 

 

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Posted by Tim - August 3, 2012 at 5:19 am

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laptop virus removal

Today I am repairing an infected laptop for a customer. It had all sorts of windows popping up and finally it looked like it may never boot again.

So far I have pulled out 18 infections – serious ones too!

This laptop seems to have become infected via their email connection – though I can’t be 100% sure – they just want it fixed.

However I am suspicious – they have two email accounts

  1. one connected to their server which I built and maintain and
  2. one connected to a very large ISP.

There is one infected email in the inbox from the ISP email account. It’s one of those infections that pulls in tons of other infections. Hmm

However all their documents and photos are safely backed up – you know where – SafeOffSite – I use it for repair work.

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Posted by Tim - January 25, 2012 at 1:27 am

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