How to improve quality of Prezi video conversions using Camtasia

Today I did a Prezi video conversion for a customer using Camtasia to record the video. Out of the 13 slides/transitions, I was having trouble achieving a smooth transition for 5 of them. The 5 transitions that were experiencing chop or stumble in the video were dramatic, quick zooms. After a bunch of research and experimenting I was able to figure out how to solve the performance problems when recording the Prezi with Camtasia. Here are my findings…

Understanding The Issue

First, here’s a little background on how video works and why we were experiencing he performance problems with Camtasia’s recording.

Lossless vs Lossy

Let’s start with explaining the lossless approach, which is the default method used by Camtasia. With the lossless method, the recorder attempts to capture every pixel on the screen perfectly. If the recorder is stressed and can’t capture a perfect pixel, the frame is just dropped. This will result in crystal clear images for the perfect pixels that were able to be captured, but dropped frames and a jerky recording for those that were not able to be captured.

This leaves us with the lossy method. The lossy approach attempts to capture every frame, but when it gets stressed it doesn’t necessarily drop the frame, rather instead it will sacrifice quality. The result is a smoother recording, however you will experience a slight reduction in quality. This reduction in quality may or may not be noticeable to the human eye during video playback.

Changing Camtasia from Lossless to Lossy

I always recommend that you start your Camtasia recording using Camtasia’s default settings. However, if you start to experience poor quality with skipped frames leading to a jerky, choppy video then you will want to try recording using the lossy method.

How to Record with Camtasia using the Lossy Method

Step #1: You need to download either the Divx of Xvid codecs. Note that if you using Camtasia Studio 7 or less, you are required to use the Xvid codec due to an issue with Divx being supported. If you are using Camtasia Studio 8, you can use the Divx codec. In this How-To I am going to focus solely on the Xvid codec since it is compatible across all versions of Camtasia and is the one that I personally use and have had great results with.

Download Xvid Codec

Step #2: Configure Camtasia Studio Recorder using the following settings. The “Xvid MPEG-4 Codec” should appear in the “Compressor” drop-down list if you properly installed the Xvid codec in Step #1.

Step #3: Also be sure to check the following box…

Step #4: That’s it! Now start your Camtasia Studio Recorder and you should be ready to go!

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