How to Improve Recording Performance
Have you seen (or made) choppy recordings or witnessed flashing mouse cursors? How can you avoid jerky videos? This tutorial provides strategies for improving recording performance.
In this tutorial, learn:
- Basic Tips to Improve Recording Performance
- Understand Challenges when Recording High-Motion Content
- Using DivX to Record High-Motion Content
Basic Tips to Improve Recording Performance
Your frame rate is the number of frames captured per second. For the smoothest recordings you want to strive to achieve the highest frame rate. By default the Camtasia Recorder tries to capture 15 frames per second. The recorder will drop frames if the computer becomes overburdened and the recorder cannot keep up. Here’s some ways you can improve performance:
- Record a smaller portion of your screen. Recording the full screen is harder than recording a single window.
- Close any applications you don’t need. They’ll hog memory, and since screen recording is a CPU-intensive process, you want to free up everything you can.
- On Windows Vista, disable the Aero color scheme. To do so: Start
> Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Personalization >
Change the color scheme. Choose Windows Vista Basic, Windows Standard,
or Windows Classic. On Windows XP, you can disable Hardware Acceleration. To
disable hardware acceleration globally, right-click on the desktop and select
Properties > Settings > Advanced > Troubleshooting.
Set the acceleration slider to None. This method will turn off
acceleration for all applications until it is manually turned back
Another way to globally disable acceleration is to configure the Camtasia Recorder to turn off acceleration before each recording session and turn it back on when the recording is stopped. Tools > Options > Capture > Disable Display Acceleration During Capture. This has the side effect of blanking the screen each time the recording is started and stopped.
There are some applications which require hardware acceleration to run properly. Games, CAD programs and TV cards are some examples.
- Looking for an excuse to get a new computer? If so, the statistic you want pay the most attention to is CPU. RAM and graphics cards are important, but when you’re specifically talking about recording power, Camtasia Studio is mostly taxing your CPU. Another compromise idea is to borrow a fast computer to get your recording done, then edit on your slow computer.
Understanding Challenges when Recording High-Motion Content
There are essentially two approaches to capturing screen content. Camtasia Studio uses a lossless approach. Alternatively, some recording software uses a lossy approach. Why do you care about lossless and lossy? Fair question.
Let’s cover lossless first. In this method, the recorder attempts to capture every pixel on the screen perfectly. If the recorder is stressed and can’t do it, the frame is just dropped. One way to think of it is you’ll get a series of crystal clear images, but the dropped frames make the recording jerky. Lossy recording takes a different approach. It attempts to capture every frame, but when it gets stressed it doesn’t necessarily drop the frame—instead it’ll sacrifice quality. So you may end up with a smoother recording, but you’ll see some artifacts and maybe it’ll seem blurrier.
What’s the takeaway?
Lossless recording (Camtasia Studio default) is ideal for capturing typical screen content—websites, various software applications, and PowerPoint presentations. Lossless recording suffers when you try to capture things with a lot of motion—like a streaming video, a video game, and so forth.
Using DivX to Record High-Motion Content
If you’ve got a lot of motion on your screen or you want to see if an alternative screen recording technology will give you smoother videos, you can install and use a lossy alternative. We’ve had customers report success with DivX. It’s free too.
To record your screen using the DivX codec:
- Download and install DivX for Windows at www.divx.com.
- We recommend you only install the DivX Codec. Uncheck the other
components as shown below.
- Launch Camtasia Recorder.
- Click Tools > Options > Video (tab).
- Choose Manual Video Configuration.
- Click Video Compression.
- Select the DivX Codec.
- Click Configure.
- Select the 1080HD Certification Profile.
- Click OK as needed to close all the dialogs.
Camtasia Recorder will now record using the DivX codec. You should see great improvements when recording high-motion content. Switch back to the TechSmith Screen Capture Codec when you need pixel-perfect lossless quality recording.