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

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 on.
    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:

  1. Download and install DivX for Windows at
  2. We recommend you only install the DivX Codec. Uncheck the other components as shown below.
    Installing DivX
  3. Launch Camtasia Recorder.
  4. Click Tools > Options > Video (tab).
    Select codec
  5. Choose Manual Video Configuration.
  6. Click Video Compression.
  7. Select the DivX Codec.
    select video compression
  8. Click Configure.
    Certification Profile
  9. Select the 1080HD Certification Profile.
  10. 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.

Title Category Level Format
000 - Customize the About Box Produce I Written
001 - How do I make a Table of Contents? Produce I Written
002 - Project Settings And Presets Edit I Written
003 - Markers Edit I Written
004 - Record Voice Narration Edit I Written
005 - Upload to without Using the Preset Troubleshooting II Written
006 - Flash Quiz or Survey Edit I Written
007 - Export Project as a Zip File Share I Written
008 - Save PowerPoint Slides as Images Record I Written
009 - Record Camera Video in Camtasia Studio Record I Written
010 - Produce a Selection of Your Timeline: A Very Handy Thing to Know Produce I Video/Written
011 - SmartFocus® and Zoom and Pan Edit I Video/Written
012 - Preview the Production Settings Produce I Written
013 - How to Produce Getting Started I Video
014 - How to Record Getting Started I Video
015 - Captions Edit II Written
016 - Draw on the Screen while Recording (ScreenDraw) Record II Video/Written
017 - Add or Edit a Production Preset Produce I Written
018 - Flash Hotspot Callouts Edit I Written
019 - Picture-in-Picture (PIP) Edit I Written
020 - Customize the Start and End Screens Produce I Written
021 - Produce a Flash (MPEG-4 or SWF) Video Produce I Written
022 - Documentation Documentation I Written
023 - Can I See What My Video Will Look Like Without Having to Produce the Whole Thing? (Preview Production Settings) Troubleshooting I Written
024 - Project File Overview Edit I Written
025 - How to Edit Getting Started I Video
026 - Transitions Edit I Written
027 - Produce using a Production Preset Produce I Written
028 - How to Improve Recording Performance Troubleshooting III Written
029 - How to Share Getting Started I Video
030 - Upload a Video to Share I Written
031 - Record a PowerPoint Presentation Record I Video/Written
032 - Customize the Flash Table of Contents Produce I Written
033 - Recording Tips Record I Written
034 - Understanding Dimensions, Project Settings and Aspect Ratio Troubleshooting II Written
035 - Tilt Edit I Video
036 - Record a Web Camera in Camtasia Studio Record I Written
037 - Record Audio in Camtasia Recorder Record I Written
038 - Custom Callouts Edit I Written
039 - Customize the Quiz Placement and Opacity Produce I Written
040 - Record the Screen Record I Video/Written
041 - Camtasia Studio Hotkeys Edit I Written
042 - Camtasia Studio 6 Overview Getting Started I Video
043 - Audio Enhancements Edit I Written
044 - How Do I Record System Audio (the sound that comes out of my speakers)? Troubleshooting III Written
045 - Share a Production Preset Produce I Written
046 - Produce a Video using Custom Production Settings Produce I Written
047 - Title Clips Edit I Written
048 - Upload Video by FTP Share I Written
049 - How do I extend the duration of a callout? Edit I Written
050 - Playback Controls Produce I Written
051 - Add Callouts Edit I Written
052 - Audio Editing Edit I Written