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TechSmith Camtasia 2018 Review: More Evolution than Revolution

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When you edit various elements of a project, you can choose specific fonts or colors as before, or simply choose a theme, as shown on the far right in Figure 1 and also in Figure 4. This simplifies using consistent fonts and colors within different projects with different styles. However, you can’t simply apply a theme to an entire project; you have to change it element by element, which is obviously more time­consuming. Hopefully, the ability to change themes on a project­wide basis will appear in future products, along with the ability to manage and apply themes from a library.

Choosing a theme to select the font and colors of a specific element

60p Editing and Output

The other new feature is the ability to output at 60 fps, a nice perk for those using DSLRs or even smartphones that can capture at that rate. To test this feature, I first input a 1080p60 file H.264 codec from my iPhone X into Camtasia, which worked as advertised, allowing me to edit and output at 60p. I couldn’t tell if the intro and outro were 60p source, but all special effects looked very smooth.

Just for fun, I shot some footage with the iPhone X in 4K 60p encoded with HEVC, and input that into Camtasia 2018. Although playback in the timeline was pretty jerky on my 48-core HP Z840 workstation, Camtasia 2018 was able to edit and output a 60p file, though HEVC output wasn’t supported, only H.264. (Note that TechSmith is aware that 60 fps imposes big demands on playback and responsiveness, and has useful configuration suggestions you can access at go2sm.com/camtasiaplayback and go2sm.com/camtasiaguidelines.)

To be clear, 60p compatibility is only for camera footage input at that frame rate; Camtasia 2018 can still only capture screens at 30 fps max, which should be sufficient for almost all users.

Performance

The press release slips in a reference to “under­the­hood performance improvements that reduce video rendering time by up to 50 percent,” so I checked performance as well, and the results were mixed. On my older 2009 Mac Pro, Camtasia 2018 rendered a 90­second screencam­based project with lots of effects and transitions in 120 seconds, compared to 166 seconds for Camtasia 3, the most recent Mac version before Camtasia 2018.

In Windows on the HPZ840, I tested two very simple projects consisting of screencams but no effects, and found rendering times about the same in Camtasia 9.1 and Camtasia 2018. Then I added multiple transitions, annotations, titles, and visual effects to a project, and found that rendering time increased from 89 seconds in Camtasia 9.1 to 154 seconds in Camtasia 2018. Nothing tragic, but if you’re hoping that Camtasia 2018 will cut your rendering time on a fast Windows workstation, you may be disappointed.

Where does that leave us? As I said at the start, Camtasia 2018 is more evolutionary than revolutionary, though themes could be a very useful feature for any producer working on multiple projects with distinctly different accent colors and fonts. For Mac users interested in conveniently accessing media library elements, and for those who want to edit 60 fps footage, the upgrade price is also likely worthwhile.

[This article appears in the September 2018 issue of Streaming Media magazine as "Review: TechSmith Camtasia 2018."]

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