Camtasia (Windows): Playback on Timeline appears Choppy, Out-of-Sync, or Delayed

Problem

High bitrate files may play back choppy on the timeline. High bitrate files commonly include files recorded on a HD camera, such as MP4, MOV and MTS files.

Solution

Camtasia 2018

Preview Performance has been greatly improved in Camtasia 2018.  To get the best preview performance in Camtasia the following guidelines will help.  However, we do have two issues we have seen.

Issue 1:

We have seen the following issues reported in Camtasia 2018.0.0. If you are experiencing these symptoms, please update to Camtasia 2018.0.1 by opening Camtasia, then click Help > Check for updates.

  • When importing an MP4 or MOV and you experience a long delay when adding it to the timeline or the preview is choppy. 
  • The performance is better in version 9 as compared to 2018. 
  • The video files are coming from a Canon camera and have the naming format of "MVI_001.mp4"

Issue 2:

For Windows 7 users we have found that switching to software mode greatly improves performance.  In Camtasia select Edit > Preferences > Advanced tab > Hardware Acceleration and choose Use software-only mode. Close and re-open Camtasia.
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Camtasia 9

The following items may improve playback on the timeline in Camtasia:

  1. Change the power options on your computer to High performance.
  2. To improve performance, make sure the Editing Dimensions are the same as the source file. For example, if you import a 1920x1080 video and set the Editing Dimensions to 1280x720, Camtasia may use more processing power to scale the video.
  • To view the source file dimensions, right-click the file in the Media Bin and select Properties (Camtasia 9) or Details (Camtasia 8).
  • To view the Project Settings in Camtasia 9, select File > Project Settings > Canvas Dimensions.  In Camtasia 8, see the example below.
  • Some behaviors may cause delays in the playback in the preview window. To improve performance, select Edit > Preferences > Advanced tab > Hardware Acceleration and choose Use software-only mode. Close and re-open Camtasia. We recommend setting this option even if your project does not include behaviors on the timeline.
  • To improve the performance and reduce the bitrate, convert the video to MP4 using Handbrake. See this article.