How to Make Camtasia Render Faster
By Aaron Parson
The rendering process in TechSmith's Camtasia Studio combines your source materials with your edits, captions, transitions and other effects to produce a single video file. Because this process has to operate on every frame of video and not just those you've modified, it often takes a long time. In some cases, however, a glitch or a setting in Camtasia can slow down rendering even further.
Update Your Software
Improvements to Camtasia's code can solve bugs that cause slow rendering. For example, one previous bug in Camtasia Studio 8 caused videos produced at frame rates below 30 frames per second to render slowly. To check for fixes, open the "Help" menu, and then click "Check for updates" -- if a newer version exists, the program provides a download link. Camtasia doesn't use an automatic updater, so you need to install the new version and provide your registration key again.
Video Drivers and Settings
When your computer's hardware allows this, Camtasia will use your video card to improve rendering time. Outdated video drivers, however, may have bugs that make Camtasia render slowly, in which case you can download new drivers from your card manufacturer's website. On some computers, the video card may actually slow down rendering. To resolve this, open the "Tools" menu, click "Options," and then uncheck "Use GPU acceleration if available." Restart Camtasia and try running it without the video card. If the setting is already off, try turning it on to see if rendering speeds up.
Change Rendering Settings
Some rendering settings can affect speed. For example, if you set Camtasia to render at your source video's original resolution, rendering will run much faster than if you output to a different resolution. Changing to a different video codec will also affect rendering time, but may also affect your video's compatibility. If you're trying to test a change in your video, you can produce a small selection of your project to avoid most of the rendering time -- select the portion you want on the timeline, open the "File" menu, click "Produce special," and then click "Produce selection as."
Upgrading Computer Components
Rendering long videos always takes a significant amount of time. If you've tried other fixes and you are still not satisfied with your rendering speed, upgrading your computer can make a dramatic difference. Camtasia primarily relies on CPU speed, but a video card upgrade can also help, with the "Use GPU acceleration" option checked. If you only produce video once in a while, however, the easiest solution is simply to leave your computer rendering while you do something else.
Information in this article applies to Camtasia Studio 8. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions.
Aaron Parson has been writing about electronics, software and games since 2006, contributing to several technology websites and working with NewsHour Productions. Parson holds a Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.