Camtasia File Formats

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CAMREC, CAMPROJ, TSCC… it’s like TechSmith lives on a whole different planet with its own secret language.

If you are new to screencasting, the blizzard of acronyms and abbreviations can be overwhelming. Video is bad enough with it’s arcane jargon (which is demystified in GhostLeg’s free PDF eBook, The Language of Video). TechSmith adds another dollop of confusion with its file extensions.

What does it all mean? Why should you care?

CAMREC is the file that is produced by the Camtasia Recorder. In other words, it contains the screencast. TheCAMREC file is what video specialists call a “wrapper” file. It holds the AVI file, which is the main audio and video recording, plus any additional streams of information, such as markers and PiP files.

Even if you record with the CAMREC setting, you can later extract the AVI file for editing with standard video editors that don’t recognize TechSmith’s proprietary format. This is very valuable for large projects or for videos where you want to integrate a screencast with high quality live action footage.

It is also very useful if you want to tweak the audio with something other than TechSmith’s anemic audio tools. (Torley has great audio editing tips in How To Master Screencasts in Seven Steps)

Simply Right Click on the CAMREC file and select Extract from the context menu. If your CAMREC file is large, this process can take anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. Don’t try to multi-task while the AVI is being extracted. just leave your computer alone for however long it takes.

CAMPROJ files are the Camtasia Project files that are produced by the Camtasia Studio Editor. They are usually quite small. If you open one with Notepad, you’ll discover it is a standard XML file, with information about the size and length of your video, the placement of edits, markers, pans, zooms, tracks, etc. In short, it tells Camtasia what to do when you produce the final video.

The advantage to knowing this is that, once you are familiar with XML, you can sometimes make small edits directly to the CAMPROJ file, without having to load a large and complex project into the editor.

TSCC is the TechSmith Capture Codec and, unlike the other files, it is not something else in disguise. It is TechSmith’s way of compressing screencaptures so that the clarity is excellent while the file size stays (relatively) small. You can record with the TSCC codec and later produce the video using a different codec, such as DivX or H.264.