Saturday, 8 August 2020

Camtasia 2020 Broken Backward Compatibility

In my recent review of the screencasting suite, Camtasia 2020, I said that “The latest release of Camtasia is less focussed on adding big new features than making the existing features easier to use”. Since writing that review I’ve become aware of one feature that makes Camtasia harder to use – well, for long-time Camtasia users at any rate. Because the new release no longer supports old Camtasia file formats. That means that if you made some recordings a few years ago and you want to load and edit them with Camtasia 2020, in all probability you won’t be able to do so.

Put simply, Camtasia 2020 no longer supports older Camtasia project files (with the extension .camproj) nor screen recording files (ending .camrec). I Googled for help on this and the only solution I found (in the Techsmith forums) was to use Camtasia 2019 to convert .camproj files and then load those into Camtasia 2020. But even if you do that, the individual clips (.camrec files) are invalid so in effect the conversion fails. I contacted Techsmith to see if the company had a solution to this problem. This is what the Camtasia project manager replied:

“You are correct that both camproj (projects) and camrec (recording) formats were retired in 2020. We replaced both formats many years ago (I believe TREC was introduced sometime in 2014 in version 8 of Camtasia) to introduce cross-platform project and recording support between Windows and Mac. You are also correct that the solution for opening camproj files is to open them in 2019 and then convert them to the tscproj format. Unfortunately, there was no easy or fast method of handling this for camrec to TREC format. We investigated to see if this would be worth the investment, but only a very small percentage of imports (something like 0.05%) were camrec format.

“Probably the easiest workflow for getting these older videos into 2020 will be to install Camtasia 2019, which will install the camrec shell extension. With this, you can right-click on camrec files in the Windows File Explorer and extract the video as an AVI. You can then bring this video into Camtasia 2020 (note that this will not include any cursor data though; if you need the cursor, you will have to produce the video from Camtasia instead).”