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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ for Mac OS X 10.6 & Earlier using Snapz Pro X 2.3.3

Last Updated Jan 3, 2013

Does Snapz Pro X work on Mac OS 10.3, Panther?
Support for Mac OS 10.3, Panther, was dropped with the release of Snapz Pro X 2.2.0. Current versions will not install on 10.3. You can still use Snapz Pro X 2.1.5 with Mac OS 10.3, Panther. You can download that version here.

Is there a user's manual for Snapz Pro X 2?
The Snapz Pro X 2 PDF Manual installs with the software. The Snapz Pro X 2 Manual is inside the Snapz Pro X folder inside your Applications folder.

How can I capture a full web page, more than I can view on the screen?
Snapz can only capture what is visibile on screen. Saving long documents as a PDF from the Print windows may be adequate for some users.

How can I import my movies into Final Cut Pro?
Old versions of Snapz ignore the frame rate settings in the movie compression dialog, and uses the actual frame rate of the capture, which may vary from frame to frame. Some versions of Final Cut Pro cannot load those movie files or incorrectly show they have a framerate of 10 FPS. This problem has been eliminated in version 2.5 or later.

How can I save to an external drive or locations not in the Send to menu?
Create the destination folder on the drive you want to save to. Make an alias of this folder. Then place the alias into your Pictures folder. The next time you invoke Snapz Pro X 2, that alias will be listed in the Send to popup menu.

To use an external drive as a scratch disk for the temporary tracks Snapz Pro X 2 creates, please see this FAQ

How can I delay saving my movie?
You will see a Save Later button in the Save Movie dialog box. The next time you invoke Snapz Pro X 2 the Save Movie dialog will be presented, allowing you to save your movie at your convenience. This temporary file is kept in your ~/Library/Caches/Snapz Pro X folder and will not be deleted by restarting your computer. The "~" refers to your Home directory. Please note you will not be able to capture another movie until the previous one is rendered out first or the temporary file is moved to another location.

Why can't I choose the Movie tool?
The Movie option will be disabled if the Send to menu on the first screen is set to the Printer or Clipboard. Movies cannot be saved to those locations. Changing the Send to menu will resolve the problem.

Why is the the Mac audio option grayed out when I select the movie tool?
Be certain that you are checking the Mac audio track checkbox in the Movie Settings palette BEFORE you being your recording.

If that Mac audio track option is grayed out, you are missing the system extension required to capture Mac audio. Snapz should notify you of the problem and prompt you to fix it. If you are still having a problem, download the current version, reinstall it and restart your computer.

If the checkbox is enabled and you are still unable to get audio, please see these FAQs:

How I change the scratch disk location for Snapz?

Snapz writes the temporary files to your ~/Library/Caches/Snapz Pro X/ folder. Since captures can consume a lot of disk space, some users may wish to move the scratch disk off to another drive. You can do this as of Snapz Pro X 2.2.3:

  1. Bring Snapz Pro X on your screen and press Command-Q to quit the application
  2. Create a folder entitled \"Snapz Pro X\" in your desired location
  3. Place an alias of that folder in your ~/Library/Caches/
  4. Delete the original Snapz Pro X folder in ~/Library/Caches/. You should only have the alias entitled \"Snapz Pro X\". The alias will be indicated with the arrow cursor in the lower left of the icon.
  5. Launch Snapz and test is out. You should see the .rVid file in its new location once you stop a capture or use the Save Later option.

Why do I get two screenshots; my intended capture and one of my entire Desktop?
Certain custom keyboard shortcuts will trigger the Finder's default screenshot in addition to the capture you took with Snapz. This is an Apple bug that we can not resolve in Snapz. The workaround is to set up a keyboard shortcut using the following criteria:

  • Any hotkey combination without the Control key
  • Any hotkey combination using the Control key but also Command or Shift
  • Any hotkey combination using a non-number key

Why do my movies have unregistered watermarks if Snapz is licensed?
You may have purchased a license for the still image only version, or you are using a license from Snapz Pro X 1.x. Bring Snapz on screen and click About. If you see an Upgrade button, purchasing the correct upgrade and inputting it will prevent the watermark from appearing on future captures.

Can I get rid of the Splash Screen?
Snapz Pro X 2 displays the splash screen every time it launches. As Snapz Pro X 2 is in your Login Items, it displays each time the machine is logged into. Splash screens are pretty standard for third party applications - from Adobe Photoshop, to Unreal Tournament. Snapz Pro X 2 also runs invisibly in the background, not in the Dock, so the splash screen indicates to users that it is up and running. All that said, if you do not want to see the splash screen, type the following into the Terminal:

  defaults write com.ambrosiasw.snapz SkipSplashScreen true

How can I improve recording in full screen mode?
Due to the high resolutions of displays available now, we generally do not recommend capturing in full screen mode. Not only will the movies be extremely large, QuickTime may not be able to handle their playback. You will get far better results if you capture your source at 100%, then play it back full screen.

That said, Snapz Pro X 2 should be able to record most applications in full screen mode. For best results, enable the Smoother (but more CPU-intensive) video capture checkbox in the Movie Settings palette. This setting causes Snapz Pro X 2 to directly access VRAM all of the time, which does indeed use up more CPU power, but it will allow it to record movies of applications that write directly to the screen.

You would also want to use this option to record things like the various MacOS X window animations to get the smoothest video.

If you are still unable to capture from that application, try using it in windowed mode. Some applications take over the screen completely when in full screen mode and will not allow Snapz Pro X 2 to even draw the palette, let alone capture the video.

Why can't I capture movies of Keynote in presentation mode?
Provided you have Keynote 3 or later, you can! Go into the Slideshow Preferences of Keynote and enable the Allow Exposé, Dashboard and others to use screen option.

Why can't I select my Dock or Desktop icons in Object mode?
The Object mode can only capture items drawn as a window. This Mac OS no longer treats the Dock with icons, icons by themselves in the Dock, or items on the Desktop as a window. Please use the Selection mode instead.

Why won't Snapz Pro X 2 invoke with the keyboard shortcut?
It could be one of a few possibilities. Please do the following:

  1. Invoke Snapz and press command-Q to quit Snapz. If you can not invoke Snapz, open the Activity Monitor found in your Utilities folder. Look for a process named \"Snapz Pro X\", select it, and then select \"Quit Process\".
  2. Remove the Snapz preference file \"com.ambrosiasw.snapz.plist\", which is located in the ~/Library/Preferences folder. Your Library folder is now hidden by default in Lion. To access it, open the Go menu in the Finder and hold down the Option key. You'll see Library appear between Home and Computer.
  3. Go into your System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts > Screen Shots and click \"Restore Defaults\".
  4. Download Snapz Pro X 2.3.3 and reinstall it. It should install over the old version, and you should not need to enter your registration info again.
  5. Launch Snapz again by double-clicking the application. After the splash screen appears, test out the shortcut.

Why is the file size of my movie capture so large?
Video captures consume a lot of disk space and can get very large, very fast. Reducing the dimensions of you capture and reducing your framerate are easy ways to reduce the size for a new capture.

Changing the video compressor, quality and keyframe settings in the Movie Saving Settings window that appears when you stop your capture can further reduce the file size. If the compressor selected has a keyframe option, be sure it's checked and set to a high number, like 500.

Why do my captures have an unregistered watermark?
The trial period offers full features without watermarks for 15 days to ensure it works as expected and suits your needs before committing to a purchase.

After that you can still continue to use Snapz Pro X 2 but it will place permanent watermarks on the images and movies it creates. The registration reminder that appears when you launch Snapz will indicate if your trial period has expired. The trial period cannot be reset.

Why does my screen freeze and cursor disappear when I invoke Snapz?
When Snapz is invoked it will freeze your screen, cursor included. You should however see an additional white arrow cursor. If you do not see this cursor, try hitting the Escape key. You should hear a "bloop" and Snapz backs out. If this is the case for you, you most likely have a conflict with Universal Access. Open Universal Access in your System Preferences. Turn off the Zoom in the "Seeing" section and make sure that the cursor size is set to "normal" in the under the "Mouse" section. Either of these can make the cursor vanish when Snapz is invoked. Zoom is on by default and can be activated by holding down the Control key moving the mouse's scroll ball/wheel or trackpad up or down...a common accident.

What settings should I use for my capture?
We stay away from recommending specific settings as it is pretty subjective. All of the elements in the Movie saving settings dialog box come from QuickTime, not Snapz Pro X 2, and therefore are a bit beyond the scope of these FAQs. That said, here are a couple tips:

  • If your capture appears \"choppy\", increase the framerate. The higher the framerate, the larger the movie file.
  • The default video and audio compressors (H.264 & AAC) are Apple's standards and generally do a great job of maintaining video quality and keeping file sizes to a minimum.
  • If you will be editing in post production or require sharp text, the Animation compressor is a good choice. This will create a considerably larger movie file.
  • Capturing at full screen is generally overkill and not a good idea. Keep in mind that currently shipping computer screens exceed industry standard HD specs. For the best results, capture at 100% and play it back in full screen if desired.

I purchased Snapz Pro X through MacHeist and my registration does not work, what can I do?
The information you received from MacHeist should include an all number, 6 digit code - enter this into the User ID field of the registration screen, and a 12 digit code separated by dashes - enter this into the License Code field of the registration screen.

When you do, you will be offered the chance to register with Ambrosia. If you register with Ambrosia your User ID and License Code are kept in our database and can be retrieved easily. If you do not register with Ambrosia, we have no record of the registration and no way to retrieve your User ID and License Code if it is ever lost.

How do I uninstall Snapz Pro X 2?
Use the uninstaller located in your /Applications/Snapz Pro X/ folder.

How long can Snapz Pro X record for?
Snapz Pro X itself does not impose any restrictions on how long you can record for. Your capture will be stopped automatically if you run out of disk space. Since video capture can get quite large, we recommend looking at our calculator to gauge how much space may be needed.

Why does my license not work with the License for all users... option?
The location of the license file when the License for all users... option is used recently changed. If the permissions for these directories are incorrect, you will run into a problem. If you are still having problems after verifying the following:

  1. You are running Mac OS X Lion, 10.7 or later
  2. You have the License for all users... option enabled
  3. You have verified that your User ID, number of copies and license code are correct

Open Terminal.app in your Utilities folder and paste in the following command:

sudo chmod o+rwx /Users/Shared/Library /Users/Shared/Library/Preferences

You should then be able to license as expected using the License for all users... option. Future versions of Snapz will offer to correct the problem automatically.

Can Snapz capture output from my third-party audio controller?
Snapz can only capture audio that is being output through a system controlled device. Changing the output in your Sound System Preferences to something like built-in speakers or headphones will work around the issue.

Why can't I use the Finder's screen capture when Snapz is running?
Snapz takes over the Finder shortcut while it's running. Snapz and the Finder function can not be used simultaneously or have their shortcuts separated. If you attempt to change either shortcut, you are actually changing both, as they are one in the same.

If you quit Snapz (bring on screen and press Command-Q), the Finder function will be restored. You can use the Finder's Command-Shift-4 while Snapz is running.

When was Snapz Pro X first released?
Snapz Pro X was updated to Snapz Pro X 2 on February 3rd of 2004. Snapz Pro 2 was updated to Snapz Pro X on July 27th of 2001. Snapz Pro was originally released on the 4th of December, 1996.

Why is the audio missing from the movie I uploaded to YouTube?
When you upload your movie to YouTube (or a similar service), it will be processed for use on their site. Most sites will only accept one audio track. If you are recording both Mac audio and a microphone, your movie will contain two separate audio tracks. YouTube will strip the second track, leaving you only with the Mac audio. The workaround is to flatten the movie, combing both audio tracks. The easiest way to do this is to export the file again using a video utility such as QuickTime or Handbrake.

Why are there black lines around my movie?
Due to a QuickTime bug in H.264 encoding, video selections are now automatically snapped to a width and height that is divisible by 4. If necessary, the video is padded with black so the width and height are divisible by 4.

Where does Snapz keep the temporary files?
The temporary files are placed in your ~/Library/Caches/Snapz Pro X folder. The file(s) will have an extension of .rVid (video and Mac audio) and .rMic (microphone audio). The "~" refers to your Home directory. You can also change the location of Snapz's scratch disk.

Why is there no audio in my movie?
Be certain that you are checking the Mac audio track checkbox in the Movie Settings palette BEFORE you begin your recording...

...and that it is still enabled AFTER the recording ie ended:

If that Mac audio track option is grayed out, please see Why is the the Mac audio option grayed out when I select the movie tool?Still having a problem? Are you using a third-party audio controller?

Why am I getting poor results when using my solid-state drive (SSD)?
While SSD drives are fast to read from, they are slower to write to than traditional hard drives. This can lead to poor performance when capturing movies. As a workaround, you can change the scratch disk location to a traditional drive (internal or external). This should give you better results.

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