I have to admit, I am smitten with good screen-casts and when I saw the release of a new screen-casting application, ScreenFlow, I had to try it. In the past, I have used SnapzProX and that tool has served me well. However, there were a couple of serious limitations that have always left me wanting more:
- WYSIWYG – You must select your capture options, start the recording, and then do not make any mistakes! Because you will export to a resolution lower than that of your desktop (e.g. 1440×900), you will likely choose options that limit the capture area to something more reasonable (e.g. 640×480). Because you have to make these decisions before recording your chances of getting it wrong increase substantially. This is a very unkind WYSIWYG – no undo – you must start your recording over if you make any mistakes.
- Export/Transcoding – You can only make your export selections once and hope you got them right! You want to get the smallest file size with the highest quality encoding. Almost certainly you will not get it right the first time. So now what? Record again and export again! Not acceptable.
I was intrigued when I read TUAW’s blog posting
about ScreenFlow. The approach ScreenFlow takes fundamentally changes the workflow I have come to know. ScreenFlow captures the entire screen
— no more trying to remember if I am in-frame or out-of-frame — just capture the desktop in its entirety and worry about zooming and panning later! According to their web site: “ScreenFlow can handle everything from capturing DVD video & audio to fast moving Keynote presentations”. This fundamentally changes the screen capture game and the way I think about it.
Okay, so the capture is great (with low CPU overhead), but the real magic happens when you start adding what are known as “actions” to your project. Actions allow you to manipulate video and audio in post. Callout actions allow you to draw attention to the mouse or foreground windows. I cannot do the editing process justice; go watch the company’s screencasts
to be wowed. 🙂 IMHO, this application is really top notch and represents what differentiates great Mac software from good: it is fun, easy to use, and it gives me great results.
So how does ScreenFlow directly address my issues with SnapzProX?
- WYSIWYG – friendly – because it captures the entire screen during recording, I can worry about panning and zooming in post. If I do not like the results, undo, and try again; very forgiving.
- Export – Since the entire capture and post processing is saved as a project, I can run multiple exports/transcodes until I get it right. Again, very forgiving.
While I do not claim to be a pro, I submit my first screencast made with ScreenFlow for your review. I spent about an hour on this total with three takes. The learning curve for post processing was very low. ScreenFlow includes screencasts that document the workflow and are very helpful.