Go with the flow

Keith White
15 November, 2011
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For years screen capture on the Mac lagged way behind Windows. In recent years however that has changed.

Anthony Caruana recently looked at two options – Camtasia and Snagit. And here’s a third. ScreenFlow version 3 is the latest incarnation of what was already a pretty impressive program.

ScreenFlow captures what’s happening on your Mac desktop, video from the built-in iSight camera or any other camera attached to your Mac. It can grab audio either from the built-in microphone or an attached mic. As well as any audio that is happening on your Mac. You can capture HD video and HD game footage as it happens.

You can also record PowerPoint/Keynote presentations and create fully customisable text boxes for titles or notes.

The ability to highlight the mouse or the foreground window and then blur the background is a very useful technique in educational and marketing presentations. As a former teacher I can see enormous potential in this sort of technology for educators to package multimedia training quickly, simply and cheaply.

New features in ScreenFlow 3 make it even easier to add professional touches to your presentation. You can highlight selected areas on the screen with a freehand paintbrush tool or with a rectangle tool. You can add circles, squares lines and arrows to your presentation and customise them to suit. Animate them if that helps your purpose. The timeline tracks have a familiar iMovie look and feel. Move clips around freely, insert or delete gaps and group clips together. Split clips and add freezeframes. New audio controls help you remove background noise, balance audio levels and choose from a list of basic effects.

These controls are not professional quality but fine for quick and dirty productions. The new audio waveform display highlights in red when the audio signal is clipped so you can avoid distortion. When you have finished, simply export to QuickTime. There are some really handy export presets including YouTube, Vimeo and iPad.

Recently I needed to show a client some video footage running inside Final Cut Pro X. I simply hit Record in ScreenFlow, ran the Final Cut footage and then Command Shift-2 to stop recording. I then selected the footage I wanted in the ScreenFlow timeline with In and Out points and exported to QuickTime.

ScreenFlow 3 is also Lion friendly with an autosave feature and an automatic versions feature which allows you to skim through and select from previously saved versions of your presentation.

You can try it for free. The full version is US$99. Upgrade is US$29.

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