Easy to use, lots of effects
I’ve just finished a hands-on session with ScreenFlow 6, the latest version of my preferred screen capture software. There are some impressive new features, more about which later. I’m currently using ScreenFlow on two projects, the first of which is a set of tutorials for a large FileMaker database I’ve been working on at a school where I help to manage their archives. Here’s how it works.
First, I fire up the database and then configure ScreenFlow for a new recording. I’ll set it to record the desktop on my iMac and the audio from a connected headset which shows up in the options window. A neat new feature in version 6 is the ability to select a certain area of the screen before recording so I now click and drag to select the FileMaker window. This window is all that ScreenFlow will record which saves a lot of messing around in postproduction. I then click Record, mouse through the database feature I want to demonstrate on-screen while recording a running commentary through the headset. If I’m happy with the audio and video just recorded I can add text, transitions and import additional images or music if I wish.
I can big up the mouse pointer to make it easier to see, add sound and a visual effect to my mouse clicks and add callouts. The video quality of the recording goes right up to Retina standard, which I use. The end result is that in a few minutes I have a most professional tutorial in which our database users can follow on-screen step-by-step routines. We are also developing an iOS interface for the database and for tutorials on this I can connect my iPad and set ScreenFlow to record the iPad screen.
In my second project I need to demonstrate some of the features of Band-in-a-Box music creation software to a colleague. This time, in addition to recording audio through the headset I also need to record the computer audio. Easy. ScreenFlow handles both audio sources simultaneously.
When I’m done I notice that the music level through the computer is overpowering the audio commentary through the headset. Not a problem. I can fine tune individual audio track levels in the Audio Properties window.
When all is done I can export my finished ScreenFlow recordings in a variety of video formats, web, iOS and new formats, including animated GIF, ProRes 422 and 422LT. I can also publish to Dropbox, Vimeo, U-tube, Google Drive, Facebook, or Wistia directly from ScreenFlow.
A new export option in version 6 is Telestream Cloud, Telestream’s online, on-demand, pay-as-you-go encoding service. I can use this to create as many versions and formats of the video as I need.
Some of the other new features in version 6 are cool new animation effects, multichannel audio mixing, interface improvements which include smoother audio waveforms, and timed recording where I can set the timer to stop at a predetermined time. This is great for recording webinars when I’m away from the computer. I can also set ScreenFlow to record in loops of a length that I choose and then dispose of older loops to save hard drive space. Great for tracking intermittent computer behaviours.
Over the years I have watched ScreenFlow mature from a cheeky new kid on the block to a simple yet sophisticated screen capture editing and publishing program. While obviously a great tool for educators such as myself, ScreenFlow with its powerful iOS capabilities has great potential for app developers as well as for bloggers and marketers. Quick and dirty? Not any longer. ScreenFlow 6 is quick and clean. Professional video and audio production for around $130. Now that’s a pretty good deal.
Stop Press. As I was finishing this review at home I got a message from a colleague at school asking me to run through the process for sharing the master database with other computers in Archives. As I started to explain a lightbulb moment said ‘Screen Flow! ‘In five minutes I had a short video on its way to him via email. Brilliant.