Screencasting with the Mac
Illustration by Neil Webb

Recording with ScreenFlow


From:

Screencasting with the Mac

with Christopher Breen

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Video: Recording with ScreenFlow

Unlike Snapz Pro and iShowU HD, Telestream's $99 ScreenFlow 2 is an entire screencasting production environment. As such, you can not only capture your Mac's screen, but also edit what you have captured. The full capabilities are outside our mission, but we will look at those elements that best serve our purposes. When you first launch ScreenFlow, you can be forgiven, if think it offers pretty modest features. After all, all you see is this gray window that includes four options: Record Desktop from, Record Video from, Record Audio from and Record Computer Audio.
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Watch the Online Video Course Screencasting with the Mac
1h 51m Beginner Dec 17, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Screencasting with the Mac shows how, with very little investment, Mac users can create coherent and engaging screencasts. Chris Breen showcases the required gear, from microphones to lights, and tours today's most popular screen capture software. He shows how to create a polished script, maintain a strong presence both on and off camera, and capture video and audio streams. He then reviews the process of editing the screencast in iMovie and integrating live video, screen captures, stills, and music to make the presentation even more appealing. This course illustrates how screencasts are the perfect form for anyone—teachers, developers, even product managers—to distribute information or instructions.

Topics include:
  • Scripting a screencast
  • Capturing video and audio using a screen capture utility
  • Shooting live video
  • Importing assets and editing in iMovie
  • Recording a separate narration track
  • Exporting and distributing a screencast
Subjects:
Business Education + Elearning
Software:
iMovie
Author:
Christopher Breen

Recording with ScreenFlow

Unlike Snapz Pro and iShowU HD, Telestream's $99 ScreenFlow 2 is an entire screencasting production environment. As such, you can not only capture your Mac's screen, but also edit what you have captured. The full capabilities are outside our mission, but we will look at those elements that best serve our purposes. When you first launch ScreenFlow, you can be forgiven, if think it offers pretty modest features. After all, all you see is this gray window that includes four options: Record Desktop from, Record Video from, Record Audio from and Record Computer Audio.

This window hints that ScreenFlow does nothing more than record the Mac's full screen is capable of recording picture and picture video from an iSight camera or webcam that you've attached to your Mac, recording audio from a microphone, and also recording the sounds the Mac makes, and that's true. However, with ScreenFlow, all the magic happens after you've made your recording. It's in its editor that you choose what to focus on. Let's give it a go. We'll keep Record Video disabled to keep it simple, but enable recording from my microphone as well as the Mac's audio.

I click Record and then I get a five second countdown before ScreenFlow starts recording. Let's open iTunes, play a bit of music, turn on the visualizer, switch it off, click a few menu commands, turn- off the music, and end the capture by pressing Shift+Command+2. Ah! Now it gets interesting as ScreenFlow's editor appears. Let's take a look.

In the ScreenFlow window, you see a preview of your capture, play controls below, and timelines that represent the microphone audio track and the track that holds your screen capture along with the Mac's sound. I can play back the capture just by clicking on the Play button. To the left of the play controls is a Crop button. When I click that button, I can drag the frame to any size I like or enter a specific size in the size fields.

On the right-side of the window are the Properties tabs. It's in this area that you manipulate the capture's audio and video. Let's perform some simple operations. The first tab is Video Properties. Suppose you want to focus your capture on a particular portion of the screen, with ScreenFlow, there's no need to make a selection, as you would with Snapz Pro. Instead, just select the capture track, drag the scale slider to the right to scale up the image, and then click-and-drag the image into position. We will now jump over to the Screen Recording Properties tab.

First, click Add Video Action, make sure the Show Mouse Pointer option is enabled, zoom the pointer to 200%, choose Radar from the Click Effect pop-up menu, and enable the Sound on Click and Show modifier keys pressed options. Now, let's drag the playhead back and play the video. As you can see, the cursor is more visible because it's larger and you can see each click because of the radar affect. You can hear the clicks and you can see any keyboard commands I've typed.

Thanks to these few adjustments, the actions I performed are already much clearer. Now let's add some refinements. Earlier, I created a video action. Let's talk more about those actions. These are effects that you apply to audio and video tracks over the course of time. For example, you'd apply an action to add a page curl transition between two clips or you can add an action to an audio clip that applies a Reverb effect to the clip. Let's add a couple of more actions. I'll start by moving the playhead to the point where I select the menu command, click on the Callout Actions tab and click Add Callout.

A yellow Callout action appears in the capture track. With the Mouse Cursor option enabled, change Opacity to about 30%. Notice that the area around the mouse stays white and the background dims. Drag the playhead to see what happens to the preview during the course of the Callout action. Notice that the action ends after we've gone through all the menus. No problem. Just move the playhead to where you leave the menus, and then drag the end of the Callout action to that point.

But it would be nice, if we could also zoom in on the cursor when it's in the menu. You can do that too. Just select the Callout action and zoom up to 150%. The highlight circle is a little small, so move the Border slider to the right to enlarge the highlight. The transition from normal view to this highlighted view is a little abrupt. You can smooth that out by adjusting the Build settings at the bottom of this tab. In both the Build In and Build Out Duration fields enter 0.4 seconds. Now play the action.

Pretty slick, but the beginning and end of the capture are also abrupt. We can change that too. Place your cursor on the beginning video capture track and a small gear icon appears. Click on this gear and choose Add Starting Transition. A transition is added to the beginning of the clip. Double-click on that transition and the Transition Inspector window appears. Let's choose Dip to Black and close the Inspector. We will do the same for the end of the clip. Add Ending Transition, double-click on the clip, and use Dip to Black.

Play the clip and you see it opens with the fade from black. Check the end of the clip, and it fades to black. To make the transition longer or shorter, just drag its edge. I can also add an audio fade to the end. Just place the playhead at the end of the clip, select the Audio Properties tab, click the Add Audio Action button, and in the tab, move the Volume slider to 0. As soon as the playhead hits the Audio Action, the volume will begin to fade.

Again, if you need a longer fade, just make the action larger. You can add titles as well. Click the Text Properties tab and then click the Add Textbox. A textbox appears in the Preview pane. Click that box, and enter the text you like. You're welcome to choose a different font, choose to fill with a Solid Color, Image of your choosing or Gradient. You can also outline the text as well as have it appear over a background. I am going to change the font, use a Gradient fill, and remove the background, and just as with the capture track, you can add transitions to your text.

We will have it dissolve on both ends. You can also animate the text by adding a Video Action. We will position the textbox where we want it when it first appears. Now move the playhead to the end of the text entry in the timeline and click Add Video Action. Move the textbox to where you would like to end up at the end of its move. Finally, drag the left side of the action so that it fills the text entry in the timeline.

Go to the beginning of the clip, play it, and watch its progress across the screen. You can also add more media files to your project. For example, I can add a music bit to my project by clicking the Media tab, clicking Add Media, choosing an audio file, and dragging it to the timeline. I can just as easily add a watermark to the project.

From within the Media tab, I click Add Media, navigate to the image I want to use for the watermark, drag it into the preview window, and adjust its size. It's too present, so I click Video Properties and change its Opacity. You can also record narration of your project. To do that, move the playhead to the beginning of the project. Now open Media Pane, click the Add Recording button at the bottom of the pane, enable the Record Audio from option and disable any other options and choose your Microphone from the pop-up menu. Click Record to start recording.

The countdown will start. When it finishes, click ScreenFlow's Play button. As the project plays, start talking, press Shift+Command+2, to stop the recording and an audio file appears in the Media Pane. Move the playhead back to the beginning of the project, right-click on the audio file, and choose Add to Timeline at Playhead. To adjust the volume of your narration, just select the narration track you've recorded, click the Audio Properties tab, and use the Volume slider to change the volume. ScreenFlow can do far more but what I have shown you takes care of our needs.

There are currently no FAQs about Screencasting with the Mac.

 
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