They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Even a short video can be composed of thousands of pictures. Because of this, it is no surprise that more people each day are turning to video production to disseminate information. The Mac has long been a favorite of amateur video producers. Screenflow for Mac has long been one of the favorite video production packages among Mac users.
Screenflow for Mac
Screenflow is one of the leading screen capture software packages for the Mac. It allows a user to capture everything occurring on their monitors as a video.
There are several key benefits one gains by using screenflow:
- Complete Screen Capture
- On Board Editing Ability
- On Board Distribution System
Many of the video capture programs out there only capture what is occurring in a certain window. While this is fine for someone who only wants to record themselves playing a video game, those who are trying to demonstrate more general computer activities find the ability to capture not only the entire screen, but every movement of the mouse, to be crucial to making clear and easy to follow videos.
One of the more intimidating aspects of video production for many who are just getting started is the shuffling of a video through several different programs to record and edit. This import/export dance always comes with the worry that some compatibility issue between programs could destroy the quality of the video. With its built in editing ability, Screenflow allows editing in the same program as capture. This means transitions, annotations, closed captions and many other professional level effects can be added without worry about compatibility.
Another issue related to video production that many find intimidating is distribution. The need to log in to every individual video website to post the end result can not only be complicated, but can take a tremendous amount of time. Screenflow solves this problem by having a built in distribution tool that allows the video to be exported straight to many of the major video sites from within the program itself. The ability to spend a few moments posting a video on several sites instead of separately going to each site is a tremendous boost in productivity and simplification.
Who Would Benefit from Screenflow?
While anyone who desires to make and distribute video on their Mac could benefit, Screenflow will be especially suited to certain producers:
- Product Producers
- Mobile App Developers
Video teaching is rapidly becoming recognized as the preferred instruction method for the future and a superior tool to live lectures. There are two fundamental reasons that video teaching is sweeping education.
The first reason is how we learn. For thousands of years, learning for humans has involved the teacher demonstrating something to the student, who then tries to emulate. The system is so ingrained in our brains that when they hit the landmark of getting a driver’s license, many teenagers get behind the wheel for the first time during the driving test and manage to pass. How is this possible? They have seen people performing the activity their entire lives. Imagine someone who had never seen a car driven trying to learn from a book. No matter the quality of the book’s instruction, it is unlikely that someone who had only studied the book would be in a position to get in a car and successfully pass a driving test.
The second reason so many educators are turning to video is that a screenflow tutorial exists forever. Once recorded and posted, a student can review the actual original instruction as many times as needed to fully digest the information. The end result is that a teacher using a screenflow tutorial program of teaching can instruct far more students because they can review the material alone, as opposed to seeking the instructor to go over the material again.
Product retailers also reap tremendous benefits from using Screenflow to demonstrate their goods. Compared to the traditional catalog system of a picture accompanied by a written description, a video demonstration gives a much more complete idea of the product. The video answers many questions that a description writer might never think to address. How the product fits in the hand, how obtrusive it is in a pocket, whether it rolls off a flat surface when set down – issues like these, while minor, could be the difference between an interested person thinking about buying and actually pulling out the credit card. Many of the top retailers in the world have recognized this and are adding short video demonstrations to their websites to benefit from the higher conversion rate video produces.
While it can be argued that any good video production package could do as good a job as Screenflow for educators and product retailers, mobile app authors will almost certainly find Screenflow more suited to showcasing their apps than any other video package. The developers of Screenflow recently added the ability to have video from any lightning based mobile product, like iPhones and iPads, captured directly to the Screenflow software via cable. This is in addition to the normal capture function of the program. In other words, an app author can run a demonstration of the app while also capturing him or herself narrating the process via the main computer’s camera and microphone. Other solutions for this activity require the app author to separately record the app function and import the video into editing software to add the (also separately recorded) commentary.
Another way Screenflow is making the world a better place for app authors is the introduction of touch callouts. These are tools that create an overlay showing the swipes and other finger manipulations that drive the app. This ability can drastically reduce customer service calls for forward thinking app producers who post videos of the various functions of the app. Being able to give an app buyer the URL of a video showing precisely how to do what they want saves everyone time and frustration.
How Do I Get Screenflow?
At the time of this writing, the retail version of Screenflow is $99 from their website, but it is also possible to get Screenflow free. Unlike many software trials, the Screenflow free trial does not let users use a crippled version of the software with the most valuable functions disabled. Instead, the trial version is fully functional, but the resulting video will be stamped with a watermark indicating that it was produced with the trial version. The beauty of such a system is that it allows a potential buyer of the software to explore literally every function the program offers before spending a penny.
Will Screenflow Run on my Computer?
The requirements for Screenflow are relatively modest. This is important to budget minded video producers, as many video editing software developers are engineering software aimed at cutting edge, top end Macs.
Running the program itself requires either:
- OS X 10.10 Yosemite
- OS X 10.11 El Capitan
Those who wish to preview videos from within the program will need a display card that supports Quartz Extreme. Note: The videos created by Screenflow, once posted on a video site, can be viewed on any machine running a capable browser. The Quartz Extreme requirement is only for those who wish to preview video during the editing process.
Running the Screenflow program requires 2GB of RAM, and 20GB of hard drive space is required to install the program.
Any Mac with an Intel made 64 bit CPU will run Screenflow. The software developers recommend an Intel i3 or better. As the i3 is a relatively dated dual core CPU, virtually any Intel based Apple Mac being sold new can easily handle Screenflow. The sad truth is that performance gains for top end Macs versus middle of the road computers are usually undetectable to anyone not running them side by side, but the willingness of some to pay a huge premium for this relatively minor improvement in processing power makes buyers of top end PCs an attractive target for software developers who want to sell their product at a premium, too.
Recording the screen of a mobile device requires a device that runs iOS8 and a Lightning cable to physically connect the device to the computer running the Screenflow software.
The software publishers of Screenflow also recommend the Safari browser for those who wish to use online help for the software.
Just two decades ago, using only a personal computer to create, edit and distribute high quality video was something of a pipe dream. Not only was fast internet prohibitively expensive for the common user, there was no way to bring together all aspects of the production process without a studio full of equipment to record, edit and combine each aspect of the video separately. Today, anyone with with an Intel based modern Mac can use the Screenflow software to create professional quality video to teach and demonstrate or sell products.