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Screenflow: What iMovie wishes it could be

By: Michael Faber

We’ve been playing with a new piece of software in the MPS this semester – Screenflow.  Initially, we purchased it as a solution for recording video + screen sources in the MPS Recording and Conferencing Room, but it’s turned out to be quite a robust video editing application in it’s own right.  In addition to the recording capabilities (which are easy and fast), it has a full editing window that users of iMovie HD would appreciate.  Big preview window, horizontal timeline across the bottom, palettes of options and media stowage on the right.  Makes me long for the heady days of the old school iMovie platform.

But Screenflow’s got a lot more going for it than that.  Because it captures the screen, it can do so in a way to provide tons of post-production needs for screencasts and tutorials. For example, in post-production, you could include callouts where your mouse or a window is highlighted, with the background darkening or blurring out.  You could have large, heads-up displays of the keystrokes that you used while recording.  You can Dynamically resize the various window to have Picture-In-Picture, then swap to full screen, then back to any other arrangement you can dream up.

Screenflow version 4 just released earlier this week, with some additional features that we don’t yet have in our space, but look just as promising.  This includes nesting clips (think “sequences” in FCP7), captioning (not voice-captured though, unfortunately – still manual), and chroma keying for greenscreen effects.  The new features are outlined on their site.

For a more in-depth tutorial on how to use Screenflow, one of my students just posted a blog entry on the MPS Blog, Introduction to Screenflow: Tips, Tricks, Uses.

Categories: Video Production

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