Reviews, Video

Make your screencast, presentation or tutorial stand out with ScreenFlow 6

Telestream has upgraded ScreenFlow, the computer screen recording — aka screencast — application to version 6. The new version holds several exciting and important new features and numerous improvements. It now also integrates with Telestream Cloud for on-demand transcoding to formats like HLS, MPEG-DASH, WebM and more.

ScreenFlow 6 modern interface

I love ScreenFlow. It allows me and a community of hundreds of thousands of people to create screencasts, video tutorials, presentations and more, and it supports both OS X and iOS screen capturing. The previous versions were feature-complete and fun to work with and I couldn’t imagine areas where the company would still improve the app. But version 6 comes with new features that expand its usability and usefulness.

animated gif for screencast

One major new feature is the ability to capture only part of the screen. It’s an option on the Configure Recording panel. When you select it, you see a rectangular area with dotted border of your screen appear. You can resize that area by dragging with the mouse, or you can choose one of the predefined area sizes from the pop-up menu. Focusing on part of a screen is great if you want to save time afterwards — you don’t need to crop the recording area anymore in post-production — or if you want to use it as a PIP (picture-in-picture) element to draw attention. The designated area isn’t dynamic, though. If you move your mouse out of it, the area doesn’t move with it. That’s probably better too. If you want dynamic areas, it’s far more processor-efficient to do so in post.

ScreenFlow 6 supports 16-channel audio recording

A minor frustration when working with ScreenFlow 5 and before was that you couldn’t record stereo sound. Well, those days are gone. ScreenFlow 6 doesn’t just record stereo. It enables you to plug and record from a multi-channel audio interface with up to 16 channels.

16 audio channels to record in screenflow screencast app

ScreenFlow’s sound Inspector lets you set the volume level of each channel, play each channel in solo mode and control the pan. For stereo recordings, pan by default is set to 100% left for the first channel and 100% right for the second channel — but with the intuitive controls, you can easily change that. You can now monitor not only the sound from your Mac, but also from your iOS device if you’re capturing an iPhone or iPad.

ScreenFlow 6 adds new editing features as well. One time-saving new feature is called “replace clip.” There’s no contextual menu for it, but an option in the Edit menu allows you to select the source from the media pool inside ScreenFlow to replace the clip on the Timeline. The new feature allows you to swap the media on the timeline for a different source without changing your in and out points, while saving the actions you may have added to the original clip. One word of advice: before you replace clips, give each a different name. If you don’t, your “Replace Media” submenu will list clips with the rather uninformative default name, which is the date of recording. Perhaps a suggestion for an update: why not add time as well or use a variables-based naming scheme? That way you wouldn’t have to change names manually that often.

automatic screencast recording with loop buffer

Setting a rolling recording buffer for undefined timed captures wasn’t possible until now. ScreenFlow 6 can record continuously for hours — days even — but will only keep the last amount you set in the New Recording panel, so you don’t fill up your hard drive.

Exporting your screencast

video action spring effectOther improvements include effects and export capabilities. For example, “Exponential” curve types and pan and grab controls for the Canvas, as well as new properties like the Corner Matte for PIP compositing belong in the new effects category and make ‘cool’ looking animations possible. The Wipe Transitions pack, which includes 16 wipes, is now included in ScreenFlow 6 and it was the first time I felt inclined to use something else than a cross-dissolve transition.

ScreenFlow 6 has a variety of export formats from ProRes profiles, to H.264/AAC and now also animated GIF export (see my example of ScreenFlow’s Spring Video Action). A number of preset export settings are available, such as Web, iPhone, an iPad export setting, etc. ScreenFlow 6 lets you create animated GIFs right from the timeline, which makes it easy to create those short animation bursts you start seeing more often on the web and social sharing media.

ScreenFlow 6 costs around €90. An upgrade is about €30.

animated gif from screenflow