Reviews, Video

ScreenFlow 8, the biggest upgrade ever

ScreenFlow 8 is a paid upgrade and it’s a big upgrade. Telestream has made ScreenFlow a more professional video editing tool with a detachable timeline and track thumbnails. It’s faster and has time-saving templates and styles that resemble Photoshop more than it does a NLE. And it comes with a subscription-based royalty-free stock media library that has video clips, backgrounds and audio tracks.

The Stock Media Library is empty until you pay a yearly subscription fee of 60 USD. That’s not a big deal if the library is good. At the time of reviewing, there were about 500,000 items in there. They’re all high-quality items and the library is promised to grow over the next months. While 500,000 items may seem like a lot, you’ll be bound to have the same background or transition elements as others. If Telestream can grow the library fast, it’s worth the investment. If not, it’s only going to help those who are too lazy or don’t have the money to invest in their own “B-roll” footage.

The most immediately visible novelty is, of course, the timeline that now has track thumbnails. It’s not only obvious because it shows those off proudly, but also because building the timeline is no longer slow. Everything feels and is zappier. It’s much easier to find “scene” changes, but having thumbnails was necessary too as you now can detach the timeline and place it on a second monitor.

I tried that and it works as you’d expect it to. It would be good if the Inspectors would be made detachable too. That way, you can have your canvas ‘clean’ on the primary monitor and the rest of the interface on a secondary one, or vice versa.

Creating a text box and giving it a specific look you like is great, but it’s no fun if you want that same look in multiple projects and there’s no way to save your styling options. Well, despair no more. Styles are here. If you want multiple items to have a consistent look and feel, styles are your friend. Templates go a step further and work with placeholders for camera, screen and iOS recording. Combined with Styles, you can keep a consistent look from start to finish, and save lots of time.

Another time-saving feature is the quick narration and voice-over functionality. Instead of having to start a whole new recording from scratch, add it to your project and then carefully place it on the timeline, ScreenFlow 8 lets you place your playhead where you want it and select the Narration menu option. The transport buttons will change into a red recording button that has options to set before you start – e.g. the length of the recording. It’s a great feature and makes your life a lot easier.

One tiny improvement with – again – big time savings is the customisable keyboard shortcut for “close gap”. You can even select several and hit that shortcut you’ve defined and all gaps will be closed.

ScreenFlow 8 has a large number of other improvements as well, but they’re less likely to make your life easier. They’re more in the professional requirements department. For example, you can export animated PNGs, draw annotations freely (freehand), upload to Instagram with built-in project dimensions and export settings. Then there’s HEVC decoding, auto-scaling of large imports, the ability to burn in captions on export, support for the GoPro CineForm codec, and more.

Yes, ScreenFlow 8 is a huge upgrade and Telestream has made sure every improvement or new feature is really useful. More than ever, you can use ScreenFlow to create efficient tutorial videos as well as simple screencasts.