Looking for free video screen capture software for mac I found there to be a great abundance… of nothing. There isn’t a single free pice of screen capture software that doesn’t have water marks or limited options unless you pay for it.
With this in mind I wanted to make sure if I had to pay it was worth it. Out of all the different screen capturing software I’ve seen ScreenFlow seems to be the best. It has a wide appeal to novice users and experts alike.
ScreenFlow has two stages, the capture stage and the edit stage. Capturing is very simple and not very customizable, it just does it. Where ScreenFlow comes into its own is with the edit. See ScreenFlow captures everything by default and then you can do what you want with it. You can’t capture just one window, but you can highlight any window and fade or blur out the background. You can’t select a specific area to record but you can zoom to any section you like in the editor.
It seems like they have thought through all the nifty little things that you might want to do with a screen capture and added them in easy steps. You can add little click effects, you can zoom into the mouse pointer, add text where ever you want as well as many other features that make your videos look more professional.
Now, though limited the capture stage is very important. You are presented with 4 options:
Record desktop from (I discovered this when I plugged in my second monitor, you can select which you want to record
Record video from (lets you record from your built in iSight or external video source)
Record audio from (select the audio source to record complete with VDU)
Record computer audio (If you want to record sounds from the computer, e.g. application sounds, games sounds).
This is all you need to set up ScreenFlow and then hit record and everything is taken care of.
The last and possibly most important part of any screen capture software is the export. With out good export features it doesn’t matter how good it captures and how shiny it looks you can’t do anything with it, it’s useless! ScreenFlow is very simple, you can select one of the presets which include web ready formats, iPhone, iPod, Windows Media as well as high quality formats such as PAL DV and NTSC DV. There are also options to customize your preset, so you can select your own compression techniques as you would in say Premier Pro.
ScreenFlow really is ideal for video screen capture, wether your a beginner or a pro. What ever is on your screen it will capture, video, games, sounds, it will even record your webcam and put it in a little box on your screen for you.
The one thing I would suggest as will all video screen capture software you need your own microphone. A head set mic will do the trick, but don’t use an internally build microphone as they tend to pick up lots of noise from your computer.
In the past I have used both iMovie and Windows Movie Maker (WMM) when making video for the internet. Starting out with little knowledge of video editing software this can be a daunting task, fortunately I had a lot of experience with non-linear audio editing suits such as Sonar. Basically video editing software and sound editing software is pretty much the same thing just one has a video track. If you have used audio editing software like Sonar, Logic Pro, Pro Tools or a similar product you will be familiar with most of the functions of video editing software. Usually video editing software has a viewing screen or two, a time line, effects preset and file navigation.
Windows movie Maker was probably the first video editing software I used. It was great! So simple, so easy to understand having had some experience with non-linear editing. Where as iMovie…. wtf? It makes to sense to me xD iMovie has some really cool features and is all sexy like a Mac should be but I couldn’t get my head around it.
iMovie only has one channel for the whole video, audio and transitions/effects and the video is set out in a block not a time line completely unlike every other video editing software I’ve used. WMM at least looks like the professional software bridging the gap should you choose to upgrade. WMM has one video channel, a channel for the audio that comes with the video, extra audio track (for backing music or overdubbing) and then a track for your transitions/effects. I personally find this layout much simpler than iMovie and easier to edit.
Now It’s not all bad for iMovie, it’s so fast and so smooth you wonder why you ever bothered turning your PC on in the first place. The scrubbing tool is constantly in play so it makes finding the right part of the video clip you are looking for a lot faster than WMM where you have to do a lot of starting and stopping. Being on a Mac this is also a totally doable feature, I hate to think how this would slow down a PC. But also selecting the part of the clip you want isn’t always intuitive if you’ve used other software. You drag your cursor across the clip to select a part to add to your “video block”. Simple enough and a nice feature you might think, well yes, if you’ve never used any other software ever before. It took me a minute to figure this out as I was trying to cut and edit the clip like I have done so many times before.
WMM is not the shiniest nor the most advanced piece of software in the world but it is simple and easy to use. You wont be able to shoot The Matrix on it but nor will you in iMovie. I found WMM a lot easier to sequence my video into the right order and add titles, simple transitions. iMovie confused me, I don’t know if I’m missing some secret button that makes iMovie really usable but I’m really not that interested (I have Premier Pro now )
Fast, sleek, sexy
Scrubbing tool works really well to find clips
Probably really easy to use if you have no idea what you’re doing
Easy exporting features
Easy importing features
I really can’t get used to it
If you’ve used other software might take a while to adjust
No time line
You need a Mac (also seen as a Pro )
Simple, easy to use
Time line feature
Clear presentation of tools
Not many thrills and spills
Need a PC (Also if you have a PC this is a perk)
Both have trouble importing each others file types, WMM doesn’t like .mov, iMovie doesn’t like .wmv.
Personally I liked WMM better than iMovie when I started out. No matter how much of a Mac fan boy I have become even I started with a PC. It’s better to start with what you have than never to start because some one told you you’re gear wasn’t the best. If you’re wondering whether to get a Mac or a PC that’s a totally different blog for another day. For me iMovie is too silly for words and WMM is so Windows it hurts, but in a good way, like how we all use Word not that Mac equivalent I don’t remember the name of.