Yes, the Mac does graphics and video. That’s old news. With Leopard and ScreenFlow, your Mac makes movies of your Mac.
Whatever’s on the screen at the time, including you and whatever’s in iSight range, can be a video production using a nifty, Leopard-only application called ScreenFlow.
A few years ago, our resident Mac360 Value Vixen™ actually bought some Mac software. Alexis found Vara Software’s VideoCue and loved it. Think of a video recorder and teleprompt in your Mac.
Since then, the same guys at Vara have created a Mac utility called Wirecast to use your Mac to combine multiple live video cameras, movies, your Mac’s desktop, various and sundry audio tracks, and images to produce what amounts to a television station in your Mac.
Now, they’ve come up with ScreenFlow, which is a simple, elegant, yet highly refined and complex tool to create Mac screencasts that capture your desktop, a video camera like iSight, including microphone and your Mac’s audio, lump it all together so you can create a full production on your Mac.
What can you do with ScreenFlow? It will capture everything on your Mac’s screen and save it as video. At the same time, it will record video, using iSight or any DV camera, including microphone input or your Mac’s audio.
Alright. You’re confused, right? Why do that? Why record a video of everything on your Mac’s screen?
And, aren’t there Mac utilities that do that already? Yes. ScreenFlow is cool because it captures the whole Mac screen, top to bottom, left to right, using a special algorithm to keep file size low.
And, at the same time, and in perfect sync, ScreenFlow will record you using iSight or another DV camera plugged into your Mac. Suddenly, screen-based video training production got a whole lot easier.
Once you record your little video production, you can also use the ScreenFlow editor for enhancements. Enhancements? Yes, enhancements like you haven’t seen before. Trim clips, add reflections and shadows, and zoom and pan effects.
What of the video of you from your iSight camera? That shows up in a scalable box inside the ScreenFlow video, so you can move it around on the screen before saving the final video production. Other little features make ScreenFlow unique, too, like Callouts, which will highlight the mouse or the font window on your Mac.
If you’re interested in using your Mac to create onscreen instructions, directions, and need to add video and audio but don’t want the expense or complexity of FinalCut Express or FinalCut Studio, try ScreenFlow instead.
ScreenFlow even captures video that is already running on your Mac. Audio, too. Try it with a quick paced Keynote or PowerPoint presentation with embedded video clips or animation effects. The little Highlight feature is perfect for instructional videos because mouse clicks and movement, and keyboard key strokes can be highlighted.
The only difficulty I found in using ScreenFlow is that all that advanced video and graphic and audio production mixing going on behind the scenes needs a lot of Mac horsepower. Exporting a video of only a few minutes length took many, many minutes to finish, but the end result was quite good. Can you say ‘Mac Pro?’
Apple has embedded a number of technologies into Leopard. Core Animation, QuickLook, Spotlight, QuartzComposer, Core Data, Core Audio, and Core Video, all of which work great on the new Intel-based Macs, but require the extra power to make ScreenFlow do the work.