DMA HOW-TO: Video Capture Using ScreenFlow

By Yishan Lin

Here’s where you configure your recording settings for using ScreenFlow.

As members of CUE, we talk to educators all the time and one question that teachers frequently ask Digital Media Academy is, “How can I record a lesson for my students on my computer?”

Video captures, or screencasts, are incredibly popular on Youtube, including DMA’s own HOW-TO videos. And for the tech-savvy there are many options for making them, but for today’s DMA HOW-TO, we’re going focus on a screencasting app: ScreenFlow. Designed by Telestream for the Mac OS X operating system, ScreenFlow’s screencasting and video-editing software is smooth and versatile, with an easy-to-use interface.

Here’s how you get started making your own screencasts with ScreenFlow:

1. First, download and follow the directions on screen to fully install ScreenFlow. In this “free trial” format, this version of ScreenFlow does not restrict its features but does stamp a large permanent watermark on any of your screencast creations. (So if you like making screencasts, you may want to invest in the full program.)

The countdown has begun! This screen tells you you’re only seconds away from recording with ScreenFlow.

2. A camera icon should appear in the top right of your menu bar. This convenient icon makes recording very quick and easy, because there’s no need to open and enter the entire application.

But before we begin, first go to the “Configure Settings” option. A dark gray settings menu should appear, and here you can begin setting up your recording. You can choose to record both the computer screen and yourself through the iSight camera on your Mac.

In addition, you can choose to record from both the computer audio and the built-in microphone. This cool feature lets you choose to record a separate commentary track or make comments live without having to worry about speaking loudly over the computer audio.

3. Once you’ve configured the settings to your liking, get started recording! If you’re preparing a screencast to share with others, you might want to spend a few minutes planning your “broadcast” out, such as what topics you want to cover and which applications you should launch. When ScreenFlow starts, a countdown will appear and as soon as it hits zero, it will begin recording. The camera icon will display a dot in the bar to let you know that it’s recording.

Tip: Planning ahead will keep you from stumbling through your delivery, or trying to fill “dead air” of screen inactivity with pointless commentary.

Now you can use ScreenFlow to set up your video-recording options.

4. Editing is the final step. As soon as you stop the recording process via the same menu icon, ScreenFlow will open up on its own—with both the audio and video track shown on screen for you to edit and tinker with. It’s fun to explore the interface and discover all the features that ScreenFlow offers.

The video-editing aspect of ScreenFlow actually simplifies the process. It not only integrates your iTunes library for you (which allows you to add in favorite music tracks or video clips), but it also separates the audio and video track. That way, if you ever happen to have an audio recording that you decide is unacceptable, you can just re-record the commentary instead of starting over from scratch and re-doing the whole thing. There is also a direct upload to Youtube option (located under the Export option in “File”) to prevent any conversion or size problems.

How would you like to work with video this summer in a professional learning environment? Digital Media Academy can give you that chance through one of its DMA filmmaking courses. Check back each Thursday for a new DMA HOW-TO from Digital Media Academy.