(Ep. 4) Best Screen Capture Software Comparison Series – Screenflow

If you’re juuust jumping into the series, then you’ll want to start with episode 1 in this series: Six of the Best Screen Capture Software – Compared (Ep. 1).  You’ll also want tosubscribe so you get notified when new updates come online.

In this episode: Telestream’s Screenflow

Screenflow is Telestream’s client-side video screen capture software that’s made for the Macintosh.  In the  features we’re using for comparing the different software in this series, Screenflow came out with an overall “Mel Rank” of 5.0 (out of 5)*.

  • Cursor effects/animation: 5 (out of 5)
  • Multiple video tracks:  5 (out of 5)
  • Multiple audio tracks: 5 (out of 5)
  • Animation of annotations and/or callouts:  4.5 (out of 5)

*  Note:  While Screenflow actually scored a Mel-rank of 4.5 out of 5 in the annotations/callouts area due to some limitations I mention in the video about the pixelation feature, I decided to give it a “field promotion” to an overall Mel-rank of 5 out of 5.  I thought Screenflow’s feature of capturing keyboard button-key combinations during the recording stage was an extra bonus.  (Hey Techsmith – that’s a good feature to have for Cam-Mac!)  🙂

Summary

So far in this series, Screenflow and Camtasia for Macintosh have come out on top.  Each has earned an overall Mel-rank of 5 out of 5.  Interestingly, at a price point of $99, each is actually very cost effective.  Next up in this series, we’ll take a look at Techsmith’s Jing product.

[Related: Best Screencasting Software Series]

(Ep. 3) Best Screen Capture Software Comparison Series – Camtasia Studio

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If you’re juuust jumping into the series, then you’ll want to start with episode 1 in this series: Six of the Best Screen Capture Software – Compared (Ep. 1).  You’ll also want to subscribe so you get notified when new updates come online.

In this episode: Techsmith’s Camtasia Studio

Camtasia Studio is Techsmith’s client-side video screen capture software that’s made for Windows.  In the  features we’re using for comparing the different software in this series, Camtasia Studio came out with an overall “Mel Rank” of 3.5 (out of 5)*

  • Cursor effects/animation: 4 5 (out of 5)*
  • Multiple video tracks:  2 (out of 5)
  • Multiple audio tracks: 4 (out of 5… and only marginally, at that)
  • Animation of annotations and/or callouts:  3

* Update: March 3 – Shane Lovellette, the Product Manager for Camtasia (Studio and Mac) was kind enough to respond with a clarification.  In fact, Camtasia Studio, like it’s Macintosh brother, does indeed have a magnify cursor effect.  I’ll cross-post a follow up video to show you where that’s at.  Also, this effectively bumps the Mel-Rank of cursor effects from a 4 to a 5, which makes the overall Mel-Rank bump correspondingly from a 3.25 to a 3.5.  


Although many of you — and my friends at Techsmith — know that I’m a big fan of Techsmith’s products, I have to say that one of my biggest long time gripes with Camtasia Studio is the fact that it only supports one (1) video track and three audio tracks.  (In the video, I show some workarounds where you can get another video track.  But, for the most part, you really only get one.)

The other thing that kept me from assigning a higher overall Mel-rank is the limitations in keyframe type animation of video and callouts.

Take a look at the video above to see what I mean.  Let me know what you think.

[Related: Best Screencasting Software Series]

Best Screen Capture Software Comparison Series (Ep. 2) – Camtasia Macintosh

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If you’re jumping into this series for the first time, then you’ll want to first take a look at episode 1:  6 Of the Best Screen Capture Software – Compared (Ep. 1).  You’ll also want to subscribe so you get notified when the new updates come online.

In this episode: Camtasia (v2) for Macintosh (Camtasia 2 Mac)

For purposes of having a reasonable standard for comparison, I opted to fly above the “basic” feature sets like:  video and audio capture (duh), annotations, callouts, text overlays, and the like.  I’m conceding that each of the screen capture software programs I’ll be looking at in this series already have that ability.

Rather, what I thought would be better was to use, as a basis for comparison, those features that I don’t always see in ALL screen capture software, AND are those that I’ve found invaluable in my professional screencasts.  I also wanted to keep the list relatively short.

Features For Comparison

Ultimately, I settled on the following five simple (yet highly influential-for-user-experience) features for comparison:

  • Cursor effects and animation (e.g., being able to adjust cursor size; various options for highlighting the cursor; and so on)
  • Capacity for supporting multiple video tracks (i.e., at least 3.)  This is especially helpful for overlaying supporting visuals, websites or other guides that you otherwise verbally reference in your screencast.
  • Capacity for supporting multiple audio tracks (i.e., at least 3)  Helpful for overlaying additional or corrective narration, music tracks, hit files, etc.
  • Pixelation feature.  A simple, yet often not included, tool for masking passwords and other confidential information in video screen captures.
  • Ability to animate and keyframe (same thing?) various annotations and callouts around three axes:  x-, y-, and z-axes.

Executive Summary: How Was Camtasia for Macintosh Ranked?

  • Overall:  5
  • Cursor effects / animation:  5
  • Multiple video tracks:  5
  • Multiple audio tracks: 5
  • Pixelation: 5
  • Annotations / Callouts key-framing around 3 axes: 5

6 Of the Best Screen Capture Software – Compared (Ep. 1)


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In 5 (plus 5 more!) Tools For Creating a Screencast I listed 10 screen capture software programs you can use for video screen captures and online presentations.  But one thing we didn’t do in that article was compare them against each other.  Let’s fix that, shall we?

With this article, I’m kicking off a series that I’ve wanted to do for a while.  It answers a question I get a lot:  what’s the best screen capture software to use?  (The other one I get is, what’s the best free screen capture software?  I don’t know that we’ll necessarily set out to answer this latter one, but I will be reviewing a couple of freebies–or near freebies.)

So, over a 7-part series (beginning with this one), I’ll go on to compare 6 popular screen capture software programs.  In the video above, I list the criteria we’ll be using as benchmarks for the comparison.

Let me know if there are other criteria or features you think are worth comparing.