MacDirectory Magazine

Fall-Winter 2011

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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REVIEW SCREENFLOW 3 >POLISHED FOR PERFECTION WORDS BY RIC GETTER selection of reverb/digital-delay audio effects. There's also a helpful audio waveform view in the timeline that is helpful in editing and highlights problems with peaks and clipping. Timeline Control callout can blur and dim one or more areas of a screen so you can, for example, show a form that contains personal data while masking out certain fields. Even now, Mac users are often in the position of being also-rans in any number of software genres. For years this was particularly true with the kind of software that allows you to capture screen activity to create video tutorials. TechSmith's Camtasia and Adobe's Captivate remained Windows-only products while video recorded with Ambrosia's Snapz Pro needed a good deal of work in a video editing program to be useful. Then came ScreenFlow. It immediately won awards and leapfrogged the PC world in features, usability and overall elegance. Telestream's newly released ScreenFlow 3 is a significant and most welcome feature- enhancing upgrade. With its already comfortable user interface, we were happy to see that the update didn't involve a significant facelift though, as we'll see, there are some welcome additions, with a few items remaining on our feature wish list. One of the improvements we see in ScreenFlow 3 is with the callout-related features, the ability to highlight or point to something on the screen to focus the viewer's attention. Since its inception, ScreenFlow has provided the traditional "spotlight" effect, allowing you to darken all but a specific area on the screen. Traditionally, this has been limited to a circular region (hence the name), but this update allows you to use a brush tool to paint on a freehand spotlight region or a rectangle tool to create boxes over an area. The box provides a solution to an ongoing challenge of obscuring personal information in a video tutorial. A box ScreenFlow 3 has added a new Video Annotations panel to create traditional graphic callouts: lines, arrows, circles and boxes. You have controls for color, thickness and the kind of end points you'd like for your line (arrows, dots, etc.) and even shadows and outlines. Unfortunately, the only control you have over the shadow is the thickness but not angle or position as you do with other objects controlled by the Video Properties panel. Sound Improvement Audio has been the bane of numerous video projects, and when doing a training or promotion video, an audio track can spell success or failure no matter how good the visuals are. Telestream understands that we don't all have a recording booth or pro-level audio post tools on hand, so it added several features to ScreenFlow 3 to help you clean up your audio act. The most useful is arguably the background noise removal tool. This acts something like a noise gate that will zero- out most of the sound that doesn't seem to be your voice, based mostly on volume level. This works well for subtle background noise but you'll still have to turn off the game and have a word with the kids before you start recording. Audio Smoothing works a bit like a compressor/limiter, evening out volume levels from clip to clip. The tool isn't exceptionally powerful, but it is helpful if you've been reasonably conscientious in your recording. ScreenFlow 3 also adds the ability to create a mixed mono clip from a single-track input, helpful if your mic is coming in on a single channel. You can also choose from an expanded One of the things we've always liked about ScreenFlow is the timeline-based editing. It lets you combine lots of different takes and layer many different sources to create a sophisticated production. ScreenFlow 3 adds a number of useful tools for managing complex timelines. We're most grateful to be able to group clips together, preserving your careful choreography of screen moves, callouts and annotations while keeping video in synch with your voice over. A new widget on the play head gives you the ability to split all the tracks in a timeline at a given point and insert a gap. Another new feature allows you to easily close up a gap. You can now adjust the height of a track, though this is limited to three preset sizes, it does help to economize on space and give you a better view of audio waveforms for fine- tuning edits. Along with Flash and YouTube, ScreenFlow 3 will publish directly to Vimeo. Export presets have been added for the iPad with 720p and 1080p options for YouTube. You can (finally) customize and save export presets for your own special needs. With ScreenFlow 3, Mac users can revel in the fact that they have one of the best screencasting applications on the market available exclusively on their platform of choice. Though Camtasia and Captivate are now available to Mac users, in many ways, ScreenFlow 3 remains the best option. Product Made by Telestream ( Price $99 (full version); Upgrades $29 - $49 System Requirements 10.6.7 or later (full Lion feature support) Pros Well-designed interface; New version offers useful improvements Cons Some new features still need a bit of work Rating HHHHH MacDirectory 97 S c r e e n F l o w 3

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