ScreenFlow 9 Makes Video Recording and Editing a Whole Lot Better
Utility • Nov.18, 2019
Screen recording has become a popular part of online tutorials. You can also use it for creating professional videos, game walkthroughs, software reviews, and other elements that require you to show what’s happening on your screen. Screen recording can be quite helpful if you want to show your viewers how you are performing specific actions to get certain tasks done.
Screen recording for macOS took a giant leap as it was introduced as an independent feature on Mojave — now, users would no longer have to resort to QuickTime to record their screen.
The process is simple — just press Command + Shift + 5, and the screen recording feature pops up. It gives you a handful of features to record or capture your screen.
However, those who are looking for a more customized approach to screen recording would still want to look at third-party applications to get the job done. This is where ScreenFlow for Mac comes in.
What is ScreenFlow?
ScreenFlow started as a screen capture tool for Mac, but with the latest updated — ScreenFlow 9 — it has become more than that. It has become a more versatile screen recording and video editing tool. See the intro video from the developer.
ScreenFlow can help you record high-quality videos by employing your hardware features, such as your in-built camera and microphone. What else? Well, you can even connect it to your iOS device to record its screen.
Telestream announced ScreenFlow 9 for Mac on November 12, and claims that it is your one tool for ‘stunning screen recording and editing’.
Here, we will provide a thorough ScreenFlow 9 review to find out what it has to offer.
What’s new in ScreenFlow 9?
If you are already familiar with the heroics of ScreenFlow 8, then you might want and upgrade. ScreenFlow 9 comes with a whole new set of features that can enhance your screen recording experience on your Mac.
The new multi-screen recording on ScreenFlow 9 gives you more space to layout multiple applications on the screen so that you can capture them all in one go and help your viewers follow examples and processes more effectively.
Timeline tools palette
There are new tools added to the editing arsenal — Hand, Zoom, Blade, and Track Select. Now, you can switch between cursor functions by using hotkeys. With smoother navigation, you can now do quick track splits and even select entire layers in a video timeline.
If you have a CPU that is not quite powerful — like an older Macbook Air — then proxy editing can help you with reducing demands on your CPU while you are editing high-resolution samples. This way, you can edit heavy content on low-demand CPUs with much ease.
Screenflow 9 lets you preview and edit media clips to default lengths before you drop them into your editing timeline. This way, you can streamline the entire editing process by reducing the adjustments while you are editing something.
New click effects
The new radar click effects let you customize your cursor by adjusting the color, size, duration, and blur during screen recording. This lets your users follow your cursor movements on the screen more efficiently than ever.
There are also other performance upgrades in ScreenFlow 9, such as updated card support, thumbnail improvements, and manual media management features.
If you want access to 500,000+ pieces of unique media in ScreenFlow’s Stock Media Library, then you can do so by paying an additional fee of $60 per year. This can help you further enhance your production quality by gaining access to unique graphics, audio effects and music clips, action icons, images, and more.
Getting started with ScreenFlow 9
Now to the fun part — the review!
If you’ve already used ScreenFlow 8, then you will notice that the launch page for the app hasn’t changed much. It retains the same theme — instead of the version 8, there’s the new 9.
There are some guide buttons on it — what’s new, get help, and watch tutorials. So if you are new to the app, then you can click on these to find out more about what ScreenFlow 9 is all about.
There’s also a checkbox that lets you choose if you want to send diagnostic and usage information to the app developers.
Towards the left of the screen, you get options to create a new recording or a plain new document where you can import your media and start editing. The other options are recent documents and creating a new document from the available templates that you save to access later while creating a new edit document.
You can click on either of these, depending on what you want the app to do.
As soon as you launch the app, you will notice that a ScreenFlow icon is placed in the menu bar of your Mac. The icon lets you start or stop a recording, configure it, show the recording monitor, hide the desktop icon, and quit the app.
With features like these, ScreenFlow 9 seems all right on the accessibility front, and we had no trouble accessing its main features.
Now, we will look at what each of these components has to offer — from screen recording to editing a video. But before we do that, let’s see what the user interface of ScreenFlow 9 is like and what you can expect on the UI front.
A word on the user interface
Before we get further into our ScreenFlow 9 review, let’s have a word on the user interface.
The user interface of ScreenFlow 9 is a platter with sorted out options. The recording component is independent of the editing component. However, you directly land on the editing page after you have finished recording a video.
The app starts with a simple landing page; however, the editing page gets quite heavy with a plethora of options. Although all the buttons are carefully laid out, anyone who is new to the app might have to go through a massive learning curve to figure out how video editing works on ScreenFlow 9.
However, those who don’t want to invest much time in editing the video can skip the entire process by just saving the video. Skipping the entire editing process is not quite the point of ScreenFlow 9 — if so, then you could’ve just used the inbuilt screen recorder on your Mac.
The video editing interface has much to offer, and it can help you make the best out of your screen recording. Just figure it out (we will help you with that later in the post), and you’ll be good to go.
Besides, if you want to create a new edit and skip the whole record-then-edit part, then you can do so by creating a new document — the option for which you get on the landing page.
Creating a new recording
In the heart of ScreenFlow 9 is its screen recording features, which it carefully lays out through its landing page.
When you go to the new recording tab, you get the option to record your desktop from you Mac or any other screen that you have added. If you have connected an iOS device to your Mac, then you can even choose to record from your iOS device.
There’s a checkmark that lets you choose the camera and audio for your recording. The defaults here, of course, are your FaceTime camera and internal microphone. You also get to choose if you want to record your computer’s audio.
The next page of the pre-recording settings lets you choose your desktop frame rate between 1 to 30 fps or the highest that is available on your Mac. There’s also a timeline framerate to choose from — between 24fps and 60 fps. The default for the timeline frame rate is set at 30 fps.
There’s also an option for loop recording where you can set a timer for your loop. If you want to stop your recording automatically, then you can do so by setting a timer for it as well.
We liked the pre-recording feature as it lets us set what we wanted from our recording — so here’s a plus point for drafting these features nicely on the landing screen.
When all is set, you can hit the big red dot button to start recording.
Wait, are we missing something? Oh well, yes! If you want to record a specific portion of the screen, then you can do so by clicking on the dotted square button. It’ll let you choose the portion of the screen that you want to record.
Once the recording the complete — you stop it by clicking on the stop button at the menu bar on the top — you land to the video editor where you can edit your videos by giving it a final touch.
While recording the videos, you can also add markers that get highlighted in your editing reel so that you have a clue on what to add or eliminate from your video.
Now to the other important feature of ScreenFlow 9 — the editing tool.
Editing a recording
A recorder has to be more than just screen grabber, and this is something that ScreenFlow 9 wants to prove and make a mark on, or at least attempts to do so.
Once your you have recorded a video, you get on the video editing screen. From here, you can add annotations, subtitles, texts, adjust video and audio subtitles, and much more. It also lets you lay over another video by adding, or by just recording a new video.
Here, the screen is divided into four components:
- The mainframe where the video is shown.
- The timeline editor which shows how videos is progressing.
- A left pane where you can add video clips and snippets from the online library.
- A right pane which also lets you add videos, but also adjust settings on individual components.
The left and the right pane don’t have to stay on your screen all the time. You can put them away by dragging and clicking on a button — the right pane can be dragged; the left can be put away with a button below the mainframe.
Well, it does take time to figure out which of these panels does what. And there are sub-panels too. For example, there are individual panels for subtitling work in the timeline editor.
Now, don’t forget the menu bar — it gives you easy access to most of the tools that are a part of the video editing process.
The plan is excellent — to divide the screen into individual actionable parts. To understand this better, we will divide the further bit of the ScreenFlow 9 review into these parts so that you know what it all means.
The mainframe is where the show happens. By default, it covers half of the screen. Of course, you can resize it by simply dragging the end of the window horizontally through the mouse.
The video that you have recorded is shown here. The new videos that you add lay up here as well. You can drag the frame to resize it or move it around.
Think of this as a stage and your videos as frames that are put up. So even if you resize the video, you will know which half of the screen it is fitting in — thanks to the red line which tracks the alignment of the videos.
If you add any text or annotations, it is displayed on this frame.
The mainframe on ScreenFlow 9 makes it easier to keep track of what is going on in the video. So obviously, if you have a bigger screen, it becomes much more fun to edit videos as your mainframe is bigger.
The timeline editor is the backend of the show. The entire length of the video is shown in this timeline. When you add new videos, it automatically gets fitted in this timeline. You can drag videos to align them with each other, decide which is to play where, and more.
It is a drag and drop business, which you will figure out as you play around with the timeline editor.
Now, a feature that we liked on the timeline editor: you can zoom in and out of the timeline editor to break it into seconds and microseconds — the minimum stretch is 0.1 second.
The left pane
The left pane on ScreenFlow 9 lets you add external media to your video. It has the option to add stock videos, audios, and images to your video file. The stock videos get downloaded locally and show up on the timeline editor.
There’s also a filter and metadata section to the left of the screen, which shows more information on the file you’re planning to import; the filters let you sort out your files.
The left pane makes it much easier to navigate through your resources so that your screen recording is more than just a video. Here, you can add more local or online stuff to bring in more elements to your videos — a great option if you are designing an ad campaign, or even working on a university project.
Besides, a small settings button shows you options that let you remove all unused media, show or hide duration, and content-type overlays.
The right pane
The right pane is fun, as it lets you customize individual elements of the video. These options add more emphasis to the video — customizing pointers, click, and cursor movements. This is also where you add annotations and texts or control the motion video.
This tab is for adding final touches to your video and the components it has. The options get activated once the video component — audio, video, text — start playing on the timeline editor.
The best part here is that you can add significant details to these individual components, resize the mouse, change its colors, manage transition effects, and much more.
It has the tools that you need to create a professional video. It works in your favor, as it is highly customizable.
The menu bar
macOS apps and menu bars go hand in hand, and this is why you hit the menu bar when you want to explore a new app.
The menu bar on ScreenFlow 9 lets you add captions, replace and add media, mark points, change fonts and alignments, and more.
It’s your go-to option for exploring the app. If you ever feel lost in the app, hover around the menu bar, and you will find just the thing you need.
The post-production options
Once you have edited the video, you can save it as a template through the file menu. You also get to save the frame, export, or batch export the video. The batch export features is especially nice as it saves a lot of time.
One of the cool features while exporting a video is that you get to choose the encoding quality, resolution, and options such as motion blur and more. It also shows you the estimated file size of the exported video. This way, you will gain further insight into how long the upload will take.
Talking about uploading, ScreenFlow 9 lets you automatically upload videos to platforms such as YouTube (yes, you guessed right), Vimeo, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Wistia, and Imgur.
Yes, that’s pretty much. Once you select and option, you get to make a few calls on the presets and dimensions. Once all is set, you can sign in and woosh — your video is live!
We loved this feature as you don’t manually have to upload videos on these sites.
Our personal take on ScreenFlow 9
Well, if you just need an app that can record a screen, then ScreenFlow 9 is not for you. You might find yourself too lost in the process.
However, if you need more than just a screen recorder, then ScreenFlow 9 is just the thing for you, as we have already shown in this ScreenFlow 9 review.
We loved individual features such as the ability to sort the files in the gallery and adjust the size of media in it so that you can fit more information and thumbnails on the screen.
We played around with the app for quite a few hours and realized it’s quite easy to get the hang of. While the learning curve could be a bit of a drag, you can find your way around the app by editing a couple of videos.
If you are someone who’s into shortcuts, then you won’t be disappointed, as the preferences on ScreenFlow 9 let you set up your shortcuts so that you can save some time. Preferences is also where you get access to features such as proxy editing.
Captions and subtitling are comfortable as the video timeline takes care of these components effectively, letting you adjust time well as you type out the captions.
We also found out that the app is not too heavy on the CPU resources. To sum it up, it is much lighter than Google Chrome. However, if you are using it parallel to Google Chrome, you may notice your older Macs working up quite a bit. We could hear the fan whirring on a Mac Air 2017. However, if you close the tabs, everything returns to normal.
It’s not a big deal, to be honest. The app works just fine.
Overall, we like the app and would give it a 5-star rating. It makes much sense to combine screen recording and video editing features in a single app to save time and resources juggling around apps, buying licenses, learning them individually, and such.
However, we did wish that there was a short tutorial that helped you show your way around the app so that the learning curve wasn’t such a drag. However, if you get stuck, there’s a whole resource section and user guide that can help you figure out the ins and outs of the app.
If you are a video editor who has worked on other video editing platforms, then this app will be a cake-bite of you. New user — you have to wait, watch, mess things up, and learn.
ScreenFlow 9 pricing
You can buy ScreenFlow 9 for $129 from their website. You get a special deal if you are buying in bulk. The special deal, priced at $645 and $840, gives you access to 5 installations and the stock media library; the latter also gives you priority support and future discounts on upgrades.
Yes, there is an upgrade price, and it’s listed out on their website.
There’s also a free trial of ScreenFlow, but it watermarks your videos.
The bottom line
Towards the end of this ScreenFlow 9 review, we explore if you should buy ScreenFlow 9.
Well, it depends. If you can do with basic screen recordings, then ScreenFlow 9 is not for you. However, if you want professional screen recordings for extensive projects that include a lot of component optimization and video editings, then you could give it a shot.
Besides, the fact that you can record the screen of your iOS device from it is an added advantage as you can work in complete sync.
You’ll live features such as the stock media gallery, voiceovers, and easy captioning that help in making engaging video presentations.
Happy recording, editing, and publishing!