The Adventures of Systems Boy!

Confessions of a Mac SysAdmin...


Holy poo! ScreenFlow is one of the nicest, most polished, yet useful applications I've seen a really long time.

On the surface, Vara Software's ScreenFlow appears to be just another in a series of applications designed to capture your computer screen to a Quicktime movie as you work. Typically such captures are then used for demonstration purposes for new products, or workflows, or videocasts, or what-have-you. But ScreenFlow is much more than just another screen capturing app. ScreenFlow is really an entire environment for creating and finishing computer demonstration videos.

And it's gorgeous!

The most obvious thing that sets ScreenFlow apart from its competitors is the fact that, along with the computer screen, it can capture iSight (or DV camera) video and audio at the same time. By default it sticks this video in a reduced-size window in the lower right hand corner, though, as you'll discover, this can easily be changed. That's because ScreenFlow, in addition to being a screen capturing application is also a presentation editor.

ScreenFlow: Capture Screen and Camera
(click image for larger view)

Once you've captured your computer screen actions and your iSight video, ScreenFlow presents you with an editing interface. Here you can perform all sorts of actions, including zooms, pans and something called "Callout Actions," which allow you to highlight specific windows as well as the mouse cursor. Vara has a nice demo of this feature (in a video, of course, which by the way, is where I pulled these screen shots from) on their site. But the application is so smart and well thought out, that if you've ever used a screencast app, you'll find the learning curve incredibly gentle.

ScreenFlow: Edit Your Presentation
(click image for larger view)

I do want to point out that this is a 1.0 release, and I have experienced numerous bugs. On my work computer (a Quad Intel box with copious amounts of RAM), the application completely crashes my machine. Force quit will not rectify the crash; a hard reboot is required. On my home system (an 8-core Intel with 2 GBs of RAM) ScreenFlow functions well enough, but there are still problems. The iSight registers video and audio in the setup screen, but no audio gets captured for some reason. Also, when exporting my final product to DV-NTSC, I was presented with a set of options, one of which was "Letterbox Content." Though I checked it, ScreenFlow did not honor the "Letterbox Content" option, and my movie came out squished. In fact, I exported the same movie without the box checked and there was no difference between the two movies. Clearly this function is broken. Clearly, ScreenFlow has some kinks to work out.

Still, once the problems are solved — and I sincerely hope that happens soon — ScreenFlow is poised to be the application of choice for regular producers of screen-based videos. And beyond. I admit, I don't do a lot of screen-based capturing, but I'm starting to wonder if the reason is because there haven't been any great apps out there for doing it. ScreenFlow is one of those apps that gives you ideas. It instantly makes you want to use it and then you start thinking of ways to do so. Being in education, this has been pretty easy for me to do. Something tells me I'll be buying and using ScreenFlow in the very near future.

Version 1.0.1 has just been released, and it seems to fix at least some of the problems mentioned above, in particular the iSight audio problem. Expect a re-review sometime in the near future.

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12:45 AM

After 6 years of thinking about it, I finally bought snapz pro for making screencasts / videos. i tried all the other shareware ones, and nothing seemed to work as well. hmm, now there's a new kid on the block. and it looks very cool. double hmmmm.    

12:04 PM

It's definitely worth a look-see. A bit more expensive than SnapZ, but it does way more. I'd wait to shell out cash until the bugs are worked out, though; they are significant.

You can get a free demo at their site.


5:03 AM

Hi There -

Thanks for your kind words about ScreenFlow.

Just to let you know - ScreenFlow 1.0.1 is out which resolved a hardware issue on configurations like your Quad Intel box.

We also fixed the 1st Gen iSight audio/video issues and the letterbox issue you noted.

The full release notes are available on our website.

Please do give that a whirl, as I think you'll find we've worked out most of the kinks you noted.

Brian Novak
Vara Software    

4:25 PM


Excellent! That's great news. I'm testing it now. It seems much improved. Still getting some pretty heinous crashes on my work Mac (maybe problems with 30" monitors?). Will test on my home machine (w/23" monitor) and write a follow-up soon.

Great app! I'm almost sure to buy it, and am seriously considering it for our lab as well.


10:00 AM

Great screencast program. It is so easy to use! I tried some other screencast apps but nothing like screenflow. Without bugs it is a very powerfull tool.

Great work on it and i will buy it!    

3:01 PM

You should check out the latest (1.0.1) version. It's MUCH improved.

I am working on an update to the last review that takes the new version into account.


1:51 AM

I know this is an older post, but in case someone comes across it (like I did) I wanted to say that v1.0.1 has solved a LOT of the initial problems I was seeing and added some features that are just really cool (like the waveform audio).

What excites me is how quickly Vara came out with the new features -- I think it bodes well for the future! =:)

Jay Jennings    

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