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Screenflow vs Camtasia vs Quicktime – The Best Solution for Screen Recordings

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Jan 26

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I have done the work so you don’t have to.

If you don’t have the time to watch today’s episode, no worries. Here is my advice if you need to record and edit your screen.

If you have a Mac – Use ScreenFlow
If you have a PC – Use Camtasia

 Today’s Episode Timeline

  • 0:30 – A ton of people are getting into tutorials, and I want to help
  • 1:21 – Other uses for screen recordings
  • 1:30 - How to use Quicktime to record your screen
  • 2:30 – The reason why I use ScreenFlow
  • 4:00 – My list of programs from top to bottom
  • 4:40 – Video recording with a Sony NEX-5N
  • 6:10 – Why I don’t use Camtasia
  • 7:00 – Advice for people using a PC
  • 7:40 – Showing How I Edit in ScreenFlow
  • 10:00 – Pulling all the files together
  • 12:00 – Editing the entire episode together

ScreenFlow

ScreenFlow is my program of choice for Mac. It just works. This entire episode was recorded and edited using only ScreenFlow.

Recording & Editing

ScreenFlow is amazing because it is not only a recording program, but it will also let you edit video.

I make all of my Phlearn episodes using 100% ScreenFlow – combining an external microphone and a standalone camera. ScreenFlow records what it is on my screen, and allows me to edit everything back together.

I know it sounds like crap, but I actually think the editor in ScreenFlow is better than iMovie.

Here is what I mean by “better” – It does exactly what I want it to every time, and doesn’t bother me with stuff I don’t need. It works. It does not ask me to convert all of my files, or act up when I try to bring in external media.

Quicktime

Quicktime is great because it is FREE and it comes with every Mac Computer. If you don’t need to edit any video, and don’t need to add external media such as video from a camera, this is a great option.

File sizes tend to be on the big size, but that is not usually a huge deal, You can always export at lower quality.

Camtasia

If you own a PC, Camtasia is probably the best option for screen recording. I used it for 2 years before I switched to Mac, and was happy with it for the most part.

It did tend to crash somewhat randomly, which made me want to call the people who make it and kick them through the phone. After time I figured out that making multiple shorter recordings rather than one long recording helped out with that.

Camtasia for Mac is not nearly as good as it is for PC.

Your Experience

What would you use a screen recording for? Do you have any tips for people doing this sort of thing for the first time?

  • http://www.ipbrian.com/ IPBrian

    This was fantastically helpful for me!  I was just wondering about this!  I didn’t realize I had recording in quicktime on my iMac (I just got a new 27″ i7)!  Thanks Aaron!

  • http://www.christopherodd.com/ Christopher Odd

    THANK YOU!

  • Cliff Workman

    Very cool and informative episode! I’m guessing it’s a feature of Screenflow but it’s also cool how you convert back and forth from full screen video to small box in the corner of your Photoshop window. Thanks for this one Aaron!

  • http://twitter.com/JeremyCupp Jeremy Cupp

    Thanks man. I want to do one of those fast edits one day.

  • Daniel Conway

    Bandicam and Fraps are good PC options. Fraps has a 4GB limit on file size, though, it will auto-split your files.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wouter-van-der-Linde/1118709648 Wouter van der Linde

    Hey Aaron, a bit off topic but could you please make a tutorial about how to make these amazing real looking skin texture like Ludovic Taillandier and many other great photographers does?

    I would really appreciate that!

    Wouter van der Linde
    http://www.woutervanderlinder.com

    Added photo belongs to Ludovic Taillandier.

  • http://www.nightmarephotography.com Michael Nightmare

    Great video you’ve inspired me to make tutorial videos for my high school students. They enjoy being able to go back and watch what we are discussing in class. Another great mic for people to check out is the yeti  by blue it is also a usb mic and is awesome. 

    What about a mic for the canon 5d mkii ????

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/F4FJL5JCIFSIEBQTTQS5IGXHGU Adri

    You rock!  I really needed a summary of this topic for both my PC and Mac.  Thank you so so much!

  • http://twitter.com/APhungFoto Anthony Phung

    AWESOME! I always wonder how people on youtube does the tutorials with screen captures. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/reu214 Reuben Neese

    Wait,… Did I miss something?  How do you switch between the Screencast and the video throughout the episode.  You put the screencast in there but never made it visible during the video.

  • http://www.christopherodd.com/ Christopher Odd

    Hey Reuben,

    Think of the video timeline like layers. The layer on top is the one that is visible.

    If you want the bottom one to show through in a certain section, you trim and delete the top one in that section.

    Hopefully that helps :) l

  • http://www.facebook.com/reu214 Reuben Neese

    That works, but I was hopping for a less destructive way of doing it.  I guess you could trim and move it below on an extra line.

  • http://www.christopherodd.com/ Christopher Odd

    Absolutely

  • http://woodylo.fr WoodyLo

    I have always wanted to ask you how you record your videos. Now thanks to this episode I know everything, you didn’t forget to explain anything! Thank you sooo much Aaron. 
    I was at first using my 7D with Camtwist and EOS utility. I was able to catch the video signal (live view) through EOS Utility and Camtwist to simulate a webcam that I could choose in Screenflow. The solution didn’t require me to import the video file and sync as everything was natively OK. Maybe that’s a bit faster to edit ;) However, I wasn’t pleased : Camtwist did record my live view but EOS Utility kept showing an icon that I didn’t want! I could erase it by choosing an area to capture with Camtwist (leaving the ugly icon out of the area)… but the video then was blinking… Sorry for the confusing explanation!

    Anyway, great episode, very useful.

    Laurent from Paris.

  • http://woodylo.fr WoodyLo

    Link doesn’t work, good one : http://woutervanderlinde.com/

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wouter-van-der-Linde/1118709648 Wouter van der Linde

    Hey Laurent, misspelled my own website, how dumb am I haha, thanks for the heads up!

  • Pingback: Once | Power Habits

  • Charley Klop

    Great video Aaron, thanks for explaining. It helps me a lot to make a choice and I will def buy screenflow now. 

  • http://twitter.com/Haramac Krzysztof Harężlak

    and what about Screenium? What do you think: Screenium or ScreenFlow?

  • sharon

    Hey Aron,
    I am trying to collaborate with another person making a training video. She has been using imovie. Any advice on how we can collaborate? Should we move it to screenflow? /does it allow collaboration?

  • KL Tah

    video recording quality on logitech c910 is really bad. any experience with this? quicktime gives me the full 1080p quality.

  • KL Tah

    how do you get the screen recording to sync perfectly with the camera video?

  • KL Tah

    just saw it. thanks. great video.

  • http://twitter.com/JaimeDazaLucena Jaime Daza Lucena

    Hi, I use ScreenFlow on a mac (core i7, 8GB ram, intel radeon hd 2gb) and its always crashing. i hate it. camtasia never crushes.
    on screenflow if i only export it works fine, but i cannot edit

  • Karigoin

    This is so amazing/incredible/helpful.  You speak so clearly.  this/you are awesome.

  • Donovan Hall

    Hi, Firstly, thanks for the advice.  I have a Mac so will trial Screenflow and see how I get on.

  • http://twitter.com/FazzerSports Fazzer Sports

    Thanks for this information. Just what I am looking for!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.wisnor Brian Wisnor

    Great video. In googling resolution issue, found this post. I don’t have mac yet but thought I’d pass along if it helps. http://petewarden.typepad.com/searchbrowser/2010/03/how-to-set-a-custom-screen-resolution-in-os-x.html

  • http://edtechmoment.com/ Timothy McKean

    Hey Aaron, Couple of things to add from a fellow Screenflow lover. You can change the size of your Canvas by clicking the little Crop icon near the lower left hand corner of the canvas, so you can record in any aspect you want, and then crop to 1280 x 720. No need to bounce from one computer to another for this. Also, hold Shift while you drag to select an area of your timeline, then hit Command+Delete to do a Ripple Delete. Saves lots of time.

    Screenflow is by far the best $100 video editor on the market, not just for screencasts.

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Random Tips

If on a mac, close and reopen Photoshop every hour or so – speeds things up a bit.

aaron