An impressive update makes ScreenFlow a replacement for pricier video editors.
For many years, I worked professionally as a video editor. It can be a very demanding, but also rewarding job. You are constantly learning new techniques and working with new technologies that enhance your ability to tell a story. It’s been several years since I’ve done that sort of work professionally, so when I was first introduced to ScreenFlow by Telestream, I was incredibly impressed. It’s a single piece of software that can handle providing not only a solid video presentation but also add in effects, like callouts, with a simple keystroke. I came from a world where you edited the video in one program and then had effects and animations done in another. ScreenFlow has the ability to do it all and now that ScreenFlow 8 has been released, there are even more tools to take advantage of.
ScreenFlow is an award-winning video editing software made especially for macOS users. It features an intuitive design that makes it easy for anyone — beginner to expert — to use. ScreenFlow 8.0 was released on August 1, 2018. Developer Telestream added quite a few new features to the app including new Styles and Templates as well as an integrated Stock Media Library.
Templates allow users to create ScreenFlow projects complete with placeholder clips in a timeline for important media. After a template is saved, you can open future ScreenFlow projects as that template. This reduces the amount of editing required to complete jobs with similar formats. For example, users creating software tutorials or serialized videos will have quicker video production and less tedious editing. The idea with the templates is that editors spend more time on being creative and less time on menial tasks.
The Styles feature provides customized media configurations that streamline individual asset editing. For example, users can now copy/paste video perimeters like scale, filters, and positioning and apply them to an individual piece of media. Users can save styles as a preference or template of sorts to apply settings to future clips as well.
The Stock Media Library is available in ScreenFlow version 8.0 and provides users with unlimited access to more than 500,000 pieces of unique media. This is a subscription service and the cost is outside the regular purchase price of the app. For $60 per year, you can have access to the entire library. If you choose not to purchase the subscription for it, there is a limited media library available with the version 8 upgrade.
Some other features of ScreenFlow 8 include:
- Quick Narrations: Add narration or voiceover without leaving your timeline or configuring a traditional recording
- Track Thumbnails: A quick and easy way scan through your clips with a visual representation of the media in the thumbnail
- Instagram Project & Export Presets: You can now export a project specifically for Instagram or use one of the other export presets
- Freehand Annotations: Custom shapes and lines can now be drawn directly onto ScreenFlow canvas
- Detachable Editing Timeline: Allows multi-monitor editors to separate the editing timeline and canvas on to different monitors
- Frame for Selected Monitor: Red frame indicates selected monitor
- Burn in Captions on Export: If you need captions in a player that does not support caption tracks
- Additional Timeline Frame Rates: Frame rates of 24, 25, and 50 have been added
In addition to the newest features, users can expect to receive the highest quality full or partial screen recording from ScreenFlow. You have the ability to record any part of your screen while also capturing your camera, iPad or iPhone, microphone or multi-channel audio interface at the same time. The editor will instantly load the recorded video and other media so that you can quickly dive into the edit. Once you have all your pieces assembled you can add images, recordings, clips, text, audio, other video files, and more to polish up your video. You can also add in professional-level animations like zooms and pan effects.
Exporting and sharing your final video can easily be done from within the application, too. You can publish directly to Vimeo, YouTube, Wistia, Facebook, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, or Imgur. Animated GIF or APNG (new to version 8), ProRes or MP4 files can also be exported directly to your desktop.
One of the things I love so much about ScreenFlow is how easy it is to get started. When you open the app, you will see a welcome screen that shows the version of the software along with links to help, tutorials, and a list of new features. You can then choose to make a new recording, new document (video), select from recent documents, or create a new project from a template. The template option is one of the newest features. To use it, you must have first created a document with media placeholders and save it as a Template in order to use the template feature. After you save the template, it will appear in the main menu.
Because I already had some video to work with, I chose the “New Document” option. I made sure that the settings in the document matched my iPhone’s video properties. After the document opens, you can import existing clips by dragging them onto your timeline or by using the “Insert” menu in the application. The clip (or clips) will appear in both your timeline and the media dashboard and you can start editing.
One of the other new features — Styles — is very easy to use. You do have to have more than one clip to use this feature because you are essentially copying a style from one clip to another. Final Cut Pro has a very similar feature that I tend to use quite frequently. It’s very handy when it comes to color correction and cropping. I’m glad to see ScreenFlow add this function. To use it, you simply select a clip and copy it. Then you select the clip you want to apply the settings to and select “Paste Properties” from the Edit menu. You can then choose to paste video, audio, callout, screen recording, video filters, or audio filters to the selected clip. This can save a lot of time in the edit session.
Another new feature I was very excited about was the Stock Media Library. When you are finishing out a project, sometimes you find that you just need a little help with the content. I love that ScreenFlow has this built-in because it saves a lot of time for the editor having to leave the editing program to search out a piece of media or music track. I’ve been there…done that. The Media Library in ScreenFlow is added in as a new tab. When you open it, you have the option of scrolling through the content or searching for something using keywords. You can also filter the content to narrow down your choices. This is a very handy feature for editors to have on-hand. While some people might scoff at the $60/year subscription fee, many stock photo/video libraries online have subscription fees that are much more costly. For example, istockphoto provides an all-access yearly pass to their entire library for $70/month. That ends up being $840 per year, which is 14 times more than what ScreenFlow’s library is. I personally don’t mind the subscription fee as long as the library continues to be updated on a regular basis.
The other brand new features — quick narrations, track thumbnails, APNG export, Instagram Project & Export Presets — are icing on the cake. I love that you can record a voice track for an existing project without leaving the timeline. Again, this saves a lot of time for the editor. Adding in the visual representation on the thumbnail is another great perk because you can easily see what is going on at certain points in the video. The export features are also a wonderful add-on, but I hope that in the future we can have an option to save our own export settings. Right now, users can ‘save current settings as default’, but that’s all. There are different settings for different types of projects and while ScreenFlow has a lot of the bases covered with their presets, there are still some customized exports that would be great to save.
As I mentioned, I’ve been an editor for many, many years. I have experience in many different editing programs including Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, ScreenFlow, and, this dates a few years back, Affinity NLE. ScreenFlow 8 really improves on the previous version and brings it more to a level of Final Cut Pro. There are a lot of things that I would love to see better incorporated — more shortcut keys for example — but it really is a replacement with this latest update — in my mind — for the more pricey video editors like FCP and Adobe Premiere. ScreenFlow 8 is available for download from Telestream and the Mac App Store for $129. Users who previously purchased ScreenFlow on telestream.net can upgrade for as little as $39.