ScreenFlow: The Best Application for Recording Screencasts On Your Mac

Bakari Chavanu 19-03-2014

Though QuickTime Player can also do screen recordings Use Quicktime X in Mac Snow Leopard for Easy Screencasting Read More , it doesn’t hold a candle to ScreenFlow. ScreenFlow records everything on your desktop, and then allows you to edit in only what you want to show in your final production.


You can make professional-looking desktop videos, with smooth transitions, captions, callouts and annotations, chroma key backdrop, and audio and video filters.

Let’s see how the magic works, and why ScreenFlow is on our list of Best of Mac Applications The Best Mac Apps to Install on Your MacBook or iMac Looking for the best apps for your MacBook or iMac? Here's our comprehensive list of the best apps for macOS. Read More .

Record Screencasts

ScreenFlow can be set up to record your entire desktop screen, and you can configure the recording to include a secondary camera (such as the Mac’s built-in FaceTime HD camera Don't Forget You Can Make & Receive FaceTime Calls on Your Mac Apple's FaceTime is seen in many of its commercials, but some Mac users may not realize that the application is also available for use on their desktop computer. Read More ) and external microphone. If you have ever seen a screencast with a recording of the presenter appearing inside the main video, that result was most likely achieved using ScreenFlow.

ScreenFlow video

ScreenFlow can capture on Retina Displays, it’s also useful for recording Keynote and Powerpoint presentations, and video games. Start and end a recording by clicking ScreenFlow in the menu bar or using the assigned keyboard shortcut. A countdown will appear providing several seconds before the recording begins. It’s a good idea to wait a few seconds after the recording begins, which provides some lead room for adding a fade-in transition.


Note: No matter how experienced you become at screencasts, you will invariably need to restart the recording over several times before you get it to appear the way you want. I use the handy BetterTouchTool finger gesture application Power Up Your Mac With Advanced BetterTouchTool Automations I started using BetterTouchTool back in 2011, and since then it has become one of the top three Mac applications for boosting my productivity and streamlining my workflow. Though BTT can be used by any... Read More to map the ScreenFlow start/stop shortcut, as well as a few other ScreenFlow shortcuts, which allows me to keep my hand on my trackpad during the recording.

Editing Recordings

An effective screencast requires close-up shots and panning. ScreenFlow contains a video properties feature that allows for zooming in/out and moving around different parts of your recorded screen. It also includes features for adding callouts, text, and other media. Video and audio clips can also be trimmed, grouped together, sped up and slowed down, and freeze frames can be added.  The video below explains the editing features in more detail.

Exporting Video

After you complete a screencast, ScreenFlow makes it easy to export your production to YouTube, Vimeo, your Facebook page, Google Drive, or as a high quality video file in QuickTime, Windows Media Video, or a Flash formats. There are also preset export settings for optimizing your productions for the web, the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.



Worth Every Penny

ScreenFlow 4.5 is available from the Mac App Store [No Longer Available], and a free fully featured trial version can be downloaded from the Telestream website. Videos produced using the trial version will be watermarked when exported or published to a video sharing site.

In my opinion ScreenFlow is worth every penny, especially since it includes features not available in Apple’s free iMovie application. If you’re looking for the best OS X app for the job, ScreenFlow has the features and price tag to match. For desktop screen recording and editing on the Mac, ScreenFlow 4.5 is the best investment you can make.

Download: ScreenFlow ($99.99, free trial)

Related topics: Record Video, Screencast.

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  1. Joe
    March 20, 2014 at 4:39 am

    We use it at my office to record webinars and post them to our website and share them with clients. I can't imagine going back to anything else.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      March 20, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Joe.

  2. Mike Rhodes
    March 19, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Agree with every word! Bought it a few years ago and upgraded. I've done a number of tutorials using it, no visual glitches, love the flexible NLE -- great for showing speed painting/drawing.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      March 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Great, Mike. Thanks for letting us know how it's working out for you. I've seen this application grow over time, and it's been a huge time saver.