This is a continuation of the first Screenflow lesson discussing tips and tricks for using Screenflow to produce professional looking screencapture videos
In the first lesson we covered a few tips around recording and things
to keep in mind when recording.  In this lesson we will cover what
happens after you have some assets in your project.

Lesson #2:  Editing

Basic Editing

After recording a few things or adding assets to your project you
are ready to begin piecing those assets into a video.  Keep in mind
that you can always add more later so starting some edits early can
actually help the production process by making you realize steps you
missed recording or things you may have wanted to have your mouse near
to call attention to that you forgot.

Tricks: Zooming, Snapping and Markers

Once you start editing you will find that you will constantly be using
the Zoom control in the lower left hand corner of the screen.  This is
useful for moving large blocks of clips around and making time
sensitive edits.

If you type “control + T” it will fit the timeline to screen which is often used if your project looks like this:


Dragging items on the far right of the timeline when zoomed out is
very touchy as it is both moving the items and shrinking the timeline. 
TIP:  When starting to work on a project put something you can delete
very far out on the right of your timeline to avoid it having to do
both shrinking and moving.  When you are ready to publish simply delete
that item from the far right of your timeline and it will shrink.


When you are trying to make edits that need to be timed just perfect
for example trying to time a transition to a cue in the music, you
might find it necessary to turn off snapping.  Under the View Menu or
by typing “control+N”  Most of the time you want snapping on so things
line up properly.

For consistency zoom in on video transitions to make sure they stay
the same length length.  Example these title screens have a fade from
0% to 100% Opacity on enter, and again from 100% to 0% opacity on
exit.  We want these fade in/outs to be exactly the same duration. 
Zoom in to view them and snap them to the correct duration.


You might find it useful to mark major sections of your video with
markers.  The thing to keep in mind is that markers don’t move with
edits so this comes in handy later in the editing process when things
are more set.  They are useful when you have zoom level out and you
want to jump from major sections of the video for edits.  Example: 
Mark the in point of each context switch so it is easy to find later.


Make some decisions early and keep notes for settings you used.  For
example:  Across several of the clover videos and confluence videos a Y
rotation effect was used.  The decision was made early to use a 34°
angle and any time that effect was desired we would use either 34° or
-34° if we were going the other direction.  Some things like that are
personal preference, but your video will look more professional if you
are consistent and always use the same angle.

There are several good tutorials on how to add video actions, audio actions, and callouts in Screenflow.

Trick: Sample Settings

.confluenceTd { border:1px solid #ccc; vertical-align:top;}
.confluenceTh {border: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); padding: 5px; background-color: rgb(240, 240, 240); text-align: left; vertical-align: top;}

What Setting Where
Y-Rotation 34° or -34° Gives the cool “Angle View” to the selected clip, use this anytime the window angles in.  Try to keep the Video Action duration consistent through your video.  Use Zooming and Snapping to see just how long the duration of your angle is.  In the pictured example each sweep is 0.5s in duration and that duration moving from 0° to 34° and is consistent through the entire video.


Volume Level 40% Remember to set the volume level for music kept in the background.  Use best judgment to try to auto level sounds clips so they are similar volumes.  This keeps the user from having to adjust their machine volume up and down when watching one video, or watching between a series of videos.  Torley has some good tips on Audio engineering for screencasts.  If you are recording voice the most important tip is to use an external microphone.


Callout Build In and Out Duration 0.5s Anytime using a callout let it build in an out.  NOTE:  Your callout should be long enough to account for this extra 1 second of callout time.


Take note of the keyboard shortcuts Screenflow provides, they are a huge time saver. Make sure you have the correct clip selected when typing the shortcut. Undo will be your friend, but remember to Save Often.

Tip: Useful Shortcuts
Action Keystroke When
Split Clip shift+command+T Takes the selected clip and splits it at the scrubber location.
Trim Front To Scrubber W Self Descriptive.  Easier to use than Ripple Delete by saving the step of marking in and out points.
Trim End to Scrubber E Self Descriptive.  Easier to use than Ripple Delete by saving the step of marking in and out points.
Zoom timeline to fit control+T To zoom out and move blocks of clips, or zoom in to make edits that are time sensitive.
Turn on/off snapping control+N Essential for time sensitive edits.

One goal in the videos done to date was to avoid having to use multiple tools to do the editing.  The ‘time lapse
transition in the Clover Test Optimization video was achieved by
exporting a ‘lossless’ copy of the video to disk, importing into iMovie
and adding the effect at the desired location.  This adds unwanted
overhead to future edits as small changes in the source means several
steps of re-editing to release the video.  If you want something
complex like the wave transition this may be your only option.

Some transitions can be manually recreated in Screenflow by using video actions and moving clips around the screen.  If you find
something you really want to do but can’t figure out a way the Simple
Animation method that will be in the next post might work.  Here is a simple video showing several interesting transitions, the Screenflow Asset can be downloaded in the “Blog” file attached to this post.


How to do each transition could use a tutorial in itself.  If anyone
has questions on specific transitions that they can’t figure out ask in the comments
and a specific tutorial can be posted for it.  For now see that all of
these and more are possible with some creativity.

[Embedded video – Transitions with fun sounds.]

Complex Sequences

One of the most annoying things about Screenflow is the inability to
Group clips together.  Ideally in the same way you split clips you
could fuse clips together so they move as a group.  When dealing with a
very complex set of edits this can get tricky especially when
Screenflow tends to crash most when moving groups of things in the
timeline.  The best workaround is to work on complex sequences in a separate project and then export them and import them again into the
main project.  When doing this you get into the same ‘extra steps’
problem that you face when doing complex transitions in iMovie, but the trade off against time wasted with crashes is worth it.

Example:  At the end of the confluence video 3 there is a sequence where we
wanted to create the illusion that the images were accelerating at a
rapid clip showing a series of screenshots faster and faster.  In
Screenflow this looks like this:


Moving this block of screenshots would almost always crash Screenflow. 
So once we were satisfied with this sequence we simply exported the
sequence using the Lossless Preset in Screenflow, then import that
asset into the main project.  The Lossless preset will send all
information for all of the images in the video.  This creates a very
large file size, but assuming you are using small sub-projects it
should be manageable.


If this does not produce desired results you can also play around with
the advanced settings choosing the Animation Compression Type and
choosing “All” for Key Frames, and Best for Quality.


The next post will cover Title Screens, 1/3 Titles, Simple Animation, and Pauses.

Screencasting 101. Editing in Screenflow. (Part 2 of 3)