This is a continuation of the first and second Screenflow lessons discussing tips and tricks for using Screenflow to produce professional looking screencapture videos
In the last lesson we covered a few tips around editing, this lesson
will cover some effects and title screens you can add to your video to
give your video the polish that makes it stand apart from other

Lesson #3:  Effects


One missing feature in Screenflow is the ability to Pause on a
screen while text or narration happens in the background.  The easiest
way to fake a pause is to take a screenshot of the screen you want to
pause on and add that screenshot as an asset to the project.

Here is a sample where we wanted to pause on the callout of the
menu, change the opacity and display a 1/3 title so the user can have
time to read the title without anything moving in the background.


To achieve this effect follow these steps:

  1. Pause Screenflow on the image you want to display.
  2. Make
    the view of Screenflow as Large as your browser will allow (use the
    “command-+” shortcut key to grow the view.) as this will increase the
    image quality of the screenshot.
  3. Use Jing, Skitch or similar to take the image.
  4. Use “Add Media…” to add the image to your project.
  5. In
    this case we have a mouse callout before and after the screenshot, take
    note of the zoom level and border settings of the callout.  When you
    split the clip the callout will disappear.
  6. In the location
    you want to have the pause split the clip (command-shift-T) and drag
    the screenshot to that location.  You may need to adjust the size of
    the image to match the video leading in and out.
  7. Since there
    was a callout in the screenshot you will need to re-create the mouse
    callout.  Make sure you adjust the Callout Build Out Duration and
    Callout Build In duration of the callouts before and after the image to
    be zero.

Trick: Lining Things Up

It can be annoying to try to get things to line up correctly when working with screenshots or split clips.  If you want to get things to line up perfectly there is a trick that makes it quite easy.

  1. Start by overlapping the clips you want to line up slightly.
  2. Place the scrubber in the overlapped position.
  3. Change the Opacity of the clip in front to be about 75%.
  4. Move the clip in front to line up with the clip behind.
  5. After you are satisfied with how well lined up the clips are, move the 2nd clip back into place and set the opacity back to 100%

This short video shows how it is done.

Embedded Video

Title Screens

Another seemingly missing feature of Screenflow is the ability to
seamlessly add Title Screens to your project like you can in iMovie. 
We discussed earlier how you could export your screenflow assets to a
.mov file and import that file into iMovie to add the title screens,
however, that extra step in production can cause headaches down the
line when you find you want to make a small change in the source .mov.

As you saw in the previous Pause example Image assets in your
Screenflow project behave the same way sound or video clips do.  This
means an individual could create Images for all Title Slides manually
and import them into the project.  The easiest workaround is to use a
program like Microsoft PowerPoint to create these images for you.  This
is actually quite simple.

Set up the slides as desired and select “Save As Pictures…” from the file menu.


Then add the images to your project, and drag them into the timeline
like you would any other asset.  When they appear in your project you
may need to resize the image to fit the stage size.  As long as you are
consistant in fonts and sizes the resize should affect each slide the
same way so your fonts my look stretched, but they will look stretched

For title slides you may want to have a fade in and fade out effect
when they show and hide so remember to add a video action to the
beginning and end of the image to get the smooth transition between the
title slides.

Thumbnail image for screenflow_snapping.png

Tip: Relative Paths

If your video project moves as quickly as ours have you will be making many text edits along the way.  One *GREAT* feature of Screenflow is that Image assets are referenced instead of embedded into the Screenflow file.  This is a *HUGE* Timesaver if you use it correctly and a *MAJOR* time waster if you do not.

What does that mean?

For starters, Save your PowerPoint Images (Or any images you use in your project) in a path relative to your Screenflow project.  This makes your screenflow project portable if you want to move it to another machine.  Look at this example.

The Folder “Blog Demo” contains the blogdemo Screenflow asset, and the blogdemo.pptx powerpoint asset.  It also has a sub folder called Slides which contains the slides Slide1.jpg, and Slide2.jpg.  If I zip up “Blog Demo” and send it to another Screenflow user they will be able to load this project without errors.

Everytime the blogdemo Screenflow Project is loaded it re-loads the images in the project.  In this case Slide1.jpg, and Slide2.jpg.

If those files change on the disk (Example: Changing the wording on a slide), the Screenflow Project reflects that change.  This saves a lot of time if the slides are always named Slide1.jpg and Slide2.jpg.

*Resist the urge* to keep the slides in your .pptx file in the same order as how they appear in the project as when you choose “Save as Pictures…” powerpoint names the slides in sequence.  Always add new slides to the end of your PowerPoint file.  Example:  If you add a slide between Slide1 and Slide2, Slide2.jpg becomes Slide3.jpg and Screenflow will insert the new “Slide2.jpg” in the slot Slide2.jpg previously held.  This means many re-edits to get your slides in the correct place.

The one annoyance with this method is that while your Screenflow project is open it will keep the slide .jpg files locked so you cannot overwrite them.  If you want to make a text edit to a slide, Select “Save As Pictures…” and name it Slides2.

screenflow_relativepaths2.pngAfter Saving the Slides your new folder will look like this:

If you are just adding a slide, move Slide3.jpg into Slides and delete Slides2.
If you are changing text in existing slides, close Screenflow then overwrite the images in the “Slides” folder. (Annoying, but still saves time over re-inserting the images into Screenflow) then delete Slides2.

NOTE:  Do Not keep extra slides around as you will get confused over which “Slides” folder is the source folder for the various slides in your project, if you have Slides1-Slides10 folders and are using only one slide from each you will lose track of which image to change.

1/3 Titles

Another feature you will find in editing software like iMovie is the
ability to add 1/3 titles to your video.  These are titles that
typically appear in the lower 1/3 of your screen.  You can fake this by
following the same method as adding title screens as outlined above,
but have your powerpoint slide only have text on the top 1/3 of the


When you insert the asset into your Screenflow project make sure the 1/3 title layer is at the top.


The resulting effect looks like this – in these videos a Video effect
was added to slide the title into place and slide it back out againY.


You can also right click on a shape in PowerPoint and save the shape as a picture.


Which results in the following image.


This comes in handy if you want to have a ‘floating’ 1/3 title.  Be
careful to make certain the third title images are a consistant size
and position on the screen through the entire video.


Simple Animation

If you want to have animated text on a Title Screen the easiest
thing to do is have Screenflow record the animation playing on the

Build your PowerPoint slide and set up the Custom Animation.  In
this case the slide uses a custom animation on the three bullet points
flying in from the right on click.


Next Record this slide playing in slideshow mode.  Note:  Remember to not have your mouse in the middle of the screen.

Here is the result.

 Embedded Video

This is a simple example, but you can use this same method to do
more complex animations.  See the 2.10 intro to the Confluence Videos
for an example of flashing and growing text.

Trick: Hiding and Highlighting

In the PowerPoint file that is used for Title, 1/3 Title, and Simple Animations keep two additional slides, one all Black, and one all Yellow


These slides images when added to your project can be very useful to hide or highlight things you want to show on the screen.  Here is an example of highlighting something on the screen using the yellow slide.


Here is a sample of hiding something on the screen using the black slide.


Screencasting 101. Effects in Screenflow (Part 3 of 3)