Recording everything you do on the Mac’s screen as a video is child’s play. Open QuickTime Player. Select New Screen Recording from the File menu. Click on the pop up controller’s red Record button and your Mac begins recording everything you do on the screen and saves it as a video.
Free is good but there’s a better way. Something of a cottage industry has grown up around recording the Mac’s screen as a video making it perfect for demonstrations, presentations, instructions, and help and support videos. The QuickTime Player method is built-in and free but doesn’t have anything in the way of bells and whistles.
Of the couple of dozen of dozen real-time screen recording apps on the market there are few that I haven’t used, and fewer that I use regularly. Regardless of the add-on features and professional level editing I seem to come back to one app. iShowU. And that from a guy who owns Camtasia, ScreenFlick, ScreenFlow, Screenium, and half a dozen others.
A laundry list of features and functions has a place but it all boils down to the balance between user interface, usability, and features. OS X is like that. iOS is like that. There’s a balance which makes both more usable and likable than Microsoft Windows or Android.
Plus, iShowU’s developers do mostly one thing. Mac screen capture apps, and though the number of screen recording apps they publish can be a bit intimidating, even the basic model– which I still use often– works for most of us. It captures a Mac’s screen, including everything you do, and saves it as a movie file.
My focus today is on the newest version, iShowU Instant, and this update follows the tradition of making a rather complicated technology work seamlessly, easily, quickly, and with a modest learning curve.
This is different. It’s simple. Not simplistic.
Some Mac screen capture apps start with little more than a red Record button in a small pop up control panel. iShowU gives you a bit more with options that go beyond the basic screen video recording in QuickTime Player.
For example, you can choose to record video from the Mac’s screen. Or, from a plugged in iPhone or iPad. That’s right. Now you can record video from an iOS device’s screen. Everything else on the iShow U Instant Basic window is self explanatory. For most of us, that’s all we need to record a video from the Mac’s screen.
Wait. There’s more.
Click the Advanced tab at the top and, well, you get more.
Advanced does not have to mean cluttered and complex. An app named iShowU ‘Instant’ should be instantly familiar, and instant to put into use. But when you need more, more is available with a click.
Most Mac screens today are Retina displays capable of handling more than 4K video recording and playback. Simple selections on the lefthand sidebar designate which video size and audio options, in addition to a couple of sharing options at the bottom.
The main screen displays additional options for Video, Audio, Timer, Visuals, Output, and more sharing options. Click on the Visuals button as an example, and you’ll see what you’re about to record from the Mac’s screen. Again, the big red Record button makes it happen.
While the Basic tab gets you started quickly and easily, the Advanced tab gives you a few more choices, including which camera, frame rate, desktop visibility options, and even the ability to capture the whole screen or a specific area or just an open app’s window.
As is the case with most full featured screen-to-video capture apps, iShowU Instant has audio recording options, a timer to schedule screen recordings, and a variety of output selections (the defaults are good for most of us, but you can tweak those settings until the cows come home and leave again).
Considering the number of features available just beyond the Basics tab, iShowU Instant is not cluttered with Preferences.
One example of additional thoughtfulness and experience is the option to stop recording based upon how much space remains on your Mac.
iShowU Instant seems simple enough to get started with Mac screen video recordings, and though it’s priced less than some of the seemingly full-featured capture apps at double the price, you’ll find plenty of options.
It’s easy to drop in text or image watermarks over a screen video. Recording iPhone and iPad screens is child’s play, too. It’s not iMovie, but you can trim the video to remove rough edges. There’s a built-in audio compressor and equalizer so you won’t necessarily need to sweeten audio with another app.
Here’s the only negative with iShowU and it’s something a minor nit. There are five different versions from which to choose. iShowU with very basic recording features, iShowU Studio with built-in editing and effects, iShowU HD and HD Pro with more features, iShowU Instant, and iShowU Instant with Advanced Features (my favorite, and the most feature complete). Choosing which of the apps you need may take some time, but each can be downloaded to try before you buy.
Again, iShowU’s approach to Mac screen recording remains different than Camtasia, ScreenFlow, ScreenFlick, and Screenium, bridging the gap between high end apps with near iMovie-like editing capability, and QuickTime Player which does little more than simply record the screen.