Call it a fetish or a throwback to the last century, but I’ve never been one to do many screen captures on my Mac, let alone capture the whole screen as a video. But even cranky old Mac men can change.
A co-worker did something last week that struck me as pretty cool. Instead of helping a friend with a little neighborhood technical support on a new Mac, my friend fired up a screen capture app, walked through the issue and captured all the steps on a video, and then sent it to the neighbor– instead of stumbling around for an hour on the phone.
The app in question is one I now use. It’s called iShowU Instant. It’s a screen capture app that grabs everything you do on the Mac’s screen while you’re doing it and then saves it as a video. But aren’t those Mac screen grab video tools complicated? That’s what I thought, but look how easy this is.
See? Nothing complicated. Select an option from the lefthand sidebar and click on Record and the capture begins. Start using your Mac. When you’re done, click on Stop and you end up with a video of everything you just did.
Think of the possibilities. This is a perfect way to create onscreen app instructions for support or education. Even better, iShowU also captures sound from the Mac’s built-in microphone (or any externally connected mic) so the video has sound, too.
Now, note the tabs at the top of iShowU Instant. Basic and Advanced. While Basic works perfectly with little effort or need to change settings, with Advanced you get more options. Lots more.
iShowU Instant is instant. But there are plenty of settings if you want more functionality. There’s a built-in GIF animation generator. Sharing abounds; from YouTube to Vimeo. All the settings can be customized to your requirements, then saved for future use. Need high quality resolution? iShowU Instant can save in 60 frames per second (broadcast TV is less than 30fps).
Additional advanced features are an in-app upgrade purchase but give consideration to a few of them because they can make a difference in the video. Audio. iShowU Instant in Advanced mode features a built-in equalizer and audio compressor. That helps to make weak microphones and poor sound environments sound better. You can also record videos from any plugged in iPhone or iPad. Need a watermark on your video? Can do. Plus, basic video editing (not unsimilar to the old iMovie app) is built-in, too.
What I found right way was iShowU Instant makes video screen captures instantly. No fiddling. But if you want more precise control of what gets captured and how, especially with the addition of watermarks and audio controls, the Advanced option is worthy.
Not much, but I’ve always liked freeze frame, and an option to drop in an additional video clip would be handy. But as it is, iShowU Instant surprised me with how much could be accomplished with so little effort. So, now, instead of trying to walk someone through a technical problem on the phone, I just show them what to do– live, onscreen, as I’m doing it– and send the video.