How to Animate Text in ScreenFlow 9

In a new video tutorial, I show how to animate text so that it looks like it’s being typed onto the screen. Text animation can be used to deliver a series of facts, to repeat what’s being spoken, to clarify technical terms, or to help drive home a message. To demonstrate this technique, I use ScreenFlow 9, a video editing and screen recording application for the Mac.

12 Filming Mistakes to Avoid

In the process of learning how to make a video, we all make rookie mistakes. That is, unless we are warned about them. I made a lot of mistakes when I first began making science videos. However, I avoided some of the most common filming errors by reading about them or watching tutorials. I recently gave a lecture to a university class about how to make a video with a smartphone. This particular science course requires the students to make a video about one of the topics covered in the course. One of the topics I always cover in these lectures is common filming mistakes.

When I finished the lecture and was walking back to my car, the thought occurred to me that I could use my lecture presentation (made with Prezi) to make a helpful video about avoiding common filming mistakes. Later, I recorded that part of my lecture about filming mistakes with the screencapture software, Screenflow, along with my voiceover. All I had to do was play my presentation fullscreen on my computer while Screenflow recorded the screen and my voice. I then edited the footage in Screenflow to trim out unwanted sections and to insert The Scientist Videographer intro/outro at the beginning and end of the video. It took about fifteen minutes. My point is that recording your lectures, seminars, or conference presentations is a really easy way to make a video.

If you have a presentation made in PowerPoint, Prezi, Keynote, or some other application, you should be able to use that as the basis for a video about your science topic. Some journals are even encouraging authors to use this approach to create a video abstract that will accompany their scientific article. So, it may be worthwhile to know how to make a video this way.

Here is the video I made:

How to Create a Split-Screen Effect with iMovie and Screenflow

Have you watched a movie or a video in which two different scenes were played side-by-side on the same screen and wondered, “How’d they do that?” Well, it’s actually easier than you might think, especially if you use movie-editing software for non-professionals such as iMovie.

Split screen is a filmmaking technique that first was used in the movies to allow an actor to appear twice on screen….perhaps playing twins. Before digital technology, split screen was somewhat challenging to accomplish—even for professional filmmakers. But today it’s fairly straightforward with movie-editing software.

In the following video tutorial, I’ll show you step-by-step how to create a split-screen effect using iMovie (Version 10.1.1). There are limitations with iMovie, however. So I additionally show how to use the screen casting software, Screenflow, to edit imported video clips to create a split-screen effect. There are professional editing applications such as Premier Pro and Final Cut Pro that can also be used for this, but these programs have a much steeper learning curve. By comparison, user-friendly editing applications such as iMovie will let you do some pretty sophisticated effects in your video but don’t require advanced editing skills. Even a beginner can learn this editing technique in iMovie with just a bit of training.

If you already have iMovie or Screenflow, then this tutorial will help you learn how to do a split-screen effect. However, you do need to be familiar with the basics of editing with one or both of these applications before trying to apply the split-screen effect. You don’t have to be an expert, but you should at least know how to start a project in the application and import media. Direct link to video in case player window is not visible.

So there you have it. Really easy, right? Try using split screen in your next video and let me know how it worked out.

How to Insert a Watermark Into Your Science Video

Those of us who make science videos put a lot of time and effort into our projects.  So it is very annoying when someone uses our video content without attribution. Most of us want people to use our videos but it’s important to be credited for our work, just as we expect people to credit our technical publications when they describe our research findings.

Although video sharing sites such as YouTube recommend that users credit YouTube as the distributor AND the video content owner, no one is required to do so.

One way to protect your content is to insert a watermark into your video. Inserting your name or a logo that appears in every frame in your video effectively identifies you as the content creator and owner. This will not guarantee your work won’t be taken and used without attribution, but it will make it a bit more difficult.

What should be used as a watermark and how do you add it to your video? This tutorial shows three ways to accomplish this. I will be using Screenflow and iMovie 11 to illustrate, but you can adapt these methods to any movie-editing application. Be sure to select the HD version and full screen for best viewing.

How to Record a PowerPoint Presentation with Screencapture Software (Screenflow)

Many of us give talks at conferences and seminars, but these presentations are only seen once by a limited audience. What if you could record your presentations so that other people can easily access and view them? Having a recorded presentation (aka screencast) allows you to post it as a video on your website or send it to someone interested in your topic.

In the following tutorial, I show how to create a video of a slide presentation in which your voice is recorded along with a full-screen image of your slides. You will need three items to make a high quality recording of a presentation:

1. A slideshow created with PowerPoint or a similar application. Compile your presentation as you normally would for a talk and write out the script so that you can deliver your talk smoothly. You may need to practice beforehand so that it does not sound like you are reading.

2. Some type of screen capture software such as Quicktime Pro (Mac), Screenflow (Mac), or Camtasia Studio (PC or Mac) to record your computer screen, your voice, and your image (if you wish). In my tutorial, I will be using Screenflow, which is for the Mac, but the principle is the same for all these applications. These all record whatever is visible on your computer screen along with any audio. You can also record your own image with the built-in camera on your computer. Your image then can be inserted into a picture-in-picture window within your presentation so that the viewer sees you along with your slides.

3. A decent microphone to record the audio. The built-in microphones on most computers are not that good. The audio quality of your presentation will be greatly improved if you use a good external microphone (see previous post).

You also need a way to share your presentation once you’ve finished. The simplest way is to upload your finished file to a video-sharing site such as YouTube or Vimeo (see this post that explains what to consider in making this decision). If you are concerned about copyright, then be sure to include a watermark on your video file (or on your slides). Once published, you can take the embed code for your video and insert it into your website or send the link to someone (instead of the file, which likely will be too large to email).

This is a great way to create a permanent record of your oral presentations. You can also create lessons to augment a course you are teaching or record class lectures for students to review as many times as they wish. There are lots of possibilities. Virtually anything that you can show on your computer screen can be captured this way and published as a video.

Be sure to select the HD version and full-screen for best viewing (direct link):

Are you interested in learning more techniques like this? If so, check out The Scientist Videographer eBook, which is an electronic guidebook packed with information, tips, and tutorials and designed for the 21st century scientist, teacher, and student. Available in iTunes Store (fully interactive version for iPad, iPhone, & Mac), Smashwords (text version), and Amazon Kindle (text version).