Lately, most of those long, explanatory written materials have been replaced by the How To videos, making the latter a very important part of any piece of software or project. And, since we are all constantly struggling to optimize our work as much as possible, this method has proved to save a lot of time. This is why a developer that takes the time to create tutorials to explain the best way of dealing with specific functions is greatly appreciated. Still, the creation of a tutorial should not take up more time than the development of the actual project. Having a specific tool to do that is essential, and this is where Screenium comes in.The Looks
Judging by the interface, the motto that the Screenium developers followed seems to have been simplicity with a high degree of functionality. All the features are packed in one window, and are very easy to access due to the function-wise organization. At all times, on the top of the window, you can see the four capture modes buttons: Fixed Area, Fullscreen, Mouse Area and Single Window. Right under them, you will find the settings, organized logically: Audio/Video, General, iSight, Timer, HotText and Library.
Once you have installed Screenium, all you have to do is to select one of the capture modes and start recording. Every time you start a capture mode, the hot keys combinations that you need to use will appear at the bottom of the screen, so no previous documentation is needed. In the Fixed Area and the Mouse Area modes, you can set the area size and the location, while in Single Window mode allows you to select the window. Except for these small adjustments, you may use the app without changing any of the default settings.
When a recording is finished, Screenium will jump directly to the Library panel where you can easily manage your recordings. Each one can be previewed with QuickTime, sent to trash or exported using different video and audio compression formats, but it can also be prepared for Internet streaming. When you export a video, you may use several filters in order to increase the video quality or to customize the image – to access this feature, press the Filter button in the Video section. All the movies are initially saved in the default Screenium Movies directory, but you can easily change that from the Preferences panel.
The settings panel provides a couple of additional features that can come quite in handy. For example, the Timer panel allows you to apply a limit to the duration of the recording, but you may also use the delay timer so as to give yourself enough time to prepare before actually starting a recording. Screenium also offers a series of hot keys combinations meant to allow you to start capturing without actually having to enter the application. You can change those default combinations from the General panel, while in the HotText panel, you will find 30 predefined ones to make a customized text appear on the screen during the recording. You also have the possibility to define the text size, location and color, as well as the duration it remains on the screen. Moreover, the best part is that all these remain in the HotText panel, so you will be able to use them for different recordings.
Screenium allows you to include iSight capture in your movie. You can determine the size and position of the section, and even set the color of the border that comes to clearly separate it from the other windows on your desktop. For audio support, you may use the built-in microphone or any other additional device, but you also have internal sources support so you can record the system audio events. You can activate this feature from the Audio/Video panel. The same area allows you to enable or disable the recording of the mouse movement or the mouse clicks.
If you are concerned with the video size, the Audio/Video panel provides access to two predefined compression types: Lossless and Compressed. The first one will require further processing because of the large size, while the latter might slow down your system. The Custom type allows you to adjust the compression format to what you need for the project by adjusting the frequency of the frames or the compression quality.The Good
The thing that impressed me most about Screenium is that you can make a good video tutorial with almost no previous experience in this field. Still, if you want to get more out of it, there is enough room to explore so as to increase the video quality or the efficiency of the system.The Bad
If you are not used to work with compression formats, it may take a while so see the result of each one. Unfortunately, Screenium's help does not provide any insights into this, so you are somehow on your own. Screenium is also rather expensive ($20), but you can test the demo version to see for yourself just how useful it is. The sole limitation is that you can record only 30-second videos.
Screenium is, in fact, a very useful tool and you don't have to be a rocket scientist to use it. Just play with it for a little while to see which of the compression formats works for you to get the best quality, and your next video tutorial is just one step away.Here are some snapshots of the application in action: