Posts

Video Blogging With Pro Tools

ScreenFlow

Thank heavens for ScreenFlow. ScreenFlow is an easy to use tool for making screencasts and developing video content.

I could never bond with Final Cut Pro. Largely because its workflow looked similar to Pro Tools but so different in practice that it really got in my way. And, because I wasn’t using it frequently enough, I found that I had to relearn the environment whenever I jumped in to do some basic video editing.

ScreenFlow, on the other hand, is very similar to Pro Tools. Tracks of screen captures, videos and audio are easily cut, assembled and sequenced.

I have been using it quite a bit for a recent series of Video Blogs.

Getting it to work with Pro Tools was both difficult and easy.

Here was my rough workflow when I first started:

VideoBloggingBefore

I used ScreenFlow to capture all activity on the screen.

To capture the Pro Tools audio, I routed the signals out of my HD IO units to my Neve 8816 analog summing mixer. From the Neve summing mixer, the stereo mix of the audio went to a Soundcraft EPM8 analog console. The audio was then combined with my voiceover. My voiceover was captured by a Neumann Km184 mic. The voiceover was routed through the Soundcraft EPM8 analog console, and, along with the audio output from Pro Tools, sent to a handheld Zoom H2N recorder.

The video was captured by a Nikon D600.

The files from the D600 and the Zoom recorder were then loaded into ScreenFlow. Track line up was done by finding three claps from the camera and the Zoom and a keyboard sequence on ScreenFlow. Cut, edit, assemble, publish.

This workflow seemed rather complex to me. So I found a different way.

VideoBlogAfter

The Pro Tools session continued to be captured by ScreenFlow. I routed the voiceover mic into a Pro Tools track — I set the track to always monitor the input and I kept the volume of the studio speakers very low to prevent any feedback and phasing of the voice itself. All of the audio from the Pro Tools session went out to the Neve Analog summing mixer and, from there, direct into the audio input of the Nikon D600.

That made life so much simpler. Only two tracks to manage: the screencast itself and the Nikon D600 audio + video track. As the Neve summing mixer used a separate mix buss from the studio loudspeakers, I could keep the levels strong from the Neve and the levels low on the studio loudspeakers.

Simpler, faster and no difference in quality. Some might argue that bypassing the Soundcraft EPM8 likely improved the quality of the audio.