Screencast Software Options


snapz pro xAfter almost every screencast that I post here on The Apple Blog, someone asks about the software that I’m using. (Also about the wallpaper on my desktop…) Without hesitation I reply, Snapz Pro X. It’s screen capturing software on steroids, and makes the process of recording your screen movements absolutely a breeze.

Though I’ll give a word of caution on Snapz Pro X: It’s not yet Universal, but Intel Compatible, as Ambrosia Software puts it. This means it runs under Rosetta without consistently dying a horrible death. If there’s one app I’ve been anxiously awaiting a Universal binary for, it is this one. At $69, it’s a rather hefty price tag. So if you’re considering purchasing this app, I may recommend holding off until the Intel Native version comes along, so you don’t feel any buyer’s remorse in the interim.

iShowUHowever, in the past year, other options have become available. You can also give iShowU a try. I used it briefly while awaiting Ambrosia’s Intel Compatibility. While I felt spoiled by Snapz Pro X, iShowU was definitely a nice little app for motion screen captures. It’s been some time since I last used iShowU, so I briefly gave it another try while writing this post. It has several quality presets that make it extremely simple to use, and then processes the movie file blazingly fast for viewing (not a strong point in the Intel Compatible Snapz Pro X’s column). At only $20 this is definitely a worthwile piece of software to try out.

CopernicusAnd recently I heard about Copernicus. Unlike the 2 software options I’ve already mentioned, Copernicus is freeware. It looks like it’s got some potential, but will still need some spit and polish to give the others a run for their money – but then of course, it doesn’t actually cost any money, so the developer has nothing to lose at this point. Copernicus does something a bit different, and gives the user the option to record the movie into RAM, which supposedly gives a shorter processing time. Interesting idea, but on my 2Ghz/2GB MacBook, it seemed to hang and give me more trouble than it was worth. Perhaps I had too many other things running at the time. But it is free software, so it’s worth a try if you’re on a budget and would like to grace the world with your own screencasts.


Alan Ashwood

Copernicus. One major problem with it. It doesn’t record any sound.

There’s no free or cheap alternative to Camtasia for the Mac.
You can do the job with Quicktime, but it records the whole screen! It does work though.


And the nag window shows up even when you are not running Snapz. You just need to run it once, then the nag starts and it never ever goes away, and there is no Snapz app running. WTF!? So…

open terminal

ps -Uusername -a

find the background snapz process

kill -9 processnumber

Crossing my fingers that works.


Just tried Copernicus and could not get it to work on Tiger 10.4 even after removing my multiple displays, so free or not, it was worthless for me.

Cesar Mujica

For small screencast I use it lets you record five minutes and then post your video on twitter, you can also download your video. Not perfect but useful

Tom Raftery

I tried Jing – pretty if unintuitive ui. Records straight to Flash but stops recording after 5 mins. Shame. Could be good if the restriction were not in place


I prefer Jing. It is a project powered by TechSmith. It is easy to use and, it’s FREE. It works with Mac OS X Leopard and Windows Vista.

Ken Hanson

Wow, I knew I would find some great feedback in a blog post like this, so straight from google I read the review and then straight to the comments.

I am greatly impressed by Greg Willits’ (simply titled) ScreenCast application. It almost feels like a widget on steroids. I recorded -exactly- what I needed to record in under 30 seconds (speaking of setup time). I say widget, because it behaves exactly as a mac app should, and is amazingly simple to get moving. Drag out the screensize you need, click through to turn audio on in different sections, oh and system audio? “No problem”, screencast says, “we’ll just install a small kernal update that can be uninstalled anytime. Sit back for a fraction of a second while we handle that.”

Even compression is robust, with many different ways to compress the movie. It also has left click and right click notifiers to show off where your clicking and such. Its a ton of small things that make a daunting screencast a breeze.

Download it over here, I did, and in one video, I bought it :D


One feature that is missing from all of this software, using the built in camera that comes on all macs.

Does anyone know a program that records using the iSight and syncs it with the video from the screen? I do real world lectures and would love to be able to get synced screen capture / iSight recording and then edit them into a presentation.



Snapz captures great, but then it loses all appeal as it has to convert the entire session in post processing. TechSmith/Camtasia record just as well on the PC and there is no post processing step. It’s pretty annoying to record 15 inutes of video and then have to wait hours as it’s compressed before you can do anything again.

I’m hoping there’s enough demand for Camtasia – there was a survey similar to the SnagIt one for Camtasia, though I’ve long since lost the URL.

Making screencasts requires not just being able to capture the images, but being able to keep workflow going and in this regard SnapzPro fails completely.


Does anyone know of an application which will give the same level of functionality as Macromedia/Adobe Captivate for the Mac?


iShowU is awesome. The Apple Animation preset (with ‘good’ quality setting) is basically a raw capture off of your computer. Lock-ups and/or other havok are undoubtedly user error. After you’ve captured your movie, just export it to whatever format. No choppiness, no problem with full-screen capture (for me at least, Macbook Pro 17″ 2.16 ghz 2GB RAM)

Intel native, it screams. Easy to use. Lots of mouse-over features. I’ve used it to make three tutorials so far, with great feedback.


Snapz Pro is a disappointing joke as far as I’m concerned. When was the app given any real functional updates? The endless delay in a Universal version is ludicrous, as is the annoying nag alert I get every time I boot my machine. “Upgrade to Snapz Pro X 2 now! We might even update it someday!” Um, no thanks.

I envy the Windows world for very little, but screen capture software is woefully inadequate on the Mac compared to the Windows world. Both Camtasia (for motion capture) and SnagIt (for stills) kick sand in Snapz’ face and laugh about it. The Snapz Pro interface is convoluted and functionality is bare bones. Is this really the best the Mac development world can do??? Pitiful.

Frankly I’m hoping TechSmith will do a Mac version of SnagIt. In fact, there’s an online petition (please sign):

Yeah, SnagIt is for static screen captures only, sorry for the OT diversion…

Nic Waller

Hello, I am the author of Copernicus. I was delighted to see my software mentioned on this blog, and I think you gave it a fair appraisal. I know it’s not the best software in the world, but it’s enough for some people.

I tried Display Eater a few days ago, and was surprised at just how fluid the captures were. If you’re looking for quality on a budget, I strongly recommend it. Of course, Snapz Pro X is the best tool around if you can put up the cash.


I’m with Jim. I use Snapz Pro on my Macbook Pro and have had no problems. It runs like a dream.

Matt Fitzsimmons

I tried iShowU, and it filled up my RAM so fast when recording that after a short amount of time the machine would become unuseable.

I even tried some others, but Snaps Pro X is the only one with good performance on my MacBook Pro.

In regards to development time, they did get an Intel compatible version out fairly quickly. They’ve said the universal version is going to be a complete rewrite, and I’m willing to wait for that. The only advantage to the universal version would be improving the export processing time.


A Mac developer taking longer than Adobe…amazing.
With service like that, I guess I’ll look at the others.

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