Recording Skype Interviews by Ryan Bollenbach of Mograph TV

Bonjour, my name is Ryan Bollenbach and I’m the founder of Mograph TV. I created MGTV based on my passion towards the world of motion design and my desire to be a part of it. The initial phase I went through was experiencing as many beautiful short films as possible. This led me to create a tumblr account by the name of mgtv to share them with people. As I started to learn more about the companies creating these films I thought it would be fun to learn about their creative process.

Since November, I’ve had the honor of interviewing: Tom Geraedts, Erik Jensen, James Levy, Justin Cone (Creator of Motionographer), Topher Welsh, Gabriel Shalom, Jared Nickerson (aka J3concepts), Onur Senturk, David Mondou-Labbe, Shilo and nailgun*. It has been an awesome experience and I hope to meet more great people as I grow.

I’m currently located in Montreal where I work as a Web Designer for Oboxmedia. I love creating whenever I can, whether it’s a web design, motion design, something around my apartment or a new blog article.

What I’m here to share with you today is how I go about creating my video interviews on Mograph TV, like this one:

Hardware I use: My Macbook Pro’s iSight and Microphone

Software I use: Skype, ScreenFlow, AfterEffects and Photoshop

Step 1: Start video chat on Skype, or whichever other video chat software you prefer, with the person you want to film. Make sure that you don’t have your webcam enabled on the video chat, because ScreenFlow will need to use the webcam to record you. (This will mean that your interviewee will not be able to see you during the interview.) If you’re using a Macbook Pro, I suggest that you place the chat window towards the top of your screen by the iSight. Make sure that you don’t move it while you’re recording (this will be a major pain to edit).

Step 2: Test all of your audio levels and the audio levels of your interviewee. You may want to use earbud headphones instead of playing the interviewee’s audio through your speakers.

Step 3: Now comes the fun part, you’re ready to start recording! Open up ScreenFlow and set it so that the “Record Desktop From” is set to the monitor that is displaying the video chat window. Then check-mark the “Record Video from” and select “Built-in iSight”. Next, check “Record Audio From” and select “Built-in Microphone“, also check “Record Computer Audio” so that you can capture the interviewee’s voice. Press Record.

Step 4: Inform the person you’re filming of the count down, and it’s time for action! Make sure to maintain eye contact with your iSight so that it looks like you’re glancing towards your audience rather than having your eyes wander all over the place (I’ve made this mistake in the past).

Step 5: Once you’re finished recording, you simply press command+shift+2 to stop the recording and voila! you’ve got your captured video.

You should now decide the desired outcome of your captured video as a final version. In the interview I did with nailgun* (see above), I wanted to do something interesting in 720p (you can use whatever resolution you want). I created a basic template in Photoshop using a frame with our logos to tie everything together. When the composition is the way you want in ScreenFlow you can do all your editing in one place.

This 720p template might be a good starting point for you.

Download the zipped psd file

Download the zipped PNG file

You can spice it up and save it as a 24bit png file. Import it into ScreenFlow and use it as a mask over your video layers in ScreenFlow. This will hide the other areas of your captured desktop in the footage.

I also created a custom intro bumper using AfterEffects and a cool plugin called Sinedots 2. It takes a bit of playing around but I was really happy with the result on my digital flowers.

This is my workflow for creating MGTV interviews which I hope to steadily enhance. If you have any feedback please let me know and I hope this article provides you with a little insight on tackling your first or next online interview.

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28 Comments

  1. Ryan, great job. You really helped explain it. I like how you’re using an external cam and shooting it in your office. It gives it a more “authentic” feel.

    I put together a video a few months ago talking about recording Skype interviews too. It was done using only my webcam while recording the interviewee.

    http://www.macscreencasting.com/skype-video-call-recording

    Something to consider is to use ScreenFlow to bring in graphics that compliment what the interviewee is saying. This helps reinforce their message. Ryan, you did a great job by showing the application–this is really effective too.

    Recording Skype interviews is a great way to take ScreenFlow to the next level.

  2. Hey great tutorial. I managed to save it as a png file and I’ve gotten my recording placed on the left side of the box..but the third layer which is the screenflow layer won’t sit over the png layer. I need help!!!!

  3. This is great! Thanks! However could you elaborate on how to import your .psd file as a mask? I’m a bit of a noob!

    • HI Chris,
      Actually, you wouldn’t import your .psd file as a mask. What you need to do is unzip that downloadable template file that’s in the post, and open that in Photoshop.
      Then you can turn off the white background, and save the file as a PNG (with transparency turned on). When you do this, you have a PNG file that is just the black frame area, with 2 transparent squares. You can bring that in as media into your ScreenFlow document and place it on your canvas. Then, you can crop your ‘talking head’ videos and place them on a layer under the black frame.
      In case you don’t have Photoshop, I am going to add a saved PNG file to the end of the post, (I can’t attach it to the comment) so you can download that as is, and place it directly into your ScreenFlow project.
      Hope that helps,
      Lynn

      • Lynn

        You are my favorite person of all time! Seriously-thank you so much for doing this.

        I do have Photoshop, but I only know about 3% of what it can do. Hopefully I can add my logo to the frame like the video above.

        I am going to try to do this tonight, but I might be back to leave you another comment/question if you don’t mind 🙂

        Thanks again!!!

        P.S. Are you a member of the Screenflow forums? I just joined a few minutes ago.

        • Wow! Thanks 🙂
          Feel free to leave questions any time. I’m happy to help.

          And yes, I do patrol the forums from time to time and just saw your question there. I was going to past this answer there too, so anyone interested could see the response.

        • Thanks Lynn,

          question though….i got as far as importing the template as “media”, but I’m going to have trouble with this..”Then, you can crop your ‘talking head’ videos and place them on a layer under the black frame.”

          How do I crop the talking heads? From within Screenflow?

          And how do I place them on a layer under the black frame?

          I’m sorry for the questions, but I am a bit green with Screenflow 🙁

          Thanks Lynn!! You’re amazing!

          • No problem Chris,
            I just did a very ‘quick-and-dirty’ screencast on how to crop a video.
            Then you put each of your talking head videos onto the timeline, and put your frame on a layer in your timeline ABOVE your talking heads. The layers in the timeline show from top to bottom. So something on your topmost layer will show up above something on a layer below it.

            If you want your frame to mask out everything but what’s in the 2 square ‘holes’, but that on an upper layer, with your talking head videos on layers beneath it.

  4. Hi!
    Thanks for writing this up. I’m curious about how you suggest recording the person on the other end of the Skype call – is that functionality available via screenflow, or should I rely on ecamm call recorder for that?
    -Gavin

    • HI Gavin,
      Can you clarify what you mean by “recording the person on the other end of Skype call”? The steps outlined in this post describe how to record your computer screen (which should be showing the person on the other end of the Skype call), and your computer audio (which will carry the voice of the person on the other end of the Skype call).
      What is it you are trying to do?

      Lynn

  5. Great tutorial and exactly what I was looking for. I tested this today in preparation for a video interview I will be doing with a business partner and it all worked according to plan. I love that it also give you flexibility for how you want to arrange the windows, sizing, etc.

    Looking forward to creating the finished product.

    Thanks!
    Gretchen

  6. Hi, thanks for this info. I’m coming to screenflow as I’ve found that ecamm is unreliable for multi-way call recording on skype – I’m using a late 2011 macbook pro and still ecamm says it’s not fast enough! Will this set up work for multiple people on a video call?

    • HI Ken,
      Thanks for you comment. I’ve never done a multi-person video call personally, but I believe that if you can get all the video-chat-ees on one screen, and all their audio is coming through the computer.. it should work the same way a single person video chat does.

      Test it out and let us know if you run into any problems.
      thanks,
      Lynn

  7. I am starting out again in a new biz after losing a contract and a business.

    I need to learn WP from a tutor who takes me through specialised lessons of about 3 to 3.5 hours long. I have 4 more… Oh boy… It’s just too much for me to remember all we cover and we move so fast I cannot take good notes. This is OK as I agreed the intensity but I’m wanting to record some of the key elements.

    I was thinking of buying screenflow to video the shared screen side element of the class and try to record the skype (for audio only) for my own personal revision and use.

    Can I set up screenflow to do this?

    I know it is good for Skype conferencing but what about being easy to set up for audio from Skype and images from my a screen share on my iMac?

    I use OSX Lion

    Thanks for any help and tips… 🙂

  8. Is this possible: Say for example you just want to use Screenflow to record the audio track of your guest in Skype and you record your audio track in say GarageBand for a separate track. Is there any way to “see” the audio signal of your Skype guest while ScreenFlow is recording the audio???

  9. Unfortunately, while I’ve been using ScreenFlow for many years, and think it’s brilliant, recently I’ve not been able to record the other person’s voice during a Skype call. I’m using a MacBook Pro, and ScreenFlow 4.5. I’ve successfully done so in the past, so something’s changed, maybe in the operating system update (now El Capitan 10.11.3). I’m checking the boxes marked, *Record audio from (microphone headset “C-media USB audio device) and *Record computer audio, as I always did. But while my voice is recorded – there’s nothing recorded in the other person’s track. Can anyone help me identify the setting I need to change? Many thanks.

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