Meet the ScreenFlow-er: Cliff Ravenscraft, PodcastAnswerMan

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I first heard about Cliff Ravenscraft about a year ago when something came across my desk  that mentioned he was a ScreenFlow user. So I went to his site to see what he was up to. My first thought was:  Where does Cliff find the time to create all this great content?? You may have heard of one of his podcasts: PodcastAnswerMan, or maybe you’ve heard one of his shows on gspn.tv: Family From the Heart, Pursuing a Balanced Life, Help I Got a Mac!, The Community Voice, Business Tech Weekly, and the list goes on… This guy has an incredible library of helpful, and often very personal, live and recorded podcasts and videos. Well, I’m honored to highlight Cliff in my Meet the ScreenFlow-er series. He has really given some insightful and helpful advice for any screencasters. I hope you’re as inspired as I was:

What do you do?

My business is PodcastAnswerMan.com.  I’m a podcast producer, consultant, and coach.  I teach people how to do professional quality audio podcasts.

How does screencasting play a part in what you do?

I use ScreenFlow to create full length video training tutorials.  Many times I’ll make a short video tutorial available for free on YouTube. However, often times, I will do live webinars where people will pay to attend.  During these webinars, I use ScreenFlow to record HD Video and Full Studio Quality Audio.  After the webinar is complete, I give each participant a copy of the video(s) that I recorded.  However, after that, I turn the video(s) of that training into a digital video tutorial product that people can purchase from my website.  ScreenFlow has allowed me to make products that make me a LOT of money while I sleep at night.

As a side note, I hate iMovie.  I often times will take video from my Kodak Zi8 pocket HD camera and simply drag and drop that into a ScreenFlow project for movie editing.  It works PERFECTLY! So ScreenFlow is my movie editing software as well as my screencasting software!

How long have you been screencasting and approximately how many screencasts have you made?

I’ve been screencasting for at least five years now.  I’ve made more than 100 screencasts since this time.  I make at least one to five screencasts per week.

I have used other software before. Before I learned about ScreenFlow, I was using a program called IShowU.  I moved to ScreenFlow because of its ability to record the ENTIRE SCREEN and the post production abilities that exist with adding panning and zooming, text and image overlay, etc, etc, etc.

What made you consider using screencasting software in the first place? And why ScreenFlow?

I am a teacher at heart.  I have been audio podcasting for the past five years.  I’ve recorded well over 2,300 podcast episodes and I’ve built a community of tens of thousands of people around the world and I have personal relationships with hundreds of them.  People asked me all the time to teach them how to do what I do.  Screencasting was the best way I knew to make these teachings available to the broadest audience.

As I mentioned above, I chose ScreenFlow because it combined screen recording with pretty awesome post production abilities, such as adding extra video and audio layers.

I used to love iMovie HD years ago. However, when they got rid of their “timeline” editing style, I desperately wanted something that would allow me to use a “timeline” approach.  ScreenFlow was the answer for me.

What kind of studio or set up do you have (a picture, showing your monitors and macs and mic and whatever else you use would be great!)

You can see my entire studio setup at http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/studiosetup

Here’s an image:

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of creating your screencasts? Why?

Honestly, I don’t find creating a screencast difficult at all.  If I had to choose something, I’d simply say the time it takes to render a video.

What’s the process you use for creating your screencasts?

Here is what I often do:

  • I will create a mindmap to help me outline the topic that I want to cover to make sure that I cover every logical step in the process for which I’m training on.
  • I then will create a Keynote Presentation.
  • I then fire up ScreenFlow and start the recording.  I start the Keynote Presentation.  I then speak into my Heil PR-40 microphone and it records my audio and video as I talk over each slide.  At times, I will break away from the presentation to do a live demo right there on the screen. When I’m done, I hit stop.
  • I then export the video into a 1280×720 HD .mov file
  • I will then upload to either YouTube or other video sharing sites that will give me a web player.
  • I also upload the original .mov file to my media host.
  • I then will create a page or a blog post with an embedded version of the video and have a link where they can download the .mov version.
  • If I wanted to, I could use iTunes to convert it into an iPhone, iPod, or Apple TV format and then put it into a podcast feed for video podcasting if I want.

Are there processes you’ve changed as you’ve gotten more experienced?

For my “movie editing” I have a 1280x720Template.screenflow file that I have set up. This file already has my opening video intro and it already  has a few layers with transparant .png lower third graphics, etc.  This keeps me from having to create those over and over again.

Do you have a screencast that you’re especially proud of?

I have two:

First, here is a short video titled “The Power of Podcasting For Your Business”

The second one is a time lapse video of my latest studio redesign.  It was made 100% with ScreenFlow. I simply dragged and dropped a ton of photos into ScreenFlow and faded them into each other and added some music to the background.

What other programs/accessories do you use besides ScreenFlow to create your screencasts?

Pretty much just Keynote.

What kind of camera do you use?

iPhone 4 and Kodak Zi8.  iPhone4 is great for its portability. I always have it with me.  Kodak Zi8 is better because it easily allows me to bring in external audio.

What kind of mic do you use?

Heil PR-40 Broadcast Mic.  Because it is pure awesomeness.  Check out  http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/heilpr40

What advice would you give to someone just starting out screencasting?

Just get started.  You’ll improve over time.  Today, I’m ashamed of my older videos.  However, those videos were LOVED by thousands of people.  Five years later, I feel my stuff is extremely professional looking.  I didn’t get to where I am today overnight!  So just get started!

What’s the stupidest mistake you’ve made when creating a screencast?

I once did a screencast for my Facebook 101 Video Tutorial series.  During it, I was showing everyone one of my pet peeves.  I made a point of making an example of someone who did one of the things that angered me most with Facebook and I simply made a point to show how to remove a friend from Facebook.

Sure the guy deserved it because of the type of notes that he was “tagging me in.” However, looking back, I don’t think it was wise of me to call someone out in a video that would be viewed more than 50,000 people.  Yikes!

Besides ScreenFlow what’s your favorite program for the Mac?

Hands down it would be TextExpander.  It saves me HOURS EVERY WEEK when answering emails.  I answer between 40 to 100+ emails per day and TextExpander Snippets cut my email processing down by at least and hour a day.

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34 Comments

  1. I’ve been listening to Cliff for the last 6 months, an this guy rocks. I listen to 3 of his podcasts regularly and he know’s his stuff. I’ve only watched the free videos so far, so I’m not sure what the paid versions look like. But I do know that he is a perfectionist and his free videos look great.

  2. I have seen some of Cliffs Screenflow items His early ones were ok lol But his new ones being done today are just great! The quality of both video and audio is superb imho.

    Having purchased some of Cliffs Screenflow based training products on http://www.podcastanswerman.com in the past I can highly recommend not just his products, but also the level of production his screenflow use puts into them, it really adds that polished final product feel. And yes same question…Just How does he get all that time up his sleeve????

  3. Great rundown! I’m a customer of Cliff’s and I couldn’t be more satisfied! Thx for recognizing the awesomenes, Screenflow! I’m also a Screenflow fan because of Cliff’s recommendation.

  4. I have been a Plus member of GSPN for the past 15 months. Great podcasts that not only entertain, but teach you something in the process. Cliff’s addition of using ScreenFlow in his webinars make things so much easier to understand. Great use of a great tool by Cliff.

  5. Cliff isn’t only the Podcast Answer Man, he’s a podcasting MACHINE! There’s a lot of information out there about podcasting, and a lot of it dubious, but Cliff is a constant source of insight for people.

  6. I’m a podcaster who got into regular podcast production largely on the strength of Cliff’s story. His enthusiasm for the medium comes through in all of his content, and his use of video is personal and intimate, yet very professional.

  7. Cliff knows how to get results with online media. That makes this post a wealth of knowledge.

    You can learn a lot by watching him walk the walk. Better yet, you can just hire him to help you do it.

    I’ve referred numerous customers to him with full confidence because he always takes excellent care of them.

    Great content! Thanks for sharing.

  8. Well lookie here it’s my old pal and co-host Cliff! I knew it would be just a matter of time before they profiled you!

    I honestly think we mention ScreenFlow at least once a month on the Help I Got a Mac show.

    I’ll see you on Thursday. 😉

  9. Excellent article! I recently had the pleasure of working with Cliff on a project for a mutual client of ours. I was impressed with him and his knowledge!

    I definitely recommend Cliff and his services.

  10. It’s great to see Cliff live in the studio! His video updates and products are a great addition to the podcasts he produces.

  11. I hired Cliff a while back to help me get started with my podcast. I had a popular blog and wanted to branch out into other media, and I have to say that he’s not only very knowledgable about podcasting, but he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He produces SO MUCH fantastic content, it’s almost unbelievable.

    I worked with him on a webinar that he recorded using ScreenFlow and it was amazing how fast he turned it into a high-quality package and product using the software. Very impressed!

  12. I’ve enjoyed Cliff’s podcast for over a year now. He has helped me in so many ways in my business and given me a lot of ideas how to make money online. His use of multi-media is amazing. I highly recommend GSPN to anyone interested in podcasting.

  13. Hello,

    Thanks to a recommendation from Cliff, I also use Screenflow for creating short screencasts for my graduate courses. I had been using another product prior to hearing about Screenflow from Cliff and now I don’t know I ever created my early videos.

    All of Cliff’s products, from his Screenflow videos to his podcasts and webinars are all top notch.

    Thanks.

  14. I contacted Cliff this morning and he got back with me immediately. I ended up buying his tutorial on Adobe Audition and it *rocked*. Thanks for highlighting him here as well as some of the others who are paving the way and setting the standard for the rest of us. Great job all the way around!!!

  15. I’ve used Cliff’s wonderful materials for over a year with some great consulting time. I recommend his products for any rookie or well experienced person. Plain simple it will save you hours and hours of learning on your own. Thanks Cliff!

  16. Cliff is an amazing (and amazingly knowledgeable) guy. I have 3 of his screenflow video products and they are simply incredible. As a client, Cliff was also instrumental in helping me (i) select and purchase my equipment and software (ii) learn how to record and process my audio and video content; (iii) launch my website and media network, and… well, I think everyone gets the picture. I can’t think of a better person to be highlighted here at Telestream. Thanks for a great “Meet the ScreenFlower-er” profile!

  17. Cliff has been adding to his professionalism and knowledge constantly in the last year since I first worked with him.

    He got me started podcasting with the right equipment in the right way and I still don’t hesitate to contact him if I need help or have questions.

    He’s been a beacon for many of us to follow in the New Media world!

  18. I’m GSPN Plus member 326!

    I’ve been consuming Cliff’s content for quite some time now. I’m also the proud owner of a lot of the content that he creates with ScreenFlow. The one thing I always think is – “Wow! – he makes it look so easy”. The quality of his output is second to none and he always, always overdelivers.

  19. Everything everyone else said is true about Cliff. Just saying I can’t add much. He’s a walking library of “get it done”.

  20. First let me say that Cliff Ravenscraft rocks. I love his video tutorials and screencasts because they are very user friendly. They are also high quality and professional. I also love working with Cliff one on one because he understands relationships and customer service. He responds to emails promptly and he will work with you until you are satisfied. He is very patient and helpful. I am not very tech savvy but working with Cliff has increased my confidence and ability to take on technical projects that I wouldn’t have before I met him. I have learned a lot about podcasting and wordpress from Cliff.

  21. I’ve been working with cliff for about 3 years now and he’s never disappointed me once. He’s quick to respond to questions, quick to provide 110% of himself to the project, and he just knows how to get things done. Period.

  22. I love what Cliff does and he has helped me tons. Not only is he knowledgeable but a real gem to work with. He has made my podcasting life sooo much easier for me and the clients I produce video podcasts for.

  23. Do you know a good tutorial for Screen flow. I can do the basics but I have trouble zooming in and out, getting the mouse more noticeable. Is it possible to have the video in video box somewhere else instead of the lower right corner?
    Thanks!
    Scott

    • Hi Scott. Our friend Jake from Geek Out Tech has some great videos. Check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2oc71gpd4dh67Kp4xIgNXx2tmCwsl1L4

      I can also answer some questions for you.

      “Is it possible to have the video in video box somewhere else instead of the lower right corner?”
      Yes! Just click on the video box and drag it wherever you would like it to be. You can also adjust its size by changing the scale in the video properties box.

      “Getting the mouse more noticeable.”
      In the Callout properties box (the mouse cursor icon in the top right of ScreenFlow) you can add a callout to your screen recording that will highlight the mouse cursor. You can enlarge it or give it click effects.

      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions.

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