FlashBack Reviews

Great screen recorder

about FlashBack and HyperCam, Camtasia Studio · · Helpful Not helpful 2 Helpful

This screen capture software is amazing, and I am still surprised why it has remained relatively unknown. So far I have only used the free edition, and it is leaps and bounds above any other screen recorder I've tried so far, free or paid.

First of all, the performance is great. I don't know a lot about the technicalities behind screen recording, but I guess it must be down to the proprietary codec used. Other tools, like Camtasia or HyperCam, start having trouble with recording bigger windows, and capturing the full screen smoothly would be pretty much unthinkable. Using BB Flashback, I was able to record at my full desktop resolution with 30+ fps. Apart from recording the desktop, multi-monitor setups, specific windows, or a certain region, you can also capture from a webcam and record sound.

Thankfully this also isn't one of those "dummy user" applications. While the interface is easy enough for newbies to just press the big red Record button and use it, more options are there if you need them. You can customise source options, framerate, scheduled recordings, automatic file splitting, and so on. One cool feature that I haven't seen in any other software yet is the option to also record text. This will capture all the text that is drawn on the screen. Using this you can, for example, search the completed recording for the name of a certain application, and you can jump right to the frame where this application was started (i.e., where its name was drawn into the title bar). Very fancy!

Once your recording is stored (in the proprietary FBR format), you can either export it directly to a standard video file, or open it in the "Player" first, which is the second big part of the application. This will open a timeline-based editing tool, where you can review, cut, annotate and export your recording. The timeline shows additional information to help you navigate the recording, such as in which frames a mouse button was clicked, or where a certain key was pressed. (Combine that with the text recording feature, and navigating even extra-long tutorial recordings should be as fast as possible.)

The editor is where the differences between the free and paid editions show. In the free Express edition, you can select which frames to export, if and how to highlight the mouse cursor, choose regions to crop the video to and follow the mouse cursor, and add sound effects to key presses and mouse clicks. You can export your result to a Flash video file, or an AVI file using any Video for Windows codec available on your system. The Standard edition allows you to add annotations to the video, and adds Quicktime, animated GIF and WMV to the export options. The Pro edition adds more editing effects such as zoom and pan, audio editing, speedup and slowdown, and after-the-fact editing of cursor movement. It also adds export options for PowerPoint and standalone EXE files. All editions also have a direct YouTube upload feature.

I must say that even the free version has an amazing set of features, surpassing all other screen recorders I know. If you don't need a lot of post-processing, or plan to do this in a separate application on exported AVI files, it should offer everything you need. The paid editions should have you covered if you want to record more intricate tutorial sessions, and might even eliminate the need for any other post-processing software.

Note that you need to register an account with Blueberry Software in order to activate the free Express edition of Flashback, otherwise it will stop working after some time. The free license is valid forever, and does not need to be validated online.