Looking for an affordable mac app to add caption bubbles and other annotations to videos
November 29, 2007 12:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm in the process of making some screencast software demos. My issue is not capturing the video, rather it is going back and adding annotations to the video. The demos do not have any sounds, so I'd like to go back and add captions, text bubbles, arrows, boxes, etc. to the video for added instruction. Adobe makes an application, but it costs $700. I was hoping to find something a little (a lot) more affordable. I'm running a Mac.
posted by jpep to Technology (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Camtasia is supposed to be pretty good. Costs $300, but that's less than $700, and you can try it out for 30 days first.
posted by entropic at 12:48 PM on November 29, 2007

Sorry, the word "first" ended up with the link - meant to have it on "Camtasia."
posted by entropic at 12:48 PM on November 29, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, Mark. I'll check it out.
posted by jpep at 12:57 PM on November 29, 2007

Response by poster: Camtasia... Minimum Requirements:

* Microsoft Windows XP or Windows Vista
posted by jpep at 1:01 PM on November 29, 2007

SnapzProX from Ambrosia is $69


Not sure about the annotating capabilities, but you download a free demo to try it.
posted by mikepop at 1:06 PM on November 29, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, Mike. Yeah I don't think snapzprox offers annotations. I did find this plugin for iMovie. It is kinda what I had in mind, but would like more annotations like boxes, lines, arrows, etc.

posted by jpep at 1:10 PM on November 29, 2007

Were you a student, you could get Adobe's Captivate for a lot less. There's a free trial on Captivate too.

I was going to suggest Wink, but it doesn't appear to be available at the moment.
posted by idb at 1:11 PM on November 29, 2007

Seconding wink- looks like the site it lives on (debugmode.com) was hacked and will presumably be revived soon. I used it to make the screencasts for my site, worked great, cost nothing.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:49 PM on November 29, 2007

This article has a nice overview of useful screencasting tools. In particular, I imagine that Omnidazzle or Mouseposé, along with standard iMovie captions, could take care of most of your annotation needs. It's a little roundabout, but it would be affordable.

Here's an example screencast that just uses Mouseposé, so you can get an idea of how it looks.
posted by SemiSophos at 2:02 PM on November 29, 2007

You can add text to video files using Quicktime Pro ($30). I believe you can also add graphics/images as well, although I've only tries out the adding a text track function. You can also add a soundtrack to your movie (or parts of it) should you decide to do so.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 3:17 PM on November 29, 2007

Version 3.1.3 of Camtasia is free from TechSmith at the moment (presumably they hope that users will find it so useful they'll get on the upgrade cycle).

(SnagIt v7.25 is also free.)
posted by ceri richard at 3:19 PM on November 29, 2007

Oh bugger, I'm sorry, I've just read your Mac requirement.
posted by ceri richard at 3:20 PM on November 29, 2007

You made the videos, right?
Then just use a video editing program to place titles and graphics on top of the video, then compile it into the finished product.

Thats what I had to do when I took screen caps. I used a free windows application to capture an area of the screen, then used ulead media studio to show the titles.
posted by ijoyner at 6:26 AM on November 30, 2007

ijoyner is right; compositing graphics is what you want to do, and this is what most video editing apps do. iMovie is cool and free, but you need plug-ins to do anything more than adding text, and my experience with iMovie compositing plug-ins has been disappointing: They’re mostly kludgy, inflexible and awkward to use, adding expense without making your life easier. QuickTime Pro has a lot of mixing power, but it’s kind of unintuitive to use, because it doesn’t have a timeline with layers. Same is true of Videator, otherwise very powerful.

It’s much easier to use a video app that lets you add additional track layers above your clip on which to place your graphics and text (usually made in some other application like Photoshop) and move them around and animate them. FCExpress does this really well, plus it includes Livetype, an astonishing motion graphics tool that does much more than simply create titles; it’s totally worth the money if you’re going to do a lot if this. NorrkrossMovie is quite interesting, too, for much less money.

Omnidazzle and Mouseposé work in real-time, while you’re recording the screencast. They’re great, but won’t help you in post-production.

Some useful links:
Online video tools
Video graffiti!
Apple video downloads
How I do it 1
How I do it 2
posted by dpcoffin at 12:08 PM on November 30, 2007

Techsmith has a cross-platform free offering right now - Jing. Not used it though.
posted by idb at 7:51 PM on December 4, 2007

Jing’s a grabber, not an editor, and AFAICT doesn’t allow annotations on video grabs, just on stills.
posted by dpcoffin at 11:46 AM on December 5, 2007

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