Screenflow 7.1.1 enormous file sizes

iMac 2013 27”, High Sierra for me and Mac Air High Sierra for my friend.

I might be wrong and I suspect maybe not. Every since Screenflow 7, the file sizes of my and my friend’s documents are huge. Let me explain what happens. 

Let’s say we record a clip of 1 hour long, both recording the screen and using the built in camera to have be on screen as well. 

The next step is editing the full clip to cut out any rubbish and tidy it up and make it shorter. Recording of original document of 1 hour long and then reduced it by creating many cuts, via in and out cutting method. We ended up with approx 20 clips but only 18 minutes long. When I looked at the clip inspector for each clip, both the screen recording and the camera recording, i.e. every single clip said that the duration of each was 1 hour. The total file size was in excess of 11gb. Her screen size for the screen recording was only 1440x900 (MAC Air) by the way, so it wasn’t the size of her canvas that made it so large. 

Normally a screen recording of that length might be 3gb, so why are we getting such huge file sizes when we cut the clips?

This is rendering the software almost unusable when the file sizes are so huge. 

Making tutorials for education means that you may record something for an hour and then just cut it into shorter clips afterwards, certainly when I’m recording webinars with screenflow that’s what I do as well.

Is this now the new normal and we have to expect that this is what we have to work with?

Thanks for letting me know.

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  • ScreenFlow's recorded file size is dependent on many factors. Screen size is one but so is the amount of movement. A fast action game might be larger than a webinar.
    Editing doesn't have much impact on the file size as the source recording remains untouched. The timeline are pointer files to the original source. The hour long clip remains one hour. Effects which are added may have some impact. Imported files may have an impact. 

  • CraigS thank you so much. Definitely no fast action gaming at all. Why then would an original document of 1 hour long reduced to 18 minutes remain 11gb? And surely that’s far too big? Also no imported files either.

    I have been using screenflow for years and the files never used to be that big ever. 

    Whenever I cut a clip out of the main recording and copy that to a new document, that new document although it’s not the same length in time will be the same size and take a long time to save as well as a new document, because of the large file size, even though it’s only at least a ⅓ of the original. I think I had this confirmed in a previous support ticket I raised some weeks ago. i.e. it retains the original file size. 

    It’s a puzzle Craig. I’m going to look up some old screenflow and compare file sizes. 

  • Hello CraigS  and thank you for your prompt reply. I am the "her" to whom Michael de Groot is referring. The 18 min (after cutting out the mistakes) was actually 24GB. Unusable and my editor (also using SFlow 7) wouldn't even accept it. I"ve had to redo 2 full tutorials now because of this. There is no fast action, it's just me doing a tutorial with my desktop in the background. I am now forced to do these tutorial videos (for a client) in pieces. I create a New Document for each part - and do about 5 minutes and that file is still 8GB. That seems large, too, but at least it's manageable. Any further insight or even a 1:1 tech support call with me sharing my screen might be helpful. Michael - who is a SFlow expert/user - checked my settings, too, and all was okay. I also watched each of your SFlow 7 tutorial videos, too. Thank you in advance for more help.

  • Kate Paine The only thing that might significantly impact file size is ScreenFlow > Preferences > Advanced and setting Screen Recording Compression to Lossless (should be Adaptive).

    Michael de Groot said:
    Why then would an original document of 1 hour long reduced to 18 minutes remain 11gb?

     The recording remains one hour. Editing has not impact because you're only editing pointer files.

    Michael de Groot said:
    Whenever I cut a clip out of the main recording and copy that to a new document, that new document

     You're copying over the entire one hour. You can't copy segments of the entire file. Any copy of a document will carry the full recording across. 

  • Kate Paine If you'd like, Premium support provides remote access.

    Kate Paine said:
    create a New Document for each part - and do about 5 minutes and that file is still 8GB.

    You can't copy sections of a source file. The entire recording is copied. Each new document will duplicate the source file. 


    Kate Paine said:
    Unusable and my editor (also using SFlow 7) wouldn't even accept it.

     Size shouldn't be a factor as long as there's enough hard drive space. Always have at least 20% of the hard drive free after capture. That would indicate a compatibility issue but you'd you'd have to explain how the file isn't accepted. If it can't be opened it could be corrupted or perhaps they have an earlier version.

  • Using Lossless would record a much larger file. Otherwise file size is always the function of recording time and monitor pixel dimensions. Editing has no impact on file size. Copying any portion of the recording to a new document duplicates the entire recording. Once saved, each document will contain the entire recording regardless of editing.


  • CraigS Here's my question, now that you have basically rendered screeflow as a useless tool, I would like to ask, a)is there an another app or software that will do the job without piling on the data like crazy, b) what are you going to do about this and c) can I revert back to an older version to make this work, and which version is it?

  • Harry K If you'd like technical support please ask the question. ScreenFlow works very well for recording and exporting. You have complete control over file size when exporting. Rather than make wrong assumptions you should ask for help to better understand how to use ScreenFlow. ScreenFlow 7 has made no fundamental changes in the way it records and allow more control on export.

  • well, specifically, we are talking about larger files, which in and by itself is another issue, because we are talking about my resources, we are not filling up your resources or servers or whathaveyou, yes I may not like filling up my memory resources but ultimately that's my problem. So is there a way to circumvent the system so it goes through the saving process and not stop?

  • Harry K Screenflow records using a proprietary coded for a high quality recording. This hasn't change through the versions at all. Projects size always depends on monitor size (when capturing full screen and in recent versions you don't have to do that), duration of recording and the amount of movement in the recording.

    Harry K said:
    So is there a way to circumvent the system so it goes through the saving process and not stop?

     It's not clear what you mean by this. ScreenFlow 8 may be even more efficient than previous versions when it comes to autosaves.

  • This is a real nightmare for me too. I've got a 2-minute video that is 9GB! Just me speaking to camera at my desktop! I checked a video I did a few years ago on an older version of screenflow and a 30min video was not even a Gig! 

    What is going on with the new version of Screenflow. I'm going to have to ditch it iin favour of something that doesn't eat up my hard drive! 

  • Alexia Leachman It's not clear what you're referring to. As per the thread ScreenFlow has not increased the size of its recordings at all. I can repeat what was posted previously but your desktop size is a determining factor. Retinal displays are much larger than older Macs.

    Exported file is entirely up to the data rate setting you use. That's a user controlled setting. 

  • Alexia Leachman This article was written nearly 9 years ago about ScreenFlow 2
    The presets have changed but the rules are still the same. Nothing has changed in 9 years.

  • Alexia Leachman  In ScreenFlow 8.x you control the frame size, frame rate, data rate. New look. Same settings.

    And you can see there's even an Estimated File Size.



  • Alexia Leachman See how when you change the settings you change the file size estimate. 

  • CraigS  I'm not exporting files at this stage - still at editing stage so i'm not setting the export mp4 file size. That bit I'm clear on!  I'm referring to exactly the same issues that everyone else in this thread is raising. When I used to create my course materials using SF 5 my SF file sizes were around 300-600MB for videos of between 10-30 minutes. Now I'm on version 8 a 10 minute video of me talking to camera - no slides, no graphics - creates a SF file size of over 3GB (30 minutes is 10GB). When I export this as an MP4 it's 163MB (or whatever I set it to as per your gif above).

    The problem here are the ScreenFlow files. I need to create around 10 hours of course material which is going to need a spare TB hard drive just for my video dev files. Add to this that Dropbox is no longer supported and I now have a piece of software that is pretty much unusable. I really want to go back to version 5 when all was well with the world. Is that possible? Upgrading was the worst decision ever. 

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  • Alexia Leachman Project file size is determined by screen size, sources and, to some extent, movement (more movement generally means larger file sizes). There hasn't been major changes in how ScreenFlow capture codec works as it's designed for quality. Computer with larger screens (Retina Macs) are going to have much larger file sizes than older Macs.

    If you're using a Retina Mac and must capture full screen (ScreenFlow had done partial screen recording in more recent versions and those will be smaller files) and you're on a Retina MacBook Pro or iMac then you may want to consider getting a second monitor that can be set to 1920x1080 (or similar) and capture that. Retina Displays are huge and there's really no way to change the screen size as you could with older Macs.

    To be clear, there's been no change in codec and capture efficiency of ScreenFlow recently.

    Depending on the OS it's easy to compare since you can have multiple versions of ScreenFlow on the same system if they are kept in separate folders. For example, if you're on High Sierra, you can compare ScreenFlow 5.0.7, 6.2.4, 7.3.x, 8.x. Record one minute of your desktop screen with each (and nothing else) and compare sizes.

  • Alexia Leachman 
    Tested on iMac Pro, macOS 10.13.6
    One Minute Recording of just the desktop.
    ScreenFlow 5.0.7 - 16.7MB
    ScreenFlow 8.2.2 - 16.7MB
    There's been no change.


  • CraigS Ok thanks - now I feel I'm getting somewhere. Appreciated. I do have a retina mac.

    What's the best way of me limiting the screen size (and file) that I'm capturing as part of my recording. These are learning/course videos so I don't need super hi res and most people will probably be watching on tablet or mobile. Do I need to use different recording settings? At the moment I'm using 1280x720.

    And what about document settings? At the mo i'm using Preset 720HD (w1280xh720) - could these be changed to improve the file size situation?


    When I'm capturing the FaceTime camera - can I limit the size of that? I'm not intentionally using full screen - i have no idea what SF is picking up. 


  • Alexia Leachman With Retina Mac the screen can't really be resized. They can be changed perceptually in System Preferences but that doesn't actually change the pixel size unlike older non Retina Macs.

    You can either do partial screen recordings but obviously that's not ideal if you want to show complete screen with System Dock and Menu bar. The alternative is to add a separate monitor.

    ScreenFlow allows you set the frame size of the FaceTime camera when recording.


  • Alexia Leachman Some people will use a third party program called SwitchRezX to change monitor size. I'm not sure how well it works with Retina displays and we don't officially support compatibility. 

  • CraigS I have this problem too. My courses of 1 hour also created a big file of 35GB. And when I compress this with my Macbook Pro (Retina) it still is 35 GB in Zip file. Also when I use software like WinZip. When I add a separate monitor, how does this work with screenflow. How does screenflow choose the screen on the second monitor and choose my camera on my Macbook Pro laptop?

    I desperate search for a solution for those big files. Zipping is not working. 

  • Sonja Zip will not shrink the file.
    Retina screen size is large and will create a large file. 

    Sonja said:
    When I add a separate monitor, how does this work with screenflow.

     You can select any or all monitors. You can select any webcam.
    My iMac is Retina. My Dell monitor is 1920x1080 so recording it will be much smaller.

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  • CraigS Thanks. Would it be different when I select on my macbook Pro Retina in settings another option of my screen? Standard looks like 1440 x 900 my settings said, but I don't know if this is true, because with standard I got big file.

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