Recording Screen Resolutions

I record video for the blog occasionally. I am not a video expert by any means, but through trial and error I have discovered a couple of things. To me it really is the difference in using a dedicated screen recording App like ScreenFlow or an App designed for screenshots on your Mac that can also do basic video recording. Sometimes working in the Display Preference Pane can fix some recording problems.

Recording Screen Video

Recording your Mac screen is a Screencast. You are recording a procedure or some lesson and then posting it somewhere for other people’s edification. If you are just doing an occasional screen recording, then a screenshot App like SnagitCapto or Reflector might be just fine. If you use one of these Apps, you may need to adjust your screen resolution for the recording. Here is a list of screen resolutions for various services. You may wish to set your screen resolution to something other than your usual Default to record with one of these Apps. You can do that in the Displays System Preference:

Displays Preference

It will be set for “Default for display”. Now, you can change the Display Resolution with some canned settings by clicking the “Scaled” button:

Canned Display Settings

If you click on one of these canned solutions your screen resolution will be changed. But, if you really want to do it right, do the following. With your Display setting on “Default for display”, hold down the Option Key ⌥ and then click on the “Scaled” button. You will see this dropdown with a list of screen resolutions:


You can then select the resolution that works best for your video and the online service you are using. You can change your resolution, do your video and then change it back to the Default setting. 

I think most people that do screen recordings use a typical screenshot type App. However, if you use an App like ScreenFlow or Camtasia you can adjust the App to what screen resolution you wish before doing your video. Here is the beginning ScreenFlow setup window:

ScreenFlow Window

If you click on New Document, you can set the recording resolution:

Resolution Settings

If you click on the Preset, you can change the resolution for different target Devices:

Resolution Devices

I want to make a caveat here. I am NOT a video expert by any means. I have learned a couple of things along the way. Video recording is in its own world. I am sure I will never become an expert, but I would like to learn the ScreenFlow App well enough to do occasional videos on this blog. The only drawback to this is Apps like ScreenFlow or Camtasia are expensive. I guess you just have to let your wallet and your video needs decide.


If you are planning to do video on your Mac, then a screenshot App might be more than adequate. However, if you wish to move up the video food chain, you will need an App like ScreenFlow which has more sophisticated capabilities.