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First Look: Sequence, video and screen capturing

updated 03:45 pm EDT, Wed July 9, 2008

Sequence 1.0

When something unusual or interesting appears on your screen, there are times you may want to show the image to someone else. If that person is physically nearby, they can, of course, peek at your screen. In many cases though the other person may be in another city, state or country, so that isn't an option. The only choice then is to do the next best thing, and capture that screen image using a program like Sequence 1.0.

Sequence in particular acts as a combination video and screen capturing tool. As a video app it records all screen activity, including opening and moving windows, or pulling down menus. As a straight screen capture tool, the program can save a static shot of all or part of a screen, which you can later send to someone else.

To select a portion of a screen, users drag their mouse cursor. This gives the flexibility to capture just the needed parts of a screen, like window contents; unlike programs such as Snapz Pro however, Sequence lacks the option of capturing objects automatically, including windows or dialog boxes. If you want to capture any type of object, you'll be forced to select an area manually, instead of just clicking on the object you're after.

When saving a file, the program gives you three file format options: PNG, JPEG and TIFF. You can save a file directly to a folder, into your iPhoto library, as an e-mail attachment, or just to the Clipboard. Web and iDisk options are present too.

More importantly to some, the program also offers a paint option, controlled through a brush tool with options for color and thickness. Such lines let you circle or point to specific parts of an image.

As mentioned before, the program can also record video of screen activity, handy for showing how to accomplish complicated tasks. If your Mac includes a microphone the program also lets you record audio, useful for narrating your on-screen actions.

The program stores captured video as a QuickTime file. To save space, you can choose from a low audio quality (AAC Voice Quality) or higher ones (AAC High Quality and Apple Lossless). Depending on how you plan to present your video to others, you can choose from various file formatting options that include MPEG-4, DivX, Windows Media, iPhone, or AVI.

If you have a webcam like an iSight, you can also record video of yourself narrating actions. Adding audio and video narration can make tutorials far more interesting and practical at the same time.

If you need to capture screen stills or video, Sequence is well worth its affordable $19 price tag. The program is a bargain as one of the least expensive screen capturing tools available, and its ability to let you draw within the app is a handy bonus unavailable in some competing options. Not everyone may need a program like Sequence, but for those who do, you'll find the program reliable and easy to use.

by MacNN Staff



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