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Review: BB FlashBack 2.0

June 13th 2008 | John Dalziel

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Review: BB FlashBack 2.0

UK based software developer Blueberry software specialises in creating screen recording and video authoring software. They recently launched version 2.0 of their flagship product BB FlashBack. We haven't looked at video screen capture tools for a little while so we decided to see what BB FlashBack 2.0 has to offer.

What is it?  Next Generation Screen Recording
Platforms:  Vista, Windows XP, 2000, 98, NT4, ME
Manufacturer:  Blueberry software
Website:  http://www.bbsoftware.co.uk
Cost: $225.00 USD (+$9.00 on CD), Upgrade $99, Free trial available

Version one of BB FlashBack was launched back in 2003. For those of you counting in Flash years that's about "MX" and in Flash player terms it's sometime around the early Triassic. Version 2.0 is the long awaited major new release from Blueberry Software.

BB Flashback comes in two parts - a recorder app and a player app. We'll start by looking at the recorder.

The BB FlashBack Recorder
A lot of thought has gone into the BB FlashBack v2.0 user experience. I've used screen recorders before but never this one, but I found it very easy to get up and running and was recording within a few minutes. The user interface is minimalist in the extreme; just Record/Pause, Stop and Play. This is as it should be for this type of software. You want to record the screen not half of the recorder UI as well. The recorder app is equally happy running in the system tray, in the taskbar, or being dragged around the screen in its own tiny window.

The recording process follows the classic 'wizard' step by step approach. At the end of recording you are offered the option of recording again with the previous settings. The default settings all seemed very sensible but there is plenty of scope for customisation once you stray into the advanced features.

For example, if you run a dual monitor system you can configure the recorder to record from either monitor. Some options are purely cosmetic (such as hiding your desktop icons or changing your wallpaper during recording) but others (such as changing resolution or switching off Windows graphic effects) may give you a performance boost. Some of the big new features in the recorder app include capture drivers for Windows Vista, Mouse movement correction, webcam capture and an associated 'picture in picture' mode.

The BB FlashBack Player
The Player application also doubles as an editor. Along the top of the playback window is a timeline. It's interface reminds me more of Premiere or After Effects than Flash but the functionality is much the same. You can scrub through your recording to check how it plays. If you want to make changes you delete, insert or merge frames as well as crop, zoom and pan. Blocks of frames can also be sped up or slowed down. Sound editing works in a similar manner to movie editing. Waveforms can be dragged and dropped or selected, copied or cut and pasted into new positions.

The fully edited track can then be annotated with the addition of highlights, text, images, buttons and sound. Adding an item can be done through the menus or by clicking on the toolbars. Either way they pop up a configuration panel which must be confirmed before the item canbe dragged into place. This user interface is likely to feel a bit clunky To Flash users who are used to dragging and dropping items onto the stage,

Screen capture is a hotly contested market and is dominated by some very big players. Blueberry Software have a feature rich competitive product in BB Flashback. Note: A free upgrade is available to anyone who purchased a copy of v1.5 after March 1st 2008.

 

About John Dalziel

John Dalziel is a founding member of FlashMagazine and regularly reports from community events in the UK. He has also written for Macromedia, New Riders, Actionscript.com and Ultrashock.com.

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