Snapz Pro 2.0

Most Mac users know that capturing screen images is as simple as pressing command-shift-3 or command-shift-4. So why would you pay $40 for Snapz Pro 2.0, Ambrosia Software's screen-capture utility? Easy–not only is Snapz Pro more flexible and capable than Apple's method, but the latest iteration captures QuickTime video and audio as well.

Like earlier versions, Snapz Pro 2.0 easily outpaces the Mac OS's image-capture routine. After invoking the user-defined keyboard shortcut to produce Snapz Pro's Capture Palette, you can choose to grab an entire screen, a window, a menu, or a selection. You can also select the resulting file's format–PICT, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, or PNG. (You'll need QuickTime to save files as GIFs or JPEGs and QuickTime 4.0 to save them in the TIFF or PNG format.) In addition, you can assign a parent application for each saved-file type–for example, you can specify that all TIFF captures be saved as Photoshop documents. You can also change an image's scale and color depth.

Video and audio capture works similarly to static capture–you can capture action from an entire screen, a window, a menu, or a selection. The difference is that the success of your capture depends on which of these sources you select, how large that source is, and how willing you are to compromise on the color depth and frame rate. Although Snapz Pro 2.0 lets you capture full-screen, full-motion 30-frames-per-second (fps) video while your monitor is set to millions of colors, Macs simply aren't capable of producing adequate results with these settings–everything slows to a crawl during the capture, and the resulting QuickTime movie reflects that slowness.

Reducing the monitor's color depth helps a great deal–at 256 colors, from a large Microsoft Word window, we were able to capture at a reliable 10 fps on a Rev. B iMac. By decreasing the size of that window by two-thirds, we could capture at 15 fps. Capturing audio–you can capture the Mac's audio, click sounds, and microphone input separately or concurrently–also takes a slight toll on performance. With the proper settings, you can produce movies that are perfectly adequate for presentations or training videos (the purposes for which Snapz Pro was designed), but don't expect completely fluid motion unless you severely limit the size of your selections.

For those who need a flexible tool for capturing static screens, look no further than Snapz Pro 2.0. If your needs include video and audio capture for presentations and teaching, be prepared to adjust your Mac, Snapz Pro, and your expectations. Once you've fine-tuned these elements, you'll find Snapz Pro a useful utility.


4.0 mice
PROS: Flexible capture of static images; reasonable video capture after adjustment. CONS: Requires some initial tweaking. COMPANY: Ambrosia Software (800/231-1816, ). LIST PRICE: $40.

November 1999 page: 76

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