Mac Software Review: Screen Mimic 2.1

Screen Mimic
Mac software review






Screen Mimic is a screen capture shareware title from Polarian Technology. The latest version is 2.1.0. One license costs US$64.95. It’s a relatively expensive solution to screen capturing because the last shareware title we introduced, iShowU from shinywhitebox in New Zealand, costs only US$20 for one license. Screen Mimic comes with no screenshot function. It solely allows you to record desktop movements and compress video to QuickTime, FLV or SWF.

Screen Mimic is an interesting screen capture application. First, you don’t need a special QuickTime component to export screen-capture video to SWF or FLV. (See Screenshot 06 and 07.) Another interesting feature is its way of compressing video. Some time after pressing Command + Shift + R, you will get a window labeled Export Recording. That means you are ready to compress recorded screen-capture video. In this window, you can decide on the video format among MOV, FLV and SWF. After exporting to, say, MOV, you will come back to the Export Recording screen again. So you can change settings and export the same recorded video over and over. Furthermore, there is a feature called Show Mouse Clicks. If this feature is enabled, every time you use a Mouse click, the recorded video displays a circle that will gradually enlarge and then die out, indicating the cursor position.

So the ultimate question is Could Screen Mimic replace Ambrosia Software’s Snapz Pro X? The flat answer is no. As we noted several days ago, although it has some problems (for example, incorrect frame rate with Final Cut Pro), Snapz Pro X is still the industry-standard screen-capture application for Mac OS. And although the prices are almost the same, Screen Mimic is a lot worse. Let me wrap up some of the problems we have identified with Screen Mimic.

When I first started using Screen Mimic, I had no major problem. But it then started crashing after one point of time whenever I tried to compress recorded video. And I think I identified the problem. If you select a location other than the default one for storing temporary files, it seems that Screen Mimic will crash. (See Screenshot 12.)

One minor problem with Screen Mimic is its way of allowing the user to define the capture screen size. If you choose Record Window (See Screenshot 02.) or Record Full Screen, there’s no problem. But if you choose Record Selection, life won’t be easy. You can’t define the capture screen size with Screen Mimic by entering numeric values as in iShowU and Snapz Pro X. So you have to drag the Mouse pointer to define it every time you launch Screen Mimic. But that could cause another problem. If you press Command + Shift + #4 to try selecting the whole screen, the last pixel won’t be included. For example, if you have a full screen size of 1,440 x 900, you cannot get the right-end pixel with Command + Shift + #4. And Screen Mimic works in the same way if you try to define the capture area with Record Selection. (See Screenshot 03.) Furthermore, Screen Mimic has no capability of shrinking and enlarging recorded video. If you record screen movements inside an area of 800 times 600 pixels, for example, that will be the final resolution and cannot be shrunk or enlarged.

And there’s a serious problem with Screen Mimic. It has no capability of recording system sounds like beep, or running sounds on your Mac. So if you play music with iTunes on your Mac and capture desktop movements, the recorded video won’t contain music. Nonetheless, Screen Capture allows the user to record audio through Line In and Internal microphone.

How about a frame rate issue with Final Cut Pro as in Snapz Pro X? We specified a frame rate at 24. But the final video shows that the frame rate is 18.18 fps. In fact, we exported recorded video to QuickTime three times. And all three QuickTime videos show the same frame rate of 18.18.

Furthermore, Screen Mimic does not allow the user to change QuickTime settings. One cannot change the quantizer (quality) slider or set a key frame rate. There are no audio settings. It appears that Screen Mimic compresses audio with IMA 4:1 Mono.





Screen Mimic
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  • Developer: Polarian Technology (polarian.com)
  • Latest version: Screen Mimic 2.1.0
  • Prices: US$64.95
  • MacHouse recommendation: There is no way of our giving ‘Buy-It’ recommendation to Screen Mimic. One reason is that it doesn’t support system audio. And we explored Polarian Technology’s website thoroughly to find its office address and phone number. But we didn’t find them. MacHouse strongly advises other Mac users to avoid purchasing anything from a website that doesn’t list such information. Period.






    Click on the button to play a video recorded with Screen Mimic (Show Mouse Cursor and Show Mouse Clicks are enabled. This video is re-compressed with QuickTime Pro.). VTC






    Screen Mimic is a product of Polarian Technology.





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