Automating Android screen recording and device framing

Paul Kinlan

I wrote about screen recording from Android a little while ago and whilst it is cool, I didn’t document anything of the process that I had to get it into the device frame and make the screen recordings look all “profesh”.

The process in the past was pretty cumbersome, I would grab the screen recording using my script and then use Screenflow to overlay the video on the device frame and then do export that out to the mp4 followed by a quick bit of GIF hakery.

I needed to automate this because each video was probably about 20 minutes worth of work.

I have known for a long time of ffmpeg. O.M.G, it’s incredibly powerful and incredibly complex especially for a noob like me to get started.

I needed to have a background layer and then to overlay the screen recording on top of it. Pretty simple stuff, one little gotcha was that the video produced by the Android screen recording tool is high resolution so I needed to also scale down the video size.

This is the commandline that I came up with and it seems to work reasonably well.

ffmpeg \
  -i n6-background.png \
  -i screenrecording.mp4 \
  -filter_complex "[1:v]scale=480:-1[scaled_overlay],[0:v][scaled_overlay]overlay=x=(main_w-overlay_w)/2:y=(main_h-overlay_h)/2" \
  • n6-background is white backgroud with a device frame on it at 1920x1080 resolution.
  • screenrecording.pn4 is, well, the screenrecording from the device.
  • fileter_complex is the ffmpeg processing language you have to use. In this case takes the 2nd video stream and scales it and then overlays and centers it on top of the video stream that is created by the background image

It works pretty well. Now on to also making a GIF out of it… ;)

This code is on github if you want to keep up to date with it and I’ve included it below. I will say if you are an ffmpeg expert and you see something I can improve let me know.

if [ -z "$1" ]; then
  shot_path=$(date +%Y-%m-%d-%H-%M-%S).mp4


trap ctrl_c INT

function ctrl_c() {
  echo "** Trapped CTRL-C"
  echo "** Downloading screencast"
  sleep 2

  adb shell am broadcast -a -e command exit
  adb pull /sdcard/Movies/$shot_path .

  if [ -x $(which "$ffmpeg") ] && [ -e "$n6_frame" ]
    $ffmpeg -i $n6_frame -i $shot_path  -filter_complex "[1:v]scale=480:-1[scaled_overlay],[0:v][scaled_overlay]overlay=x=(main_w-overlay_w)/2:y=(main_h-overlay_h)/2" $shot_path-frame.mp4


function setup() {
   adb shell settings put global sysui_demo_allowed 1
   adb shell am broadcast -a -e command network -e mobile show -e datatype lte -e level 4
   adb shell am broadcast -a -e command battery -e level 100 -e plugged false
   adb shell am broadcast -a -e command network -e wifi show -e level 4
   # Tweak this if you want the clock to changed
   adb shell am broadcast -a -e command clock -e hhmm 0440
   # Remove this if you want notifications to be availalbe
   adb shell am broadcast -a -e command notifications -e visible false
   echo When finished, run: adb shell am broadcast -a -e command exit

function alldone() {
  adb shell am broadcast -a -e command exit


adb shell screenrecord --bit-rate 6000000 /sdcard/Movies/$shot_path

echo "Finished"

Paul Kinlan

Trying to make the web and developers better.

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