Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Screencasts - The Jing Project

TechSmith, the people behind screen recording software Camtasia Studio and Screencast.com, have released a free, experimental version of the technology, for both Windows and Mac OS X, called the Jing project.

JingJing makes it easy to grab screenshots and videos from your computer and then share them online via its integration with Screencast.com. It's still early days for Jing and the creators say Jing is a concept that they’re evaluating to see if it can improve everyday conversations and to see if it will be a viable product.

Simply select an area of your screen, capture it as an image or record it as a video, and then click Save or Share. Jing conveniently places a URL to the newly created content on your clipboard ready for you to use and share. Your recorded content is hosted on Screencast.com, which is providing a complimentary account to all participants during this project. Users have 200MB of space for storing screenshots and screencasts and 1 GB of bandwidth that renews monthly and that account will remain available to you for the duration of the project.

The program installs itself as a fairly unobtrusive blob at the edge of your screen, where you can easily activate it when required. Image capture is simple and, once you've selected the image, you can add highlights, arrows, rectangles and text to it before saving as a .png file or uploading it. That's pretty straightforward but, while the video capture also works wonderfully well, there are a couple of downsides. The first is the locked-in link with Screencast.com as the hosting service. Screencast hosting isn't free so it would be much more desirable to allow the user to select from a wider range of hosting services. However, that brings us to the next problem - videos are saved as Flash .swf files, which most free services like YouTube can't handle as uploads so it would mean having to go through another step and converting the video to something like .mp4 files before uploading.

Obviously there's nothing stopping you saving your video, converting it yourself and then uploading it elsewhere but having a one-stop solution would be so much more user-friendly. Obviously TechSmith are pushing Screencast as the hosting service as that's where they'd make any revenue from this product, should it ever see a final release, but it's a bit like giving you an iPod and then saying you have to buy tracks from the iTunes Store; definitely an off-putter.

1 comment:

Allan Ogg said...

Jing has been updated to allow you to save your captures/screencasts to file, FTP or Flickr account as well as screencast.com.