Heard about this tool via Wes Fryer and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach at a presenters roundtable getting ready for the K12Online conference later this year, and was immediately intrigued. The Jing Project is a Techsmith initiative, the people behind Camtasia, which we have used at our district. Camtasia is wonderful but expensive, and so I was immediately drawn to Jing’s offer of free, similar capability – just a download away. I’d love to see our students using this tool to create their own screencasts.
The software worked mostly as expected on both my Macbook Pro and my PCs. On the Mac, installation was a breeze, and I was recording screencasts in no time. Hoping I’d found a great, free way to record Second Life machinima with an audio voiceover, I tried it first with a full-size window – big mistake! The recording was slow and choppy. I need to try it again with a much smaller window, and I expect the recording will be a lot smoother; the question is how much usability will I lose byb shrinking the window? We’ll have to see. Recording regular 2D apps was a breeze however and I was thrilled with its ease of use.
On the PC, things were a different story. First, I needed to download and install the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 package, which took an oddly long amount of time to install on my Dell XPS Gen 5. (It’s not brand new but it’s pretty powerful.) Jing installed quickly, but I was chagrined to see that when I went to record video, it scaled my goregous 1920×1200 24″ widescreen display all the way down to 800×600. Oh no … sorry, not happening. Uninstalled it from the Gen 5 and put a copy on my daughter’s Dell Dimension 5150, which runs at 1024×768, the default screen resolution of our PCs at school. Made a recording easily enough, but it was fullscreen @ 1024×768, and when I played it back, there were scroll bars at the bottom and side of the screen. No dice… :(
At this point I am going to say that for me, Jing has promise for recording 2D apps on my Macbook Pro, and possibly Second Life machinima in a smaller window than fullscreen (that was my bad, it’s standard practice to record machinima at less than full screen). I’ll be trying that soon. On the PC, I need to keep exploring, but I am thinking that this product is not going to be able to approach the capabilities of Camtasia, particularly the post-processing options that allow you a lot of flexibility. Why would it? Someone at Techsmith would need to be shot if they suggested developing a free tool that would cannibalize the sales of an existing product. Not smart!
Jing has MANY features BEYOND what I’ve talked about here so please DO go ahead and try it yourself. I was just hoping I’d be able to come in here and trumpet its amazing video capture capabilities for recording screencasts. We’ve got big plans for these in my district this year. I need to spend some more time with Jing, but for now, it’s off to the beach – it’s a gorgeous day and summer’s almost over!