Creative constraints

jing-proI’ve been using Jing for a while to make slidecasts (audio and slides) that I post as short explanatory videos. The medium works for me because I can make a reasonably decent slide presentation with Apple’s Keynote and then I can practice the voice-over until I’m satisfied with the work. I don’t have video production or editing skills so Jing lets me combine voice and pictures without a steep learning curve. I use the Jing Pro version, which costs only $15, so I can save the output as MP4. The free version limits the output to Flash (.swf) which of course doesn’t work on the iPhone.

Both options limit you to 5 minutes, and this is, in my opinion, the best aspect of Jing. I’m a firm believer that constraints are good for creativity. Like Haiku or Twitter, you have to use your words wisely. Sometime it’s best to look not only at the features of a tool but also what is not there to distract you. You want to stay focused on the real task at hand. Tools like Jing and Twitter can be more powerful than complicated, feature-rich, platforms because you can focus on getting the work done and not waste time on extraneous details.

Wired Work was my latest slidecast.

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