Jing, one of our favorite free screenshot and screencasting tools, just received a major update. Besides adding a new look and feel, TechSmith, Jing's parent company, also announced a new Pro version of Jing, which, for $14.95 a year, allows users to record their screencasts in HD H.264 video, directly upload them to YouTube, and remove the Jing logos that appear at the beginning and end of videos produced with the free version of Jing.

The free version also got a major face lift. While there aren't too many new features, one new function we definitely like is the ability to customize Jing's buttons according to your own workflow.

High Quality Video and Direct YouTube Uploads

For just about $15 a year, the Pro version is quite a bargain. Thanks to using the H.264/MPEG-4-AVC video codec, Jing now not only makes it easy to capture high-quality video (including online videos), but also to take those videos to other editors like iMovie, or to video sites like Vimeo or Viddler. The free version of Jing records videos in the SWF format, and TechSmith's Camtasia Studio is one of the few programs that can actually edit those Jing-produced videos.

The Pro version also lets you upload videos directly to YouTube. As with the free version of Jing, you can also use TechSmith's own Screencast.com to host your videos.

In this new version, Jing fixed the one issue that had always annoyed us when we tried to embed videos captured with the software: resizing the height and width of embedded videos now finally works.

New Help Center

Besides updating its desktop software, Jing also released a new 'Help Center,' with lots of tutorials and tips for getting the most out of Jing.

Screenshots and Screencasting

We mostly use Jing to take screenshots every day, and with this update and a subscription to the Pro version, Jing has also become an even more flexible and useful screencasting tool than ever before.