Google Earth Animations Made Easy

Just recently I had occasion to put together a video for my other half explaining what her employer did. This is a non-profit company that counsels kids and parents who have issues of all sorts.

Anyway, what I wanted to do, as the company is very location based here in Bunbury, Western Australia, was open the video with a zoom in to the city centre from outer space.

The way I approached this was to take a series of screen shots as stills using Google Earth and then using a simply using a cross fade transition, put all the stills on the timeline and make a 4 second animation.

Not brilliant I know, but for the sake of the exercise it did the job (this was a job pro bono, so I didn’t want to spend too much time on it. Even then, the whole project which ended up being 7 minutes long, took 3 days).

What had utterly slipped my mind of course was that there is a nifty little tool called Google Earth Studio that I had applied for a couple of years back. Using this, I could have achieved a much better solution in a fraction of the time.

In simple terms, you select your end point of the animation and choose your framing. Next, you select the start point and voila. Done.

You can then render it out. If you render locally (on your PC), Google Earth Studio creates a series of JPGs you can import into your editing package (I used Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve) and render those out as an MP4 or another codec.

You can choose to render “in the cloud” using Google’s facilities and this creates an MP4. Google will tell you when the file is ready for download.

Other options apart from zoom in include orbit, spiral and point-to-point.

More advanced stuff available has higher level things such as keyframe animation, animatable effects and 3D camera export. You can also add overlays and apply motion effects to keyframes such as ease in-ease out or linear.

You can check it out at https://earth.google.com/studio/

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