I thought I should comment on just how I make my Google Earth videos of my hikes.
Well, on my iPhone, I use the “Gaia GPS” app. Each time I go for a hike, I start a new “track”. These are saved and can then be exported via email as a “.GPX” file which can then be loaded into Google Earth (via drag and drop). However, Google Earth doesn’t load them as separate tracks, so I first edit the file (it’s an ASCII file) and isolate each track putting them into separate GPX files. And also, so that my video doesn’t fly back to the starting point, I delete the GPS info after it reaches the highest point of my hike.
When I drag the GPX file into GoogleEarth, it asks my if I want to create “KML Tracks” or “KML LineStrings”. I’ve been using the LineStrings option as it removes the timing information, since I don’t want the flying to be based on how fast or slow I was walking.
GoogleEarth then creates an object called “GPS device” under “Temporary Places”. I right click on this and select “Properties”. Under “Style, Color” I select the “Share Style” button, and then under the Lines section, I select the color of my line, and set a width of 3. In that same dialog, to the right of the object Name, there is a button where you can select what balloon icon to use. I select “No Icon”.
We are now ready to fly. This is done by selecting the “Play Tour” button at the bottom right of the “Places” panel. But it may not look very good, so you have to select some options. So go to Tools, Options, Touring. I set these options:
Time Between Features: 0.0
Wait at Features: 0.0
Fly along lines: check
Camera Tilt Angle: 75.0
Camera Range: 200.0
And now it flies like in my video, but I need a way to capture the video. Google charges for this feature ($400 for the “pro” version of GoogleEarth), so I instead use a program called Fraps, which is just $37. It also will record whatever music I am playing on my computer.
So I start up Fraps, move the tour play button back to the start, and set up some music. Then I press play on the music, press play on the tour, and hit F9 which causes Fraps to start recording. Once the video stops at the summit, I then used the keyboard to tell GoogleEarth to rotate the scene, and then I hit F9 to stop the capture.
But this outputs a full resolution AVI file, so then I need to convert it to a MP4 file. For this I found a utility called Prism Video Converter, which costs $35. I also use this utility to add the title of the hike at the bottom of the video.
However, when I uploaded the video to YouTube, their software complained about my video and the format options I used. They recommended (among others) that I use Apple’s QuickTime Pro ($30), so I got that and use it to convert my MP4 file to a MOV file.
Note, to get HD quality from Google Earth, you should set the “View Size” to “1280 x 720p HDTV”. YouTube also has a page here, where they list what settings you should use in QuickTime Pro for best results.