Google Earth’s Professional Features Are Now Free

Image and HD Movie Capture Key Feature

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Have you ever seen the cool videos that filmmakers have made using images from Google street view? They take still images and put them together into a steady, stop motion-like image, and it’s very cool. But since it’s street view, the images are fairly low resolution. If you want the real thing, and we’re talking 4K quality, you need to go to the professional version of Google Earth. But at over $400 a year, it has been out of reach for most indie filmmakers, until now. Starting immediately, it’s FREE.

Now you can get HD images with regular Google Earth, but not HD video capture, which is another benefit from the Professional service, as well as 4K. But in order to do that, you have to have a license, and up until now, that would set you back $400 a year. Apparently, nobody wanted to pay for it, and since Google still operates Google Earth for free, they figured they may as well give us all the keys to the kingdom, since it does’t really cost them much more to do it. As such, we can now have all the following professional features included at no charge:

  • Print images at 4800×3200; non-Pro is capped at 1000×1000.
  • Automatically import a few thousand addresses at once to be pinned on a map
  • Capture HD videos of what’s on screen.
  • Measure distances/areas using lines, paths, polygons, circles, and more. Non-pro can only handle lines/paths.

So what you do is apply for a Google Earth Pro license here, and then download and install it. When asked, you provide the license key that Google will send you, and then you open the utility, and under “Tools,” is the Google Earth Movie Maker, you input what you want to include and then hit record until you want to stop.

It’s pretty cool, but in one bit of a head scratcher, users can only save their videos in Windows Media format. That seems a bit low tech for the company that has VP9, and that’s not even an option. Since Google and Apple aren’t exactly best friends at the moment, there’s no QuickTime export either. But hey, we can always re-encode it. Here’s one I made kind of quick and dirty…

OK it’s not perfect, but I was learning how to do it as I went, so it’s a bit klunky. With some practice and familiarity with the features, you can imagine the benefit of it, at least from an animatics perspective. It can also be used for a documentary series, indie film, etc.

Bonus points… You not only can capture movies of Earth, but you can also make movies of the Moon and Mars and any other planet in the Google Earth pantheon. Sci-Fi filmmakers rejoice!

Hat Tip – DIYP

About doddle 16509 Articles
Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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