Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How To Make A Video Introduction

Last week I talked about using a video as an introduction and I promised a 'howto'. I have to name check Andy Smith at Urban Digital as it's his technique.

Ingredients (for PCs on XP):
1. A decently fast computer with a good graphics card. Hardware isn't really my area of expertise but I can tell you that this technique doesn't work on my Latitude D610 laptop but does on my dual core desktop Optiplex 745 PC.
2. Fraps, an application which allows you to record video and audio off your screen.
3. Freebie windows movie maker.
4. The free version of Google Earth
5. A place to upload video, I use you tube
5. Optional: A 3DConnexion space navigator mouse or joystick may help you fly around in GE.

Set up the Google Earth project you wish to video, a practise fly through is very useful. Set up Fraps to record, it will record the 'frame rate' as a number in a corner of the screen. Your computer will be working at a mad dash to render (technical word for 'draw') the google earth view AND to record it on video for you, the higher the frame rate the more smooth your final video will be. If the frame rate is low and your video jerky you can help your computer by reducing the size of video Fraps captures.

Once you have recorded your video it will be in uncompressed *.avi format. Using movie maker you can save it as a compressed .wmv file which will make it a reasonable size, an uncompressed .avi video on the web would involve long download times - they really are huge files.

You may wonder why I don't use Google Earth Pro since it does video recording. I wouldn't recommend it, I have tried screen recording with GE pro, Camtasia, Fraps and Captivate and for recording Google Eartj Fraps is by far the cheapest and best. Having said that, I tried Fraps out on another PC with a good graphics card and it was recording on 2 frames per second (fps) which is so bad its not worth doing and I know Andy had problems with Fraps when he upgraded to Vista .

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