Monday, August 6, 2007

Introductions II - By Video

So on Friday we talked about 'Read Me!' introductions using text in a placemark with no icon. That's the simple technique, today's technique is more sophisticated: video

I'll talk about the technical details of how I put this together in a later post. Its only an experiment at this stage so its a bit rough around the edges, for example, I would have liked to have captured the mouse clicking on the placemarks (it is off screen to the left at the moment) and capture more than 30 seconds of footage but I was limited by the software. The main function of the clip is to encourage people to follow the instruction 'double click the placemarks in the places column' so that they can see the 3D rendering. This is the main point of using Google Earth to view the .kml I talked about on Friday , you may think its unnecessary to remind users view Google Earth in 3D but this post says otherwise.

There are some more general points about video introductions which are worth considering; Google Earth allows users to alter the speed at which they fly to a placemark when its clicked or used in a tour. Users could set it very fast which means that they would lose a sense of where they are flying to when they move from placemark to placemark. By converting a Google Earth tour to a video you can ensure this does not happen, the landscape will fly by at the speed you decide on. Related to this issue of fly to speed, the limitations of the tour functionality in Google Earth are a problem. Sometimes (as in the video) it's not that you want the viewers to move to another placemark, it's that you want the view of the placemark to change. This is impossible to achieve at present so again, a video can come to the rescue. I had this problem in another project of mine where we also used video.

Using a clip is also a lovely way of giving users a sense of what's in your project, users get to sit back in their seats and soak up the jist of your project. They can sit forward and explore interactively once its finished.

A great example of an introductory video is the Dafur project by USHMM on this page which supports the layer in, Layers > Global Awareness > USHMM: Crisis in dafur. More info on Dafur is in this .kmz file.

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