Thursday, July 29, 2010

Next Climate Change Talk

Here's the latest release from a series of climate change talks I'm doing, this one discusses the Gulf Oil spill, the Athabasca Oil Sands and climate change:

Unlike the earlier 'Is the Earth a Super Organism' talk I've released so far in this series, this one is completely based in GEarth. It's 10th in the series but I've released it early as:
  • The spill is still ongoing
  • I wanted to have a go at a talk completely in Google Earth to showcase my ideas of what a well designed tour should be like.
I've made a Prezi to link to other resources beyond the scope of the talk:

Good Design Points: A few reasons I think this is a well designed tour:
  • The tour covers views across a range of scales, this is where a tour really beats a traditional PowerPoint presentation
  • Simple Flights: The flights between segments are simple and fairly slow to give users chance to process the movement and work out where they are being taken.
  • Scale: I included Nelson's column, the outline of Great Britain (twice) and a 5 mile long at various points to fix a sense of scale. GEarth is very good at helping users grasp the scale of things.
  • Annotations: I use lots of annotations to draw the user's eye to the correct part of the screen.
  • Dateline: Because the inbuilt GEarth dateline is too small I included a custom dateline indicator.
Things I'd like to fix:
  • Dateline is too small: I fell into the classic trap of looking at GEarth on a large screen then reducing down to a 640 wide movie clip - you can't read the text easily.
  • Audio Hiccups: There are a few audio hiccups that I'd like to fix but these aren't easy in Camtasia without affecting the video. I've got to get a better mic too....
  • Better Images: There are a ton of better images I'd have liked to have used but I haven't got the time to ask permission. Every image used is cc marked and that limits choice.

Work Flow: To produce it I imported models, images, overlays etc. into GEarth then I recorded a tour visiting all the locations as I wanted. Using the pro version of GEarth, I then recorded a silent movie of the tour which I imported into Camtasia. Within Camtasia I added the audio section by section, using freeze frames to extend the movie where needed and cutting footage to fit the commentary. I also added 'call outs' the red annotations which work in addition to annotations I've added in Google Earth. Its not an elegant technique but it avoids issues to do with GEarth tours such as not being able to review changes easily and needing to edit kml code rather than use the Camtasia graphic interface.


Adward said...

Great video. This is the first time I watch such screencast related with Google Earth. I'm eager to make one with desktop recorder, too :)

Thanks Rich the Earth Master!

Daniel Foster (TechSmith) said...

Hi Richard - fantastic screencast!

A couple thoughts regarding your wish list items over at the Visual Lounge blog...

You can unlink the audio and video, then edit them separately. Some pointers here.

You could modify a callout's properties to be exactly what you want and then right-click it on the timeline and add it to your Library for easy reuse. More about the Library here.

Does that help with any of the wishes? :-)

Rich Treves said...


re audio and video linking, yup, cool! Didn't know how to look up if it was possible.

Re modifying a callout, I still can't see how to change things completely, when I select the callouts I try and change parameters and discover they are grayed out. Any advice usefully received.