Satellite Cinematography

Hello my friends! Today, I am going to be shooting video from space! Well… Kinda. I got access to Google Earth Studio, which is a special version of Google Earth for making videos! In this post I am going to tell you how to get it, show off the features of this program, and by the end of the post have a cinematic masterpiece! (we’ll see about that 😂)

How to get Earth Studio:

  1. To start off, I’ll show you how to get Google Earth Studio! First visit:
    https://www.google.com/earth/studio/
  2. Click the “Try Earth Studio” button in the top right corner.
  3. Submit your application and wait until you get an email back.

I actually got my email very soon after I applied! I believe it was within a day or two. Your email should look something like this:

FYI, there is a Google Group that you can use to share projects:

Hopefully this should work the same way for you. Do note that if you are reading this a few months from now, things will almost certainly change.

Starting the Project:

Now I am going to start my video project. If you click the same button that you used to sign up after you are approved, you will be taken to the editor! The editor works in chrome, I don’t know if it will work in other browsers though. The editor is a web app which I did download, just note that everything works the same in the browser.

I started a blank project and inputted what I wanted. You do have to manually add resolution, frames, and frame rate before you enter the editor, so I’d recommend using a frame to time calculator like this one.
I ended up going with 1440p at 50fps for 10,000 frames. That will give me 3 minutes and 20 seconds. I am using 50fps since that is what I normally record at on my camera, so it is just what I’m used to.

Creating the Video (part 1):

I just got into the editor, and I am SUPER excited! Okay, this definitely looks like it will be fun! Basically, I have to input values for where the cameras will be, and the entire editor is based around key framing the camera movements. It honestly is similar to blender, just A LOT less laggy and much simpler!

I am going to start by getting a starting location! I am planning to put it in New York City since Google has great 3d buildings here. I want to be somewhere around this bridge:

I decided to start over the water and go by the bridge.

I mapped out the route to get to the main part of the city. I am loving the simple controls! All you do is click and drag, use the mouse scroll wheel (or two fingers on a trackpad), and press the keyframe buttons!

I ended on the Statue of Liberty where I plan to transition into another city.

I did only end up using 3000 frames for NYC but you can drag this yellow slider to shorten the export.

I clicked the render button and named the file. Also, I moved the attribution to the center. Right now, you can’t remove the attribution, which is totally understandable.

I started the export and it began rendering the frames.

I was rendering something in Premiere while making this, so I had to stop that rendering to render this. I’ll be back once this is rendered!

Video Encoding:

Okay, so it has been about 5 hours… yeah, 5 hours. It has FINALLY finished and saved it as individual frames. I made the assumption that it would be a video format, but I actually have to use an encoder like Adobe Media Encoder to create the video. I have never used encoder, so I hope that it isn’t too hard to learn!

I finished the encoding and I now have a video! I used this tutorial to learn Adobe Encoder. Now I have my first video! Yay!!!

Creating the Video (part 2):

That is definitely not all that I want to do, though. I would like to make a video in three cities. The next place I would like to go is Paris! I am going to go down to 30 fps and 1080p. I hope that the quality isn’t influenced too much, I just can’t have each part take 5 hours to render! 😂

I am going to start by zooming out of the Eiffel Tower. It is a similar colour to the torch on the Statue of Liberty in NYC. I am definitely curious why that is blurred out. While looking for the Eiffel Tower I was seeing tons of blurred out places in Google Earth.

After setting the camera at the Eiffel Tower, I went into the main city to see the skyscrapers.

I panned around a few of the city buildings and finished in a green patch of trees.

Now it is time for the eternally long export.

Yeah, that took forever. I have it exported though! I was planning to go to another city, but I don’t have another 5 hours for an export. 😂

Now it is time to go into Premiere!

Finalizing the Video:

In Premiere, I just plan to add music and make those transitions come to life!

For the clip transition, I want to zoom into the Statue of Liberty and zoom out of the Eiffel Tower!
I ended up doing the transition using some zoom keyframing. I also slowed the clips down a bit to make the transition a bit more obvious. I also added simple fades at the beginning and end of the video.

I added music from one of my favourite artists on Pixabay, John Yasutis (John_Sib). You can find the music here:
https://pixabay.com/nl/music/hoofdtitel-inspiring-cinematic-3681/

After that, I exported! It was a pretty simple edit. I didn’t mess with the colours, so you could see exactly what you capture from the camera/satellite.

That is it!

Video:

You can view the video on my Rumble or YouTube channel! I had a ton of fun making this! I apologize for the lower frame rate in Paris, I hope that it isn’t too noticeable.

Rumble: https://rumble.com/vk7efq-google-earth-studio-sequence.html

YouTube: https://youtu.be/A24HkTUd9EI

Conclusion:

I am super excited to use Google Earth Studio for future projects! I already know that I would have used it some in my Chincoteague Video, since I don’t have a drone licence. In future (with practice) I could definitely make those camera movements smoother.

Thank you so much for reading this week’s blog post! Don’t forget to like and comment before you go! Have a fantastic week everyone!!! 😊

-Digital Wonders & Smiles

Published by Digital Wonders and Smiles

I am a photographer, writing a photography blog here on WordPress. I am based in the USA and take photos in my hometown. I also occasionally travel both domestically and internationally and write photoblog posts and make videos about these trips! On my blog, I cover everything from mobile photography to dslr photography to photography techniques for anyone!

5 thoughts on “Satellite Cinematography

      1. I had a drone, sold it but had to fill out a federal license I think, not sure. I see too many people misusing drones and flying them in dangerous areas. Sold mine!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Wow, it’s gone to that level now? As with other things in life, I believe that there is a core group of idiots flying these things that has screwed it up the rest of us. I just don’t want the risks and possible legal issues…

        Liked by 1 person

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