HD animated maps for video?
March 19, 2009 4:54 PM   Subscribe

What's the easiest way to create HD-quality (1080x) animated maps for use with video?

iMovie '09 has the nifty little map feature, but I use Final Cut Express and don't want to plunk down the extra cash for another editor. Is there a similar -- perhaps a bit more professional and detailed -- solution for creating animated maps for importing into Final Cut Express?

Ideally this would be a standalone program that creates the maps and outputs them into a format that is easily ingested by Final Cut Express.

(Other details: Final Cut Express 4, OSX.5.6, 2.4GHZ MBP + 4gb RAM)
posted by nitsuj to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Caveat: I'm not a video guy (at least, not beyond tinkering around with various Linux command line tools and simple video editors) but I know a little bit about the computer side of animated maps and about Geographic Information Systems. (But I'm not a Mac guy either and I don't know iMovie, so the following may be dumb questions.)

I'm not clear; do you need to actually produce an animated map application for a computer, or as a special feature on a DVD or something, or do you simply need video footage of an animated map?

If it's the latter, it seems like the most straightforward thing to do would be to capture video of a computer's desktop running an animated map application; Google Earth or something, or an open-source app if copyright licensing is an issue. I don't know if Macs have desktop video capture built in, but if not I think there are utilities out there built around the VNC remote desktop that do video capture.

Also, what kind of animation exactly are you trying to do? Something involving a rotating globe? Or a line being drawn on a map to indicate the path of a journey, the kind that often shows up in movies with the buzzing sound of a prop-engine plane as a sound effect? A line being drawn on a flat map you could at least do frame-by-frame in an image editor.
posted by XMLicious at 1:16 AM on March 20, 2009

I spent 30 min trying to find a video program that does a pannable map to no avail - I know there's an app that does this - but I couldn't find it. Of course, I feel like it's around $30-40 and the new iMovie is really easy, but not completely customizable.

You can do this with google earth, but I believe it's like $400 for the pro version.
posted by filmgeek at 5:22 AM on March 20, 2009

You can animate lots of stuff in FCut; assume Express is pretty much as capable; plus you've got LiveType, too, no? Lots of font glyphs could work to create animated lines, dots, dashes…

Easiest would be to use imported flat maps which you can easily pan/scan in the motion tab, plus vector lines, imported or generated, which you can animate directly (motion tab), or reveal with animated masks/matts. Be sure to check this free pan/zoom plug-in out.
posted by dpcoffin at 10:45 AM on March 20, 2009

« Older How to display a transcript in sync with a media...   |   Help me remember the name of this early 1990s BBC2... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.