I'm the only one that knows how to use a computer in the family and so I've been asked to produce a video for a wedding. One of the main requirements for the video is that a map location must be zoomed on. Something similar to this:

I guessed Google Earth would be the best tool for this, however it wasn't as simple as I first thought as the app takes a while to download map data and sometimes the camera location jumps when zooming in. I tried using the built in video tool within the mac Google Earth app to achieve the effect, but then discovered that you have to pay to export the video. Unfortunately the price is too steep for this one project...

How can I overcome this problem? Or are there any other methods I could try to achieve this effect? Would screen recording Google Earth be the right thing to do (potential copyright issues)?

Thanks in advance.

  • You could get a high resolution image of the desired satellite map and zoom in on it in your video editor. For extra effect you could add a clouds layer in it as well. Search for high resolution google map to see the possibilities of free high res google maps.. Regarding the copyright I would say this is fair use so no worries there, but I am not a lawyer. Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 1:29
  • this might be comming out soon https://www.google.com/earth/studio/
    – Rayos
    Commented Aug 19, 2019 at 8:38

2 Answers 2


You want images of varying degrees of zoom that you can align and then scale between. You start from far out and as you zoom in, you fade in the image that is slightly closer (and aligned to the other image). Once the closer image takes up the full screen, you remove the first image from the background and place the next level of zoom in the correct spot and start fading it in.

Repeat this process for each level of zoom you can get until you reach your target level of zoom.

It can be helpful to align and animate the images without any transparency and then add the transparency after. This helps to ensure the proper look before you blend the images together.

Note that this requires a video editor capable of keyframe animation. If you don't have one, then your options are far more limited and there may not be a good way to do it.


There's a good tutorial of how to do this at videocopilot, called earth zoom. The tutorial uses after effects, but the technique will be the same for whatever software you use. I'm making this answer a community wiki in case anyone wants to elaborate.

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