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Creating animated travel maps

From: iLife '09 New Features

Video: Creating animated travel maps

iMovie '09 comes with a brand new feature called Travel Maps, which lets you illustrate where your movie takes place, or where you travel to, using stylized and animated globes or maps. It's probably not something you will use all the time, but it's an absolutely stunning effect to throw into your travel videos. You can add Travel Maps to any point in your projects and at anytime. I'm just using a new blank project here so I can demo these for you. To add a travel map to your project, click the Maps & Backgrounds button. There are three types of maps available and they are divided into these three rows.

Creating animated travel maps

iMovie '09 comes with a brand new feature called Travel Maps, which lets you illustrate where your movie takes place, or where you travel to, using stylized and animated globes or maps. It's probably not something you will use all the time, but it's an absolutely stunning effect to throw into your travel videos. You can add Travel Maps to any point in your projects and at anytime. I'm just using a new blank project here so I can demo these for you. To add a travel map to your project, click the Maps & Backgrounds button. There are three types of maps available and they are divided into these three rows.

In the first row, you will find the Globes, which let you place a 3D globe in your movie, showing either a single location or an animated travel-line from one place to another. In the second row, you have your Flat Maps, but you can also use to zoom-in on a single location, or show an animated travel-line. And the third row contains Still Maps, which can be used when you don't need to show a specific location, but instead you want to use the graphic of a map in your video. You can crop and apply the Ken Burns effect to the Still Maps to add some animation to them, and each of these three types of maps have four style variations, Old World, Water Color, Educational, and Blue Marble. Pick the one you like best, you can change your mind at anytime.

All right, let's see how this works. I'm going to grab the Blue Marble Globe and drag that into my project. iMovie takes a moment to generate the globe, and now I can customize it by using the Inspector. If you accidentally close the Inspector, you can always bring it back up by double-clicking the clip. So in here we can change the duration of the clip and apply video effects to it. But the cool stuff is adding start locations and end locations. By default, we have San Francisco as our start location, but when you click it, this will ask you to search for other locations all around the globe.

In the Search field at the top, type in the city or location you want to focus on. iMovie contains over 4000 cities, airports, and points of interest all around the world. Let's go with Melbourne. So it's narrowed it down to three locations in Melbourne, Australia, just the general city of Melbourne, and MLB, Melbourne International, and Melbourne U.S.A. Let's say I flew out of Melbourne International, I would select that, and click OK. There it is on my globe. Now, if you want to display on the map to say something different, go back to the Inspector, click your start location, and in the field where it says Name to display on map, just click and type your preferred label. It doesn't have to be the name of the city, it could be something like home, or Day 1 whatever you want the label to be.

Now, if you just leave the starting point on your globe, that's what the clip will focus on. Let me play this back for you by hitting my spacebar. So you can see the globe rotates to show Melbourne right in center, and then the dot above it just sort of blinks. But the real fun starts when you add an end-point to your map. Let me double-click to bring up the Inspector again. Choose End Location. Let's type in Los Angeles, and we'll just say Los Angeles, California, select OK. Let's say that I actually started in LA and then went to Melbourne. So I'm going to click the Switch button here to change my direction, and we'll see what that looks like now.

How cool is that! Now, we have this animated travel-line showing the path of my travels. There is an added bonus if you notice at the bottom of the inspector, iMovie actually displays the distance traveled between the two points. Now, what if you had multiple destinations in your trip? Well, just drag-in another map. You can drag-in any map you like, but the effect is going to look seamless if you keep the same map. So I'm going to drag-in Blue Marble globe again. With this clip selected, notice that it already has Melbourne as the start location, because that was the end location of my first clip, and now I can choose another end location.

Let's go with Tokyo, and I should mention here that, you can only add locations that iMovie knows. You can't type-in your own locations or GPS co-ordinates or anything like that. But chances are, if you are traveling around the world, you are using airports, and chances are the airport you are traveling to or from will be an iMovie. We'll choose Tokyo, click OK, and let's see what that looks like with the two Travel Maps playing together. There it is. Now, if you do want to change your Map Style, all you have to do is drag it over your existing map clip. So if I wanted to change to the Old World Globe, I could choose that. iMovie will actually remember which cities you are using in that clip, so you don't have to enter that information again. All it's changing here is the animation.

Now, the Flat Maps pretty much work the same way, just choose a style and drag it into your project. Again, you can pick a single start location, or start and an end location to add an animated travel-line. So maybe if I want to focus in on Tokyo here, I can just leave Tokyo as my start location without adding an end location, and we'll see what that looks like. You can see it just zooms-in on Tokyo, and again we get that little blip above Tokyo. And because these are just clips in my project, I can still add transitions between the cut from one map to another, so the cut isn't so sudden. So I could switch over to my transitions here, maybe just grab a Cross Dissolve, drag that between the two, and we'll see this. So that just softens that transition.

Finally, as I mentioned before, the Still Maps are useful when you don't have a particular location in mind, and just want to display a map of the world in your project. I'll just drag one in to show you. And I'll play it. So you can see, there's just a very slight zoom-out on the map there. But you can double-click the map's Crop button to adjust its cropping or to customize the Ken Burns effect. So for example, maybe I want to end up focusing on the European continent at the end of this animation. So I'm just going to reduce the size of the end rectangle. Let me just drag it over Europe in general there and grab the start rectangle and zoom all the way out, click Done, and then we have something like this.

Double-clicking the Still Map doesn't allow you to select a city, so again if you do want to animate a city on your map, you have to use either the Globe or the Flat Map. So those are the new Travel Maps in iMovie '09. Again, not something you'll use in every single project, but they are a fantastic research to have when you are putting together videos of your travels.

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iLife '09 New Features

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