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Create a Flight Path for your Google Earth Movie

You should be familiar with Google Earth Pro navigation controls before you create your Google Earth movie. If you've not read and done the steps in Create Google Earth Movies for your Listings -​Part 1 and Create Google Earth Movies for your Listings -​Part 2, please do it now.

In Part 1 and Part 2 you learned how to create a basic Google Earth movie for your listing. In this installment, we'll add to those basic steps to create an even more animated aerial view. We're going to show you how to create a path and then fly the camera along that path. You can use this technique to highlight nearby features (ie. Lake, river, golf course, etc) or simply to show the best route to reach the property. Let's get started!

Be sure you are using Google Earth Pro and you've signed in (sign in button is at top right).

  1. You should already have a placemark set at the listing address. If not, search using the listing address and create one. Ensure that this placemark is the only one active.

  2. Use the Navigation Controls to zoom in above your placemark. Keep the altitude high enough so that you can see plenty of the area around your placemark but not too high. You want to be able to see the starting point of your path and the placemark. See the sample below.

  3. Now's the time to plan your path. Are there any local features you want to fly over? Do you want to follow a main street or road and then turn off toward your placemark? Or just create a path that will take you to the front of the home. Use your imagination!

Here's an example of one that I wanted to highlight the lake and golf course.

  1. Before we create our path, let's look at a few settings that you'll need adjust before flying your path.

a. From the menu, select Tools > Options

b. Go to the Touring tab: I recommend that you use these settings to begin with. If you want to play around with the settings later, please feel free. Be sure to save your settings by clicking OK or Apply.

c. Now go to the Navigation tab and set those settings.

d. Click OK to save your changes. Please note that you only have to do this one time, Google Earth Pro will keep these settings until you change them again.

Now let's create our Path!

  1. From the Menu, select Add > Path. Tip: if Path is grayed out it indicates that there is an operation such as Recording or Play Tour that is still open. When you close it, the Path option will be clickable.

  2. For the Name, enter the listing address (or whatever you want to call it).

  3. The starting point of your path must be a distance away from the first thing you want your viewers to see. That's because the camera is not pointing straight down but at an angle. Remember that you can change the camera angle by going to Tools > Options.

  4. Move your mouse pointer to the starting point of your path. The mouse pointer will be a square crosshair. Let's assume your path will start out as a straight line. Click once to set the first anchor point. Move your mouse to where you want to start a curved path and click again. You should now have a straight line for your path. You can click on an anchor point and drag it to a different spot if you need to. From this point, move your mouse slightly until the pointer changes back to a crosshair. You can click and drag your mouse to draw your curved path. When you get to the end of the path, release. If want to re-do the path at this point, just click Cancel and start over. Tips: use sweeping curves and/or straight lines for your path. I don't recommend sharp turns.

  5. We need to set our flight path altitude. You are still on the Path properties, click the Altitude tab. Instead of Clamped to ground, select Relative to ground and then set the altitude (in meters) to 300. Of course you can play around with the altitude until you get the view you like. 300M is a good starting point.

  6. Now hide your flight path by clicking the Style,Color tab and set the Opacity to 0%.

  7. Save your Path by clicking OK.

You're ready to fly! Click on the Path entry you just created and then click the Play Tour button.

Here's what it looks like:

Notice when you click the Play Tour button how the camera is re-positioned at the starting point of the path facing forward. Tip: you can stop the flight at any point by simply clicking anywhere on the scene. You could also transition to the placemark by double clicking it in the menu.

If you want to change the flight path, I've found that it's easier just to delete it and create a new one.

The flight path is just one part of a movie. To make the Google Earth movie interesting to your viewers, you must include several moving parts. Here's an example that uses several techniques to capture attention. This one starts from outer space but you could start at an altitude that shows the entire city and surrounding areas.

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