Race You There Starcrossed on Google Street View

Race You There, an Indie pop band from Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, have produced a music video for “Starcrossed” using Google Street View. The stop motion video takes us for a trip through the desert, heading for the Arizona/California border before zooming into New York City.

Race You There Starcrossed music video


Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)

Andrew Axelrod, editor for the video, gives detailed background production notes on Facebook. The whole video was produced using Printscreen, a freeware screencapture program, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, Apple Quicktime and Google Street View.

“The most frustrating thing about producing this video was Google. The way the Street View vans work is they go in shifts and just drive, the camera is all automated. Street View has been around for a while now and Google as since upgraded these cameras on their Google vans several times.(which are now more eco-friendly google coupes I believe). So that means every couple months after an upgrade, Google sends out these vans to cover areas of the country that were covered previously by the lesser quality cameras. Then Google slowly fazes these newer images in and removes the older ones in Street View.

The older shots were unusable for this project. The quality was on par with a cell phone camera. Luckily, where I started Google had covered that entire freeway with the upgraded shots. Or so I had thought. While filming the first 2 minutes of the video I noticed occasionally I would move the camera forward a frame only to discover that I was staring at one of these ugly cell phone quality images. I panicked at first, but moving ahead a few frames would usually yield one of two results. Most of the time when I would advance past this ugly frame the Google van would have then switched again to the nice quality camera. This I can only assume is some kind of bug that Google has yet to iron out, removing these poor quality frames. Sometimes however, I would just have to move a few frames until the nice photos would return. As a result, there’s a few “hiccups” in the video where I have omitted the crappy frames for the sake of continuity. Because keep in mind, not only is the image quality poor, but this is a completely different van, on a completely different day, usually in a different lane, with different traffic conditions, different weather, and lighting.

The third and most devastating result you can have happen when you try to advance past these poor quality images is nothing. That is exactly what happened to me. At around 2 minutes into the video, the images switched to cell-phone quality and stayed that way. I frantically skipped ahead for probably 20 minutes hoping my bright shiny photos would return with no luck. So I had to improvise. That is where the transition into New York idea came from. It was clever and it got the job done, but because Google had determined where this cut needed to happen I couldn’t smooth it out how I wanted, thus it’s a little awkward.”

Download the Starcrossed track online at iTunes: Starcrossed – Acts of Treason

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  • James

    That’s a very watchable video clip.

  • Kofia Nyeusi

    It’s a cleverly collated collection of Google Maps images. The work involved is immense. But the visual result is still a little dull, with the quality of voice not great. Room for improvement I say. And I suspect that some professional outfit will duplicate this for commercial purposes before long.