For some, virtually exploring the world via Google Street View as if taking an open-top bus tour lacks the high-octane thrill of supersonic speed. That's possibly why creative digital agency Teehan+Lax, based out in Toronto, Canada, has released a really simple browser-based tool capable of creating stunning hyperlapse videos using Google Street View imagery—it's like taking a cinematic rocket ride at 200 mph (or 60 fps to be precise).
All you have to do is choose the start and end points of your hyperlapse on Google Maps, then select a point of interest for the camera to focus on to add a sleek sweeping effect—wait a few seconds and bingo, you’ve created a beautiful moving montage made up entirely of Street View pictures.
The Hyperlapse interface
To please perfectionists, Teehan+Lax has even open-sourced the technology and uploaded the source code to GitHub, so people can produce hyperlapses with higher frame rates, better image quality, and extra camera movements. Apparently something so cumbersome it would melt your computer if created within a browser, so maybe it’s best left to the pros.
Jon Lax, partner at Tehan+Lax, told me that, “There’s been a growing trend of Vimeo hyperlapse videos with sweeping camera movements. As you may know, they’re really time consuming to make—stitching each individual picture. We wanted to make it simpler and by using Google Street View, the images were already there.”
Still from a Hyperlapse animation
Taking just six weeks to build, Hyperlapse and the Tehan+Lax department responsible for its creation, named Lab, is a non-client and non-profit outfit, and exists purely to drive innovation within the company.
“The Labs is a project we invest around $300,000 into each year, its purpose is for us to go and find what’s out there. As a business decision there are other areas of my business designed to generate revenue but this isn’t one of them.”
It’s nice to know that a map utility, renowned for capturing curious sights from around the world, can also be a cinematographer’s best friend.