Chemin Vert is an immersive video of a trip on the road at supersonic speed spanning across five continents and four seasons. The title “Chemin Vert” refers to its soundtrack from musician A Ghost Train. The video exists in three forms: immersive at normal resolution, high resolution and lastly a “regular” video you can see on vimeo.
The bone shattering speed is in most of the video over 1500 km/h (that’s close to 1000 mph, you imperialists). The whole concept is the visualization of one of my childhood fantasies, riding a rocket launched at full speed just above the ground of a long road.
Chemin Vert is the result of a slow process of maturation spanning a few years. Different techniques were employed in the beginning, involving long trips on the road across Europe while shooting time lapse videos on the go. Back then the scope of the project was substantially different, concentrating more on the augmentation (as in augmented-reality) of landscapes. At a certain point the accent was moved on the aesthetic qualities of the landscapes themselves and on the immersive factor. In the final version of Chemin Vert the original footage comes from Google Street View, without which this project wouldn’t have been possible. Thanks Google. Thoogle.
So why three versions? Because we can! And also because this way almost anybody can try the experience no matter the media. The immersive version at normal resolution runs on many computers. You still need a decent graphic card and a webgl-compatible browser. The high resolution version is closer to how the video is supposed to be seen, but it requires a modern gaming station with high bandwidth (the size of the video is about 270 MB). So make sure you have a super-fast machine and an amazing video card before clicking the link. The “regular” version on vimeo is a good compromise for anyone who can’t access the immersive versions. It achieves the sense of immersion by enclosing the whole panorama in a stereographic projection commonly referred to as little planet. The ultimate form of Chemin Vert is still waiting to be built: an installation as a full dome projection.
Update July 2015:
As of today, Youtube allows immersive video out of the box. If you can’t see the immersive version, point your Chrome browser here and as always pick the best resolution (1440p). Make that four versions!