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Project Green Screen

Lights...camera...GREEN SCREEN! Five yards of green cloth, lots of staples, a tripod, and an iPad. That's all it took to transform a corner of our library into a fully functioning video studio.
Having a little green screen fun

But then what? Our technology integrator started doing some research on the best apps for green screen creation, and came up with Do Ink.

Courtesy of www.doink.com
The App
It took a little practice, but my students figured out the process pretty quickly. Do Ink lets you create 3 "tracks" for your video:

1) the background (can be images from online, students can take pictures, can be videos)
2) the student talking to the camera
3) additional animations

The Process
I brought students to the library class and distributed iPads to groups of 2-3 students. I used my handy document camera to show the steps for opening and using the app. I had students open the app and then immediately start a new project and re-name it.

Important side note: Once Do Ink projects are saved, they are not editable. The app auto-saves projects that students are working on (before exporting), so have students remember the number of the iPad they are working on for future classes. This is moot if you have 1:1 iPads, but we do not have that capability at this time.

We then went out online and found pictures that related to their topic (big moments in the 20th century). For the sake of time, I limited it to 5 for the lesson. They were required by their teacher to locate 15-20 by the end of the project, but 5 worked for my purposes. This is a great opportunity to talk about Creative Commons and giving credit appropriately.

Students added their background pictures to track 1. Then the real fun began! I set up a formal green screen station for the kids to use. It is definitely awesome and produces great results. But in reality, you can use ANY green (or blue) paper.

As cheesy as this one looks, the mobile green screen works just as well as my more expensive "fancy" one.

A few recommendations for optimal recording:
1. Use the photo gallery app to record video, NOT the Do Ink video recording tool. We had way too much trouble with the embedded video.

2. Get bluetooth remotes (see photo below). These allow all members of a student team to participate in a recording, rather than having to take turns filming or grabbing someone passing by who is willing to record.

3. Get clip on microphones. We don't have these yet, but they are on order. The volume without a mic is low, and you pick up all of the background noise.

Once students have their video, it's time to add it to the second track in Do Ink. This is as simple as clicking the + sign in track 2, then adding Video. I tell students to look under Recently Added for simplicity, and select their video.

It's now time to edit! Students can change the size and shape of themselves (track 2). Just select the track/video, then press and resize. They can also change the length of any photo or video by clicking and pressing the little red boxes at the end of each clip.

One problem that we did run into was weird color combinations. If a student is wearing a shirt with green on it (or even some shades of grey), they will notice that they "fade out" and the picture behind them comes shooting through their tummies! Easy fix. Just click the color wheel and swing it back and forth until you achieve optimal results. Sometimes they have a little too much fun and turn themselves into the invisible man!

When students complete their projects, it's time to save to camera roll or export. Then you can publish to the world!

The Reasoning
As a librarian, I get the benefit of doing things sometimes just for the joy of learning and exploring (thank you MakerSpace!) The reality is that most classroom teachers are confined to a set curriculum. These teachers may wonder how green screen could enhance their curriculum. Here are three ways I have seen it used with my teachers:

1. Gifted and talented teacher required students to complete a PSA. Some students chose to use greenscreen to create their videos.

2. History teacher asked students to select a major event in the 20th century and create 3-5 minute video with 15-20 photos of the event behind them (or video).

3. An ELA teacher is having students complete book trailers on books they are reading independently. These book trailers will be given QR codes and then displayed in the library for students to scan and view.

The Final Project
Here are a few projects completed by our students

 


Hopefully this post has gotten you excited about the possibilities of green screen. Don't worry if you don't have a lot of fancy equipment. All you really need is an iPad with the Do Ink app and a piece of green paper. And lots of imagination!

How are you using green screen in your school?

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