Here are some hits and tips and guidance for purchasing for this popular application that has a host of applications in the classroom.
What you need & Purchasing
Before you buy anything, we have quite a number of green screen kits that schools can borrow. We’ll bring it to you and spend half a day introducing everything.
Tablet and app – the best combination is iPad and iMovie. iMovie had green screen functionality added to it in the summer of 2019, so if you’ve not updated since then, you’ll need to. This was a great development because green screening is now available at no cost (well you know what I mean!)
I suggest you do things in this order:
- Decide on the back drop (it can be a photograph or a video – photograph is easiest to start with).
- Think about where the actor(s) need to stand to look best with the background.
- Film the child(ren) against a green background (see below) – just use the camera app.
- In iMovie add the background photograph (or video) to the main time line (remove and Ken Burns animation if it’s a photograph) and stretch the photo out to last as long as it needs to for the clip. (If your clip is very long you can duplicate the photo as many times as you need to)
- Place the play head back at the start of the photo and add your video. But do that by clicking the three dots menu and select “Green/Blue Screen” (if that isn’t there you need to update iMovie)
- There are controls to resize the clip and to adjust sensitivity, but you’re unlikely to need to do that.
If you’re making a more complex film with cutaway shots then you will need to export the film at this point and then bring it into a new project because iMovie only has two video tracks and you have just used them both.
Other option is to use Green Screen app (a paid for app from Do Ink which you may well have) but honestly, I wouldn’t buy it now as iMovie does it so well on its own.
Green screen kit – These are available quite cheaply from on-line suppliers. Ideally you need one that is 3m wide (not so easy to find) This one looks good at the time of writing this. Because of the screen ratio / size of the Green screen app you don’t need the fabric to trail down on the floor as you can’t realistically get children’s’ feet into the shot. You can, of course manage with smaller green screens but you won’t be able to get so many children into the shot. You can also manage with any bright green (or blue) background. It’s possible to buy kits with lights. I’ve done that and then only ever used them once; the Green Screen app is so good you usually don’t need them.
Tripod and iPad mount – It is important to keep the iPad completely still otherwise it looks like your actors are floating around. You don’t need an expensive tripod as once you’ve positioned it you won’t be moving it during the shot. There are now some very cheap iPad mounts that work really easily. This one is excellent and inexpensive. But if you can’t run to that then a music stand will do.
Making this work in the classroom – This technique has endless applications; it’s great for motivating children to write (narrative / interview / instructions …). The easy way to get started is to use a still image as a background, when you feel more confident use video (an easy gain here is to film the sky then use that as a background while just keeping the characters still in front of the screen.
From the point of view of classroom organisation the easiest way is just to swap the iPad on the tripod as children take turns to film. Ideally you need a quite space for the filming.
You’ll find a tutorial with the Green Screen app and there’s help on how to use the app on their website
When you’ve done all that children should ideally upload their finished projects to share them with the world. For me, most things begin and end with the wonderful Seesaw!
Still stuck for ideas?
Here are some great ideas that other people have tried:
Let us know if you’d like help with this in a Herefordshire (or nearby) classroom.