Friday, March 23, 2012

Green Screening Made Easy

OK, so most of you know from reading my blogs or if you have met me know that I am not a Mac person.  I am the farthest thing from being one it seems with the educational company that I keep.  But I have to say that over the past few months I have been working on some small video projects especially with Green Screens and have been having a lot of problems with it on my PC.  So a few weeks ago when I was at my State technology conference I sat in on a workshop entitled Green Screen Cafe which has made me think it could be time to switch over to another platform for video editing.

The presenters were from an area school system that have adopted the Mac platform for creating and designing some really unique projects using Green and Split Screening tools in the classroom.  From what they discussed the students really liked the projects and have enjoyed doing them all year.  Two of the presenters were from an Elementary School and the third was from a High School.

They started out the presentation saying that it does not take very much to start green screening video work.  Three things are needed to get started.  A Green Screen, video camera and iMovie (Apple product, but you know that) and that is all you need to get going they said.  They did offer up some suggestions for low cost alternatives for green screen and video cameras. 

Green Screen Alternatives:
  • green bed sheet
  • green curtains
  • paint a wall green
Video Camera
  • flip cameras
  • cell phone cameras
  • document cameras
So I started thinking to myself in this room of mac users, I am totally in over my head until they started to show us how to create a quick green screen movie with iMovie.  I was amazed at how fast they did it, just minutes and we had a completed product.  They started out by telling us that there is one setting that has to done in order for things to work correctly.  In iMovie you have to change the General, Preferences list and put a Check in the box for Show Advanced Tools - Green Screen.  This allows the Green Screen options to show in the iMovie options when editing video.

So they started out by telling us that we need to pull in the background image first, that will show through the green screen.  Then overlay the video, with the green screen back drop, on top of that image.  Make any necessary edit to the clips and there you go.  An instant green screen video in under five minutes.  Now they did say that the videos that you will be using need to be in .mov format but that is easy if you are pulling from another video source.  Just use Zamzar or any other of your favorite file conversion sites to convert the video into this format.  And you can get background images and/or video using a Creative Commons search if you do not have your own images.

With all the pains I have gone through with the PC side of creating green screen videos, I might now have to go out and take a look at iMove and maybe possibly purchasing a Mac product for myself to use.

So what are some ways that you can use this in education?  How about these:
  • Planets/space
  • create virtual tours of foreign lands
  • lighthouses
  • county-wide read-a-longs
  • historical skits
  • Christmas around the world
  • meet your teacher
  • election videos
  • candidate interviews

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