The following article is excerpted from the book, "40 Ways to Inspire Learning with Mobile Devices".
Become a Green Screen Tour Guide
One of the most imaginative class projects I’ve consulted on was a 4th grade project about California Missions. Each year, students were required to submit written reports about the history and significance of the religious outposts. From all reports, it wasn’t exactly the most electrifying week of the year. After much discussion, we decided to throw tradition out the window and take a very different approach. This time, we asked students to demonstrate their understanding by creating video guides to the mission with the aid of some magical green screen technology.
The first step was to research and plan the video, then capture the relevant images at the mission. Easy enough. Students used mobile devices on their field trip and took photos at specific locations around the mission. Step number two was to script their video guides. It’s ironic that most people consider video to be an alternative to writing, yet successful video projects hinge on this very important written component. Once the video was planned and scripted, they moved into the production phase and shot the video. We hung a green curtain in the classroom and students recorded video of themselves reciting the script in front of it. The final step required some simple video editing. Using an inexpensive app, students edited the green screen video and replaced the green background with the images taken at the mission. The end result was a wonderfully realistic video tour of the mission – and quite possibly, this time it was the most exciting week of the school year!
(using the Green Screen app)
Leave your green shirt at home! Remember, anything green will become invisible. Here’s an example of the rather macabre consequences of wearing the wrong clothing in front of a green screen.
Alternatively, you can create some pretty awesome special effects by wearing something green. I made a green screen video with my young nephews and they draped a green tablecloth around their bodies. We called it, “Floating Heads in Outer Space”.
Place the device as close as possible to the person speaking so that you capture sound clearly. If possible, use an external microphone for better audio quality. Some models attach directly to your device and others work wirelessly.
Amazon has a range of options that range from inexpensive green screen curtains to an entire green screen kit including curtains and lighting. You can take an even less expensive route by simply attaching a large sheet of green paper to a wall or whiteboard.
You’re wondering why the color has to be green? The technique is known as color or chroma keying. It separates one color and makes it transparent. The colors are normally green or blue but you can actually single out any color. Most green screen editing apps will default to green but allow you to change the chroma key.