What is Green Screening? It’s a technique used to make a person or an object appear to be in front of a “fake” background scene.
Think about the weather person on TV. They’re actually standing in front a big blank green screen and the weather images are being projected into the scene with fancy green screen technology. Now this technology is available on our mobile devices. Amazing!
How does it work? By taking a photo or video of someone against a green background, you can then use a green screen app to delete the green background and insert a new background image. And it will look like that person is standing in front of different background.
For example, in the photo above, I found an image of the northern lights to use as the background and took a photo of my little critters sitting on a background of colored construction paper. Then I imported both images into DoInk (a green screen app), layered the critters on top of the background, and then eliminated the color of the construction paper. In the end it looks like they’re sitting out in the cold, watching the northern lights.
At our 2018 School Library System Tech Retreat, we made some goofy green screen videos. Have a look. 🙂
Uses: Have students create book-talks with the book cover as the background. Do historical reenactments, Washington crossing the Delaware always comes to mind. Students talking about historic landmarks around the world, with the landmark in the background. Student news reports from locations around the world, or universe. A report from poor downgraded Pluto maybe?
- Get some green fabric, shower curtain, paper or felt and hang it on the wall. If your students really get into it, paint a wall green. You can also buy green screen backgrounds from Amazon.
- Use your phone, camera, tablet to record a student giving a book talk, telling a story, reading a script….
- Create or find other images for the background.
- Combine them with a green screen app, like DoInk or WeVideo. Your background image will go in one layer and the greenscreen photo or video or photo you recorded in another.
- The app will strip out all the green* background behind the student image/video, making it look like they’re standing in the background scene.
- Save the image/video for sharing with others.
*It works with other colors too. A blue screen is great if you’re going to be using backgrounds that are out of doors in blue sky sunshine weather. Just make sure you don’t have clothes on that are the same color as the background.
Quick Demo of DoInk (gif) (Can’t see the gif, here are the slides)
- Behind the Scenes of a Green Screen – This blog post by Justin Birckbichler describes the planning behind a student green screen project.
- Getting in on the Green Screen Scene – another post on planing by Birckbichler
- Diving into GreenScreen Headfirst with Middle School – Another post with project planning ideas.
DoInk – DoInk seems to be the most popular app for doing green screen work. It’s iOS only (iPad, iPhone) and costs $2.99. Well worth that price. DoInk has a set of short tutorial videos that quickly explain how to use DoInk. For some extra fun idea check out the How to use The Mask Tool to see how to pop a video into a newspaper page.
WeVideo – Video editor for iOS, Android, Mac, PC and Chromebook. Includes a color keying tool to remove evenly colored backgrounds. This tutorial explains the process. WeVideo has free and paid plans. Note that the green screen option is not available in the free plan. Educators can test all the features during a 30 day free trial.
You Don’t Need a Green Screen App! For a simple green screen image (not video) try your favorite image editor. Most will let you layer images one on top of another. You’ll still need a top image with a transparent background.
- Clipping Magic is an online editor that helps you remove backgrounds. Fee to download your image.
- StickyAI is a free, simple to use iOS and Android app that takes a photo and removes the background all in one step. (iOS and Android)
- And LunaPic is another online option. Look under the Edit menu for Magic Wand, Eraser Tool or Transparent Background options. Each works a bit differently. Try them out to see what works best for your image.
There are more apps and techniques in the following 2 articles.
- Free & Easy Green Screen Editing – How to Make Transparent Backgrounds – Larissa Aradj covers several ways to remove the background from an image without a green screen app.
- Edit your own green screen image with Lunapic – instructions for creating a green screen image with Lunapic. Created for a 5th grade class.
- Take 2: No Green Screen? No Problem! – Ashley Cooksey explains how to create layered images in Pixlr.
Options for the camera shy:
- Use the Tellegami (iOS only) to create a speaking avatar. The avatar can read your words or you can record your own voice. Use a green background in the Tellegami app. Then use that video in your green screen app. (Note Tellegami isn’t currently working with iOS 11!)
- Use ChatterPix Kids (iOS only) to create a talking image. ChatterPix lets you take an any image, draw a line to indicate where the “mouth” should be and then record your audio. The output is a video with that image talking. The line you drew turns into a mouth that moves.
- Fun Book Cover idea from Nicole Rosen, a Cool Tools workshop participant.
- 3 Powerful Apps for Creating Green Screen Videos with Students
- Green Screen Videos – Show What You Know with Media
- Green Screen Adventures – tons of kid created green screen examples.
- Tony Vincent’s Green Screen setup – very professional setup if you have the funds!
- I screen…You Screen… We ALL screen with a GREENSCREEN! – Slides from a conference presentation. Lots of tips and resources
- A zillion ideas from pinterest
Jenny Mischner, Princeton Day School, did a fun presentation on book talks with green screens and other apps at the #AASL17 conference in Phoenix. Some of her ideas and resources:
- Use a photo of a book as the background to the student booktalks
- Add all the booktalks to a Symbaloo page, using the book cover as the graphic. Younger kids will recognize the books by the covers.
- Make QR codes, print them and place them on cards or on the covers of the books. She uses QR Monkey, includes the option to place a graphic in the middle of the QR code – she uses the book cover, again to help students recognize the book.
- Her videos are stored on Vimeo
- Her conference LibGuide includes a nice planning guide and a sample script for the students to use.
Ideas for Green Screen backgrounds:
- Painted wall
- Green Felt, fabric, tablecloth, sheet – tape or tack to wall – stretched tightly, no wrinkles – Could use art stretchers and staple the green fabric to the stretchers.
- Pizza box painted green for small projects like little puppets. Use green popsicle sticks or green straws to hold the puppets.
- Cardboard, foamboard, etc taped together – painted green or covered in green paper, fabric or green felt.
- PVC frame for making a green screen puppet theater.
Finding Background Images
- Create your own – take a photo of a book cover as a background for a book talk. Take images on a field trip.
- Find CC0 licensed images in Wikipedia
- The sites listed in our lesson on Primary Sources would be another good source for historical images.
- Photos for Class, Pixabay and other sites listed in our Media Skills lesson are great for scenic images. And they have CC0 (Creative Commons 0) licenses, meaning you can freely use them. Be careful with looking for images in Google, it’s not always obvious if an image is copyrighted or not.
MORE TO EXPLORE
- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES – Ongoing list of additional resources on this topic.
Ready to dive in and try it out?
- Create a green screen image with DoInk, WeVideo or with one of the “You Don’t Need a Green Screen” options.
- Or try some other app or option that interests you.
- NOTE: If you’re an old hand with Green Screening, please take this chance to extend your knowledge and explore some new aspects of the topic.
Your Blog Post:
- Post your image or a link to it.
- Discuss what worked well and what didn’t go so well.
- How would you use this with students?
*TURNING IN YOUR ASSIGNMENT
- Write & publish your blog post.
- Copy the URL (webpage address) for your post.
- Return to your Google Classroom, find the assignment page for the lesson you just completed and follow the directions for turning in and sharing your work.
*Only for students participating in the workshop for PD credit hours through the Google Classroom.