Greenscreening for schools
The ‘magic’ of greenscreening or Chroma key has been available for schools for a long period of time. There are a number of products that can be used to produce some fantastic effects. These effects are widely used on TV, movie and games production e.g. weather forecasting, flying effects in movies etc. Chroma key is a technique that allows a film maker to layer two images or videos together (compositing) based on a background colour range (normally green or blue).
The cost for greenscreening equipment can vary widely from a matter of £’s to thousands of £’s. Over the past few years the Curriculum Innovation team have tested and trialled a number of solutions with schools. Miriam Lord Primary School, Bradford have a specific greenscreening area within school named ‘Silver Street Studios’. Small groups of budding film makers create Chroma key productions on a regular basis. The school uses:-
- A touch screen Windows 8 PC installed with Kudlian Software’s ‘I Can Present’.
- An additional monitor to be used as an autocue.
- A tripod and a Microsoft Lifecam.
- A background wall painted green and a fitted carpet of the same colour.
The staff were introduced to greenscreening in small groups by the members of the Curriculum Innovation team at a staff meeting. I Can Present is really easy to use and you can download a free trial using the link above. Since the initial installation of the Silver Street Studios every year group and the Spanish club have been using Chroma key technology to produce fantastic videos. These videos are uploaded to the school’s Vimeo account (video sharing site) and then embedded on the school blog for all to see. This week, the Curriculum Innovation team have been running courses and staff meetings focused on how ICT can be used effectively to develop writing. One of the technologies we used was greenscreening. For the sessions we delivered we needed an effective mobile solution. The set up we chose included the following equipment:-
- An iPad Mini.
- A tripod and an iPad Mini tripod mount.
- A portable green screen background.
- Green Screen by Do Ink app – £2.29 on the App Store.
The set up of the mobile studio took approximately 5 minutes and the app was extremely simple to use. The main problem you need to be aware of is the lighting. If there are too many shadows on the green screen background the effect is not as professional. If you can, try and set up the screen near or under a classroom light. You don’t need to invest in expensive diffuser lighting rigs. Using the set up we have suggested ensures there are no wires trailing across the classroom at all. The following example of video took us literally 5 minutes to set up and record. We downloaded a copyright free image from the internet, we then tweaked the Chroma key settings and recorded the teachers on the first track within the app. Finally we added the still image as a second track and exported the video. This can then be uploaded to Vimeo, edited with iMovie etc. We were delighted with the final product and the teachers on the course were amazed at the ease of the film production.
If you would like a member of the Curriculum Innovation team to work with your school to create a green screen video linked to any area of the curriculum please contact firstname.lastname@example.org