There are a range of fantastic tools available to consumers to help them create fantastic video content which has a highly polished, professional feel to it. One of my favourite tools for this is Green Screen by Do Ink. I love this app so much because it gives students access to tools and effects that were previously confined to the world of professional TV and film. If you don’t know what green screening is, this clip demonstrates it perfectly:
Prior to starting, you will need to do a little bit of prep by setting up a green screen area for students to film their creations in. This can be done very easily and with little cost:
– Option 1: Paper Screen – The cheapest option to create a classroom green screen is using the green paper which is used as backgrounds for display boards, which only costs about £3 for a 10 metre roll. Simply cover an unused display board in your classroom with the paper and you’re good to go. Alternatively, if you do not have a spare board, grab a large piece of rigid cardboard, cover it and bring it out when required. The low cost here is the biggest advantage. However, this is not the most durable option as the paper is likely to get torn easily. In addition, this only allows students to use the screen as a background, rather than having them effectively standing in the scene.
– Option 2: Fabric Sheet Screen – Another option which costs slightly more, but has additional benefits is the use of a professional green screen. These are pieces of green fabric which are lightweight and can be freely hung anywhere: perfect if you haven’t got the space to dedicate to green screening. A 1.6×3 metre roll of green screen can be purchased on the internet for around £10 (+P&P). This is more durable than a paper screen and you can get more professional results as students can stand on top of the screen, meaning they can be part of the image/video that is being displayed. Just be careful not to damage your screen if you’re regularly hanging and removing it.
– Option 3: Professional Screen – The most expensive option, which yields the most professional results is to get hold of a professional green screen set up. These kits contain a fabric green screen, the same as used in Option 2, with the addition of stands to hang the screen on and can be purchased online for about £30 (+P&P). A kit like this is great because you’ll have a screen that will last a long time and will allow students to create professional green screen videos. However, the downside is the space that a setup like this takes up: often too much for a regular classroom.
How to use?
To get started, tap the + icon in the top right corner and choose Create a New Project. You will be presented with the project timeline.
– Step 1 – Do Ink builds up your video in different layers. The first thing you will need to do is select your background layer by tapping the bottom +. This will allow you to select the source (see below). Choose the camera to take a picture or video to use, or alternatively, import a video or image from your devices camera roll.
– Step 2 – Next you will need to add the image or video that will act as your overlay, in front of your green screen. Again, you can either take or record it within the app using your devices camera, or import a video or image from your devices camera roll. The app uses chroma filters to make portions of the image transparent, making it appear that the subject is part of the background scene. You can adjust the settings by tapping the rainbow circle, just above the timeline (see below). This means you can refine your image if the app hasn’t quite detected the colour correctly, or if you are using a screen that is not green (Note: other colour screens work as long as they are bright and the chroma key is correctly adjusted, so no black, white, grey, cream screens etc.).
– Step 3 – If you wish you can add animations or drawings to your video before exporting it using another app, Animation & Drawing by Do Ink. This is not something I’ve used, however there is an example of what it can do in the Sample Project if you want to check it out. This app costs £3.99, however there is a bundle available on the App Store, which means you can get both apps for £4.49. If you have already purchased Green Screen by Do Ink and wish to explore the Animation & Drawing app, selecting the bundle in the App Store will allow you to complete the bundle, meaning you get the second app for £2.20, as opposed to £3.99!
– Step 4 – Once your project is complete, you will want to save it. Above the timeline, you will see options next to save for image and video. Once you have chosen the appropriate one, tap Save. After the app has prepared your video, it will allow you to save it to your devices camera roll or share it in other ways like AirDrop, Mail or a range of other apps. Students can even export your creating directly to apps like Showbie, Seesaw or Foldr; great if they’re working on a shared device or a device with limited storage. If you are using iTunes U, students will need to save their video to their camera roll, then use the hand in feature (if enabled).
Using Green Screen in the Classroom
Being a geographer, Green Screen by Do Ink is great! It means my students can create videos where it appears they are visiting different countries or ecosystems around the world, something I’ve used recently when completing a project with students about Antarctica. Alternatively, I have used this previously where students have used Green Screen to report “Live” from the scene of a tectonic hazard. They even App Smashed this by including it as part of a iMovie project using the CNN iReport template to create something which looked like a professional recording.
Alternatively, if students are studying a topic like weather an climate, they could demonstrate their knowledge by creating a weather report, just like they do on the news.
In history, students could create video reports about historic events. They could be in the trenches in World War I, describing the conditions or be present at the Moon Landing.
In a subject like Drama, the possibilities are endless, since this is exactly what this technology was created for. Students could record their performance and add backgrounds to the scenes so that it looks like a professional production. They could even get really creative and start to make their own special effects, just like the do in the Hollywood studios.
Green Screen by Do Ink is a great app that gives students access to creative tools that were previously only available to professionals. One of the biggest advantages is that it allows students to do things that would otherwise be impossible: like virtually be in places around the world, or be part of an event from the past. This makes for an engaging learning experience and can provide a hook for students. Whilst there is some cost associated with acquiring a green screen and purchasing the app, it is not too high and is great value if you feel it is something you and your students will gain a lot from. In fact, I have the app installed on my two iPads, which students can then use to record their Green Screen footage as part of their group and then AirDrop to their device to either edit further or submit.
Green Screen by Do Ink by DK Pictures, Inc. is available for £2.29 on the App Store.
*all prices and links correct at the time of publication and are subject to change