A Green Screen of our own

Last month were able to borrow a green screen. 

I had a specific task I wanted to complete as part of a STEM project. 
Despite time constraints we planned and completed the project, but it left me wanting to do more.

After the green screen went back the children kept coming up with ideas and suggestions of things they could have done if we had one in school.

I used this genuine desire as a stimulus for a persuasive writing activity – you can read some of their persuasive arguments here

In the meantime I sourced a green screen for the non exorbitant  sum of £73.25.

Image

Today was the first time we used it. 

As luck would have it the hall was available and I was in the fortunate position of being able to take the children into the hall in two small groups of 13.

Today’s agreed objective was just to explore the FX Movie app.

I think that sometimes just letting the children play with and explore an app is the best way in.

Because we were using borrowed equipment and working to a deadline during our previous Greenscreen work not all of the pupils had first hand experience.

The rules were simple

  • no weapons in your green screen
  • work as a team
  • share your knowledge
  • have fun

Team one had the challenge of setting up the screen. Team two, disassembly. 

So, how did it go?

So far, so good.

Setting up is easy. Our setup isn’t as heavy duty as the one we borrowed but that’s actually a positive thing. It’s much easier to carry in its bag and easier for the children to set up.

It was a lovely sunny day and the light was good so we didn’t bother with the lighting rig.

We started with a quick recap of how to use the app. Any pupils who had first hand experience shared their top tips. 

The most popular one was ‘always select the chroma key‘ which may or may not have been a direct reference to me forgetting to do so last time.

Then they were off. 

Working in groups of three they filmed short clips and then played with them to add effects and backgrounds.

We visited sun kissed beaches, watched fireworks explode over the Niagara Falls, got chased by marauding T-Rexes, fell into holes after explosions and generally had a lot of fun.

Collaborative learning at its best – lots of discussion, teaching one another (and me) and sharing of ideas and knowledge.

At the end of each session I asked them to think of one thing they would say to someone about to use a green screen. I’ve copied and pasted the list from our class blog as I think it’s actually a pretty comprehensive list of what they learnt during the morning.

  • don’t forget to select the chroma key.
  • make sure you’re filming at the correct height.
  • don’t over edit.
  • make sure the iPad is secure on the stand
  • put the main movie underneath the background
  • don’t move the green screen
  • take your time
  • learn to use the app by experimenting
  • open the microphone before you start filming or you won’t have clear sound
  • try and keep the video on the screen
  • if the greenscreen is creased it’s harder to get rid of the background.
  • you need to work as a team
  • at the end you need to be able to fold a sheet
  • you need patience to do it sometimes it will go wrong. Don’t wear anything green
  • when you put your clips in order move the background to the top.
  • hold the iPad carefully
  • before you start remember to prepare so you know what you’re doing
  • have fun
  • hold the camera in the right position
  • choose the right colour in the chroma key
  • don’t expect it to be perfect first time.

At the end of the morning Team Two had the task of taking the screen down.

Disassembly easy – it even fits beautifully into its knacky compartmentalised bag.

Folding the green screen – interesting.

What next?

I think I’m going to link it to our current e-text and see if we can interact with the characters and write some dialogue or maybe television reports.

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