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Adventures in Green Screen

We have a rambunctious crowd of 5-7 graders for our Tinkering Tuesdays in March so we decided to do a month of movie making with our green screen. Using a green screen is really easy these days. We used iMovie and it was a simple click of a button to replace the screen behind the actors with an image found on the internet after everything had been filmed. Here is a very good tutorial. 



Some green screen tips:

1. Make sure green screen is ironed (or unwrinkled somehow and tight). We used binder clips to attach the green screen to our privacy sectional screen but it wasn't ideal. It may causes creases in the background. This was very noticeable during our black campfire scene.

2. Make sure no one wears green or blue or they will look ghostly (unless that is the look you are going for). Fun fact: Lego bases are the exact color of the green screen. She meant to do that.



3. Do not hit the green screen during filming or it will ripple (although it would make a cool ocean effect).
4.  Try to download images while filming. We had a scene where people were falling off a cliff and it was nice to know that it was on the left side of the screen.

5. Use high resolution images. If they aren't the right size, you can crop them in iMovie but pixels do matter. I always limit my image google search to large images only.

6. Tape off the carpet with a line so the kids know where "off screen" is.


Organizational tips:

We TRIED to get them to block out a story at least verbally before we did any scene but as you can probably tell it was basically improvised the whole way (with mixed results).

Rather than full costumes, we stuck to hats and other props we had lying around. We put those out before we even started to try to brainstorm some ideas.

It seemed like we kept to genre projects but it was hard to get agreement. Having short vignettes with a theme could be another solution.

They always wanted to finish the movie in our one hour program slot and not go back to it the next week (even if it didn't make sense!). Probably a generational thing.

The teen librarian and I did the editing and camera work since none of the kids wanted to but those were jobs we would have gladly given to any of them willing.

One of the girls had her violin handy and we used it for the western. I recorded it in iMovie microphone rather than Garage Band which was a mistake. When you put it in Garage Band I could have edited the sound volume without worrying about the actual dialogue. If you just use the microphone in iMovie, I couldn't separate the two.

Here is our best one "Sci-Fi" (IMO):


The Apocalypse from Duxbury Free Library on Vimeo.

Our first project:


Murder Mystery Short Movie from Duxbury Free Library on Vimeo.

Our homage to Clint Eastwood:


Wild West from Duxbury Free Library on Vimeo.

Comments

  1. Great job guys. I've just spent the last two weeks using green screen techniques on my new Middle Grade book trailer. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WzxyEWQCKtE Cheers, Pete

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