Build Your Own Green Screen Kits
I have been a huge fan of using Green Screens in education going back to when I first saw Hall Davidson demo it 5 years ago at a tech conference. He inspired me to make green screen recording off all my AP History lectures. I started this back in 2008 when doing green screen video could only be done using a PC and some pretty heavy software like Adobe Premiere.
Below is an example of one my lectures on the Cold War. Side note... this project more than any other I have done in teaching FORCED me to really plan because I knew these could be seen by anyone outside my classroom... it was very empowering.
Back to making your own making Green Screen kit.
About a year ago I purchased the pretty affordable kit from Amazon but realized a few things in the time I had it:
1) I've never used the lights it came with.... too bulky and just not really needed. The lighting in most classroom is just fine.
2) It's a bit large. Both lugging it around and setting up the stands is not super quick.
3) There is only one of them. When trying to have student groups use them, there was always a line of kids waiting their turn.
So... my fellow TOSA team and I took on the task of making our own. We already had a few iPad minis which we wanted to check out to teachers in our district (hey Jon Corripo, love the idea of checking out equipment!) and we wanted to make multiple of these kits to also be available for check out. Then we started starting shopping and sewing to create the kits you see below.
Some of the pics below are from Mrs Schuett's World History class where you can see these kits in action. She is one of my district's middle school teachers and her students created video reports on Japan. It was the first time we were able to get these kits out in the hands of teachers and students.
Lastly, if you want to make you own, here are 7 parts that make up our kit.
1) iPad mini 2. At $269 it is THE tool. You can use other iPads but this cost and size are best suited for students. What makes it perfect is that on just one this one device you shoot, edit and share your Green Screen creations. As of now there is not an Android tablet and green screen program that can rival
2) Green Screen app by Do Ink. There are several other apps but this the most user friendly and robust in the app store. Plus they continually update the program with new and improved features.
3) iPad case: There are tons out there and if you have iPads I sure hope you already have some cases for them! We use "i-Blason Kido Series ArmorBox Kids Friendly Convertible Stand Case" from Amazon.
4) Max Table Stand. You will need to keep the iPad as steady as possible to create a realistic illusion. You can try to use a tripod, but I find a stand like this one from Max Cases to be small and easy to use.
5) Green fabric. For each of our kits we used 2 yards of fabric. At your local fabric store you will find lots to pick from. I would recommend a fabric which is lightweight and your color is flat; meaning it is not shiny and does not reflect light. My choice is often a jersey knit fabric because it's usually quite inexpensive, very light weight, does not wrinkle easy and stretches well. Back at home we cut the fabric ourselves and then, this very important, we folded one side over a few inches and sewed a seam. It is this seam where you will feed the PVC pipe.
6) PVC pipe and coupler. I went with a 3/4 inch, small but still strong enough to hold up the weight of the fabric. You could make this one long piece, but we cut it into several pieces in order to make all of kit fit into one travel bag.
7) Green socks: not needed but fun addition to put on hands to help make things "appear" from off screen.
I didn't include a way to hang them but often time you can prop this up above a whiteboard or simply use a couple of other students to hold the two ends.
The cost of all of these are pretty minimal. I mean seriously... PVC pipe is less that $3. Now, if you have iPads and covers, the biggest cost you will have is the fabric and that is very reasonable. To really do this well though, I recommend doing MULTIPLE kits. therefore your student can work in groups and not feel rushed.
Check this picture out which shows how you can utilize one of these green socks!
Ranger Roland says "hello Mr. Owl!"
History Dinner Party
This least week I helped out a history teacher friend of mine named April who was having her end of the year history class celebration. She was inspired to do a History Dinner Party lesson from a teacher Facebook Group. Here is part of this lesson
Along with researching and interacting with each other, the students were asked to dress up in character to add to the experience. I offered to add a little to this lesson by setting up a green screen and having the students get their photos taken. So, they were asked to do a little more research and to provide a image to use as their background. We set up a Google Drive folder and the students were responsible to add their image to the folder.
These are some of the finished images.
And here is a gallery with more of these images.