Monday, May 2, 2016

Green Screen Magic

We must be gluttons for punishment. The day after our amazing Spring Concert (a 90 minute extravaganza that had audience members gushing to the staff about the superior production quality), our school had a 70 minute character assembly filled with new dances, songs, and videos to share. My contribution was the first of two fairy tale movies created by the Grade 1 & 2 students in Room 115. I was willing to wait until May to let the school watch it, but I had a special request that couldn't wait:

We experimented with using green screen technology using the Do Ink app and I promised my inspirational teacher friend Diana Hong to share the process.

The marvelous thing about trying new things in classrooms is the amount of support you can receive from your peers. I had to do a sloppy copy-and-paste of this series of tweets to capture the whole conversation.

Tweet text

I papered over one of the few sections of my library that has a "blank" wall with bright green bristol board and did some experimental photos with a pair of selected students. They were honoured and  excited to be included in the beta testing phase. I hadn't found or properly loaded the background images I wanted on the iPad prior to this experiment, so I used a photo I had on my iPad. The students giggled when I said I was putting them in my parents' back yard.

Our first try, before adding the background

Our second try, including the background

The way we had originally organized this drama project was with tableaux combined with a "radio play" reading of their lines; that way, the students could focus on one aspect at a time - first, how they read their script, and then how they posed in frozen action scenes.

We used two plays: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and The Gingerbread Man. While I worked with one group, the other had the chance to play with my immense personal collection of Fisher Price toys. It made taping the audio tricky, as it's hard to play super-quietly, but we were able to tape both groups without incident. We haven't taken photos of the Gingerbread Man group yet, but we were able to finish and combine the footage and sound for the Snow White play to complete that project.

One thing I'd do differently (and should've realized this earlier) is NOT dress anyone in green. The huntsman had a nice costume on but it matched the background too well and he became ghost-like. The class and I decided to just keep it "as is" because they liked the costume so much. (I have a great costume collection, so I took care of providing the necessary clothing for the play.)

Our "invisible huntsman" dragging Snow White in the forest
I wish I could show you the final product, but I don't have permission forms for all the students for this specific YouTube video. (We have it as unlisted.) If I get it arranged, I'll post it here and on the Twittersphere. Even though the copy I bought is on my personal iPad, I'll definitely be using DoInk in my programming next year.