For the last two weeks I have been working on a digital story telling project with my 3rd grade classes, 6 or them to be exact. While this project wasn’t difficult to pull off or plan, I did think that writing about it in the context of the elementary classroom and the es student might be beneficial to some. This post and the next few subsequent posts will be my reflection on the process of digital story telling using green screening, the successes, the parts that failed, the preparation, the details I got right, and the ones I overlooked. I hope your next project goes a little smoother after reading these posts.
The pieces you need for Part III:
*Class set of computers (we use MacBooks with iMovie)
*Student vids on a network or a hard drive(s) where they can get their clip and save it to their machine.
*Photos for the backdrop of their video. Our students illustrated their own and took digital photos of their drawings. Students could also find these on the internet and save the images to their computer. Either way, photos should be in iPhoto before you begin the movie editing.
*About 2 hours for 3rd graders. Older kids will move quicker so less time might be required. Again, your mileage may vary.
*Headphones for each student.
Green Screening in iMovie:
Step one. The first thing to do when beginning to greenscreen in iMovie is to make sure all your media (pictures and video clips) are on the machine you will do your editing on. Place the images you will use for the backgrounds into iPhoto and then you can close the iPhoto application.
Step two. Open iMovie and use the File->New Project and File->New Event to start a new project and event in iMovie. I have kids name both of these item with the same naming convention so it easy for them to find their project or event since their laptops are shared among several classes/students.
Step three. using the small camera icon on the upper right corner of the event library (under the preview window) open your iPhoto images in iPhoto and drag the ones you want into the project area in iMovie. I had students make a couple adjustments to the pictures straight away before going any further. One, I had them make each photo duration one minute. Two, I had them turn off the “Ken Burns Effect” and fit the photo to the movie frame. I found that it was easier to make the images duration longer than needed and shorten after we dropped the video clip on them rather than vice versa.
Step four. Now you are ready to start the actual green screening and this is where, depending on the age of your students it can get a little tricky. I was working with 3rd graders so I had to move very slow giving very small directions, one at a time. First,
students had to listen to their video clip and decide which portion of their video (story) went with which picture. Once they had selected the clip that went with the first image I had them drag that up to the project area and drop it on top of the photo they wanted for their backdrop. It is important to show them where to drop it on the image in the project area (as far to the left of the image clip as possible without dropping the video clip before the image-denoted b a vertical greenline).
Step five. Once the students have dropped the video on the image and have the start of the image and video lined up students can make adjustments to the video to make their video appear cleaner and less transparent on top of the video. To do this, click on the video clip that is now sitting above the photo clip and select “Video Adjustments”. Have them start with the slider for the green color. Usually we found just sliding this a little to the left got their videos to appear much better on the still image clip. Sometimes further tweaks were necessary with the red and blue sliders. This one students need to play around with till it looks good to them. Remember, this is iMovie, not Final Cut pro so the quality of the Chroma-Keying will not be perfect. That said, iMovie does a pretty great job given what it is.
Step six. Repeat steps for and five until all the video clips that the students want have been moved on top of the still image clips in the project area.