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WeVideo: Green Screen

I learned how to make short films with green screen technology a few weeks ago and have spent time the last couple of Saturday afternoons making films with my six-year-old son (see above and below). We're still working on lighting, but imagine the possibilities for student presentations!

The use of green screens, or chroma keying, is a common technique in movie-making that dates back to 1898 when French filmmaker, Georges Melies created the silent film, The Four Troublesome Heads. At the time, audiences were panic-stricken as they observed Melies "remove his head" and place it on a table next to him.

The strategy is still used today to add special effects in high-budget feature films including, The Avengers.

In the classroom, students have the opportunity to participate in filmmaking with green screens as well!

To get started, you will need to cover a small section of classroom wall, preferably about 6 ft x 6 ft, with fabric or paper of a single color (it doesn't necessarily have to be green). I purchased a 6 ft x 6 ft felt piece of fabric at JoAnn's for about $12. Green or blue butcher paper will also work, however, be sure to use the dull side as the shiny side reflects a little too much light.

Have students create a script from a report they have written, a book they have read, a topic they have studied or any other application you can think of! It is very important to have students do the writing first, then begin the film production.

Students can use the camera on their Chromebooks to film themselves or objects acting out the screenplay and then upload the videos into WeVideo

Once the videos are uploaded, follow these steps for chroma keying!

1. Click and drag the video clip onto the 'Video 2' track in the WeVideo edit.

2. Click the icon of the small white star near the upper left-hand corner and search through WeVideo's stock footage to find clips that make sense for your students' reports.

3. When you find a clip that works, click and drag it to the 'Video 1' track.

4. Double-click the green screen video in the Video 2 track. Then click on the 'Color keying' icon that looks like the silhouette of a person's head and shoulders.

5. Click on the dropper tool and then click somewhere in the green on the video clip.

 6. The green will be replaced by the video clip in the 'Video 1' track.

7. Click 'DONE EDITING' to go back to your main edit.

8. When you're happy with the rest of your edit, click 'FINISH VIDEO' near the top, title your video, select 720p HD, and click 'FINISH'.

9. WeVideo is fully integrated with Google Classroom, so if you create an assignment in Classroom, students can post their videos to Classroom where teachers and other classmates will be able to view them!



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