Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What Does a Green Screen Video Production Teach?

This is the second green screen video that my students created with my assistance. The first they had really no concept about what the green screen was going to do. The video was to be of interviews with rocks in which they would play specific types of rocks while reporters interviewed them. The students made rock costumes out of cardboard complete with glitter for obsidian and sand for sandstone. After video taping each interview, I put the movie together with background images.

So, when the second video opportunity came along, the Water Cycle, they already had a concrete experience with the green screen. We discussed the effects that happened with the first video such as how the glitter on Clark's rock looked super shiny or how Carter's gold rock faded into the background. Or how Xandra's green shirt made her disappear into the background. Then after reading the script and picking out parts, the students brainstormed ideas for costumes that would create the effects they wanted. I facilitated the discussion as students shared possibilities for water vapor and the sun. Then, students were given a planning sheet. Working with partners,their task was to draw and label their costumes and write down the materials they would need.

After they made their costumes, they performed costume tests. We put up the green screen and took short clips of them in front of it. I used a random background and as a class we watched the tests. As they watched the clips, the students talked amongst themselves about ideas to make the costumes better achieve the effects they were striving for. Students then made changes to their costumes or started from scratch or kept them the same.

Three of my students chose not play a part in the video. I gave them the job of photos. As the rest of the class worked on costumes, they had conferences with their classmates about what types of photos they would like for their backgrounds. Then, the photo committee searched for and saved photos from the Internet. They kept them organized and gave them names that would help me as I later put the movie together.

The video taping itself involved a tremendous amount of teamwork. Students worked together to practice their parts, set up the props and stage, direct the scenes, do makeup and costume fix ups, and video tape.

Once the video was taped, I did the final editing, cutting and piecing the clips together, putting in the photos, and adding music clips.

Students have watched the video enough times that they have it memorized. I gave them a little assessment, asking them to write about real life examples of 3-4 parts of the water cycle. They all scored 100 percent.

So, what does a green screen video production teach?

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