Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Favorite Dr. Seuss Books using Do Ink Green Screen App

I have really wanted to try using a green screen app to make videos with students, but never found the time when I was teaching kindergarten.  I was so happy that my friend Mrs. Niemeyer wanted to try it, too, and she let me come to her class today to help her first graders make some videos using the app Do Ink.  I purchased this app in a bundle with a Do Ink Animation app for $5.99.  You can purchase it separately for $2.99.
I am by no means an expert at this, and I still have much to learn.  But as a newbie, this app was really easy to use and I think our videos turned out pretty cute.  The first graders were really surprised to see their favorite Dr. Seuss books projected LARGE behind them as they talked.

When you first start the app, you will open to a tutorial on making a green screen video.  It features a 10-11 year old girl who is waaaayyy better at making these videos than I will ever be, LOL.  You can also use the ? in the corner of the app to read their FAQs.  They also have a YouTube channel with some video tutorials.

I kept this first project pretty simple.  We wanted the students to choose a Dr. Seuss book that was their favorite, and talk about why.  While they talked, we thought it would be really cool to have the book displayed in the background using a green screen.  I just so happen to have a cool little green screen thanks to a thrifty mom from my kindergarten that found it at Goodwill for $5!  You can use butcher paper, or a piece of solid colored fabric.  You can also buy green screens pretty inexpensively online.  (I love Amazon.)

Mrs. Niemeyer had her students complete a book report about their book beforehand, and this was essential!  Even with the book report, it was still very difficult for them to recall what they wanted to say about the book, and it make our "filming" process take longer than anticipated.  Letting them write, reflect and practice before final production would be great.

Seriously, how cute is this Fox in Socks?

I had the students come to see me one at a time, and bring the book they chose with them.  We talked about their book report and tried to practice what they wanted to say.  They then helped me take a few photos of the book and illustrations to add to their video.

Now, this is VERRRRYYY basic.  But, essentially, when I created a new project I used the bottom layer to add my still images (the pictures of the books and illustrations I had taken) and the middle layer for the live camera.  I didn't use the top layer, which I think could be used for adding animations.  Which could be super cool, but come on, baby steps!

Add the image(s).  I found that if you scroll to a certain time and double tap the timeframe, I could add another image.  Using this method, some of the kids' videos feature 2 or 3 different pictures in the background of their videos.
Next, click the second timeline and choose camera.  Have the student stand against the green screen and use that little chroma wheel (the rainbow circle) to adjust if your image is blurry or glowy.  I had some issues and discovered it was my lighting.  You need good lighting.

Once the videos were done, it prompted me to preview them.  If we were happy, we could save the video to the camera roll where it could then be shared however you'd like.  These could easily be uploaded to Seesaw from the camera roll of the iPad!

I know there is probably a ton more here that you can do, but this is my down-and-dirty newbie try at green sreen-ing.  Mrs. Niemeyer and I did discuss the logistics of doing this in a classroom (without having your handy dandy Tech Integration Specialist come into your room and pull your kids to do this while you are teaching).  We both think it is do-able ... but management may be tricky.  Would take a lot of modeling and expectations set.  But the app itself is definitely easy enough that with practice, the kids could make these videos independently.

Also, this has nothing to do with green screens, I just thought this was a really cute way to have students record their responses on a Dr. Seuss-themed survey.  Great idea, Mrs. Niemeyer!

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