Creating a Low Budget Green Screen

Sep 14, 2012 by

When I set out this morning to make a low budget temporary green screen, I didn’t imagine that it would take less than 10 minutes, and actually cost me next to nothing thanks to some left over paper in the teacher supply room of our elementary building. While I wanted to call this a “free” green screen, I can’t justify the statement fully as I’m sure there’s about $6.45 worth of materials that went into the screen, even if it didn’t actually cost me anything to make. If you’re interested in creating a super cheap low budget green screen for your classroom or other amateur video work, check out the video below, or watch it on YouTube.

 

I was so excited when I finished building this green screen that I posted a picture on Twitter.

To which I had a question from @coachk:

While we do have a couple of green screens in the district, at least one is in a room that has been turned into storage, and another is in an active classroom, so I don’t have access to it. I wanted a way to do some simple, off-the-cuff green screen effects to help show teachers how students might be able to add images or videos for informational videos, PSAs, or other video projects. A lot of time, students want to add a picture-in-picture element to help visually illustrate a speech, presentation, or video, and they typically rely on a cut-away transition like those found in Movie Maker or Photostory. Since we have an increasing number of Macs in the district, I thought I might encourage teachers to use some of the more robust movie making tools with the addition of a super cheap green screen that they can put up and take down over the course of one day or even a class period if they’re in a time or budget crunch.

There are plenty of other “how to make a green screen” videos to be found on YouTube and across the internet, but I always like to tackle as many of the DIY projects myself, to demonstrate how practical it is to do some relatively simple projects on your own. In fact, this project is so simple, students could do it during a snack time, break time, or just use a single piece of green paper on their desk to create a special effect. I’m hoping that my efforts to create, film, and put together this video will help encourage a few people to try this in their classrooms, and let students explore what they might be able to create with it. For some inspiration, check out the great green screen videos from teachers and students below.

5 Comments

  1. great job! Love that you are using tech to help teach students some practical and fun ways to use video technology. What video editing software do you usually recommend for chroma keying?

    • Thanks Robert! Truth be told, I didn’t expect It to last more than a couple of days, but it’s still clinging to the wall. I think it’s important to find ways for teachers to expand their use of tech while having fun. I used iMovie for this green screen effect since that’s what my teachers have access to, but I have used Adobe Premier Pro in the past as well.

  2. Rohan

    Cool stuff!

  3. ricardo jackson

    My goal is to make low budget films like Roger Corman. Since my budget will be limited I plan to use a green screen to shoot my entire film.I will not write any scenes that’s going to be very costly. I am a novice any advice you can give I’ll be thankful.

    • Wow, I can’t say that I have much advice in the area of motion film making (even low budget ones), but I’d say keep it simple. Find the emotional center of the story and play it up for all it’s worth. Don’t worry about the scenery, make sure you can sell it through the dialogue alone perhaps?

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