Friday, September 4, 2015

Getting Creative with the Doink Green Screen App

I actually started writing this blog post back in April, and then the end of the school year took hold and I wasn't able to finish it.  Now that school is back in session, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the post.

So for those of you that aren't familiar with green screen technology, I'll give you a brief overview of what it is.  Basically, you videotape (or live record) your students with a green (or other solid colors can work too) background.  Then you use an app or software to layer the image with other video or images, and it makes it look like the student is actually in the picture.  Think of the weatherman you see on T.V.; they use green screen technology to make it look like the map is behind them. 

My favorite iPad app for creating this effect is Green Screen by Doink.  I find that it is a simple (yet powerful!) app to use, and the developers are constantly making improvements-so much so that the app is vastly improved from even a year ago.  Here is an an example of a "basic" green screen recording created with the Doink Green Screen app. I say "basic" because it's a simple version of green screen- one video and one image layered together.

When I first started creating green screen recordings, this is how I started off...simple.  And simple is fine for green screen if that's where you stay for awhile because even the simple ones are still pretty cool.  

However, this blog post is really about going beyond the "basic" green-screening and getting deeper into creation with the app to harness it's true power.  And, it's more about inspiring you to experiment, rather than teaching all the steps to create each of the samples I show you.  

Having said that however, I have tried to include any tutorials that I created as I went along, and if you ever would like more info about how I created any of the videos, please feel free to get in touch and I'll help get you going!

So here it goes:

As I used the app more and more with students (and just experimenting on my own) I started to add in other pieces to the "basic" video such as a "breaking news" video clip at the beginning of the video.

And then Doink updated the app. Now we had the ability to resize and move images or video.  This was a complete game changer for this app and opened up a world of possibilities!  

I soon realized that if I could get a green section into a picture or video, that I could use this app to create something really awesome.  I started app-smashing the Green Screen app and experimented with combinations (such as with Photo Grid) to combine video and stills into one page:

I also made "living comics" based on Greg Kulowiec's idea:

Here is my living comics tutorial:

And newspapers that came "alive":

I had fun creating cool images like these:

Just as I was really getting into using the app for all this cool stuff, they added the ability to CROP the pictures or videos.  YES!!! Just the feature I needed to be able to work with images and video like this one, where the image wasn't an exact shape or size: 

There was no stopping me now!! I moved into more app-smashing with small animations from other apps like Vidra and Adobe Voice and using Tellagami as a stand-in for live person video.  My narrator had become virtual- no physical green screen needed! 

I was layering videos and pictures or videos and pictures.  What else could I create? 

Here's an #Appsmash using Explain Everything to really be a "part of" the Math explanation.

What if STUDENTS created the background video in the Explain Everything app?  

Ever wanted to talk to yourself?? 

The latest update to the app added in the ability to mask pictures, so then I could get creative with the type of cropping that happens, and get effects like these:

Just so many creative possibilities.  So what's my plan with the app now?  To teach the students and teachers of course!  Read this back to school post.
Here is the sample I will be showing the kids to get started:

Have I inspired you to experiment more with this powerful app?  I hope so.  And as I said, let me know if you want help in trying out anything you see here, I'd be happy to give you a hand.  And in the meantime, have fun getting creative with the Green Screen app by Doink!

Update 10/2/15:
Here are some student examples of the "Where in the World" Activity.


  1. WOW!!! So glad you shared this with me! Great stuff!

  2. Amazing ideas!!! What app did you use to blur the children's faces?

  3. Thanks, I'm glad that you liked the ideas! To blur faces, I used the app called Video Toolbox.