Saturday, April 2, 2016

How We Made Super Librarian Fly!

Earlier this year, I published an article about my wife's (Cindy Evans) super hero library theme. Cindy has found this theme to be one of her most successful in recent years. She has noticed that students, teachers, and parents have really connected to super heroes. This is no surprise since, even 8 months after my original post, super hero movies continue to blow up the big screen!

Super Librarian flying!
Super Librarian On The Big Screen

Cindy and I decided to take a road trip to the Grand Canyon during spring break. She knew she would be out of school on the following Wednesday when we returned. This would be a day she normally announced the Accelerated Reader awards for the nine weeks at a school assembly. She hated to miss this important moment for her students, so she pitched an idea that really resonated with me. Cindy asked if there was a way to make it appear she was flying over the Grand Canyon in her Super Librarian identity. Her learning community had loved the previous comic strip video skit she had created at the first of the year. She wanted to announce the Accelerated Reader winners in the proposed video of Super Librarian flying.

We began brainstorming how this might work. We had both used Do Ink's Green Screen App for iOS over the past year. I thought it would be possible to shoot a video panning across the Grand Canyon using her iPad Mini. We could then set up a green screen in her library and cover a table in green paper. Cindy could lay on the table in her costume, and we could put the Grand Canyon panning skyline behind her on the green screen. I just knew it could work!

How We Created The Video

While at the Grand Canyon south rim overlook, we shot the video of the landscape and skyline as planned. After we returned home, we picked an afternoon after school to set up the green screen and table just as we had discussed during the planning stage. I brought a camera stand and an iStabilizer Tabmount adapter for the iPad. The iStabilizer clamps around the iPad and allows the user to connect it to a camera stand. This keeps the video shot very stable for a more professional appearance!

Our green screen set up

Everything worked exactly as planned! We were able to get the shot to work perfectly using the Green Screen app by Do Ink. We simply videoed Cindy pretending to fly on the table. (I stood behind her out of sight and moved her cape for the flapping effect.)
Green Screen app screenshot
The Green Screen app allows you to easily put in your desired photo or video clip to appear in the background on the green screen surface. After a few takes, Cindy had the project started like she had envisioned a month prior. Now we just needed to do the final edits. 

Green Screen app by Do Ink

Final Edits And Reception

That evening, we exported the Green Screen app movie to her iPad photo storage. We then used the iMovie app on her iPad to make final edits. We added text and music to give it more of a professional finished appearance. After this, we uploaded the finished product to YouTube so it would be ready to show on the big day. It took about an hour and a half to set up and shoot the green screen video. It took an additional hour and a half to complete final edits and upload to YouTube. All in all, it took about three hours for total completion. Click below to see the finished video!

Cindy's video was shown to approximately 250 students over a two day period. Teachers and administrators reported that the children reacted with great excitement. Students asked questions like: "How is she flying?" Parents asked the principal: "I wonder how she did that?" Imagine how this changed how they viewed Cindy and her library program. This was a perfect way to shatter the stereotypical librarian image! 

Next Steps

We will now be looking for additional creative ways to incorporate green screen techniques into our library promotions. I want our students to create videos like this in our makerspace areas. I'm so excited that Cindy chose to do this video. She has changed her learning community by exposing them to the endless creative possibilities of video production! I wonder what will happen next? Stay tuned to find out!

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  1. I LOVE this Green Screen Video. I'm working on having kids make video summaries (like Reading Rainbow) with the pictures from the book in the background and then sharing them through QR codes on the books in the library.

  2. I LOVE this Green Screen Video. I'm working on having kids make video summaries (like Reading Rainbow) with the pictures from the book in the background and then sharing them through QR codes on the books in the library.