How To Do Green Screen Photography on an iPad at School

Green Screen Photography for the iPad

There are lots of great learning opportunities when you use green screen effects in the classroom. I’ve written about some of those before, but almost all of them involved green screen movies. What about green screen photography? Is that possible on an iPad? It is, because there’s an app for that.

Recently I was reminded of the ability to do green screen photography when I read a blog post by Dr. Wesley Fryer. He did a green screen photo booth at the Fall Festival of the school he works at in Oklahoma. Great idea. So how do you do it? It all starts with the Green Screen app by DoInk. The rest is easy! Here’s how it works.

1. Start by collecting the background images you want to use in place of the green screen. You can get lots of free, high-quality images on sites like Unsplash, Pixabay, Morguefile or Pexels. Once you find the images you need, save them to your camera roll by pressing and holding on the photo and selecting Save Image.

2. Set up your green screen, and make sure it is evenly lit with no dark or light areas. You don’t have to mount your iPad on a tripod for green screen photography, but if you have that ability, you absolutely should because you will get a sharper image more often.

3. Next, open the Green Screen app and toggle the Video switch to Image. This changes the operation of the app from green screen video to green screen photography, (see below).

Switch from video to image

4. At the bottom of the screen you will see the timeline. It is split into three layers. Add the image that you want as your background to the bottom layer on the timeline by tapping the plus sign and then selecting Image. On the middle layer of the timeline, tap the plus sign and choose Camera. If the camera image is facing the wrong way (i.e. pointing at you), tap the camera switcher button to flip between the front and rear camera on your iPad.

add image for green screen

5. Position your subject in front of the green screen and make sure that the Chrome Filter switch is on (set to green) so that you can see a live image of your subject in front of the image that you added in the last step.

turn on chroma filter

6. When everything looks good, tap the capture button. A preview of your image will appear on your screen. Tapping OK, saves the image to your camera roll.

tap to take a green screen photo

Green screen photography could easily be integrated into a variety of curricular areas with students, and the finished images can be imported into other apps to add text, borders, frames and more. Some possible uses for green screen photography at school include, but are not limited to:

  • Creating book covers or feature images for book reviews.
  • Souvenir postcards from a virtual field trip
  • Historical backgrounds for student biography days
  • Whole class (or individual) photos of students in Halloween costumes
  • Creative backgrounds for things created in Art or other subjects
  • Staged scenes for a digital story
  • Visual representations of vocabulary words

So, what does it look like when you are done? Take a look at a finished image below featuring Gail Grim, a K-8 School Librarian (and willing volunteer!) from one of my recent green screen presentations.

Gail Grim Green Screen Photography

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28 thoughts on “How To Do Green Screen Photography on an iPad at School

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      1. Cheryl

        Do you have to change ipad from front to back camera for green screen to work??? Trying to find a solution for this to work in my photobooth with out having to turn ipad around when we want to use green screen instead of simple booth app. Also does this app need internet to create a green screen photo??? And is do ink a free app?? Thank you for your help.

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      2. jonathanwylie Post author

        You may want to experiment with taking the photo in the camera app, and then bringing the image into the DoInk app. Doing it this way would let you take advantage of the timer function in the camera app. Just like a real photobooth 🙂

        No internet is required for this app.

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  10. Andrea

    Have you had any success in printing these photos? I’m trying to find one that will allow me to print 8x10s so I can sell them at the Christmas Concert but the ones I’ve tried by Doink are too low quality.

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    1. jonathanwylie Post author

      You know, I have not tried that, but I should. What iPad are you using? I wonder if the quality or resolution is different on earlier iPads. I want to say that I think they come out at 1280×720 on my iPad, so that could be a little low for 8 x 10 depending on the ppi it is printed at, but I think it would be fine for 6×4 or maybe 5×7.

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      1. Andrea

        I’m not all that techie, but I’ll do my best. The ipad is a 4. When I take pictures with the camera they come out at about 1MB, but when I take the same picture with a high resolution green screen background it comes out around 200kb which is much to small to print. I emailed DoInk and they gave me a suggestion that I’ll try tomorrow, but it sounds like I’m out of luck. Now I’m on a desperate search for an app that will let me do this. Ideas?

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      2. jonathanwylie Post author

        Here’s an interesting update. I was reading through the guide on the latest version of Green Screen by DoInk and it says that “the resolution of captured images is determined by the resolution of the image sources on the timeline.” So the moral of the story is, for best results, use a high resolution image as your background.

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      3. Andrea

        I disagree. No matter WHAT kind of background or foreground pic I put in there the end result is always a file under 200 kb. I emailed support and they basically acknowledged that it blows and they’re working on it. I didn’t find another aoo to replace it. Veescope was suggested but I didn’t find it worked in our space. Thanks so much for thinking of me though.

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  11. Felicia Watkins

    How do you solve the volume issue with filming with an iPad. When we have tried filming with an iPad the sound quality is not as good as when we use a video camera?

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    1. Andrew Holden

      I use Røde SmartLav+ lapel mics with extension cables and a Røde 2x smartlav breakout box. If there’s a group then I use a Røde shotgun mic with a Røde mini boom plugged in through an iRig Pre. The kids love the professional feel of the boom mic and it gives glorious products.

      Its so important to give good audio since the words that the students are saying is where the learning comes in.

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  14. Andrew Holden

    My first question when teachers book me for a green screen project is “How are they going to read the their script?”.

    The only way to have students looking into the lens is to use a teleprompter. I made one using a piece of glass and some cardboard and duct tape. The students type or paste their script into the DVPrompter app and place their iPad inside. Another iPad is then placed in a tripod behind to do the filming.

    Check my Twitter @mrholden123 for details

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    1. jonathanwylie Post author

      Good idea. I find that holding a second iPad with a teleprompter app (like Parrot Teleprompter) close to the camera lens, or mounted on a tripod next to the lens, works pretty good, but I like the DIY solution. Sounds like it works well.

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