iMovie: A Free Green Screen App for iPad

As much as I enjoy using Green Screen by DoInk, there are still teachers that find it hard to get paid apps approved, or to raise enough money to put a paid app on all the devices that they want it on. Consequently, I still get a lot of questions about the best free green screen app for the iPad. Up until today, there weren’t a lot of options, but a recent update to iMovie has opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

Using Green Screen on iMovie for iPad

To use green screen effects in iMovie, make sure that the app is updated to the latest version. Your iPad also needs to be capable of running iOS 11.4 or later. Once you have that taken care of, follow the directions below:

  1. Record your green screen video with the iPad camera app
  2. Open a new movie project in iMovie
  3. Select the image(s) or video(s) you want for your background media, and then tap Create Movie
  4. Next, tap Photos or Video to browse for your green screen footage
  5. Tap on the clip you want to add, and then tap the three dot menu that appears
  6. Select Green/Blue screen. Your clip is added as a layer above your background
  7. Repeat as necessary, changing your background media as required

How to Fine Tune Green Screen Effects in iMovie

By default, images that are added to iMovie projects will pan and zoom around the screen thanks to the Ken Burns effect. This can be a great effect, but it is a little disorientating in a green screen video. You can disable this effect by tapping on the background image in your timeline, and then tapping the Ken Burns option in the preview window to disable the effect.

If your green screen effect is not quite as sharp as you might want, or you see a halo around your subject, tap on your green screen footage in the timeline, and then tap the sliders in the top right-hand corner of the preview window. This lets you increase or decrease the strength of the chroma key effect, and is similar to how you fine tune green screen effects in iMovie for Mac.

If the lighting was not great when you filmed your green screen footage, or your green screen did not fill the whole of your frame, you can crop out unwanted areas with the crop tool. Simply tap on the green screen footage in the timeline, then tap the crop tool in the preview window and adjust the corners of the frame to mask out the areas you don’t need to include.

More New Features in iMovie for iPad

While the addition of green screen was a standout feature in the latest update for iMovie for iPad, it wasn’t the only new feature that was added. Here is a list of some of the other notable changes from the latest update:

  • Choose from 80 new soundtracks in genres including pop, chill, and sentimental that automatically adjust to match the length of your movie
  • Drop in still images with transparent backgrounds to use as logos or custom graphics on top of your video
  • Add photos as overlays to create picture-in-picture and split-screen effects
  • Choose to hide the border that surrounds picture-in-picture and split-screen effects
  • Instantly return to the edit screen of your project when switching back to iMovie from other applications
  • ClassKit support lets students deliver video assignments to teachers using the Schoolwork app
  • Resolves an issue that could lead to a black viewer when previewing your video fullscreen on an external display

The music tracks are really impressive. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen or heard a video online and instantly recognized it as an iMovie video because of the limited choice of copyright-free audio tracks that were available in previous versions of the app.

The new soundtracks are longer and much higher quality. They are sorted by genre and will automatically adjust to match the length of your movie. This feature already exists in the Windows Photos app editor, but it is a welcome inclusion in iMovie because it gives your video a much more professional feel.

Green Screen in the Classroom

So, if you have been on a quest for a free green screen app for iPads, your search could end here. iMovie doesn’t have all the features or flexibility of a dedicated app like Green Screen by DoInk, but it has other advantages like the ability to add titles, music, transitions and more. This has the potential to add complexity to classroom projects, but with practice, iMovie can be as easy to use as just about any other video editing app.

If you decide to try it out, I would love to hear how you get on. You can leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter: @jonathanwylie.

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