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.

What’s New With Osmo for Schools in 2019?

I got an email today from Osmo. It was announcing two new mobile apps that they have just added to their platform. It reminded me that I haven’t spent much time thinking about Osmo in a little while, so I thought I would take a look at some of their latest offerings to see what was new. As it happens, there have been some significant developments since the last time I visited their website, so I wanted to share some of those below. Some affiliate links are included.

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How to Publish to the Apple Books Store on Any Device

How to Publish to the Apple Books Store by Jonathan Wylie

A recent update to Apple’s publishing standards has allowed more flexibility in the creation and sharing of eBooks on the Apple Books Store. Previously, all books had to be submitted to the store via the iBooks Author app for MacOS. However, you can now use Pages on an iPhone, iPad, Mac or online at Here’s how it works.

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How to do Green Screen Photos Without the Green Screen

How to create green screen photos the easy way

Earlier this week I saw a tool going around Twitter called Remove Image Background. It’s a clever, web-based tool that uses artificial intelligence to identify a person in a photo and remove the background behind them. It’s free, it works on all devices, it doesn’t require a login, and it removes backgrounds surprisingly well. I am sure that it could be used for all kinds of graphic design projects, but like many things, it made me think about green screen.

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10 Pro Tips: Safari for iPad & iPhone

pro tips for safari on ios

Once upon a time, I sat down to write a blog post about ten of the awesome features you can take advantage of in Safari for iPad & iPhone. 15,000 words later, it turned into a short ebook, but more on that later, because I feel like now is a good time to wind back the clock and finally finish the blog post that never got published. So, without further ado, here are 10 Pro Tips for Safari on iPad and iPhone.

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Simplenote: Cross Platform Note-taking

Try Simplenote for Free, Cross Platform Note Taking

I’ve used a lot of note taking apps over the years. I was an Evernote user for a while, I took a look at Google Keep, I jumped in and out of Notability (and still do), and finally settled on OneNote. It’s free, works on all devices, and has the features I need for organizing and searching through my notes. I’ve been very happy with OneNote, but if I’m honest, it has more features than I will ever use. I know I can just not use those features, but it made me wonder what it would be like to use an app that had less bells and whistles. What if the app was more…simple?

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The Anchor iPad App is Here for All Your Mobile Podcasting Needs

Copy of green screen twitter tips
Photo by Lui Peng on Unsplash

Anchor are continuing their march to podcast dominance with the launch of the new Anchor iPad app. Although you could always use the iPhone version of the app on an iPad, the experience, like most iPhone apps on an iPad, was less than ideal. The new app makes much better use of the larger screen and will of course sync all your recordings from the web and your phone. However, the iPad app also brings a collection of brand new iPad specific features, so here’s a look at what you can expect.

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Green Screen Tips from Teachers on Twitter

green screen twitter tips.png

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of helping many different teachers use green screen effects in their classrooms. This summer I get the opportunity to do it again at ISTE 2018 in Chicago with my colleague Gina Rogers (@grogers1010). Although my presentations and workshops have evolved over the years, they typically include three elements:

  • Why green screen is so popular in schools
  • How to create successful green screen projects
  • What other teachers are doing with green screens in their classrooms

Often, I find that I get a lot of inspiration from teachers on Twitter. So, in this post I wanted to share some of my favorite examples from tweets I have seen that illustrate great educational uses of green screens. As you scroll through, click on any of the images below to see the original tweet and play any associated media.

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