In the last article, I talked about green screens and why you might want to use them in your online classroom as well as how you would want to set them up. Now that you have an understanding of what green screens are, how they work, and how to set them up, it’s time we look at the best green screen for you as an online ESL teacher. We’re going to take a look at three different options that should work for almost every teacher out there no matter what your needs are.
What should I look for in a green screen?
Before you select a green screen you will need to take into account your specific lifestyle and needs. Are you a teacher that travels a lot and teaches while on the road? You are probably going to have different demands than someone who teaches at home all of the time. There are various types of green screen setups and each of them allows for various levels of portability ranging from extremely portable to not portable at all. You will need to select wisely to make sure that you get a screen that is going to be friendly for your particular needs.
You can make a green screen out of quite literally any type of fabric or paint or tape or other material. However, some materials make for a better green screen than others. If you are going to get a fabric then the best thing to look for is something that is semi-stretchy but not too thin. You want to be able to stretch the material just slightly so that you remove any wrinkles that could distort the image being projected onto it. The alternative to this is getting more fabric than you need and hanging it so that it spills onto the floor and let gravity smooth out the wrinkles. You don’t want anything too thin or see-through nor do you want anything too heavy that may be hard to hang up.
Color is extremely important when you are selecting a green screen. Especially if you are going to buy fabric from a store and then hang it yourself. Green screens should be somewhere between lime and neon green. This color was chosen as it does not come close to human skin tone. What this means is that no matter how dark or light your skin may be it will not ever blend in with the green screen and distort the image. You will need to take the color of the clothes you wear into consideration.
If you choose a green that is too dark, like I did the first time I selected a fabric, then there is a chance that your skin will blend in and distort the image. I have a slightly olive tent to my skin and when I first began to teach classes any wrong movement would cause the image to project onto my arms and face. The same thing will happen if you select something that is too light. Make sure you select your color correctly so you can make it easier on yourself in the long run.
What is the best green screen?
As mentioned above, we are going to look at three different options for green screens. Those options will be green screen kits, fabrics, and paint. I am going to give you the best green screen in each category. No matter what your lifestyle may be one of these three screens should work well for you.
Green Screen Kit
This is going to be the best option for teachers who are looking for an all in one kit. This includes the lighting, frame, as well as the screen. If you just want to make a one and done purchase without having to worry about finding the right lighting or finding a frame then this is going to be a great choice. It includes one frame for hanging, 10′ x 12′ green screen backdrop, one softbox light with a boom stand, and two softbox lights on regular stands.
- As mentioned before this is an all in one solution. This means that you won’t have to worry about purchasing separate lights or making sure you have a frame that will work well with your screen. There are three softbox lights including one with a boom arm. You can use the two on the stand to light your sides and the one on the boom to hang above you and remove shadows from your face.
- The 10′ x 12′ green screen should be more than enough to fit behind you without leaving any parts of your background uncovered. This means you won’t have to worry about any bits or pieces of your background becoming distorted.
- The included frame ensures that you will be able to hang your green screen in a way that prevents any wrinkling which could cause distortions in the video overlay.
- Because this is an all in one solution, it also means that it is the most expensive option on this list. For some teachers, this may be more than they are willing to spend on a green screen solution.
- The lights in this kit are rather large as is the frame and green screen. If you are confined to a small space for teaching this kit may be too big for you.
- Some users of this green screen kit have reported that it can be a bit tedious and time-consuming to set up. Also, a few people have commented that the frame feels cheap when compared to other, more expensive, studio green screen kits.