Creativity & Problem-Solving

After seeing an Instagram post, I was inspired to try something similar, and also thought it would be a great idea to show the new functionality in iMovie’s green screen capability. This was my end result, but there were many hurdles along the way that required me to trouble-shoot and problem-solve.

Hurdle #1

iMovie reformats portrait videos and cuts off top and bottom.

SOLUTION: Rerecord in landscape

Hurdle #2

iMovie only layers green screen videos over another video, so would have to make the photo a video for this to work.

SOLUTION: Make a video of the photo for a few seconds in iMovie, export as video file and then insert photo as a video.

Hurdle #3

With all those trees it was a Green Screen FAIL! Clearly not working in this instance.

SOLUTION: I tried Green Screen by Doink and masking, but really the amount of green was problematic in this instance. Why not try Keynote?

Hurdle #4

Cannot crop the video in Keynote. Could get it to work in landscape format, which was fine, but (being a perfectionist) I really wanted the look of the insta photo.

SOLUTION: Try videoing in Clips for the square format

Hurdle #5

This did work, and if I reshot the footage with a different sized piece of cardboard, would have been fine, but I was still sure there must be a way to achieve my goal.

SOLUTION: Try masking shapes in Keynote for Mac

Hurdle #6

Can only combine shapes to exclude overlap, not photos.

SOLUTION: Create a shape and fill it with the image of the photo. Then select both, and choose the exclude overlap option in Arrange – Combine Shapes.

Hurdle #7

I really wanted to show how this could be done on Keynote for iOS on iPad for use in the classroom, not on Mac.

SOLUTION: Try it on Keynote, see if it now works on iPad. It does! Then it was easy to add the video, layered behind the combined shape.

Hurdle #8

So the video wasn’t too long, I sped it up in iMovie, but this distorted the sound (and you could hear my thongs clicking). I wanted to add a soundscape.

SOLUTION: Use Voice Memos to record the sound of birds and the ocean, then add that as an audio track in iMovie after detaching audio from the movie. This also allowed me to have it fade in as the ocean grew closer.


So, while it wasn’t quite the Green Screen activity I was planning, I was very pleased with the end result, and learned a few things along the way. One of which, is that Keynote never ceases to impress me with its versatility and functionality, and another is that problem-solving IS a part of creativity and the creative process. App Smashing is a great way to get students creating and thinking about how best to combine app features into a final product. It is also important to share these ‘fail forwards’, so they understand it is all part of the process.

In the end this activity uses the Camera, Camera Roll, iMovie, Voice Memos (optional) and Keynote. All free apps!


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