Friday, April 10, 2020

Social Distancing and Green Screen Ministries

Years ago our youth entered a video contest to try and win money to attend a conference. We wrote a script that included all kinds of crazy scenes. The girl that was going to film it took one look at the script and said, “I can’t do this.”

“Why not?” I asked.
“Can’t you just cut out the background and make it look like we are on a boat?”

“You need a green screen for that.” was her reply.

A green screen? I had never heard of it. Apparently every kid from here to Timbuktu knows what a green screen is, but I didn’t. 

Today, with social distancing being practiced, and churches doing everything online, I noticed that my old "Green Screen" post was getting more traffic. So I am going to add a little to it in light of the present situation the coronavirus has imposed upon us.

First of all, you need a green screen. You should be able to order on online. If you can still purchase paint where you live, a great option is painting one of the walls in a class room. The advantage of this is that you don't have to take a screen up and down every time you want to film.
Green Screen Wall
If you are going to paint a wall, it is worth your while to buy a gallon of the stuff the professionals use, Chroma Key Green paint. It will cost a little more, but should still come in under $50.
We got ours at a Sherwin-William’s paint store. They quite often have coupons online. The "real" stuff will provide more consistent background lighting across the wall. In a pinch, you can hang a piece of green fabric behind you. Google it for more ideas.

Once you have a green screen, you need some software to edit your movies or pictures. Windows Movie Maker (installed on most newer laptops) has a feature to do this. Filmora is another great program. It is downloadable and fairly reasonable. They have a good post here.

So why have a green screen? 

Here are just a few ways you can use it in ministry:
  1.  Since all church is online right now, my sister films her children's church segment in front of a green screen. She flicks her finger, and she magically reappears in the church office telling the children what today's lesson is going to be about. She filmed one of her other presenters in front of the screen and then put the ocean behind him so he could be a surfer dude to explain how riding a colt was like riding a wave with a boggie board instead of a surf board. They also "hid" an object in the background for the kids to find while they watched. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth ten thousand, so I posted it below.

  2. On location announcements – use the green screen and then put a scene behind the announcer. Are you advertising a missions trip? Use a shot of a landmark from that country, or how about a wild animal ready to pounce on the announcer?

  3. Mrs. Bucket and the Palm Sunday Breakfast from Joan Eppehimer on Vimeo.
    If you really want to get fancy with this style of announcement, you can pre-record someone reading their ½ of a scripted interview. Put them in front of whatever scene you want. We used a palm tree lined street in Jerusalem to advertise our Palm Sunday Breakfast. Show the video on a Sunday morning. Have the spokesperson in your sanctuary “interview” the video by reading the other ½ of the script. Click here for a copy of the complete Mrs. Bucket scripted interview. Complete instructions for this type of video are here.
  4. Create your own slides for whatever presentation software you use. Check out this one that could be used for Easter. These pictures are courtesy of Karl Bastian, the Kidologist. You can access his full blog post here.
Great scene for Easter in front of the empty tomb made with a green screen.

What have you done with a green screen in the ministry? Share your ideas below.

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