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Significance of Info – The Green Screen

Now that the masks were created, today I was able to get started on the finishing details of my film, using the green screen.

On looking at my video, I realised that it was missing what the title seemed to suggest – the title, ‘How to speak Donald Trump‘ suggested that it will be a lesson in which the viewer is taught to speak ‘Trump‘ – but where was the lesson in my film? I don’t feel that there was one. Now I have added the green screen effect; it acts as the lesson.

Today, I filmed my model carrying out Trump’s four main gestures wearing the face masks that I made last week. Using Adobe Premiere Pro, I then overlaid my clips over my already existing film, cropped them down, and then used the ultrakey effect to create the green screen, adjusting the pedestal within it.

When putting it all together in Premiere Pro, it was frustratingly fiddly to remove all of the background from behind my model in the clips – this is because the green behind the model was not all perfectly the same shade of green – the unevenness and shadows made it difficult to be neat. Also, some of the film’s quality, primarily when the model is in motion, such as when he is waving his hands and arms around, is not to the greatest of standards – although the video camera that I used was HD quality, it does not seem to have been enough for imitating Donald Trump’s wild and crazy gestures.

I have inserted the green screen clips to show in bursts of approximately 10 seconds, reenacting and copying Trump’s movements in order to teach the audience how to speak Donald Trump. In regards to positioning, I have put them in the bottom left hand corner of the video, similarly to the deaf interpreters that are sometimes seen on screen doing sign language to help those with bad hearing or who are deaf.

Significance of Info – The Masks

After briefly speaking to David today, he reminded me that I still had almost a week to continue to develop and add to my project, so I have decided that rather than leaving the film as it is, I will include my mask idea. As David said, the strength and beauty is in the detail.

As I was worried that by adding more film clips in, it would mess with my timing of the videos and the background music so far, I decided that I could simply green screen over the clips I already had, without ruining the films fabrication. I decided to go ahead with my Donald Trump full-face mask concept, as I felt that this was simple but the most effective.

To make the masks, I used Photoshop to simply edit images of Trump so that it was just his face and then inserted them into InDesign on A3 size paper, then exported to PDF. I measured what size my own face was, so that I could use it as a rough guide to get the masks to the correct size. I printed a grayscale prototype to see if they worked and then from the prototype, I was able to adjust the mask sizes on screen accordingly. I printed the final masks onto thick card so that they would be more sturdy and reliable and then cut them out using a scalpel. The next stop was to create some sticks to hold the masks up to your face with – they needed to be sturdy enough to hold the weight of my Trump masks without flopping over. For the sake of ‘waste not, want not’, I re-used the left over card that I had cut the masks from – I cut several strips which I then stacked together and fasted thoroughly with white masking tape. It did the job perfectly. Rather than tape the sticks to the masks, I have decided to leave them separate for the time being, as I could use a reusable adhesive, such as Blu-tack, to attach them on instead as this would leave them adjustable.

The most tricky part of the mask-making process was the printing of them. Due to the fact that I was printing onto card, rather than normal paper, all of the printer’s settings had to be changed. Because I was feeding in my own printing surface, I had to get inside ‘the printer’s brain’ and tell it not to take the A3 paper out of the tray it normally would, but to instead take it from the manual feed tray which flipped out from the side of the machine. As well as changing the paper tray, I had to also program in to the machine that the paper was in fact card, so I had to tell it the weight of it. It was much more complicated than I had initially expected, but after several trial and error attempts, I managed it with some help from the IT staff. It was useful going through these difficulties actually, because I did not previously know that the printers on the university campus were so extremely versatile – among the paper settings, you could even print onto such things as, tracing paper and recycled paper.

After deciding to use the green screen, I paid a visit to Neil Pedder, who specialises in video editing – he gave me a lesson on the basics of Adobe Premiere Pro, which is the software that I would need to use to edit together green screen film.