Q&A With Deb Atchison Education Technology Consultant

Deb Atchison is an engaging and enthusiastic education technology consultant who has worked in education for over 25 years. Deb gives presentations at conferences all over the world. One of these is called, “Green Screen Appventures,” where she uses Padcaster to help teach educators about green screen videos.

How did you first become interested in green screen video?

I’ve always been interested in video editing and creating fun and exciting videos. In the past I trained teachers on using green screen video to get their students engaged in the content they were teaching. I found green screen video was not only fun but it also captured a sense of adventure in the teachers and students using it. I mean, really, who wouldn’t want to transport themselves to another time and place at some point in their life!

I taught video editing on a college level and in various K-12 environments. It always seemed people wanted to take their videos to the next level and green screen technology made it so easy to do. Check out this video (video is on the right) created by my Emeritus students (age 65+) at Richland College. What fun that was creating. If these guys, that didn’t grow up with technology, can create great green screen videos like that and have fun doing it, you can too!

What is your favorite green screen project you’ve ever done?

One of my favorite projects was one I did with art teachers. We used green screen technology to make the art and paintings they were studying to come to life. We would dress the teachers or students up to be the characters in the artwork. Then we would record a video of the characters speaking parts they thought the art would say if it could talk, so the art came to life right before our very eyes. One of my favorites was when we made the painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on The Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat come to life.

Why did you decide to use an iPad for your green screen videos?

When I started out, I was using desktop computers and elaborate software programs like Premiere and Final Cut Pro. However, most schools only had access to that high-end software in the high school design classes. I wanted to teach green screen video to teachers of all grade levels, not just those in secondary classes whose focus was design and editing. Around this time, iPads started becoming mainstream in a lot of schools and classrooms, so it was the perfect time to figure this out using iPads.

Your presentation, “Green Screen Appventures,” has been extremely popular at various conferences. Which apps do you discuss in that presentation, and why?

My “Green Screen Appventures” class is one of my favorite conference presentations. We get really hands-on in this session and have a blast. My two favorite apps are Do Ink and Veescope Live.

I love both of these apps so much and the people behind the apps are just as awesome as their products. The companies have both been very supportive of my presentations and have shared resources, videos, tips & tricks and even free app codes for door prizes!  Both of these apps are high quality and kids and teachers of all ages find them to be easy to use but full of rich features. DoInk has three video tracks which makes layering different pieces seamless. Veescope records 4K video and takes 12 megapixel photos. Students love using the weather maps in Veescope to create their own newscasts.

What tips do you have for people starting to experiment with Green Screen?

I’d say just jump in! Grab your iPad, download the apps and just start experimenting. At first the apps may seem complicated, but they really are simple to use. Watch some tutorials, look at the resources in my presentation handout and go for it. Experiment and play, because that’s how you’ll learn. I’m also always available to deliver “Green Screen Appventures” for you, your school or district too if you need extra help!

How did you first get introduced to Padcaster?

I first met Padcaster when they were just starting out at an EdTech conference. I spoke with (Padcaster founder) Josh Apter and was so excited to see their product and told him then that I wanted to use it in future presentations. I was blown away when I first saw it and knew there was nothing else like it on the market, and there still isn’t today!

How does Padcaster enhance what you are doing?

The Padcaster makes my training and the creation of green screen videos so easy to do. It enhances everything about green screen video production! I’ve used the Padcaster in presentations at the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference and TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association). The Padcaster is an all in one solution. At my last conference presentation, I used the whole Padcaster Ultimate Studio, and it was incredible! It had everything we needed to make high-quality green screen videos all tucked nicely into a padded backpack which made traveling with it so easy.

The biggest problem with students in school creating video is that they often don’t speak loud enough, or there is a lot of background noise interference. The Padcaster Ultimate Studio takes care of that with three microphones that all connect or attach to the padcaster. Not to mention most videographers of any age have trouble holding the iPad still while recording - and nobody likes to watch shaky video. The Padcaster eliminates this distraction! The other issue most schools face is adequate lighting, which the Padcaster also supplies. And, who could forget the mini teleprompter! It is so useful and the kids love it!

What plans do you have for the future?

I have started my own consulting business, Deb Atchison Consulting, LLC. The business is going well and I’ve been blessed to travel and train teachers and students all over the World. I will continue to present at state, national and international technology and education conferences across the world. Along with training educators, I also give keynote speeches on how technology helps to make the world a smaller place.

Aside from my business, I’m also one of the cofounders of EdChange Global and EdChange Global Classrooms, both 24 hour online learning experiences for teachers and students around the globe. 

Find Deb online and on Twitter at @debatchison. She invites you to reach out anytime.

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