Are You Feeling Blue?

I got this cool trick via DEN Stars, Cindy Lane and Jen Dorman and man is it cool!

Did you know that you can use the blue screen feature in Windows MovieMaker?  Yeah – how cool is that?  And since MovieMaker is a free download you don’t have to purchase an expensive movie editor to put your kids into a DE streaming movie.

What are Blue Screen and Chroma Key you ask?

Chroma Keying or bluescreening is very easy to do and is very common. In fact, every time you watch the weather, a bluescreen or greenscreen is used in the background.

Here’s how you do it with Windows MovieMaker:

  1. Capture your subject in front of the bluescreen. (it is very important that it is blue for Windows MovieMaker – WMM!)
  2. Upload your video onto the computer and open it in WMM (on XP).
  3. Highlight the following xml code: (

<!– –>
<TransitionsAndEffects Version=”1.0″>
<TransitionDLL guid=”{C5B19592-145E-11D3-9F04-006008039E37}” >
<Transition name=”Bluescreen” iconid=”12″ comment=”Makes first clip show through blue areas of second clip”>
<Param name=”KeyType” value=”1″/>
<Param name=”Similarity” value=”100″/>
<Param name=”Progress” value=”0.0″/>

4.   Copy it, and paste it into notepad. Click File>Save As>My Computer>Local Disc C>Program Files>Movie Maker>Shared>AddOnTFX.

NOTE: If you dont already have an AddOnTFX folder, right click then New>Folder. Save it as “bluescreen.xml”. Close notepad and open up WMM.

5.   Find the picture or video you want to show behind. Import it into WMM, and drag it down to the timeline, to the left of the video with your subject in front of the bluescreen.
6.   Now that your two video clips are in the timeline, go to your transitions and there should be one that says “Bluescreen”.
7.  Click it and drag it down to the timeline.
8.  Click the video of the bluescreen and drag it over onto the other clip. Don’t drag it to far because that will just make the clips switch places. Keep going until the blue triangle disappears, then go back just a hair.
9. Check out your preview and see if it worked.
10. Click File>Save Movie File to convert and export into a wmv.

Jen Dorman has provided a great easy to print-out doc here:

To see the screen shots that go along with these steps go here

Now here’s a little something you can do with DE streaming.

Log into DE streaming and type in the words “Video Yearbook.”  This will bring up our Video Almanac that stretches all the way back to 1938.  The neat thing about this video series is that all of the video and its subsequent archival material is editable.  That means you can go back in time and plop yourself or your students into these videos with the trick outlined above.   Imagine interviewing Dr. Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy, spending  a day with the Boston Redsox during their spring training…in 1938, or roaring towards space on a lunar mission!  You are only limited to your imagination.

Enjoy your time travels and, if you get a chance, share some of your explorations with us!


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  1. Mary Frazier said:

    Hey Matt,
    I wonder if you can do this with PhotoBooth on the Mac. Or do you know of any other possibilities on the Mac? Thanks.

  2. Eileen Malick said:

    You can also program for the Chroma Key color (GREENSCREEN) in Movie Maker.

    Copy the text into notepad and save it as chroma.xml in this folder:
    C:\Program Files\Movie Maker\Shared\AddOnTFX
    When you open movie maker, Chroma should appear as a transition in the transition folder.
    Put your background picture first, and your foreground picture right after it. Then you drag the greenscreen transition between them, and stretch it to the length of both clips.
    Virtually you can hack the code to plug in ANY color, but blues and chromas (neonish greens) are the most noticable It’s not perfect, and blues are more forgiving and look more natural (sky & ocean).

  3. Robyn Foret said:

    I am fortunate enough to have a green screen and use Ulead’s Video Studio to allow my students to create videos. There are so many applications for this and the kids absolutely love it. They can be historical characters, fictional characters, be a tour guide for a country or other location, etc. It really is a great tool to get students interested in what they are learning.

  4. Devon Y said:

    Just wondering if this will work with the new Windows Movie Maker Live version for Windows 7. I found that this new version of WMM is not as easy to work with, but definitely has advantages in that now we can use iTunes as a sound source instead of just WAV files or MP3 files. I hope this trick does work with the newer version because I already have some great ideas.

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