iMovie timeline screenshot

Blue and green screens are used by TV and movie studios to blend two videos by replacing the background with something different. You have that power on your iPhone and iPad and we’re going to show you how to use it.

Studios have used blue and green screen for a long time, but you don’t need a huge crew or expensive cameras to make them work. With just an iPhone or an iPad, you can create some spectacular effects by yourself.

How Blue and Green Screens Work

By recording a video in front of a colored screen it’s possible to make that screen appear transparent. Then a second video is placed behind the original using software, allowing it to be displayed in the screen’s place

This technique was often used to show weather maps behind television presenters, for example.

Filming with a green screen
Dmitri Ma/Shutterstock.com

How to Use a Green/Blue Screen on iPhone and iPad

Download Apple’s free iMovie app for iPhone and iPad from the App Store and open it. Tap the large “+” button to create a new project.

Tap the large "+" button to create a new project.

Tap ‘Movie” to create a new movie project.

Tap 'Movie" to create a new movie project.

Find the video that will be used as the basis for the new project and tap it. Then tap the checkmark button.

Navigate to the video that will be used as the basis for the new project and tap it. Then tap the checkmark button.

Tap “Create Movie” to open the new project.

Tap create movie

Tap the “+” button to add a second video or image. This will be blended into the background of the video you chose earlier. A video with a background consisting mostly of a solid color will work best.

Tap the plus button

Locate the video or image you want to use and tap it. Tap the “…” icon in the resulting menu.

Select a video or photo. Tap the ellipsis

Tap “Green/Blue Screen” to add the video or image to your timeline.

Tap "Green/Blue Screen"

Tap a color to make it transparent. This is the color that you want to remove.

Tap a color to make it transparent

You can move the secondary video or image through your timeline by dragging it left and right.

How to Edit a Blue/Green Screen

Now you have your timeline set up you can edit the Blue/Green screen effect in two ways; you can  change how large it is, and how strong it is.

Tap the blue/green screen in your timeline and tap the settings button. Move the slider to strengthen and weaken the effect. You’ll see the changes immediately.

Tap the blue/green screen in your timeline and tap the settings button. Move the slider to strengthen and weaken the effect

Tap the crop button to activate a four-point mask to alter the area of the video or image that is used. Drag the mask to only include the area you want to appear in your finished video.

Tap the crop button and drag the corners to crop the image or video

You can now add any extra assets or effects and export the project as normal.

GIFF of flying plane

The example above was created in a couple of minutes. It’s not perfect, but it does show how powerful iMovie could be if you have the creativity, and the time, to make something awesome.

Apple’s free iMovie for Mac offers green screen functionality, too.

Oliver Haslam Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam is a professional freelance writer with nearly ten years of experience. His work has been published on Macworld, PCMag, 1Password's blog, and other websites. He writes about all things Apple.
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