This weekend, I set up a green screen in my back up office (winter office when the wifi fishing dock is too chilly or windy).  I set up lighting for filming, set up my video camera, and hung a green screen like sheet as a back drop behind my desk.

I then went through the process of trying to learn how to take a picture or a video and putting that into the background while putting my own head or image into the foreground using Pinnacle Studio MovieBox Ultimate.  My son, Corbin, helped me with the whole process and within about 90 minutes we were able to push our images into a South Park episode (just playing at first).

Then I pushed my son’s video image into a Rolling Stones concert, while my son played the guitar with Keith Richards.  Maybe not the best influence, but my son thought it was pretty cool.

Then I toyed around with a very very basic slide presentation using some still images from a trip I took to Cahokia Mounds, the largest pyramid in the Americas and the pyramid with a base larger than that of the Great Pyramid in Egypt.  (Looks like a dirt pyramid with the top cut off if you ever visit)

The tools that I have for this were relatively inexpensive.  I have a $250 mini-dvd camcorder, a $100 software program and a $40 video converter box that came with the software that enables me to plug my camera (or DVR or any video source) into my laptop via USB.  The green screen was thrown in with the software too and I thumb tacked it to the ceiling.

The Green screen can be used for anything from video productions to insert a talking head into a scene or to create special effects (think gollum in the Lord of the Rings) or even in web design (check out the MGM Grand website most of those images are created with Models in New York with the rest of the images pushed in from other sources). 

I’ll probably use it more for talking head purposes myself, so I can kick back in a massage chair drinking a beer while the world sees the professional image of me on the internet.  (Maybe not that extreme, but there are many uses.

The package that I bought is a steal at less than $160, if you can find it at $150 or better you are getting a good deal. This software is more video editing than screen capture. It will not replace Camtasia, but will enable you to take your Camtasia videos to a whole new level.   There are lesser versions of Pinnacle that range in price from $70 – $120, but for a few dollars more, you can get the full package along with many special effects, the green screen and all the cords you need too.  Compared to paying $400 for Camtasia it really felt cheap!


Its called Pinnacle Studio MovieBox Ultimate

Pinnacle Studio MovieBox Ultimate

Pinnacle Studio MovieBox Ultimate

Pinnacle Studio MovieBox Ultimate combines a high-speed USB 2.0 capture device with the power of Pinnacle Studio Ultimate video editing software and a suite of highly-acclaimed pro audio and video tools for professional results. The extensive range of capabilities includes compatibility with the Windows Vista operating system, HD DVD and AVCHD format editing and disc authoring, Hi-Fi audio music generation, and automatic Web publishing. In addition to Pinnacle Studio Ultimate video editing software s improved performance and speed, and a sleek new user interface, Pinnacle Studio MovieBox Ultimate includes BIAS Inc s SoundSoap audio cleaning tools, professional level special effects from ProDAD VitaScene, precision Panning and Zooming with StageTool MovingPicture, and a Chroma Key green screen backdrop for easy-to-achieve professional results. Product has new packaging, smaller footprint and upgraded software. Hardware remains identical to previous version.