Roundtable 1: iMovie and Archival Footage

Roundtable 1: iMovie and Archival Footage

Hosted by Northeast Historic Film with support from the Maine Humanities Council on July 26, 2002. The Roundtable was convened to advance discussion of digital video production in the iBook era, starting with technical issues, visual literacy and reuse of archival footage. View the participant roster.

 This page contains two main sections:
iMovie Production Equipment
A compilation of recommendations for production equipment choices, followed by a detailed listing of equipment and specs.
Using Archival Footage
Thoughts about using historical footage in middle school productions.
Below is a list of technical suggestions to assist in planning purchases around digital video for the classroom.
Low cost plan
Only the basic items necessary for working with digital video
  • iBook with iMovie software
  • Digital movie camera (mini DV)
  • Tripod
  • Cables
  • Microphone
Intermediate cost plan
Items that can be added to enhance the basic equipment.
  • External Firewire hard drive
  • Lights (for animation)
  • Digital still camera
  • LCD projector
High cost plan
Additional items for upper-level digital video production.
  • Apple computer with G4 processor (G4 tower or new iMac)
  • 3 chip digital video camera
  • Video setup equipment
  • DVD authoring software
Detailed List for iMovie Production


  This section is organized into three categories:
  • Video Production
  • Video Accessing
  • Video Presentation
1.       Video Production
A.     Digital video camera
Technical specs to look for in a digital camera include:
  • DV format
  • Optical zoom
  • Analog video-in capability
  • External microphone input
  • Single frame capability for any animation
Entry level cameras = $500-$600 (Canon ZR 40, Canon ZR 45 – includes flash chip to take still pictures)
Intermediate level camera = $750-$900 (Sony TRV-25)
Please note that product model numbers tend to change frequently, so focus more on the technical specs from the suggested list in the event that the model numbers are no longer relevant.
B.     Tripod
Lightweight, with a fluid head making it capable of swiveling smoothly.
C.     Digital still camera
Be certain that it is iPhoto compatible – a list of compatible cameras is available from
D.    Scanner
USB or Firewire compatible.
E.     Microphone
To attach to video camera to provide for high quality sound. There are two main types, clip-on and handheld. Also consider a USB microphone that attaches directly to the iBook for recording audio.
F.      Digital Mini DV tapes
Approximately $6-$9 each for a 60-minute tape.
G.    Cables
To connect the camera to the computer: look for a 4 pin to 6 pin Firewire cable – unfortunately these are not included with most digital movie cameras.
To connect the computer to an external Firewire hard drive: look for a 6 pin to 6 pin Firewire cable in order to transfer files from computer to hard drive or vice versa.
To connect the camera to another camera: look for a 4 pin to 4 pin Firewire cable.
All of these cables and many more can be purchased from or www.cyberguyscom.
Lighting (for animation)
To ensure quality lighting for animation projects. Examples include Lowell I-Pro, scoop type, and/or Smith Vector with a stand.
Read all your equipment manuals! iMovie 2: The Missing Manual by David Pogue may also be useful.
External hard drives
For longer videos and extra storage it is important to purchase an external Firewire hard drive. Technical specs to look for include:
  • 5400 minimum RPM
  • Firewire compatible
  • 2 MB cache
  • As much memory as can be afforded (as of this meeting, 80 GB was approximately $230)

High end drives (over $1000) include San Cube made by VST – allows multiple users.

2.      Video Accessing
A.     Sharing or inputing video
There are several formats that are compatible with the iMovie software:
  •  Mini DV – preferred method for its quality and ease of use. Older film formats (8mm, Super 8mm, 16mm) can be transferred to Mini DV – contact NHF).
  • VCD (Mac VCD or Roxio Titanium software and an external CD Burner needed)
  • DVD, high quality end product but not suggested to share video for further use in iMovie as it requires the video be transferred to analog before being redigitized and this leads to lower quality video.
  • Export to Quicktime.
  • Export to analog VHS.
3.      Video Display/Presentation
A.     LCD projector
Prices for these are dropping every month. There are a few basic specs to look for. Buy the highest Lumens (strength of the bulb) you can afford and make sure it is SVGA compatible for use with the iBooks.
Suggested product – Epson Powerlite 51C – 1200 Lumens – $1549
B.     External speakers
Powered by an outside source, meaning not the iBook or projector.
For questions about the equipment listed above, please email Rick Barter.


Using Archival Footage




The iMovie software on iBooks provides an excellent opportunity for viewing and working with visual material and sound. There are many moving images available for study and reuse at Northeast Historic Film and the Internet Archive.
How can historical footage be used in middle schools? How can these compelling bits of images and sounds be used to promote understanding of the past and connection to the present?
1.       Need
New technology in the classroom, such as the introduction of iBooks, leads to needs for information for teachers relating to visual literacy.
  • Create sample visual materials for delivery over the Internet and on hard media. Downloadable files on the Internet and Mini DV cassettes will both work well for iBooks.
  • Provide contextual documents for moving image materials.
  • Develop discussions about where the images came from, what was the original audience, what were the original messages, what does it say to you today.
2.      Need
Consider media literacy objectives broadly within the curriculum. There is a need for materials that use moving images to help meet the State of Maine Learning Results.
  • Identify what students already know. They are already very experienced consumers of media. Many students watch more than we do. Many middle school students understand point of view, intended audience.
  • Teachers are hungry for intellectual stimulation. Provide high-level opportunities for teachers to develop their own levels of understanding moving-image media.
  • Develop and share examples of the use of moving images meeting objectives of Maine’s Learning Results.
·         All models should be aware of the intellectual content and how it is connected to the historical context.
3.      Need
Develop and disseminate tools for reading and constructing media. What is authentic? What messages about authenticity are embedded in works? Apple provides software tools for creating scratches and other artifacts. When should these be used? When are they misleading?
  • Direct teachers to resources such as Northeast Historic Film’s Video Loan Service, the Internet Archive, and Media Literacy Review.
4.      Other Thoughts
Include discussion of copyright with colleagues and students. See the Library of Congress webpage on Copyright Basics. Also read Eric Schwartz’s essay on copyright that was presented at Northeast Historic Film’s 2001 Symposium.
Encourage originality in student-produced media work. Students compose and perform music – encourage them to create and find community-based music and images.
When developing instructional material, consider the use of online chat
that allows simultaneous responses to visual material.
  • Students are visually sophisticated; we all need to develop common language for what we see.
  • Teachers need small samples of archival materials immediately to work with in the iMovie environment.
  • Contextual background will help teachers and students understand visual materials.
For questions related to the list above, please contact Karan Sheldon.


Roundtable I – Participant Roster




Rick Barter
Conners Emerson School, Bar Harbor, MLTI regional integration mentor
A former classroom teacher, grades 4-8. Has been technology specialist in Bar Harbor (K-8) for the past 6 years, dealing with all aspects of educational technology from hardware, software, network, to working with staff and students in the integration of computer technology into curriculum. An iMovie user and fan. Currently MLTI RIM for Region 3 (Hancock County.)
Bob Brodsky
Brodsky & Treadway, International Center for 8mm Film
Bob Brodsky and Toni Treadway have made little films together for almost thirty years, but mostly they’ve been helping others to make their little films by writing tech articles and learning the craft of bringing their images to life on the TV screen. If you’ve watched Public Television’s American Experience shows you’ve seen their work.
Eric Chamberlin
Boothbay Region Elementary School, MLTI regional integration mentor
I have been teaching 8th grade Social Studies for 3 years in Boothbay Harbor. Last year, I wrote a grant to acquire resources to help incorporate technology into my classroom. This included a Powerbook G4 laptop, digital projector, Canon ZR10 DV camcorder, speakers, and other peripherals. In January, I was selected as the Regional Integration Mentor for the state’s laptop initiative. Our school has been an exploration site with 74 7th graders using the iBook computers since March. I have used iMovie with classroom instruction as well as projects.
Gail Garthwait
UM School of Education, Instructional Technology
Gail is an Assistant Professor of Education and teaches in the Master’s of Instructional Technology Program (University of Maine). In a former life she was an elementary school library media specialist and has maintained her interests in student-centered education, exciting instructional use of technology, and preserving our history in a variety of formats. Last year she served on Bette Manchester’s Professional Development Design Team.
Barbara Greenstone
Mt. Ararat Middle School, Topsham, Technology Literacy Integrator
I’ve been in education off and on since 1972 (30 years!) teaching mostly Language Arts at the upper elementary and middle school level. In the last 6 or 7 years I’ve been very involved with technology in education and I’m currently a Literacy/Technology Integrator at Mt. Ararat Middle School in Topsham, Maine, where my students are beginning to experiment with video production using iMovie. I’m also a SEED (Spreading Educator to Educator Development) Technology Learning Leader and have spent a good deal of this summer training teachers and helping them get ready for the MLTI which will bring one-to-one computing to every 7th grade classroom in Maine this September.
James S. Henderson
State Archivist
Maine State Archivist, administrative head of the State Archives. Directs Maine’s Historical Records Advisory Board, Northeast Historic Film board member. Ph.D. in political science from Emory University.
Media Educator
Huey, an independent filmmaker from Portland, Maine, has been working as an artist-in-residence in K – 12 schools since 1975. He has done workshops for teachers and students in animation, video production, and editing using iMovie from Machias, Maine, to San Francisco. He is the director of the Maine Student Film and Video Festival, which held its 25th Festival in July 2002.
Sonja Hyde-Moyer
Museum of Science, Boston, Manager of Web & New Media
Sonja has been developing online experiences for kids since 1995. In 1997, she launched the first website for YTV, at the time Canada’s only network aimed at kids. She has also worked for the National Film Board of Canada as Manager of E-Business. In her own time, she created and maintains an educational website about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot which generated over 1,000,000 hits last November.
Jo Israelson
University of Maryland
Janna Jones
University of South Florida, Communication & English
I am a university professor and my research focuses on cinematic culture and preservation. I am currently conducting research for a book about the cultural implications of moving image preservation. My book about movie theater preservation entitled The Southern Movie Palace: Rise, Fall, and Resurrection (University Press of Florida) will be out in the spring of 2003.
Bette Manchester
Maine Department of Education, MLTI, Distinguished Educator
Previously, Principal at Mt. Ararat Middle School, Topsham, Maine, and now the Director of staff development and content for the MLTI project. I am contracted through MSAD#75 to do this work.
Judy McGeorge
The Learning Barn, Blue Hill, Executive Director
Judy McGeorge is the Executive Director of The Learning Barn, a Maine nonprofit educational organization established to put into practice the research of Dr. Seymour Papert. Papert was one of the co-founders of MIT’s Media Lab and is known as the inventor of the LOGO programming language, often used in elementary and secondary education. Papert’s career has been devoted to the intersection of learning and digital technologies. He and Governor Angus King initiated the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (“Laptop Initiative”), which will provide an Apple Ibook to every seventh and eighth grade student and teacher in the public schools of the state of Maine. The Learning Barn is supporting the implementation of the Laptop Initiative in several ways. Together with the University of Maine we are organizing a conference: Learners, Laptops, and Powerful Ideas to be held at Orono August 13-16, 2002. Dr Papert has written weekly columns for the Bangor Daily News and he has spoken at many local conferences focusing on the Laptop initiative.
Shaun Meredith
Shaun Meredith is the Senior Project Manager for Apple assigned to the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI). His roles and responsibilities include all aspects of the project including but not limited to timing and coordination of activities, logistics of hardware and software delivery, assigning resources in terms of manpower and budgets, business process and engineering feedback, maintaining the highest levels of customer satisfaction, and ensuring fulfillment of all contractual obligations.
Mark Neumann
Department of Communication, University of South Florida
See his presentations from past Northeast Historic Film Symposiums in the Symposiums and Essays Archive.
Rick Prelinger
The Internet Archive and Prelinger Archives, San Francisco
Visit Prelinger Archives digitized movies at He spoke on “Amateur Film and New Media” at the 2002 Northeast Historic Film Symposium, addressing how emerging media can promote greater public access to cultural resources and encourage public authorship, active reading and reuse of historical and cultural material.
John M. Robbins
Technology Integrators & Collaborators, Bowdoinham, Executive Director
After teaching 7th grade science for 5 years in Maine, John is currently founder and director of Technology Integrators & Collaborators, a non-profit organization established to facilitate education through new media technologies. Collaborating with educational organizations (e.g., Maine State Museum, Chewonki Foundation, Theater Project, Maine Math & Science Alliance) to bring content rich digital video for iMovie (web, CD or VHS) integration workshops for Maine’s school- based educators. In addition, John is a workshop facilitator for Apple & the MLTI project, as well as a SEED Technology Learning Leader.
Marko Schmitt
Marko taught high school and college English in New York City. He later founded a software company in Palo Alto, CA. which specialized in web based educational media for corporations in Silicon Valley. Marko and his wife, Dede, moved to Maine in 1999.
Karan Sheldon
Co-founder, Northeast Historic Film
Co-founder of Northeast Historic Film with David Weiss. Co-producer of From Stump to Ship: A 1930 Logging Film reconstruction and 22-site outreach program for the University of Maine Orono. Served as co-chair for the Committee on the U.S. National Moving Image Preservation Plans, advising the Library of Congress.
Kim Smallidge
Conners Emerson School, Bar Harbor
7th grade teacher and iMovie user.
Dwight Swanson
Northeast Historic Film, Archivist
Graduate of L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation, George Eastman House. Also M.A. in American Studies, B.A. in History. Expertise in research on historic photographs and authors leading to the development of digital collections; bibliographic searches in OCLC, MUMS and CARL databases and the World Wide Web. Indexed more than 2,000 videotapes and films using FileMaker Pro software, developed indexing system for CD-ROM databases of historic prints and photographs, indexed approximately 15,000 prints and photographs using ARGUS and ImageBASE automated systems.
Toni Treadway
Brodsky & Treadway, International Center for 8mm Film
Bob Brodsky and Toni Treadway have made little films together for almost thirty years, but mostly they’ve been helping others to make their little films by writing tech articles and learning the craft of bringing their images to life on the TV screen. If you’ve watched Public Television’s American Experience shows you’ve seen their work.
Thanks to all for participating. The Tech group was chaired by Rick Barter, with recording by Dwight Swanson. The Using Historical Footage group was chaired by Karan Sheldon, with recording by Jo Israelson. John Robbins was timekeeper. Morning screenings were presented by Eric Chamberlin, Huey, Barbara Greenstone and Rick Prelinger.