Before streaming media, DVDs, or even VHS were common classroom teaching tools, a “multi-media” or audiovisual presentation typically meant 16 mm motion picture films or 35 mm film strips and slides. These presentations often included a musical or audio accompaniment on vinyl records or cassettes as well as a script and activities to be used by the instructor.
Although educational and training films are increasingly recognized by archivists as “historic” and worthy of preservation and digitization, less attention has been paid to the humble film strip and slide. At the Media Library, we believe that the content of these materials still has much to offer students and scholars and that they offer opportunities for discussing the evolution of learning technologies. In 2016 we embarked on a pilot project to digitize and provide access to a small number of filmstrip and slide presentations contained in the Media Library collections including university promotional materials, a mysterious orientation program, and a Cold War era film strip produced by the National Republican Congressional Committee. We hope that this type of work will allow valuable historical materials that are currently “hidden” and inaccessible due to obsolete technologies more widely available to students and scholars.
[News Clip: Hoffman reading] on The Portal to Texas History.
This 1980 news story from the KXAS-NBC 5 News Collection shows Fort Worth students using this learning technology for reading and mathematics.
The 35 mm slide presentation projects were completed with the assistance of the Music Library and Digital Projects. The Music Library digitized the compact cassette and Digital Projects scanned the slides. The Media Library used Adobe Premiere Pro to create a digital video from the stills and audio.One difficulty we had with this project was determining when to change images for the Music School orientation. It’s audio accompaniment did not contain the typical cue (beep) for image transitions and we did not have a transcript.
For the Media Library Orientation, we had neither audio or print documentation. Although records indicate these materials existed at some point, we were unable to locate them. We are still uncertain whether the images are presented in the proper sequence. While the video presents a fascinating look at the evolution and library technologies and spaces, there is no obvious narrative.
[North Texas State University School of Music Orientation] on Digital Library.
[North Texas State University Media Library Orientation] on Digital Library.
We were also excited to digitize a 35 mm film strip “Scandals,” contained in the recently processed Zuleika C. Scott Collection. This collection contains Cold War era filmstrips produced by the National Republican Congressional Committee during their campaign for Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon in the 1952 presidential election. The film strips were much more time-consuming to scan because the film strips were rolled tightly together in metal cans for many years and were difficult to accommodate on a standard flatbed scanner. Special Collections generously provided us with a scan of each frame of the filmstrip and the Music Library digitized the vinyl audio recording. As with the slide presentations, we used Adobe Premiere Pro to create a digital video that matched the audio and visual components of this presentation. In this video, you can hear the “beep” that signals when the presenter should advance the film strip. To view each image separately or to listen to only the audio recording, select “Watch Now,” and “All Formats.”
Scandals on Digital Library.
Watching Filmstrips & Slide Shows
The Media Library continues to circulate analog playback equipment including slide projectors. We also own working 35 mm film strip projectors and are happy to let you use them to view materials onsite once you have viewed our instructional video and have been oriented to the equipment.