What do you need to get started? Here's a list of the bare minimums:

  1. A video capture card. If you've purchased a Macintosh computer in the last few years, chances are it came with FireWire. This port allows you to connect a DV camera to your computer and import video. If you use Windows, you can buy a FireWire card for as little as $50. If you have an older camcorder, it might be more economical to purchase a video capture card that connects using a standard RCA cable, however, the picture quality won¹t be nearly as good.

  2. A video camera. DV cameras have come down in price recently and you can probably find one for as little as $350. Don't have that kind of cash? Ask parents if they have a camera they'd be willing to loan to the class during a project.

  3. Video Editing Software. For Macintosh, your best bet is iMovie, which is bundled free with every computer. Windows XP and ME users have the option of using MovieMaker, another free but functional video-editing package. Even if the only program you have is KidPix, you can still import short video clips into a slide show.

Other tools that are nice to have but not essential include an external microphone, tripod, and spotlight as well as a scanner and digital camera.