Imagine being able to watch never-before-viewed film footage from World War II up close in High Definition.
Thanks to the work of a Palmerton Area High School graduate, among others, such a concept is only a click of the remote away.
Dan McDonald, a senior at Lafayette College and 2006 graduate of PAHS, spent time in the past year as an intern on one of the History Channel's most ambitious projects to date – "World War II in HD."
The 10-hour character-driven series, which first aired Nov. 15, tells the story of the war through the lives of 12 individuals whose paths often intersect in unexpected ways.
The high-definition series uses color footage drawn from more than 3,000 hours of World War II film, unearthed from archives and private collections across the globe.
McDonald, an English major who concentrates his studies in film, said he gained valuable insight into documentary film production.
"I thought this would be a great way to improve my technical knowledge of filmmaking, as well as (have) an opportunity to network and better understand the dynamics of the industry," McDonald said.
McDonald plans to attend graduate school after completing his degree at Lafayette.
Donald L. Miller, professor of History at Lafayette College, was writer and chief historical consultant for the full-color, high definition series narrated by Emmy Award-winner Gary Sinise.
Miller's best-selling book, The Story of World War II in 2001, was the inspiration for the remarkable series.
As head of the history department internship program, Miller helped 10 students secure the internships with Lou Reda Productions of Easton, filmmaker for the documentary.
Cara Murphy, a junior from New Providence, N.J., conducted historical research and assisted with archiving film and video footage while working with freelance film editors Jasmeet Singh Bansal and Lucas Abel.
The editors also included Murphy in creative decision making, such as how to capture a particularly intense scene.
As a research assistant, senior Emily Caracandas, of Glenmont, NY, read dozens of unpublished memoirs written by World War II veterans.
Working with producer Liz Reph and Don Meyerson, she shared her input on how the personal experiences preserved in the memoirs could be woven into the series. Caracandas, a history and Spanish double major, gained valuable insight into documentary film production and how to connect her work at Lafayette with a professional project.
Murphy pursued the internship as a way to explore her interest in early 20th century U.S. history. The experience prompted her to consider a career in television writing and editing.
The Lou Reda team was impressed with the interns' high quality of work and passion for learning the production process.
Other students and graduates who served as interns were sophomore Tyler Bamford, of Souderton, a history major; senior Zachary Cleary, of South Glastonbury, CN., who is pursuing a B.S in mechanical engineering and an A.B. with a major in Russian and East European studies; and recent graduates Cassandra Bradley, Douglas Michell, Sarah Reddan, Ashley Ruane, and Sara Walter.