By KEN FARIS
Special to The Star
The overwhelming popularity of video technology has driven some amateur movie clubs to extinction, but
50 years after it was formed the Victoria Amateur Movie Club still enjoys a healthy membership.
So says three of its members—club president
Margaret Chamberlain, film custodian Len Thomas, and secretary Morris Aldersmith.
Thomas, who has been a member since 1951 and is the longest
active member of the group, said there are about 35 members in the club now, and although membership has been as high as 65
the club has managed to average 30 to 40 members during the years since its start in 1941.
"We're doing fairly well right now, considering," said club
president Chamberlain. "About 90 per cent of our members are senior citizens and we'd like more younger members, but none
of the younger ones seem to want to stay."
Aldersmith said he thinks this is because the younger generation
doesn't seem as interesting in joining leisure clubs as they did when he was young.
"In those days people seemed to be more creative and got
involved in groups," he said. "They were less interested in their privacy than people are today."
"Another reason movie clubs in North America have been going
the way of Super 8 is that video technology has all but obliterated the use of film by amateurs.
Aldersmith said the biggest change brought on by the
video wave is the ease and affordability of the new technology. Comparing
the price of film alone, Aldersmith said it costs around $30 for three minutes worth of Super 8 sound film, $60 to $70 for
three minutes of 16 millimetre film, yet you can buy a two hour video cassette for around $5.
Not only that, he said, but it has become more and more
difficulty to find labs that develop movie film, whereas video can be shown instantly using a playback machine and television
— and then re-recorded if desired.
Aldersmith said that while movie cameras are "dirt cheap"
now because of the popularity of video, a video buff can get started with a camera for under $1,000, although he said a good
package, including camera, tape editor, playback unit and colour monitor, can run upwards of $5,000.
The Victoria Amateur Movie Club has resigned itself to the
video revolution, and club competitions include categories for video as well as movie productions.