"We try and help the beginners out. We tell them, for example,
that just because you have a two-hour cassette is no reason to make a two-hour movie. You'll drive your friends out of the
The club holds four competitions each year. In the spring,
the Sealed Roll competition is open only to film-makers whose productions have been chosen by the membership. Last year's
topics was Chinatown, and this year the film-makers are focussing on Victoria.
In November, the One Reel Edited competition takes place.
This is open to both film- and video-makers and any subject is acceptable.
At the club's annual awards banquet, a number of trophies
are awarded, including one for the best film and video of the year.
Aldersmith says he shoots a lot of his films using a basic
"It's a simple box camera. I have to use a hand meter,"
Aldersmith's film subjects have included Pre-Columbian art,
Acapulco, and Forbidden Plateau. Several years ago, he made short tourist-oriented films about Victoria attractions, like
the mass-produced Butchart Gardens short that retailed for $12.98 in souvenir shops.
Aldersmith said he favours documentaries: "They're the easiest
He said most of the club's members have their own equipment and are
encouraged to make four-minute films for competitions.
A 50-foot rool of Super 8 film runs for three minutes and 20 seconds.
What are the most common mistakes made by amateur film-makers?
"Making movies that are too long is one. Another is that people too
often don't use a tripod, which gives you jiggle pictures. Other pan and zoom too much. The zoom is basically there to set
up your shot."
It's the storyline, however, that is often the biggest problem.
"Coming up with an idea for a film, that's the toughest. Sometimes two
months will go by before we can all agree on an idea."
Then there are those whose ambitions exceeds the potential of their
primitive movie-making equipment.
"People sometimes have the idea of doing something really elaborate.
But there's no way a person with a basic film or video camera should try and do a Hollywood production. You can not do that
calibre of film."
What they can do are produce some surprisingly fine little films, like
a nifty animated short Aldersmith collaboratd on that features a spaceship carrying letters that spell INTERMISSION.
The second showing of the club's 26th Spring Film Festival will take
place Wed., April 18, 8 p.m., at Saanich Silver Threads Centre, 286 Hampton Rd. Admission is by donation.