A Bit of History

Norma Benner 1-15Club Historian Norma Benner, who served as President from 2009 to 2011, will be using this page to share occasional “blasts from the past.” If you have an historical item to share, email Norma at nnbenner@fea.net.

Video Club Co-Founder Mike Evans Helped Us in Many Ways

November 9, 2020

MIKE EVANS:  Until we obtained a room for our current Studio, the LAB had a corner for the “Transfer Station” where Mike Evans, a co-founder of the Video Club in 1989, (with helpers Nahid Robers, Lou Trirado & John & Yvonne Dewey) projected and transferred old film onto video tape, then onto disks for preservation of Villagers’ memories.  They cleaned and spliced film together.  Business boomed and several thousand dollars were added to the Club’s treasury as a result of their many hours of service. 

In 2014, at the request of then-President Lucy Parker, Mike took on the role of “Equipment Controller,” surveying, inspecting, cataloging, and labeling every piece of club equipment and setting up policies for equipment management. He later turned over his records and systems to other club leaders.

Mike, who passed away in 2018, was also very active in local Veterans affairs. A photographer by profession, he served for many years as the official photographer (see above) at the club’s Annual Awards Banquets. See the tribute to Mike published on our website at his passing.


On the Road to Hands-On Instruction in Video Editing

October 1, 2020
For many years, Saddleback College Emeritus offered a course entitled “Video Production” to Leisure World residents. The 10-week classes were held in the Video Club’s meeting room where attendees sat mostly at tables. We learned and practiced camera techniques, learned about hard drives, etc. The instructor, Michael Ramirez, showed us his use of Adobe Premier in HIS productions.

When the Emeritus instructor was moving on, two of our Video Club members offered to fill the vacancy. They learned that a master’s degree was required or equivalent experience. Starkey had a master’s degree and Norma Benner had created teaching materials for Pinnacle 9 Plus (which most of our members were using).

Starkey and Norma were told that a recent graduate in the video field with the requisite master’s degree was likely to be chosen AND that course outline did NOT show any video editing.

Later, when Emeritus funding was cut and the “Video Production” class was one of the classes cut, we had an emergency meeting where it was decided to create our own 10-week course, using club members as teachers. Thus the beginning of the evolution of the hands-on club classes we have today.

On the way to having hands-on instruction in the Video Club’s Lab, we had to get creative. Besides collecting mobile desks, we were always on the lookout for needed computers. Sometimes members would contribute one they no longer needed. We were told that all equipment given or bought by clubs belonged to GRF, so the PC Club couldn’t just give PCs to another club; they had to be given to GRF. Also, computers replaced by Administration, had to be put up for auction. Turned out the computers were sold by pallet and couldn’t be examined or purchased individually.

Watching Old VHS Tapes

January 3, 2020
A few years ago, a resident called offering her collection of VHS tapes to our club. From our name “Video Club” she assumed that the purpose of the club was to gather members together to watch movies! Some Video Club members still watch old movies on their VCRs at home, but others watch their VHS tapes containing precious family footage on a monitor in the Club’s Capture Center while transferring the content into a digital format for preservation.

The result can be put directly onto a DVD or brought into an editing program on a computer for enhancing by cutting out the extraneous, adding titles, photos, sound, making color correction, etc.

It is important not to delay as VHS tapes deteriorate. The Capture Center in the Video Club’s Lab is open from one to four pm Tuesday through Friday. Volunteer supervisors will help you learn how to use the equipment. Together we can help you while fulfilling the Club’s mission to help Villagers “Preserve and make memories.”

Remembering Joe Zambito

November 6, 2019
When I look at the beautiful display case in the Video Lab (which houses our “museum” of older video paraphernalia), I think of the donor, Joe Zambito. Joe was the leader of the monthly Ulead Users Group. Ralph Vanderlinde and Wolfgang Kutter, who now lead the successor Corel VideoStudio Forum (currently inactive), were participants in Joe’s group. (Note that Ulead Systems is a division of Corel.)

Note: Joe Zambito was not a resident of then Leisure World. He was always well prepared to lead the Ulead Users Group. He bought the latest software version. We had been looking to buy a display case and when Joe was moving from his beautifully furnished home in Mission Viejo, he graciously contributed it along with computers and a desk (which was used for holding acquired computers while repairing them). Joe has recently moved into an assisted living facility in Arizona.

From the January 2011 Videogram

NOTE: Meeting in “users’ groups” was how the Video Club shared video editing know-how in past years.


For many years the Video Club had only two Video Editing Groups: Pinnacle and Ulead. As they met separately, calling them Pinnacle Users and Ulead Users‘ meetings made sense. Then, thanks to Ed Larson, some of our members began to use Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker. Then we added a Mac, so iMovie could be taught and practiced under the leadership of Ed Koch. We began calling the combined meetings “User’s Meetings.” Starting this month, we’ll call this second Thursday of each month 12:30 pm meetings Video Editors Meetings. We’ll continue having a half hour of information of interest to users of all editing programs before breaking up into specific editing groups.

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