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Chanelle Ellaya

Chanelle Ellaya
Chanelle Ellaya is the editor of Screen Africa. She completed her BA Journalism degree at the University of Johannesburg in 2011. While writing is her passion, she has a keen interest in the media in various capacities. Chanelle is an avid social media networker and a firm believer in the power of social and online networking. Between writing and tweeting, she finds time to feed her love for live music.

Complaints persist about DStv ad audio levels

People continue to complain that MultiChoice advertisements are too loud, regardless of steps taken by the broadcaster to standardise volume across commercials and TV shows.

In 2011, MultiChoice began assessing issues regarding audio levels of advertisements and found that while ad volume levels were higher than those of programming, the difference should not be significant enough for viewers to have to decrease the volume, adding that discrepancies in volume levels of advertisements on international channels were out of their control.

The issue with higher ad audio levels is not unique to MultiChoice and is a problem faced by broadcasters on a global scale, MultiChoice said.

Rob Davies visits US to boost film industry support

Rob Davies, the Minister of Trade and Industry is currently in Los Angeles visiting some of the major film studios in an attempt to persuade the United States to make films in South Africa.

“There is a number of Hollywood studios that are involved in film-making in South Africa so it was suggested that I go and talk to some of the executives,’ said Davies following the US-Africa Leaders Summit.

The film industry in South Africa accounted for about 25 000 jobs last year, a significant increase when compared with 4 500 almost 12 years ago.

JASA argues against On Digital Media porn channels

On Digital Media (ODM) seems to have mislead the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) by giving the regulator the impression that its three pornographic channels – Private Spice (which has since changed to Brazzers), Desire TV and Playboy TV – would show conventional/healthy sex between couples, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

Darryl Cooke, for the Justice Alliance of SA (JASA) told the court that a perusal of the content screened by ODM’s adult channels clearly showed that this was not the case, with shows such as Girls Behaving Badly and Backdoor Bikini MILFs on the air.

Cooke argued that these shows promote and glamorise promiscuity, unsafe sex and infidelity and that ODM had thereby misinformed ICASA with its initial representations of channel content.

ICASA granted ODM a license to air the porn channels in April last year as subscribed packages. JASA, Cause for Justice and Doctors for Life have since appealed to the court to overrule ICASA’s decision.

Fintech makes Trees of Life documentary series possible

Fintech finance solutions have made it possible for Johannesburg based wildlife and natural history film production company, Obsessively Creative, to start filming a new television documentary series titled Trees of Life. Finance provided by Fintech has enabled them to get the film equipment required for production.

The Trees of Life trilogy centres around three iconic African trees and the wildlife surrounding them in three different environments.

The series will be broadcast on the Smithsonian Channel in the US, Canada, and Caribbean countries, on ARTE France in French and German territories in Europe, and on Animal Planet in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Obsessively Creative are in final negotiations with NHU Africa for the worldwide distribution.

Obsessively Creative secured a multi-million rand grant from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the aforementioned international broadcasters to fund their project. This three part one-hour HD, surround sound, blue chip documentary, is the second Obsessively Creative production funded in part by the DTI.

“The DTI have been absolutely great. They were on board for my previous two-part series White Lions – Living Wild, produced with Joe Kennedy from Table Mountain Films. The DTI have a list of requirements that the film has to meet, if it does then it’s a simple process. The DTI’s contribution has made these new three films possible,’ says Stefania Muller, Producer, Director, and Owner at Obsessively Creative.

It is vital to use the latest production equipment for international broadcast platforms, and suppliers demand cash on delivery (COD). The planning and securing of funding and broadcasters for The Trees of Life took two years. Over the two year period Obsessively Creative only acquired income from royalties they received from their previous series’. Film industry professionals are mostly freelancers and financing structures differ from other industries in the private sector.

The budget is being allocated in four installments. The challenge that Obsessively Creative faced having met their funding targets for the production budget, was that the initial funding installment was not enough to cover their equipment costs and working capital until the next payment came in.

Unlike commercials or feature films, this type of wildlife documentary needs to be filmed over an extended period of time, and the rental of the equipment from a film equipment rental company would cost more than buying it.

“Production budgets are all paid in installments except the straight sales. You get paid once you’ve reached certain milestones set out in the contract. I approached two banks for equipment finance with signed contracts ensuring sufficient funds were available to pay off the loans completely by the end of the production period, and had property as surety, and I was turned down by both.’

“Fintech’s rental agreement spreads the budget over the entire production. Equipment suppliers need to be paid COD, and the production budget installments cannot cover only equipment costs. The sales executive at Fintech was willing to look at our project proposal and needs and went out of her way to come up with a financing plan,’ says Muller.

Fintech tailor made a finance solution that included video and stills cameras as well as supporting equipment including two Sony F55 kits, a Camball , EZ Jib, a Liliput Zacuto, adaptors, filters, two shotgun recorders, and two Macbook’s for the Trees of Life production.

The DTI’s contribution and Fintech’s finance option has made the filming of Trees of Life possible. However, securing sponsorship was difficult because the programs are based around three iconic trees. Albeit iconic trees, they are still trees and Obsessively Creative had no pilot footage, so funders had to trust the written interpretation of the vision.

“We will bring the trees alive with the use of new specialised equipment. Trees of Life is not only about the trees, we identify key characters that live in, on and around the tree, and follow their story. Herbert Brauer is my co-producer and Director of Photography (DOP), and we brought in Nathan Pilcher, who always wanted to do a program on the sausage tree in Zambia, to be co-producer and DOP for the Zambian episode. We’ll contact Fintech again soon if we go into 3D or I-Max,’ says Muller.

MTN encourages creative to embrace digital marketing

Richard Acheampong, the General Manager for MTN Marketing Services,
appealed to the creative arts industry at the launch of MTN
Season three which was held on 23 July 2014 at MTN ridge
Towers Office, Accra. In his address, Acheampong encouraged players in the
industry to make use of digital marketing as a means to get their work out to
the public and thereby generate an income.

Acheampong mentioned that musicians, app developers, actors and actresses
should make use of the digital space provided on the MTN play platform to
upload their work and gain income from downloads made by supporters.

Prospective contestants for Hitmaker season three have until 22 August 2014 to drop their demos at MTN branch offices, MTN Hitmaker partner stations across Ghana or via MTNplay.com.

The MTN Hitmaker show will be broadcast on selected television
stations and will feature 12 finalists performing for a panel of judges. The
general public can then vote for their favourite performers via SMS .

MTN Hitmaker Season three will be hosted by Peace Hyde and Bola
Ray. It will also feature a new judge, Edward Nana Poku Osei, who joins Bessa
Simons and Offie Cudjoe on the judging panel.

GfK research shows Africans trust traditional advertising methods

Research firm GfK analysed consumer behaviour in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa and found that Africans appear to show much higher levels of trust in traditional advertising methods.

According to GfK’s findings – which they stipulated is “far from uniform at a national level” – a staggering 49% of data gathered found product related TV ads to be the most trustworthy source of product information, 43% trust TV programmes, 38% trust radio ads, 36% trust radio programmes, and 32% trust newspaper ads. This shows a noteworthy contrast to significantly lower levels of confidence in the UK, where 8% of respondents trust in radio ads and 21% trust in TV ads.

GfK director Joseph Staton said, “Showcasing heritage and celebrating prestige combined with distinctive advertising messages will appeal to consumers across these increasingly demanding and discerning markets.”

The primary information source for 58% of British consumers is advice from friends and relatives, while this same logic applies to only 28% of African consumers, said GfK.

While quality, price and trust are the most important purchase influencers for both African and British consumers, brand legacy and status is of far more importance for Africans.

For more information visit the GfK website or the Warc website.

Latest media innovations discussed at 2014 News Technology Summit

The 14th annual News Technology Summit is taking place from 8 to 9 October 2014 at the DoubleTree hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. News directors, owners, presidents, vice presidents in technology industries, station managers, production managers, CFOs, operations managers, vice presidents and directors of engineering will benefit from attending the summit, which is focused on discussions surrounding everything from virtual reality to multiplatform workflow and economic news gathering.

An invitation-only event aimed at providing an experience that is beneficial to both attendees and sponsors, the summit provides unparalleled value in terms of education and networking, and maximum return on investment for sponsors in terms of relationship-building with relevant experienced industry players.

Attendees will receive a free participation package covering their accommodations and meals. Keynote Guests include Mikel Schaefer, News Director for WVUE-TV (Fox 8) in New Orleans and David Lougee, President of Gannett Broadcasting.

Featured topics include:

• IP-Based Infrastructure

• Multiplatform, File-Based and Cloud Workflows

• Field Acquisition and Newsroom Workflows

• Graphics and Virtual Environments

• Future Technolgies and Trends

Visit the News Technology Summit website for more information.

Adeyemi Michael’s Sodiq premieres in Namibia on 13 August

The Namibian premiere of Sodiq – brought to you by AfricAvenir and the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre (FNCC) – takes place next Wednesday, 13 August 2014, 18h30, at the FNCC.

Directed by Adeyemi Michael, the 60 minute documentary Sodiq, tells the story of Sodiq Adeojo and Sylvester Akpalara, an aspiring doctor and athlete respectively. However life didn’t unfold the way these individuals had hoped: Sodiq later murdered Sylvester and was sentenced to thirty years in prison, where he now spends his days.

The film poses the question: How does a young aspiring doctor find himself on trial for murder…?

The purpose of Sodiq, the documentary, produced by the UK National Film and Television School, is to discover what the turning point was in Sodiq’s life and how this is microcosm of wider societal issues in Britain today.

BCCSA issues R30 000 fine to KykNET

A R30 000 fine has been issued to KykNET by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) as a direct result of the channel airing a programme mimicking sufferers of Tourette’s Syndrome.

In its ruling the commission said, “The tribunal held that the mimicry amounted to a serious impairment of the dignity of persons who suffer from Tourette’s Syndrome, and that the comedic nature of the episode exacerbated the effect.’

Two actors were instructed by actress Elize Cawood, to pretend they were sufferers of Tourette’s Syndrome in two episodes – shot on 10 February and 10 March – of KykNET’s improvised comedy show , which is shot in front of a live audience.

The BCCSA ruled that the dignity of people who suffer from Tourette’s Syndrome is of much greater importance that the right to artistic freedom.

“We are of the view that the impairment in the present case was serious,’ said the BCCSA.

According to the BCCSA ruling, KykNET must pay the R30 000 fine by 31 August 2014.

Wide array of Sony products dazzles

Much to the delight of industry players, Sony had a wide and impressive range of products on display at Mediatech Africa.

“We are showcasing the F65, which is also known as the “Hollywood camera’. This is the camera that has been used by Sony Pictures for different big-name movies overseas,’ said Jess Goedhals, general manager: broadcast division at Sony South Africa.

“Then we have the 4K F55 and the F5 on display. The F55 is a camera that is generating an amazing amount of interest in the market in terms of its dynamic range, its affordability and its feature set,’ continued Goedhals.

Other products that attracted a lot of attention were the FS700, which is the smallest of Sony’s large sensor cameras. On the lower end, the PMW200 and the PMW150 also generated a lot of interest. In terms of studio cameras Sony displayed the HSXC100 and the cost-effective HXCD70.

“In addition we have Oled monitors to showcase all the 4K material. On display we have the PMWX300, which is the first broadcast 4K monitor. We are also showing the BVMF250, a colour grading monitor, as well as two production monitors, namely the PVM2541 and the PVM1741 which are production-type Oled monitors,’ mentioned Goedhals.

The new optical disc archiving system the ODSD55 was introduced to the industry at Mediatech Africa as well as a prototype of the AWS750 production kit in a box and the PMW50 and PMW1000.

“Mediatech Africa is an opportunity to showcase all our products within a concentrated environment to all the right people. It brings the customers to us. I’m pleased to see that Sony have come up with some killer products such as the F55 camera of which we’ve sold 12 since its introduction earlier this year,’ Goedhals concluded.

In terms of expert input, JC Milner, Sony’s South Africa’s technical sales manager, manned the stand with Goedhals.

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