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Chanelle Ellaya

Chanelle Ellaya
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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.

Multichoice leads SAFTA nominations

MultiChoice took an early lead at The South African Film and Television Awards as the most nominated broadcaster overall, with 149 SAFTA nominations.

These included the most nominated shows in all major categories: feature film, TV comedy, TV drama, soap, and telenovela.

“We’ve got a simple goal for MultiChoice – to be the most-loved teller of African stories,” says Yolisa Phahle, CEO for General Entertainment at MultiChoice. “It takes a portfolio of production teams to faithfully cover the breadth of Africa’s stories and I’m proud to say that as all of these nominations for MultiChoice entities show, the talented people at M-Net, 1Magic, kykNET, Mzansi Magic, and Showmax are the best in the industry. And this is just the beginning – we’ve got big plans for our original productions.”

Most nominated feature film: Five Fingers For Marseilles (Showmax) & Nommer37 (kykNET)
In the feature film category, Five Fingers For Marseilles, now streaming on Showmax, and Nommer37, produced by kykNET, are the most nominated, with seven nominees each. Nommer37’s nominations include Best Feature Film, Best Actor for Irshaad Ally as Randall and Best Actress for Monique Rockman as Pam, while Five Fingers To Marseilles’ include Best Director for Michael Matthews.

kykNET is the most nominated channel overall in the category, with 26 nominations split between Nommer37; Ellen, Die Ellen Pakkies Storie (5); Kanarie (5); Raaiselkind (3); Meerkat Maantuig (2); Stroomop (2); Wonderlus and Susters.

Most nominated telenovela: ‘The River’ (1Magic)

In the telenovela category, 1Magic’s The River is the most nominated series, with 17 nominations in the category, including Best Telenovela. It was also nominated for Most Popular TV Soap / Telenovela. Among other nominations, Moshidi Motshegwa as Malefu and Sindi Dlathu as Lindiwe are both up for Best Actress, while Presley Chweneyagae as Cobra and Hlomla Dandala as Zweli will compete for Best Actor.

1Magic is the most nominated channel overall in the category, with 17 nominations.

Most nominated comedy: ‘Tali’s Wedding Diary’ (Showmax)

In the comedy category, Showmax’s first original series, Tali’s Wedding Diary, earned seven nominations, including Best Comedy and Best Actress for Julia Anastasopoulos. Tali’s Wedding Diary had the most first-day views of any series on Showmax on its launch.

Most nominated drama: ‘Lockdown’ (Mzansi Magic)

In the drama category, Mzansi Magic’s Lockdown 2 is the most nominated series, with eight nominations, including Best TV Drama, and Best Actress nods for both Dawn Thandeka King as Ma-Z and Zola Nombona as Monde, who will compete against each other and Thuso Mbedu from Mzansi Magic’s Is’Thunzi, who’s been nominated for an International Emmy for the last two years as Winnie.

Mzansi Magic is the most nominated channel overall in the category, with 17 nominations split between Lockdown, The Herd (5) and Is’thunzi (4).

Most nominated soap: ‘Isibaya’ (Mzansi Magic)

In the soap category, Mzansi Magic’s Isibaya is the most nominated series, with 12 nominations in the category and a thirteenth for Most Popular TV Soap / Telenovela. Isibaya’s nominations include Best Soap; Best Actress for Nomzamo Mbatha as Thandeka, and Best Actor for both Pallance Dladla as Jabu and Sdumo Mtshali as Sbu.

Mzansi Magic is the most nominated channel overall in the category, with 17 nominations split between Isibaya and Isithembiso (5).

M-Net has all the nominees for Best International format

MultiChoice dominates a number of other categories too: M-Net has all the nominees for Best International Format (Survivor South Africa: Philippines; My Kitchen Rules – South Africa Season 2;  and Dancing With the Stars South Africa), while kykNET produced two of three talk shows nominated (Op die Spel and Parlement Parlement) and Mzansi Magic produced two of three made-for-TV movies (Thembi’s Trial and Mbalenhle).

Most nominated channel overall: kykNET

kykNET is the most nominated channel overall, with 56 nominations, followed by Mzansi Magic with 55.

The nominees were announced on 8 February 2019 at Ster-Kinekor, The Zone, in Johannesburg. Winners will be announced on 2 March 2019 at Sun City Superbowl.

 

In conversation with Blacksmith Collective

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:

Marcus von Geyso and Diogo Mendonça are the founders of Blacksmith Collective – a production collective specialising in content creation and creative problem solving. The company prides itself on going the extra mile to meet their client’s needs by formulating bespoke technological solutions for content purposes.

How did Blacksmith Collective come to be?

We worked together at Ogilvy and have always been entrepreneurs at heart. We didn’t really know what we wanted at the time, we just knew that we wanted to do things differently, and that’s when we came up with the idea of creating a collective – a unique business model that was created to ignite creativity by bringing the best creatives for the job onto some of the most exciting projects.

What kind of content production, if any, do you specialise in?

Our background is more in the brand and entertainment space, and we are well-known within this space. We are also really passionate about technology and innovation, and have become specialists in merging technology for content purposes which has led to us getting a lot more requests to do live-streams, work with robotic arms and custom-built rigs that we happen to own a few of. We carry the reputation of being the team to go to when clients don’t know if something is possible or not.

What have been some of your production highlights thus far?

We have been fortunate to have various highlights, but some that stand out are working with Intel and Absa to light up Johannesburg CBD with 300 light drones; our first international campaign for Visit Qatar; live streaming Oprah Winfrey with Facebook Africa as a client; working with Carling Black Label to reframe what it means to be a man in today’s society; and being the first African brand to use Periscope manager with Castle Lager and the T20 Mzansi Super league.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing producers in the industry today? How do you combat these?

The need for instant content does make it a lot more difficult to deliver high-end crafted work, as the reality is that it takes time to do good work. But, based on our experience, the best way to combat these is to have open and clear communication with client upfront as time does not allow for many reverts, thus we try to plan as much as possible upfront. Also choosing your work as well as managing the amount of work in the system, helps minimise the risk of putting out mediocre work for the sake of it.

With audiences favouring binge-watching on digital platforms, what changes have people in the business of film and television had to make?

The consumer has had a power shift and they are dictating the direction that film and television need to take in order for brands to reach their audiences. With there being so much variety and competition for audience share, it is important for content creators to understand and know their audiences and be more selective about them. Very few content pieces are able to cater for the masses these days – it’s about being niche and strategic.

Is there a place for both VOD and traditional broadcasters in the future? How do you see the two co-existing?

Content on demand is a trend that has been happening for years thanks to YouTube and social media. It is all about getting the content you want at the time you want it. Whichever platform can provide that will rise to the top.

What makes Blacksmith Collective different to other production companies?

We innovate, and push the envelope. We even build customs rigs to deliver on our creative ambitions. If we want to get a certain shot, we will make it happen. We tap into our vast network of more than 300 creatives, ranging from art directors to camera operators. We choose the teams who are best suited for the job. We try and stay away from only using in-house talent – this helps us continually innovate and generate new concepts.

You describe yourselves as a Production Collective, specialising in content creation and creative problem solving. What do you mean by ‘creative problem solving’?

The market has changed so quickly and forced many businesses to adapt to its demands, and often clients have great ideas and aren’t necessarily sure on how to execute them. We are often the team that clients come to when they need something to be executed that isn’t the norm – projects that push the limits or require a lot of creative innovation.

What next for Blacksmith Collective?

We have expanded and moved into the event space as we believe the future is in brands being experiential with content being a part of this, thus our next step is to become experiential experts while growing our business in the international realm. We have been fortunate to have two international projects already and look forward to expanding the business on a global scale.

Director speak: Mark Jackson

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SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:

From civil engineering to filmmaking, this month we chat to Girl From Nowhere director Mark Jackson…

What is your background and how has it shaped you as a director?

Most people are very surprised to learn that I have a degree in civil engineering. But it makes sense to me. Civil engineering, like movie-making, has a lot to do with project management. And in civil engineering, the sky is the limit. You learn how to build the biggest things imaginable, from dams to skyscrapers. So I guess you discover that anything is achievable.

Was a career in film/television always the plan?

In a way, yes. At university, I spent a lot of time running the darkroom, and taking photos and writing stories for the varsity newspaper, so I think I always secretly planned a career change as soon as I graduated.

What kind of content do you enjoy creating & why?

I’m not sure I always like creating content. I just feel compelled to make it, especially with documentary work. But with Girl From Nowhere, it was really a lot of fun seeing the actors acting out my script. I got to watch my movie coming alive, through the camera.

What inspires you creatively?

People. Nature. The world. Inspiration is everywhere! And I really enjoy studying mythology.

Your micro-budget film – Girl From Nowhere – has topped the charts on Showmax. What do you credit its success to?

I think it’s the equivalent of a page turner. People really want to see what happens next. So it’s a compelling story, with strong actors. Christia [Visser] is very popular. And I think audiences are hungry for something new. Many great big-budget films soon all start to look the same. Girl From Nowhere is fresh, and fun.

What’s the secret to making a high-quality, micro-budget film? Any tips for fellow filmmakers struggling with budget?

Don’t skimp on the sound design, or the grading – that’s where production quality is very noticeable. Shoot in natural light. Add extra value wherever you can. Find unseen locations. And we have great musicians in South Africa – an awesome soundtrack is within anyone’s reach.

What value do VOD & SVOD platforms like Showmax hold for the South African film industry and emerging filmmakers in particular?

I think those platform offer huge opportunities to emerging filmmakers. It allows them to skip over some of the traditional gatekeepers, like the funding committees, or some distributors, who seem to have other ideas about what people want to watch.

With consumers of all ages favouring digital platforms and steering away from appointment viewing, where do you think that leaves the theatrical film industry and traditional broadcast media?

I think they need to adapt, fast.

Which are you currently working on?

I’m making a really cool graphic novel of my next script. The plan is publish this first, to be enjoyed in its own right, and then I can pitch that to investors, producers, etc. I’m aiming to have this done by April 2019.

Top three favourite directors of all time?

Undoubtably Sergio Leone, then [Stanley] Kubrick and then probably Michelangelo Antonioni. Three is too few.

Top three favourite films of all time?

A Few Dollars More, Blade Runner and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

What has been your biggest career challenge to date?

Selling Girl from Nowhere.

What has been your biggest highlight thus far?

Selling Girl From Nowhere.

If you weren’t a filmmaker, you would be?

Maybe an architect. Or an inventor. Actually, when I was a small kid, we went through every career imaginable, from fireman to astronaut, and then I announced to my surprised parents that I just wanted to be an ordinary man like my grandfather. I didn’t realise that being a retired pensioner wasn’t really a career option.

Prolight + Sound to premiere Broadcast + Production Forum in 2019

A new highlight for professionals from the fields of radio and moving-image production: the première of the ‘Broadcast + Production Forum’ seminar programme will be held at
Prolight + Sound on Friday, 5 April. There, speakers with hands-on experience will present technological trends and future-oriented projects. Participation is free of charge for Prolight + Sound visitors.

From the triumph of IP-based transmission, via virtualised playout, to UHD streaming: new technological solutions are changing the sector at a rapid pace. The new Broadcast + Production Forum at Prolight + Sound provides a platform for these and other innovations and creates a contact point between companies, decision makers and users. Manufacturers of products such as cameras, radio links, streaming encoders, picture mixers, broadcast panels and specialised audio applications have the chance to present their solutions in 45-minute lectures.

The programme will be compiled by experts of the Hessischer Rundfunk broadcasting station and product specialists from companies represented at Prolight + Sound. Exhibitors from the broadcasting and production sector can submit lecture proposals until the end of January.

The Broadcast + Production Forum will be held in Hall 4, Level C, Room ‘Consens’ from 11h00 to 18h00 on 5 April.

 

In conversation with Lee Hunt

Lee Hunt is a strategist, trainer and industry thought leader. His success in launching and positioning channel brands, in addition to his pioneering work in audience management, has set many of the standards for our industry.

At the 2018 PromaxBDA Africa conference, held at the Maslow Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg, Hunt presented two sessions. In his first session, titled ‘New Best Practices 2018’, Hunt presented an updated version of his annual round-up of strategies, tactics and creative shorts – from portfolio promos to reverse episodics, to six-second promos in 30-second breaks.

In his second session, ‘Cross Platform Messaging’, Hunt presented the findings of his two-year study into how linear networks are moving viewers to new platforms – MVPD VOD (on demand via set top box), TVE (authenticated viewing on mobile, tablet, PC), connected devices and OTT.

He chatted to Screen Africa about industry trends, challenges and the importance of audience management.

What is your background and how has it shaped you as a thought leader in the industry?

I began my career 40 years ago working at a local television station in my hometown of Dallas, Texas. In the early 80s, I moved to New York at the beginning of the cable revolution to launch new channels. In 1990, I left the client side and started a creative services agency that specialised in branding networks. In 2000, I sold my agency to the digital services company, Razorfish, worked in Europe on digital entertainment, then came back to New York to begin my strategic consultancy.

Working as a client, vendor and consultant for broadcast, cable and digital services throughout the seismic shifts in our industry has given me a unique perspective. But more importantly, for the last 40 years I’ve listened to people who are a lot smarter than me and tried to integrate their wisdom into my thinking.

What are the current trends shaping the marketing & advertising industry in 2018?

For the television industry, it’s trying to understand not only what our viewers want to watch, but where and how they want to watch. That dynamic changes continually, as new services and platforms launch, and the amount of compelling content continues to grow.

Although, if you think about it, the goal really hasn’t changed. We are still trying to increase time spent viewing: sample new content, watch for longer periods of time, and come back more often. But the paths to reaching that goal are changing and evolving.

In relation to Africa, what in your opinion is the biggest challenge(s) facing the marketing & advertising industry?

In many ways, I believe the African market has the opportunity to leap-frog the U.S. and European markets. The outdated distribution infrastructure that we invested in isn’t a burden in Africa, and the opportunity to reach people through new technologies is greater. But the challenge is still the same:  how do you create awareness, drive acquisition, then foster conversion and retention?

What can African media practitioners do to combat these challenges?

It always comes back to the audience. You have to understand who they are, where to reach them, what drives their interest, what is of value to them and how you can satisfy them.

Youve conducted ample research into audience management & development. In Africa in particular, audience management is crucial with regards to the success of local content, yet many within our industry still dont understand the concept. In your own words, what does audience management mean?

I tend to think of audience management in narrow terms: once your marketing has got viewers to your platform, how do you keep them there for longer periods of time and coming back more often?

In either a linear or on-demand experience, it comes down to “accelerated flow”- creating psychological time that is measured by how deeply involved you are in the content, rather than by the second-by-second passing of time. The goal is to make your audience believe that time is passing more quickly than it really is and reduce the urge to sample competitive content or leave the platform.

We do that through both linear and on-demand architecture; combining all the elements that go into a viewing experience – programming, promotion, packaging, advertising and secondary events – into a holistic viewer experience that slows erosion, maximises messaging ratings, reduces internal time-shifting, builds vertical flow and strengthens viewer loyalty.

Why is audience management so important to the industry?

Simple economics. On an ad-supported platform, if I can get a viewer who has come to watch a one-hour show on my channel to stay for three hours, I’ve tripled my ratings and revenue. If I can get them to make my channel or platform a habit, I’ve eliminated my acquisition costs.

With digital platforms fast becoming the favoured way to consume content of all kinds, where does that leave traditional platforms in the marketing mix?

Some people believe that free-to-air and linear channels will become barker channels, simply pushing people to their digital platforms. But I believe the future is a hybrid, very much like the sound system in your car. You have a radio, where someone curates the content for you, but you also have the ability to integrate your own on-demand experience, whether a digital player or music streaming service, where you curate your own experience. You move seamlessly between the two depending on the experience you want. I believe our content distribution brands need to direct our viewers to the right platform for the right experience. I hate the term, but we need to market “omni-experiences” through cross-platform messaging.

You present an annual New Best Practices session at PromaxBDA. What value do you think the PromaxBDA conference and similar events hold for the development of the industry?

 

This industry changes so quickly and the transformations are so disruptive, that we need a place where we can exchange ideas, brainstorm new solutions and share our experiences with our peers. I know I take in more information at the conferences than I give out during my presentations!

Encompass Digital Media announces partnership with Zixi

Encompass Digital Media, a global technology services company delivering end-to-end video playout and distribution solutions to broadcast and digital media companies, announces its partnership with Zixi, an industry leader for enabling dependable, live broadcast-quality video over the internet. Zixi’s proven, best-of-breed solutions coupled with Encompass’ broadcast expertise gives its clients additional economical methods to acquire and deliver content.

“We have enjoyed great success working with Zixi’s platform to provide our clients with even more choices and business flexibility for media acquisition and distribution options,” states Bill Tillson, CEO of Encompass. “Our clients can now capitalise on the universal reach of the internet while maintaining professional broadcast quality regardless of the technology platform.”

As the industry embraces video across IP, the ability to transition from traditional methods of delivery alongside the exploding OTT offerings, this partnership between Zixi and Encompass brings the power of the internet to the market, along with the expected performance of professional broadcast.

By offering Zixi, Encompass has extended its range of transport solutions to satisfy clients with a multitude of acquisition and delivery requirements. Zixi’s widely deployed solutions are available across the media and broadcast ecosystem which offers a flexible, economical and easy-to-use option.

“We are delighted to go to market with Encompass, pairing our powerful video over IP technology with their renowned operational management excellence,” said Gordon Brooks, executive chairman, Zixi. “With this partnership, we can offer our mutual clients the ability to live stream their content to any destination worldwide, within a seamless workflow and modern economic requirements.”

 

Get to know Tulips & Chimneys’ Nina Pfeiffer

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:

From executive producer to director, Tulips & Chimneys’ Nina Pfeiffer chats to Screen Africa about her journey in animation…

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW HAS THIS SHAPED YOU AS A CONTENT CREATOR? 

I attended art school in Pretoria studying visual communications, and when I began my career I juggled my time between a theatre company, an animation studio and studying medicine. I eventually realised that this schedule was not sustainable and that ultimately my passion lay in the beautiful visuals of my medical books and understanding how a body works and moves. This made the choice to permanently move to design and animation an easy one.

WHY ANIMATION? WAS IT ALWAYS THE PLAN? 

I guess I should have known from an early age, even as a toddler I was obsessed with animation – I watched every Looney Tunes story 200 times each and wouldn’t miss the 7am animation that showed every day on SABC.

WHAT’S IT LIKE WORKING AT TULIPS & CHIMNEYS? 

It’s my family away from home. Our work is not known for being mundane and the office reflects that spirit, it’s a fun, relaxed space. We’re quite informal with each other and often working on our own passion projects. Then a project will come in and it’s game faces on. I love every brief we get in, as it’s just another opportunity to sit with these talented artists and explore ideas.

WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION?

I love traveling. I love watching people, and I love watching animation. It’s always super inspiring to see how people pushed themselves and their team to do something new or different.

YOU RECENTLY DIRECTED YOUR FIRST PROJECT – FRUIT OF THE LOOM’S ‘TALES FROM TEACHER’ SPOT – WHAT HAS YOUR JOURNEY TO THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR BEEN LIKE?

My official title in the studio is first and foremost as executive producer, but the workflow of the studio means that I’m always very involved creatively on all the projects. I’d been waiting for a project where I could swop roles a bit, so the moment the brief came in I knew this was the one that I wanted to lead creatively.

UNTIL NOW YOU’VE FOCUSED ON COMMERCIALS, ANY PLANS FOR A FEATURE-LENGTH PROJECT IN THE FUTURE?

Definitely, we’ve been developing the concept for a feature film for the last few years, and it looks like it is very close to being optioned. So crossing fingers! We’ll keep you guys posted!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CAREER CHALLENGE TO DATE? 

There are obviously lots of challenges in running a business and working on projects, but I would say that the biggest challenge was just starting. I was 22 years old when I realised I wanted to make animated films. All I knew was that I wanted to work for the best animation studio in SA and that I wanted to produce TV commercials. I had no experience and didn’t even know what I had to do as a TV producer, so I called the studio I admired the most and told the owner he needs a producer and that it was me.

I didn’t take no for an answer, and eventually he said yes. The day I started work I was on a shoot for a very well-known brand and a very high-budget TV commercial. I have never been on a shoot before, never met another producer before and now I was one, and had to fulfil that role. It was scary, but exhilarating…and I haven’t looked back since.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER THUS FAR? 

There have been so many, but in essence it’s having the opportunity to work on so many different pieces that we’ve crafted and can be proud of. Being able to go to animation festivals like Annecy and meet the world’s best directors, animators and producers like Peter Ramsey and  Richard Williams, and being able to show them our work and seeing their positive response still is the best feeling ever.

ANY ADVICE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WANTING TO PURSUE A CAREER IN ANIMATION?

It’s definitely not an easy career, it’s hard work, and a lot of the time, unless you’re the director, you get told what to do and it can easily feel like you’ve just become a pixel pusher. Don’t stop believing that you can be the best, and don’t stop making your own pieces. Creating your own IP is the way to keep your passion alive and make a super success. At the end of the day any work can become stressful and confusing, but reminding yourself and working towards a goal is what will keep the momentum going.

WHAT NEXT FOR NINA PFEIFFER AS A DIRECTOR?

For now I’ve got my hands full at the studio but I’m toying with the idea of tackling a short film. It would be great to play on a project that had no brief and was purely a creative expression.

 

Cheeky Media’s Yusuf Stevens and Janez Vermeiren on the business of TV in South Africa

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:

Yusuf Stevens and Janez Vermeiren are the managing directors of Cheeky Media – a dynamic, award-winning production company. Cheeky Media produces the popular television shows Real Talk with Azania, The Man Cave, The Morning Show and Winging It. Self-proclaimed ‘disrupters’, Stevens and Vermeiren chatted to Screen Africa about doing things ‘differently’ in the media business.

What are the biggest challenges facing producers in the television industry today? How do you combat these?

Y: Funding. Broadcasters have been forcing producers to work with very limited resources for a while. Hybrid funding models can be used to combat this – raising money from clients and corporates as well as from broadcasters.

J: The biggest challenge facing producers in the TV industry today is to get broadcasters to believe in you. Broadcasters don’t often like to take risks because if they take a risk and it fails, it obviously impacts on their advertising sales… I think that’s where the excitement comes in with all these new platforms because there are now other platforms, outside of traditional platforms, for young producers to hone their craft and prove themselves.

With the rise of VOD continuing steadily, what changes have people in the business of film and television had to make?

Y: I think VOD will make the industry a lot more competitive. VOD is also going to reward producers who own their material (IP), as opposed to those who sold off to broadcasters don’t have any assets to bring to the VOD market.

J: In my opinion, the landscape of content, and that’s across traditional broadcasting and VOD, is probably more exciting than it’s ever been. There is more content being produced right now than ever before. Every brand is producing content and they know that content has to live everywhere. It has to be radio content, TV content, social media content, and as a producer that is traditionally in the TV industry, these times are very exciting because not only can we now produce for TV and make films, but we’ve got so many other platforms that we can expose our content on.

Is there a place for both VOD and traditional broadcasters in the future?

Y: VOD will be (in my opinion) the way the next generation consumes media.

J: There is definitely a place for VOD and traditional broadcasters in my opinion. The traditional broadcasters may not get the huge numbers that they used to get because now people have other options, but it does mean that it’s going to challenge TV producers to produce more cutting-edge content to draw viewers back to traditional broadcasting. Basically, competition is good and it’s good for everyone.

What does it mean to be a ‘disruptor’ within the TV industry?

Y: There’s no right way to do this. Vlogs are changing the way people look at production – if you can find an audience to support you, you have a platform for your content.

J: We’re called Cheeky Media because we always try and challenge ourselves, and we think outside the box… That’s what made Cheeky Media stand out. We’ve never been ones to turn up our nose to any form of content production. We’ve produced some of the top TV commercials in the country, we’ve shot documentaries, we’ve done reality TV, a little bit of scripted content, talk shows, a lot of corporate work, and we haven’t boxed ourselves. As long as it’s content production, we’re up for it.

What makes Cheeky Media different to any other production company?

Y: We’re the underdogs who act like we have limitless resources – we also have a higher tolerance for risk, I think.

J: What I think makes us different from other production companies is that we’re a one-stop shop, from pre-production to the creative process, to post production, we do it all. We have some of the best facilities and some of the best cameramen and DOPs who work for us. Everything is in-house, from pre-production to post-production.

How does positioning the company as an agency benefit the business?

Y: Production is not always profitable – you need to diversify your income streams to ensure you remain in this business.

J: We started Cheeky Media five years ago and it’s been our objective to become the masters of branded content. When we started, there weren’t many production companies focusing on branded content, so it was quite an open space, a space where we could find our niche, and we became quite good at raising money and doing branded content… I think positioning ourselves as an agency and honing our craft as branded content producers, where we integrate the product as seamlessly as possible, has been our greatest success as a company.

How do you plan on expanding within the next five years?

Y: The way people consume content is constantly changing – attention spans are shorter and the idea of appointment viewing is fast disappearing. Viewers are also being spoilt for choice, however, if you produce good content that addresses topics that people are interested in, they will find your content. Some of our episodes receive more online views than the main broadcast, this is a challenge, but at the same time an opportunity. It’s always a good idea to discuss and analyse trends. Moving forward, we’re taking on more projects than ever before – we are diversifying our portfolio and are looking at other genres and formats.

J: We’ve seen the industry where it is right now as a massive opportunity, there are so many places we can place our content and there are so many clients we can produce content for. For the next five years I want to see us continue with what we’re doing. We’re already producing for all the South African broadcasters – e.tv, SABC and DStv – and in the next five years we want to add Netflix, Showmax and whichever other platforms are out there. As South Africans, we want to produce content good enough that the whole world will want to watch, and that’s where I see ourselves moving towards.

 

MIXing It Up: A first look at Rosco’s new range of LED lighting solutions

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:

Screen Africa was recently invited to Movievision’s headquarters in Wynberg, Johannesburg, to attend the launch of the new series of MIX lighting solutions from leading global brand Rosco.

Ron Knell, Rosco senior account manager (Eastern Europe, Balkans and South Africa), was on hand to answer questions about this exciting new range – winner of the 2018 Cine Gear Technical Award for Lighting Technology – and what it can offer the South African film and television industry.

Quality collaboration

Knell explains that the new product offering emerged after Rosco fused with French company DMG Lumière: “Rosco’s strategy in the future is to become an LED specialist lighting supplier and manufacturer. We were in talks with DMG, and there was a perfect fit between the two companies: they had the expertise and the knowledge, having already broken ground with the DMG Switch range, and we had the global presence in sales and marketing.

“Within a year of us joining the companies we’d come to market with the MIX range, which is an incredible turnaround and shows the quality of the working relationship we’ve established.”

What’s in the MIX?

As Knell outlines some of the specs and features of the lights, it’s easy to see why they are generating so much excitement.

The Rosco brand has always been synonymous with colour, and this is one of the distinguishing features of the MIX series. “The lights are fitted with six LEDs. The normal standard is RGBW or RGBWA, but we’ve gone one step further and we include red, blue, green, phosphorous lime, white and amber. This gives a better depth of field through the spectrum, and allows us to programme the lights with more than 100 true Rosco colours.”

Not only does this do away with the need to carry around and adjust gels on set, but – as Knell explains – “The lights are all custom-made and they’re fitted onto an aluminium plate, which allows for a passive cooling system. This eliminates fan noise, which can be very helpful in tight spaces where you need to record dialogue.”

The lights are operated via a specialised myMIX app, which allows users to control various settings (such as hue, saturation and intensity) remotely, and – along with a number of convincing effects and presets – enables you to capture real-world colours via your phone camera and programme them into your lighting rig. The lights feature an adjustable range from 1700K-10000K, making them versatile and reliable options for a number of different shooting scenarios.

The MIX range comes in three sizes: the highly popular Mini, a compact unit which weighs only 2.5kg, the SL1 and the soon-to-be-released Maxi. All models boast DMX, LAN, bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and there are a range of great accessories – such as dome diffusors, snapgrids and quickfit handles – that can be used across the product range.

South African market outlook

John Harrison, the CEO of Movievision and Southern Lighting Solutions, expects the Rosco MIX series to have an instant impact on the local production landscape.

“The ARRI Skypanel has become the lighting solution that everyone wants to have, and now we can offer an alternative that performs just as well but is more accessible in terms of cost,” Harrison says. “People don’t want to go for cheap knock-offs, so we were looking for something that came in cheaper than – but equal to – the Skypanels.”

Knell shares this optimism, saying, “The MIX series is a high-performing, cost-effective range of lights. We know it’s a good product from the feedback we’ve received from DOPs, from gaffers and from resellers. It’s got an edge, and we think it’s going to do well for us.”

Leader to demonstrate advanced broadcast test and measurement products

Leader Electronics will demonstrate its new LV5600 true-hybrid IP/SDI waveform monitor plus the LT4610 video sync generator with PTP and 12G-SDI capabilities at the November 6-7 SATIS exhibition in Saint Denis, Paris. Exhibiting with French channel partner Audiopole, Leader will be represented by regional sales manager Djamel Djadi and colleagues.

“The LV5600 was announced at NAB in April and is now deliverable,” Djamel Djadi comments. It is designed to bridge the transition from today’s predominantly SDI world to the everything-over-IP future. In entry-level form the LV5600 includes four 3G inputs allowing simultaneous display and measurement of up to four HD/SD-SDI channels. A reclocked loop output is available from each input. Leader’s intuitive Cinezone and Cinelite also come as standard along with five-bar colour gamut display and CIE colour chart. Additional features can specified from a selection of interface and software-based feature options each customer’s operating requirements evolve.”

Leader LV5600

Leader’s LV5600 is a mains-powered SDI/IP waveform monitor in a compact half-rack width 3U desktop chassis with a touch-screen front panel display. It provides all the facilities needed to monitor UHD/HD/SD SDI as well as video over IP signals seamlessly in a hybrid operating environment. Engineering-related features provided by the LV5600 include test pattern generation, eye pattern display, closed-caption monitoring, CIE colour chart, high dynamic range measurement, focus assist, customisable screen layout, tally interface, 4K/UHD operation, 10G IP input and 12G-SDI interfaces. SMPTE 2022-6, SMPTE 2022-7 and the recently published SMPTE 2110 protocols are all supported. The LV5600 also incorporates Leader’s intuitive CINEZONE and CINELITE which are familiar to many content production staff.

Among the optional IP-specific features are the ability to monitor transmission errors such as packet loss and packet jitter and to simultaneously measure and display SDI and IP signal sources.

A companion instrument, the LV7600 rasteriser offers exactly the same capabilities as the LV5600 but in a low-profile 19 inch 1U form-factor for easy rack or desk mounting.

Leader LT4610

Designed for use in broadcast studios, mobile production vehicles, post-production companies and broadcast equipment maintenance facilities, the LT4610 provides an exceptionally wide range of video sync generation capabilities within a compact 1 U wide x 400 mm front-to-back footprint. Test patterns include 100% and 75% colour bars, multi-format colour bars and SDI check fields with user-selectable scrolling in eight combinations of up/down/left/right. Scrolling speed is user adjustable from 1 to 256 pixels or lines. Y/G, Cb/B, Cr/R components can be turned on or off independently for each output channel.

QVGA (320 pixel x 240 line) 24-bit full colour bitmap logos can be transferred into the generator via USB memory and added to any test pattern.

The LT4610 can also generate IDs of up to 20 characters for placement at any operator-assigned screen position. ID size is selectable between 32 x 32, 64 x 64, 128 x 128 and 256 x 256 pixel sizes at 100% or 75% intensity, continuous or blinking. IDs can be scrolled to the left or right.

Safety area markers can be generated to show safe-action area (90%), safe-title area (80%) and/or 4:3 aspect ratio. ID characters, logo mark, safe-area markers and test pattern can be displayed individually, sequentially or simultaneously.

Audio test generation capabilities include silence, 400 Hz, 800 Hz, and 1 kHz at -60 to 0 dBFS in 1 dBFS steps, assignable across up to 16 channels for 3G-A/HD/SD and 32 channels for 3G-B. Audio sampling resolution can be selected from 20 or 24 bit at 48 kHz and synchronised with the video signal. Audio clicks can be generated between 1 and 4 seconds or disabled.

Test patterns with synchronised audio can be generated for lip sync testing. The audio click setting is disabled in this mode. SDI output 1 is synchronised to the AES/EBU output. When using Leader’s LV5770A waveform monitor you can accurately measure the lip sync of SDI video and audio signals.

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