Facebook Mobile Use May Be Near Its Saturation Point In The United States

first_imgTags:#Facebook#mobile#social We have watched all types of mobile use explode in 2012. In the United States, we have hit an inflection point where most people will be accessing the Internet primarily through their smartphones and tablets. The question becomes how much more can social-media companies like Facebook or Twitter grow on mobile?Mobile-analytics company Flurry reports that there are 181 million iOS and Android smartphones active in the United States. Conservatively, iOS and Android make up 85% of the domestic smartphone market. From there, we can extrapolate that there are about 208 million smartphone owners in the country. Facebook can now claim 73% (at most) of those people as their mobile customers. What that means for Facebook is that it has likely hit near-saturation in the number of moble owners it can acquire. Member acquisition, on PC or mobile, has never really been a problem for Facebook. Nor has been getting members to spend time on the site. Facebook is built to get people to use it, and they do. A lot. Facebook saw native-app users spend nearly 27 minutes a month on the site, a 61% increase over the same period in 2011. Facebook’s problem is making money off those mobile people. This became apparent when the company filed its S-1 document with the Securities and Exchange Commission prior to its initial public offering in February.The biggest risk Facebook owners said they faced in sustaining growth and financial health was their ability to turn mobile members into dollars. As such, Facebook has launched a variety of ads on mobile, such as sponsored stories and ads that appear in member newsfeeds.Facebook is a very quick and iterative company when it comes to building new products, and it always has dozens of small teams working on projects that can advance both its utility as well as its monetization features. If consumer use trends in 2012 have taught Facebook anything, it is that it should ramp up the output of these teams to take advantage of the shift from PC to mobile devices. Other social networks have seen a spike in mobile usage in 2012, according to Nielsen. For instance, Twitter sees more users from the mobile Web (42 million) than it does via PC (37 million) in the U.S. Twitter received 22.620 visitors through its native apps. Burgeoning social-network Pinterest saw the biggest growth rate of the year on any platform, with 14 million users through the mobile Web, a 4,225% increase year over year from 2011.Pinterest had 27 million members on PCs, a 1,047% growth rate. See the Nielsen chart below for overall mobile-Web and native-app use across all social-networking sites in the U.S.  dan rowinski A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Related Posts Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verificationcenter_img While Facebook may be near its saturation point, there is still a fair amount of room left for companies like Twitter, Pinterest and Foursquare to cultivate mobile members. Facebook has set the standard for the social-mobile industry, now it is up to the competition to match it. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… No doubt about it, mobile is now the primary avenue for growth in social media. If you did not know that already, analytics firm Nielsen released a report today showing that social media use on mobile devices rose 63% between native apps and the mobile Web in the United States in 2012.Between PCs and mobile devices, Americans spent 121 billion minutes on social media in July 2012, an increase of 37% (88 billion minutes). More people than ever are using Facebook’s native apps to access the site, including 78.4 million Americans alone. Native-app use for Facebook eclipsed the mobile Web, which had 74.3 million users. If you add those groups together, the aggregate of mobile users topped those using a PC to access Facebook by almost half a million people. In the United States, 152 million people accessed Facebook from their PCs against 152.7 million through either native apps or the mobile Web.Granted, there is likely some overlap accessing Facebook on both the mobile Web and native apps, but mobile and PC use of the social network is fairly even in the Unites States. It’s also apparent that most people who use Facebook on a PC are also likely to do so on a mobile device.last_img read more

Best Camera Loadout Options for the Blackmagic URSA Mini

first_imgWith the Blackmagic URSA Mini about to hit the shelves, we thought we’d premiere our camera loadout series with a focus on the new kid on the block.With July right around the corner and the release of the Blackmagic URSA Mini looming large, we wanted to kick off our new Camera Loadout series by giving you the best loadout options before you make your purchase.As a filmmaker and director, I never go into a shoot without knowing exactly what tools my crew and I have at our disposal. If there’s something we need and don’t have, then I get with my crew (specifically my cinematographer and camera operator) to get it researched and purchased.With all of this in mind, we here at PremiumBeat wanted to save our fellow filmmakers from having to scour the earth for the best camera setups. For the first camera loadout, I’ve chosen to go with the Blackmagic URSA Mini. I’m really intrigued by this camera. Of course, the original URSA had issues with fixed pattern noise, but hopefully that’s been addressed.Other than that, I still use a Blackmagic Cinema Camera as my B camera on set and have been consistently impressed with it, especially when teaming it up with our RED Scarlet.Monitor OptionsMonitoring your footage as you shoot should be a no brainer. Luckily, the URSA Mini, much like its bigger brother, comes complete with a 5 inch HD monitor built into the camera. So the need for a monitor isn’t as grave as it would be for a standard DSLR. However, this setup would have made filming my last film a little difficult, particularly for a few scenes that called for the camera to move through a tight space on a slider. So, let’s go ahead and take a look at a few monitoring options.Blackmagic URSA ViewfinderThe Blackmagic monitors aren’t the best to use when it’s bright outside, so you may want to invest in a Viewfinder. Granted, using a viewfinder is a bit old school, but some of us just roll like that.PRICE: $1,495.00SmallHD AC7 On-Camera MonitorI’ve been using SmallHD on-camera monitors for years now and have never had any issues with them. The AC7 is a great 7 inch monitor that gives you solid clarity. Plus, its price isn’t going to break your bank.PRICE: $599.00Shoulder Rig OptionsThe Blackmagic URSA Mini weighs considerably less than you might think. It’s just under 2 lbs heavier than the Cinema Camera and over 10 lbs lighter than the URSA. Blackmagic does offer a really sturdy shoulder-mount kit, which is also modestly priced. But if you want something to which you can attach additional accessories, then you should look at the RedRock Micro or Wooden Camera options.Blackmagic Shoulder Mount KitAs we said, this shoulder rig is a really great option and one that can get you up and going quickly. While it doesn’t come with a cage, it does come with the ability to add rails in the front.PRICE: $395.00Wooden Camera Shoulder RigWhile I have never used one myself, I do have peers that have used the Wooden Camera line of shoulder rigs and rave about them. From what I’ve been told, they are extremely sturdy and feel solid and not flimsy like many of the cheaper rigs you’ll find. Their cage is particularly amazing, or so I’ve heard. Wooden develops custom-built options depending on the camera, so it’s only a matter of time before a rig specific for the URSA Mini is developed. Until then, here is their standard shoulder rig.PRICE: $1,150.00RedRock Micro Shoulder RigRedRock Micro is one of those tried and true brands. I’ve used shoulder rigs and rail systems from RedRock for a long time. They are sturdy and reliable, or at least the ones I’ve purchased are. Plus the ability to add and customize to this should be a no brainer. I’ve used similar (and cheaper) options, but I’ve always found that they can never hold up long-term like the RedRock Micro can.PRICE: $1,264.00ZacutoZacuto is another brand that has developed a reputation for developing a series of shoulder rigs that are fully legit. Again, while I haven’t had the opportunity to use this brand, I know plenty of filmmakers who swear by them and who have tried to get me to switch from RedRock Micro.PRICE: $1,099.00Stabilizer OptionsWith the Blackmagic URSA Mini being much lighter than its big brother, the opportunities to place it on stabilization rigs such as a Freefly Movi or a Glidecam rig just became a reality. This was unheard of with the original URSA, but now that the Mini is 5lbs, we can start looking at stabilizing rigs. Let’s check out what’s available.Freefly Movi M5The Movi M5 can support up to 5lbs, which is right at the weight of the Blackmagic URSA Mini. Just be aware that if you’re adding any additional accessories to the camera, you’ll need to move up to the M10.PRICE: $3,995.00DJI Ronin-MI have been impressed with the DJI Ronin-M. For the longest time, Freefly was in a class all by itself, but DJI has stepped up its game and developed a great 3-axis gimbal solution. The great thing about the Ronin is its weight support, as the smaller model supports up to 8lbs.PRICE: $1,399.00Steadicam RigSteadicam rigs can be extremely handy, especially if you’re like me and you love using movement in your shots. I’ve always loved the way Stanley Kubrick made use of the Steadicam. He gave us such iconic images with that rig, through his one-point perspective technique. This rig will help you get that with the URSA Mini.Glidecam HD4000 PRICE: $569.00Steadicam Merlin Vest PRICE: $799.99Power OptionsPower is the most important aspect of a production, but it’s often one of the last things we look into. The Blackmagic URSA Mini has no internal power source like the Cinema Camera line, but comes out of the box with mounting options on the backside of the camera where you can add a v-mount battery setup. With that said, you can purchase the Blackmagic Design V-Lock battery plate or look at solutions from Switronix and IDX.URSA V-Lock Battery PlateThe Blackmagic Design V-Lock Battery Plate was designed for the original URSA, but works perfectly with the Blackmagic URSA Mini. To be honest, this is going to be, not only the cheapest, but best v-mount plate option for you. Blackmagic has designed these plates to fit perfectly with their products.PRICE: $95.00Switronix V-Mount SetupIf you would rather go a particular battery brand for the plate and the battery then you could go with Switronix. While I’ve never used Switronix before, I’ve heard good things about their batteries. Regardless of whether you purchase this plate, you should take the time to look at the battery and the charger solutions.Switronix V-Mount Plate PRICE: $175.00Switronix XP-L90S Battery PRICE: $248.00Switronix GP-2LSJ Charger PRICE: $375.00IDX V-Mount SetupNow, IDX is something I can speak to. I’ve been using IDX for longer than I can remember. I’ve never been disappointed with their batteries or charger systems. Again, if you purchase the Blackmagic V-Lock, then go ahead and research the IDX E-7S battery and VL-2 charger. They are slightly more expensive than the Switronix, but I’ve personally used these batteries and have had nothing but good experiences with them.IDX V-Mount Plate PRICE: $185.00IDX E-7S Battery PRICE: $256.00IDX VL-2 Charger PRICE: $425.00Storage OptionsOne of the last things we filmmakers tend to think about (though, like power, it should be one of the first things on our minds) is storage. And here (and lenses) is where you’re going to spend a bulk of your money. The Blackmagic URSA Mini uses CFast 2.0 cards, and, let’s be honest here, Blackmagic hasn’t picked the cheapest solution when it comes to storage. Nor have they picked a storage solution that gives filmmakers a wide range of options. But the CFast 2.0 cards are optimal solutions for 4K and Full HD recording.Atomos 128gbLet’s start with our cheapest option. And, as they say, cheaper isn’t always better… You will suffer much slower transfer speeds, as the Atomos only produces a read speed of 200 MB/s and a write speed of 80 MB/s.PRICE: $239.00Lexar Pro 128GB 3400xThe Lexar is probably where you’ll want to go. It offers great speed with a price that isn’t going to kill your bank account. The Lexar has a read speed of 510 MB/s and a write speed of 450 MB/s.Read Speed: 510 MB/s Write Speed: 450 MB/sPRICE: $369.99SanDisk 128GBOl’ reliable Sandisk makes a CFast 2.0 solution and, while it’s a little over a $100 more than the Lexar, it has a read speed of 515 MB/s and a write speed of 440 MB/s.PRICE: $499.95Transcend 128GB CFX650Now we’re starting to get into RED Mag territory. But the real question is: Are they $200 better than the SanDisk 128GB? Well, the Transcend has a read speed of 510 MB/s and a write speed of 370 MB/s. And while it does have some additional features that the SanDisk does not, those additional features aren’t enough for me to pay this price when the SanDisk (and even the Lexar) gives me better transfer speeds.PRICE: $699.99Interested in more camera content? Check out these articles from right here on PremiumBeat:The Super16 RAW Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera is Here!3 Reasons Why the Sony a7S Isn’t the Perfect Camera for FilmmakersDream Camera Loadouts: RED Digital CinemaWhat do you think about the Blackmagic URSA Mini? Is this a camera you’re interested in? What are your thoughts on the accessory loadout? Sound off in the comments below!last_img read more

How to Edit a Music Video Without Using Multi-Cam

first_imgMany music video editors work with multi-cam projects to increase speed while editing, but sometimes the best results call for a more traditional approach.Top image from Zophia CreativeAlmost every NLE today has some form of multi-cam functionality built in, and most of them work very well. FCPX in particular has one of the best multi-cam tools that I’ve ever used, and it’s been extremely helpful for editing music videos over the years. That said, more often than not, I prefer to cut music videos more traditionally, as I find it makes my choices feel more deliberate.Image from Richie Arellano PhotographyMulti-cam projects are a great way to get your video looking pretty good, pretty quickly. Once the project is set up, you can simply play through your track and click away on each camera angle, much like operating a live switcher. However, if you’re like me and you enjoy having as much control over your edit as possible, then these three tips will help you get the results you want while still saving you time in the edit suite.1. Sync & Edit the Performance FirstImage from K-Pop BuddyAssuming your video has a performance element to it, I highly recommend you start by working in that material, as it will be the backbone of your entire music video. Before dropping in any B-roll or storyline shots, simply stack up every last useable performance take on your timeline and create razor blade edits on important beats.Typically when editing a music video, I’ll make razor edits on every single beat of the song before I actually make any editorial choices. Once I’ve gone through the whole track, I’ll go through it again and delete the clips that I’m not going to use for each beat of the song. Although it takes more time up front to set up your project this way, it’ll save you a lot of time once you’re up and running.2. Be Very Specific With B-roll ChoicesImage from ShutterstockMuch like my recommendation to edit the performance on its own first, I recommend taking the same approach with your storyline or B-roll shots. Instead of throwing everything together in a timeline with the performance right away, edit your B-roll in its own timeline – much like a short film.Be very specific about the B-roll you select and only use the absolute best shots. That way when you edit it in with the performance (we’ll touch on that below), you won’t have to re-edit much of your material, as the majority of the legwork has already been done.3. Edit Nested SequencesImage from ShutterstockAssuming you’ve got two fully edited sequences – one performance and one B-roll – all you need to do now is combine them to create your final edit. My preferred method of doing this is by using nested sequences, or compound clips in FCPX.With this approach, you’re effectively only editing two tracks. Track One is your performance and Track Two is your B-roll. Of course, within each of those tracks, hundreds of edits have already been made. So when it comes time to editing the nested sequences, you really only need to choose between when to cut to B-roll and when to stay on your performance shots.Here are a few more resources from around the web that touch on the ins and outs of music video editing:These 5 Video Editing Tricks Will Make Your Editing Faster and Your Videos More Enjoyable to Watch – Fstoppers5 Editing Tips for Music Videos – Vashi NedomanskyEditing a Film to Music (Without it Becoming a Music Video) – PremiumBeatGot any advice for your fellow editors? Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more

How The Empire Strikes Back Perfected Blue Screen in the 1980s

first_imgCinematographer Mark Vargo breaks down his work on The Empire Strikes Back and discusses how ILM perfected blue-screen processing in the 1980s.Top image via StarWars.comMark Vargo, ASC has some of my absolute favorite video breakdowns. His technical knowledge and in-depth understanding of historical context make them truly must-watch. Previous videos include a breakdown of the work of grips. In the latest episode, Vargo looks at the blue-screen process and explains why 1980 was a seminal year for blue screen.I compare this era in cinema to our nation’s lunar program. An amazing cooperative of artists, imagination, optics, engineering, and home-brewed software. I learned the blue-screen process at ILM on The Empire Strikes Back.Vargo takes a look at earlier compositing methods and special photographic effects, covering the always amazing work of Georges Melies, the Williams Process from the late 1920s, and the Dunning Process of King Kong in the 1930s.Images via Mark Vargo Mark Vargo also touches on the Oscar-winning blue-screen work of The Thief of Bagdad in the 1940s, and the sodium vapor process pioneered by Ub Iwerks at Disney for Mary Poppins. Together, all of these processes led to a revolution in blue-screen work in the 1980s.Images via Mark VargoPerhaps the most interesting part of the video is the detailed breakdown of the blue-screen process. Vargo explains why they used rear-lit blue screens that emitted light in the range of 500 nanometers. The footage was then sent to an optical printer which rephotographs the footage into a composite. It’s a truly fascinating watch.See the whole video below.What are your favorite VFX breakdown videos? Share them in the comments below!last_img read more

Fix Out-of-Focus Footage With This Simple Tip

first_imgWork around slightly out-of-focus footage with this DaVinci Resolve quick tip.Top image via Shutterstock.Recently, in true guerrilla-filmmaking style, I was shooting in an unsafe location with potentially weak structures and asbestos. However, the location was perfect for the project I was working on, so I took the risk. While shooting, we felt somewhat uneasy, and we wanted to wrap up quickly. As a result, I under-compensated the distance of the subject, and my focus for two shots isn’t perfect. This shot will likely be onscreen no longer than five seconds, and after we cut to see what the character is looking at, we return to a close-up that is in focus. In short, it’s an easy mistake. For cinephiles and perfectionists, however, it will not suffice.You can see from the image above that it’s only a touch out of focus. Everything is perfectly viewable, but when you zoom in 100 percent, you can see the lack of sharpness in the details.The MethodTechnically, you can’t fix an out-of-focus image. Many, however, would jump straight into a standard sharpen effect and apply it to the overall image. However, that isn’t effective when it comes to soft focus since it just essentially sharpens every edge of the image, which can make it look like you shot on DV tape. We need more control over the elements of the sharpening.For this technique, we’re going to leave the majority image in its soft focus state and, instead, concentrate on bringing some life to the character’s eyes and head. The eyes are always the first thing we look at when speaking to or acknowledging a person; therefore, if we can sharpen the eyes and facial region, the rest of the image will look naturally out of focus, and it will be less noticeable.In DaVinci Resolve, bring your footage into the color grading page and create a new node. On the new node, select a circular power window and place it on the character’s face — eyes at the center point. Adjust the softness of the window, so sharpness will gradually fade away from the center of the window.Open the sharpening panel. There are three settings you can adjust: Radius, H/V Ratio, and Scaling. The radius only needs a slight tweak. As you can see here, dropping it just -15 has already over-sharpened the image.The radius setting controls how much to sharpen or blur. The H/V Ratio controls the direction of the applied effects; in our case, we can ignore this. The scaling control multiplies the scaling that the radius is implementing. Again, these settings need only the lightest of touches.For my shot, I added just 0.03 sharpening and 0.44 scaling.This is the before and after. The image on the right has more perceived sharpness to the face. Since the rest of the image retains the soft focus, it will appear more like a choice of shallow depth of field (even though we can see background clearly), rather than a focus blunder. For a shot that will appear onscreen for five seconds, it’s a good fix.For those who are not adept with Resolve, you could recreate this process in After Effects by duplicating the footage and using the Unsharpen Effect and a mask on the top layer (remember to feather the mask).Do you have other workarounds for out-of-focus images? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

Film Theory: Why Don’t We Notice All Those Editing Cuts?

first_imgLooking for more articles on the secrets of film? Check these out.Editing Theory: How to Manipulate The Passage of TimeFilm Theory: How to Master the Memorable Ending ShotIndustry Thoughts: When Can You Call Yourself a Filmmaker? Edits are cuts in the “reality” of a film or television show, so they should be jarring. So why don’t we really notice them?Bertolt Brecht is a well-known playwright and director of the early twentieth century. The Brechtian approach to theater alienated the audience to remind them that they were watching a production and not something real. This was a far cry from other playwrights at the time, who sought to immerse their audiences in their stories. A few of the techniques Brecht used included breaking the fourth wall, displaying placards that informed the audience of the location or time of the scene, and including song and dance.These techniques kept the audience aware that they were an audience. And in film and television today, these techniques are standard practice. However, why is it that, unlike the Brechtian theater, these elements do not pull the audience out of a film? Surely such an intrusive element should have a disruptive effect? So, why don’t we notice edit cuts?Image via spartakas.Of course, there are cuts we do notice — the bad ones. The edits that cut too soon or too often. We lose sight of the fight in action scenes when the filmmakers use quick cuts instead of showcasing a well-choreographed scene in its entirety. However, excellent editing goes unseen. After all, the editor’s job is to be invisible. The American Cinema Editors Association quite literally calls it the invisible art.Still, the fact that we remain locked into the narrative when watching cuts of unrealistic viewpoints, such as a long shot of a tall bell-tower clock to a close-up of the ticking clock hand, is quite remarkable. Each of these actions is entirely alien to the real world. Famed editor and theorist Walter Murch puts it more poignantly:Every theatrical film, except perhaps Hitchcock’s Rope, is made up of many different pieces of film joined together into a mosaic of images. The mysterious part of, though, is that the joining of those pieces – the ‘cut’ in American terminology – actually does seem to work, even though it represents a total and instantaneous displacement of one field of vision with another, a displacement that sometimes also entails a jump forward or backward in time as well as space.Image via Warner Bros.In the same chapter from his book In The Blink of An Eye, Murch goes on to say that it’s almost surprising that we were able to concede to the idea of editing without completely rejecting the disparity between two images conjoined to tell a story. That’s true. From the moment we wake to the moment we sleep, everything we see, even edited films, are in a single stream of continuous information.Although, is that the case? Well, using a similar exercise to the one that gave Walter Murch the idea of using the blink as an edit point (video below), we can see that we often omit visual information to stop becoming inundated with useless data.First, find an area of the room away from your monitor or phone to focus on. It could be a mirror, a television, a lunch menu — anything. After reading this sentence, look at the object, hold your focus for a few moments, then come back to the article. Unless you’re superhuman, all of the information between looking from the screen to the other area of the room gets omitted. And we’ll blink often while looking at the two points of focus, just like an edit cut.It’s not only the blur between focus points that we systematically edit out. Everyone makes the mundane commute from point A to B, whether it’s for work, school, or traveling to the airport, and these are the elements often “edited” out from our recollection of that day. It’s easy to recall what happened at work, or how great the holiday was, but remembering the drive to the point of interest gets left on the cutting room floor. And of course, it bears pointing out that often in film and television, unless a meaningful conversation is taking place inside a car, these traveling scenes from A to B are very rarely in the script.However, our brains are also editing what we see to help us process what comes next.In 2014, Wired published a series of articles exploring the science of cinema and the nature of perception. One report, “Cinematic Cuts Exploit How Your Brain Edits What You See,” by Greg Miller, delves into how we digest visual information, and it includes a section about psychologist and author Jeff Zack‘s work:His research suggests our brains are constantly dividing up the torrent of information streaming in through our senses into more manageable chunks in order to help us make sense of what’s happening around us and predict what’s likely to happen next . . . He thinks this is a manifestation of our brains’ never-ending effort to predict the future. We have a mental model of what’s happening that we use to predict what’s likely to happen next. ‘You do this because it’s super adaptive,’ Zacks said. ‘If you can anticipate what’s coming up in a few seconds you can react adaptively.’ But whenever the action changes — when the stoplight turns from red to green, say, or when your boss suddenly appears at your desk — you have to update your mental model to reflect what’s happening now.Editing is unnoticeable because, to an extent, it’s built on the foundation of how we perceive the world around us. While we don’t cut from location to location, we do neglect the non-important visual cues, and we delegate moments of time into event boundaries, like scenes, which allow for greater memory recall.last_img read more

Interview: Composer Federico Jusid Makes Some Noise in Hollywood

first_imgWe spoke with composer Federico Jusid on creating music for Watership Down, overcoming fear, and working with filmmakers around the world.When Federico Jusid was 9 years old, he loved soccer and playing the piano. His mother also made it a priority to learn English. She was hoping this would inspire him to see the world and “think big.”I asked him if he thought that influenced his music.“I hope that it does and if anyone wants an artistic career, they should think globally. The local references are wonderful, but it is always more enriching to get out of the box to feel comfortable.”Isabel Segunda temporada. Federico Jusid y la Orquesta y Coro de RTVE.Premium Beat: You live in both Madrid and Los Angeles. How does the culture influence the creative? Do you see any difference working in Spain vs. working in the United States?Federico Jusid: Yes, a lot. I mean the core of my work is the same regardless of where I develop it. The goals are the same, but very often the tone is different.In Europe, I am often invited early on when filmmakers are developing the script. This is helpful for the director because there is musical direction before the production starts shooting. So, the director has some ideas, some mockups of the music that can used to influence the cinematography. In the case here, working after, it can be like salsa on top of the food, but in Europe so early in the process, it is part of the food.But usually I am invited when the project is in the cutting room and I have to talk to more voices and the director and the producers, and that makes the process a little bit different. And, it’s common that I am writing a score for a US film while the film is being reedited. So, there is a music editor who has to do the magic to adjust my initial idea to make it fit the last cut, so we don’t lose our intentions within the scenes. In Europe that isn’t the case.Image via Federico Jusid.PB:  Federico, you have over 40 feature films and over 20 television credits. That’s beyond prolific at your age. With working at such a breathtaking pace, how do you keep yourself fresh and creatively open for the next project? Do you have a method to approaching the work or is each score realized differently?FJ: You need to shower your emotion off, to disconnect the last project and start as fresh as you can. Not to repeat yourself but to start from scratch and hopefully in time you get more effective.I don’t have a particular way of working within my environment because often I start a score in one city and finish work in another. I read the script several times to digest the story and get in depth with the material. Then, I conceptualize ideas from scenes and start writing suites of music to define the musical language of the piece. I often play these for the director to get feedback. Then conversations get super interesting, because we start to talk about color or Freud or cuisine or music, of course. Very open discussions. It can seem like a waste of time, but the more you tackle those things early on and you understand those fundamentals, the easier it is to write scene to scene.Image via The Secret in Their Eyes (Alta Classics).PB: The Secret in Their Eyes had to be a special project for you. When you were working on it did you have any idea how well it would be received?FJ: Oh, no. Absolutely not. Had no idea! I work so much in this industry, but hard to know, I just write and sometimes wonderful surprises happen.PB: What did the film winning an Oscar do for your career?FJ: I think it gave me visibility. It allowed me to expand my career, which was happening in Europe. But it helped me to go to the US and United Kingdom and have interesting filmmakers look at my work. And this probably happens to others. It’s not that I didn’t have interesting scores or was proud of other scores, but because this gets a score on a wonderful film, it gets people to check out your other work.Image via Federico Jusid.PB: With a film, you are primarily, I would assume, working with the director, and when you work on a television series or mini-series, probably many voices? How does creating a score differ when you are dealing with several different people with several different opinions?FJ: First of all, I try to listen to all of them to see if they agree or if I find some voices in opposite direction. Art is subjective. I try to hit the red button and get them together and decide what we are going for. For a certain scene, we want to talk about the emotion of the character or tension of the situation, so I have to try to get a summary or condense all those voices and then try to hear my own voice, or it will end up being an empty piece of music.However, in a TV show you always think in a larger scope. You aren’t just another 12 episodes, you have an arc and you have to respond to the journey of that character. You are always contrasting the importance of the moment against the general journey of the score or the character.Image via Watership Down (Netflix).PB: When you work on an animated project such as Watership Down (the mini-series on Netflix), are there any differences in your mind between scoring animation vs. live action?FJ: I think no. My mission is the same. My mission is to go behind the drama, the face of the characters, and the tension of the scene and the unpredictability of the scene. In animation, however, the music canvas can be wider. You can expand yourself a little more without intruding on the film.PB: What about tackling such an iconic literary work? Any fear?FJ: Absolutely! All the fears and insecurities that any person can have! For revisiting a piece that was done wonderfully before, that comes from such an incredible novel. But there is always a moment where you left go and you let fears go and just connect to the film. Thank god there is a moment when you just sit at the piano and you just start writing because what connected you to the project is stronger than the fear and that wins and you are able to do the job.PB: What’s next for you?FJ: Another difference between Europe and U.S. is they have you sign an NDA.PB:  Guess we’ll just have to wait until the Oscars.Cover image via Metronome MP.Looking for more industry interviews? Check these out.Interview: Tracy Andreen on the Romance of Writing for HallmarkScreenwriter James V. Hart on Career, Coppola, and Creating a MethodIndustry Interview: Advancing Your Career from PA to ADInterview: Jennifer Gatti on Bon Jovi, Star Trek, and Leaving L.A.Jonah Hill on Writing and Directing Mid90s — and Tips He Learned from the Greatslast_img read more

Interview: Learan Kahanov, DP of “Madam Secretary”

first_imgLearan Kahanov talks about his journey to becoming the DP of “Madam Secretary” — and where he looks for inspiration.PremiumBeat got a chance to talk with cinematographer Learan Kahanov about his progression in the industry — from childhood aspirations to working on indie films, and now as the DP for Madam Secretary starring Téa Leoni.PremiumBeat: Can you talk about your background and how you got your start in the industry?Learan Kahanov: I am first generation to Israeli parents and I grew up in the Midwest, of all places. My mother was a fine artist, and my dad was a management consultant. My mother actually went back to college to get a degree in fine arts, despite already being an artist. She minored in photography, so I ended up doing my middle school homework in her lab hours. In the photo lab, I learned how to print and that started my love of photography.As a teenager, I was working at a children’s museum, and one of my roles there was to teach younger kids how to use a dark room. Then we started getting into basic video skills and editing. It really kind of cemented my love for the moving image. I found myself at NYU and quickly met some people who got me on a set. I was cutting classes to work in the indie film world and commercials in New York during the early ’90s.I decided early in school that I wanted to focus on lighting, rather than cameras. So I started my professional career as a gaffer in the electric department. I was able to work on some great indie movies like Chasing Amy. I was the gaffer for David Klein, who is an amazing DP and has done many great things in his career.PB: What lead you to become the DP for Madam Secretary?LK: Around 2012, I made the transition into television as a camera operator and a second-unit DP. Working on shows like Nurse Jackie, Royal Pains, and a show called Unforgettable with Poppy Montgomery. That’s where I really honed my DP skills in the episodic world. Then I was called to work on Madam Secretary by producer Sam Hoffman, who had worked with me on Unforgettable, he came in to do some second unit directing, and I was his DP.I interviewed with the original cinematographer of Madam Secretary, Jonathan Brown. In the interview, he and the showrunner basically said, “We’re looking for an A-camera operator, but we need someone who can potentially take over the show, because Jonathan wants to direct.” I was like, “I’m your man.”PB: With Madam Secretary being a political drama, I imagine a character’s emotions and motivations play a role in how a scene is shot. Can you break down how you approach that process?LK: I would say that it’s three-fold on our show. There’s Elizabeth’s home life, her political life, and then there’s the world outside of that. You know, the foreign entity for that episode. There’s usually a connection between all three. I try to help the directors bridge that visually.It gives you an opportunity to play with connecting the emotions of the characters in all those worlds. As well as creating new visual language for discerning between those three worlds.PB: Can you talk about the camera and lens setups you have used on the show?LK: We’ve always shot with ARRI Alexas. Eventually we switched to the Alexa SXT. The biggest change we made when I took over the show was switching from ARRI Ultra primes to the Leica Summicrons. I would say 95% of the show is shot with prime lenses.We shoot a lot of blown-out windows. We light from outside in so the actors can move around the space a lot easier. The Leicas have an interesting flare characteristic that ends up giving an extra bit of softness. I can actually lay off the diffusion filters, especially to try to get some of the sharpness out of these digital cameras, because the lenses do it for me.PB: With this being the final season of Madam Secretary, did that have any influence on the look of show?LK: There are certain things I’ll do, trying to be a little more gutsy with the look, while still retaining a certain beauty and elegance. My key lights are softer, but my fill levels are less. You get a higher contrast image, but the light is a little softer on faces. Just being a little more daring, while still respecting the look of the show.PB: Where do you look for creative inspiration?LK: Quite honestly, my inspiration comes from the world around me. I think that we forget to look around the every day. Those little aspects of life that we seem to forget, I try to bring to work.I’m also a musician and a foodie. I recently took a trip to Israel, and I was inspired by going to restaurants and eating the food. A connection between a product and an emotional response. That product can be music, a plate of food, or an art form.PB: With the rise of streaming services, there seems to be a high-demand for episodic content and long-form narratives. What’s next for you as a DP? Are you looking to continue with episodic content?LK: There is a part of me that would love to delve into something where I can get a little bit more outside the box. I do think that one of the benefits of the streaming services, at least currently, is more room for exploration and freedom in how you shoot things.One of my biggest challenges on Madam Secretary was to create a show that was more cinematic than other shows you see on network television. I think we succeeded with that. That’s due to the production designer, directors, and the producers. It comes from the top down.I hope that people recognize the look of our show. And if they see something else and they say “Oh, that show looks like Madam Secretary“. That’s a testament to us doing our job as filmmakers.Cover image via Madam Secretary (CBS).Looking for more industry interviews? Check these out.Interview: Composer Brian H. Kim Talks BH90210 and MoreIndustry Insights: Production Designer Malchus JanockoThe Landscape of Sound: An Interview with Sound Designer Mandell WinterEditor Tom Jarvis on Carpool Karaoke with Paul McCartneyIndustry Insights with Cinematographer Michael Frankslast_img read more

The Mood Board: Set the Tone for Your Next Short Film

first_imgWhile there are no set rules for what goes in a mood board, I’m going to show you a few things you can include to help convey your film’s vision.The pre-production phase of a project is extremely important. In my last tutorial, I went over how to create a pitch deck, which is essentially a sales presentation of a film idea. I use this document to entice cast and crew members to join my team.One of the most important elements of my pitch deck is the mood board. A mood board helps convey the look and tone of the film. The visual language of film is all about framing and composition. It’s an important aspect of the filmmaking process that you’ll want to spend some time thinking about during pre-production. Putting a few ideas down on a mood board will help when it comes time to work with a DP.For my project, I want to use a lot of reflection shots. This’ll include a reflection shot of a car window, and several reflections from a mirror in an apartment. I also want to experiment with only showing the face of my main protagonist. I will capture all of the secondary characters with over-the-shoulder shots and wide shots when their faces are concealed.LightingLighting is another aspect of filmmaking that’ll significantly affect the tone of your project. Since I’ll be shooting most of my scenes in a small Parisian apartment, I won’t have the luxury of having a lot of lights on stands. To solve this problem, I’ll block my scenes to harness the power of the natural light coming from window sources.Color PaletteColors can evoke emotions and symbolize important themes and elements of a character or location. They’re another important part of the visual language, so you should include them in a mood board.Color palettes can help when you’re collaborating with the art director, costume designer, and cinematographer. For my mood board, I’ve taken color samples around Paris, including the metro and several cafes, just to give me a good starting point. My film touches on the themes of jealousy and truth, so I’m using colors that represent those themes, including mixtures of blues and greens. By mixing the blues and greens, I’ve come up with a few turquoise color palettes that’ll work well.Similar ProjectsEven with all of the categories above in my mood board, people still struggle to visualize the project. Sometimes it’s easier to just reference another film that inspired the look or idea of your project. For example, the various themes I’m exploring are very similar to an episode of Black Mirror called “The Entire History of You.” This is a popular show available on Netflix, so it’s a safe bet to throw this reference in the mood board.Again, the categories of your mood board will vary depending on the vision you’re trying to communicate. To get started on your mood board, head over to Shutterstock.com for some visual inspiration.Interested in the songs we used to make this video?“Powder” by Lewis UnoLooking for more tutorials on filmmaking and video production? Check these out.Top Equipment Investments for Working FilmmakersEasy Compositing Effects for Creating Professional-Looking TitlesLearn How to Speak Filmmaking: Formatting the ScreenplayTips for Making High-Quality Small-Budget Video TutorialsHow to Export with Transparency from Adobe After Effects CharactersStories focus on characters, so I definitely want to include this in my mood board. This’ll help drive casting decisions and bring people into the world I want to create. I’ll also throw in a brief description of the character. I don’t need to be exhaustive here, as I have a lot of additional character information in the full pitch deck. This’ll serve as a teaser.LocationsI have scenes taking place in a handful of locations, including an apartment in Paris, the metro, several streets, and the exterior of a cafe. Adding images here can help give references to the look of each location, as well as ideas for set design and props.Wardrobe and PropsWardrobe and props are important on-screen elements. My protagonist is a journalist who works from home, only going out for the occasional interview or meeting. At home, he’ll be casual. When he goes out, he’ll wear a trench coat, jeans, and tennis shoes. He’ll carry a messenger bag that has a notepad and a small laptop.A mobile phone will also serve as a key prop for the film. In several scenes, he uses a map application, tracking his fiancée’s location via a blinking marker. He also has a mirror in his apartment, which will play a key role in the cinematography of the film.Visual EffectsThe blinking marker in the maps application will be a visual effect, so I want to include reference images from Google Maps. This’ll make the process much easier for my visual effects artist so they won’t have to waste time finding their own reference images from scratch.Framing/Compositionlast_img read more

Getting Your Lights and Camera in Impossible Places

first_imgThe Mini MAX is a great option to lighting a scene, giving the actors and camera the freedom to move and shoot at almost 360 degrees.Lighting a scene can seem straightforward, until you realize that there’s no way to hide the C-stands or light stands where the camera won’t see them. What seemed like a simple setup can become three or four different setups while you shoot around the physical limitations of the space.This always takes longer to shoot, and can easily create continuity issues in the edit.Big-budget productions get around the limitations of the humble C-stand by using cranes, overhead grids, and other big pieces of equipment that come in a large truck and take a team of experienced grips to set up, operate, and take down.Luckily for the independent filmmaker, there are some cheaper alternatives on the market that let you get your lights and (if you’re brave enough) camera sixteen feet in the air and nine feet from the stand.Mini MAXAt forty-four pounds, the Matthews Mini MAX grip is a hefty chunk of metal. But, it also fits in the trunk of a car and one person can carry it.The stand is a one-piece arrangement with an arm supported by two uprights. These uprights meet at the base, supported by two feet extending diagonally to the ground, creating a tripod. The arm can extend outward in three sections, and you can lower or raise it by changing the lengths of the uprights.StabilizationImage via Thongden Studio.Weigh the Mini MAX down to stabilize it. I placed 3×10 pound sandbags on it — one on the base and one on each leg. You can then mount your payload to the end of the arm and extend it section by section.Give the stand the “shake test” at each stage of setting up to make sure it’s stable enough to proceed. The engineering of the Mini MAX is solid, but you want to practice a healthy “margin of error” whenever you’re suspending a large piece of metal and glass above your talent.I was able to get my ten-pound Intellytech Mega ten feet in the air without any worries; running the cable down the arm to the power supply, I attached it to the base and used it as extra ballast. You could shoot a dinner table scene in a wide shot, or anything else requiring a pool of directed light, and easily keep the stand behind or beside the camera.You can substitute a light for a camera on a lighter tripod head, but I found it difficult to predict the orientation as the Mini MAX arm moves in an arc as you elevate it. I was only able to get the shot I wanted by raising the camera to the desired position, then using a ladder to set the shot.CostThe Mini MAX costs $1,140. I rented one for a day in L.A. for just $35. If you need to lift more weight, or need to get it further from the base, Matthews also makes the popular MAX Menace arm. This arm can lift 175 pounds, and it goes twenty feet in the air. It costs $6,763, but you can rent it for around $75 in most major cities on peer to peer sites like ShareGrid and KitSplit.Check it out yourself!Cover image via Jacob Lund.Want more tips of building your lighting kit? Check these out.Follow Fill: The Simple Solution to Lighting a Difficult SceneExploring the Emotion and Beauty Behind UplightingExciting New Prospects for Lighting Your Future SetA Cheap Trick for Lighting a Daylight Interior Car SceneNature’s Lighting: A Guide on Shooting With or Against the Sunlast_img read more

Motivation is a Bigger Why

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now Do you want to know the real secret to staying motivated long term? Do you want to know how to develop the burning passion and single-mindedness that propels you towards reaching your goals? Want to know how to stay focused and accomplish more than ever?The key to real, lasting, intrinsic motivation is a bigger “why.” The bigger your “why,” the more motivated you will be to achieve your goals.What Do Your Goals Mean?Look at what’s written on your list of goals. You know exactly “what” your goals are. You also know exactly “how” to reach those goals; you know what you need to do.You don’t lack information. You lack inspiration. That inspiration is found in the answer to the question, “Why must you achieve that goal?”The question “Why?” gives meaning to your goals. It provides meaning. Who will you become by achieving your goals? What will reaching your goals mean to you (and the people in your life)? The real source of your motivation is locked inside the answers to these questions.We seek pleasure and avoid pain. If the “why” isn’t strong enough framed in the positive, try framing it in the negative. What will not reaching your goals cost you? What will it cost you not to become the very best version of yourself? What will failing to reach your goals cost you (and the people you love and care about?).Resetting Your GoalsAny goal you have failed to achieve isn’t infused with enough meaning. Your aren’t deeply enough attached to the “why.” Desire is born out of the “why” and not so much out of the what or the how. The why is also what gives you purpose. You reset your goals by attaching yourself to the “why.”QuestionsDo you have a list of goals?Why are each of these goals on your list?Does answering the question “why” inspire you?What do you lose by failing to reach your goals?last_img read more

Don’t Do It Because It Is Wrong. Not Because of Social Media.

first_img“Don’t do that because, in the age of social media, you could hurt your reputation.”Wrong. The reason not to do something immoral, illegal, unethical, or simply self-oriented is not because someone might post about it on social media. It is not because word of mouth is now broadcast with a digital megaphone. The reason not to do these things is because they conflict with your values.Character Is Non-NegotiableCharacter isn’t negotiable. It isn’t something that you have when you believe you might be found out, and lack when you believe no one is looking. You have character, or your do not.If your dream client doesn’t know what they should be paying for your services and you decide to charge them more because they lack the knowledge or experience to know better, you are violating step one of being a trusted advisor. There may be nothing illegal about charging a client who lacks information a higher price, but it is the kind of egocentric move that displays a lack of character and self-orientation.Pushing a prospective client to make a decision they are not ready to make isn’t illegal. It may not rise to being immoral, but we could argue about whether or not that is true. Blasting through a prospect’s objections and treating their concerns as unimportant so you can get ink on paper isn’t about serving them, even if you believe that your solution is exactly what they need. Instead, it demonstrates a lack of caring.Making the sale under these conditions doesn’t make you a good salesperson. It means you aren’t a very good salesperson at all. If you were a good salesperson, you’d possess the skillful means to make the sale and help your client with their concerns.Don’t worry about social media. Worry about your character. Don’t worry about other people finding out and deciding not to business with you. Worry about who you are as a person. Good character prevents you from ever having to worry about a bad reputation. And character is worth referring.last_img read more

Don’t Get Cute

first_imgToday I received a little box from a company who wants my attention. Inside the box was a small toy, and a link to a website, and nothing else. The sender wants my attention, and the offer is a serious offer, even though I didn’t watch more than a few seconds of the personal video on the site. I am the wrong audience, but the sender didn’t know that.He could have called me and I would have told him who to contact.Minutes later I received a LinkedIn InMail. The person sending that email was also trying to get my attention. She offered me a chance to play Truth or Dare, the dare being me giving her two times to speak with her about her services.I appreciate the creativity, and I like the playfulness, but not enough to talk to her about her service, especially since I don’t need it.Last week, a salesperson sent me a list of reasons that I might have not responded to their email. On choice suggested that I did not reply back because I had been eaten by alligators.The idea is that by being cute, the salesperson will get attention. They hope by being clever, they can gain an appointment. Different is good, and it can work, but different in a way that makes a difference is better. What is missing is the insight that would make a business person sit up and take notice. What the approach lacks is some compelling reason for me to take a meeting, and busy people don’t like to give up their time without getting something in return. This pitch is for receptive people, who are easier targets for this kind of messaging.The problem with being cute is that the attention you get may not be the impression you are trying to make. If you are trying to be consultative, and if you are aiming to be a person with deep insight, then starting by being cute may not serve those ends. That said, if your real personality is engaging and entertaining, then go with that (but I have seen the alligator thing 11 times, which means it isn’t even your material).A couple of the people who have sent me emails like this work in lead generation and appointment setting. They mean well, and their intentions are good, and I am certain that there are some markets where this approach yields results, but for many companies who call on people with the charge of making change, this approach feels too clever by half. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Why You Are Overconfident in Your Forecast and What To Do About It

first_imgIt is easy to believe that you are going to win the big deal you are pursuing. There is evidence available to you that supports this belief. For example, the contacts with whom you have met all agree that your solution is very good and that it is what they need. They’ve also been complementary, telling you that they’re impressed with what they’ve seen and heard so far. More still, they continue to ask you for more information.You know they have seen other potential partners, your competitors, but you are doubtful any of your competitors propose a threat when things are going so well. This deal looks like opportunities you’ve won in the past, and things are lining up nicely. You have no cause for concern, and your confidence is exceedingly high.Then, without warning, you discover you lost to a competitor.Evidence of the Non-ExistentThe lack of evidence of a competitive threat does not prove that there isn’t one. We tend to mistake something unknown for evidence of it not existing.It is important to know which contacts support change and who opposes any change. The fact that you don’t know who opposes the change you are recommending doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Nor does it mean they aren’t working to slow things down or stop them altogether.Equally important, you need to know who prefers you and who might support your competitor. The fact that you’ve built a coalition of stakeholders that believe that you and your solution are exactly right is not evidence that there is not another faction supporting your competitor. For every action, there tends to be an equal and opposite reaction, and this rule seems to be true inside groups.Support from someone with a title that suggests they are “the decision-maker” is helpful—and necessary—to winning a deal. It’s something you should seek if you want to win big deals. But the support of a key stakeholder is not evidence that the key “influencers” are going to get what they want and need, regardless of whether the “decision-maker” likes you the most. Influence is invisible, even though it often provides clues of its existence for those brave enough to look for them.A Hedge Against OverconfidenceThe reason we tend towards overconfidence in deals is because we see positive evidence without seeing evidence to the contrary. Because something is opaque doesn’t mean it is nonexistent, nor does it indicate that is a non-factor.Overconfidence, in many cases, is inversely proportional to win rates. As a hedge against your overconfidence, spend as much time looking for the ways you will lose a deal as you do talking about why you are going to win. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

10 Helpful Prompts To Start Your Sales Week and Gain an Edge

first_imgA new week brings new possibilities. You start with a fresh set of days with which to produce new—and potentially better—results. Maybe you are all buttoned-up and don’t need any prompts to guide you or reveal some gap you might want to close. But if you do need a starting point, let this list of 10 helpful prompts to start your sales week provide an edge.Have you planned your week to ensure that you generate the outcomes you need to create now? Are you focused on your most important results?Are there blocks on your calendar for prospecting that you hold sacred because you recognize that opportunity creation is a prerequisite to opportunity capture?Is your list of clients well-researched and organized so that you can spend your time making calls and following the steps in your professional and persistent prospecting cadence? Is your approach the kind of professional pursuit plan that allows you to win your dream clientsHow are you going to make sure your activity is high enough for you to generate the results you need from this week? What do you need to do to produce the opportunities that equal some number more than 1/50th of your goal? Did you realize that you have to win 2 percent of your annual goal every week?Do you have the insights and ideas that will allow you to proactively help your clients make the changes they need to succeed now and in the future? Are you doing the work of developing your business acumen and the right to consult?What are you doing this week to improve yourself? How will you improve your ability to generate better results for yourself, your company, and your clients? What are you doing to advance in your chosen profession?Is the list of things you owe your clients and prospects complete and up-to-date? Are you confident you are prepared to keep the commitments you have made (knowingly and unknowingly)?Have you prepared for your meetings, ensuring you are ready with good questions, prepared to answer the hard questions, and focused on creating enough value to earn the right to ask for and obtain the next commitment?Which of your existing clients need to hear from you this week, and what is on the agenda? Are you creating new opportunities for you by creating new opportunities for your clients?Are you persisting in the pursuit of the dream clients who chose your competitor the last time they evaluated their options? Have you drafted the plan to continue your pursuit and win their businesses in the future?Do good work this week!last_img read more

Crime rate no co-relation to casinos, Parrikar tells Goa Assembly

first_imgGoa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday told the Goa legislative assembly that revenue earned from the casino industry had doubled over the last two years.In a written reply to a question asked by leader of Opposition Chandrakant Kavlekar, Mr. Parrikar who also holds Finance portfolio said that there was no co-relation between the casino industry and the coastal state’s crime rate. The question by the Congress MLA was whether crime rate had increased in Goa due to casino operations. Mr. Parrikar said “No” in his written reply.Mr. Parrikar further claimed that crime rate had decreased in the last three years, with 4467 criminal cases reported in 2014, 3074 in 2015, 2693 in 2016, respectively.The Chief Minister also said that revenues generated by the state exchequer over the last three fiscals from casions had increased substantially. While the State earned ₹78.62 crore in 2014-16 from the casino industry in form of various taxes, in the year 2016-17, it went up to ₹161.96 croreGoa has five casinos operating in river Mandovi and around 10 onshore casinos restricted to hotels in five star and above category.last_img read more

Cattle smuggling goes on along Indo-Bangla border

first_imgTwo Border Security Force (BSF) personnel have been killed, allegedly by cattle smugglers along the India-Bangladesh border, over the past two months. Tushar Kanti Das died on September 14 at an outpost near Angrail in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district, while Dipak Modal from the Tripura Frontier BSF succumbed to injuries he sustained in an attack on October 16.The two deaths are an indication that cattle smuggling along the international border is a major challenge for security personnel guarding the border. An analysis of cattle seized along the India Bangladesh border reveals that there has been no significant drop in cattle smuggling since 2014.Answers tabled by the Home Ministry on March 28, 2017, in response to questions raised by Members of Parliament in the Lok Sabha, revealed that 1,09,999 heads of cattle were seized in 2014, 1,53,602in 2015 and 1,68,801 in 2016.For the first nine months of 2017, till September 30, 99,744 heads of cattle were seized along this border. Senior officials of the BSF said that the numbers for all of 2017 may be somewhere between 1.3 lakh to 1.4 lakh heads of cattle seized.Bucking the trendThere is one stretch of border that bucks this trend. Of the 1,09,999 heads of cattle seized in 2014, 1,01,751 (about 92%) were from the BSF’s South Bengal Frontier (SBF). But by 2017, cattle seized along the SBF had dropped to 43% of the total number of cattle heads seized — 43,597 of the 99,774 cattle heads seized in the entire eastern theatre.BSF’s SBF, which extends from West Bengal’s Sunderbans to Malda is considered most porous and vulnerable to cross border smuggling. Of the 918-km border, only a third is fenced and large parts of about 360 km is riverine, where rivers flowing between the two countries serve as the international border.Could the fall in numbers of cattle smuggled along this stretch indicate a change in smuggling routes, with smuggling activities shifting the north and northeast? Some numbers appear to indicate this.In 2014, 6,651 heads of cattle were seized along the BSF’s North Bengal Frontier (NBF), which rose to 16,020 heads of cattle in 2016, and 11,542 heads of cattle till September 2017. Officials of BSF’s NBF said many seizures were made along the national highway leading to Assam, a few kilometres off the border.Till 2014, hardly any cattle heads were seized from the northeast, but the figures now indicate that almost 40% of cattle heads were seized from the northeast.India shares a 4,096-km border with Bangladesh along the States of West Bengal (the longest at 2,216 km), followed by Tripura (856 km). The other States sharing borders with Bangladesh are Meghalaya (443 km), Mizoram (318 km) and Assam (263 km). Each State in the northeast has a dedicated BSF Frontier for managing security along the border. Illegal trade of cattle remains huge in terms of the numbers of cattle heads seized. “It is impossible to stop cattle smuggling as the margin of profit is very high and locals on both sides of the border benefit economically from it. It is like a cat and mouse game — you have increased surveillance at some spot and the smugglers try other places,” a senior BSF officer said.High marginsThe margin for one smuggled cattle head may be as high as ₹10,000-₹15,000, depending on the size of cattle. Figures indicate that over 5.32 lakh heads of cattle valued at valuing about ₹350 crore have been seized along the eastern theater since 2014. Along the SBF alone, over 3.25 lakh units of cattle valued at ₹200 crore have been seized since 2014.last_img read more

Odisha’s first female filmmaker passes away

first_imgParbati Ghose, Odisha’s first female filmmaker, passed away following a prolonged illness here on Sunday night. She was 85.The veteran film personality was rushed to a private hospital around midnight after she complained of uneasiness. She was declared dead at the hospital.She was born in Cuttack district in 1933. Parbati started working as child artist in All India Radio and soon transcended to silver screen as a child artiste (Nila Madhava) in the movie ‘Shri Jagannath’ in 1949. Four years later, in 1953 she got a big break when offered the lead role in ‘Amari Gaan Jhua’ (Our Village Girl).She turned to film direction after tasting phenomenal success in mainstream cinema. In 1973, she joined her husband Goura Prasad Ghose to direct the film ‘Sansara’. She won three national awards by the mid-1980s.last_img read more

Assam citizenship: SC refuses to extend May 31 deadline for updating NRC

first_imgThe Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to extend the May 31 deadline for the ongoing process of publishing the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam in the wake of panchayat elections in the State, saying the polls should not become an impediment.The top court, however, spared the Additional Deputy Commissioner rank officer currently engaged in updating the NRC for the local bodies elections scheduled next month. “We have already said that the deadline for [updating] NRC is May 31 and the next 30 days for cross-checking of data till June 30. It can’t go beyond that and complete final draft should be ready by then. You deploy your surplus employees or request neighbouring States, but no employee engaged in NRC work can be spared or disturbed,” a Bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and R.F. Nariman said.The Bench’s remark came after the State government said the panchayat elections were due next month and urged that the employees engaged in NRC work be allowed to be deployed for the polls. The NRC is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam.The Bench said it had no intention of interfering with the panchayat polls in the State and that they should be held as per schedule. But the polls shall not become impediment in the completion of the NRC, it added.Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Assam, told the court that as per the Panchayat Constitution Rules of the State, the deputy commissioner is responsible for the elections but he was currently engaged in NRC work. “When we asked the deputy commissioner to work for polls, the State coordinator of NRC Prateek Hajela said it will be contempt of court as no officer can be engaged in any other work,” he said.To this, the Bench said if there was a statutory requirement, then the additional deputy commissioners of each district could be spared for the local bodies’ election, but no other official can be allowed to do any other job other than updating the NRC.The Bench asked all State governments, railways, banks, CBSE, UIDAI and Ministry of External Affairs to assist the NRC officials in verification of the records within the stipulated period.Mr. Mehta said if the panchayat elections were delayed in Assam, then the State would lose a grant of ₹1000 crore, which can be given only if the elected local bodies are in place as per the recommendation of 14th Finance Commission.During the hearing, the Bench also pulled up the Registrar General of India (RGI) for “putting spanners” in the work of updating the NRC.“Mr. Attorney General, we have received a confidential report from our sources and have found that this gentleman is putting spanners in the work,” the Bench said.Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, who was present in the courtroom, asked whether the court meant that the RGI was delaying the work. “Yes. We have received a confidential report regarding this. If that will be the case, we will not hesitate to direct for replacing the Registrar General of India,” the Bench said.RGI Shailesh was also present in the courtroom when the Bench made the observation and warned him of the action. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on May 8.On February 20, the apex court had made it clear that the ongoing process of publishing the final NRC in Assam had to be completed by May 31 this year and work on it should continue without “any interference from any quarter”.The Bench, while noting in its order that the final draft NRC would be completed by June 30, had also dealt with the issue of the upcoming panchayat and local body elections in Assam, which were due in for April this year.The top court had said that the State election commission would conduct these elections as per schedule but the poll process should not cause the “slightest of interference in the publication of NRC”. It had said that the work of holding election will not be at the cost of upgradation and preparation of NRC.The first draft NRC for Assam was published in December end as per the apex court’s direction to come out with it by December 31, 2017.The apex court had said that the claims of those citizens whose names did not figure in the draft NRC for Assam that was published by December 31 last year would be scrutinised and included in the subsequent list, if found to be genuine.The NRC of 1951 is being updated for Assam in accordance with the tripartite agreement among the State and central governments and the influential All Assam Students Union (AASU), which was arrived at in 2005 to implement the 1985 Assam Accord.last_img read more

SIT arrests Punjab IGP in Faridkot firing case

first_imgThe SIT on Monday arrested Inspector General Paramraj Singh Umranangal, who was commanding the police force when they allegedly opened fire on people protesting against desecration of religious texts in Punjab in 2015, citing “sufficient evidence” against him.Two people were killed in police firing in Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura areas in Faridkot district in October 2015.The SIT, set up to probe the incidents, had last month arrested former Moga district SSP Charanjit Singh Sharma. “I can confirm that Paramraj Singh Umranangal has been arrested from Chandigarh on the basis of sufficient evidence we have against him,” SIT member Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh said. “We have questioned a number of people, including police officers, as part of our investigation. He was questioned twice. We have got sufficient evidence that… the procedure adopted (to open fire) was not correct,” he said.last_img read more