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Phakama helps women rise in corporate world

first_imgThe first graduates from the programme who exceeded the courses expectations. (Image: VWV Group)Young businesswomen can expect a boost in their careers that will help to catapult them to greater heights in male-dominated industries, from the Phakama Women’s Academy.The academy, a corporate social investment mentoring programme, was opened in the middle of the year by the VWV Group in association with the University of Johannesburg (UJ), AAA School of Advertising and Vega School of Brand Leadership. It aims to help young businesswomen stand their ground in the predominantly male-orientated business world.The first 25 young businesswomen picked to participate in the programme, during which they were partnered with leading women in business and marketing, have now completed it.Speaking at the launch, Cheryl Carolus, the businesswoman and executive chairperson of Peotona Investments, said: “Much still needs to be done to remove sexism and prejudice when it comes to the promotion of women in the work place. Women have to work so much harder to get the same recognition, including remuneration, than their male counterparts.”Her words were echoed by the chief executive of the VWV Group, Koo Govender: “Through this initiative we hope to create a leadership academy to fast-track much needed workplace skills for soon to be graduates in our sector, particularly among women.”THE FIRST GRADUATESPhakama means “to rise” in isiZulu and isiXhosa. According to Govender, the transformation of the 25 young women has been incredible to watch. They were all from UJ, the AAA School and Vega.“This is an inspired, confident group of young women who are highly motivated to become successful businesswomen at the forefront of the communications industry. These are undoubtedly the future leaders of our industry,” she said.Initially seen as a once-off programme, the support from industry and the unexpected success of the students have validated its continuation.Areas such as presentation skills, developing your personal brand, CV development, interviewing skills, stress and time management, and personal finance were included in the pilot programme. Each module was intended to help develop skills and confidence in the young women.Govender said the most popular modules among the students were CV development and personal branding. The interview skills module was also much enjoyed as good interview skills are often a differentiator between average and successful candidates. In 2015, other relevant modules will be added.“The other minor course adjustment is that we want our Phakama students to spend more time with their mentors. The value of mentorship cannot be underestimated in a programme like this. There was incredible knowledge transfer, career guidance and building of self-esteem during these mentee sessions, the significance of which cannot be downplayed,” said Govender.“These 25 young women are focused, determined and have their sites firmly set on success. They will be a credit to our industry.”They have been encouraged to share what they have learned with other women striving to achieve success.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

P.J. Kurien elected Rajya Sabha deputy chairman

first_imgSetting aside their confrontation over the CAG report on coal block allocation, opposition and the ruling dispensation today got together in a rare show to unanimously elect Congress leader P J Kurien as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman. The House, which was adjourned earlier for an hour after uproar over CAG reports tabled on Friday, saw the opposition suspending its attack on the government to allow the election and subsequent felicitations to Kurien by members from all parties.Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh proposed Kurien’s name for the post and was seconded by Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley.After Chairman Hamid Ansari announced Kurien’s election, the Prime Minister and Jaitley escorted him to his seat.The House showered lavish praise on Kurien with the Prime Minister saying, it is a proof of the wide appreciation and support the Congress leader enjoys in the House.Singh said Kurien has “vast experience” and has been conducting the proceedings of the House with great aplomb. “We wish him all success and promise him that we will cooperate with him to the maximum so that the House can run smoothly.”Ansari said his unanimous election showed he has endeared himself to all sections of the House.As Kurien’s seat is next to Jaitely, the Leader of the Opposition said in a lighter vein, “Now that he has literally crossed the floor and has come to this side, I’m sure he will be fair to this side.”Jaitley noted that since the days of unanimous elections are very rare now, Kurien making it to the post is a proof of both his pleasantness and patience. “He has earned tremendous goodwill of the House,” he said.advertisementA beaming Kurien said he will try to accommodate views of all members in running the House.last_img read more