All miners, including small and medium-scale miners, will now have to pay an increased processing fee of 00 per ounce of gold they declare to the Guyana Gold Board (GGB). The fee was previously just 00 per ounce.Had the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) not intervened when a public notice announcing the hike first appeared in the daily newspapers, that fee would have been a whopping $4000 per ounce.According to a missive from Avalon Jagnandan, the Administrative Manager at the GGDMA, the Association first became aware of the hike when a public notice appeared in the newspapers declaring that all miners and dealers selling gold to the Gold Board would have to pay the $4000 fee.“This was immediately rejected by the GGDMA in a number of media publications,” he said. “Since miners and dealers were only paying a processing fee of $1000 per ounce of gold. This $3000 proposed increase by the GGB was strongly opposed at all levels by the GGDMA.”“Subsequently, the Association met with the Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman and the Chairman of the Guyana Gold Board on this matter to represent the miners’ interest. This meeting was held on Tuesday, July 4, 2017 at the Ministry of Natural Resources. Coming out of this meeting, the Minister had proposed a processing fee of $3000. The GGDMA again felt that this was too much for the miners to bear and rejected that amount.”Jagnandan related that after lengthy negotiations with the Ministry and the Gold Board, and considering that the fee was not raised for some time, the GGDMA renegotiated for an increase taking the fee to $2000.“However, the GGDMA has since been informed in writing by Minister of Natural Resources (Raphael Trotman) that the new processing fee will now be $2500 per ounce of gold and will take effect from September 1, 2017,” Jagnandan stated.Guyana has had issues with loss of revenue as a result of gold smuggling and some are questioning whether this hike will exacerbate the situation. Officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Homeland Security from the United States of America visited Guyana last year, and briefed top officials, including Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, about gold smuggling from Guyana.According to Minister Trotman, it was estimated that approximately 15,000 ounces of the precious metal was smuggled overseas weekly. Trotman said 50 per cent to 60 per cent of local production is lost to smuggling.“Indicators are that the gold is going to Brazil. It is going over the borders to Suriname, not to stay in Suriname but to go to Europe. It is being landed at Miami International Airport. It is being landed at John F Kennedy (Airport, New York) and it is going to the Middle East,” he had told reporters.For the year, some 163,000 ounces of gold had been declared for the first quarter. This follows last year’s healthy declaration of 713,000 ounces. Small and medium-scale miners accounted for some 70 per cent, while Guyana Goldfields and Troy Resources, large gold-mining operations, contributed the remainder.The GGB recorded 451,490 ounces of gold in 2015. In December last year, Trotman said the Natural Resources Ministry would be aiming for 700,000 ounces in gold declarations for this year. He said the Government was looking forward to all miners producing and declaring high numbers in 2017, and had even pledged to continue to support the industry.Already, repeated calls from the GGDMA for a meeting with President David Granger in order to air various grievances have gone unfulfilled.
Electrifying performances are what you can expect at Under Madiba Skies. (Image: I Support Do You)Nelson Mandela became the first democratically elected president of South Africa in 1994; his inaugural speech, in which he spoke of freedom, the future, reconciliation and renewal, still resonates today.“It always seems impossible, until it is done,” he said, prompting musicians from South Africa and France to interpret his words in a special performance in which many influences and cultures come together on stage.This meeting of musical chairs goes by the name of Under Madiba Skies, and they will be performing in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town from 29 October to 1 November.On 29 October, catch them at Alliance Française Pretoria; on 30 October, they are in Johannesburg at Alliance Française Johannesburg; on 31 October they will be at Ikhaya le Langa in Langa in Cape Town; and they finish off their tour in Durban at Rainbow Restaurant. All performances are free, except the final show in Durban, for which tickets are R60.A MEETING OF DIFFERENT CULTURESIn Under Madiba Skies, French band Gran Kino has come together with a number of South African musicians, including Manelis, Ayanda Nhlangothi, Jitsvinger and Burni Aman, to share their vision of South Africa today.This collaboration, which began in 2013, has spawned several songs. Whether from Durban, rapping in isiZulu, from Johannesburg singing with a traditional sweetness, or from Cape Town rapping in Afrikaans, the vision is mutual: coming together on one stage, uniting different languages, visions and ideas. Above all, the venture celebrates an endless artistic richness.The music weaves together traditional songs, rock, hip-hop and acoustic piano and voice. The performers are colourful and embody values of peace and openness to the world.Under Madiba Skies released a four-track EP in 2013; the first single was called Brand New Day, and is available online.The artists see Madiba’s inaugural speech as a prophecy and feel honoured to bring his word to listeners around the world. It is also an opportunity to show the world what South Africa has to offer.Their ideals dovetail with South Africa’s National Development Plan or Vision 2030, which has an aim to seal Africa’s place in the world and bring about nation building through social cohesion.In 2013, the group successfully toured France with performances at some of the biggest world music festivals in that country, such as Festival Generic and The Worlstock Festival. In 2014, they visited South America.The first Under Madiba Skies single, Brand New Day, was playlisted on Radio France International and other French radio stations. Songs from the EP were also playlisted on radio stations in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Lebanon, Poland, Italy, Spain and Hong Kong, among other countries.AUDIENCE APPRECIATIONIt seems the collaboration has touched many, with audiences around the globe appreciating the performances:“I wanted to congratulate you, to thank you, to tell you how much this moment had touched me. My emotions about your performance were so strong, I was not able to do anything the days following your concert.”“It is this simple message I want to convey to you: through your involvement with a bit of soul, Madiba was in Macon, and the permanence of the soul softens the pain caused by the sad news of his passing. For me, as for many, Madiba remains alive.”“It was an evening of great splendour and generosity… Your concert was like a bomb of talent: energy, originality, crossroads of music and styles. A true rainbow of musicians and rhythms.”
Learn what gear professional digital imaging technicians keep in their kits, and check out some affordable ideas for your own.Cover image via Blackmagic.The role of the Digital Imaging Technician is equal measures creative and technical. In this article, we will dig through some of the gear professional DITs bring to their jobs, and look at some options to make an effective professional DIT kit as affordably as possible.For organization’s sake, I will break down the key components of the DIT kit into three categories: gear (or hardware) essential for the execution of job-related tasks, software for the same purpose, and some equipment to make you more comfortable on the job.Image via Ekkaphan Chimpalee.GearA computer is the most essential piece of DIT hardware. In film production, DITs often use heavy-duty computers mounted in racks. While this is especially useful for handling and processing massive raw footage, modern laptops can fairly competently handle much of the necessary work, albeit much slower. Not all laptops are created equal, however. Careful selection is important if you are serious about working professionally as a DIT.There are four primary specs to consider when selecting:Intel i7 or higher CPU (or similar AMD Ryzen configuration)Dedicated graphics cardAs much RAM as you can affordThe best possible screen with excellent color accuracyDell, Acer, and ASUS all make great options for around $1,000. Do your research on their screens, however, as most have poor color accuracy. If you are on the tightest budget, consider an external camera monitor. You can find a small, portable monitor for cheap and simply connect it to your laptop for a great color-accurate monitoring solution.At the time of this writing, I don’t recommend a Macbook Pro. A sufficiently powered machine will start at $2,000, and even at that price tag, you are foregoing a dedicated GPU.ConnectivityImage via B&H Photo Video.The first part of the DIT’s job is transferring and archiving footage from camera media to redundant storage. This means that you need as many high-speed USB ports available on your computer as possible to accommodate all of the storage devices — as well as all the various types of media being recorded on set.Always have at least one powered USB 3.1 hub on set, and try to have a backup. This is especially important if you go for a cheaper option. These fail all the time, so be prepared. As with any purchase, do your research, and see what other people are saying about the hubs you’re considering. (Anker makes really solid and reliable hubs, so go with them if you can’t decide.)Color PanelImage via Blackmagic.Color panels are fairly pricey and can seem (at first) rather non-essential. But ask any colorist or DIT why they use them, and you’ll start to get a sense for why they are vital for quickly dialing in looks on set.A good color panel will allow you to use both hands to simultaneously make adjustments, and they have hardware buttons, wheels, and dials for every tool you need to perform a primary grade. Additionally, professional grading programs are designed for use with these panels, with only secondary consideration given to mouse-and-keyboard users.Color panels give you a massive advantage, especially in a situation when the director and DP are halting the shoot to watch over your shoulder to make sure a scene cuts together visually.Speed and precision are the most important skills in the DIT’s kit, so select tools that enhance your ability to quickly accomplish your objective.RadiosImage via JHK2303.You will never go wrong with a set of decent two-way radios in your kit, regardless of your job on set. This is especially important on smaller, independent sets when the crew is small. Radio communication between you and the camera department will rapidly streamline the back-and-forth of card transfers and imaging advice from the camera department.SoftwareImage via Blackmagic.With the hardware basics covered, let’s take a look under the hood and see what software we will need for essential DIT duty.NLEImage via recklessstudios.This first one is pretty straightforward. An editing program is essential for cutting together dailies — as well as a myriad of other tasks. Use whichever you are most comfortable with.IngestImage via Blackmagic.Dragging and dropping files is not good enough for a DIT; they must ensure a full replication of every bit from the camera and sound media to each and every drive.There are many programs with which accomplish this, the most common being Shotput, Parashoot, and Adobe Prelude. I won’t go too far into the weeds with the technical details, but if you’re going to use a program other than one of these, look for “MD5 (bit-for-bit) confirmation.”Essentially, MD5 compares each bit from the source and makes sure it gets perfectly replicated to each storage device. The process is quick, usually running in the background while footage is transferring, and once complete, all that is left to do is review the text log and ensure that no errors were found. If any errors exist, immediately let the camera department know, and pull the card from shooting rotation.ResolveIf you’re looking for an NLE-and-ingest-program rolled into one, you’re in luck. In the past three or four generations of Resolve, Blackmagic has really invested in a fully-functional NLE within their color suite. Even better, you can copy and verify your footage in the same program.Best yet, it’s free.Quality of LifeNow that we’ve covered our basic job responsibilities, let’s make our job as the DIT just a little bit easier.CartImage via Blackmagic.As a DIT, you cannot afford to lose any time relocating. Investing in a basic cart will not only allow you to move around as the production demands, it will also cut down on your pack-in and pack-out time — and provide a solid workspace.USB lights and fansImage via Mau Horng.Sets are dark, quiet places. As a DIT, you need to handle camera and sound cards, review the script, work with cables, unplug and re-plug drives, and operate complex color panels. Do yourself a favor and invest in a few cheap USB-powered lights and a headlamp with multiple brightness settings.On location, the air conditioning usually goes off while shooting. Quiet USB or battery-powered fans and low-power space heaters can make your life just that little bit more comfortable when things beyond your control affect your productivity.While this is far from an exhaustive list of what’s in the kit professional DITs bring to their sets, going into your first gig as a DIT with only these items will still more than prepare you for most of the challenges you’ll face.Looking for more industry tips and tricks? Check these out.Breaking News: Blackmagic Announces Blackmagic eGPUEverything We Know About Canon’s New Mirrorless CamerasBuyer’s Guide: The Best Macro Lenses on the MarketThe Best Headphones for Film and Video (Under $100)How ProRes RAW is Going to Change the Way You Work