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#BreakTheNet produces new YouTube star

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A series of seven videos by Graham “Dingo” Dinkelman has netted 65 000 views, making him the winner in the Cell C and Blink Pictures #BreakTheNet (#BTN) competition.

Along with the title of “South Africa’s next YouTube Sensation”, 36-year-old Graham, has won a trip to Hollywood and R250 000 in cash.

The Life and Investment broker and father of three from Hillcrest in Durban said he was delighted to have won. As a crusader for wildlife, it would help him get his conservation message out to a large audience.

The competition received 837 entries and saw #BTN register 63 000 users. 36 900 GB of data was redeemed by Cell C users during the competition, with the total YouTube views of all content appearing in the app reaching 477 000.

“South Africa has its own crop of social media celebs with a loyal local and international following,” said Doug Mattheus, executive head of marketing at Cell C. “From wildlife spectacles to rappers, South Africans have contributed a lot to the online sensation of YouTube. #BTN aims to change the face of reality shows, and ultimately bring South Africa to the forefront of social media enhancement.”

All Graham’s videos used wild animals and reptiles. He invited celebrities to star with the animals in his videos. In one of them, he persuaded Greg Minnaar, South African World Champion Mountain bike racer, to help him restrain a crocodile for a health check-up.

While he has been inspired by the late Australian wildlife personality Steve Irwin, his love of wildlife began early.

His father worked for nature conservation in Pietermaritzburg and, he says, from as young as 4, he used to catch water snakes and help relocate them with his dad. His passion for reptiles continues.

Having no YouTube channel has made no difference to Grahams video views. Viewers young and old have loved them.

Each week of the competition, Task Master Darren “Wackhead” Simpson gave the contestants a new task that had to be filmed.

Graham said his favourite week was filming the “cat” theme, in which he had to rescue a curious cat that happened upon a deadly black mamba in a horse stable.

“It was a difficult shoot because of the danger and the risks involved. But very worthwhile once it had been captured.”

He said it was a pleasure to work with his chosen celebrities, comedian Aaron McIlroy and Cell C Sharks rugby player Beast Mtawarira, who “were absolute troopers and got stuck into the task and the shoot”.

“The entire shoot with Aaron was a complete laugh from start to finish. He is, in my opinion, the funniest man in South Africa. For the rest, all the shoots – spitting Cobra, Black Mamba, Crocodiles – had moments that were pretty scary.”

Graham’s team is comprised of his wife Kirsty as the safety officer, Dusty Van Niekerk as first cameraman and editor, his wife Taniele as second cameraman, and Kevin Bender as still-shot photographer – all using iPhones to record.

His team extended to his network of friends and family who viewed and shared his videos.

On his award-winning trip to Hollywood in Los Angeles, Graham said he would like to meet directors whose specialty is the wildlife film industry. His R250 000 prize money will be spent, he says, “buying food for my snakes”.

Graham said he intended to expand on the exposure he has received from winning #BTN by launching a YouTube channel.

“I will continue to promote the message of conservation through my passion and love for animals,” he said. “We will continue to include celebrities in our videos as it has been incredible to watch them change their mindset about so-called dangerous animals. Because they have such a large audience, I hope that the celebrities will be able to help me get the message out to as wide an audience as possible.”

Other local celebrities used in videos across the competition included funny men Donovan Goliath and Joey Rasdien, local sports heroes Tera Mtembu from The Cell C Sharks and Wayne Parnell of the Proteas, as well as TV personalities Maps Maponyane and Pharoahfi.

One of the highlights of the Cell C #BTN weekly online show was the guest appearance of two inspiring young South African women who have made it in Hollywood.

Swimsuit model Genevieve Morton who, like the Oscar winning actress Charlize Theron, grew up in Benoni, has a massive social media profile with over 3-million Facebook “likes”.

Miss South Africa semi-finalist Cara Frew, from Johannesburg and now living in Los Angeles, is a singer who is making a name for herself in Hollywood, having signed to Sony Music Entertainment.

Both women attribute their success to the fact that they believed that anything was possible and that they could achieve their dreams if they put their minds to it.

* #BTN videos can be viewed via the Cell C Reality app and YouTube.

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Huawei Mate 20 Pro matches camera benchmark record

A benchmark by DxOMark sees the triple-cam handset tie with the P20 Pro for best smartphone camera on the market.

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The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has come out top in a camera benchmark test that assesses all aspects of smartphone camera performance.

DxOMark, which conducts rigorous hardware testing and is trusted as an industry standard for image quality measurements, has just released the results of its in-depth analysis of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphone camera. 

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest top-end device. Building on the P20 Pro’s camera technology, the Mate 20 Pro comes with a Leica-branded triple-camera setup, but swaps its stable-mate’s monochrome camera for a super-wide-angle module, offering a 35mm-equivalent focal length range from 16 to 80mm—the widest of all current smartphone cameras.

The handset is in direct competition with the Apple iPhone XS Max, the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, among other. How does it fare?

“With a total photo score of 114, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro ties the record-setting score of its cousin, the P20 Pro,” says DxOMark. “The overall Photo score is calculated from sub-scores in tests that examine different aspects of its performance under different lighting conditions.”

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro achieves a photo score of 114 points. In stills mode, the Mate 20 Pro’s triple camera captures images with good target exposure and a wide dynamic range, recording both good highlight and shadow detail even in difficult high-contrast situations. Noise levels are well under control down to low light levels, and the camera’s white balance system and colour rendering settings produce a pleasant colour response in almost all circumstances.

At 97 points, the Mate 20 Pro is very close to the best for video as well, thanks to a fast and smooth autofocus system with good tracking performance, accurate white balance as well as pleasant colour rendering, and low levels of noise, especially in bright shooting conditions. Our testers also liked the exposure system’s ability to adapt quickly and smoothly to changes in illumination.

It was not all good news. DxOMark also had some criticism for the device.

Click here to read about the drawbacks of the Mate 20 Pro camera, and other positives.

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SA car wins
Dakar Rally

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The final stage of Dakar 2019 drew to a close at the bivouac in Pisco, Peru, and saw Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa’s Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel bring home their South African-built Toyota Hilux for an historic victory. Not only was it a first win for Toyota, but it was also the first petrol-powered car to win the Dakar in the South-American era.

The Qatari driver ensured his French navigator, who turned 43 years old on Thursday, 17 January, received a great birthday present, when the pair arrived at the final time control of Dakar 2019 with teammates Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in close formation. The two Toyota Hilux crews completed the entire stage together, as De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz waited nearly 55 minutes for the leaders to start the stage, in order to shadow them to the finish.

The emotions bubbled over for Team Principal Glyn Hall, who found himself without words as his two crews drove into the media area after the time control. “This victory was long overdue,” he finally managed, before being swamped in a sea of well-wishers.

The winning driver, however, was much more vocal: “We are so happy to win the Dakar – not only for ourselves, but also for Toyota and the entire Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team. Everyone has worked so hard for so long, and really deserve this. Thank you for letting us drive this car.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing SA led Dakar 2019 from the first to the last stage, with Al Attiyah/Baumel drawing first blood, before handing the mantle to De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz during stage 2. But then a disastrous Stage 3 saw the Qatari retake the lead – a lead he didn’t relinquish despite some of the toughest stages yet seen on any South-American Dakar.

“When we first heard that the rally was going to take place only in one country, we were skeptical,” said Hall after regaining composure. “But the organisers made sure that this year’s race will long be remembered as one of the toughest tests in the last decade.”

Al Attiyah / Baumel’s victory at Dakar 2019 means that Toyota Gazoo Racing has now won both of the world’s toughest automotive races – the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the DakarRally.

Click here to read Glyn Hall’s comment on winning the Dakar Rally, as well as the rankings.

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