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Triggerfish to share secrets of animation success

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On Saturday, 4 November 2017, animators and storytellers across Africa will be able to hear first-hand what it takes to develop a TV series for worldwide distribution as Triggerfish takes them through the stages.

During an Animate Africa webinar streamed on YouTube Live, Triggerfish Animation Studios will share insights from two years of developing TV series through The Story Lab, that had the support of The Walt Disney Company and the Department of Trade and Industry. The Story Lab, to date, has led to two worldwide distribution deals for series set and made in Africa.

In 2015, Triggerfish ran a search for animation writers throughout the African continent.  The Triggerfish Story Lab attracted 1 378 projects from 30 countries across Africa, with eight chosen to be taken into full development.

At the webinar, Triggerfish will discuss what made those eight projects stand out and also share some of the feedback they’ve received from international distributors.

Last month, Triggerfish announced its partnership with leading kids’ entertainment specialist CAKE to co-produce one of these, the comedy action series, Mama K’s Super 4.

Aimed at 6-11 year olds, Mama K’s Super 4 is set in Lusaka, where four teenage girls are recruited by former secret agent Mama K to help her save the world. Fighting rich and powerful opponents with limited resources means the girls will have to be smart and resourceful in a show in which taking down the bad guys and turning in your homework is all in a day’s work!

At the webinar, Zambian creator Malenga Mulendema and her Cameroon-born character designer, Malcolm Wope, will discuss Mama K’s Super 4 as one of four case studies of projects generating international interest from Africa.

Vanessa Sinden, who produced the Story Lab, will also give some highly practical tips on how to get your concept into a pitch document that can be shown to distributors.

Other confirmed speakers include award-winning Kenyan filmmaker (and Story Lab alumni) Wanuri Kahiu; Raffaella Delle Donne, co-writer of two of South Africa’s five highest-grossing films of all-time, Adventures in Zambezia and Khumba; Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest; and the founders of two other South African animation companies: Bugbox and Sanusi Chronicles.

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Delegates will be able to ask questions via Facebook and Twitter.

“If you have ever thought about bringing your own characters to life as an animated TV series, this webinar is for you,” says Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest. “The Triggerfish Story Lab proved again that Africa is full of amazing stories, at a time when there’s a global demand for more diverse content, so it feels like African animation is at a tipping point.”

The webinar is organized by Animate Africa, with the support of M-Net 101, Toon Boom Animation, Triggerfish Animation Studios and the Walt Disney Company Africa, in partnership with African Digital Art, AnimationSA, Animation West Africa, Animation Xchange,  Arterial Network, Association of Animation Artists, Cape Town International Animation Festival, Cape Town International Film Market and Festival,  CGAfrica, Comexposed, Design Indaba, Digital Lab Africa, Fan Con, Kawkab El Rasameen (Painter’s Planet), Kwazulu-Natal Film Commission, Lagos Comic Con, Lusaka Comic Con, Naiccon, Tanzania CGI Artists, The Animation Club Africa, The National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa, Wesgro, and Writers Guild of South Africa.

Register for the free webinar at https://www.animateafrica.org/.

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PROGRAM

Saturday 4 November

13h00 SAST: Creating an animated TV series

Session 1:   The global stage and where Africa fits in (Stuart Forrest, CEO Triggerfish)

Session 2:   Content that is local but global (Anthony Silverston, Head of Development, Triggerfish)

Session 3:    Putting together a TV pitch package on a budget (Vanessa Sinden, Story Lab Producer)

Session 4:    Writing for children (Raffaella Delle Donne, Head of Story Lab TV series)

Session 5:    From Africa to the world: challenges and opportunities (Babalwa Baartman & Thulani Simantov, Sanusi Chronicles)

Session 6:    Art without agenda: why frivolity and fun are important (Wanuri Kahiu, award-winning Story Lab alumni)

Session 7:    Q&A

20 minute break.

 

15h00 SAST: Case Studies

Session 1:   Ninja Princess (Kelly Dillon & Marc Dey)

Session 2:   Mama K’s Super 4 (Malenga Mulendema)

Session 3:   Designing Mama K’s Super 4 (Malcolm Wope)

Session 4:   Musi and Cuckoo (Tim Argall & Candice Argall)

Session 5:    Cloud Life (Andrew Phillips)

Session 6:   Q&A

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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