5 August 2011 Within five hours of its launch, South Africa’s new high-speed rail service between Pretoria and Johannesburg had attracted more than 7 000 commuters. The figure was considered groundbreaking for a public train established to reduce traffic between the province’s two economic hubs. After a few delays, the important city-to-city route was finally opened on 2 August. The first train, which left Hatfield in Pretoria at 5.26am for the Johannesburg suburb of Rosebank, ferried hundreds of commuters to work. According to Gautrain management, the train had accommodated 2 000 passengers by 7.00am, and just two hours later had added another 5 000 to that number. Gauteng Transport and Roads MEC Ismail Vadi was one of the first passengers. “Within 37 minutes from Hatfield we were in Rosebank,” he said, referring to a trip that could take up to two hours or more in peak traffic. Vadi added that he found the much-anticipated ride to be “smooth, fast, comfortable and safe”. At its maximum allowed speed of 160km per hour, it’s the fastest mode of transport in South Africa beside air travel. Commuter Mphengoa Phoko started using the train on its launch day. She used to drive daily from Pretoria to her workplace in Johannesburg, but said she will ride the Gautrain from now on. “It’s convenient and less stressful,” Phoko said, responding to a question from her seat. “After a long day at work I won’t have to concentrate on driving.” The Gautrain route between Sandton and OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park, which was launched just before the 2010 Fifa World Cup, has already ferried approximately three-million commuters in little more than a year. The Pretoria-Johannesburg route is expected to surpass that figure before the end of 2011, as it attracts thousands of people who commute to work daily. “Gautrain is the future for public transport in South Africa,” said transport minister S’bu Ndebele, hinting that in future the government may look at introducing such high-speed trains elsewhere. The much shorter route between Rosebank and the Johannesburg CBD is expected to go live later in 2011 after completion of outstanding work, bringing on board thousands of new passengers. Gautrain offers a reliable alternative for motorists who were previously not comfortable with the country’s public transport. “Leave your car at home; you can use it over weekend,” Ndebele said.Years of hard work The Gauteng provincial government, then led by former premier Mbhazima Shilowa, launched plans for a rapid rail system in 2004. “We travelled the length and breadth of the world, looking for technology,” recalled MEC Qedani Mahlangu. She said they inspected train stations in densely populated areas like London and Paris, and also visited countries like Spain and Switzerland to gain insight into rapid rail systems. The Bombela Consortium, which comprises international groups Bombardier and Bouygues Travaux Publics, as well as South African civil contractor Murray & Roberts and the Strategic Partners Group, became a private sector partner to Gauteng’s provincial government in 2005. Gautrain CEO Jack van der Merwe told journalists the government’s resolution to complete the project was commendable. “You can’t tackle a project like this without political support, you’ve got to have it,” he said. Up to 8 000 people worked on Gautrain during its construction phase. Mahlangu said the consortium also recruited South Africans who had left the country.Focus on infrastructure Now that Gautrain construction is almost complete, the government can focus on other public rail projects. It is to spend R30.2-billion (US$4.5-billion) over the next three years to improve services of the Metrorail trains, which transport millions of South Africans staying in townships around Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces daily. Ndebele said the government’s plan to upgrade metro trains too is so that “you don’t have a Gautrain that’s comfortable and fast, but have a Metrorail that’s pedestrian”. Another critical project is the Moloto Rail Corridor in Mpumalanga province, which would see Metrorail trains transporting thousands of Mpumalanga residents who work in Pretoria. Ndebele’s department is still conducting feasibility studies on the much-needed project, which was first mooted by former president Thabo Mbeki some years ago. The government spends millions of rands each year on subsidies for private company buses for Moloto commuters. “Already we’re paying. We have to ask if that is the most effective way of using taxpayers’ money,” Ndebele said. First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.
Do you frequently travel with your camera? Here are a few pieces of must-have support video gear for traveling video pros.Even seasoned traveling videographers and filmmakers can get stressed out when it comes time to pack up their gear. Check out this checklist of essential video gear for shooters on the move, plus some rules and tricks for getting through security faster.PowerImage from Philip BloomDepending on your location, you may not have access to electricity while you are shooting. Make sure you’re charged up and have plenty of batteries before arriving. Also, traveling with batteries is a huge pain in airports. You need to carry-on all of your batteries. Don’t put batteries in your checked luggage unless you want dogs sniffing your bags before a SWAT team destroys it.You need to know each batteries wattage as well. As long as each individual battery is under 100 Watts, then you shouldn’t have any problems in the airport. Passengers are only allowed to carry 2 batteries that are over 100 Watts. Also, make it a habit to put some gaff tape over the connection points. It puts security at ease, and will helpfully help you get through checkpoints faster.Don’t forget that you will also need to charge all those batteries when you make it back to a hotel. Be sure to bring battery chargers and surge protectors. If necessary, bring quality travel adapters, car chargers, and/or portable usb chargers for your phone and laptop.If you find yourself low on power in the middle of nowhere, you may have to get creative. Check out this video from Tim Johnson at Whitespace Films. He figured out a way to use his Canon LP-E6 batteries to power his Sony a7s. MemoryWait. So the first two things on a travel list are batteries and memory cards? YES! You will need a lot of them. It’s always better to have too many memory cards rather than not enough. If the cost of memory cards is a factor, then invest in a portable hard drive or at least some thumb drives. You’ll definitely want an external hard drive that does not need power. Just keep in mind that if you are constantly dumping footage in the middle of nowhere, your laptop battery will die. Are you starting to see the vicious cycle here?Don’t forget that you will also need a memory card reader. You’ll also want the cables to connect your card reader and hard drive as well. Bring an extra cable or two. They can get damaged or just stop working. If you are dumping footage straight to your laptop, you’ll certainly want to remember your laptop charger.LightLight kits are actually a hot topic among travelers. Some swear by packing them, and some tell you to rent on location instead. I fall in the middle category. If you are going somewhere that you can easily rent a light kit, it’s usually the better option. If you are traveling to remote areas without plumbing, you may have a hard time finding a rental house.I found the easiest thing to take are cheap video lights. If they get damaged in transport, it’s not a big deal. You can grab a cheap $30 video light and get by. It’s also a good idea to pack a flashlight or headlamp. A headlamp will help you search for gear in dark locations — and (if you are in a pinch) you can use that as a video light. Combine a cheap $30 light, a flashlight, and a cell phone, and you have the cheapest three point lighting system. Hey… if it works, it works.Don’t forget that lights need batteries. VICIOUS CYCLE!StabilizationAny videographer should know how important it is to have stable footage. Having stable footage while traveling becomes a real challenge. You’re most likely trying to pack as lightly as possible. You don’t want to carry around too much gear if you are hiking up mountains. Heck, I don’t even like trying to get all my gear to my car in the driveway. Compact is key.The type of shoot you’re on will determine what you need to bring. I am a big fan of monopods for travelers. They are so much easier to work with than just about anything else. If you are going to need a slider, then a monopod won’t cut it. I frequently use the travel size Kessler Stealth slider when I am abroad. It’s small enough to fit in my check bag, and I can carry it around pretty easily on location. If you are using a slider, you will also need to grab a travel tripod. Be sure that it can support the weight of the camera, lens, and slider. (Author’s Note: I am not sponsored by Kessler. I just give them my money.)A Glidecam is another option to stabilize your footage. Glidecams come apart fairly easily and are easy to pack. The difficult part is knowing how many counter weights you need to pack for you camera. You’ll really start to question yourself for carrying actual weights around in your bag. MoVI and Ronin are other choices as well, but I find that they don’t travel very well. They’re fantastic tools, but not the best for long distance.Cleaning KitWhen I say cleaning kit, I don’t mean just for your camera. Yes, you will need microfiber wipes, sensor wipes, cleaning solution, a brush, and a dust blower. Go ahead a grab a nifty little cleaning kit like this one from Giottos.On top of camera cleaning kit, don’t forget a first aid kit too. Don’t go for the cheap kind with bandages that slide right off. Invest in a decent quality kit, one that has alcohol wipes. You’ll never know when you’ll get a cut or roll an ankle. True story: I once partially dislocated my kneecap when traveling for a shoot. I got checked out and then hobbled my way to a drug store to buy pain pills and a knee brace. I spent the next day hopping around while shooting. Now my first aid kit always includes aspirin and a compression wrap.While on the topic of cleaning, don’t forget to pack toilet paper if you are going to a very remote location. You can even use it in the airport instead of relying on the so called paper that their bathrooms offer. In very remote locations, you’ll also want bug spray and sunscreen.BagsFinding the right bags and cases for traveling is going to be a trial and error process. It’s different for every person. The one thing I can certainly say is this: rolling bags are great for checked items and to get things to a hotel room. Other than that, they will be a curse. A rolling bag should never be your primary bag. Find yourself a quality backpack that you can wear all day long.Another thing to consider is your location. If you will be in a big city, thieves are on the lookout for camera bags and gear. Sometimes it’s best to use an inconspicuous hiking backpack. One that can still store the gear you need. You don’t always have to have a lens placed safely in a foam cube. You can wrap it in a t-shirt and be just fine.Messenger bags are great for when you don’t have to carry much gear at once. That’s why they are so popular amongst photographers who only need a camera, lens, and maybe a tripod. But if you are hiking long distances, do yourself a favor and properly balance your weight with a backpack. That audio equipment, laptop, and all the extra gear will take its toll on your body as you get tired.Bonus: Waterproof JacketA rain jacket is always handy. Obviously it’s great for rain, but you can also use it to cover up your gear. If the sun is beating down on you and you can’t see your monitor or screen, you can use a rain jacket to make a monitor hood. When packing for travel, always think of multiple uses for everything you have. Then you will save yourself the trouble of packing too much. Got any other must-have video gear in your travel kit? Share your knowledge in the comments below!
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr APGolden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, sidelined by complications from 2015 back surgery, reportedly is feeling better and could return for Sunday’s second game of the NBA Finals.But Mike Brown, the assistant coach who has guided the Warriors to an 11-0 playoff mark in Kerr’s absence, still plans on guiding Golden State as he did in Thursday’s 113-91 game one victory over the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games “Coach Kerr has been great,” Thompson said. “He’s a fighter, so it’s great to see him out here. He tries to help as much as he can and he has been. He’s just a calming presence. He’s great at deciphering the game and what we need to do right and what we need to do better.“We miss him out there. Hopefully he can come back. If not, we’ll play for him and still perform.”Kerr was the 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year for guiding the Warriors to the winningest season in NBA history at 73-9, but the achievement was bittersweet given Golden State fell victim to the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history, squandering a 3-1 edge to see Cleveland win in seven games Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV LATEST STORIES Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP MOST READ Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Brown has filled in perfectly and the Warriors have set an NBA record start to the playoffs at 13-0, also matching the longest win streak in NBA post-season history.“I imagine I’m going to coach until Steve tells me he’s ready. That’s kind of how I look at it,” Brown said.“He does seem like he’s getting better, but I’m going to keep coaching until he says he can or can’t.”Warriors guard Klay Thompson said he had heard nothing about Kerr’s possible return, but added, “I hope he comes back.”Kerr has spoken to the team in the locker room at times before games and at half-time while absent from the bench decisions during games. He continues to work with Brown and others on game plans as well.ADVERTISEMENT BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds Jimmy Alapag, LJ Moreno expecting 3rd child ESPN reported that if Kerr feels well enough in the next two days there was “optimism” he could return as coach for game two in the best-of-seven series Sunday in Oakland.But for now, acting head coach Brown is planning on guiding the team for what could be their final home game of the campaign.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“He has the option to coach,” Brown said Friday. “I haven’t heard anything from him. I’m planning on coaching unless he or (Warriors general manager) Bob Myers tells me anything different.”Since coaching the Warriors to their first two playoff triumphs this year, Kerr has been sidelined with nausea and migraine headaches due to complications from back surgery two years ago. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games View comments