Local cricketer Olivia Anderson is making a name for herself in England. (Image: Cricinfo) South Africa was recently chosen to host the inaugural ICC Women’s Cricket Challenge, which will take place in Potchefstroom, North West province, from 6 to 16 October 2010.The tournament will be played under the auspices of the International Cricket Council (ICC), with Cricket South Africa (CSA) as the official host.According to the ICC, the challenge will take the form of all-women teams, currently ranked between fifth and 10th in the world, competing in a series of one day intenational (ODI) and Twenty20 fixtures. Countries in the line-up are South Africa, the Netherlands, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Ireland.“This tournament is an ideal way for the women’s teams ranked outside of the top four to gain more match experience in both ODI and Twenty20 formats,” ICC global development manager Matthew Kennedy said in a statement.The first round of the challenge will consist of ODIs, while the spectators’ favourite – the Twenty20 games – will begin on 14 October. Most of the matches will be played at the North West University’s Potchefstroom campus.It’s hoped the October competition will shake up women’s ODI rankings and enable some of the competing countries to qualify for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup to be played in India in 2013.“The tournament will also provide a good challenge for all six competing teams, as none of them has yet qualified for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup,” Kennedy said.The top-four women ODI teams – England, New Zealand, India and defending champions Australia – have already qualified for the World Cup, which features eight nations.South Africa participated in the 2009 World Cup held in Australia, and hosted it in 2005.The country’s female players are expected to perform well in the African qualifier games, which will wrap up in December 2010.The final international qualifiers, to be held in Bangladesh in November 2011, will see 10 nations battle it out for the four remaining World Cup spots.SA women on a good wicketSouth Africa’s first national women’s cricket squad was selected in 1997 and since then the country taken bold steps to develop the sport for females – this includes setting up the Cricket South Africa Women’s Cricket Committee.Women’s cricket gained further momentum in South Africa at the start of the millennium when competitions such as the interprovincial league were initiated. In the early 2000s more than 9 000 females from 1 109 schools and 269 clubs were playing cricket, according to CSA.Local batswoman Olivia Anderson, who debuted for South Africa in 2008, is currently making a name for herself in the UK playing for Shepperton Cricket Club. She’s racked up 1 000 runs this season, after scoring 76 off 66 balls in a match against Purley Redoubtables on 8 August.Although the final player selections for the October challenge have yet to be announced, Anderson is one of the favourites for the South African squad.
Before you go overboard with the zoom on your next shoot, learn how the lens works — and how to use it properly.Cover image via Shutterstock.Whether you’ve been guilty of this yourself or have seen others struggle, zoom-happy filmmaking can ruin a shoot and annoy audiences. That’s not to say zooming in and out is a bad thing; in fact, it’s actually a marvel of lens technology that we can zoom at all. And when you use it intelligently, it can be quite effective.However, it is still easy to take the zoom for granted — especially now that filmmakers have handy stock lenses for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that offer great flexibility and range to zoom easily and often. Let’s explore how zoom lenses work and some best practices to help you use them effectively, intelligently, and properly.How Zoom Lenses Work Image via Wikimedia.According to a good Wikipedia definition, “a zoom lens is a mechanical assembly of lens elements for which the focal length (and thus angle of view) can be varied, as opposed to a fixed focal length (FFL) lens (see prime lens).”That sounds pretty straightforward, but let’s dive into how the mechanisms work to change the focal length and your angle of view.As you can see in the gif above, a simplified zoom lens works by combining two parts: a focusing lens similar to your standard prime or fixed lenses and an afocal zoom system, which is the sliding element that does not focus on light. Rather, it focuses on altering (thus magnifying) the size of the light. What’s important is that, while the zoom comes from this sliding lens, it is necessary to compensate for any movement of the focal plane to keep the focused image sharp — which means either you have to physically move the camera or move the focal plane to compensate.Because of this compensation, and in spite of how much flexibility a zoom offers, there are several factors you need to be aware of: noise, pincushioning, slower shutter response time, and a greater need for stability. Here’s a great video by Canon that provides more in-depth information — not just about zoom lenses but also how lenses work in general.How to Zoom Properly and SmoothlyImage via Peta Pixel.For filmmaking, it’s important to not only understand how your zoom works but also what zooming is meant to do for your audience. Zooms can be quite abrasive at times, which can be a stylistic decision, but it’s often an unwanted consequence.On many professional production shoots, zooming is intentional, and it relies on a focus puller to compensate — or with exact measurements in mind. On small DIY productions, you can purchase (or make) different devices to help smooth a zoom. Here are a few resources and tricks.The Death and Rebirth of the ZoomHow to get smooth camera movements using a rubber bandPrimes vs. Zooms: Situational EF Lens PrepVideography 101: Excellent Zooming TipsI’d be remiss not to mention that you can add many zoom effects in post-production as well. Here are some resources to consider for creating digital and stylized zoom effects.Smooth Zoom Video Effect Tutorial | Adobe Premiere ProHow to Create a 3D Parallax Zoom in Premiere ProGet to Know The Dynamic Zoom Tool In Resolve 14Create a Map Zoom Effect in FCPXKnow When to Zoom (and When Not To)Image via Shutterstock.Once you feel you’ve mastered the art of zooming, it’s time for you to decide when you actually want to use a proper zoom. Like Stanley Kubrick so aptly demonstrates in his classic Barry Lyndon, zooms can create quite a cinematic effect when used slowly and artistically. It is important, however, to note that the heyday of zoom technology in filmmaking was in the ’60s and ’70s. As such, in the case of self-aware filmmakers like Quinten Tarantino, a heavy-handed crash zoom in itself can be a retro-filmmaking technique.On the other hand, zooms have grown less popular in pure cinema settings. Instead, they have found a home in reality television, where they portray real life and home-video quality. You don’t have to look long or hard to find many essays on why you shouldn’t use zooms (or even many arguing more for dolly shots over zooms).At the end of the day, a zoom is a practical and stylistic option for your production, but it’s not a perfect tool for every situation. Pick your spots, focus on your intentions, and use your tools and resources wisely for optimal results.Looking for more information on zooms? Check out these resources.How to Create a Dolly Zoom With Just a Prime LensPrimes vs. Zooms — Situational EF Lens PrepThe Death and Rebirth of the ZoomVideo Editing: Snap Zooms Should Never Be a Snap Decision