Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Chris ClaytonDTN Ag Policy EditorOMAHA (DTN) — Among the frustrations right now in selling commodities such as soybeans to China is that officials in the country are only allowing government-owned businesses to buy commodities, which is one of the main ways Chinese officials keep close restrictions on the market.Lindsay Greiner, president of the Iowa Soybean Association, spoke to DTN on Thursday from Guangzhou, China, about some of the details about soybean buys that he and a team from the group have learned this week touring the country.Chinese officials have agreed to buy close to 20 million metric tons (mmt) of U.S. soybeans this year, but Greiner said there’s a catch, because private buyers in China are still not allowed to buy U.S. soybeans. Only government-owned entities in China are allowed to make buys.“It’s frustrating to some of the privately held companies, because they are being left out of the market,” Greiner said. “So there is a little bit of controversy going on over here because of interest in buying our beans.”Private Chinese companies are still buying from Brazil, but the Chinese government has made it clear those buyers can’t turn to U.S. beans even if they were willing to pay the 25% import tariff, Greiner said.According to USDA export sales data, China has imported nearly 4.7 mmt of U.S. soybeans and has another 6.5 mmt in outstanding sales for the marketing year. At this time last year, China had imported 25.8 mmt. In the 2017 marketing year, the U.S. shipped more than 31 mmt of soybeans to China.The Iowa soybean delegation is touring parts of China as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin start talks Thursday in Beijing with top Chinese officials looking to reach a trade deal that would end tariffs from both countries that began just under a year ago.A visit with U.S. officials last week in D.C. gave Greiner some optimism that a deal would get done. He said he hasn’t sensed that same optimism, though, in visits with Chinese businesspeople.“Chinese buyers aren’t quite as optimistic as we are when it comes to thinking about a resolution to this trade dispute,” Greiner said. “Some of them don’t know if a deal will get done anytime soon. So there you go — it’s about 50-50.”Greiner said he’s optimistic, but acknowledged some of the major topics outside of agriculture are complicated and could end the talks without a quick resolution.“But you know they (the U.S. and China) are both pretty astute negotiators, so nobody is laying their cards out on the table to see what’s going on,” he said. “And my personal opinion is there are some demands being made that could be lowered a little bit to get a deal made so everybody can walk away as a winner.”Private Chinese soybean users, however, are looking for a resolution, because they are anxious to get back into buying U.S. beans, Greiner said. “To me, that’s the most optimistic thing I’ve heard.”Greiner visited Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with fellow ISA board member and president-elect Tim Bardole; Grant Kimberley, ISA’s market development director; and Aaron Putze, director of communications for the group.China has been trying to curb overall soybean demand in the country and use other oilseed options. Greiner also noted the severity of African swine fever in China is expected to reduce soybean imports as well.“We’re hearing varying reports that 20% to 30% reduction in the number of hogs, so that is going to have an impact on soybeans too,” Greiner said.Greiner added that Chinese officials and the pork industry don’t quite know how to deal with the African swine fever problem, but it will likely reduce the number of smaller hog farmers.“What we’re hearing is a lot of smaller producers are being hit with this disease, and they are probably going to liquidate and go out of business and never get back in,” Greiner said. “So it’s going to take a toll on a lot of smaller producers over here, and in my opinion, it’s going to take time to build their hog herd back up, and when they do, it’s going to be in larger farms and fewer hands.”Chris Clayton can be reached at [email protected] him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN(AG/BAS)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.
Eyelines direct your audience’s attention. Learn how to align expectations with the people and objects in your next video project.Cover image via Shutterstock.When you’re working in film and video, whether that means documentaries, corporate videos, or narrative features, it’s important to understand what eyelines are and how they affect your production. It may seem innocuous when you’re filming, but once you get into your edit, you may find that eyelines can be inconsistent, awkward, and even obtrusive. Let’s go over some ways to keep your eyes in line.Interview EyelinesImage via AWC Media.If you look at many of your favorite documentaries (or even brand or corporate videos), you’ll often notice that the interview subjects do not look directly into the camera. If they do, it seems like they’re speaking directly to you, which can be awkward.Instead, it’s usually better to angle interview subjects anywhere between 15-45-degrees away from the camera. If you’re actively interviewing the subject, try setting your interviewer or producer (or yourself if you have to) on that angle to give them someone steady and consistent to look at. Here are some good interview setup resources to check out.Interview Tips Every Documentary Filmmaker Should KnowProduction Tips: Making Interviewees ComfortableHow to Shoot Gorgeous Documentary Interviews15 Tips for Shooting Dynamic Video InterviewsEyelines Directly into the CameraImage via Creative Eye Productions.Another hallmark of many corporate and commercial video productions is a subject or character who speaks directly into the camera. While this seems simple in terms of eyelines, it can get tricky once you start introducing elements like teleprompters or cue cards.Teleprompters are ideal if your subject needs cues or lines to work from — although you should always check in your viewfinder to make sure the eyeline looks straight and that the teleprompter is balanced properly. If you don’t have a teleprompter, you may be tempted to make cue cards for your subject. This can get tricky because while it may make sense to put those cards as close to the camera as possible, if you don’t thoroughly review the eyeline you may find once you get into the edit that your subject is obviously looking a few inches above or to the side of the camera, which is quite awkward.If this is your only option, it’s best to coach your subject to keep their eyes focused on the camera and to try and to read the cues with their peripheral vision (much the same way as a news anchor who doesn’t let their eyes follow teleprompter lines).The Best Teleprompters for Professional Video Production7 Tips for Working with Teleprompters on Video ShootsThe Equipment You Need to Shoot Professional VideosEyeline MatchImage via Art Office.Narrative films often rely on the concept of eyeline match, which is as much an associative psychological concept as a continuity editing one. Basically, when you show a character on-screen and their eyeline focuses on something off-screen, whatever you cut to next, the audience will perceive it as the object of the character’s attention. The often-cited example of this comes from cinema master Alfred Hitchcock and his use of eyeline matching in Rear Window.It also follows that when you’re shooting scenes with multiple characters, once you establish where people and objects are in the scene, eyelines in close ups need to properly align with points of focus. (If a sitting character is talking to a standing character, the sitting character’s eyeline needs to be directed upwards.)Mistakes in eyeline matching in narratives, interviews, or directly on-camera can quickly disconnect your viewers and make your production look sloppy. Here are some more resources and tips to keep your productions clean and professional.8 Essential Cuts Every Editor Should KnowUnderstanding (and Occasionally Ignoring) the 180-Degree Rule9 Common Filmmaking Mistakes to AvoidHow to Compose a Cinematic Shot Reverse Shot