Monday, 17 February 2014


RONNEY MOORE: TIGER IN MY TANK from Red McLeod on Vimeo.

Personally I am a bit of a technology geek and will happily lend an ear to any kiwi combustion tale. Growing up with my motor-mad family on the North side of New Zealand, South Island legends like Burt Munro and John Britten were household names. But until last month I had never heard the name Ronnie Moore. At least until I started flipping a few pages into a scrapbook Sports Canterbury had passed on to me from the Moore family.

Whero Films had been commissioned to create 5 short films for the 2014 Canterbury Sports Awards.

One of these films was for inducting a Speedway rider named Ronnie Moore into the Sporting Hall of Fame. From newspaper articles, cartoon, and photos, the client and I decided to tell a short story about Ronnie's career.

After scanning a few articles I learnt that by age 21 Moore was the youngest rider to ever win an International Speedway Championship. What was even more impressive is that he did it on a broken leg!

It was hardly surprising Ronnie found winning Speedway so easy given he first learnt to ride on the ‘Wall of Death’ with his father at age 12. That lead into his Speedway career at age 15, going on to win the New Zealand Speedway Championship in 1956, 1962, 1968 and 1969.

Ronnie started his 25 year long Speedway career in Christchurch, New Zealand but lived and competed all over the world including London, Ireland, France, and Australia. Which must have been big-time stuff for an athlete of the 1950s.

After breaking almost every bone in his body and returning from retirement half a dozen times, Ronnie retired in 1975.

On Friday the 14th of February 2014 Ronnie Moore was inducted into the Canterbury Hall of Fame for his major contribution to the sporting community. He gave a great speech on the night and noted the value he felt of being recognised amongst his Cantabrian pairs.

If Whero Films had its way - a feature-length documentary would be commissioned about this mans incredible journey so that others could be inspired by Ronnie's success.

Below: Photo of Hall of Fame inductee Debbie Hockley and Ronnie Moore

Friday, 25 October 2013


WHERO FILMS "CUTTING REAL" 2013 from Red McLeod on Vimeo.

Nothing beats a solid team of keen experts coupled with a water-tight plan. Yet somehow I constantly find myself as a production team of one person, with a consistent brief to "wing-it". Not ideal. But after years of practice the balancing act has its own set of advantages.

Filming talent that is sensitive to the camera (athletes, joe average etc) can be considerably more successful when production staff are kept to a minimum. Monitoring levels and directing variables that make up the final product is a big ask for one operator. But not imposable.

This years showreel is made from B-roll pictures where the "production team" was one guy. All the camera rigs, car rigs, lighting, sound, and direction. One red-headed guy. 

The 2009 and 2011 showreel might still be more entertaining given the amount of motion graphics and animation type projects. Maybe 2015 will feature more of a balance between the mediums. That will all depend on what I can sink my creative claws into between now and then! Enjoy. - James McLeod


Friday, 18 October 2013


Without a pro team of their own Seattle, Washington has been supplying professional basketball players to the NBA by the dozen. Hoopers like Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson, who can not only ball - but whom have a flash entertainment factor to them. Showtime ballers.

Showtime basketball is entertaining to watch. But in a game of pride, when an offensive player decides to execute a pass off the backboard to himself, finish with a dunk, hang on the rim for five and a half minutes, then talk trash to the oppositions bench on the way past - things become very heated between opponents.

Nobody is more familiar with Seattle's style of play than the basketball players and fans of Portland Oregon. Three hours drive on the I5 highway brings these two cites together.

While filming this story I meet with Portland legends Brandon Brooks, Aaron Miles and the up and coming Michael James who claim to have never been beaten by a Seattle team. The question is why do the talented basketball players of Portland Oregon get over looked by the NBA franchises?

Portland baller Aaron Miles who plays Point guard professionally for Krasnie Krilya, Russia.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Short Love Film

LOVE THROUGH THE LENS (2013) from Red McLeod on Vimeo.

Moving to Christchurch after a major earthquake is not the best way to make new friends, so to mix things up from the usual advertising brief I recently reached-out to a few creative types in the local area to collaborate on a short film.

Good comedy preferably goes a long way in the short film format, so despite living in London, comedy genius Tom Hazledine signed up as the production's creative writer.

For the first time in his career, fashion photographer Dave Richards was keen to shift his keen eye from still-photography to moving pictures. My good friend Arnya Karaitiana flew down from Auckland to fill the roll of Art Director, and shortly after Brooke Freeman partnered with Alice Mackenzie as head producers a comprehensive list of talented camera-men, hairdressers, make-up artists and broadcasters / come actors started to form our disheveledly-hip team.

Greg down at Photo and Video International suggested his #1 camera destroyer, Sam Minnell, and the store's Olympus rep, James Luhrs, as a couple of keen camera-men trustworthy of any visual task. But upon receiving our film-brief unfortunately James was so familiar with telescopic binoculars and long lens's he was wrenched from behind the camera and cast as our main stalker-talent! Brodie Kane from TVNZ's Seven Sharp tentatively agreed to feature in the film and Tom took the liberty to base the entire screenplay around her awesomely-blunt humor.

The long and tedious processes of film-making is traditionally the occupation of well funded, patient production organizations looking for a return on investment. Our group however selflessly entered into the popular 48 hours film making competition facing neither time, or money to complete and perfect our collaborative effort. Such little time and money that our ambitious efforts were slightly miscalculated and it took 49 hours to produce the final file, leaving our film team with little more then the award for 'Best Disqualified Film 2013'. But we'll take it.

Location Photo of Red by Dave Richards

Other then four portable LED lamps, a boom, mic, and field recorder, the main piece of technology in the productions was essentially a Nikon D800 DSLR photography camera partnered with a SoundDevices Pix220 high-definition ProRes recorder, sitting on a Redrock rail system. A Nikon D7100 was used as a B-camera as well as my trusty Sony NX5 (for some 'video zoom' style shots).

Arnya Karaitiana, Brooke Freeman, Red, Gavin Bath, and Alice Mackenzie (from left) photo by Dave Richards

The most disappointing aspect of making this film wasn't the musical score that three of us composed in about an hour, the lack of time for a full colour-grade, or the out-of-focus reveal of 'Joel' the standout best performance (2:20), it was knowing after Love Through the Lens was disqualified we had no audience to enjoy this 8 minute comedy. So hopefully a few people online will get laught or two out of it. Enjoy.


ALL BLACKS v FRANCE: 100 YEARS OF EPIC RUGBY (2013) from Red McLeod on Vimeo.

Last year the NZRU commissioned Whero Films to cut together a short history video to play to the crowd in the stadium before each All Blacks test match. After watching the video at AMI stadium, right before New Zealand kicked off against the Irish national rugby team, it was noted that half the crowd was to drunk to clearly read the featured titles in the film.

This year when the NZRU asked for a short film about the French rugby history, the first addition we made was adding a narrator. A kiwi bloke to help explain the 100 years of epic rugby between the two nations.

After writing the script, recording it with Mick, cutting sourced footage together, I quickly knocked together a few custom audio tracks on my Gibson SG and M-Audio recorder through my Apply laptop.

Since I was 10 years old I have played the guitar, and over those yeras have recorded a few crude tracks and keyed a few beats for friends in need of a musical score on various compositions. But I've never really even thought to write any original music for my film clients. While Living in Holland in 2010 I did register a quiet little Soundcloud account. I really should put some of my beats up on it! And hopefully somebody commissions sometime again one day soon.