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.

Monday, 25 February 2013


In a shameless act of online vanity, I secretly keyed-in a searched for 'franks brothers, training tough' to see if google had remembered that my first published book is on shelves today. To my relief google had remembered. More specifically most of the usual online bookshops had remembered, and reviewed the new book.

The bulk of my tasks with Whero is post-production. Editing for hours on end on the high-tech trillion-dollar editing suite. So to mix things up and get out of the office I do enjoy taking-on the odd photography project. Compared to animation, motion graphics, making a film or a 30" TV spot, photography can be a quick and enjoyable process. So documenting Ben and Owen from a visual aspect was an easy call, but it was the writing 10,000 words about the Franks philosophy that was the tough bit.

I definitely don't feel like a writer. Thankfully the publisher Warren Adler and the team at Hachette were amazingly supportive. Half of the staff in the office exercised regularly, played rugby, or were training for a New Zealand woman's powerlifting record. So the staff were excited to help me out with proofing my copy 10 times over. As for genuine content - thankfully I had been training under Ken Franks during my last two Basketball off-seasons and have been involved with the Franks Brother Gym since it was based in the old location on Moorhouse Ave. Combined with a decade or two of reading books starting from Arnie's bodybuilding bibleBruse Lee's phillophy through to reading and noting Andre Agassi's life-long training habits, Training Tough was a great project to have humming in the background of 2012.

Usually when filming athletes doing the kind of sports I love I like to get involved. When filming Tim Duncan to promote adidas under armer I enjoyed getting some time with the athlete, throwing Timmy the ball on set as he bounced off the abs of Dwight Howard Mannequin. While touring and filming with the Crusaders, SBW was training for a boxing bout while we were in Cape Town and I was lucky enough to talk khoder into letting me enjoy a few rounds with the champ. But never once did I ever consider warming up and joining-in with either Ben or Owen Franks for any of their workouts.

I've seen those boys literally bend and break barbells in half. Even when comparing the Franks lifts and numbers with the likes of infamous gym-buff Brad Thorn; even Thorny swallows his man-pride and admits the boys are "freaks" unto themselves in the weight room.

But back to the book. Asides from a great insight into Ben and Owen's journey into becoming world class athletes, in a nutshell, Training Tough is a training tool written for beginners. This book is an A-Z guide designed for aspiring athletes who want to learn all about the required commitments and steps needed when beginning the journey into becoming a professional. Not to mention an easy read to instantly transform your otherwise soft looking book collection or coffee table into a intimidating feature-piece.

Training Tough explains how the Franks brothers were never really expected to reach the peak levels they have, but with a clear plan and some serious determination - you can do anything.


Everybody Loves A Man in Uniform

While I do try by best to create vivid, insightful, timeless compositions to both entertain and educate an audience. When Daniel Carter calls you after you have neglected to listen to his earlier answer-phone message, you find yourself bending a variety of otherwise unbendable principles.

Over the phone DC mentioned that recently he had cleared out his 'costume room' in preparation for the new baby room. No doubt an inventory was mentally noted, and later called upon after watching the fever of 'Harlem Shake' online videos. "Red, can you bring a camera down to rugby park at 4(pm)?". Of course of course. I'll bring my Nikon, a bag of wide angle primes, and a couple of LCD lights. "Cool, I'll bring the props" said DC.

Later that night the Crusaders players, coaches, and all of their partners were celebrating the end of the Super Rugby pre-season. Canterbury Rugby had commissioned from Whero Films to cut variety of other entertaining videos showcasing the year so far. DC mentioned that he wanted to put the icing on the cake at the end of the evening by entertaing the room with a "Harlem Shake Crusaders edition".

We cut 3 different versions. Here is an unlisted link to the other edit that didn't make the cut.

From what I understand everybody at the fuction had a good laugh, and once the evening was rounding up DC dropped me a text asking to make the video public. Then it was on every local news channel spanning the next 4 days and almost had four times more hits than any of my other online work.

Hell, the one scene, one cut video showcasing rugby players off the field got more hits in one day then the adidas commissioned feature length film Inside the Black Jersey I spent 6 months editing!

But hey it was a bit of fun for the afternoon. I hope it didn't offend to many people in Harlem.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Product of New York x Holland x Whero Films

Earlier this year, Phillip from Acht Sneakers Amsterdam, released a new collaboration sneaker with the 80's and 90's heavyweight Pony International.

Me, my Nikon, and a lamp caught up with Phil to record the backstory surrounding Acht Sneakers' latest creation.

What I love about Acht's sneaker releases, is that it is never enough to simply design a unique shoe, and in an original box, but he always packages things up with a slick shirt / jersey just to ice off the limited run.

Check out the two short films we made about the history of the dutch national orange, white, and blue and how they came to still be used all around NYC today.

For more info on Acht Amsterdam check out

For more Acht x Pony M-100 reviews check out

Friday, 15 February 2013

Not quite a "Yes" but better then a "No"

Ok so when I am out and about, working, or mingling with the general public, the first thing my fellow man asks me for is "do you have a business card?"

Picture of Red capturing a longboard kickflip by Jesus Vale from the Converse Pro Streets shoot in Madrid, Spain.

The short answer is usually "No" (well I usually do have an old card jammed into an equipment bag or flight-case, but generally it is out of date).

The second most common question is "do you have a website?"

Short answer: "No."

BUT if, from now on, the question was "do you have a blog? well my friend, I can now answer: "Yes. Yes i do".

It may be slim but it is better then a "No."