Collab Feature

Red Bangle Collaborator In Focus: Hugo Leenhardt

17 May 2021 | Radhika for Red Bangle
Hugo Leenhardt

Meet Hugo from our Video Network

About Hugo

Hugo Leenhardt is a 29 years old filmmaker from Paris, France. He has been making films in both Paris and Vietnam for the last 7 years. We’ve worked with Hugo twice now – once in Vietnam and once in Paris. 

A live-stream in Vietnam

Live videos are more relevant than ever, today and have taken the world by storm. According to CISCO’s Annual Internet Report of 2021, it is anticipated that 82% of internet use will be for streaming video by 2022 with 79% of mobile users accounting for the change. 

Considering the level of interaction and engagement live streaming offers, brands naturally have gravitated towards making the most out of this format and it happens to be a key trend to watch out for in our pick of marketing predictions for the year 2021. The collaboration in Vietnam was for a live stream session between top directors of Lenovo based in Bangalore and in Vietnam. Hugo was handpicked from our curated collaborator community based on skill, format experience, and location familiarity, to handle the Vietnam side of the live stream. His primary deliverable was to set up the live stream—–a 4 camera setup—–and assist with the set design. 

This project had multiple stakeholders — Lenovo, its integrated communications agency – Kestone , Hugo and the local crew in Vietnam, and the local crew in Bangalore, while Red Bangle managed the production end-to-end. Before the shoot, we sourced all the relevant documents, permission slips, designs, etc. We also created detailed pre-production, production, and post-production schedules so that all the stakeholders were on the same page. Some of our team members also flew down to Vietnam to ensure compliance with technical specifications, oversee creative quality control, and maintain consistency between the Mumbai and Vietnam teams.

Shoot in Paris during the pandemic

The second time we worked with Hugo was in July, 2020, right after the first lockdown in Paris. This was a one day shoot for a Fortune 500 company. The shoot was to be in their office premises in the city. As you can imagine, shooting during the pandemic wasn’t easy. We outlined all safety measures, got all the necessary permissions in place, and put together a plan of action that ensured the client, internal team, and the collab team were on the same page at all times.

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Here is what Hugo had to say about both the experiences:

Shibani: Hey Hugo! Thank you so much for doing this!

Hugo: Hey! It’s my pleasure.

Shibani: So our first time working together was a live-stream project in Vietnam for Lenovo.

Hugo: Yes, it was an interesting experience. I think Red Bangle reached out about a few months before the shoot. There was a lot to set up. The technical side was one thing… I managed that pretty well. I knew what equipment to bring and what people to hire. So that was not a problem at all. The bigger challenge was the set building. We had to build a whole set and I had never done that in Vietnam before. We had to find people for this, find a place to build the set, and printing the background was a challenge. On the Vietnam side alone, there were 10-12 people at least. So it was quite an operation. Incidentally it was my last job in the country.

Shibani: I remember that particular project very well. There was some furniture shopping involved as well…

Hugo: Oh yes…

Shibani: I must say that the clients were very happy with the outcome. Some of my team members flew in for the shoot as well. And they were all very glad that you ran the production on-ground.

Hugo: It was very nice to have the team over…I think there were 3 people who flew in from India… there was a DP as well. I wasn’t directly talking to the client and you guys handling the client expectation and then relaying it to me helped a lot and made my job much easier. The team and I had a great time. We had dinner the night before the shoot and also the night of the shoot. I showed them around in one of my favourite restaurants in Ho Chi Min city and it was a great experience.

Shibani: Ah! I am so jealous I wasn’t there.

Hugo: haha…the restaurant was an open air seafood joint and i think the team really enjoyed themselves

Shibani: That they did. So you say that was your last shoot in Vietnam. Did you move back to Paris right after this?

Hugo: Ah yes…I moved back around Christmas 2019 but then I went back to Asia for 3 weeks for work. I was covering the Covid crisis in South Korea and Japan. I officially moved back to my apartment in Paris the day of the lockdown in Paris. So basically, I spent about 5 months locked up in my apartment. It has been an interesting experience to say the least, but i guess that’s life in 2020. 

Shibani: We got in touch with you around July for another shoot in France. What would you say were the challenges for that shoot?

Hugo: This was a one day shoot in Paris… it was after the first lockdown and Covid was very much present. I think the main difficulty was that we were shooting in an office and people were working from home. So we had to get people to come to the office only for the shoot. We took multiple precautions… logging body temperatures, wearing masks of course, and using hand sanitizers regularly. For the mic, we used a boom mic instead of a lavalier microphone. So there were a lot of things we had to be mindful of during the shoot. I know from the emails I exchanged with you guys before the shoot that Red Bangle was very careful and made sure the crew followed the Covid protocols. It was all done very well, despite the circumstances.

Shibani: So you happen to be our first collaborator who we’ve worked with across 2 different countries, in fact across 2 different continents. Are you planning to move to another country soon?

Hugo: Ah. Maybe we’ll work together in a third country soon but for now at least, I want to keep my base in France.

Shibani: You seem really passionate about what you are doing. And one of the reasons we love working with you is this passion you have for storytelling. That’s what we’re all about– revolutionizing storytelling across the world.

Hugo: Yes I think Red Bangle is trying to do something good. On a personal note, I’m becoming more environmentally conscious. So I think connecting people across the world so crews can shoot locally instead of travelling is amazing. These days, moving across countries to shoot makes less sense. It is better to have local talent who know the place well and can deliver quality work. With respect to the team, it was really great meeting them in person especially in Vietnam where we shared meals. The team gave me a list of 20 Hindi movies to watch and that is on my to-do soon…

Shibani: Please do and let me know how you rank these.

Hugo: Sure. Will do!

Shibani: Before we conclude though, any word of advice for aspiring filmmakers?

Hugo: I would say that if you’re really passionate about videography, make as many films as you can and practice. We live in a year where making movies has become easier and more affordable. One of the mistakes I made early in my career was that I was waiting for clients to contact me to make films and not making anything for myself. You don’t need to have 200,000 followers on YouTube. You need to make films you are passionate about. You’ll find it to be great practice. Just go out and make stuff.

Shibani: I think of the concerns people have is lack of good equipment. According to you, how important is it to use high end video equipment?

Hugo: I have my trusted Sony FS5 that I’ve had since 2016. I think you need to find the tool that works for you. I don’t recommend chasing after the next best camera unless you are a very highly profile DP on a big shoot and you really need it. In case you do, rent it. Also, it’s amazing how good phone cameras are. Use them to your advantage. Your gear can’t be an excuse for not making stuff. Do not let your equipment be a hindrance to your art.

Shibani: Alright, thanks Hugo! I really look forward to seeing the documentary and working with you soon. Hope you have a great 2021!

Hugo: Same to you. Thanks….bye!

That was Shibani – Producer at Red Bangle, in conversation with our Collaborator in Focus – Hugo Leenhardt.

The Red Bangle collaborator community includes a global network of emerging superstars and award-winning filmmakers curated by formats, locations, and expertise – all managed by the Red Bangle Experience. Looking for a global video production agency? Excited about the possibilities? Let’s explore them together. Write to us at [email protected] today and let’s make a video!