Tag: leo weston

Zalando – ‘Free to Be’

Agency: Grey London
Creative Director: Vicki Maguire
Creatives: Sam Daly & Rob Greaves
Producers: Thea Evely, Talou Sabbah & India Smith
Production Company: Park Pictures
Director: Georgia Hudson
DoP: Ben Fordesman
Producer: Jane Lloyd
Editor: Paul O’Reilly
Sound & Music: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: Time Based Arts
VFX Supervisor: Leo Weston
2D Lead: Ollie Ramsey
2D Team: Jamie Crofts, Nina Mosand, Stephen Grasso, Matt Shires, Will Robinson, Warren Gebhardt, Linda Cieniawska.
3D Team: Dave Loh, Sam Osborne
Colour Grading: Lewis Crossfield

Nike – ‘Stop At Nothing’

Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
ECD: Tony Davidson & Iain Tait
Creative Director: Paddy Treacy, Mark Shanley
Creatives: Mico Toledo, Juan Sevilla, Tomas Coleman
Agency Producer: Tom Dean
Production Company: Park Pictures
Director: Georgia Hudson
Executive Producer: Stephen Brierley, Sophie Hubble
Producer: Annabel Ridley
DoP: Albert Salas
Production Designer: Francesca di Mottola
Editor: Paul O’Reilly @ Stitch
Sound Design & Mix: Sam Ashwell@ 750MPH
Post-Production Company: Time Based Arts
VFX Supervisor: Mike Skrgatic, Federico Guzzardo, Federico Vanone
Lead Flame: Leo Weston
Flame: Stephen Grasso, Adam Paterson, Luke Todd
Nuke: Linda Cieniawska, Will Robinson, Matt Shires, Bernardo Varela
CGI: Gareth Bell, Ben Cantor, Tom Hall, Walter How, Nick Smalley, Zoé Sottiaux, James Spillman
Motion Graphics: Jess Gorick, Tom Robinson, Stephen Ross
Colour Grade: Simone Grattarola
Producer: Chris Aliano

Great fun leading the VFX for this Nike job round at Time Based Arts. Some challenging shots – most notably the tennis court which was completely reprojected in Flame out of multiple retimed plates, and the transition from the newsagents to the running track. Very enjoyable work.

BBC Sounds – ‘Listen Without Limits’

It is a little known fact that if you pack too many celebrities into a tight enough space their combined egos will cause an explosion powerful enough to tear the fabric of space-time, under which conditions cameras will not function correctly. It is for this reason that each of these celebrities was shot separately on a grey screen and I comped them together into this lift. This is a 10 second piece which makes no sense at all out of the context of the main BBC Sounds campaign, but this is the bit I did so it’s what I’m posting. You can see the much more entertaining main film (that I played no part in) over on the Time Based Arts website.

Creative Agency: BBC Creative
ECD: Laurent Simon
Creative Director: Jamie Starbuck
Art Director: Nick Robinson
Copywriter: James Reynolds
Producer: Ken Rodrigues
Production Company: Riff Raff
Director: Megaforce
Executive Producer: Matthew Fone
Producer: Nick Goldsmith
DoP: Nicolas Loir
Editor: Joe Guest @ Final Cut
Post Production Compnay: Time Based Arts
VFX Supervisor: Francois Roisin & Thiago Dantas
Lead Flame: Jamie Crofts
Flame: Leo Weston , Stephen Grasso, Adam Paterson
Nuke: Ralph Briscoe, George Cressey, Will Robinson, Grant White
Colourist: Simone Grattarola
Producer: Sean Ewins
Head of Production: Josh Robinson

TK Maxx – ‘A White Christmas’

Friend director Ian Pons Jewell along with Wieden & Kennedy bring us TK Maxx’s 2017 Christmas ad. TK Maxx offer shoppers the chance to win a white Christmas by finding one of a limited number of snow globes that will be hidden in TK Maxx stores across the country. Seeing as the last white Christmas to occur naturally in England was back in 2010 this is probably your best bet. This ad shows a family who have won the prize getting more than they bargained for when the TK Maxx snow team show up and blast the whole family including the cat & dog with snow cannons.

Client: TK Maxx
Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Agency Producer: James Laughton
Creative Director: Hollie Walker
Creatives: Andrew Bevan, Freddy Taylor, Philippa Beaumont
Production Company: Friend
Director: Ian Pons Jewell
Editor: James Rosen @ Final Cut
Sound: Sam Ashwell @ 750 MPH
Post Production Company: Time Based Arts
VFX Producer: Chris Aliano
Executive Producer: Tom Johnson
Production Assistant: Sean Ewins
Flame: Stephen Grasso, Leo Weston , Thiago Dantas Lima, Adam Paterson
Nuke: Matt Shires, Linda Cieniawska, Ralph Briscoe
CG: Francois Roisin, Sam Osborne, Federico Guzzardo
Houdini: Tom Hall
Colourist: Simone Grattarola
Music: Warner

Vodafone – ‘Red’

It was an absolute pleasure to work with the very talented team at Time Based Arts for the first time on this Vodafone commercial directed by Aleksander Bach in which a mysterious red light illuminates various night time scenes across Germany until the entire country lights up red (which is the bit I did). Time Based Arts has this to say: “I just received my new phone from Vodafone. It was really weird though as it wasn’t delivered by courier as is normal but a huge red streaking light flew at me and handed me my phone. Although I was originally scared witless by the light and now see it as excellence customer service and this lovely advert makes much more sense to me now!”

Client: Vodafone
Production Company: Anorak Film
Production Company Producer: Swenja Babucke
Director: Aleksander Bach
DoP: Cezar Zacharewicz
Editor: Matthias Graatz
Post Production Company: Time Based Arts
Creative Director: James Allen
Flame Lead: Matt Jackson
Flame: Leo Weston Thiago Dantas, Adam Paterson
Nuke: Andre Bittencourt, Ralph Briscoe, Linda Cieniawska, Matt Shires, Bernardo Varela
CGI Lead: Francois Roisin
CGI: Thomas Battle, Ben Cantor, Dan Davie, Federico Guzzardo, Tom Hall, David Loh, James Mann, Sam Osborne, Nigel Timms
Matte Painting: Lisa Ayla
Colourist: Simone Grattarola
VFX Producer: Chris Aliano

Dermalex – ‘Stronger Skin’

A commercial for skin care brand Dermalex from Hometown London. Some pieces of text were captured in camera having been painted directly onto the models skin. Other words were added in post in their final position and tracked backwards through the camera move so that when played forwards they appear to start broken up and then resolve as a readable word. A series of wipes and seamless joins were added throughout the second half of the film to connect the shots together, creating the appearance of one continuous camera move from scene to scene. The final transition from the girl against the wall through to the pack shot involved building a CG scene of the hexagon set in Flame to bridge the gap between the 2 camera moves. Other VFX work included general set cleanup, beauty work & pack replacements.

Client: Dermalex
Agency: Hometown London
Agency Producer: Emma Johnston
Creative Director: David Gamble
Post Production Company: Big Buoy
Editor: Matthew Felstead
VFX Producer: Jenna Le Noury
VFX: Hussein Hassani, Jim Allen, Leo Weston
Colourist: Mark Horrobin

Godiva – ‘Chocolate Masterpieces’

Premium chocolate brand Godiva partnered with esteemed photographer and director Rankin and The & Partnership, to produce a new immersive global campaign, that showcases the sensorial artistry of its new range, Godiva Masterpieces. The campaign aims to bring to life how it feels to eat Godiva, and what sets it apart from other chocolate experiences.

VFX work included beauty work, clean up, compositing & particle effects.

Client: Godiva
Agency: The & Partnership
Agency Producer: Rhys Evans, Adam Henderson
Head of Art: Marc Donaldson
Executive Producer: Charles Crisp
Executive Creative Director: Micky Tudor
Designer: Loty Ray
Creatives: Sarah Levitt, Loty Ray
Creative Director: Laura Rogers
DOP: Tony C. Miller
Production Company: Rankin Film
Director: Rankin
Editors: Sam Cobb, Owen Hoppenheimer
Post Production Company: Rushes
VFX Producers: Mireille Antoine, Jon Purton
Flame: Omar Akari, Leo Weston , Brian Carbin, Emir Hasham, Richard Russell, Dave Kiddie
CG: Chris Lumsdale
Colourist: Simona Cristea

RuboCubo - Viral

Between working on commercials, a few of the guys at Rushes & I had an idea to make a video of me ‘solving’ Rubik’s Cubes while juggling them. We’d seen a guy called Ravi Fernando on YouTube do this for real. It takes him about 6 minutes solving one at a time. We decided to do our own version but push it a bit further by doing it way quicker and in a more complicated juggling pattern. Seemed like a good bit of fun.

First, I purchased some really cheap knock offs from eBay. These ‘Rubix’ cubes (advertised as speed cubes) did not even turn without a lot of effort. I’m fairly sure I’m the only person to ever receive these cubes and not immediately send them back for a refund. Fortunately, we did not intend to turn these cubes at all, so they were entirely suitable for our purposes.

Somebody had told me once that it is possible to solve a Rubik’s cube from any position in 20 moves. As I was juggling 3, we decided that I needed to do at least 60 catches to make the video semi-plausible. We shot the video on the roof deck at Rushes and decided to frame in the Rushes logo in the background as a clue that all was not as it seemed. Although this clue was ignored by most of the people that eventually watched the video.

Our CG department were busy on actual jobs, so we built a CG model of a Rubik’s cube in Flame and scrambled it up one twist for every catch that I had made. The colours were then shuffled for each of the 3 cubes so that each one appeared different (although the solve algorithm remained the same on each one). From these models we then figured out what the faces would need to look like on each cube at the start of the video when I show the cubes to the camera to demonstrate that they are shuffled. We then scrambled up the real cubes to match the CG models and shot stills of these cubes in the same lighting conditions for each of the positions where my hands aren’t moving. These stills were then tracked on top of the shot plate of the unscrambled cubes and we faded between each still during the moments when the cubes were motion blurred.

We used a different technique for the part of the video where I start juggling and the cubes need to start solving. For this section we tracked in the CG models of the cubes and animated them to match the movement of the cubes we shot with. They were animated to gradually solve each time they were in my hands. Fortunately, due to the motion blur on the actual footage, you couldn’t see a lot of my fingers whilst my hands were in motion, so we didn’t have to do much work on the fingers themselves. Just a few frames here and there. Comments were even made between us at this stage like “This is so pointless” & “Nobody is going to watch this frame by frame”. We had no idea the level of scrutiny that the video would eventually have to endure from the “cubing community”.

The drawback of the motion blur in the shot footage on the other hand was that just placing new CG cubes in front of the shot ones was not enough to cover them entirely, so we had to paint out the original cubes frame by frame. (About 500 frames in all). This was by far the most time consuming task, and was taken on by Rich Russell, Lorenzo Newell & James Dooley. During this process, we were pleased with my decision to wear a plain black jumper that day, but less thrilled with the decision to film in front of a complicated background of overlapping railings and windows which was pretty much different on each frame. Rich said halfway through the painting process: “Next time we have the idea to do a thing like this, can we just not!”

Finishing touches included rotoscoping my fingers back in front of the composited cubes & adding believable shadows, reflections and lighting to the surfaces. I then recorded the sound from an actual Rubik’s Cube being solved and added this twisting noise to the video each time our CG model moved.

I had a Youtube channel already that I never used. We thought it best to not upload to a new channel. I changed my name from leowestonvfx to RuboCubo & had spent the few days before this deleting anything VFX related and liking and sharing videos of juggling and Rubik’s cube solves. I also for a laugh posted a comment on Ravi’s video saying “I think I can beat this”.

Then we posted the video.

Nothing happened obviously. I had no subscribers on my channel. I shared it to Facebook amongst my friends and got a couple of likes. Most of my friends knowing what I do for a living saw it for the sham that it was and weren’t afraid to say it in the comments.

The next day we posted it to Reddit. Harder than you think. You need a “Karma score” to post to the main videos page of Reddit which you earn over time by being an active & engaged user of the site. None of us filled this criteria. We then discovered that our head runner at Rushes was pretty active on Reddit so got him to post the video (3pm UK time – when America awakes – is apparently the best time to post). Then it started getting quite a few views and comments. Although nearing the end of the day I think we worked out we’d probably had about one view per hour of work invested in the video. Not such a good ratio. However one comment came from a journalist at Metro who had seen it on Reddit and asked if he could feature the video on their site. We obviously said yes. When I went to bed the video had about 500 views which I thought was pretty good going for the first 24 hours. I hoped that by the time I woke up we might have a thousand.

I woke up and checked the views on my phone in bed and it had 18,000 views! I thought this was pretty spectacular. Couldn’t wait to show the guys at work. By the time I got to work an hour later the views had doubled to 36,000. By 10am I had an email from a journalist at Buzzfeed asking for an interview about how I felt that the video was trending on Twitter in Japan. He included a link to the tweet. We clicked it and it linked to a gif that somebody had made of the video and tweeted. It had been liked and retweeted over 40,000 times and every time we refreshed the page it was gaining another thousand.

After that, it appeared on The Telegraph, then The Mirror, and The Sun. The messages on the Youtube channel were filling up with requests to post the video to various sites and feature on various TV stations. Fox News, ABC News, Fuji TV in Japan, Discovery Canada, The New York Post, Huffington, LadBible, Unilad etc. I obviously just said yes to everyone. I tried to answer all their questions while avoiding divulging whether or not the video was real or fake.

I think that we realised that we had actually “gone viral” when the video became the number 1 trending thing worldwide on Reddit (albeit a gif repost). So funny!


The point at which we shit our pants a bit was when Reuters got in touch wanting to push the video to every News network worldwide and directly asked: “Is the video ‘as shot’?”. We decided that we shouldn’t lie directly to Reuters, and avoiding the question was as good as a confession, so we ignored the email.

Over the following 48 hours across all the sites that we allowed to repost, the video got in excess of 20 million views.

It seems like lots of people believed the video was real (38% according to the Telegraph poll). But the best thing for us from a visual effects perspective was that even the ones who thought it was fake didn’t suspect CG. Theories ranged from reversed video, prearranged cubes, swapping in cubes near the end, self solving cubes etc. Probably Definitely the best endorsement of my compositing I have ever received!

Most of those who cried “fakery” took the video in the spirit in which it was intended – as a bit of fun. I suspect though, if you’re sat at home investing all of your time into trying to legitimately beat some kind of Rubik’s Cube solving record, and then some guy pops up on YouTube and undeservedly gets all the credit, then you could be forgiven for writing “Kill yerself” on the comments… possibly.

My favourite disgruntled comment was this one:

know the cube

Happily though, since we revealed the illusion, I’ve received only positive feedback. Although one Japanese journalist did email me asking how I could have lied to him.

The thing that made me most happy is that Steve Mills himself – the inventor of ‘Mills Mess’ (The juggling pattern I’m doing in the video) got in touch to say how much he enjoyed the video!


We really enjoyed the 20 seconds of internet stardom we had, and are mainly happy that the hours we spent making the video weren’t a complete waste of time.

Once again, massive credit to Rich Russell, Lorenzo Newell & James Dooley for the time they spent with me making the video. And also to our PR guy Thom Trigger who had to deal with the shitstorm of press enquiries.

Below is a collection of some of the press the video got:






The Mirror



Then 50 Cent posted it…

On a random web show in the U.S.

Here’s a breakdown of how we made the video:

and here’s us picking up ‘Best Viral Video’ at The Lovie Awards…

Client: Rushes
Post Production Company: Rushes
Director: Leo Weston
Camera: Glenn Cone
VFX Supervisor: Leo Weston
VFX: Leo Weston , Rich Russell, Lorenzo Newell, James Dooley

2016 Lovie - Viral Video
– 2016 Lovie Award Winner – Viral Video Award
2016 Lovie - People's Choice
– 2016 Lovie Award Winner – People’s Choice Award

Nike - 'CR7 - Chapter 1 - Savage Beauty'

Rankin shoots a stunning new spot for Nike as they introduce the Mercurial Superfly CR7 ‘Savage Beauty’, inspired by Cristiano Ronaldo’s volcanic homeland of Madeira. The superfly spot was shot in Madrid in only a few hours with Cristiano Ronaldo. I provided on set supervision on this shoot and completed the VFX work at Rushes. Volcano stock footage was blended over silhouetted shots of Ronaldo. Other top layer smoke, lightning, hot ash and spark elements were also added to the composites. The end boot volcano comp is a combination of a CG smoke plume and shot smoke elements graded and composited together in Flame. The ad won an award for ‘Best VFX’ at Berlin Fashion Film Festival and also picked up the ‘Best Editing’ award for Rankin’s Gary Coogan.

Production Company/Agency: Rankin Film
Director: Rankin
Producer: Storr Redman
Editor: Gary Coogan
Post Production Company: Rushes
Producer: Chris McKeeman
VFX Supervisor: Leo Weston
VFX: Leo Weston
CG: Andy McNamara
Motion Graphics: Barry Corcoran,
Guy Hancock, Fraser Macedo
Colourist: Simona Cristea Harrison

2016 BFFF - Best VFX
2016 Berlin Fashion Film Festival – Best VFX
2016 BFFF - Best Editing
2016 Berlin Fashion Film Festival – Best Editing

Pampers - 'Poo Face'

Saatchi & Saatchi Creative Team Matt Butterfield & Ben Mills bring us epic Pampers Wipes ad – ‘Pooface’. The first spot created for the Pampers ‘Don’t Fear The Mess!’ campaign. Shot by director Olly Blackburn out of Great Guns and posted at Rushes. Set to the classic score ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ by Strauss, the film charts in high definition and in super slow motion, a big moment in ten young babies lives: doing a poo. As babies only seem to poo when you don’t want them to, this film benefitted from some subtle VFX help from me to warp and distort the babies faces that extra bit into contorted “poofaces”. The spot picked up three Cannes Lions awards (a bronze film Lion in the Toiletries, Cosmetics & Beauty category, a silver film craft Lion for casting and a bronze film craft Lion in editing).

Client:  Pampers
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Producer:  Anne O’Neill
Creatives:  Matt Butterfield, Ben Mills
Creative Director: Kate Stanners
Production Company: Great Guns
Director:  Olly Blackburn
Exec Producer: Sheridan Thomas,
Laura Gregory
Producer:  Tim Francis
DoP:  Nanu Segal
Editor:  Andy Phillips, James Demetriou
Producer:  Rosanne Crisp
Post Production Company: Rushes
VFX: Leo Weston
Colourist:  Simone Grattarola

2016 Bronze Lion - Toiletries, Cosmetics & Beauty
– 2016 Bronze Cannes Film Lion – Toiletries, Cosmetics & Beauty Category