Our series of online people profiles covers a wide range of backgrounds, careers and personalities of individuals in Hong Kong. In this instalment, we turn the camera on videographer JAMES BECKERLEGGE to hear about his work – including interviews with the likes of Posh and Becks! – and his life in Pok Fu Lam.
Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Cirencester, England, known as ‘the capital of the Cotswolds’.
Have you lived anywhere else?
I lived for a short time in Leicester. I shared a house with some friends right next door to the Leicester City Football club on Filbert street.
When I first went travelling, I spent six months living in a room directly above Hungry Jacks in King’s Cross, Sydney, that was back in 1994; it was quite an eye opener!
Is Hong Kong “home”?
Hong Kong is very much my home – I’ve been here for 26 years. I used to work on building sites. I helped build the convention centre and the new airport. I tell my kids that my blood sweat and tears are ingrained in the very fabric of the city. (They think I built the convention centre singlehandedly; I don’t correct them.)
What do you do here? Tell us about your business.
For the past 18 years, I’ve been working as a videographer. I now run my own video production business called Triple8Films. We make all sorts of videos for our clients for their websites and for social media. We make Kickstarter videos, infomercials, brand videos, documentaries, interviews and events. I’ve been lucky enough to conduct interviews with some famous and interesting people such as David and Victoria Beckham, Manolo Blahnik, Tom Dixon, Mathew Hilton, Christian Louboutin, Giles Deacon, Tory Burch, Christopher Doyle, Joshua Wong and many more.
Give us an insight into a typical working day for you.
I am lucky as I have two very different types of working day. If it’s a filming day, then it’s always an early start. The earlier you can get everyone to the location and get the first shot ‘in the can’, the better. There is always a lot of preparation and logistics to work out before a shoot, so once the machine has started moving and you have your first shot, you can relax a little and get into the rhythm of film making.
The rest of the day is usually very creative and collaborative, often having to think on your feet and make decisions on the fly, whilst keeping an eye on the clock to make sure you get everything done before everyone gets tired or the sun goes down. This kind of work is very active with quite a lot of heavy lifting; it certainly keeps me fit.
My other kind of work day is the complete opposite. On these days, I work at my computer and edit. This too is a creative experience, often collaborative, working closely with the client. I’m lucky because I can often do this from home and be around the kids while they’re learning online.
What neighbourhood do you live in, and why did you choose it?
We live in Pok Fu Lam. We love it here. Years ago, my partner and I used to go to the Cyberport cinema when all the other cinemas in town were full. The taxi used to drive through Pok Fu Lam village on the way back to Central. We used to look out of the window and see the neighbourhood and the low level buildings and think, ‘wouldn’t it be great to live here’.
Twelve years ago, we bought an apartment overlooking the sea; we felt very lucky that we had such a lovely place to live that was still relatively close to town. We now have two kids, so we moved into a slightly larger apartment, just across the road.
What are some things you like about your neighbourhood?
Pok Fu Lam is described as ‘the garden of Hong Kong’, and it really feels it as you travel around. There’s plenty of greenery and trees, nice views, and lots of places for the kids to walk or ride their scooters. My kids can both walk to their schools, so it makes life a little bit easier.
Describe your home to us.
We live on the top floor of a three-storey walk-up. The building is relatively old, so it has a good use of space. My partner is wonderful; she has a real eye for home-décor and has created a gorgeous, comfortable home for us all.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies in Hong Kong?
As a family, we have spent the last 18 months exploring Hong Kong and its wilderness. Most weekends we will go for a hike, sometimes just from our home to the peak, or out in Sai Kung hiking to Tai Long Wan. Recently, we have taken up kayaking, so often go exploring as a family on the South China Sea.
Quick questions about Hong Kong: what is your favourite …
Casual restaurant? Ye Shanghai – Pacific Place
Date night restaurant? New Punjab Club
Bar or café? The Globe
Thing to do with visitors? Walk around the Peak
Thing to do with kids? Hike, hike, hike!
Nearby holiday destination? Da Nang
Like this? Read more inspiring stories in our Living in Hong Kong section.
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