Inside the life of the Leeds videographer who has worked with Lionel Messi, Mike Tyson and Qatar World Cup

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A Leeds-born videographer has told of how his career through the lens has taken him across the globe to work with celebrities and superstars in the world of sport.

Haris Effendi, now 34, has worked with stars ranging from World Cup-winner Lionel Messi to heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson, during a spell that has seen him move out to Dubai and back capturing exploits on camera.

Born in Leeds, Haris’ passion was ignited when first held a camera at just eight-years-old. He went on to study at Thomas Danby College – now Leeds City College – before attending Leeds Beckett University for a Film and TV Production qualification in 2007.

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And it was during his first year of studying that he secured his first-ever gig – a promotional video for a nightclub in Leeds – which he now looks back on and cringes.

Haris Effendi, 34, is a videographer from Leeds.Haris Effendi, 34, is a videographer from Leeds.
Haris Effendi, 34, is a videographer from Leeds.

Haris said: “It was horrible. It was so dark and the whole video was [filmed in] black and white. It looked like zombies were running around.”

But other nightclubs in the area and brands thought differently and he quickly picked up more freelance jobs, before his name reached the south of the country, too.

He said: “I had no control over it from then onwards. It just snowballed automatically. People from London, down south, don't think anything of it, but to have to get a three-hour train out to London to go and film all these celebrities and stuff, it was a big, big deal.”

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The videographer said he then “took over the country”, in his own words, filming at various events, nightclubs and with a string of celebrities. In 2012, Haris said he had “reached his peak” in the UK and decided to relocate to Dubai.

Pictured is Haris Effendi when he was younger. Haris first picked up a camera at the age of eight and later went on to pursue Film and TV Productions at Leeds Beckett University in 2007.Pictured is Haris Effendi when he was younger. Haris first picked up a camera at the age of eight and later went on to pursue Film and TV Productions at Leeds Beckett University in 2007.
Pictured is Haris Effendi when he was younger. Haris first picked up a camera at the age of eight and later went on to pursue Film and TV Productions at Leeds Beckett University in 2007.

He spent five years there, which he said were filled with ups and downs.

And Haris said that his time in the United Arab Emirates even culminated him being invited to work with international motor racing industry Formula 1 after he secured a five-year contract.

But, following the birth of his son, he said it was family that led him back to his home city of Leeds in 2017 after five years of honing his craft in Dubai.

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The 34-year-old said: “I used to go on Skype with my my parents or my wife's parents, and they'd be crying because they can't hold the babies and all that kind of stuff. So it kind of makes you think about life more when you have kids.

Haris Effendi, second right, has worked on a number of different projects with other creatives. His most recent venture was the Qatar World Cup.Haris Effendi, second right, has worked on a number of different projects with other creatives. His most recent venture was the Qatar World Cup.
Haris Effendi, second right, has worked on a number of different projects with other creatives. His most recent venture was the Qatar World Cup.

“It's cliche but when my son was born, it changed my life forever. Whenever I get called out to do international work, I feel like putting in the contract: ‘you have to fly me out with my wife and kids because I can't be away from them’. Family is the most important thing to me.”

Now living in Roundhay, Haris said he has continued to work for big names, including Argentine football legend Messi and American boxer Tyson.

In one of his most recent large-scale ventures, he said he worked with the Qatar World Cup.

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But he said his that “despite being very good at what I do”, working with high-profile clients – and creating high-quality videos – was challenging.

Haris said: “Whenever I'm doing a big project or when I've got to produce a really high quality work, I get very, very, very nervous and very anxious, especially if I travel internationally. ‘What if I don't do a good job all the time?’

"I know I am very good at what I do. But I still have that imposter syndrome and I still do get those nerves even to this day.”

And, besides, he said, making videos means too much to Haris to give it up.

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He said: “I don’t have another side job, a side hustle. After all these years, through all the ups and downs, I'm still able to provide for my family so I'm very blessed in that sense. And I can't see myself doing anything else, even though sometimes I do feel like putting the camera down. I’m very blessed.”

Find out more about Haris via his social media channels.