Taking Flight

Meet The New Wave / David Bird

David Bird3

Taking Flight

Meet The New Wave / David Bird

Filmography (so far):

Second units including The End Of The F***ing World (2018, episodes shot by DP Justin Brown), St Maud (2019, DP Ben Fordesman) and Gangs Of London (2019, episodes shot by DP Martijn Van Broekhuizen NSC), plus DP on shorts War Has No Eyes (2017), Random Acts (2017) and Swindon ‘A Portrait Of Youth’ (2018)

When did you discover you wanted to be a cinematographer?

I always loved photography and was lucky enough to have a dark room in the art department of my secondary school. My interest in being a cinematographer came when I applied to Bournemouth Arts College, as I looked into both photography and film.

Where did you train?

Bournemouth Arts College – Film Production.

What are your favourite films?

Toy Story 1, 2 and 3 (1995, 1999, 2010, dir. John Lasseter) – I have not seen Toy Story 4 yet, but they haven't made a bad film!

No Country For Old Men (2007, dirs. Joel & Ethan Coen, DP Roger Deakins CBE BSC ASC) – I love the look, the pacing and the beauty of the held, composed shots.

Lost In Translation (2003, dir. Sofia Coppola, DP Lance Acord ASC) – a fairly classic, DP’s favourite film, I would imagine. Also her film Somewhere (2010, Harris Savides ASC) is also a favourite. The looks in both are great, and the stories are slow, with plenty of time to breath and think.

Fire At Sea – (2016, dir & DP Gianfranco Rosi) – an amazing feature-doc. The long, held shots, where the world is allowed to develop, are so strong. They give the audience time to think and build their own thoughts.

David Bird1

What’s the best advice you were ever given, and from whom?

Tim Maurice-Jones: “Never admit to anything until you know you have been found out.”

Who are your DP/industry heroes?

Over the years I have been lucky enough to work on some great films with super-talented people.

Greig Fraser ACS ASC for sure – I worked on a couple of films with Greig. He has a great eye and an amazing talent for seeing every detail through from start-to-finish. I learnt a lot from working with him.

Darius Khondji AFC ASC – someone I have admired for a long time. His work has always stood out to me, and he is someone I regularly go to for reference.

Roger Deakins CBE BSC ASC – of course, as a British cinematographer, I look up to him massively. His consistent body of work throughout his career, and his considered style, are things that I try to emulate where possible.

Megan Ellison – who founded Annapurna Pictures, is someone I admire a lot. From starting in 2011, she has consistently made great films with original scripts, with great casting and an eye for the craft.

Have you won any awards or received any nominations?

Best Cinematography at the British Independent Film Festival for the short War Has No Eyes (2017, dir. Perry White), shot on 35mm film. Swindon ‘A Portrait Of Youth’ (2018, dir. Robin Mason) as a Vimeo Staff Pick.

David Bird2

What’s your proudest moment?

On a lot of the longer-running projects I have worked on, there is always a sense of pride at the end, as there are usually so many challenges that have been overcome to see the result on the big screen!

What’s the worst knock-back/rejection you ever had?

The classic of thinking a job is in the bag, only to find out it’s gone away. But this is a constant game, and it is one you have to get used to.

What have been your best/worst moments on-set?

Best: is when the whole room is feeling it!

Worst: time… especially when that is running out!

Tell us your most hilarious faux pas?

As an AC, sleeping though your alarm, arriving late to work, and apologising straightaway to the cameraman. Only to find out that the team have covered for you, so you are the one that told him! Tim Maurice-Jones: yellow card!

Away from work, what are your greatest passions?

Stick me on a beach where I can surf, and I will be a very happy man.

What one piece of kit could you not live without?

My Lowrider… aka American, cheaper cine saddle.

David Bird7

Which films are you most proud of to date?

Swindon ‘A Portrait On Youth’ – an honest vignette, interviewing 13-17 year olds about their hopes and dreams for a future in a world that they seem to have very little say on. Also, working as an AC on Zero Dark Thirty (2012, dir. Kathryn Bigelow, DP Greig Fraser ACS ASC) was a great experience and a great film.

What’s the hardest shot/thing you’ve had to light/frame?

A cheetah. No budget for a tracking vehicle/remote stabilised head, saw me shooting at 200fps on the back of a quad bike on a bungee rig.

Tell us your hidden talent/party trick?

I love to cook, and my BBQ jerk chicken is the one!

In the entire history of filmmaking, which film would you love to have shot?

The original Jurassic Park (1993, dir. Steven Spielberg, DP Dean Cundey ASC) would have been pretty amazing!

What are your current top albums?

I’m kind-of on playlists, and Pool Side Chill is currently doing the rounds.

Can you tell us your greatest extravagance?

I bought a 35mm Super Speed lens, when a camera rental house went bust and items were up for auction. I would have liked the whole set, but that wasn't an option. So I got the best lens in the set.

Formula E v Cheetah
Formula E v Cheetah
<em>Clean Sheets</em>
Clean Sheets

What’s the best thing about being a DP?

The travel and the people I get to meet.

What’s the worst thing about being a DP?

The travel and ‘some’ of the people I meet.

Give us three adjectives that best describe you and your approach to cinematography?

Honest. Collaborative. Patient.

If you weren’t a DP, what job would you be doing now?

Photographer, as this is my other passion. Or maybe something in music.

What are your aspirations for the future?

To continue to challenge myself. To keep looking and keep learning.