World: My Portfolio - Ivan Bird

campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 09 July 2004 12:00AM

While Ivan Bird has experienced some highs as a cinematographer for the likes of Jonathan Glazer and Danny Kleinman, he manages to convey it in a low-key, honest way. It's a skill he's kept in his new role as a director for Serious Pictures: you feel you'll totally believe in what he's trying to sell you. Bird says he thrives on a challenge. On his ad for BBC Radio One Live, he and his crew shot non-stop from midday to 2am, capturing everything that was going on as six bands performed each night as part of the annual Radio One Roadshow. "We put a load of ideas in the storyboards, thinking they would be too far-fetched, but it all happened."

His spot for the O2 digital music player was shot in Brazil, where he travelled three days across deserts to shoot for two hours. The ad shows mountains and stadia as amplifiers, saturated in a mouthwatering blue colour.

"It took a long time to arrive at that blue," he recalls. "O2 wanted us to retain what they call 'O2 world', but move it forward, make it more grown-up."

Similarly grown-up in approach, Bird worked with the long-time Glazer collaborator Walter Campbell on the Mercedes "movement" campaign. In one shot, a gymnast repeatedly performs a 360-degree spin on the parallel bars.

"It's a hated discipline as they are most prone to injury on it, but he performed for us all day," Bird comments.

While he enjoys ads for clients such as Mercedes, he offsets them by giving something back, with projects such as "bath" for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, where a young woman - herself a cystic fibrosis sufferer - slowly sinks under the water, making the viewer feel short of breath.

Bird enjoys working with actors. "Favourite place", for Hyundai, features a scene where a father and son listen to a football match commentary, while parked outside the ground. "I enjoyed trying to get a performance out of the son because he was just not interested," the director says.

He'd like to do more character-driven work, and is in directing for the long haul. "I didn't make this decision lightly and I have a long-term battle plan," he says.

He headlined the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase at Cannes this year, but admits that neither he nor his producer, Donnie Masters, thought they'd be where they are now.

"It's so unexpected, it's like treating success and failure in the same way - you just keep your head down and do the work you believe in."

- Ivan Bird was talking to Suzel Pitty.

This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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