Studio Local Bird's Eye View

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Pete Circuitt, Jared Kahi
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Directors
    Pete Circuitt, Jared Kahi
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Sharlene George, Gal Greenspan, Tania Smiler, Gemma Easton, Rickylee Russell-Waipuka, Katy Roberts, Nick Ward, Jacob Tuck, Harrison Wiltshire, Liam Drain, Radmila Krasnova, Matt Lloyd, Annamarie Connors, Aquila Veloria, Sam Wilkes, Dries Naude
  • Kaitautoko / Contributors
    Envy Studios, Johnny Barker
  • Client
    NZ on Air, HeiHei and TVNZ

Birds Eye View turns the tables on the traditional concept of ‘birdwatching’ when an animated cast of beloved native birds regularly catch up to ponder and debate the weird and bizarre behaviours of humans. Set in a leafy suburban neighbourhood the birds swap theories and observations of these odd humans going about their daily business which then leads to hilarious, off-the-wall conclusions. New Zealand On Air, TVNZ, and HeiHei requested a sophisticated production of high quality that would show diversity, and appeal to both young and older audiences alike. A production that could sit alongside international content and showcase Aotearoa’s unique landscape, language and inhabitants.

With the collaboration of writer Nick Ward and his team they successfully exploited the bird's observational humour delivering a quality comedic product. A diverse cast of Pākehā, Māori, and Pasifika talent was chosen to voice New Zealand’s native birds with each of the character’s development and scripting tailored to the individual talent's voice. Te Reo Māori was written into the dialogue and spoken fluently by Stan Walker and Kerry Warkia. Improvisation in the sound booth was also encouraged, to allow the distinct personalities and humor to shine through. The hilariously neurotic budgie is the only non-native bird in the show, his split personality was voiced by Andy Faulkner showcasing two distinctly different English accents.

Stylised reality was the approach when designing the characters, with research commencing in Auckland Museum’s feather archives. With these reference images a highly sophisticated, complex 3D feather system for each character was created. Tūī’s feather system was particularly complicated, as they are surprisingly colourful birds with distinctive iridescent feathers. The 360-degree environmental design required a bespoke tree system so the leaves and branches could gently move in the light afternoon breeze, or thrash around on those wet and stormy days.

This show has been approached with an inclusive audience mindset, with the intention of attracting a diverse and broad audience within the demographic, with technical complexity, and with the ultimate goal of providing an entertaining, fun show of high quality.