Monday, October 29, 2012
The Mill is proud to announce the launch of their new Remote
Grading facility with NHB
Germany. This great new collaboration allows The Mill's London,
New York and Los Angeles offices to work and connect with 3 of the
biggest cities in Germany - Berlin, Hamburg and Dusseldorf.
NHB is a post production house who work with some of the biggest
advertising agencies and film production companies in Germany, and
this new setup will enable remote grading as a real-time HD feed
between all offices.
"While we grade here at The Mill, you can view it in HD real time
in Germany" says The Mill Telecine Producer Cath Short. "We are so
excited about this collaboration with our friends and clients in
Germany. We use video conferencing for the grading sessions so as
to create a sense of being in the room here with us".
The Mill's global colour team providing this service, will
include: Adam Scott, James Bamford, Shane Reed, Seamus O'Kane,
Fergus McCall, Damien Van Der Cruyssen, Luke Morrison, Mick
Vincent, Greg Reese and Sal Malfitano.
Alongside the existing Mill Remote Grading facility already set up
at Nightshift in Paris; this latest partnership
with NHB allows The Mill to expand this amazing remote service even
further into Europe.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
We recently had the pleasure of speaking to filmmaker Nick Ryan
on his feature documentary 'The Summit' which premiered at this
year's London Film Festival.
Coloured at The Mill, the feature documentary looks at the
tragic events of the K2 climbing disaster in August 2008, which saw
22 international climbers set off for the summit of the notoriously
dangerous K2 mountain, only to see half their party dead within
days: marking the most shocking mountaineering accident in recent
Nick, Director and Producer of the feature documentary, employed
a variety of documentary narrative devices, in the tradition of
Kevin MacDonald, to piece together the tragedy and the terrible
moral dilemmas that the team faced in the fight for survival.
Working with experienced documentary writer, Mark Monroe ('The
Cove', 'The Tillman Story') Nick also had on board one of the
world's finest cinematographers, Robbie Ryan, to tell this
We had an exclusive Q&A with Nick on his thoughts and
experiences making the feature documentary:
How did you first get involved in The
The film started only several weeks after the tragic events when
a climbing colleague of one of the 11 to die came to talk to me
about the story. It was a fascinating story of both human survival
and indeed tragedy. It was a world I knew very little about, but I
wanted to understand what would make a person face the the odds
presented by successfully summiting K2, One in Four.
What were the highs and lows of the
From start to finish, the film took just under four years, and
there were many facets to getting it made. Raising finance in a
post 2008 world for a documentary was difficult, and we funded a
lot of the initial interviews from within Image Now. Asking the
survivors and families to relive their memories was a very
emotional time in many cases. Filming of the reconstructions in the
relative safety of the Jungfrauand Eiger regions was also pretty
tough. Making a film is like climbing a mountain, so making a film
at altitude (3500m) compounds that! Just making decisions at that
altitude is hard. But flying to K2 with a Cineflex attached to a
Pakistan military helicopter was certainly a high point, as it let
me personally witness the shear scope and scale of the Karakorum
region and the breathtaking majesty of K2. We also flew much higher
than we thought was technically possible, I believe breaking some
records for aerial filming from a helicopter.
What role did The Mill play in the final
The Mill worked on the colour grading for the final film. This
consisted mainly of the reconstruction scenes which were shot on
the RED camera with Anamorphic lenses. We felt the archive material
should remain as it was, as it is historical. The interviews were
shot over a few years in vastly different looks, the content of the
subjects worlds being of prime importance rather than a specific
aesthetic, and we balanced these a little. We also graded the
CineFlex aerial footage shot on a flash memory device. Aubrey
Woodiwiss did fantastic work keeping the look intense and bright,
like the light in that region.
How was The Summit received at it's world
The film played to a completely sold out house in the largest
screen of the Vue Leicester Square. The reaction to the film has
been really positive, especially to the emotional aspects within
the story, which is the most you can ask for as a film
What are the next plans for the feature?
The film was made for the big screen, and I feel it really works
on that medium, as it immerses you in the experience. We hope to
get some form of theatrical distribution and are talking with a few
different companies at the moment.
Do you partake in any climbing yourself? And has The
Summit made you a keener, or more nervous, climber?
No, I have never climbed other than to get a sense of what is
involved in the sport, and only in fairly safe and controlled
environments with professionals making sure all was okay! Making
the film hasn't made me want to climb K2 anymore than before I
started, but I have a greater respect for those who choose to do
so, and I feel that I understand the choices they make a lot more
You can view the trailer for the documentary just below:
Monday, October 22, 2012
This weekend The Mill was happy to host a workshop by
the Ghetto Film School (GFS) -- an award-winning,
non-profit, independent film organization with a mission to
educate, develop and celebrate the next generation of great
American storytellers. Founded in the South Bronx in
2000, GFS has trained more than 750 teens in the art and craft of
The program, hosted by Wieden + Kennedy, is an introduction to the
advertising industry, from brief through final production. The
students were given a brief for Levi's and wrote commercial scripts
based on it that they pitched at The Mill on Saturday to their
peers and ECDs from W+K. They were guided by the creatives on the
Levi's account through the process of revising their scripts that
they will be presenting to Levi's next week. The top scripts chosen
by Levi's will then be produced as ads as the winning campaign and
the students will be a part of the casting process.
"Every year Ghetto Film School expands the quality
and depth of the training and services that we provide our
students," said Derrick Cameron, GFS Program Director, "and this
year is no exception. We've had outstanding guest instructors this
fall, and our partnership with Wieden and Kennedy allows us to
deliver great new resources to every GFS Fellow. We are immensely
grateful to The Mill for providing us with a space for our students
Monday, October 22, 2012
Mill London 2D scheduler Craig Heathcote is this months roving
film reporter, as he provides an insight into his highlights from
last week's film feasting…
You've got to admire the programmers of the annual British Film
Institute London Film Festival, they've certainly covered all
bases. Over the last week I've spent twenty minutes watching a
monk-like figure shuffling a step per minute (literally) around the
streets of Hong Kong, clutching a bag and a bread roll. I've
witnessed the often uncomfortable demise of a washed-up stand-up
comedian as his life crumbles around him. I've observed a
psychological thriller unravel in the back office of a burger bar.
And I also spent two hours watching Fatboy Slim music videos. These
disparate offerings are just a small pick of the celluloid
pleasures on offer at this year's festival.
In its 56th year the festival has decided to focus
its usually broad categories into more niche groupings; from 'love'
to 'debate' to 'thrill' and 'cult' every palate is catered for. Of
course it wouldn't be the LFF without it's plethora of glitzy
premiers and gala screenings. This year's spearhead being Tim
Burton's Frankenweenie, attracting the usual
roster of A-listers at the Leicester Square premiere. Crafted from
stop-motion 3D animation, across eighteen months on three giant
stages at London's Three Mills Studio's the film features 115 VFX
shots completed by NVizible -including copious rig removal, CG
water and matte painting set extensions.
Now to the shuffling monk.Beautiful 2012, a collection of shorts
commissioned by the Hong Kong Film Festival incorporates an
admirable range of themes and styles across four contrasting films
based on the question "What is beautiful?" Whilst by nature
infuriatingly and painfully slow to watch, Director Tsai Ming-Liang
admirably manages to makeWalkerengrossing and humorous - with a
little help from the urban beauty of Hong Kong and the lyrics of
Sam Hui. The most humorous and touching offering of this bunch,My
Way, follows a male to female transsexual as he deals with the
indecipherable emotions such a process involves… and the fact he
still has a dismayed wife at home.
In this Olympic year there are naturally a plethora of strong
offerings from some of London's greatest filmmaking talents. Broken marks the screen Directorial debut
of Rufus Norris (recent work includes London Road at London's
National Theatre, Les Liaisons Dangereuses on
Broadway.) Starring Tim Roth and introducing the
superlative Eloise Laurence as our twelve-year-old hero Skunk. When
Skunk witnesses a brutal act of violence between two of her
neighbours, and she begrudginglyattracts her first
boyfriend, the certainties and innocence of her childhood begin to
ebb away. Broken is a strange mix of kitchen sink
drama, black humor and shocking moments. Whilst this formula makes
it incredibly watchable it's also its downfall, as it's a
great ensemble piece but it doesn't quite hang together
successfully. However it's certainly one to watch for Laurence's
performance alone and the dreamy cinematography.
Equally as watchable was Tom Shkolnik's feature debutThe
Comedian. Wholly improvised in workshops with the cast, it tells
the tale of a call centre worker and failing stand-up comedian Ben,
aged 32, who is stuck in an inescapable rut. As he is torn between
two unsuitable relationships, struggles through painful comedy gigs
and dealing with his jobsworth call-centre boss, this is a film
that will resonate with so many of its audience. Whilst charming
and very touching at points the improvised scenes do over-run, and
at times feel empty.
If I had to make the difficult decision to recommend only one
film from those I saw at this year's festival it would be New York
writer/director Craig Zobel's Compliance. The film caused a storm at
Sundance this year and certainly provoked gasps through-out and an
uncomfortable silence as the credits rolled at this screening. A
prank phone caller posing as a police officer manages to cerebrally
manipulate a burger bar manager in to believing one of her staff
has stolen from a customer. But that's just the beginning. The
twisted caller manages to embroil a number of other pawns in his
sick game, leading to some disturbing scenes and genuine
jaw-dropping moments. A unique and original subject matter
examining how far a rational human being could go when they believe
they're under the instruction of an authority figure, you want to
constantly yell at the screen in frustration of the characters
gullibility. The premise is ludicrous and yet the final shocking
twist in this dark tale is that every single bit of is true. Based
on an American case where seventy similar known calls were made,
this is a truly uncomfortable yet though-provoking film. Go see
In time of ever-shrinking budgets the variety on offer at this
year's LFF slate has really demonstrated that sometimes all you
need is an original idea or great story to engage your audience.
Well done, BFI. See you next year.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Over at the The Mill geek desk, Neil Evely is
patiently awaiting his delivery of the new HERO3: Black Edition
camera from GoPro. Here he passes some of his anticipation time by
guest blogging about exactly why we should all be so excited,
I'm very excited and frankly in awe at the new HERO3:
Black Edition camera from GoPro. Unfortunately, I'm yet to get my
hands on it, waiting patiently for the package to arrive on my
desk. Suffice to say, the specifications are hugely impressive,
even more so considering that they've maintained the size of the
unit (reducing the weight!). Let's have a quick look of some of the
- 30% smaller, 25% lighter
- Waterproof to 197' (60m),
- Captures 1440p @ 48fps, 1080p @ 60fps and 720p @120fps video,
not to mention WVGA @ 240fps, 960p @ 100fps
- Amazing resolution at 2.7kp-24fps and 4kp-12fps (Yes, that's
- 12MP burst capture at 30 frames per second
- Not to mention that its Wi-Fi enabled and can be remote
controlled by your iOS or Android phone…
One of the most impressive things about this
technology is the price point. it's truly affordable and when you
think about what you would have had to pay to get specs and results
like this even 4 years ago, HERO3 is a bit of a game changer.
It's another huge step in improving public created
content, raising the bar in quality and allowing people to really
push the boundaries of what and how they want to film. For example,
check out the video below, and keep an eye out for the surf footage
at 1:55, which is outstanding. Enjoy this brilliant 5
min promo film and when you're done, watch it again and
wonder why you're sat at a desk and not filming yourself cliff
diving with sharks in the Alps.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
mcbess, The Mill resident director, artist and all round bringer
of good jokes and great ideas has been busily painting for Umbro
and Footlocker on "Secret Walls". Together with top artists RIFF, ALPHA
they collaborated on a giant wall poster that Londoners can
currently see if they choose to look up whilst walking along Old
The art kicks off a competition led by Umbro to search for the
best new street artists in Europe. The top four selected street art
supremos are awarded one on one mentoring with each of the artists,
with mcbess being paired up to one of them. I caught up with him to
learn more about the process...
How did you hear about the project and why did you want
to get involved?
I was approached by Secret Walls who are organizing the whole
thing, I wanted to get involved because I haven't done much of this
kind of work and I got to meet and work with 3 talented
illustrators, also there's the competition afterwards wich should
be really interesting with the all coaching thing.
Tell us about the wall art you 4 illustrators created
for Umbro? How did you combine your styles?
Well we sat down and each of us work on patches that could be put
together a bit like tattoos, then we decided wich one we
prefer and the fact that the all thing is in black and white helps
a lot for the cohesion.
What are you looking for in an artist to
Has to be good looking and accept that everything I say is pure
gold, never talk back to me and already be very skilled so I don't
have much to do. Really just someone with an open mind.
Who's your current favourite street
Well I've always been a fan of Flying Fortress and Kid Acne, right
now I really enjoy the work of Nychos and the Lowbros.
What do you love about street art?
I'm not a street artist so it's another completely different world
to me, which makes it very intriguing, the techniques and the mood
when you're out there, it's brilliant.
Later this month, mentoring complete, the 4 winners will
take part in a heated live art battle as mcbess watches on and
roots for his mentee. Watch this space (wall?) for
All photos c/o Patricia Karallis
Friday, October 12, 2012
We are thrilled to have been named number one in Televisual magazine's annual Facilities 50
survey for the fourth consecutive year.
As well as taking top spot the in the overall list, we are also
delighted to come first in the 'Peer Poll', earning some favourable
comments from our respected industry peers!
Darren O'Kelly, Mill London MD said "A huge thank you goes out to
everyone at The Mill and to all our clients who have helped make
this possible. No other VFX studio has achieved the top spot in the
Facilities 50 four years in a row since the survey began. We will
be sure to celebrate this terrific news!".
Friday, October 12, 2012
Autumn is well and truly making itself known in the UK this
week, and the windows of our London Great Marlborough Street office
are following suit. Filled with terrariums and drawing plenty of
passers by to peer through the glass, I caught up with curator and
creator Ken Marten of Hermetica to find out what inspired the
display (and what on earth a terrarium actually is..)
Tell me about Hermetica?
I started Hermetica London in March this year as I wanted to
make a change from floral design. I have been thinking about doing
terrariums for at least 7 years, as I could see the appeal of an
easy-to-look-after miniature garden for people who did not have
time or space for a full size garden. I have watched terrariums
trend in the states and Australia for the last couple of years and
thought to myself 'now or never!'
The name Hermetica refers firstly to the idea of a hermetically
sealed environment, becoming its own self sustaining eco-system,
which is essentially what a terrarium is. Hermetica is also a
reference to 'secret knowledge' invisible to people who don't know
or care to look at what is in right front of them.
To those of us who hadn't ever heard of a Terrarium until
now, what are they and where do they originate?
Terrariums evolved from Wardian Cases, devised in the early
1800s by enthusiastic botanist, Nathaniel Ward. A fern he grew in a
jar, sealed off from the polluted London air, flourished. So he
took his discovery (beneficial in the age of sea travel, by
allowing expeditions to bring home tropical plants from voyages
when fresh water was scarce) and created Wardian cases, which were
displayed at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, one holding a
fern that had not been watered in 18 years! Many a Victorian home
had a proud display of ferns and tropical plants in ornate Wardian
cases, which were a kind of indoor greenhouse, but sealed off from
London's sooty air, as it would have killed the plant collections
inside them. Terrariums saw a big revival in the 70s, and there are
still books found in charity shops showing you how to make them, as
well features on blogs and the latest edition of The
Plant Journal magazine.
Who and what inspires you?
At the moment, I am inspired by the trends of the 70s when hand
craft, and especially terrariums, were extremely popular. The
internet has allowed many new businesses to start selling handmade
items in a way that was not possible before, so we are currently
experiencing a revival of crafts not seen for a long time. My next
plan is to make that other 70s trend, macramé (essentially hand
knotted creations) cool again.
I also love the idea of a Wunderkammer, a 'cabinet of curiosities'
which a collector of fossils, crystals and other natural forms
would assemble to make a miniature version of the world as they see
it and represent their obsessions. I share the Victorian love of
ferns, which feature heavily in a lot of Victorian designs for
fabrics and furniture. Ironically, there was actually quite a big
Victorian revival in 70s also!
I really like the 80s black and white photography of Paul den
Hollander, who's style is being unknowingly imitated by many an
Instagrammer. The designer Lee Broom is a big favourite, as he
seems to be channelling a 70s spirit in his work and also I'm very
inspired by Miguel Nelson, who's a designer/inventor/art
How did you approach The Mill window?
I wanted my window display for The Mill to be large enough to be
be noticeable to people hurrying by, but detailed enough to hold
the attention of people wanting to take a longer look (have you
spotted the stick insect yet?). With the display being in place
during Halloween, it gave me licence to include a subtle Gothic
element, through the use of giant stems of dried Hemlock, more
carnivorous plants and animal skulls.
The end result is a narrative of my expedition to create the
display. The wooden display boxes are made by a set designer from
floorboards I scoured from the streets of Hackney. Jars and small
eclectic items came from trips to car boot sales and flea markets.
Stones and driftwood came from beaches in Wales and Southend. The
Mill window display is a diary of all the things I like, my own
Wunderkammer. I believe if you are enthusiastic and sincere, this
will show through in the final result and be appreciated by many
--Thanks Hermetica for this fascinating trip through the thought
and inspiration behind the window. If you're in London, be sure to
come and get your nose pressed to the pane and a take a good long
look at the treasures awaiting.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Illustrator and typographer Alex
Trochut was our guest of honor for the second installment of
The Mill Lecture Series this month. Currently based in Barcelona,
we were thrilled to catch him on a short trip through New York
after his presentation at the Offf Festival in Mexico City.
The Mill NY team enjoyed an inspiring and entertaining evening as
Alex presented a showcase of imagery and individuals that have
inspired him as well as his portfolio of work ranging from album
covers for The Rolling Stones to print ads for Absolut and Adidas,
to editorial work for New York Magazine, The Guardian, Creative
Review and Wired.
Check out Art Director Tim Haldeen's conversation with the
29-year-old talent as they discuss designing typography across
different languages, digital versus analogue design, and what
inspired Alex's distinctive liquid style (think: lava lamps plus
Garbage Pail Kids with a side of skate art and graffiti).
Watch the full video here.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Last week, Mill London's scheduler and film fanatic Ben
Burdock packed his brolly (the London weather definitely was
festival-fitting) and headed down to take in the sights and sounds
of Raindance Film Festival
For the last twenty years the festival has been discovering
emerging film talent from around the globe, whilst also offering a
wide range of seminars and workshops presented by leading figures
in the film industry. The festival has launched the career of many
well known writers and directors, which include the likes of
Nicolas Winding Refn (Pusher, Drive) and Ben Wheatley (Down
Terrace, Kill List).
This year saw the presentation of over 250 films, which included
features, documentaries and shorts from all over the UK and around
the world. Mexican film making took prominence this year, with
"Here Comes the Devil" selected for the all-important opening film
slot. Eight major awards were given out over the festival, with the
Boys deservedly winning 'Short Film Of The Festival' and
shortlisted for the
2013 Oscar Nomination for Best Short
The Mill London and LA offices worked on two of this year's
entries, both of which I had the opportunity to see on the big
screen at the Apollo Piccadilly Circus, which is where most of the
screenings were held.
The first film that I saw was Candida Brady's 'Trashed', an
environmental documentary presented by world famous actor and
activist, Jeremy Irons. Candida and Jeremy take us to various
corners of the globe to highlight what really happens to our
rubbish. Though rubbish tips in westernised countries are highly
developed and regulated, they also have their own flaws highlighted
in the film. However there are many locations around the world in
which rubbish is simply piled high until literal mountains are
formed, with the excess waste often drifting out to sea and ending
up on the beaches of other countries. This one of the many issues
highlighted in the film, which are of course getting worse as our
planets population rapidly rises every year. What I particularly
enjoyed about this documentary was the fact that as well as
highlighting many issues, it spent an equal amount of time
promoting solutions in practice, solutions which often create jobs
as well as saving governments millions every year. Full festival
Another film that I got the chance to see was Peyton Wilson's
'The Bronzer'. This short documentary examines the life of Stu
Larkin, the charismatic self-proclaimed "last travelling
salesman in America", who travels the country all year round to
promote his family owned bronzing company. As well as portraying
Stu as an extremely likable human being who everyone wanted to
meet, what I feel the film really highlighted was the fact that
family owned businesses with this level of commitment and contact
with their customers are becoming rarer by the day in this day and
A film that I feel is also worth a mention is Rob Savage's debut
feature, 'Strings'. Incredibly, Rob wrote, directed and shot the
film between the ages of 17 & 18. With a small cast and crew
and a modest budget (to say the least!) mainly raised through
minimum wage jobs, Rob made a film that I think far surpasses his
age when it comes to quality artistically and technically. I think
this film is a great example to those out there pondering whether
to take the leap and make a feature or not. A lesson learnt from
Rob's film - just go out and do it! Full festival Q&A here.