Necessity is the mother of invention – a phrase that epitomises our industry’s collective response to the challenges of 2021. As virtual working, production and events are becoming ingrained in our day-to-day life, it has left brands, creators and companies wondering how best we can connect with our customers, foster a sense of community amongst each other, and evolve our business strategies to future-proof our offering in an ever changing media landscape.
Innovation, invention and adaptability have been the core themes echoed throughout this year’s top media stories and trends.
It’s been a year of immense growth and excitement – and as we round out the Holiday season, I’m looking back at the top Mill stories, insights and projects that hit the media and shaped our 2021 journey.
We started the year off with big news and the appointment of a new CEO, Josh Mandel, whose extensive experience across the brand, agency and production landscape led him to The Mill, where his ambitions include global expansion, and the diversification of talent globally. Josh chatted to Doug Zanger at Adweek about his creative vision for the studio, and why now is the time for growth and change within the market.
One of my favorite, innovative uses of technology this year had to be that of the Robot Barber for British communications brand EE. In a mean feat of engineering developed by The Mill, Lucifer actor Tom Ellis was shaved by a Robot arm atop of a mountain, demonstrating the power of EE’s network. This is a wonderful example of brands embracing creative technologies to tell impactful stories in linear form.
In one of the biggest strategic moves of the year, Technicolor unveiled a new creative organization, Technicolor Creative Studios, which encompasses all creative brands under the Technicolor umbrella. This landmark moment in the company’s development signified investment in innovation, talent growth and expansion.
2021 saw The Mill’s Visual Effects Team achieve an unparalleled feat of CGI prowess; the development of a photo-real Albert Einstein for Smart Energy. Photo-real humans have been a long-standing challenge in visual effects history, and the ability of our artists to achieve new levels of photo-realism never fails to impress me.
In-line with the evolving media landscape comes evolving business models across our industry, at The Mill is no different. This year we identified great potential in our Creative Production and Experiential Marketing capabilities, hiring senior leaders and creatives globally to take these offerings to the next level.
A 2021 roundup wouldn’t be complete without mention of The Metaverse – and this year The Mill’s team of CGI experts teamed up with Riot Games to deliver their first ever, live virtual concert for League of Legends band Pentakill. As The Mill’s most talked about project to date on-line, this project was unforgettable, pairing best-in-class CGI artistry with the latest in game-engine technology and Wave’s Metaverse platform. A true convergence of art and technology that I hope to see a lot more of in the coming year.
Speaking of The Metaverse, Director of Creative Technology at The Mill, Aleissia Laidacker appeared on Bloomberg discussing her take on the new buzzword and opportunities that surround it. From virtual concerts to education – the future opportunities for brands, artists and technologists alike are broad, and still being pondered as we establish what exactly The Metaverse means.
Game-engines are ever-more becoming central to the work we deliver – and a massive application of this technology is through Virtual Production. I had the pleasure of chatting with VR World Tech Magazine about the power of virtual production to deliver high-end creative work for both the advertising and entertainment industries.
After the launch of Technicolor Creative Studios, The Mill has been working closer than ever with fellow Technicolor Creative Studio, MPC. Whilst some might wonder why the two brands as historic competitors would be coming together, the benefits of collaborative strategy are incredibly exciting for both our talent and creative partners. CEO’s Josh Mandel and Mark Benson chatted to Little Black Book about their collaborative ambitions, and how to maintain a healthy sense of competition.
The Metaverse is made of many parts, and Augmented Reality is a pivotal part of the future concept of The Metaverse. Fresh off the back of The Augmented World Expo, the world’s largest AR conference, Aleissia Laidacker mused on the state of AR, and the endless possibilities of this accessible and interactive technology.
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