Postproduction: The Mill

Interview with Vince Baertsoen, Group CG Director

 

What is the current situation of your company? Could you tell us about your most relevant recent milestones?

The Mill is a creative technology and VFX studio collaborating on projects for the advertising, gaming and music and film industries.

Over our 28 years as a business, our capabilities have expanded beyond that of traditional VFX to include design, augmented reality, virtual reality, creative technology, live action production, creative development, experiential and immersive projects.

Our most recent milestone is the re-opening of Mill Film in both Adelaide and Montreal. This is an exciting new chapter in The Mill story, as we embark on new work within the film space (after having won an Academy Award for Gladiator) as well as focussing on live streaming services and title sequences.

Would you highlight some of the latest technological innovations that you have introduced to improve your post-production tasks?

Our Post Production workflow is continuously evolving to allow for more flexibility and enable us to scale up efficiently. Clients always come to the Mill not only for our creative expertise, but also for our strength in managing very large projects. Managing procedural workflow and computing, or rendering processes throughout cloud on the CPU and GPU farms over multiple sites has giving us great advantage to scale quickly.

Additionally, we have been investing in our own IP, building products to solve common industry problems our clients face. One major example of this is the creation of Mill Blackbird. Blackbird is a fully adjustable car rig that we can shoot on any location. It captures enough data that enables us to overlay any CG car on top of it. This is a huge bonus for the automotive industry, as there’s often a struggle to transport vehicles or shoot vehicles that sometimes don’t even exist.

As a progression from our work with Blackbird, we developed a proprietary workflow named Mill Cyclops. Cyclops is a virtual production toolkit that enables creatives to visualize digital assets on location through the camera monitor, using real-time rendering and tracking.

What specific improvements do they pose for your workflow?

Again, working efficiently across multiple sites is key to managing these large scale projects, but we’re also focussing on keeping the workflow artist friendly to make sure everyone can focus on the creative. We’re constantly testing, researching and developing innovative products that help simplify the creative workflow, allowing more iterations, creative flexibility and better visibility over the final picture.

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