Friday, December 24, 2010
The blog will be taking a short break to eat too much turkey,
play Trivial Pursuit and of course, watch the Doctor Who Christmas
Special on Saturday night!
So from everyone here at The Mill, we would like to bid you
season's greetings, a very happy new year and we look forward to
many more great creative collaborations in 2011!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a Doctor Who
Christmas Special, featuring award winning VFX from our Mill TV
If the preview of this year's is anything to go by, then we're
in for a treat!
The one-hour festive special, 'A Christmas Carol', features guest
appearances by Michael Gambon (Harry Potter, The Singing Detective)
and opera diva Katherine Jenkins, who are joining Matt Smith (the
Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy) and Arthur Darvill (Rory) for a special
Christmas adventure based on the classic tale.
Executive Producer and lead writer, Steven Moffat, has already
revealed that, "It's all your favourite Christmas movies at once,"
and the trailer certainly doesn't disappoint, with scenes and sets
awash with festive touches.
You can check out the trailer below or click here to
view four preview clips.
But who is Michael Gambon's cantankerous character and what forces
does the Doctor face? What is going on with Amy and Rory? And
why does the Doctor proclaim he is the Ghost of Christmas
Past? All will be revealed on Saturday night...
Don't miss Doctor Who 'A Christmas Carol' on Christmas
Day, BBC ONE at 6pm.
Monday, December 20, 2010
If, like most people on New Year's Day, you are nursing a sore
head in front of the TV, what better way to take your mind off it
than by tuning into the new series of Primeval and checking out the
work of our BAFTA and RTS winning Mill TV team who have created the
The action-packed series features the welcome return of characters
from previous series, including Abby (Hannah Spearritt), Connor
(Andrew-Lee Potts) and Lester (Ben Miller) - a team of scientists
who are on a mission to investigate the appearance of temporal
anomalies across the UK, through which prehistoric and futuristic
creatures enter the present. Our VFX team has helped create a
host of new creatures from the past, present and future.
"We are delighted to be working with the team from Impossible
Pictures to bring big screen VFX to the small screen," said Will
Cohen, Group Head Mill Film and TV. "The team has created a
fantastic array of creatures that will be sure to keep viewers
gripped to their sofas."
Adds Impossible Pictures' Creative Director Tim Haines: "Because
we were shooting the new series in HD, we opted to work with The
Mill because of their superb track record in this area. They
have certainly taken VFX to a new level and have come up with some
pretty amazing stuff."
Catch the new series of Primeval, starting January 1st at
7.30pm on ITV1.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
At The Mill we have a longstanding Yule tide tradition at our
Christmas party. Each, well most departments create their very own
Christmas video, which we play at our Christmas party and vote for
This year saw a bumper crop with exceptional standards in film
making which you'd expect; but not surprisingly the winning video
was from our 2D team.The 2D Christmas video stars some familiar and
famous Mill faces, some more recognisable than others so have a
look and see who you can spot.
I classify this film as 15, not suitable for young children,
contains some strong language and adult themes!
So season's greetings and a very happy New Year from everyone at
Monday, December 13, 2010
Featuring VFX from The Mill's Film team, the third instalment of
The Chronicles of Narnia tales
has woven box office magic on its opening weekend.
According to Screen
International, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader had an estimated
$67m launch through Fox International, firmly establishing it at
the top of the international box office.
The Mill team worked on a number of key visual effects shots to
help bring the epic film to life and spent six months on R&D
and concept work in order to achieve the right look and feel of the
beautiful Naiad water nymphs and their movement through the sea and
around the Dawn Treader vessel.
Check back here soon for an exclusive look at how the shots were
created and in the meantime, you can watch the latest trailer for
the film, featuring a glimpse of the Naiad, below:
Friday, December 10, 2010
The winner of CG Whiz 2010 was announced last night at a special
event at Escape Studios' HQ in London. Stu
Schwartz from the US was awarded top prize for his showreel, and
wins a 12-week visual effects (VFX) classroom course at Escape
Studios' brand new academy in Los Angeles, followed by a four-week
placement here at The Mill, and a one-year CG Society subscription.
Second place was awarded to Justyna Galka from Poland for her
innovative showreel and
third place was given to the UK's Natalie Rocks for her charming animated film. Both
win a selection of Escape Studios' mentored and online
Our very own Stephen Venning, 3D Executive Producer, who was one
of the panel of judges said, "We're delighted to have been involved
in CG Whiz for the second year running. It's a fantastic
opportunity for us to connect with some incredible CG talent. The
Mill is always looking to hire the very best people and CG Whiz
allows us the opportunity to find up-and-coming artists like Stu
and offer him the chance of joining our creative team."
Dominic Davenport, founder of Escape Studios added: "We were
hugely impressed with the standard of entries this year, and a lot
of people caught our eye. In the end, though, Stu's entry shone
through with its combination of raw talent and potential. We feel
that he's someone who'll benefit from working with us and at The
Mill, hopefully going on to build a career in the industry."
Sadly, Stu couldn't accept his prize in person, but sent a special
YouTube video. He said, "I'm so pleased to have won CG Whiz
2010 and I can't wait to start Escape Studios' classroom course and
learn from some of the best CG tutors in the industry. This is a
one of a kind competition, and I aim to make the most of the
chances I get with Escape and The Mill to help my career progress
in an industry renowned for being difficult to get into."
Huge congratulations to all of the winners and we look forward to
welcoming Stu to our LA studio soon!
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Aubrey Woodiwiss, one of our senior colourist's pens his
first ever blog, marking the start of a regular music promo round
I'm going to be blogging a regular feature about all things good
and great with new music promos, so welcome to my first ever
I'll be talking about all the new promos worth talking over the
last month or so, however to kick start things, I thought it would
be nice to talk about one particular music video that I have found
to be exceptional in some way or another and not that recently made
- so slightly random in that respect.
There are hundreds more I could mention, and I also feel I
should flag that is by no means a top ten list or the greatest vids
ever - I don't really feel I'm in any position to say what is or
isn't the best so these are just some of my favourites.
Ok… So without further ado the first vid im going to talk about
is Liquid Liquid's "Cavern". Made in 1983 and created by New York
based animator Michael Sporn, it is a video of simple animation
done in the classic style (this was made before people were really
using computers for animation). Repetitive in a sense - with
looping shots working harmoniously to the classic tune "Cavern"
(Cavern being the original in which Grandmaster Flash sampled White
lines - what a classic!).
Even though extremely simple in nature and not particularly
technically amazing, the essence of the tune is translated so well
to the pictures, working in a kind of hypnotic way. And for me,
looking back at that video from 2010 to 1983 (when I was just 2
years old, so not really knowing what it was like) it just seems to
nail that era for me, almost being one of the pinnacle pieces of
Interestingly too, it holds similarities to David Wilson's
awesome video for The Japanese Popstars track 'Let Go'. Popstars
feels contemporary (albeit still using traditional animation
techniques). Executed superbly! Looks stunning, fits like a glove
to the track and working in the same hypnotic way as "Cavern".
Check them out…laters.
The Japanese Popstars Feat.
Green Velvet - Let Go from Blink on Vimeo.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Hopefully by now you have all seen our animated film for MUBI? If not you should take a
look! Created by Director PK and our Design Studio folk (in fact
our entire After Effects department) the film is a two minute
animated journey explaining MUBI to the world, delivered in 7
We love MUBI and had an amazing time with all the people there,
simply the nicest bunch you could meet. There is something rather
nice about working on a project where everyone shares the same
understanding and vision for what needs to be done, and stranger
still, an alignment in deadlines... (sort of!)
Like all the best creative people, PK prefers the night-time,
but this is the time when people like me are asleep. So there
was a lot of working after dark when we would conduct our
brainstorming and presentations, suffice to say there was drinking
and lots of fun working on this project!
To top it all, there was the MUBI launch party organised by Sony
at Shoreditch House, where we realised the scale of what we
involved in as the MUBI founder and director Efe Cakarel stared in
awe at the large neon MUBI Sign above the bar. Followed by more
Visit www.mubi.com to get
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
If, like us, you were one of the 14.6 million people who tuned
into last night's dramatic edition of Coronation Street, you might
be interested to learn a bit more about how Mill TV helped bring
the episode to life.
Due to the fast turnaround times of filming the soap, the team's
biggest challenge was the tight timescale of completing 18 shots
that had to seamlessly blend into the in-camera drama. The main
work included digital matte painting and environment work to create
high shots of the fictional street, taking the scene from the
Granada studios backlot and setting the street into the
never-before-seen and imagined area of Weatherfield.
Five of the shots consisted of a CG tram - which was built in
Maya - and this was mixed in with the live action elements using
Nuke. They also created the tram line and viaduct and a CG
tram which was animated for use in the shots of the moments leading
up to and including the crash. As well as the tram itself,
the whole street was loosely built in 3D so that it had buildings
to react to.
As the 3D tram goes through the hole, CG bricks and rubble were
added that fly out along with the tram. The geography around the
street was also built in 3D, including the tram track and along
with some of the houses, the estate on the other side of the street
and views down towards the viaduct area. Footage of a real
tram was also composited into the location so that, in the end,
some of the VFX shots are a seamless mixture of real tram and 3D
tram. Finally, images of the impressive crash scene itself were
enhanced by adding more fire, smoke and debris.
If you missed last night's episode, or you want to enjoy the
spectacular drama again, watch it on ITV Player here.
And eagle-eyed viewers of last night's ITV2 show 'Coronation
Street Uncovered Live' might have spotted The Mill's VFX Supervisor
Dave Houghton and VFX Producer Will Cohen planning the shots with
Exec Producer Phil Collinson. Check it out here
at approx 29:00.