This year has seen the Mill Colour team grow in both talent, and colour capabilities and offerings, most recently broadening to include creative Digital Intermediate (DI) work for feature length projects, spearheaded by Mill Colourist and Director of DI, Damien Van Der Cruyssen. In addition to the exciting return of Damien to the Mill NY studio, the Global Colour Grading department saw the promotion of Dee Allen to Group Director of Colour, and welcomed Colourist Nick Metcalf to NY and Colourist Derek Hansen to the Los Angeles studio.
The Mill Chicago expanded to a new custom built studio in the landmark 1KFulton building, allowing the studio to double its capacity in Colour with a second suite and welcoming aboard the talents of Matt Osborne from Mill London.
In London, the team welcomed Colourist Dave Ludlam back to his old stomping grounds from Mill LA, and Colourist James Bamford was presented with not one but two awards at this year's Creative Circle Awards; a Gold for Best Colourist on Honda ‘Ignition’ and a Silver for Best Colourist for his work on Lipton ‘The Revolution in Tea’. James also received the honour of joining the Awards Jury at The British Arrows CRAFT Awards.
As 2016 comes to a close, we've brought together some of the top projects from our talented (and growing) Colour team. Take a look at the films, music promos and ads graded by Mill Colourists:
Director: Sam Brown | Production: Rogue | Agency: adam&eveDDB
Mill Head Colourist Seamus O’Kane shares: "From a Colourist perspective the most satisfying aspect of this film is that it is a celebration of beautiful photography that illustrates a narrative of hope and endurance. With this goal in mind we worked the sense of time and place into the edit initially using the background plates and then, as the animation developed, we swapped in the iterations of composite shots.
"This orchestrated workflow left a sense for the natural palettes that DOP Steven Keith Roach captured and we worked to ensure that this natural epic quality remained imbued into every shot. There was never a sense that characters had been added into shots. As we dealt with the final timelines the overarching emotion was that we merely observed this story and brought a coating of elegance to enhance emotion not believability."
Director: Simon Rattigan | Production: HLA | Agency: Joint
Director: Asif Kapadia
Director: CANADA | Production: CANADA London | Agency: VCCP
Mill Colourist James Bamford explains how the final look of the spot was achieved in the grade: "We went for a naturalistic approach whilst paying particular attention to maintaining the richness of colour in the flower man allowing him to stand out but not take over. The tricky part of this grade was making the transitions seamless throughout the different scenes, which involved key framing.”
Directors: dom&nic | Production: Outsider | Agency: Havas
Director: Vaughan Arnell | Production: Moxie Pictures
Directors: Conkerco | Production: Academy Films | Agency: adam&eveDDB
Colourist Mick Vincent shares: "The grade on this SSE was, as usual, a real collaborative process. The initial grade on all the empty plates had to be close to the end result so that the CG could be made to fit seamlessly without introducing a moving target.
"Not only were we concerned with the Orangutans but the blend of the real and CG neon lights. The look of the neon became quite a big issue as they needed to be warm and cold with a hot spot through the center, however if they were too hot they took the eye away from the mother and baby, similarly too warm and the background appeared cold.
"We applied the original grade to the tech pass every few days to re-evaluate, fortunately we stayed true to the original, allowing us to see what needed to be changed to produce the quality we now expect."
Director: Jake Nava | Production: Cherry Films | Agency: AMV
Director: Laura Marling | Production: Prettybird
Mill Colourist Oisin O’Driscoll shares: "Working closely with Director Laura Marling and Director Of Photography, Chloe Thompson, regarding the direction of this piece: we wanted to achieve a filmic look, with a soft level of contrast. Avoiding any lights to seem unnatural, we also aimed to keep the colours of the latex strong and inky.
"To start with, I created an overall look that was soft, warm and natural to reflect the relaxed and intimate nature of the dancers. From there we pulled out the red and black of the of latex separately to really focus the attention in. Then in contrast, we went darker and cooler for the dancers while keeping the same green tones for a consistent feel. The blue material in this is also an important aspect, as it reappears in the later spots in the series.
"My favourite shot in the video is the final shot where the camera slowly jib's up from a MS of the two women. In these shots I pulled out the pink in the flowers and softened off the green flower boarder further."
Director: Kinga Burza | Production: Partizan
Mill Colourist Oisin O’Driscoll shares: "Working with director Kinga Burza was an absolute delight. I had seen lots of her videos and was excited to collaborate with her. We explored a number of styles for the video, until we both decided on the very fresh warm mid and cyan highlight look we put together.
"The look was built by teaming cyan highlights with warm saturated mid tones. I then lifted the shadows slightly and added a slight green hue to tie everything together. This became the set look for all daytime external shots. It results in a very pleasant warm skin tone paired with a modern filmic feel.
"Next we looked at how we could marry in the interior walkway shots. I felt accentuating the cyan for this scene meant for a seamless transition from our exterior and added a science fiction feel to this already interesting environment. Skin tones became very clean so we added some warmth to keep consistency.
"The final scene I discussed and experimented with Kinga for a while. Her brief was to be fresh but still to feel like the pop video it is. I explored really pushing the sky to strong warm tones and keeping it quite bright with clean highlights. This proved a slight issue as the exterior had been shot with uv lighting. To overcome the blue highlights this created I selectively desaturated all the whites to bring back natural colouring on the banner and teeth."
Short Film 'Globe of Death’
Director: Autobahn (Pedro de la Fuente and James Worsley)
Director: Gokmen Bliss | Agency: OBR Studios
Mill Colourist Jim Bracher tells us why the project was particularly close to his heart: "I lost both my parents, a grandparent and numerous aunts and uncles to cancer, so I feel like I could easily be walking down that corridor with Stephen Graham at the beginning wielding my own baseball bat. It was a pleasure to give my time to grade this, and it gave me a warm sense of satisfaction, especially as it came out looking so nice.
"The aim was to ensure the piece had impact, and to give it a cinematic polish. We kept the colours fairly stark, and plenty of roll-off to black in the shadows. I think it's quite exhilarating to watch.”
Director: Martin De Thurah | Production: Epoch Films | Agency: BBH
Samsung ‘Perfect Day’
Director: Cary Fukunaga | Production: Anonymous Content | Agency: Wieden+Kennedy
Director: Vikram Gandhi | Production: Black Bear Pictures
Damien Van Der Cruyssen collaborated with Director Vikram Gandhi and Cinematographer Adam Newport-Berra on ‘Barry’, the new biopic exploring a pivotal year in the life of U.S. President Barack Obama. He shares: “We compressed the white, and gave it more of a glowing diffusion and very soft roll-off to emulate the negative print film effect. It was a balance of making it look like it was shot in the 1980s while not being too stylized or artificial.”
Learn more about the project in our behind the scenes blog Cinema in Colour: ‘Barry’ Feature Film
Director: Mick Rock
A team of artists in The Mill’s New York studio recently joined forces with prolific photographer and director Mick Rock, with the task of a re-imagining David Bowie’s iconic 1973 music video ‘Life on Mars’
Damien shares: “This was a really interesting challenge matching different film sources (color negative, color print and black and white work prints). Mick was really open to creative solutions in the face of our technical challenges, which led me to propose the use of fades to blend the color and black and white together, using the blue eye makeup as our main focus point. You’ll notice that the eyes always linger for a few more frames during the transitions.”
Learn more about the project in our behind the scenes blog Mick Rock Revisits 'Life on Mars'
Director: Jake Schreier | Production: Park Pictures
Director: Anais La Rocca | Production: Mill+ | Agency: 72andSunny
Director: Nicolai Fuglsig | Production: MJZ | Agency: BBH
Director: Osmany Rodriguez | Production: NBC Universal
Director: Peter Thwaites | Production: The Corner Shop | Agency: BBDO
Director: Henry Hobson | Production: Furlined | Agency: Venables, Bell & Partners
Director: Ringan Ledwidge | Production: Rattling Stick | Agency: Venables Bell & Partners
Directors: Gawain Liddiard, John Hendicott | Production: Mill+, Aurelia Soundworks
Director: Gia Coppola | Production: The Directors Bureau | Agency: Wieden+Kennedy
Directed by Gia Coppola of The Directors Bureau, the campaign celebrates young women who push the boundaries of societal norms to fully embrace who they are. Derek Hansen used colour to emphasize the tone of the bold spot. In playing with light and shadow, Derek drew parallels between the colour grade and the thematic complexities portrayed throughout the narrative.
Director: Cameron Spencer | Production: Mill+
Director: Ian Pons Jewell | Production: Revolver Film Company | Agency: Sid Lee Toronto
Luke Morrison and Director Ian Pons Jewell worked together on the 60" cinematic story, Luke explains: "Ian and Mauro Chiarello, the DP, shot really lovely footage and when we got into the colour suite our goal was to enhance the beautiful cinematic mood in each shot. For the images of the actual maple leaves, it was all about getting that satisfying oily texture without crushing the image."
Directors: Will Hoffman and Julius Metoyer | Production: MJZ | Agency: DDB Chicago
Mill Colourist Luke Morrison created and built upon the mood and shape of each vignette in the spot. He sshares: “This was such a great project to be a part of. The build of the edit really lent itself to have a punchy grade. Working with Will Hoffman and Julius Metoyer and team at DDB, we were able to emphasize the moments in the ad where State Farm is there for someone. Overall, the grade involved a lot of shaping but also balancing of offset tones to create depth and draw the eye where we wanted."
Director: Tim Erem | Production: Diktator
Matt explains his grading process, "It's always a pleasure to work with Tim. He shoots such great content in unique locations and it always makes for a fun grade. We worked remotely with him in LA, and sending grade references to the awesome DOP Steve Annis. Tim wanted a natural but cinematic look which I achieved using smooth curve and tonal range to marry the footage together."
The film ends on a cliff hanger and sets the scene for the 30 min short film which can be viewed here.
Directors: Fredrik Bond | Production: MJZ | Agency: BBDO
Explore more Mill Colour projects at www.themill.com/colour