Leaders from Technicolor, The Mill and MPC tell LBB’s Addison Capper and Alex Reeves about how the family of studios will function moving forward
Technicolor today launched Technicolor Creative Studios, forming a collaborative global structure across its family of Entertainment and Brand Experience & Advertising studios, including The Mill, MPC, Mikros Animation and Mr. X. Previously these creative studios operated separately under the Technicolor Production Services umbrella.
The newly organised Brand Experience & Advertising team will be led by David Patton, with Mark Benson leading MPC and Josh Mandel The Mill.
“With a more consolidated approach in the Brand Experience & Advertising division, we want to enable both MPC and The Mill to operate more effectively, with the strength of a collaborative deep bench talent base, cutting edge technology and the added value of shared learnings and more insightful creative,” said David Patton, President of Brand experience & advertising at Technicolor Creative Studios.
Each award-winning studio retains its own unique identity and market position, continuing to provide services to clients and partners across many industry categories. The combined strength of Technicolor Creative Studios harnesses the collective experience and discoveries of each member of the studio family, from VFX, XR and animation to design, direction and production.
“MPC will continue to deliver world-class VFX and CG multi-channel services in the advertising and brand communications sector driven by their exceptional talent and experience in crafting unforgettable visuals,” says David. “The Mill will continue to build new capabilities in creative strategy, creative technology and experiential marketing, underpinned by three-decades of world class visual effects.”
MPC’s focus moving forward will be to continue to produce multi-channel VFX and CG for creative partners and clients, “pushing the boundaries of creativity and craft to make any vision a reality,” says Mark Benson.
Specifically, the studio will be further investing in new technology platforms to nurture and empower its global talent. It will also accelerate its work in real-time production working with Unreal and Unity. Extensive R&D is also taking place across MPC studios to enhance its VFX, design and direction capabilities, including virtual brand characters and ‘digital twins’. “We see these latest capabilities providing interesting opportunities for the future as ‘the metaverse’ drives interest for virtual environments, avatars and digital ‘things’,” Mark adds.
“The Mill has a three-decade legacy of creating pinnacle visual effects that continues to propel us into new businesses and relationships,” says Josh Mandel. “It’s this legacy of problem solving and command of technology across the digital media space that makes us who we are. It’s also these three decades of learning that are enabling us to pioneer the new wave of experiences, exploring creative technologies such as AR, VR and AI, all of which are a natural progression from our legacy in visual effects. Ultimately, The Mill would not be where we are today without recognising where we have been, and that’s what defines us - innovation built on legacy.”
The Technicolor Creative Studios family of studios houses offices in Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, New York, Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Shanghai, Bangalore and Adelaide. The company’s new tagline, ‘Beyond Imagination’, “comes from a desire to spark unparalleled creativity, pushing the boundaries of the imagination to bring groundbreaking and unforgettable ideas to life”, according to a press release announcing the new structure.
The launch announcement outlines three offerings which Technicolor aims to deepen for its partners through the new proposition:
- Innovation - Across its family of studios, Technicolor is a leader in virtual production, whether that be through live on-set visual effects for the film and episodic industries or live interactive animation that brings brand mascots to life for advertising and marketing clients. In addition to their command of pioneering game-engine technology that powers virtual production across linear film, the brand services arm of Technicolor Creative Studios is innovating across the immersive and interactive experiential marketing space, using virtual, augmented and mixed reality to evolve brand experiences.
- Talent & Technology - Under the Technicolor Creative Studios umbrella, Technicolor partners have access to an interdisciplinary pool of talent across all divisions. With over 2,000 artists, designers, directors and creative technicians from across the world, partners of Technicolor Creative Studios have access to the very best award-winning talent using the latest in creative technology across film, episodic, advertising and brand experience.
- Scale & Infrastructure - Under a consolidated infrastructure of creative studios, each project benefits from the power and scale of shared knowledge, innovations and insights from across all businesses. Harmonised workflows and systems across all studios promise faster, scalable and smarter working across all client projects.
Josh sums up the new structure from his perspective: “The Mill and MPC will remain defined as brands - each with a different set of talented artists and client relationships. Where we will align is in better working practises, shared innovations, investment in our talent and capabilities with the help of Technicolor and a shared mission to push the boundaries of the imagination and bring ground-breaking and unforgettable ideas to life.
“As a collective, we are looking to service the advertising, media and entertainment industries across post production and leading creative technologies, whether that be developing award-winning VFX and CGI content at MPC or industry-leading immersive and interactive storytelling that hinge on our command of digital innovation at The Mill.”
MPC’s future within the new structure is also clear. “The VFX, CGI and creative technology market is booming, driven by greater demand and more powerful distribution channels (ie streaming services, mobile, social media, gaming platforms),” says Mark. “There is space in the market and within TCS for two leading brands to continue to compete with each other where there is crossover. At the same time, whilst both studios have a strong legacy in VFX, there is a clear differentiation between the two brands. MPC are leaders in multi-channel VFX and CGI and The Mill are at the forefront of evolving creative technologies and immersive experience. As a consequence, we believe there will be opportunities in the future for MPC and The Mill to work in collaboration to meet the needs of clients. The consolidation of TCS systems, processes and technologies will be an important step forward in providing such opportunities in the future.”
MPC, The Mill and all of the TCS brands have recently joined forces with the online talent community, The Focus (www.thefocus.com
), a careers hub for all kinds of creative professionals in VFX, advertising, creative experience and animation. The Focus aims to foster a diverse community and lead the way into a more inclusive creative industry. “At its core, Technicolor Creative Studios is a talent business - a home for the best talent in the world to come and do their best work, whether at MPC, The Mill or the organisation’s other entertainment brands such as Mikros Animation and Mr X,” says Josh of the talent crossover opportunities of the structure.
“It would be silly of us not to benefit from our scale, and part of that is a fluidity in our talent and how we employ it,” he adds. “The talent in each business will always have some crossover, as we each have a legacy within the digital arts. We have a shared commitment to helping brands tell their stories, but ultimately have a different set of creative capabilities, underpinned by the shared learnings and innovations of our talent across businesses. The Mill will always build on our VFX legacy, but now with the additional focus of offering creative strategy and experiential marketing capabilities, our investment in talent and technology will lean into what we perceive to be the new wave of brand experiences.”
In short, this new consolidated infrastructure will enable Technicolor to better service its clients by “enabling greater investment in technology, tools and creative talent,” says David. “We are going to facilitate greater collaboration between studios, integrate technology platforms and drive future innovations and creativity for our partners and clients. I believe we’ll be stronger for our clients if we operate as a tighter network of creative studios sharing learnings, technology, processes and operations.
“The new Technicolor Creative Studios structure will certainly give all studios in the family significant firepower and scale to deliver on their respective plans for accelerated growth over the coming years. Investment in top talent, technology and infrastructure is the key to our future success and this realignment will enable significant investment into our business.”