April 19th, 2016

From Super Bowl ads to groundbreaking music promos, 2016 has ushered in a new round of beautiful short films, music videos and ads graded by Mill Colourists, as well as some exciting news on our growing Mill Colour team. 


Mill Colour's remote grading services continues expanding to additional locations with new virtual outposts added in Atlanta, Kansas City and San Francisco. 

The Mill in Chicago recently relocated 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 ground from Mill LA, where he joins the team's newest additions, Jim Bracher and Oisin O'Driscoll, as well as a roster of award winning Colourists such as James Bamford, who is up for Best Colourist in the upcoming Creative Circle awards for his work on Honda 'Ignition' and Lipton 'The Revolution in Tea'.

The Mill in NY added the Colourists Damien Van Der Cruyssen and Nicholas Metcalf to the roster.


Take a look at our roundup of some of the best and the brightest grades by Mill Colourists so far this year:

Seamus O’Kane

Head of Colour, LDN

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Belstaff 'Falling Up'

Collaborating with Dazed Media and Director Niall O’Brien out of Academy+, the Belstaff film stars Liv Tyler in the role of an aeroplane engineer, inspired by American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart.

Seaumus discusses the cinematic spot: "This was a beautiful project to be involved with and offered the chance to collaborate in an alluring and enigmatic film. Director Niall O'Brien created a natural sense of observation that was perfectly complimented by the lighting from DP Martijn Van Broekhuizen. The underlying tensions and passion between the characters was made evident by Simon Hargood's edit, and we wove the pattern of the colour to this pace and narrative.

"We completed a first grade before VFX and followed that with a second session to refine and hone the completed film. The results allowed the colour process to float on a surface of cinematic delight with shots that bring a real sense of story and scale."

Dave ‘Luddy’ Ludlam

Colourist, LDN

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The Chemical Brothers 'Wide Open'

The Mill collaborated with award winning directing duo Dom&Nic to bring Chemical Brothers’ brand new video ‘Wide Open’ to life.

The directors and CG team wanted to look at the grade direction early in the post process, introducing Dave to the project once the final take had been selected. Dave shares his colour grading process: "I've worked with Dom&Nic for over 14 years, so I had an idea of their direction and look. I spent a few hours playing with the material and getting a feel for where the light in the take would sit best, keeping in mind the amount of CG and post work that would be undertaken on this project. Setting those levels correctly is everything. When you’re working with something as technical as this piece, you need to be considerate to the whole post process. Once everything is finished in CG and 2D, you can then do whatever you and the director decide on.

"Over the four-minute duration of the track, the dancer moves around the warehouse through very different lighting conditions and colour temperatures. As it is one take with no cut point, I set grades for every section of the dance and dissolved my grades through so it’s pretty much unnoticeable. The dancer’s skin tone was tweaked, as were certain sections of colours on the floors and poles, taking these up and down, tracked and faded off, as if one take. This piece of work would have been unachievable before Baselight was around."

James Bamford

Colourist, LDN

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Nike 'Turkey'

Working with Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam B.V. and Director Bob Harlow of Somesuch, The Mill created this inspiring spot for Nike, focusing on Turkey’s national football team and its supporters.

Jim Bracher

Colourist, LDN

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Ministry Of Sound 'I am the Sound'

Working with directors James Worsley and Pedro de la Fuente of Autobahn, Mill Colourist Jim Bracher graded the latest spot for Ministry of Sound’s new audio range.

Jim comments: "With this being shot over the course of many months in different locations all over the world, the challenge was to bring the beauty out of each scenario and make the most of the location conditions while maintaining a constant narrative flow. Each country needed to be treated individually due to the varying nature of the material, but the finished piece had to be unified without any one element being made to look different or stand out. James and Pedro wanted it to look vibrant without being pushed, and were keen that the piece didn’t look heavy and unnatural. With this in mind, I kept the overall palette fairly natural, using hue variation and luminance to try to give a sense of space and light, true to the differing locations, so that the observer might feel the atmosphere as though they themselves are the world traveller."

Mick Vincent

Colourist, LDN

Ldnmick Guinness

Guinness 'John Hammond Intolerant Champion'

Guinness and AMV transport us back to 1930’s New York for a nostalgic look back at the achievements of John Hammond in taking a stand against prejudice and breaking down racial barriers. With a voiceover from actor Danny Glover, the black and white ad, directed by Jake Nava out of Cherry Films, is the first ever 60-second commercial to be featured on Instagram.

Mill colourist Mick Vincent comments on the distinctive black and white grade: “This film had to look right for the time, so there was no question that it was going to be black and white. With this in mind, the Alexa monochrome was used. Not only did this commit to the black and white look but it gave the shots an extra stop of exposure, which helped in the low light of the dance club.

"We chose to give the pictures a print look in the grade, giving them rolled off shadows and highlights with a little compression of the detail, then a subtle addition of some 500T 16mm true film grain completed the look."

Oisin O’Driscoll

Colourist, LDN

Ldnoisin Adidsstrmzy2

adidas 'Stormzy'

adidas Originals recruited Stormzy for the next installment of their collaboration with Fashion Designer Nigo. The short film, directed by Rollo Jackson, documents the duo's journey across Tokyo and sees both Nigo and Stormzy discussing their influences and approach to the project.

Colourist Oisin O’Driscoll comments: “We approached this differently to a standard documentary because of the use of music video aspects. We quickly decided it was best to approach the video with multiple looks, creating transitions between these looks in the b-roll material. The documentary style material tends to have a colder look across it than the music video aspects, though we spiced it up midway by putting a warm look in to add to the passing of time.

"The most interesting part of how we treated the documentary is in the first scenes. We looked at creating a differing look for the opening scene, supermarket and performance. For all three, we started building a natural look and then added saturation and a layer with a slightly pushed style, blended in to make these sections stand out more.

"In the supermarket, we went even further with this difference. As the camera moves through the doors, we created a different look for the interior and exterior of the shop. The exterior was treated with a colder, more natural look, and inside we opted for a bright, saturated feel. For the final performance scenes, we signed the video off with a rich blue and red club feel, pushing the light saturation up yet keeping soft blacks to keep the documentary feel."

Fergus McCall

Head of Colour, NY

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Schick 'Hydro Robot'

Mill+ joined forces with JWT to create this action packed Super Bowl spot advertising the new Schick Hydro Razor.

Mikey Rossiter

Colourist, NY
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'Juvenile' Short Documentary

Having spent a year living in the largest juvenile correctional facility in the Balkans, director Jovan Todorovic delves into the everyday lives of the troubled youths in a candid and beautiful documentary entitled 'Juvenile'. Find out more about the documentary on Dazed Digtial.

Josh Bohoskey

Colourist, NY
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Avocados for Mexico 'Avos in Space'

In this Super Bowl 50 spot for 'Avocados from Mexico', GSD&M, O Positive Director David Shane, and The Mill transport us to an intergalactic world. A decidedly modern take on the low-fi aliens of classic sci-fi, the spot showcases a pop culture treasure trove of earthling relics, as seen through the eyes of extraterrestrials. And the last stop on this intergalactic museum tour? Earth’s Bounty -- the always amazing, always in season, Avocados from Mexico.

Josh comments: "We went for an overall 'space' feeling, enhancing the cool tones and metallic shine of the spot. We didn’t want the aliens to feel too cartoonish and made sure their brighter colors matched the spaceship environment and overall look of the film."

Damien Van Der Cruyssen

Colourist, NY

Nydamien Newport

2016 NBFF 'We're Being Watched'

Created by RPA and Jogger, 'We're Being Watched' promotes the 17th annual Newport Beach Film Festival by exploring the increasingly voyeuristic nature of our multiscreen world.

Adam Scott

Head of Colour, LA
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University of Phoenix 'More than Brains'

Created in collaboration with 180LA and director Peter Thwaites of The Corner Shop, 'More than Brains' incorporates the classic Wizard of Oz tune "If I Only Had a Brain" to celebrate the strength, perseverance and intelligence of its students.

Gregory Reese

Colourist, LA
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Audi 'Rock and Roll'

The Audi campaign from Venables Bell & Partners features the 60-second spot 'Rock and Roll', directed by AG Rojas and appropriately set to "Search and Destroy" by Iggy Pop & the Stooges. The campaign celebrates the arrival of the Audi A4 as a symbol of a new era where intelligence is celebrated and it's no longer just rock stars that are making headlines, drawing the crowds and staying up all night.

Greg shares: "It was a joy to work with AG Rojas, one of my favorite directors to collaborate with, and DP Bradford Young, who is a phenomenal talent, to grade 'Rock and Roll' for the big launch campaign for the new Audi A4. The goal across all of the spots was to embrace the light and setting of each unique setup while retaining a thread to keep them all part of the same family."

Luke Morrison

Head of Colour, CHI

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Jeep '4x4ever'

The Mill worked alongside DDB CHI and Arnaud Uyttenhove of Caviar Content on this Super Bowl spot featuring Morgan Dorr performing ‘4x4ever’ for Jeep.

Luke Morrison comments: "It was great working with the team at DDB CHI and being part of this exciting project for Jeep. With such a diverse range of shots, we wanted to create a look that brought it all into a similar feel whilst maintaining and making apparent the diversity of locations."

Luke's colour process started by treating each scene separately and then assessing it as a whole. At the end, he adjusted to increase the diversity and to resonate with the audio cues. He explained: "Overall we wanted the look to be impactful with a cinematic quality. I achieved this by pushing contrast into the mids whilst backing off saturation, and keeping the top and bottom end rolled off. The final touch was to treat each shot with film grain. Using different intensities and stocks depending on the footage."

Matt Osborne

Colourist, CHI

Chimatt Lg3

LG 'World of Play'

Working closely with Director Fredrik Bond of MJZ and Energy BBDO, The Mill made it possible for Actor Jason Statham to play every character in this spot for LG.

Matt comments: "This was an action packed ad and Fredrik wanted a grade to enhance the mayhem on screen. We chose a bold look with a palette of complimentary colours. We kept finessing the grade right until the deadline, using techniques to bed in the VFX. We wanted this to feel as close to a scene from a movie as possible and I feel we definitely got that!"

Find out more about Colour at The Mill on the #MillColour page.