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Post-Production Company of the Year: The Mill

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Technology Development

Gold Winner

Entrant: The Mill, New York

Corporate Name of Client: The Mill BLACKBIRD®

International EVP: Alistair Thompson

Production Company: The Mill, New York

Chief Creative Officer: Angus Kneale

Executive Creative Director: Ben Smith

Pursuit Vehicles/Stabilisation Company: Performance Filmworks, United States

Specialist Vehicles for Feature Films Company: JemFX, United States

Camera Company: Keslow, United States

Description of the Project:
The BLACKBIRD® transforms the way automotive advertising is made. It is a production tool that inspires car brands, agencies and filmmakers to do things in new, innovative and efficient ways, solving challenges such as car availability and car model revisions. It is the first fully adjustable car rig that creates photoreal CG vehicle assets. For visualising car design or creating automotive content, the BLACKBIRD® is efficient and cost effective. It dramatically expands creative opportunities and makes flexible production possible.
The BLACKBIRD® captures a combination of high dynamic range imagery and 3D laser scanning, generating a virtual version of the environment that produces 100% realistic CG renderings. The Mill has taken this a step further, developing a bespoke BLACKBIRD AR application that allows you to see the intended vehicle in CG tracked live over the rig on location.
As well as capturing data to generate CG car reflections, the camera array captures 360 camera footage with every take. Using bespoke Stitch software, the imagery is blended from the multiple cameras to create a 360 VR landscape. A CG render of the interior of the car is added, making it feel like you are inside the vehicle and taking part in the action that has been shot.
The Mill BLACKBIRD® allows clients to build a data-bank library of reusable, versatile footage, which can be re-purposed and re-rendered for model updates and also used for the highest quality interactive car configuration. For automotive advertising content or visualising the latest advances in car design, The Mill BLACKBIRD® inspires and expands creative opportunities and is a truly flexible production tool.
Until now, automotive content has been dictated to or hampered by car availability, limited access to locations and footage that can quickly become irrelevant.
The BLACKBIRD® looks to transform the way automotive advertising is made: it is any car, anywhere. The first fully adjustable car rig to create photo-real CG vehicle assets and acts as a production tool to inspire car brands, agencies and film-makers to do things in new and better ways. The CG assets it produces can also be extended across multiple platforms without sacrificing any quality.