Yesterday we went to London to visit The Mill, a leading VFX company with offices in London, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, established in 1990. I had previously known about them due to them having provided the VFX for Doctor Who until 2013, when they closed their TV department to focus mainly on commercials.

The tour and presentations were conducted by Garreth Gaydon and David Hempstead. They began by showing us some of the commercial work that the company has gone onto focusing on. One of these was a Christmas advertisement of two CG bears inside an airport, telling us about the modelling processes and how much went into such a short project. Another piece of technology that aids the making of commercials is the Blackbird, which is a basic rig which can have its size and suspensions altered along with interchangeable wheels which can be used as a stand-in for car adverts. This is useful when certain models of cars are not available for actual filming, or to accommodate small changes to the car itself without having to refilm an entire commercial.

One of their most notable projects was this music video. The scale of work that went into this amazed me the most, with them having to paint out the background of every frame the actress was in, by creating a 3D model of the entire scene to follow the camera moves, in place of the original, where they were able to add in the 3D model of the actress. The main processes are explained in this behind the scenes video. The Mill’s building also contains a life-size mannequin replica of the mesh form from the video.


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