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Cannes 2016
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Google & The Mill's HELP Wins Two Gold Digital Craft Lions in Cannes

Mill LA, 3 months ago

Groundbreaking project swept the Virtual Reality and Technological Achievement in Digital Craft sub-categories

Google & The Mill's HELP Wins Two Gold Digital Craft Lions in Cannes

‘HELP,’ the groundbreaking collaboration between Google ATAP, Bullitt, The Mill and director Justin Lin and has been honoured with two Gold Digital Craft Lions at the 2016 Cannes Lions Awards Show.  The project swept the Virtual Reality and Technological Achievement in Digital Craft sub-categories, the first-ever Gold Lion recipient within each. A new award category for 2016, the Digital Craft Lions recognise and celebrate the skill and artistry required in omni-channel digital creativity.

‘HELP’ is Google Spotlight Stories’ first immersive, live action film made uniquely for mobile. The Google Spotlight Stories app launched as a new storytelling platform for the mobile audience. A classic tale of explosions, aliens, heroines and heroes, 'HELP' is the fourth story in the series. The difference is the story lives within the mobile device, providing a unique window through which the audience can view the film from any angle, 360 degrees around. 

Inspired by the innovative Google Spotlight Stories platform, director Justin Lin provided an original vision to create the world’s first cinema-scale, live-action VR film. Developed through his company Bullitt and in close collaboration with The Mill, the team worked to realise Google ATAP’s ambitious plans for a new chapter in immersive storytelling. 

“When Google ATAP approached us to share their Spotlight Stories platform, we knew we were witnessing a leap forward in storytelling,” says Bullitt CEO Todd Makurath.  “Justin Lin provided a fantastically creative vision for how we could use this new platform to advance the cinematic experience and our partners at The Mill worked tirelessly at our side to realize an experience that audiences love. To have the artistry and technological creativity recognised at Cannes is an honour and a tribute to embracing possibility.”

It was clear from the start that this project would require an entirely new creative language and the accompanying technological systems to support it.  Leveraging their experience at the forefront of digital cinema, Bullitt and director Lin pioneered an original approach to spherical photography with a custom-developed camera system and workflow. Working with their partners at The Mill, the team conducted numerous tests, experimentation and R&D. The Mill developed ‘Mill Stitch,’ a proprietary software solution that takes images from multiple cameras and then stitches the output into a continuous 360-degree view. This on-set solution provided the Lin and DPs Claudio Miranda and Phedon Papamichael with the unique ability to dynamically move the camera to follow the high-intensity action that is the dramatic hallmark of ‘HELP’. The Mill also created an app that allowed for daily viewing on a tablet so director Lin and the Google ATAP team could review the film.

During post-production, a more refined version of ‘Mill Stitch’ was used in tandem with several other proprietary software tools to rebuild a seamless drama combining live-action and vast CG environments. 

Gawain Liddiard, Creative Director at The Mill in Los Angeles comments, “‘HELP' is a landmark film; a beacon of what can be achieved in new media formats. Receiving two such prestigious awards in Cannes is a fantastic validation of that pioneering sentiment. Bullitt’s fearless energy is what made the project possible. Their willingness to push through the vast challenges of working on cutting edge storytelling is so evident in the production quality of ‘HELP.’" 

The Cannes Lions are the latest in a series of industry accolades for this groundbreaking project. To date, ‘HELP’ has been honoured with:

• Communication Arts Interactive: Tablets & Handheld Devices

• Webby Award for Advertising & Media: Best Use of Animation or Motion Graphics, Winner People’s Voice / Webby Award Winner

• ADC Awards: Bronze Cube, Branded Content & Entertainment - Branded Content Interactive Film

• Cannes Digital Craft Lions: Gold, Technological Achievement in Digital Craft

• Cannes Digital Craft Lions: Gold, Virtual Reality