The Mill London
Fri, 15 Jul 2022 08:13:59 GMT
Sinead Catney is a senior producer at The Mill's London Studio. Having worked in the advertising industry for eight years, she started in client services before pursuing her keen interest in interactive and experiential.
Some of Sinead's creative highlights include the 2022 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony, Balmain VR 'My City of Lights' and T-Mobile's 'Robot Tattoo,' which saw 5G technology used to remotely apply a tattoo.
Sinead has collaborated with other well-known brands such as The London Design Biennale, Burberry, Sky TV and Facebook.
Sinead> I think that production has changed a lot in the seven years I’ve worked in this industry. It used to be that, for the most part, producers were pigeonholed into the admin side of schedules and budgets and sometimes pushed into the shadows of the project without being allowed much of an opinion on what was being delivered. But it’s changed for the better in my opinion, allowing producers a voice in what we’re creating. I’ve always been lucky enough to be in a team that believed in just that – being a team. We all work together on delivering these fantastic, weird and wonderful pieces of content and innovative experiences and everyone’s opinion matters.
Sinead> In the past couple of years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved in a lot of interesting and exciting projects, but the two that stand out to me the most would be T-Mobile's ‘The Impossible Tattoo’ and The 2022 Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony.
The T-Mobile project brief was to push the limits of 5G technology and showcase just how reliable that is. So why not have a robot arm tattoo a human over the 5G network? We created a set up where a Tattoo artist was able to sit in one location and tattoo onto a dummy arm (we also used fruit and vegetables in the testing) with their tattoo gun hooked up to a remote set-up which fed coordinates to a robotic arm in another location, which tattooed the talent for the TVC.
I never once doubted the team on their ability to deliver on this and once you’re in it you’re just so focused on the end product and running off the adrenaline of the challenge. But once we completed the shoot and it went live I did take a step back and think “How on earth did we do that?” Not to sound cheesy, but I am filled with a constant state of wonder when I look at our incredibly talented team.
The second one is the piece we did for the Closing Ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Working on a closing ceremony for the Olympics across various time zones and locations whilst in the middle of a global pandemic was one of the most challenging projects imaginable. We created 10 minutes of content across three ‘acts’ to mark the Flag Handover in the Closing Ceremony. The technically challenging part here? It was for the world’s largest LED screen built to date – and we had no way of testing this before it was delivered. The first time we saw it in full was live at the Closing Ceremony with millions of other people watching around the world. If you’re wondering, the screen was 10,552 square metres and used 40,000 LED modules.
Sinead> This is a great tool within the realms of traditional VFX and those pipelines. But we are seeing how this can be helpful in unexpected ways for Experience / Interactive projects. We often find ways to bend new technology and techniques used in more traditional processes to make them work for Experience.
Sinead> I think that some agencies are up to speed with this, but in general it is something that a lot more people could be aware of. The fun of working with new technology is the constant evolution of what we can create and how it can alter our process for the better. Not every new innovation is for everyone, so it’s not something we would hold clients to. Part of this job is educating them and at times, holding their hand through the process.
Sinead> Our projects rarely fit a standard or existing mould, so we often look at alternative ways of working and making it work for us, whether that’s by creating a new process or tools that will help us to achieve the best result. Sometimes this means building a tool to generate assets to customise them for an audience. It’s not one-size-fits-all and you might lose out on quality across the board if you’re trying to create something that can be used as broadly as you would in a standard VFX pipeline. Tailoring an asset or project to a specific platforms can also help retain the magic of the experience.
Sinead> Data can be hugely valuable when it comes to Experience projects – whether it’s the process or the creative itself and developing tools to use this data in more interesting and innovative ways. We recently worked on a project for EE as part of the Hope United campaign where we took data collected by HateLab from Twitter and various other platforms using keywords around Hope and Hate directed at players across the Hope United team (playing for England and N. Ireland). We then created a generative app to import this data and output designs based on the data received. This was a really impactful way of displaying how data can be used to drive design and be at the heart of a development project – numbers and statistics creating something visual, tangible and easier for the public to understand and engage with it.
Sinead> We have a number of ways of approaching challenges and problem-solving. Our three stage process of Discovery, Define and Production allows us to scope out a project and work to identify any issues upfront in Discovery. We build in Strategy, User Experience exploration and prototyping / R&D with regular check-ins at the end of each sprint including both the internal team and the clients. Always being open, honest and communicative helps the client come on the journey into the unknown with us. My role in this is to ensure the team clearly understands their role in each step of the process and what goals are for each sprint, minimising any surprises and the client is always kept in the loop and understands what step we’re on in this process. Attitude accounts for a lot in these situations as well – a positive outlook going into these difficult briefs while breaking down the ask and challenge. If you’re aware of as many obstacles as possible from the outset, it helps the overall process run more smoothly. Of course, there are always last-minute changes and issues and you have to be flexible. That’s where being calm and communicating is so important. Anything is doable in some shape or form, you just have to work out what that is together. I don’t think there's a ground breaking secret to this.
Sinead> I don’t think this changing line shifts production so much as the creative. There is a knock-on effect in managing the creative process though, and managing clients’ expectations. It puts more pressure on things like ROI’s and clients are more interested in the stats that come out of the campaign on social channels for example, where that’s not something you would have to think about in the traditional post-production processes.
Sinead> AI is the big one – seeing how it’s being used, changing how people can interact with experiences and how it can help us to craft better behavioural interactions with digital elements and more immersive experiences as well. Also, may not be new, but AR has and is continuing to have a massive impact on the work we do – it’s used in many cases and broadly across different platforms and industries.view more - Production LineThe Mill London, Fri, 15 Jul 2022 08:13:59 GMT