Google VR: ATAP “Help”


The Mill has collaborated with Google ATAP, Bullitt and director Justin Lin to co-create ‘HELP’, the latest installment in the Google Spotlight Stories. Starting today, ‘HELP’ will be available for free with the new Google Spotlight Stories app on Android and iOS via the Google Play and App Store.
Google’s Spotlight Stories launched in October 2013 as a new storytelling platform for the mobile audience. ‘HELP’ is the fourth story in the series, and is a classic tale of explosions, aliens, heroines and heroes. The difference is the phone holds the story, giving the audience a window to look anywhere, set the pace and frame the shot.
Google Spotlight Stories has created a new mobile format for storytelling that pushes what’s technically and creatively possible, by engineers and artists.
In the context of recent immersive or virtual reality (VR) productions, ‘HELP’ is groundbreaking in that it combines live action and computer graphics in a 360 environment, creating an action-driven story deploying cinematic quality visual effects.  
The Mill was involved in every aspect of ‘HELP’, collaborating from the planning stage to assist Justin Lin and the team at Google ATAP in realizing their ambitious cinematic vision. A major challenge that The Mill helped solve was the lack of a camera rig equipped with multiple cameras (built in a full 360 degree array) and ability to follow the action in the way the director required.
After numerous tests, experimentation and R&D, The Mill developed ‘Mill Stitch’ (TM pending), 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 director and director of photography with the unique ability to dynamically move the camera to follow the high-intensity action that is the dramatic hallmark of ‘HELP’. During post-production, a more refined version of ‘Mill Stitch’ was used in tandem with several other proprietary Mill software tools to rebuild a seamless drama combining live-action and vast CG environments.
Alongside the new pipeline and desktop tools, The Mill created an app that allowed for daily viewing on a tablet so Justin and the Google ATAP team could review the film.

Collaborating with Google ATAP’s team of experts and with such an acclaimed live-action director as Justin Lin allowed The Mill to flex its creative and technical muscles to solve new and complex challenges.


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‘HELP’, The Mill’s groundbreaking collaboration with Google ATAP, Bullitt Branded and director Justin Lin, has been honored with two Gold Digital Craft Lions at the 2016 Cannes Lions Awards Show.


Vice President of Engineering: Regina Dugan
Executive Producer: Karen Dufilho- Rosen 
Technical Project lead: Rachid El Guerrab 
Graphics Programmer: Brad Blanchard 
Software Engineer: James Ritt
Software Engineer: Brian Collins 

VFX & Design

VFX & Design: The Mill
Executive Producer: Sue Troyan, Reece Ewing

Producer: Leighton Greer
Associate Producer: David Lawrence, Alexandra Paton 
Shoot Supervisor: Gawain Liddiard, Daniel Thuresson, Tawfeeq Martin
Creative Director: Gawain Liddiard
Senior Research & Development: James Studdart
Research & Development: Timothy Wernette, Andry Jong
Technical Innovations Manager: Tawfeeq Martin
2D Lead Artist: Daniel Thuresson
3D Lead Artist: Gawain Liddiard
Animation Lead: Jacob Bergman
Lighting & Rendering Lead: Sean Durnan
FX Lead: Ashraf Ghoniem
Asset Lead: Krystal Sae Eua
2D Artist: Ashley Forbito, Ben Smith, Dag Ivarsoy, Daniel Lang, Don Kim, Elliott Brennan, Greg VanZyl, Jason Bergman, Kevin Flores, Jake Albers, Lisa Ryan, Mike Ek, Patrick Heinen, Sam Evenson, Timothy Crabtree
3D Artist: Dan Moore, Elizabeth Mitchell, Aldrich Torres, Craig Halperin, Jonah Austin, Katie Yoon, Michael Rogers, Steve Blakey, Tyler Mele, Brittany Drew, Berk Hakguder, Blake Guest, Brett Angelillils, Bridget Warrington, Chris Bayol, Chris Goodrich, Danny Yoon, Darren Sumich, Dustin Colson, Fabian Elmers, Hartwell Durfor, James Ma, Jason Jansky, Jesse Flores, Juan Zavala, Katie Yancey, Kelvin Liang, Majid Esmaeili, Martin Rivera, Matt Bohnert, Mike Di Nocco, Milton Ramirez, Phil Mayer, Rasha Shalaby, Sharlene Lin, Yorie Kumalasari, Mario Afu Hassan, Jeffrey Lee, James Mullholland, Sergio Xisto, Stephen New, Filippo Forno, Quentin Sauvinet, Charlotte Akehurst
Matte Painting: Itai Muller, Gillian George, Timmons Sung, Michael Sheffels
Art Department: Brett Lopinsky, Clare Carrellas


Production Company: Bullitt
Director: Justin Lin
Executive Producer: Todd Makurath
Producer: Diane Castrup
Director of Photography: Claudio Miranda, Phedon Papamichael
COO/CFO YomYomF: Sal Gatdula
Creative Director: Philip Chung 
VFX Supervisor: Alex Vegh 
Production Supervisor: Taylor Steadman
Asst. Production Supervisor: Michael Cheng
1st AD: Kirk Rogers
2nd AD: Jeb Barrows

Camera Rig Development

Company: Practical Magic
Producer: Matt Lewis
Engineer: Bob Bristow
Production Coordinator: Whitney Rowlett Senn
Colour: The Mill 
Colourist: Gregory Reese
Hero Girl: Lauren Elise
Cop: Sung Kang
Extras: Extra Extra
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Date: 2015 Client: Google Responsibilities: Lighting, Lookdev Website: