Technicolor’s new post production studio in Adelaide, its first in the Southern Hemisphere, is up and running – by Slade Phillips
Technicolor is a series of colour motion picture processes, the first version dating back to 1916, and followed by improved versions over several decades of cinema history. It was the second major colour process, after Britain’s Kinemacolor, and the most widely used colour process in Hollywood from 1922 to 1952. Now, Technicolor works with creative and technology leaders in content creation, distribution and consumption to seamlessly deliver experiences worldwide.
Operating under the Mill Film banner, the South Australian visual effects studio has already attracted three-hundred creatives, well on its way to the goal of employing five-hundred people within five years.
The studio joins a growing number of post-production companies in Adelaide, helping the South Australian capital emerge as a screen industry hub. Others include Kojo, which worked on projects such as Hotel Mumbai (2018) as well as Top End Wedding (2019), and Rising Sun Pictures, the visual effects producer behind many of the X-Men films. E. Bennet Walsh’s upcoming Mortal Kombat film will also be shot in South Australia by Germain McMicking ACS and is set to become South Australia’s largest ever film production.
Technicolor has recently announced it would build a $26 million, 3000sqm visual effects studio in Adelaide. Managing director of Mill Film, Mark Thorley, said he expected to reach the goal of five-hundred creatives in Adelaide much faster than the five-year timeframe originally forecast. “It’s been a long time since there’s been some new investment into the visual effects market in Australia so people are seeing it as an opportunity to join something new and exciting,” Thorley said.
The decision to locate the studio in South Australia followed a $6 million grant from the State Government’s Economic Investment Fund, which expects the project to have an economic benefit of more than $250 million over a decade. The South Australian Government also offers a 10% rebate for post-production, digital and visual effects work, designed to attract international film business. This is on top of a similar federal measure, set at 30 per cent of growth expenditure.
Thorley said the decision to move Mill Film into Adelaide was also aided by access to talent. “Australia has had a rich history of good visual effects talent and I think over a number of years many Australians have gone offshore to continue their careers in visual effects, so this was a great opportunity to bring those Australians back home,” Thorley says.
The Technicolor Academy is also located in Adelaide, which focuses on animation, lighting and environment work. Technicolor Academy is a fully-paid, intensive program which aims to improve artists’ skills in lighting, effects, compositing and animation. “We look for young talent who have had some experience, whether that be from an educational institution or just naturally talented individuals,” explains Thorley.
Located in the Adelaide CBD, the Mill Film studio has been fitted out over three floors of open-plan artist spaces and production offices. While the Adelaide studio is Mill Film’s only Southern Hemisphere location, the company has studios in Montreal, Los Angeles and a partnership with Technicolor Bangalore.
Thorley said the Adelaide studio recently worked with Technicolor partner MPC in London to deliver its first significant milestone: 443 shots for the Dora the Explorer film Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019). The studio is also working on films for Paramount, Universal and Amblin.
Slade Phillips is a writer based in Sydney.