27th September 2022 was a major milestone in our 107-year history, as Technicolor Creative Studios becomes a standalone business with a huge vision and exciting prospects for the future.
At Technicolor Creative Studios, we know Our Legacy is Our Future. In this article, we hear from Christian Roberton, CEO of Technicolor Creative Studios.
A brief history:
For over 100 years, Technicolor has been at the forefront of innovation. Before becoming the international brand house for MPC, The Mill, Mikros Animation, and Technicolor Games that it is today, Technicolor started with a simple and clear vision; to create extraordinary, iconic visuals. Back in 1912, MIT professors Dr. Herbert Kalmus and Dr. Daniel Comstock joined with self-taught mechanical engineering prodigy W. Burton Westcott to create KCW, their research engineering firm. This firm and their passion for new technology led to their exploration and embrace of motion picture color and the creation of Technicolor in 1915. Just two years later, the company released The Gulf Between – their first commercial film. In 1926, Technicolor jumps into color filmmaking and releases Wings, followed by The Black Pirate. In 1932, Technicolor used their new “three strip” film process to bring Disney’s Flowers and Trees to life – which began their decades long partnership with the company and led to their involvement in Snow White (1937), which was the highest-grossing animated film for the era. From 1938 to 1938, the three-strip film process was used to create some of the most iconic films: The Adventures of Robinhood, Gone with the Wind, and The Wizard of Oz – all in stunning color. Fast forward to the 1950s and 60s, Technicolor was using its single-strip process to create thrilling Hollywood blockbusters such North by Northwest and Vertigo. In the 1980s, Film and TV brand MPC started releasing its first projects, followed by The Mill opening its doors in 1990, backed by Ridley Scott and U2. The Mill became the first ever VFX studio to win an Academy Award in 2001, for its groundbreaking work on Gladiator, whilst MPC became the only VFX studio to work on all eight Harry Potter films. In 2008, Technicolor broke into the games business with its work in the EA Sports game Fifa, and just a few months later in 2009, Mikros Animation won an Academy Award for Logorama in the best animated short film category. Today, with thousands of award-winning, innovation driven projects under its belt, Technicolor’s Creative Studios are still chasing the same question: How can we keep pushing the boundaries of visual arts to create iconic, brave, and vibrant work?
The rise of computer graphics:
To address this question, we must look at not where the standard of excellence is, but where it is headed. Right now, it is undeniable that future involves accelerated use of Real Time Computer Graphics. Looking at Technicolor project history, it is clear to see why. The development of cutting-edge CGI processes and visuals has played a key part in Technicolor’s history. MPC’s work on the Harry Potter film series was a pivotal moment in the company’s history, both setting a new standard for that time and paving the way for the future of CGI visuals. This ten-year span of the company’s history laid the foundation of visual and technical excellence that has led to repeat business from the world’s top entertainment franchises and brands. The acceleration of what is achievable in film computer graphics can be seen again in the back-to-back success of Disney’s first ever live action movies The Jungle Book and The Lion King. These projects led to incredible breakthroughs in our artists’ ability to create photoreal creatures and cemented Technicolor Creative Studios at the forefront of computer graphic development expertise.
This same commitment to computer graphics and creating seamless, unforgettable visuals transferred into our gaming and animation sectors. Technicolor Games has provided full-service production across a single IP from in-game to Film, TV, Advertising, and Animation. They have worked on over 100 games with over 90,000 playable hours. Technicolor Games has had a hand in some of the most iconic game series, including the 2009 FIFA and all future iterations, Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K, Madden, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Battlefield, and more.
Mikros Animation also rose to international recognition, receiving awards and accolades for global projects such as The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge on the Run, which was nominated for a 2021 VES award, and The Little Prince, which has become the most successful French feature animation abroad. Additionally, Mikros’s global studios worked on international features such as Captain Underpants: The Epic Movie, and Astrix: The Secret of the Magic Potion, which has become the all-time best performer in French box offices. The studio’s recent work on Paw Patrol: The Movie earned them a 2022 Golden Screen Award for Feature Film and garnered global recognition – just in time for a sequel to begin creation.
Looking to the future:
As we continue to expand on the use of real-time CGI across our divisions, the possibilities of content created across world-class IP increase infinitely. Through shared knowledge, assets, and technology, CGI characters developed by Technicolor’s film division can be quickly mirrored as in-game assets, translated into world-class commercials, and represented in the growing Metaverse.
It is often a common conception that advancements in technology can make artistry redundant, however, such a concept is far from the truth. The proliferation of new technology opens a thousand new creative opportunities. Think of the past, when we had limited rendering and computing power – our output was confined to the abilities of the technology around us. I remember a time when our visual output was limited to a single $30,000 computer locked in a room, accessible to only one person at a time. Now computers are a fraction of the cost, and you can upload, revise, and iterate your work via cloud production. At no point in the evolution of technology have we been less creative – it just means new tools to make new choices to create new things.
Our legacy is our future:
In simplest terms, our Technicolor legacy is connecting the most creative people in the world with the most cutting-edge technology to make the most iconic imagery in popular culture. The word ‘impossible’ is not in our vernacular and we will continue to innovate, invest, and iterate until the perfect creative solution is found. Bravery is in our DNA, so challenge us, we are here to create the future.
For any questions, please contact us at any of our global studios.