Soho effects house The Mill has introduced a new service that could herald a change in the way facilities manage the post-production process, writes Sam Espensen
The company has begun offering clients a "mini-Mill" - a permanently installed suite in their own offices with qualified staffers to run it, which works out cheaper than hiring the same suite and staff at The Mill itself.
Several commercial agencies have already come on board and the principles for the scheme could be made applicable to other parts of the industry - including both long-form and graphics projects in the future.
Lowe, BBH and Ogilvy & Mather have all installed a mini-Mill, each of which consists of a fully supported Flame suite. The Mill commercial director Andy Balmer told Broadcast that each mini-Mill is fully furnished to look like a "normal room within a facility". The suite is connected to The Mill in Great Marlborough Street via a BT facilities line, and can receive uncompressed signals in real time from The Mill and record back to tape with 4:2:2 tape control.
Balmer revealed that the scheme came about as a reaction to client demand: "It's a very difficult market at the moment for agencies and we did it in order that they could offer a good return to their clients. It's about making it more cost-efficient for them."
The suites can be priced "well below" regular Soho prices, because most of the overheads are picked up by the agency.
The cost includes a Mill staffer, which Balmer explained meant either having one operator on hand full-time or "parachuting in specific operators as desired". He added that it's "no extra cost for whoever they have" - meaning that star operators will be available within the scheme.
Balmer said he believed the real value of the scheme is for clients with high-volume accounts: "Ogilvy, for example, does a large amount of work worldwide for Dove and although it's not high-end stuff it's a lot of work. It can get the same quality of staff and kit for less money. And it's all managed from one place."