The Mill Chooses Levels Beyond to Manage Assets

The Mill has selected Levels Beyond’s Reach Engine as the asset management system for the company’s fully tapeless Windmill Street facility in London, UK. The Mill, one of the world’s best known visual effects and content creation studios, collaborates on visual effects, digital and design projects for the advertising, games and music industries.

Levels-BeyondThe team from Levels Beyond worked closely with The Mill, London to configure a system that supports their robust workflow and increases the functionality and efficiencies of their creative pipeline.

When The Mill moved from its long time location on Great Marlborough Street, the company seized on a unique opportunity to modify the way that projects were managed. “We realised this was an incredible opportunity to rethink and redesign the way we worked,” said Neil Evely, Group Head of Product Development for The Mill. “It was decided that Windmill Street would be our first fully tapeless operation, and that meant designing a system that could cater to the broadcast output of 27-plus Flames and Smokes, where before we were working to HDCAM and other tape formats. The transition to a tapeless workflow has given us flexibility, security, and enhanced efficiencies, and also highlighted the heightened need to properly manage and access our assets.”

After careful evaluation of the options available, Reach Engine, Levels Beyond’s media inventory platform, was chosen as The Mill’s asset management system for its London facility. A key factor in the decision was Reach Engine’s configurability, allowing it to talk to the multiple systems The Mill already had in house. Since the deployment, artists can simply drag-and-drop deliverables into watch folders, where assets can be exported, transcoded and pushed to Reach Engine, complete with project and system metadata. From there, The Mill’s Technical Operations staff can QC files, adding any additional data not automatically identified and deliver for broadcast.

“With Reach Engine linking into our existing systems and our own proprietary project management software, files are QC’d, delivered and costed far more quickly and efficiently than ever before,” noted Evely. “We now have nearly 8,500 assets in our archive, with every proxy file available for view by anyone in our network. After seeing what it could bring to the process, we were committed to Reach Engine as our system of choice.”

In addition to the London site, The Mill aim to complete three additional Reach Engine installations in their New York, Chicago and Los Angeles offices over the next six months. The company is also working in collaboration with Levels Beyond to build a bespoke web interface to sit on top of the company’s local DAMs, allowing each office to manage their own output whilst providing a global search engine for the group’s work.

“We are employing Reach Engine to power our new, bespoke media delivery platform as well,” commented Evely. “Mill Touch 2.0 is an iOS app designed to provide the end user with a unique way of engaging with a client’s content. Having Reach Engine push assets to our app via a CMS allows for any existing Reach Engine brand to distribute their media to a target audience quickly and seamlessly. The ongoing support and service the Levels Beyond team delivers has really been crucial to us.”

Paul Phillips, Managing Director of Levels Beyond’s EMEA division, said, “At Levels Beyond, we develop tools targeted to the incredibly demanding work of our customers. Our users should never have to worry about where a file is. Today’s media work is all about content and context, and it’s driven by metadata. Working with The Mill has been a terrific opportunity to collaborate with one of the world’s great creative companies and to support their pipeline with Reach Engine’s capabilities. For The Mill, these capabilities help them move brilliant ideas instantly, while managing the back office functions that are a key part of the process.”

Reach Engine, Levels Beyond’s software platform providing streamlined media-management, distribution, optimisation and monetisation capabilities, serves a number of content creation and distribution businesses, including advertising, sports, media and entertainment, and publishing.

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