The Mill -

Universal Type Server Becomes Mega Hit at Academy Award-Winning Visual Effects Company

Industry: Broadcast & Media
Product Line: Server Based Font Management

The Mill is one of the most respected post-production and visual effects companies in the world, noted for their high-end visual effects, Academy Award-winning movie imaging, and design and digital projects for the advertising, games and music industries. Some of the most prestigious brands turn to The Mill for their impeccable work— including Sony, Nike, Levis, Honda and adidas— which is regularly celebrated at advertising and visual effects awards ceremonies around the world.

As with most visual and design companies, The Mill’s creative department works with a large collection of fonts. With multiple offices in the US and London, having a system to organize and share fonts between departments and locations is critical.

Initially, each office used its own font management system. While the New York office was a long-time Universal Type Server user, London deferred to an alternative solution to manage their collection of 2000 fonts.

After deploying this solution, they discovered the following:

  • Shared Access – The Mill has two offices in London, but although the competing solution was accessible from their Marlborough Street site, users were unable to connect from their Clipstone Street location.
  • Reliability: The competing font management solution was found to cause the company’s Macs to crash, leading to a decrease in efficiency.

With font management an essential part of the company’s workflow, Carlo Suozzo, Systems Administrator for the UK, knew they had to find a different solution.

Seeing the benefits New York was experiencing with Universal Type Server, the London team made the switch. They quickly saw the vast difference in reliability and shared access. In addition to solving these critical factors, the London team discovered they could also write scripts to activate fonts as part of the rendering process. The Mill then added an additional quantity of licenses for a computer cluster built to render computer-generated imagery (CGI) used in film and television visual effects.

Richard Bamford, EMEA Business Director at Extensis states, “Adding automation through scripting can supercharge production workflows by removing the opportunity for human error. Universal Type Server’s Core Command Line Interface is a great way to automate repetitive tasks across a database or to make mass changes when deployed to multiple computers.”

Since making the switch, The London office has doubled their licenses for Universal Type Client as, the team has finally found a dependable font management solution that gives everyone shared access, and keeps them focused on what matters most- creating great work.

Happy with the performance of Universal Type Server, Suozzo reports: “It works well with our Macs, and in the future, we would like it to run it on a single server. This would be great for The Mill’s infrastructure as our New York, London and Los Angeles offices all use Universal Type Server with varying font collections. Our vision is to run just the one central server for all fonts which all offices can access, regardless of Operating System.”