August 26, 2019

At Technicolor, Innovation Is In Our DNA

An AR experience that brings art to life at Tate Britain kicks off our celebration of making connections with audiences through innovation.

For more than 100 years, Technicolor has been redefining and expanding the possibilities for how filmmakers and content creators across all mediums tell stories and create experiences for their audiences. From the earliest days of Hollywood to when films like The Wizard of Oz hit the screen in glorious Technicolor, to this year’s The Lion King made possible by Technicolor’s Virtual Production pipeline, innovation has always been in our DNA. Through the decades and changing times, it has driven us to create, master and advance the tools and techniques that enable artists to achieve their visions – exactly as they intended and in ever more creative ways.

Technicolor and our family of creative studios never stop innovating. We are always uniting the latest technology with world-class artistry to deliver experiences that connect with audiences on deeper and deeper, emotional levels.

In the months ahead, we’re excited to share with you the latest innovations we’re working on, and the creative talent behind the technology that make possible the most groundbreaking experiences – for audiences at home, in theaters, or out in the world.

First, we look at an Augmented Reality experience that goes beneath the canvas to bring eight pieces of art to life at London’s Tate Britain museum. Technicolor’s The Mill Experiential & Interactive team worked alongside Facebook’s Spark AR Platform team to bring to life this iconic AR artwork installation, entitled Untold Stories.

The exhibit, which runs through 2019, explores the hidden narrative of existing paintings and the artists behind them. Specifically, these untold stories bear relevance to the contemporary audience, sociopolitical and cultural challenges that the artists faced at the time.

The Mill team created animations and interactive elements that can be viewed through the camera on your Instagram app, which tracks the paintings to initiate the experience. There are eight artworks with unusual or largely untold stories and the interaction encourages viewers to get a deeper understanding of each artist’s intentions.

“By tapping into a wealth of relevant data alongside AI and computer vision algorithms, we can help people learn and connect to the world around them in meaningful ways,” says Matthew Roberts, who heads up Spark AR and the team that worked with The Mill.

Sally Reynolds, Creative Director, The Mill London, says, “There is palpable magic in AR. ‘Untold Stories’ is one of a few AR platforms encouraging users to take the reins. Spark AR provides the technology; creators bring the content.”

In regard to that content, Reynolds further explains, “While exploring the paintings hidden narratives and the sociopolitical and cultural challenges that the artist and subject faced when the paintings were created, we realized that we needed to address how the narrative translates to the contemporary viewer. It was with great care that we added context, rather than imply new meaning – as we created the animations and interactive elements to the artworks."

The featured artworks are:

Fishing upon the Blythe Sand, Tide Setting In

By Joseph Mallord William Tuner

Joseph Mallord William Turner is said to have owned seven cats that once tore the painting into five pieces. When looking at the Instagram camera, you can watch the now-repaired canvas rupture again when a stray, tiger-cat leaps through the frame.

Amateurs of Tye-Wig Music ('Musicians of the Old School')

By Edward Francis Burney

To dissonant sounds, the backdrop of Amateurs of Tye-Wig Music  suddenly begins to move on the smartphone view: A parrot steals a wig, children grab the instruments of the musicians, a dog yaps in the performance. The AR animation complements the chaotic bustle of the snapshot.

A Youth Relating Tales to Lady

By Simeon Solomon

The painting A Youth Relating Tales to Lady  heralded a new era for the visual culture of the late 19th century. Through your smartphone, you can watch viewers in front of the artwork, which today seem as out of place as the artist Solomon felt during his lifetime.

The Cholmondeley Ladies

Unknown artist, Great Britain

An AR effect brings the twin girls in The Cholmondeley Ladies to life as they hold their own children.


By Gwen John

Gwen John was a bisexual artist in an industry dominated by men in her day. In the augmented reality exhibition, you can watch her completing her self-portrait.

Farm at Watendlath

By Dora Carrington

The work Farm at Watendlath  contrasts two tiny female figures with huge mountain formations. The AR effect triggers an animation in which the relative scales are exchanged to break the social norms of the "typical feminine."

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

By John Singer Sargent

Sargent always tried to capture a scene in perfect light. In the Augmented Reality exhibition, you can follow the visual effects of the passage of time in Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose  as lanterns flicker and flowers wither until the light finally goes out.

If you happen to be in London, don’t miss this opportunity to experience art in an entirely new and immersive way.

Visit The Mill to learn more about this project and the other cutting-edge work that they do.

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