What does a Compositing Supervisor do?
Compositing Supervisors are in charge of the department that puts together all the different elements of the visual effects (VFX) shots. They manage the Compositors, who do this work, and check it for quality. They are also responsible for ensuring the continuity of colour between shots.
Compositing Supervisors are very experienced in compositing. They are experts in taking different digital materials, like computer-generated (CG) images and live-action footage, and combining them to appear as one cohesive shot. They organize the team of Compositors to meet the deadlines so the film or TV production company gets the VFX work on time. They may also composite shots themselves if needed.
Compositing Supervisors tend to be employed by VFX companies or studios rather than being freelancers.
What's a Compositing Supervisor good at?
A good eye
Recognize what makes an image appear realistic in terms of light, colour, composition and perspective
Knowledge of photography
Understand cameras, cinematography and how films are made
Communication and leadership
Be able to manage compositors and share the creative vision of the project with them, inspire them to do their best work, manage their output in terms of quality and deadlines
Plan workflows with a view to meeting deadlines, distribute work amongst your team
Knowledge of VFX programs
Be adept at using relevant programs such as Adobe After Effects, Blackmagic Fusion, Blender, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya, Nuke, RenderMan and 3ds Max
Who does a Compositing Supervisor work with?
Compositing supervisors work with the Compositors in their team. They also have to work out precisely what’s needed and the order in which things need to be done. They work with the head of the whole project (the VFX Supervisor) and with the Computer Graphics (CG) Artists in order to do that. They also talk to the film production company and VFX Producers.
How do I become a Compositing Supervisor?
Supervisor roles are some of the most senior in film production. To be a Compositing Supervisor, you need to have four or five years’ experience in a senior VFX role, such as senior Compositor or a technical director (TD) role. You can start off in a more junior VFX role, such as Motion Capture Technician, Prep Artist or Roto Artist. You might find a company that’s offering a junior compositor position.
A degree in a VFX subject is useful too. Or you might want a degree in animation, computer programming or computer science. It’s important to create a show-reel that shows off your abilities (even established compositing supervisors can have their own show-reels).
Here are some tips:
Build a portfolio: Learn the software, experiment with VFX programs and create a show-reel that you can show to collaborators or employers. Focus on producing a portfolio which includes relevant work to showcase your immediate practical skills This is essential. It’s really important to develop your appreciation for VFX. Make sure you’re familiar with what’s out there.
Get VFX industry skills: There are various VFX image and video-editing programs in which it’s useful to receive training.
For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.
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