All of our forms are down. For any requests, please send us an email at contactus@reelcanada.ca. Thank you for your patience.

Reel Opportunities

Post-Production Supervisor

What does a Post-Production Supervisor do?

Post-Production Supervisors help a Producer achieve as much as is possible in the edit process without going over budget. Post-production Supervisors are the main line of communication between the Producers, Director, Editors, Sound Editors, 3rd party facilities, and the Production Accountant. Though it’s not a creative role, the Post-production Supervisor is integral to the delivery of the film or television series.

On films that involve using complex CGI (computer-generated images), they make sure the Producer’s aware of all the creative and financial considerations of post-production before work on the film even begins.

Post-Production Supervisors help hire staff for the edit, like Sound Editors and Titles Designers. They work closely with the Production Accountant, supplying accurate information for the cost reports.

They usually continue to work on the production until all the elements needed for the completion of the film are delivered. This includes the music and effects version, which allows the dialogue track to be replaced with different languages.

What’s a Post-Production Supervisor good at?
  • Understanding post-production

    Know the process in detail, stay up-to-date with the effects that can be achieved through constantly changing technology

  • Budgeting

    Plan, use film budgeting software, keep track of spending

  • Multi-tasking

    Prioritize conflicting demands

  • Problem-solving

    Find solutions to creative and practical dilemmas

  • Communication

    Persuade producers of the creative possibilities and limitations of post, keep a team working happily

Who does a Post-Production Supervisor work with?

The Post-Production Supervisor works very closely with the picture and sound teams, especially the Editor, Assistant Editor or Sound Editor. They also work with the Post-production coordinator and Production Assistants.

How do I become a Post-Production Supervisor?

Most Post-Production Supervisors have worked in the industry for at least four years, either in an editing, sound or management role. It’s essential to have an intimate knowledge of the workings of the highly complex processes of post. Most Post-production Supervisors come in as Production Assistants.

Educational Requirements: If you want to go to university, courses in art, design, photography, drama and theatre, English, film studies, graphic design, graphic communication, media studies, physics, psychology and computing science are useful.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Digital Imaging Technician

Also known as: DIT, Data Management Technician (DMT)

What does a Digital Imaging Technician do?

The Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) is a relatively new crew position in the film and television industry. Previously thought of as nothing more than a “data wrangler” the DIT is now widely considered one of the most integral members of the camera crew, bridging the gap between production and post-production, and working closely with the Director of Photography to achieve the optimal look for the project. The reason for this is that what used to be reels of exposed film is now “data” – digitally recorded images stored on cards or drives.

The DIT is almost an extension of the DoP. Helping with digital image manipulations such as aspect ratio, camera settings, resolution, codecs, frame rates and even LUTs (color grading). One of the primary functions of the DIT is to indeed wrangle data—offloading, copying data and keeping data secure in at least three locations. He or she works closely with the Video Assist Operator to get the raw footage ready for dailies—reviewed by the Director, and other members of the production team. As raw footage seldom looks right, the DIT manipulates the footage, applying color grading and other techniques to prepare it for viewing.

Lastly, the DIT is also in the middle of the workflow between production and the post-production team, liaising with the Editor or Assistant Editors and transferring data. The workflow focuses on secure and efficient handoff of data, making sure no prize footage is lost or corrupted during the process.

What's a Digital Imaging Technician good at?
  • Digital cameras and computers

    Have expert knowledge of cameras, file formats, storage media, and computer systems to get the smoothest workflow

  • Digital photography

    Understand contrast, focus, lighting, cinematography, and color. Have a good eye for grading raw footage

  • Problem-solving

    Be able to fix kit, tech, and cable connections

  • Communication

    Advise the director of photography on the benefits or limitations of particular set-ups, be the liaison between the set and the post-production team, create the best possible workflow between the two

  • Film production

    Understand how a film set works, the roles within it, and the production process

  • Staying calm under pressure

    Stay alert in a live environment, adjust picture accurately

  • Attention to detail

    Label files, wrangle the data without loss, notice corruptions

Who does a Digital Imaging Technician work with?

DITs work most closely with the camera department. On some shoots, they are needed at the Director of Photography’s side. They also need a good relationship with the 2nd AC, who gives the footage to the DIT when needed. (On larger sets they’re assisted by a Data Wrangler). DITs will often have to make reference notes for different departments like hair and make-up, costume department, and the Script Supervisor.

How do I become a Digital Imaging Technician?

Typically, Digital Imaging Technicians work their way up through the camera department. One good route into this is through becoming a Camera Trainee.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Video Assist Operator

Also known as: Playback, Video Playback Operator, Video Split Operator, VTR

What does a Video Assist Operator do?

Video Assist Operators (VAOs) take the images generated by digital cameras and display them on video monitors so the Director and other crew members can see exactly what’s been shot.

These images are also recorded for playback, so the action can be reviewed after each take. They are a reference through which continuity can be checked. The playback is stored to form a complete archive of the shots taken throughout the production.

VAO’s use dedicated software for the recording and instant playback. The software also gives the VAO the ability to simulate visual effects on set as filming is happening. The Director and Visual Effects (VFX) Supervisor can evaluate these shots immediately rather than wait until the raw footage is processed and manipulated.

The VAO can also edit the scenes on set for continuity and timing purposes. This helps ensure that no shots have been missed.

What's a Video Assist Operator good at?
  • Concentration

    Be alert, ready to respond immediately when called to record or playback, pay attention to the shots on the video monitors, spot problems and advise

  • Knowledge of video

    Understand video playback equipment, video and audio cables, wireless video links and the basics of video signals and formats

  • Knowledge of film production

    Understand digital cameras and lighting, appreciate the role and responsibilities of all the members of the crew

  • Communication

    Be able to work as part of a team and to liaise with other departments

  • Problem-solving

    Be able to diagnose faults and work out how to correct them

Who does a Video Assist Operator work with?

Video Assist Operators are primarily there to assist the Director and Script Supervisor but they also work closely with 1st Assistant Directors, camera and visual effects crews. On bigger shoots, they have a Video Assist Assistant to help.

How do I become a Video Assist Operator?

The most common route to becoming a VAO is through working at a junior level for camera rental companies or video playback companies. This helps you to understand the equipment and to get contacts in the industry. Trainees spend time getting to know the role before becoming Video Assist Assistants and, in time, Video Assist Operators.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Descriptive Video Transcriber

Also known as: Audio Describer, DVT

What does a Descriptive Video Transcriber do?

Descriptive video transcribing, otherwise known as audio describing, is the process of narrating descriptions of nonverbal elements on the screen, such as characters’ surroundings, artworks, costumes, and body language, with the goal of making visual media more accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

A media professional who translates visual imagery into verbal information for the benefit of people is known as an audio describer. Audio Description facilitates access to video content for visually impaired viewers by providing a carefully crafted spoken audio commentary that corresponds to what is on screen. Descriptive Video Transcribers begin by writing a project script, narrating and recording content, and then creating the necessary files for integration into the rest of the production.

Audio descriptions can be created for film, television, plays, musicals, operas, dance performances, parks, national monuments, museums, galleries, public service announcements, transportation – the list is endless. In general, audio description can improve the experience and understanding of any visual information. Professional Descriptive Video Transcribers are frequently hired by major film and television productions to write and voice the descriptions for their videos.

What's a Descriptive Video Transcriber good at?
  • Writing

    Write in such a way that when the text is read it seems as if the words come spontaneously and are not at all scripted. Explain concepts and ideas in a clear and simple manner

  • Communication

    Work well with the members of the project, understand the vision of the content and communicate what's happening on-screen effectively for individuals who are blind or otherwise visually impaired

  • Attention to detail

    Listen and watch actively, perform tasks conscientiously and effectively, taking into account all their aspects and convey all the necessary details via the audio descriptions

  • Pronunciation

    Be able to properly and understandably pronounce words

Who does a Descriptive Video Transcriber work with?

It’s not uncommon for Descriptive Video Transcribers to work with Directors, Producers, Sound Editors, and other team members during post-production.

How do I become a Descriptive Video Transcriber?

There is no direct educational path to transcribing descriptive video, but a background in writing and post-production or audio engineering production is useful.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

LED Technician

Also known as: Virtual Production Manager

What does an LED Technician do?

An LED Technician works with a form of film-making technology called virtual production (sometimes referred to as virtual reality walls), which is becoming more and more popular. Virtual production involves large surfaces (walls, ceilings, sometimes floors) created out of LED screens. These large screens, called LED walls, are built on a soundstage. Visuals are then created in a 3D software named Unreal Engine and generated on the screens. The screen acts as a background and can be linked with motion capture cameras to add the effect of a real background. They move in relation to the camera movement and provide a real, immersive background experience. This creates less work in post-production.

An LED Technician is responsible for assisting in creating these immersive environments for productions. They have to build and calibrate the large screens and work with the production to achieve the right space and look. The Technician will be responsible for managing the screens on set, making sure the correct backgrounds are displayed for the scene. They will assist the production in creating this large world and if needed, advise the on-set camera team on the optimum settings for the screens.

What's an LED Technician good at?
  • Understanding light

    Have an artistic eye, know the techniques required to achieve different lighting effects

  • Electrical knowledge

    Have an in-depth understanding of circuits, power supplies, motors, cables, fuses, thermal relays, fault current protection switches, heating, lighting, air conditioning, and more

  • Knowledge of film-making

    Be able to understand the production process

  • Communication

    Be able to draw up plans and explain them to the crew, communicate well with the Director of Photography and the lighting crew, be clear and approachable even when making quick decisions under pressure

  • Organization

    Work within a budget, schedule the crew and the kit requirements, prioritize and meet deadlines

  • Understanding of LED and Unreal Engine Technology

    Have a clear and in-depth understanding of the technology you are working with

Who does an LED Technician work with?

An LED Technician will work with the Director and the DOP to understand the desired look of the scene. They will discuss the construction of the LED screen wall and the type of lighting effects and backgrounds desired. On-set, the LED Technician will work with a crew of Grips and Gaffers to construct the LED screen wall and make sure everything is working properly. LED Technicians will also work closely with the artists that are creating the landscapes in Unreal Engine.

How do I become an LED Technician?

Develop lighting and camera skills: The entranceway into becoming an LED Technician begins with understanding the fundamentals of lighting and camera. You can begin by learning these aspects by getting involved with a local lighting and camera union or by attending educational courses.

Look for Opportunities: After working on sets and gaining experience in lighting, camera, and the technology required on a film set you can move into LED virtual production. You can either attempt to find productions utilizing this technology and work with it to gain experience or work with a company that rents out the technology and services.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Assistant Editor

What does an Assistant Editor do?

Assistant Editors are the ones that keep the flow of post-production smooth and do the busy work so the Editor can focus on the edit. The role of the Assistant Editor is to communicate with the production departments such as the camera, sound, and Digital Imaging Technician. They must bring in the daily footage, and make sure it is organized and named properly for the Editor to access.

They have to make sure all the footage is organized in a way so the Editor can easily find the shots they are looking for. The names of the files need to be named specifically so the Editor knows what the shot entails. They will also implant metadata to the shots so the Editor can search for it with a tag and find it. Once the picture is “locked” (final edit of the film) the Assistant Editor’s job is still not over, they have to conform and transfer the files correctly for the sound team.

On large budget films, there is sometimes a team of Assistant Editors to work on the flow of the post-production pipeline. On lower-budget films or television, there is typically one Assistant Editor to the Editor.

What's an Assistant Editor good at?
  • Using edit software

    Be adept with tools like Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere, Final Cut, and Lightworks

  • Communication

    Work well with the editor, and production team in getting all the correct files and information

  • Attention to detail

    Be patient, show attention to detail and good organizational skills, often under pressure

  • Organization

    Must have great organization skills to keep the files in order, properly named, placed, and streamlined for the Editor

Who does an Assistant Editor work with?

Assistant Editors work directly under the Editor and will be doing anything the Editor directs them to do. They will also be working closely with the production team as the daily footage comes in. They will work with the 2nd Assistant Camera by gaining the camera logs and data from the shoot. They will also work with the Sound Recordist and gain the sound logs from them. Finally, they will work with a Digital Imaging Technician, in gaining the footage from the hard drives on set.

How do I become an Assistant Editor?

You can start as a Production Assistant (PA) for editing houses or Editors. You will build connections and create a reputation for yourself in the post-production field. You will need to be well-versed in editing software such as Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro. If you have experience in editing already or have been in a school program focused on film and media production, create a reel of your work.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Subtitler

Also known as: Translator

What does a Subtitler do?

Subtitlers make it possible for films to be enjoyed by audiences all over the world and by the deaf and hard of hearing. They translate all the dialogue, music and sound effects of a film into two-line written captions that appear on the screen, either in the language in which the film is made or in a foreign language.

After carefully watching and listening to the whole film, they write captions with accurate time codes that describe music and sound effects as well as the dialogue and voice-overs. The captions have to be punctuated and spelt correctly and should be on the screen long enough to be read easily. Translating subtitlers translate the dialogue and write subtitles in the language for a particular audience.

Once they’ve done that and checked that all spelling is correct and that captions don’t obscure characters’ faces, the files are sent to the post-production house (transferring the final soundtrack onto the film in all the various formats). It can then be distributed to cinemas offering subtitled screenings or to cinemas around the world.

Subtitlers are usually employed by specialist post-production companies but sometimes work on a freelance basis.

What's a Subtitler good at?
  • Grammar

    Spell, punctuate and use grammar accurately

  • Languages

    Translate the dialogue into the required language sensitively (for Translator Subtitlers)

  • Screen spatial awareness

    Understand how captions will appear on a screen and their impact on the viewing

  • Attention to detail

    Work precisely to tight deadlines with text and timing

  • Interest in deaf audiences

    Care about the experiences of the deaf and hard-of-hearing

  • Use of software

    Be adept in using the subtitling software

How do I become a Subtitler?

Many post-production companies that offer subtitling services train the Subtitlers themselves. If you have an interest in becoming a Subtitler, practice your language skills and keep a portfolio of writing examples. You can reach out to post-production houses and inquire

Educational Requirements: You might find courses in film post-production, language skills, and courses on transcription and subtitling software to be helpful.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Colourist

Also known as: Grader, Post-Digital Imaging Technician

What does a Colourist do?

Colourists contribute to the mood and look of a film by defining its colours. They work with the Director and Director of Photography to decide the palette; whether it’s restrained or hyper-coloured, whether it uses milky colours or primary ones. Colourists are able to contribute to these looks by changing the luminance levels (brightness) and chroma (colour).

Film and TV dramas are usually shot on digital cameras in a raw format, which means the information about the colour is captured in the data but can’t be seen until the colour is applied. If shooting on film, the rushes are taken to the lab where they are processed and then scanned into a digital workflow. It’s the job of the Colourist to perfect the way in which the colour is put into the picture. This is known as grading.

When Colourists receive the files in the edit, they stylize the colour in line with the vision of the director and director of photography. They match the shots, balancing colour saturation and luminance to maintain a consistent look from shot to shot. . They also offer creative solutions to picture-related problems. They might know what to do with under-or over-exposed images, or provide day for night corrections, for example.

Colourists are also responsible for ensuring the film complies with the scientific law and theory around luminance levels and chroma.

What's a Colourist good at?
  • Understanding colour

    Know how to use colour to enhance a story, appreciate the psychological effect of colour, have a good eye, know what look fits the style of the drama

  • Knowledge of digital and film process

    Understand how best to get the creative look from the raw camera negative

  • Knowledge of film production

    Be aware of the whole process of making a film or TV drama

  • Using software

    Adept at using colour editing software, such as Adobe Premiere, Baselight or Davinci Studio, keep up-to-date with software developments and know the best tools for the job

  • Communication

    Work well with the director, understand the vision of the director of photography, share the process with the edit assistants and the script supervisor

  • Attention to detail

    Be patient, work with tiny changes in colour and tone, keep attending to detail when under pressure

Who does a Colourist work with?

The Colourist works closely with the Editor, Director and Director of Photography. It’s quite a solitary job as much of the detailed work is done alone.

How do I become a Colourist?

Programs in post-production for film or media are available. You can also develop your workflow and build your portfolio by working on small-budget or passion projects in your area. Learn how to use colour-grading software, while studying colour theory and cinematography, which will teach you about how light and colour are related. A background in art or photography is helpful. Most Colourists start out as post-production edit or tech assistants or runners and get to know the post-production process well over several years.

Here are some more tips:

Get a degree: It’s not essential, but having some experience in post-production or editing software from film programs can be helpful when searching for a job position.

Build a portfolio: This is essential for impressing collaborators and people in the film industry. It’s also one of the best ways to learn about editing, seeing what works and what doesn’t.

Look for post-production companies: Try to connect with post-production companies to gain a network and possibly find some with entry-level positions.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Editor

Also known as: Picture Editor

What does an Editor do?

An Editor is in charge of “cutting” and assembling the raw footage of the film into a cohesive final product. Films tend not to be shot in the order in which the story unfolds, so Editors might be working on scenes from the end of the film before the beginning is even filmed.

Their job is to take scenes in non-story order, analyze every shot (which sometimes means hundreds of hours of footage), and meticulously select and assemble the takes that will achieve the desired emotional and thematic impact of a film.

In pre-production, Editors work closely with the Director to decide how to make the most of the script. Once filming starts, they look at the dailies each day, checking technical standards and the emerging sense of story and performance and editing it into a series of scenes. By the time the film wraps, Editors will have spent hours reworking scenes and cutting them together to create a rough assembly.

During post-production, the Editor and Director will work closely to refine the assembly edit into a Director’s cut, which must be approved by Producers, until they achieve the final cut, (also known as “picture lock”). After that, the music and sound are added to the mix, a process that Editors will oversee.

When it comes to Editors in the animation realm, the planning process is more labor intensive as no footage is produced that hasn’t been precisely planned. In live-action, Editors work with existing footage in post-production, choosing between a variety of shots. In animation, the whole film, including each of its scenes and their order, is planned out beforehand. So essentially, in animation, the editing happens first.

What's an Editor good at?
  • Storytelling

    Understand how to use pictures, rhythm, pace and tension to tell a tale

  • Visual awareness

    Have a good eye, know what look fits the style of the film

  • Using edit software

    Be adept with tools like Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premier, Final Cut and Lightworks

  • Communication

    Work well with the director, and share the process with the edit assistants and the script supervisor

  • Attention to detail

    Be patient, show attention to detail and good organizational skills, often under pressure

Who does an Editor work with?

Assistant Editor
Assistant Editors take charge of the day-to-day running of the cutting room, leaving the editor free to concentrate on editing the film. Their primary task is to communicate with other departments, like production, camera and sound. They check camera sheets when the rushes arrive and note any technical problems. Sometimes the editor asks the first assistant to do an assembly cut.

Second assistant editor, third assistant editor and edit assistants
First assistant editors might be helped by several assistants, depending on the size of the production. The assistants label files and do simple cutting, editing and sound syncing. They read oscilloscopes and audio meters, TV and video signals, are familiar with technical specifications for different broadcasters, and understand compression.

Sound Editor
Sound Editors are responsible for all sound post-production. They are the picture Editor’s main point of contact for everything concerning the production soundtracks.

ADR Recordist
The ADR Recordists have a close working relationship with the picture Editors due to script changes and replacement dialogue with the actors.

Colourist
Colourists contribute to the mood and look of a film by defining its colors. They work with the director and director of photography to decide the palette.

How do I become an Editor?

The traditional route to becoming an Editor is to start as a Production Assistant and go on to become an assistant editor. It’s common to work as an Assistant Editor in lower budget productions before moving into feature films.
Here are some more tips:

Educational Requirements: A program in Media or Film studies, concentrating on post-production, is useful. Experience using editing software is key, as is working on small projects to build your portfolio.

Get an internship: Internships are jobs with training, so they’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. Before taking any apprenticeship, check what you’ll be learning with your prospective employer and college, so you can be sure it will be giving you the skills you want.

Edit: Make videos. Set up a YouTube channel showing off your work.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Dubbing Mixer

Also known as: Re-recording Mixer

What does a Dubbing Mixer do?

A Dubbing Mixer (also known as a Re-recording Mixer) is a post-production audio engineer who creates the final version of a soundtrack for a feature film or television show by mixing recorded dialogue, sound effects, and music.

The final mix must achieve a desired sonic balance among its various elements, as well as match the vision of the Director or Sound Designer for the project.

Sound Editors, Sound Designers, Sound Engineers, Production Sound Mixers, and/or Music Editors assemble the tracks that become the raw materials for the Re-recording Mixer to work with during production or earlier parts of post-production. Professional musicians, singers, actors, and Foley Artists create the sounds that go into those tracks.

The “premix” is the first step in the traditional re-recording process. The Re-recording Mixer does preliminary processing in the dialogue premix, such as initial loudness adjustments, cross-fading, and reducing environmental noise or spill picked up by the on-set microphone. The Re-recording/Dubbing Mixers, guided by the Director or Producer, must make creative decisions about how loud each major sound element (dialogue, sound effects, laugh track, and music) should be relative to each other during the “final mix.”

What's a Dubbing Mixer good at?
  • Knowledge of film production

    Be aware of the whole process of making a film or TV drama

  • Hearing

    Be able to hear precisely and to concentrate on sound in a distracting environment

  • Understanding sound

    Know how it moves, how we hear, how sound can be manipulated and distorted

  • Creativity & Storytelling

    Be able to recreate everyday sounds to enhance the storytelling

  • Using software

    Record sound, have extensive knowledge of ProTools and other audio design software

  • Communication

    Understand the director’s vision and be able to articulate creative and technical ideas, have productive discussions and address constructive feedback, work closely with the dialogues and always keep the sound in mind

  • Organization

    Be able to work to tight deadlines in post-production

Who does a Dubbing Mixer work with?

The Dubbing Mixer will mainly work with the post-production sound team. This includes Sound Editors, and the Post-production Supervisor, who will keep the post-production schedule on time. They will also work with the Director and Producer of the film, so the audio gets final approval or notes.

How do I become a Dubbing Mixer?

A diploma in audio engineering is generally relevant for this job. To gear your engineering knowledge towards film, however, it is best to work as an Assistant Sound Editor and then move up to working with or as a member of each post-sound department.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

ADR Recordist

Also known as: ADR Mixers

What does an ADR Recordist do?

ADR Recordists are recording engineers who specialize in re-recording dialogue in a studio setting, as well as recording the voiceover for animated films and TV shows, documentaries, and video games.

ADR stands for “automated dialogue replacement”, and it refers to the techniques that can be used to fix or smooth out issues in recorded sound. To get clear and perfect dialogue in each shot of a TV show or movie, filmmakers have a secret weapon: an ADR Mixer.

Sometimes, dialogue is re-recorded to replace the original sound in a scene, because there was some issue, such as background noise, or an actor messing up a line. The ADR Recordist makes sure that all the spoken dialogue in a film is of the highest possible audio quality. They are given notes from the Script Supervisor or Production Sound Mixer, taken during the film shoot, indicating where there are problems in the audio tracks, and from there, they get to work replacing those spots with new recordings, with the actors called in for studio recording sessions of the necessary dialogue.

What's an ADR Recordist good at?
  • Listening

    Have a good ear, know what sounds good, be able to hear sounds that shouldn’t be there

  • Story-telling

    Understand the process of film production, appreciate how sound contributes to the narrative

  • Using software

    Record sound, use editing software, understand how sound is made

  • Communication

    Understand the vision of the director, work with actors replicating dialogue, collaborate with the producers, picture editor, and sound editors

  • Attention to detail

    Be patient, attend to the smallest sounds, often under pressure in the final mix stage

Who does an ADR Recordist work with?

ADR recordists work closely with the Director and Editor. They might also work with the following people:

Supervising Sound Editor
Supervising Sound Editors work directly with the filmmakers to structure and advise on schedules and creative styles. They liaise closely with the picture editor. They build the team of editors responsible for creating the film’s soundtrack. Supervising Sound Editors organize the effects (FX) and Foley recording sessions. They provide the creative input during the mix and ensure the final mix and various versions are delivered.

Voice Actors
Voice Actors are talent responsible for performing dialogue for a film, TV show, or animated project. This might be the first time the dialogue is performed, or a replacement dialogue that needs to be recorded due to bad production sound.

Dialogue Editor (Animation)
Dialogue editors are responsible for editing the recordings of the script and synchronizing this with the animation.

How do I become an ADR Recordist?

You can become an ADR Recordist through many different routes but you must have an interest in and skills in audio recording.

Educational requirements: A college degree in film and TV production with a concentration on audio post-production is beneficial to this career, but may be substituted for a degree in recording arts with a particular focus on audio engineering. The ADR editor must be proficient in the use of analog and digital audio recording consoles, as well as digital audio software like ProTools.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Sound Designer

What does a Sound Designer do?

Sound Designers combine all the elements (music, background noises, dialogue, effects, and other atmospheric sounds) into one unified soundscape that forms the sonic backdrop for a film.

Sound design commonly involves performing and editing of previously composed or recorded audio, such as sound effects and dialogue, but it can also involve creating sounds from scratch through synthesizers or other instruments.

In animation, Sound Designers create the soundscape. In animation, there are no natural sounds to work with (as there would be when filming live action) so everything in sound in animation is created from scratch by Sound Designers.

Sound Designers decide which sounds to use to create the right atmosphere and communicate the story and characters to the audience. They discuss with the director the kind of effect they want and then find creative ways to achieve this.

Most Sound Designers are experienced sound editors who may even supervise the work of the entire sound post-production process, in addition to having a specialized creative role in putting together the entire sonic aspect of the production.

Good communication skills are needed, along with imagination and creative flair to produce original sound elements and effects.

What's a Sound Designer good at?
  • Creativity

    Be able to imagine a soundscape that doesn’t exist yet, translate ideas into sound, create bespoke sounds to enhance the storytelling

  • Storytelling

    Have a good understanding of the characters and the story and design sounds which communicate these well, understand the importance of timing, when sound design is necessary and when not

  • Using software

    Record sound, have extensive knowledge of ProTools and other audio design software

  • Communication

    Understand the director’s vision and be able to articulate creative and technical ideas, have productive discussions and address constructive feedback, work closely with the dialogues and always keep the music in mind

  • Organization

    Be able to work to tight deadlines in post-production

Who does a Sound Designer work with?

Sound Designers work closely with the Director and Editor. They might also work with the following people:

Supervising Sound Editor
Supervising Sound Editors work directly with the filmmakers to structure and advise on schedules and creative styles. They liaise closely with the picture editor. They build the team of editors responsible for creating the film’s soundtrack. Supervising Sound Editors organize the effects (FX) and Foley recording sessions. They provide the creative input during the mix and ensure the final mix and various versions are delivered.

Sound Effects Editor
Sound Effects Editors work closely with the Sound Designer and Supervisor. They create backgrounds using specific sounds, such as clocks, wind, birdsong, cars passing. They create the ambience that can be altered to work with the dialogue and music.

Dialogue Editor
Dialogue Editors are responsible for editing the recordings of the script and synchronizing this with the animation.

Foley Artists
Bigger studios might have specific Foley Artists who create everyday sounds which are then added to films during post-production. It can be challenging to record every small sound that happens in a scene while you’re actually on set (keys rattling in a door, footsteps, a spoon clinking inside a cup, someone typing on their keyboard, etc). Sometimes, these sounds have to be recreated or included after the fact. For example, when actors do a fight scene, they aren’t really hitting each other, so there are no punching sounds to record! The job of a foley artist is to find something that can sound convincingly like a real fight to the audience (while avoiding real violence, of course!)

Music Editor
Music Editors determine where music is needed in the film and the style and purpose of the music. Sound Designers will collaborate with them to make sure their sound effects work well with the music being written by the Composer.

How do I become a Sound Designer?

Most Sound Designers begin as Production Assistants in post-production or audio post-production houses. They work their way up to Assistant, Mixer or Sound Editor and spend many years perfecting their craft.

Educational requirements: Education options range from 1-year diploma programs to bachelor’s, post-graduate, and master’s degrees in sound design. Art schools, film schools and universities offer programs in the industry.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Sound Recordist

Also known as: Sound engineer

What does a Sound Recordist do?

Sound recordists capture all of the sounds on location for Film and Television Productions. This can include dialogue, singing, and action – from performance to real events. They will fit personal mics to any actors that require a microphone connected to them as well as helping with the placement of microphones on the set. They will assist the boom operator in setting up the equipment and figuring out the best placement for them to stand.

The main responsibility of a sound recordist is to capture all the audio on the production. They will use various pieces of equipment and microphones to make sure all the correct audio is being recorded and also named properly. They will track down every take of audio so that in the editing process it is easier to edit. They will also make sure the timecode for the camera and visuals is synced up to the recording equipment and audio.

Sound recordists also work around any issues with background noise. The job is as much about making sure you don’t record the sounds you don’t want as recording the ones you do. They listen to make sure nothing’s wrong with the take, to see whether it needs to be recorded again. The sound has to make sense with the visuals, so sound recordists will often record a ‘wild track’ of realistic background noise that can be used in the edit to fill any gaps in the background atmosphere caused by editing, or added to a scene without drowning out the dialogue. On large productions, several sound recordists work to one sound supervisor.

What's a Sound Recordist good at?
  • Communication

    Have great people skills, put contributors at ease when fitting personal mics and be able to collaborate effectively with other team members to ensure the sound fits with the visuals.

  • Problem-solving

    Be resourceful and find effective solutions to technical problems and recording challenges.

  • Technical knowledge

    Be able to operate, maintain and repair sound equipment, keep up-to-date and use innovations.

  • Scientific knowledge

    Understand the physics of sound, the qualities it possesses, what can affect it, how to manipulate it.

  • Knowledge of the production and post-production process

    Have a good understanding of all crew roles and aspects.

Who does a Sound Recordist work with?

Sound recordists work intimately, fitting personal mics and monitoring the sound output on all on-screen talent and contributors. They communicate with all members of the production and crew, especially camera operators and directors. They will also work with Boom operators on set and collaborate with them to find the best places to capture sound without impeding the shot.

How do I become a Sound Recordist?

Sound recordist is a senior role, so you’ll probably need experience as a sound assistant first. You might get into this role by gaining experience as a Production Assistant , or you might have been a sound trainee.

Here are some more tips:

Educational requirements: A certificate or degree in audio engineering is preferred for this role. Internships and apprenticeships in audio production are very important, as is learning on the job in entry-level positions in the audio/sound department of smaller-budget productions.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Sound Editor

Also known as: Supervising Sound Editor, Sound Effects Editor

What does a Sound Editor do?

Sound Editors manage the team that looks after each part of the sound of a film or TV drama. This includes those responsible for dialogue, additional dialogue recording (ADR), sound effects, background sounds, and Foley.

Their role varies according to the budget of the production. On lower-budget films, they start work when the picture Editor has achieved picture lock – the point at which the Director or Producer has given the final approval for the picture edit. On bigger budget films, they start work before shooting begins and appoint specialist Sound Editors to supervise separate teams for each area of work.

After picture lock, Sound Editors attend a “spotting session” with the Director and other Sound Editors. They discuss any concepts for the overall feel of the sound (naturalistic or stylized), and check every sound effect and line of dialogue to see what’s needed.

They will then have a hands-on role in creating the overall soundtrack for every discipline.

They are responsible for the sound budget and for organizing the workflow – from sound editorial, foley recording, ADR sessions, pre-mix to the final mix, and making plans for any special requirements. After the final mix, Sound Editors usually oversee the creation of the different deliverables, including a music and effects version which allows dialogue to be replaced with dialogue in different languages.

Among the challenges that Sound Editors face are creatively adding together various elements to create believable sounds representing everything you see on screen. The Sound Editor must put all the elements of sound together in a way that not only sounds seamless and natural but also heightens the dramatic tension or emotional impact that the Director wants in each scene.

What's a Sound Editor good at?
  • Listening

    Have a good ear, know what sounds good, be able to hear sounds that shouldn’t be there

  • Story-telling

    Understand the process of film production, appreciate how sound contributes to the narrative

  • Using software

    Record sound, use editing software, and understand how sound is made

  • Organization

    Budget, recruit staff, plan the workflow, and work to the deadline

  • Communication

    Understand the vision of the director, work with actors replicating dialogue with ADR, collaborate with the producers, picture editor, and sound editors

  • Attention to detail

    Be patient, and attend to the smallest sounds, often under pressure in the final mix stage

Who does a Sound Editor work with?

Sound Editors work closely with the Director, Editor, and the Post-production Supervisor, who is responsible for the smooth running of the whole post-production process. They also work with the following people in the post-production sound department.

Music Editor
Music Editors intensify the emotional impact of a film by creating the soundtrack. They contribute mood, atmosphere, and the occasional catchy theme tune.

Sound Designer
Sound Designers are concerned with all the sound effects whether that be gunshots, clocks, doors closing, dog barking (spot effects) or rain, wind, traffic, birdsong (atmosphere effects), or special effects such as aliens talking.

Foley Editor
Foley Editors add subtle sounds that production microphones often miss. These often relate to movement, such as footsteps, fights, fist banging on a door, or pouring wine, shards of glass falling from a broken window. The process gives scenes added realism. They note every Foley effect that is required and works out how to create that sound in special studios. They create the sounds with Foley Artists in front of a projected picture and may try several different ways to get the right effect. After the studio recording, Foley Editors fit all the Foleys to the images in perfect sync.

Re-recording Mixer
Re-recording Mixers mix a soundtrack for preview sessions. They work at large mixing consoles smoothing out sound and adding a temporary music soundtrack prepared by the Music Editor. After previews, when the film or show has been re-cut, Re-recording Mixers further pre-mix the sound and reduce the number of tracks in preparation for the final mix. In the final mix, the soundtrack is refined in consultation with the director and mixed to industry standards.

ADR Mixer or ADR Dialogue Editor
ADR Mixers review the original sound files of a production to spot technical or performance-related problems and analyze whether they could be replaced by an alternate take. Working on a digital audio workstation (DAW), they use editing software to cut between a number of takes to create crisp clean lines of dialogue. If this isn’t possible they will use additional dialogue recording (ADR). This is where actors come in for a voice recording session, watching themselves on screen and re-voicing as accurately as possible. After the newly recorded ADR has been edited into the original track, ADR Mixers work to make all background or ambient sound smooth.

Descriptive Video Transcriber
Descriptive Video Transcribers are responsible for creating detailed descriptions to be provided in cinemas or as home-viewing additional soundtracks for visually-impaired viewers. They use a specially designed programme that simultaneously displays the film script, actual image, and timecodes to enable them to write their own narration according to precise timing. Once the audio description script is prepared they will spend several days recording and mixing the new specific soundtrack, which will be reviewed by the Distributor.

How do I become a Sound Editor?

Most Sound Editors begin as Production Assistants in post-production or audio post-production houses. They work their way up to Assistant, and Mixer and spend many years perfecting their craft before becoming a Sound Editor. A program in Media or Film studies, concentrating on post-production audio, is useful. Experience using editing software is key, as is working on small projects to build your portfolio.

Make films: Do the sound on student productions. Make a showreel of your work and build your sound portfolio. This is evidence of your practical skills and creativity that you can show collaborators and employers.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Music Editor

What does a Music Editor do?

Music Editors intensify the emotional impact of a film by creating the soundtrack. They contribute mood, atmosphere, and the occasional catchy theme tune.

They usually start work while the film is being edited. They work with the Director to decide on the purpose of the music, find a style to suit the story and mark the points in the film where music is required (spotting). Music Editors then work closely with a Composer, who is usually appointed by the Director, and who composes the music using the temp score as a template. The temp score is also used by the film editors to achieve the right tempo with the cut. Music Editors often act as a bridge between the sound and picture teams.

They attend all recording sessions, helping with any revisions and design a ‘click track’ which is used to help the musicians achieve synchronization with the movie. Working with a specialist music mixer, they create different mixes, lay down the tracks and fit them exactly to the picture, ready for the final mix or dub.

What's a Music Editor good at?
  • Music

    Know the history and construction of music, compose in different styles and genres, improvise, read scores, create themes quickly under the pressure of deadlines

  • Understanding film production

    Appreciate the process and techniques of making films, know how music affects images and adds drama, have a passion for the industry

  • Collaboration

    Listen to the Director, translate the vision into music, be flexible, communicate the vision with the Editor, Composer and other musicians

  • Using software

    Produce electronic scores using technology such as ProTools, use editing and mixing software

  • Networking

    Know people in the music, film and TV industries, build up contacts, understand contracts and copyright clearances, organize, communicate and negotiate

Who does a Music Editor work with?

Within the post-production house, music editors work closely with the supervising sound editor. They also work with the following:

Music Supervisor
Music Supervisors negotiate deals and contracts, prepare budgets, and attend scheduling meetings. They oversee the composing process, ensuring that the required music is being written, listened to, and reported upon. They organize music orchestration and copying. If the music is to be published, they ensure that it’s registered properly.

Composer
Composers write original music. They write themes to pictures and deal with any revisions, collaborating with the editor. Composers prepare the score, usually on midi files, for the orchestrator and copyist. They also prepare the score’s electronic aspects for the recording sessions and deliver the score to the producer, together with all recordable media.

How do I become a Music Editor?

Music Editors are usually graduates in sound technology or music. After graduating, they may work their way up the post-production sound department, starting as runners, training as assistants, and progressing to Dubbing Mixers or Sound Editors.

Here are some more tips:

Get a degree: You might choose one in music, sound technology, or sound engineering.

Start composing and recording: Write your own original compositions. Collaborate with friends making videos and writing the score.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Sound Mixer

Also known as: Production Sound Mixer

What does a Sound Mixer do?

Sound mixers head up the department responsible for all the sound recorded during filming. This is predominantly dialogue but can include sound effects, music, and atmosphere.

Before shooting starts, they meet with the Producer and Director to discuss the best method of capturing sound alongside the Director’s shooting style. They visit locations to check for potential sound problems, like passing trains or road noise.

During filming, Sound Mixers ensure audio from radio and boom microphones are recorded at a good level for every take. If they flag up a problem, the Director decides whether to do another take or correct it in post-production.

A lot of sound on a film or TV drama is added afterward in the edit. Speech is often corrected through ADR (automated dialogue replacement), a way of re-recording in a studio.

Most film sets are challenging environments for Mixers. Costumes rustle. Generators hum and cameras point in places where a microphone needs to be. Sound Mixers solve the problems, often under pressure. They must put all the elements of sound together in a way that not only sounds seamless and natural but also heightens the dramatic tension or emotional impact that the Director wants in each scene. They work on a freelance basis.

What's a Sound Mixer good at?
  • Hearing

    Be able to hear precisely and to concentrate on sound in a distracting environment

  • Understanding sound

    Know how it moves, how we hear, how sound can be manipulated and distorted

  • Knowledge of equipment

    Understand electronics, recording, playback and editing gear

  • Attention to detail

    Be able to listen to and manipulate tiny sounds, keep accurate and precise records

  • Film production

    Know how sound can tell a story, understand the requirements of other departments, including camera, rigging, art, wardrobe and hair and make-up

  • Communication

    Be able to listen to the director, give instructions to other members of the team, persuade other departments of the importance of the needs of the sound department and share decisions made while under pressure

Who does a Sound Mixer work with?

Boom Operator or First Assistant Sound
A boom is an extendable arm on which a microphone can be mounted. They are designed to pick up the sound without appearing in the shot. Boom Operators are responsible for operating booms as well as placing radio or clip microphones to capture the best quality dialogue and sound effects. They must carefully note all planned camera movements and lighting requirements to make sure the microphone is always hidden.

Sound Assistant (second assistant sound, third assistant, utility sound technician, cable person)
Sound Assistants begin work on the first day of shooting and help unload, check and set up sound equipment. They find and stop unwanted noise (including laying carpets) and check batteries for the sound crew. They may help attach clip microphones, negotiate cables on the studio floor, and ensure sound rushes are correctly filed at the end of the day.

How do I become a Sound Mixer?

A good route to becoming a Sound Mixer is to start as Production Assistant and work your way up through the roles outlined above.

Here are some tips:

Get a degree: It’s not necessary to have a degree, but you might want one in sound engineering or music technology.

Educational Requirements: To go to university for a sound-related course, you might want to study courses in math, physics, and music. A program in Media or Film studies, concentrating on post-production audio, is also useful. Experience using editing software is key, as is working on small projects to build your portfolio

Get an internship: Internships are jobs with training, so they’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. Think about taking that job, learning the core skills of sound and transferring those skills into film and TV drama at a later point. Before taking any internship, check what you’ll be learning with your prospective employer and college, so you can be sure it will be giving you the skills you want.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

VFX Supervisor

Also known as: Lead Visual Effects (VFX) Artist, Senior VFX Artist

What does a VFX Supervisor do?

This role is responsible for overseeing all VFX work and managing technical and artistic VFX personnel. While it is a creative role, most Visual FX Supervisors possess a strong technical background and are capable of making informed decisions about the most efficient and effective technique to employ to solve the problem at hand. Often a supervisor will work in tandem with a Visual Effects Producer and Computer Graphics Supervisor.

VFX Supervisors begin their work on a project in the early stages of pre-production. They are the main point of liaison between a VFX studio and the Director or Producer of the film or TV program. Together, they decide on what VFX is needed for every shot of the film. VFX Supervisors then work with the VFX Artists to create prototype materials to present. These can include concept art and 3D computer-generated images (CG). The prototype materials help to inform the style of the VFX in the production.

VFX Supervisors are present for filming during production so that they can see if the shots are satisfactory and will work with the VFX elements. VFX supervisors continue to lead their team when the film is being put together during post-production. They oversee the quality of all work produced and make sure that it is in line with the vision of the Director and/or Producer.

What's a VFX Supervisor good at?
  • Art

    Have excellent design, layout, colour, and composition skills

  • Knowledge of photography

    Understand cameras, cinematography, and how films are made, be able to influence the shoot so it works for the VFX

  • Knowledge of VFX programs

    Be adept at using relevant programs such as Maya, Blender, Nuke, and Photoshop

  • Collaboration

    Work in pre-production with the director or producer to decide on which shots will need VFX work, respond to their creative and artistic direction

  • Leadership

    Share the director or producers’ vision of the film with the VFX artists of all departments, inspire them to do their best work, manage their output in terms of quality and deadlines

  • Communication

    Be able to clearly articulate what needs to be done on-set to achieve the desired VFX shots, be able to relay information between the production and your artists

Who does a VFX Supervisor work with?

VFX Supervisors work with film Directors and Producers. Together, they decide on what VFX is needed for every shot of a film. They also lead all of the different kinds of VFX Artists within a VFX company or studio.

How do I become a VFX Supervisor?

The VFX Supervisor job is the highest leadership role within an entire VFX company or studio; therefore, you will work in other, more junior, VFX roles first before reaching this position. VFX Supervisors need the same technical skills and relevant software proficiency as Junior VFX Artists do, so you could start VFX work as a Roto Artist or Prep Artist and progress from there. In this case, an important thing that you can do is to create a show-reel to illustrate your abilities (even established VFX supervisors can have their own show-reels). Alternatively, you can start work in the production department as a Production Coordinator or Production Assistant and go from there.

Educational requirements: A college degree in film and TV production, computer animation, or art and design is key. These are taught at many colleges, universities, and art schools. Training in the use of visual effects and animation software is a must.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Compositing Supervisor

Also known as: Comp Supervisor, Head of Compositing

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

  • Organization

    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.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Compositor

Also known as: Compositing Artist, Finishing Artist, Visual Effects (VFX) Artist

What does a Compositor do?

Compositors create the final image of a frame, shot, or sequence of a film, television show, or animation. They take all the various digital materials used (assets), such as computer-generated (CG) images, background plates, graphics and special effects (SFX), live-action footage, and matte paintings, and then combine them to appear as one cohesive image and shot.

Compositors consider visual aspects of a scene, such as realistic lighting. Anything caused by light hitting a “lens” is a compositor’s responsibility. They relight in order to improve the look of the image. They also create shadows and motion blurs as necessary to improve the shot.

Compositors are also responsible for continuity; making sure art from different sources and different artists looks the same. They make sure the blacks and other colours match each other in the image. They spot mistakes and either correct them or send the work back through the pipeline to be improved. Compositors ensure the overall style of the film is consistent and in line with the director’s vision.

What's a Compositor good at?
  • A good eye

    Recognize what makes an image appear realistic in terms of light, colour, composition, and perspective. Be able to scrutinize the media and work on compositions until they appear cohesive and consistent

  • Knowledge of photography

    Understand cameras, cinematography and how films are made

  • Knowledge of compositing programs

    Be adept at using relevant programs such as After Effects, Blackmagic Fusion, Houdini, Maya, Nuke, and Photoshop

  • Knowledge of the animation production pipeline

    Have a thorough understanding of the computer-generated animation process

  • Collaboration

    Be able to work with other VFX artists, use each other’s resources effectively and efficiently

  • Working to deadlines

    Work within given time frames, be able to complete work under pressure

Who does a Compositor work with?

Compositors work with the Visual Effects Supervisor to understand the final expectations. They also work with the various artists that create all the different elements such as:

Lighting technical director (TD)

There is some overlap between, and blurring of responsibilities of, the work of Compositors and Lighting Technical Directors (TDs), as lighting is such an important part of a film. Lighting Technical Directors are incharge of managing and creating the artificial lighting in a scene to match the scene requirements. Whether that be to match it realistically or add more of a fun lighting scheme.

Roto Artist

Roto Artists work closely with Compositors, as the mattes which Roto Artists produce serve as important layers for Compositors to work with. Often, Roto Artists work towards being promoted to a Compositor position. Compositors are expected to know how to rotoscope.

Compositors will also often work with Background Designers, Matte Painters, and Compositing Supervisors.

How do I become a Compositor?

It takes many years working in the industry to become a Compositor. However, some companies have Junior Compositor roles, which give you the opportunity to develop into a Senior Compositor position. You might get into a Junior Compositor role straight after college or university, or you might start in a related role, such as a roto artist or modeler, and work your way into the compositor role from there. The most important thing that you can do to become a Compositor is to create a showreel to illustrate your abilities to potential employers. A degree in VFX is useful too, especially as it gives you time to build up a portfolio.

Build a portfolio: Learn the software, experiment with programs, and create a showreel that you can show to potential collaborators or employers. Focus on producing a portfolio that includes relevant work to showcase your immediate practical skills. This is essential. Make sure you’re familiar with what’s out there.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Roto Artist

Also known as: Junior Visual Effects (VFX) Artist

What does a Roto Artist do?

Roto Artists manually draw around and cut out objects from movie frames so that the required parts of the image can be used, a process known as rotoscoping.

The parts of an image that are wanted after cutting out are known as mattes. Roto Artists work on the areas of live action frames where computer-generated images (CGI) or other live-action images will overlap or interact with the live image.

If the live-action camera is not moving within a shot, rotoscoping might involve only one frame. If the camera’s moving, roto artists trace the relevant areas of every frame within the shot so that CG can be combined accurately with the live-action. Roto Artists need to have a keen eye and patience in order to complete this meticulous and repetitive work.

In addition to rotoscoping, Roto Artists assist in the preparation of material for compositing.

What's a Roto Artist good at?
  • Drawing skill

    Trace accurately with a good line

  • Patience

    Be methodical and thorough, taking care to rotoscope well so as to help to produce a high-quality final image

  • Knowledge of programs

    Be adept at using relevant programs such as Photoshop

  • Delivery

    Work well with strict deadlines, be able to complete work under pressure

  • Taking initiative

    Observe what’s happening, be proactive, ask questions at the appropriate time

Who does a Roto Artist work with?

Roto Artists work most closely with Compositors, as the mattes which Roto Artists produce serve as important layers for Compositors to work with. They pass on their work to Prep Artists, as part of a VFX production pipeline, to help prepare plates for Compositors.

How do I become a Roto Artist?

It is important that you create a showreel to show potential employers and collaborators what you can do. In terms of formal education, there are degrees available specific to the VFX industry, and they can help you to become a Roto Artist.

Build a portfolio: Learn the software, experiment with VFX programs and create a showreel that you can show to collaborators or employers. Focus on producing a portfolio which includes relevant work to showcase your immediate practical skills.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.