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Reel Opportunities

Data input/output (I/O) Technician

Also known as: Data Technician

What does a Data I/O Technician do?

Data Input/Output (I/O) Technicians are responsible for organizing, transferring and storing the computer files and data for a VFX production company.

They manage the computer storage and retrieval systems, including company hard drives. VFX companies process large amounts of data because they deal with high-quality video files and digital 3D animation files. They know different digital camera formats such as Alexa, Cannon, Phantom, Red, etc. Data I/O Technicians troubleshoot any issues that come up to do with file storage.

Data I/O Technicians ensure that all the transferring and storing of data is done securely and that files are encrypted wherever necessary. They make logs of all of the files that they receive and perform quality control checks on these files to see if there are problems or if the files are corrupted. They use file transfer programs in order to perform their role.

Data I/O Technicians give technical support to people working in a VFX pipeline when needed. They are usually employed by VFX companies or studios rather than freelancers.

What's a Data I/O Technician good at?
  • Programming and coding skills

    Have knowledge of programming in C++ and Python with a high level of technical ability

  • Computing technical skill

    Be able to work in Microsoft Windows, macOS (Apple), Linux or Unix operating systems, understand how the data sharing application FileMaker Pro works and be able to use it, understand file transfer protocols (FTPs)
    Understand the VFX pipeline: know the process of how VFX get created

  • Communication and teamwork

    Communicate well with the other data I/O technicians, and VFX Artists, when necessary, so that there is a cohesive and structured file storage system

  • Organization

    Be attentive to the detail of the files and data that you process and store, maintain a working system of file storage

  • Efficiency

    Work quickly and accurately, organize and prioritize your tasks

Who does a Data I/O Technician work with?

Data I/O Technicians work with other Data I/O Technicians in a team. They communicate with all of the other departments in a VFX company. They also talk to the film production company about the files needed for creating the VFX shots.

How do I become a Data I/O Technician?

Data I/O Technicians tend to have a degree in computer science or information technology (IT). Employers may ask for up to two years’ worth of experience in either a similar role, Data Technician (including this role but in other industries, such as ‘Data Wrangler’), or in VFX, film or TV drama production management. Therefore, you can look at becoming a VFX Production Assistant first as this is an entry level position, and gain experience and promotion from there. Similarly, you can look for post-production Production Assistant roles. Ultimately, the most important factor of becoming a Data I/O Technician is developing and maintaining good IT skills.

Educational Requirements: You can study courses or programs in computer or computing science. You can possibly study long enough to get a degree in computer science or IT.

Look outside the industry: See if you can get a job as a runner with a 3D animation studio or company. This will help you build contacts, skills and knowledge related to VFX. Look for Data Technician, Data Wrangler or IT roles in any industry.

More tips

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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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.