Week 02: Production Management and Compositing Department

In the first part of this task we are going to talk about a Production management department role, which wins the contracts for the work, puts together the teams, draws up the budgets, delivers the project.

Later, we are going to focus ourselves on two roles related to the Compositing department, which brings together the different assets from the live-action footage and the computer-generated imagery

Production Management Department

Runner role:

Runners’ work usually carries out different tasks and must work quickly and responsively.

The Runner role works under the direction of the producer and production staff to accomplish whatever tasks are required to ensure the smooth running of the production. They may be involved in anything from office administration or crowd control to public relations and cleaning up locations and supports everyone in the VFX studio. The work is usually extremely varied and the role offers an opportunity to learn about every aspect of the industry, providing a good entry-level role in the film and television industry.

This role provides an opportunity to gain experience and knowledge in a production process, offering valuable opportunities. Moreover, the runner is often seen as the first step on the ladder for people aspiring to work in broadcasting media roles.

As a Runner, you’ll act as a general assistant and undertake different responsibilities such as:

  • Answer the phone
  • Delivering post or local clients
  • Doing general administrative work
  • Fetching and carrying items
  • Taking messages or bringing coffee
  • Ordering food.

The Runner’s working hours tend to be long and unpredictable – often up to six days per week during production – usually employed on a freelance basis, and not very well paid. They also have to work nights, weekends,s and public holidays.

But what should you expect from being a Runner? Well, first of all, Runners are expected to be prompt and efficient. Part of the job is to take the pressure off the person above you. However, people say that this job role is fast-moving and can be exciting, stimulating, with plenty of variety. You should also expect to travel within a working day.

To be a Runner you’re not expected to have a specific qualification. However, a relevant degree or postgraduate qualification may increase your chances of success. Being a Runner is generally considered to be a training position of progressing to other roles. There is no set time for how long you can expect to work as a Runner, but some employers feel that two or three years is the norm to gain adequate experience.

Web reference:



Compositing Department

Prep Artist:

Paint Artists work with Compositors to help them integrate all elements of an image, including CG and live-action, to create film visual effects shots. They remove unwanted items from plates, such as; wires, rigs, crew, mockup people, and tracking markers. They clean up the backgrounds of live-action footage ready for the effects to be layered onto it by the compositor.

Prep Artists work with the Compositors figure because they hand plates over to them, but also with the Roto artists, who cut out objects and help clean the plates. In small companies, Prep Artists and Roto Artists’ work are combined.

We must underline that Prep Artists are responsible for

  • Rig removals
  • Painting out markers, wires, and other imperfections before the shot can move along the pipeline
  • Deliver mid or senior-level paint tasks
  • Composite procedures such as grading, wrapping, morphing, and distortion. 

Prep Artists also have ongoing communication with Production and Lead regarding schedules and deadlines and work efficiently as part of the team, or independently, to complete assigned shots.

Usually, their job requirements are essential skills such as an Arts or Science degree in moving picture or related, prior experience in a Junior Paint and Roto role, and having expertise in working with software like Nuke and Photoshop.

Prep Artists should also be skilled at

  • Drawing and painting using graphic tablets
  • Have a high level of accuracy with the pen
  • They must recognize when and where the images need to be cleaned
  • Must be patient

Web reference:



Roto Artists:

Roto Artists trace areas within live-action frames where the CGI will be inserted or interact with live images. They create silhouettes known as roto mattes within the frame to allow the scene to be layered by the compositor. This technique is known as rotoscoping and is manually drawn out frame by frame if the sequence involves camera movement.

It can be repetitive and painstaking work that requires attention to detail and patience. 

The Roto Artist prepares material for the compositor using motion-tracking software.

This is a position within a filmmaking team that requires precision and visual effects expertise. The Roto Artists also work in video game productions that use live-action footage. The effects that are integrated into the footage must be compatible and realistic, so the Roto Artist must work closely with both the filmmakers and FX artists to allow for a dynamic effect.

In the early days of film, Roto Artists would manually trace each frame of film. Today computer software and CGI make the work a lot less hard. Many of the innate skills of a Roto Artist remain the same whether working in film, television, or gaming. This role is an entry-level position that requires patience in dealing with repetitive and tedious tasks.

Some software and tools that a Roto Artist uses are Silhouette, Adobe Ae, Adobe Ai, Adobe Ps, Dreamweaver, Shake, Nuke, and Digital fusion.

Web Reference


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *