Week 05: On-set and Compositing Department

On-set department gets the information about the way the live-action footage is being filmed, liaises between VFX and film teams, meanwhile the Compositing Department brings together the different assets from the live-action footage and the CG imagery

On-set department

VFX Supervisor

VFX supervisors are in charge of the whole VFX project, managing the VFX pipeline, including all of the VFX artists that work in this process.

The VFX supervisor’s job happens in three stages.

  1. Pre-production
    1. the VFX supervisor works closely with the director, director of photography, and 1st AD to determine a technical approach to accomplish the work.
  2. Principal photography
    1. the VFX supervisor is responsible for ensuring that all scenes requiring visual effects are shot properly.
    2. If the shots are satisfactory they can start working on the VFX while the rest of the film is being shot.
    3. VFX Supervisors also handle the VFX budget and schedule. 
  3. Post-production
    1. the VFX are actually applied to the footage. When principal photography is done and editing begins, the VFX supervisor and team add digital effects to the project using computer imaging, motion capture technology, and animation.
    2. They oversee the quality of all work produced and make sure it is in line with the director/producer’s vision.

Depending on the size of the production, VFX Supervisors can be employed on a single film for up two years.

Required skills:

  • Have excellent design, layout, color and composition skills
  • Strong understanding of cameras, cinematography
  • Be able to influence the shoot to make it work for the VFX
  • Be able to use programs as Maya, Nuke and Adobe Ps
  • Strong collaboration, communication and leadership skills

This job role collaborates with VFX producers to bid for work from clients and to set schedules and budgets. Provides notes for the VFX production coordinators to keep the project on track. And together with directors and producers, they decide what VFX is needed, leading all of the different kinds of VFX artists within a company.

Web reference



Data capture technician

The Data capture technician go onto the set in order to collect live-action footage information needed to add visual effects by the VFX studio.

Their work is basically “capture data” from cameras: type of lens used, focal length, filters, focus and color temperature, camera height and camera mount, and distance between the camera and actors. Those informations are essentials in order to recreate the exact scene digitally in a believable way.

TDs work with camera trainers, camera operators, and script supervisors to gather all the information listed above.

They also work with VFX supervisors and Matchmove Artists to ensure that the sets and actors have tracking markers placed properly so that matchmove and roto artists can work on it.

Data Capture TD required skills are:

  • Have strong eye for details and problem solving skills
  • Strong understanding of motion picture equipment, cameras, monitors and lights
  • Understand the VFX pipeline
  • Use data sharing application FileMaker Pro and be able to operate and mantain data collecting equipment
  • Work quickly and accurately on set in order to run the production smoothly

Web Reference


Compositing department


Compositors ensure that all the visual elements of a film are rendered seamlessly on the screen and create the final image of a VFX sequence.

Compositors play a vital role in the final output of the finished film, television series, or computer game. They deal with a complex combination of images including green screen/chroma key sequences, special effects, visual effects, mattes, and live action and assemble all the layers of live action footage, animation, and special effects into one at the end of the post production process to appear as one cohesive image and shot.

To fit this role, Compositors must have a solid knowledge of CGI elements and how to integrate them.

Their responsibilities include:

  • Establish the formats and delivery items of production with director, producer and post-production head
  • Ensure that materials are compatible to produce the pipeline
  • Advising on best lighting, color levels and black to maintain style consistency
  • Working closely with lighting techinical directors, roto artists and render wranglers
  • Working with blue and green screens
  • Conducting quality assurance of visuals and correcting errors before the final composition

Compositors require an equal amount of artistic and technical skills. Their role is the crucial final step of the output of the film when all the elements are composed to its final render.

Skills required:

  • Strong artistic skills
  • Career training in VFX compositing and strong demo reel
  • Knowledge of photography
  • Being able to use programs as Adobe Ae and Ps, Blackmagic Fusion, Houdini, Maya and Nuke
  • Ability to work in team or individually
  • Ability to work under pressure and keep resources and teams on schedule and within budget

This job role collaborates with Lighting technical directors, Roto artists, and Prep artists.

Web Reference



Compositing Supervisor

Responsible for the Compositing team of a production, he ensures compliance with quality standards and timelines established by the management of production and the client. The Compositing Supervisor is part of the production team under the authority of the VFX Supervisor. He is the functional link between his team and other departments.

They manage the compositors, who put together all the different elements of VFX shots and check the quality of the work. This role must be experienced in taking different digital materials and combining them to appear as one cohesive shot. if needed, they may also composite shots themselves.

Their responsibilities include:

  • Supervising each step of his department
  • Following the VFX Supervisors, Producers, Production Coordinators and Programmers‘ guidelines
  • Providing and artistic support for Artists
  • Confirming all the necessary additional references needed to start a project
  • Communicate with VFX Supervisors and Production Coordinators
  • Ensuring the quality control and the internal approval before sending the project
  • Managing, supporting and training his team members so they can meet the quality standards required

Required skills to fit this role:

  • Good eye in making and image appear realistic in terms of photography
  • Knowledge of photography
  • Comunication, leadership and pproblem-solving skills
  • Organisation which include plan workflows, meeting deadlines and distribute work amongst the team
  • Knowledge of VFX programs as Adobe Ae, Blackmagic Fusion, Blender, Cinema4D, Houdini, Maya, Nuke, RenderMan and 3Ds Max

Compositing Supervisors work with Compositors and the head of the whole project, VFX Supervisor. They also collaborate with CG Supervisors in order to work out properly what is needed for the pipeline.

Web reference


Compositing supervisor

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