The role of the Virtual Production Supervisor
On-Set Facilities CEO and VP Cinematographer Asa Bailey helms virtual productions both on-set and in the cloud working with some of the industries top VP crew and on-set VFX crew, and since the pandemic hit, he’s never been busier. In this post we sit down with Bailey to try and learn more about the role of the Virtual Production Supervisor.
The Virtual Production Supervisor Role
The Virtual Production Supervisor advises the producers and implements agreed virtual production solutions for the benefit of the production. Helping to minimize the production spend and schedule without compromising the vision or quality of the outcome, using virtual production technologies. The Head of the VP Department with a considerable influence over the whole production process working in collaboration with the Director, DOP, Production Designer and VFX Supervisors.
The Virtual Production Supervisor is responsible for the reliability and functionality of the virtual production systems and workflows, and management of the virtual production both on-set and in the cloud. The grounding skills of the VP Supervisor are more tuned towards computer networking, camera tracking systems, LED and real-time lighting, on-set VFX visualisation, motion capture, virtual cinematography, game engine operation, real-time rendering, broadcast engineering, cloud computing and software development.
A Virtual Production Supervisor understands the creative possibilities and technical difficulties in the processes of virtual production and is expected to have an expert understanding of the best ways to use the technology practically and creatively during every stage of production.
A Virtual Production Supervisor understands the production conflicts between budget, creative direction & schedule and can implement virtual production solutions that help to mitigate these conflicts. It is the Virtual Production Supervisor who will represent virtual production in all departments, assisting others to embrace virtual production technologies, workflows and services into their way of working.
During development and preproduction, the Virtual Production Supervisor is expected to offer proposals and suggestions toward the overall creative direction of a project, including suggesting new virtual production methodologies and processes and ways of doing things, propping technically minded ideas that may impart a creative benefit to the whole production.
During preproduction, the Virtual Production Supervisor is responsible for managing and supporting any multiuser connectivity to the collaborative cloud workflows including working with the VFX Supervisor to prepare assets for virtual scouting and providing technical support during virtual scouting sessions.
During production, the Virtual Production Supervisor is responsible for maintaining a stable real-time virtual production environment on-set and in the cloud. Including the reliable recording of all digital VP data, such as Engine Takes, FBX, FIZ, motion capture, and pre-vis masks & composites, as well as ensuring the integrity of data transfer to the VFX team and on-set digital information technicians.
During post-production, Virtual Production Supervisor is responsible for all recorded virtual production data and for coordinating and running any post-viz sessions using multi-user virtual environments, as required for post-production.
More Virtual Production Crew Roles
The Virtual Production Technical Director reports to the Virtual Production Supervisor or VFX supervisor and is responsible for the functionality of the virtual production systems and workflows, including the communication and management of the virtual production systems team.
During development and preproduction, the Virtual Production Technical Director is responsible for supervising multi-user virtual scouting sessions and for implementing and supporting the digital pre-visualization working environment.
The Virtual Production Technical Director is responsible for any multiuser connectivity to the collaborative cloud workflows including working with the VFX and 3D content development teams to assist in preparing assets for virtual scouting. The VPTD is also responsible for ensuring that their is sufficient technical support to assist any crew members who may need it, during on-set and cloud virtual production sessions.
During production, the Virtual Production Technical Director is responsible for maintaining a stable real-time virtual production environment on-set and in the cloud.
As well as assisting the Virtual Production Supervisor to invent and develop VP solutions, it is the responsibility of the Virtual Production Technical Director to provide a reliable VP system for the recording of all digital virtual production data, such as Engine Takes, FBX, FIZ, motion capture, and pre-vis masks & composites, as well as ensuring the integrity of data transfer off-set for any necessary post-production.
During post-production, the Virtual Production Technical Director is responsible for delivering all recorded virtual production data and for coordinating and running any post-viz sessions using muti-user virtual environments as required by all departments during post-production.
Virtual Production Developer is responsible for developing new virtual production software and hardware and its integration into virtual production systems.
Virtual Production Technician is a specialist operator of virtual production hardware and software and its integration into virtual production systems.
Virtual Production Camera Assistant is responsible for the virtual production hardware at the camera end of any virtual production system.
System Networking Engineer is responsible for specifying and maintaining all network connectivity between virtual production hardware and software.
Virtual Production Producer is a producer who understands the tech and what it takes in time and money to execute. Responsible for budgeting VP systems for productions, studio installations, events and wherever VP crew and technology come together on-set and in the cloud.
Virtual Production Director A Virtual Production Director is a Creative Director who specializes in directing both on-set and in the cloud. Hollywood Directors who could be classed as Virtual Production Directors include James Cameron, Jon Favreau and Robert Zemeckis.
Virtual production is digital production 2.0
In the early 1990’s production computing happened, and it happened locally (digital cameras, desktop publishing, rendering). Whereas with virtual production these local processes now connect to the cloud, bringing all the benefits of cloud computing to every production that’s connected.
Where local and cloud computing come together in computing terms is called the “Edge” and where the Edge exists it is disrupting not only the content production industry, but all industries.
At the Edge where humans, computing and high-speed networks combine they enable virtual worlds (services and applications) to be built. These virtual worlds are often collectively referred to as the multiverse, metaverse or omniverse.
Virtual Production Technology can be quantified by its ability to aid and enable the action of virtual production. Virtual production technologies when combined create virtual production systems. These systems are designed to provide specific virtual production functions, workflows and services.
Asa Bailey CEO, On-Set Facilities
Virtual Production Director / Supervisor