Lucasfilm continue their look at some of the unseen heroes of the company, and their latest spotlight hits compositing supervisor Sherry Hitch.

Can you tell us your role at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and summarize your day-to-day responsibilities?

It depends on the project! Most recently, I have been working as a compositing supervisor on a film using ILM StageCraft. We weren’t just combining visual effects elements in post-production, but for the actual filming, and creating content for the actual shoot. My day would involve a lot of meetings because this sort of production pipeline is relatively new to many, so we want to ensure our approach in creating the content is well communicated in the best collaborative way. Every week there was something new and challenging for us to tackle. This was not a typical show for compositing. It was centered more on creating all of the environments and the content, because that’s what they shoot on the stage. We are dealing with a massive amount of large imagery, 3D geometry, and data, as well as working with R&D for the best optimization. It’s all rather exciting, and I keep nerding out on this new tech!

What’s it like on a typical production?

If I’m working as a compositing supervisor in post on a typical film, commercial or show, generally we have dailies in the mornings and afternoons. For compositing, you’re trying to blend all the elements (cg, green screen, practical, etc.) together to make them look real – so in dailies, in collaboration with the VFX Supervisor, we’re all making comments about what is changing or what can be improved. Then, afterwards to save time, I’ll follow up and reach out to some of my fellow compositors to ensure that they’re ok with the notes given, and if they need any help with anything. For junior compositors, I will generally reach out to and work with them on individual shots.

It’s a bit more challenging now with work-from-home because normally you can go to a colleague’s desk and work through a problem together. Now I’m doing a lot of screen-sharing. We’ll get together on a group chat and walk through a script about color, or an approach to getting a more efficient result in their shot. Part of the color pipeline also falls into the compositing tasks. You have to make sure everything looks seamless and flows well together in a sequence.

On top of all that, I’ve also done some on-set supervision work too. I’m kind of jumping around a lot right now. I’ve worn a lot of different hats in the last year or two.

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Star Wars: The High Republic: Edge of Balance, Vol. 1
  • Shinya, Shima (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 09/07/2021 (Publication Date) - VIZ Media LLC (Publisher)