Union is an independent visual effects facility founded in 2008 to provide a creative service for feature film and television productions. Our studio is founded on a culture of originality, innovation and collaboration where our people are at the forefront of what we do. Our clients number some of the world’s top film makers who return to Union time and again as a trusted partner and creative ally. Our team works closely with clients through every phase of their projects and our environment is very important to both.
The Data & Render Manager (DRM) will work closely with the Pipeline Supervisor to oversee the Data IO and Render Wrangling team and ensure that Data usage of our storage at our various sites is efficiently managed and well organised. They will coordinate with the Production and Operations teams to determine and plan for the data requirements for upcoming projects, as well as the archiving schedule of completed projects.
The DRM will be responsible for ensuring that our Render farm resources are running as effectively as possible across multiple sites and with the support of the PS will define the overall render strategy and identify efficiencies and optimisations that can be made. They will support the Render Wranglers to manage the individual status of specific render jobs and work with them to troubleshoot and resolve any issues.
To assist with the delivery of the role, the DRM will create and maintain bespoke software and tools, making use of software defined storage API’s, render farm API’s and production tracking API’s. These may include a range of tools including analytics tools, forecasting spreadsheets/tools, and/or archiving tools and systems. They will work closely with the Pipeline team to ensure that these tools leverage existing pipeline code libraries and conform to our general pipeline philosophies. They will provide user training, and look for continuous improvement opportunities.
An important part of the DRM role is to help support the continued success of the Render Wranglers. The DRM will work closely with the PS to source, train and develop the Render Wranglers and ensure the team adheres to best practice.
This is a key role in our experienced and talented technology team and will require strong multi-tasking skills, the ability to see and plan forward and be proactive and the ability to drive things forward independently. They will have a flexible and calm approach that is solutions focussed and excellent people management and communication skills.
Communicate regularly and clearly with the Pipeline Supervisor about tasks, issues and other pertinent information about the activities of the Render and Data Wrangling teams
Coordinate and manage the Render and Data Wrangler team’s time off to ensure that we have complete courage of our Render and Data Wrangler shift patterns
Encourage and support the development of Render and Data Wrangling staff along appropriate career paths within the company
Provide weekly updates to the Managing Director and other key stakeholders about the state of Rendering and Data usage within the company
Ensure best practice across the team
Ensure that Data and Render Wranglers have been sufficiently trained and are able to follow a clear set of protocols to minimise the amount of “hands on” intervention required by the Render & Data Manager on a day to day basis
Create and maintain good lines of communication across all departments
Ensure a good understanding of all upcoming Render priorities and any changes/adaptions
Liaise with the Production team to ensure that an appropriate philosophy of render prioritisation and production language is in place to ensure strong and clear communication between all departments
Define the overall render strategy and work closely with the Systems team to ensure leverage of all appropriate technology to make best use of Cloud rendering/other technologies that can assist with rendering VFX work
Design, implement and maintain software tools to ensure our render management software (Deadline) runs as efficiently as possible
Where appropriate, supervise and approve software and tools development by Render Wranglers that will contribute to the automation processes on our render management software
Work with our Data Analyst to create and maintain rendering schedules to project future render usage as well as analysing historical data to better inform future decision making
Highlight upcoming requirements for resource requirements including licence usage and hardware requirements
Mentor Render Wranglers to improve the troubleshooting, technical and communication skills
Produce and oversee delivery of training material for Production and Artists about our render management systems
Liaise with the Production team to ensure that an appropriate philosophy of data management and production language is in place to ensure strong and clear communication between all departments
Work closely with the Editorial department to ensure a clear protocol for show setup is established and that client requirements for data transfer can be met and adhered to
Work with the Production team to ensure that any client archival requirements can be met and manage client expectations and requirements where appropriate
Design, implement and maintain bespoke software tools to assist with data management tasks which may include the creation of “asset aware” or “intelligent” archival systems for projects to allow us to safely cull data on live projects
Where appropriate, supervise and approve software and tools development by the Data Wranglers that contribute to bespoke software that we create to assist with Data management
Work with our Data Analyst to create and maintain data usage schedules to project future data usage as well as analysing historical data to better inform future decision making
Produce and deliver any relevant training for Artist facing tools that can be used to assist with Data clean up
Produce and oversee delivery of any other relevant training to wider departments about Data management processes
Skills, experience and knowledge:
Computer Science degree or equivalent experience in VFX/CG Animation
A strong knowledge of Python. Ideally this will be illustrated through employment history or personal projects
3+ years experience within the VFX or CG Animation industry
Experience in working with Render farm software for the completion of VFX and CG rendering processes
Ability to work with others and well as complete assigned tasks independently
Ability to manage junior team members
Flexible approach to changing priorities and tasks
Strong communications skills and an ability to relay technical information and concepts to non-technical staff
Detail oriented with strong ability to multitask
A good understanding of Shogrid and its use within a production context.
Additional skills, experience and knowledge:
General knowledge of common industry standard digital content creation software (eg Maya, Houdini, Nuke, etc)
Knowledge of the Shotgun and Shotgun Toolkit APIs
Knowledge of other relevant programming languages (E.G C++, Java, MEL, etc)
An understanding of Git workflows and collaborative version control
Experience in working within a Scrum project management style, and a familiarity with Jira Software to help track tasks