The Yardeners – Jeremy Pierre, VFX and Compositing Supervisor

  • 2024-05-14
Meet The Yardeners – the passionate team at The Yard, committed to cultivating the seeds of creativity and transforming them into captivating visual effects, fruitful collaborations, and unforgettable stories.
This week, we are excited to introduce Jeremy Pierre, who serves as both Compositing and VFX Supervisor, depending on the project. Over his 15-year career, Jeremy has contributed to international franchises and collaborated with renowned French filmmakers, working at major VFX studios in France. Since joining The Yard two years ago, he has been instrumental in various series and films for TV, streaming platforms, and cinema.

Hello Jeremy ! Could you please explain your current role at The Yard ?

Hello, I’m currently alternating between roles as a VFX Supervisor and a Compositing Supervisor.

Compositing Supervisors oversee the compositing department, which is responsible for integrating all the different elements of the visual effects shots – such as computer-generated images and live-action footage – to create seamless and realistic compositions. Much of my time involves direct collaboration with project clients, managing a team of Compositors, briefing them, and providing constructive feedback to ensure alignment with the director’s or showrunner’s vision. I am  accountable for the final quality and consistency of VFX shots. I also focus on developing production methodologies, creative approaches, and problem-solving capabilities within the team. 

Additionally, I organize the team’s workflow and schedule to meet the set deadlines to ensure the timely delivery of work for the film or TV productions. Involvement in the production workflow and pipeline, bidding for shots within my departement are part of my responsibilities. And occasionally, I complete and deliver compositing shots. 

As a VFX supervisor, my role follows the same responsibilities, but applied to all of the departments involved in the production, encompassing assets, layout, animation, creatures, environments/DMP, lighting, FX, and compositing. I would act as the liaison between the director/showrunner/client and the studio, with all the heads of department, artists and IT teams. In this role, I am in charge of providing direction and guidance to my team, ensuring alignment with the production process at every stage. If required, I am involved in pre-production, offering on-set supervision, advice, and technical and creative solutions to meet the show’s expectations. To achieve this, I closely collaborate with the production department to monitor the show’s progress and ensure seamless integration into the production timeline.

What brought you to Compositing ?

It all started with a deep fascination for Japanese animation classics like Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Princess Mononoke, and Basilisk, as well as for sci-fi realms depicted in books written by Orwell, Herbert, Bradburry, Damasio and comics such as « The Silver Surfer », the Méta-Baron series and illustrations by Moebius. These imaginative works alongside movies such as Star Wars, THX 1138, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, sparked my passion for visual storytelling.

Jeremy’s initial inspiration comes from Japanese animation and Sci-Fi novels, comics and films : 

After a year of studying physiotherapy, I shifted gears to pursue classical drawing and dellved into techniques like nude studies, case studies, illustration, and the history of art. While my initial aspiration was to become a traditional 2D animator, I soon realized that I wasn’t quite at the required level. However, I found success in other graphic mediums. This realization led me to explore graphic design—typography, logo design, visual identities, serigraphy, and photography—while still honing my skills in traditional drawing.

Upon graduating, I showcased my portfolio to various companies. One of them offered me a position in their ‘lab’, where I was responsible for delivering the beta/DVVD to clients. During my time there, I was presented the opportunity to transition into prep work (roto/paint) for the flame department. This marked the beginning of my journey as a flame assistant, initially working on combustion. As I really wanted to work on films instead of commercials, I expanded my skills and learned Nuke. I continued my prep work, using Nuke, until I was eventually given the chance to delve into compositing – a role I found immensely fulfilling.

I initially worked on French films but after a few years, I felt drawn to international studios. Seeking to broaden my horizons and challenge myself with larger-scale projects, I made trips to Montreal to immerse myself in the Anglo-Saxon approach to filmmaking.

Today, I’m delighted to see that the production of high-caliber films is becoming more accessible in France, providing us with ample opportunities to showcase our skills on the global stage.

Jeremy’s filmography includes major French and international productions : 

What do you find great about your department ?

As a Compositing Supervisor, I enjoy being at the final stage of the production process, where all the elements come together—like assembling a complex Lego set. Adding the photography factor to this equation opens up an endless world of possibilities. As the guarantor of the final look of each shot, I find it incredibly interesting and challenging to infuse my creativity while respecting the work done by every department before me.

Finding creative and technical solutions to meet the client’s expectations, budget constraints, and deadlines adds another layer of excitement to the process.

According to Jeremy Pierre, Compositing Supervisor at France's VFX studio The Yard, compositors should keep in mind that As the guarantor of the final look of each shot, infuse your creativity while respecting the work done by every department before you—this balance is both incredibly interesting and challenging.

Could you share the main challenges in Compositing ?

Within the compositing department, our role is akin to that of the camera crew on set. We’re tasked with recreating an image while considering all the characteristics of a specific lens—how it distorts, performs under certain lighting conditions, and aligns with the intentions of the Director of Photography and the director regarding camera and lens selection. Additionally, we must respect the groundwork laid by the preceding VFX departments.

We are expected to apply the final creative touch that seamlessly integrates all prior VFX elements and enhances the shot to make it realistic and believable. In essence, we blend all the VFX elements into the real world. Meeting deadlines is non-negotiable, given our position as the final VFX department.

You joined The Yard a couple of years ago. Could you please tell us about the projects you’ve been involved in since then ?

It’s been two years since I joined the team at The Yard. As a Compositing Supervisor, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a variety of shows, including the challenging UGC series « Promethee, » Albert Dupontel’s « Second Tour« , Netflix’s film « Damsel, » and « Halo Season 2 » for Paramount.

Additionally, I’ve served as a VFX Supervisor for « TWD: Daryl Dixon Season 2 » and am currently involved in another ongoing international project.

Which of these projects was the most challenging and why ?

Well, each of these projects presented its own unique challenges. From a low-budget production with extensive creative freedom to high-volume projects with tight deadlines, and culminating in high-quality international productions, there’s been a diverse array of experiences.

Jeremy Pierre, Compositing Supervisor at France's VFX Studio The Yard, worked on more than 600 VFX shots for Albert Dupontel's "Second Tour"

I encountered unexpected challenges that tested my skills. For instance, I tackled tasks like recreating car explosions, populating stadiums with CG crowds, and delivering an additional 600 shots for set extensions and invisible VFX within a six-month production for “Second Tour”.

The France-based VFX studio The Yard created and animated a CG rolling coin for the climatic scene of 'Damsel', a Netflix film directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo.

On « Damsel, » I focused on adding wounds, blood, and additional dirt textures to the princesses’ dresses, as well as creating the labyrinth map on the cave walls. On this project, I was tasked with creating a full-CG rolling coin, DMP set extensions, and crowd extensions for the final wedding sequence.

However, one of my most recent and demanding challenges was fully recreating the Halo environment for the epic final battle sequence in the serie’s season 2. This required a blend of 2D and 3D techniques while ensuring adaptability across every shot, all while working with minimal green screen footage on set.

'Halo-Season2', for which France-based VFX studio The Yard worked, is now fully available on Paramount +

What major developments do you foresee in compositing ?

Let’s be concise: AI is a tool essential for your skillset in the future, regardless of personal opinion.

Any advice you’d give to students to choose compositing for their career ? 

Well, that’s a tough one.

I’d phrase it like this: Do you possess a strong creative eye and aesthetic judgment ? Do you enjoy managing color and paying attention to the details that truly matter ? Are you passionate about replicating reality ? Are you adaptable, able to align yourself with the director’s vision ? Do you appreciate both 2D and 3D environments ? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to these questions, then compositing might be the perfect fit for you.

I recommend developing a ‘strong eye’ for visuals before before focusing solely on perfect compositing techniques and knowledge. While you can always acquire technical skills later, having a visual language to express yourself is crucial. Without a strong visual perspective, you may encounter more challenges down the road.

Jeremy Pierre, Compositing Supervisor at France's VFX studio The Yard, recommends to Prioritize developing a strong visual perspective before delving deeply into perfecting compositing techniques. Technical skills can be learned later, but having a solid visual language to express yourself is essential. Without it, you may encounter more challenges in the long run.

Is there any funny sentence / phrase that you often hear or say in your job ?

Hmm, what’s a common refrain I hear ? Well, I’m frequently reminded not to unleash my full energy potential, particularly in the mornings, as it can come off as a bit intimidating.

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