Cinematics Director

  • Cinematics Director

Similar to the work of a director for animated films or television, the cinematics director is ultimately responsible for the completion of animated sequences, or cut scenes, which are integrated into the regular gameplay to enhance the story and character progression.


Duties

The cinematics director works under the supervision of the creative director and producer and is tasked with overseeing the work of artists, animators, and designers as it pertains to game cinematic elements. Working with the staff of game writers, he or she will direct the storyboarding process, which lays out the visual progression of each cut scene, and offer creative input on visual composition of scenes. The director will participate in production meetings with the cinematics designer, art director, lead animator, and other senior staff to break down the script and identify art assets to be completed for specific scenes. Care must be given to maintain a cohesive look and style that complements the storytelling and still reflects the aesthetic of the game; cutscenes should flow naturally and be seamlessly intertwined in the game, rather than sticking out or looking forced. It is this person’s responsibility to establish a timeline for content creation and to monitor the pipeline to ensure that work of each department is progressing on schedule.

As with a live action director, the cinematics director will participate in casting sessions for voiceover talent and have approval over hiring cast. He or she will sit in on recording sessions to coach the voice actor through his or her dialogue, and consult with game writers for necessary changes. If motion capture is used for animation, this person will be present at taping to block scenes and work with the mo-cap artists to do several takes of action, covering all possible needs for later editing, just like a film. For cinematics that will be animated by hand keying, the director will also work with the animators to perfect the facial expressions, movement, and blocking. Much of the of art and audio asset import process is delegated to the cinematics designer, but the director will supervise this process and monitor the progression of elements through the pipeline toward completion. He or she is responsible for presenting rough cuts and the first draft to the creative director and producer, along with leading revisions toward the final version.

Skills & Education

A college degree in game development or game design is recommended, though education in fine art, graphic design, or computer animation is also beneficial. This person is required to have strong skills in both 2-D and 3-D art creation and the use of software like Maya, Photoshop, and 3D Studio Max. The cinematics director must be familiar with the production pipeline of the studio and understand the basic processes of porting art, audio, and code assets to the game engine. Courses in film and television production are also useful, as the director must have a firm grasp of cinematic techniques, like lighting, camera movement, angles, and lens focus. Though there are no actual cameras involved, the director still aims to achieve a film-like quality.

What to Expect

This is a senior-level position that requires at least five years of profession work in game design and development. Experience at a game studio as an animator, artist, or designer is applicable toward pursuing this career, but you will need at least two shipped titles under your belt in a lead capacity. There are also numerous examples of cinematics directors who have crossed over to game development from film and television with a background in animation.

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