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Nerdeo

VFX supervisor and Nerdeo co-founder Caroline Pires discusses her impressive career to date and why Nerdeo is a must-have service for those working within the independent film and game industry...

VFX supervisor and Nerdeo co-founder Caroline Pires discusses her impressive career to date and why Nerdeo is a must-have service for those working within the independent film and game industry...

3dtotal: Who are you and what do you do?

Caroline Pires: Caroline Pires, CEO of Nerdeo and freelance VFX supervisor/artist. I have worked in the visual effects industry for seven years as both an artist and supervisor, on major blockbuster titles and small independent films. I do VFX for TV and advertising, having worked with Framestore, Saddington Baynes, Mainframe, Vine FX, Pixomondo, Nvizible and Cinesite to name just a few of the facilities listed on my CV.

Now the co-founder of Nerdeo (along with Leena Vesterinen), I have applied my wealth of experience to create an online collaboration platform for professionals within the independent film, TV and gaming industries.

3dt: What projects have you worked on? What would you be most famous for?

CP: As an artist, I worked on Martin Scorcese's Hugo and a quite a few more check out my IMDb page. As a supervisor (and jack of all trades) I worked on Arthur & Merlin that recently went to Cannes and has just closed some great distribution deals both nationally and internationally. A film to watch out for! There are very few films that I'm actually proud of being involved in but this is definitely one of them. This was also one of the first independent feature films to go through the Nerdeo community which is currently already functioning on Facebook and Twitter. We had VFX artists from all over the world work on this project through Nerdeo.

3dt: Tell us a little about your typical workflow and preferred software choices? How does Nerdeo fit in?

CP: As a VFX supervisor, I like to be involved as early as possible in the project. I'll first breakdown the script and have a back and forth with the director about what can and cannot be achieved with the budget. On set, I'll use the usual chrome / grey ball and take photographs with bracketed exposures, using a spherical wide-angle lens that can then be stitched with either Huggins or PTGui for CG lighting. I also like to do a bit of photogrammetry so the 3D artist has as much reference information about a scene as possible.

I'll use 123D Catch or Agisoft Photoscan to create the models, depending on the budget of the project. For compositing and cleanup I like using NUKE, and for 3D I currently use Maya but this might change soon. Usually, I work with a team of people who use different types of software to solve specific problem.

Nerdeo helps because it is an online platform for professionals within the independent film and game industry. The service connects freelancers and top students with filmmakers and game producers, anywhere in the world, providing them with an online facility for more efficient remote collaboration.

"That's when I had the idea to create Nerdeo; somewhere people could post their productions, find a team and organise it online"

When I first started working in the VFX industry, as a prep artist at Framestore, I wanted to progress career-wise into compositing. To gain more experience, I joined side projects such as friend's music promos and short films, where I could work as a compositor or supervisor. One of those projects was Hunt For Gollum by Chris Bouchard, where artists were working remotely and communicating on an internet forum. The project wasn't particularly well organised but there wasn't a cheap alternative to something like Shotgun out there either, and production-wise there wasn't an easy way to get your project known for people, like me, to apply to work on it either. That's when I had the idea to create Nerdeo; somewhere people could post their productions, find a team and organise it online.

3dt: What makes Nerdeo different from similar programs?

CP: Our design is unique, minimalist and collaboration-centered, but our main differentiators are our specific search filters and our hotspot feature. Our hotspot feature allows you to create a team locally and find both freelancers and projects closets to your location. This is more for face to face collaboration. We can be seen as similar to Shooting People, Film and TV Pro, Cinemakers and Creative District but we provide more for cheaper. We're currently focused on the post-production industry but soon we'll cater for everyone, especially actors. At the moment actors have to pay to put their showreels up, when they can do it for free with us if they want to join our indie-focused community.

3dt: On a personal note; what artists inspire you?

CP: Ilia from BTOY; his early character work is really beautiful and I would love to turn them one day into a stereoscopic VR project. It's like an elaborate Manga-style watercolor with a very calm feel to it. One of those personal projects I would like to turn into a reality quite soon.

"You learn so much from working on low budget projects or even creating your own test VFX shots"

3dt: Could you give any advice to someone looking to get into the VFX industry?

CP: I would tell them to work on good low budget projects to increase the amount of technically difficult shots on their showreel. You learn so much from working on low budget projects or even creating your own test VFX shots. By doing this not only are you showing extra dedication to learn and create, but you're meeting a lot of creative people who could link you to other jobs in the future. Also, from my experience, the harder the project the more you learn. You have to do EVERYTHING on low budget projects because there aren't enough people, so you end up learning (sometimes) more than on bigger budget project. All this knowledge is invaluable and will be appreciated by the person who will recruit you into a bigger studio.

Related links

Sign up to Nerdeo
Check out Nerdeo's Facebook community
Follow Nerdeo's Twitter account
Take a look at Caroline's personal site
View the trailer for Arthur & Merlin
Browse the 3dtotal shop

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