Meet the people behind our award-winning work across the globe. Up next is our Head of Pipeline from Mikros MPC in Paris, Elisa Prana.
Our pipeline team writes custom software that enables our creative and production teams to collaborate efficiently across the globe and share work with clients. Pipeline developers make the tools that artists use every day to publish, review, and assemble their creative output into the polished footage that you see onscreen.
At Mikros group Elisa has worked on the rabbit’s fur on Lego’s ‘Rebuild The World’ (2019) and feature films and series, including developing photogrammetry tools for “The Returned” (2015) and “Chocolat” (2016), she also worked on“Santa & Cie” (2017) to recreate the Champs Elysées.
We interviewed Elisa to learn some more about her personal stories and career highlights. Here’s what she had to say.
What drew you to work at Mikros MPC?
I have always had an interest in sciences, and I wanted to apply my technical skills to a creative domain. I was super grateful to be offered an internship at Mikros group at the end of my engineering studies, of course I accepted and discovered a world and a job I loved!
Where were you working before Mikros MPC?
Mikros was my very first company and where I began my career! I joined the group after graduating from engineering school. As a student, I worked as a children’s camp monitor, which kept me fairly busy during school holidays!
How did you first get into the world of post-production?
At engineering school I studied a syllabus specializing in multimedia. During this time, I worked on a project with open-source compositing software, led by a Mikros employee – I thoroughly enjoyed it! When I was offered an internship at Mikros, I went for it! It gave me my first real experience into the world of post-production.
What projects have you worked on?
Technically I’ve worked on a lot of projects at Mikros MPC, since every project uses the pipeline that we develop in my team. One of the latest commercials I worked on was the rabbit’s fur on Lego’s ‘Rebuild The World’ (2019) – it was a huge challenge to make this character look photorealistic. As part of the Mikros group, I had the opportunity to work on feature films and series, I developed specific photogrammetry tools for “The Returned” (2015) and “Chocolat” (2016). I created a tool for the Matte Painting in “Santa & Cie” (2017) to recreate the Champs Elysées. This one was very special to me; since it was released for Christmas, I watched it in the cinema with my whole family, including my grandparents. I’ll let you imagine how hard it was to explain to them that half of the images were completely made by computer. More recently I developed tools for night views of cities for “Into The Night” (2020) that is streamed on Netflix.
What have been some of the biggest career influences in your life?
I don’t recall specific career influences. I prefer to think of ‘career influences’ as the inspiration of many people and projects over time. All of these experiences over time has made me the person I am today.
How would you describe your creative process and how do you stay inspired in your work?
That’s a tough one for a developer! I am not sure developers have a creative process per say but we can be creative in the solutions we conceive and develop. The advantage of our development is that it keeps evolving all the time. So, there is always a new challenge to address in the productions and new technologies – this is very inspiring.
What would you say makes a good TD and what advice would you give to those entering the industry right now?
The very first quality of a TD is to listen to the users in order to understand the real need. It’s very important to establish a relationship of trust with the artists so that they feel comfortable enough to share their needs with you.
The second quality is to be responsive and adaptable. A TD has to deal with a lot of tricky needs to be able to develop long-term tools and at the same time, be able to respond quickly to an emergency.
My advice for those entering the industry right now? Listen carefully, think before you code and enjoy it! And last but not least, it is very important to work as a team. You will always learn from your pairs, even if you have more experience – get your code reviewed and be receptive to criticisms.
Favourite piece of MPC or Mikros MPC work that you didn’t work on?
I really like the Marmottes for France 3. I often use this example to explain my work to other people that don’t know anything about VFX. Everybody has seen it in France and it’s obvious that the marmots aren’t real (even when they are incredibly well executed).
Things you’re most proud of?
That’s a good question. I’m proud of contributing to environment protection. I try to change my habits in order to lower my impact on the planet.
What do you like to do in your spare time, any passion projects or side hobbies?
During my holidays, I really like to hike in beautiful landscapes, especially in the mountains. In winter, I love snowboarding. For more casual hobbies, I like to garden, manual work (embroidery & origami ) and roller skating. And of course, I need to mention one last think I’m famous for… I love cats!