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Meet the technical artist

Zero Density's Menaf Seçilmiş got his start in the media tech industry while interning at the company as a student. Now he helps build virtual studios for the likes of the BBC and The Weather Channel

Menaf Seçilmiş, technical artist at Zero Density
Talk us through an average day in your role

I’m a technical artist that specialises in Unreal Engine. My role at Zero Density involves setting up demos that showcase both our virtual studio gear and Unreal Engine-based Reality graphics software. I start my day with a team meeting at 11am. If there’s a demo to build that day, I’ll then prepare the required proof of concept as well as check we have all the necessary hardware in our in-house studio for things like tracking. I’ll also check our SDI connections and camera settings. 

If there is a specific demo project, asset, or animation we need, I then design or edit these with Zero Density’s Reality Editor. I’ll also help film the necessary productions, test out the new releases of the Reality products, and give feedback to the test team and developer team. Whenever I have a free moment, I always strive to learn virtual studio and augmented reality pipelines better, and regularly watch the training videos on the Unreal Engine’s learning portal as well as practise what I learn.

How did you get started in the media industry?

I came across Zero Density while I was completing a degree in computer engineering that required a summer internship. The internship at Zero Density caught my eye because the idea of using a game engine for virtual production in broadcast sounded very interesting to me. I have been into games since my childhood so was interested in a job where I got to work in Unreal Engine and experience the exciting atmosphere of the broadcast industry. I applied to the internship, got accepted, then remained at Zero Density after it was complete. 

What training did you have before entering the industry?

Before I started in the industry, I was a computer engineering student. While I was a student, I had the opportunity to take a game design course. Relative to other courses, that was the course that attracted my attention the most – I knew I wanted to work in Unreal Engine when I graduated. During my internship at Zero Density, I took the time to train using the Unreal Engine learning platform. I even joined some challenges and created simple projects, which helped with my improvement. I lacked broadcast experience, but I had the chance to work with a wide range of equipment and very experienced co-workers during my internship. I helped deliver several live broadcasts, webinars, demos and product launches, and gained significant experience.

Why do you enjoy working in the industry?

I have been working in this industry only for 11 months. And what I enjoy the most is that every day is different. I constantly get the chance to work on new projects and gain new experiences. Being in direct contact with the world’s most significant TV and production channels through the demos that we give both motivates and entertains me. I never thought I’d get the chance to help create virtual studios for the likes of The Weather Channel, Fox Sports, and the BBC!

What piece of advice would you offer someone looking to explore a role similar to yours?

I would advise anyone hoping to become a technical artist to learn both Unreal Engine and Reality Engine: both can be downloaded to their computer for free. Try to design even very simple projects, it’ll help a lot when you want to land a job. If you’re into working in the broadcast industry, also try doing research into internships at production companies to learn from experienced people.