Pixotope Snapshot is our series shining a light on the many talented individuals that make the Pixotope team so great – a group of industry experts with vast experience in virtual production. This time interviewed Pixotope QA Engineer, Marouan Skhiri who joined our company all the way from too hot to handle Tunisia.
Tell us about your career and background leading up to Pixotope?
I hail from Monastir, Tunisia, where I lived most of my life. There, I graduated from the Institute of Computer Sciences and Mathematics of Monastir with a Computer Systems & Software degree.
After university, I started my career as an iOS developer intern. I soon transitioned to becoming a QA Engineer and worked at Anypli, a Software development company based in my hometown. About 5 years later, I started to look for something new – a new experience, a new challenge.
I’ve always wanted to live in Scandinavia, so when I found a job ad for QA Engineer at Pixotope, I was very intrigued. I researched the company and the city for days. It felt like a dream package: a new city and an exciting field of work. So I chose to move to Oslo, the city that I call home now and joined Pixotope as a QA Engineer.
What does a normal day look like as a QA (Quality Assurance) engineer?
As a QA Engineer, I monitor and find solutions to any issues or bugs in the program. As for a normal day, it typically depends on how far along we are in the release test cycle for the next version of Pixotope. Usually, there is a review of the current state of the program, and what’s next in the test plan. Most of the time is spent in our QA Studio. In the studio, we have a green screen and a camera combined with a tracking system to simulate a Pixotope typical user test environment. My favorite part is when I try to make a somewhat complex scene with some basic animations and test it with a live camera feed and a tracking system.
You joined Pixotope in 2019 and have seen it grow tremendously over the past few years.
What are some highlights from your time at Pixotope?
The best part (so far) was being able to be part of the Dota 2 virtual production - The International 10 - in Bucharest last October. I’m a big fan of the game and I’ve watched previous events online, but I never imagined that I would see how the event is being produced – let alone be part of the production team. It was both overwhelming and amazing to see how the work of more than 100 people came together. I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to do so. Other than that, every day brings something new. More knowledge and challenges that we or our customers encounter, which we aim to help solve and make great productions. If I were to say my dream project, it would definitely be interesting to be part of the virtual production team for the Super Bowl or the Olympics. There’s a lot of potential in sports broadcasting using virtual production, and they’re already doing very exciting things with it.
How has virtual production evolved during this time?
Before joining Pixotope, I knew very little about virtual production software, cameras, tracking systems, and the other components that make the magic happen right before our eyes. In the last 3 years, I’ve learned a lot about how our customers make amazing productions that astonish the viewers and keep them engaged. I’ve seen VP grow from a nice-to-have to something essential that new infrastructure and content are built around. News, weather, movies, TV shows, talent shows, concerts, sports, and e-sports use VP to transport their studios virtually anywhere.
How do you feel Pixotope is pushing the boundaries of virtual production, and what does the future hold for the VP?
Seeing what our customers produce with Pixotope reminds me that this is state-of-the-art technology. I see Pixotope as an essential part of the VP toolset. We continue to evolve what we’ve built around Epic’s Unreal Engine. At Pixotope, we aim to produce flexible and reliable yet easy-to-use software for our current and future customers. We continuously improve our current features and build more new features to help build the next big thing in the VP world.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Mostly video games! My favorites are Dota 2 (of course), The Last of Us, God of War, and Uncharted 4. I also like hiking and running. Since I moved to Oslo, my new favorite activity became photography; mostly landscapes and night sky photography. There are a lot of gorgeous spots that are easily accessible around Oslo whether it’s a scenic spot with a panoramic view of the city of forests and lakes.