Phil Boltt

Somewhere between the image and the algorithm

I'm interested in projects that remind us of our common humanity and place in the natural world.
If you are looking for a collaborator on project like this, please contact me.


Most recently I've supervised motion-capture pipeline development in the VFX industry on some of the definitive performance capture movies of our time. I've worn the hats of team supervisor and core developer, and designed and developed key tools and processes for working in virtual production environments.
I've built artists' tools, backend servers, websites, libraries and database APIs, been hands-on in a large-scale backend database migration and navigated the intricacies of multi-site near-time and offline data synchronization. In my previous incarnation I edited documentaries, short films, music videos and commercials, developed original, animated content and worked as a 3D generalist.
I live in Wellington, New Zealand, with my partner, Nathalie, our son, Jupiter, and our cat.


These are some of the feature films that I've been lucky enough to work on.

Dawn of the Planet Of The Apes The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey The Avengers Rise of the Planet Of The Apes The Adventures of Tintin Avatar Happy Feet

I've also been lucky enough to participate in a number of projects whose success wasn't measured commercially. These are a few of my favourites.

The Silk

Directed by Nathalie Boltt and Clare Burgess, this short film has won numerous international awards, including Best Short Fiction at Rockport FF 2012, Best Narrative Short Film and Best Acting at Macon FF 2013, and Best Cinematography and Film Lovers Choice award at Green Bay FF 2013.

The Feedback Project

I spent a year as a post-graduate lecturer at the Wits University Digital Arts Department in Johannesburg, working with a group of talented students to develop a short, pilot animation based on the work of South African artist Andrew Buckland.


A documentary, directed by Ingrid Gavshon, exploring the lives of three AIDS orphans in South Africa. Nominated for the Amnesty International Doen Award at the Independent Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2004. Screened at Human Rights Festivals in London, Paris, Prague and South Africa, it stimulated a governmental review into policies around affected children.


  • I'm most familiar with Python, but Go makes much more sense. I can speak C++, but I'd rather not.
  • I like Avid's Media Composer for editing, though I've completed long-form projects in Final Cut Pro (not FCPX).
  • If someone else is grading my picture, they'd better do it better than I can at home!
  • I can do many useful things in MySQL and PostgreSQL, but I'd hardly call myself a DBA.
  • I enjoy full-stack web development and am glad good people made Pyramid, Angular and Bootstrap.
  • I know Maya and Motionbuilder, both interface and API/SDK.
  • I've spent a LOT of time on some pretty obscure stuff. Like the AAFSDK, MXFLib, and Giant's suite of motion capture tools.


  • Technical know-how is great, but a team thrives on a common vision.
  • If there's no agenda, we shouldn't have a meeting.
  • "Walk and talk"s are awesome.
  • Source control and issue tracking isn't even a question.
  • Frameworks come and go. Future-proofing is about keeping it simple!
  • Never underestimate the hidden costs of NOT going off-the-shelf.