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Staff Software Engineer-Innovation (Python & C++)

Apply NowApply Later Job ID 10020153 Location Burbank, California, United States Business Studios Content Date posted Sep. 21, 2022 Flex Type Hybrid

- This role is considered hybrid, which means the employee will work a portion of their time on-site from a Company designated location and the remainder of their time remotely.

Job Summary:

The Walt Disney Studios is comprised of a large team of creative professionals who produce and acquire live-action and animated motion pictures, direct-to-video content, musical recordings, and live stage plays that tell memorable, life-changing stories. Few media and entertainment companies can rival the brands we have the honor of bringing to the world.

As part of the Studio Technology team you’ll be joining a group of seasoned, dedicated technologists solving a range of creative problems in innovative ways within an exciting and dynamic industry. We are looking for an Innovation Staff Software Engineer to join our StudioLAB’s Production Innovation team: someone who wants to shape the next generation of production technology and directly help drive innovation across our creative cinematic pipelines.

In the StudioLAB, we work very closely with both the content creators and engineers to build innovative filmmaking tools and environments that expand our artistic vision and accelerate our film production. We are looking for a passionate software architect who loves learning new technologies at a rapid pace. You will work closely with both, the team’s leader and Lead Architect, collaborate with production and other teams to define the roadmap, as well as balance short-term needs with long-term strategic direction. As the Staff Engineer (higher than senior), you also play a critical role in mentoring individual contributors on the team while supporting their career development.


  • Participate in early discussions with innovation partners on the ground floor of new or emerging technology within the film, video and content production pipelines.

  • Work with the innovation teams to build early proof of concepts with emerging technology, through to prototypes and pilot-phase development platforms or solutions.

  • Write tools, and leverage open source, to automate tasks with an emphasis on employing strong principles for code quality and maintainability.

  • Contribute to Open-Source projects used in the filmmaking industry, such as OpenTimelineIO and Universal Scene Description (USD), as a key open-source software framework for asset interchange and collaborative editing

  • Work closely with our Software R&D (Core and Foundation) team[s] at Pixar.

  • Take ownership of challenging problems that arise from evolving the architecture of software that is heavily exercised in an active production environment.

  • Collaborate with artists and other engineers to provide innovative technical solutions that extend our artistic and engineering reach.

  • Join forces with external partners as USD continues to redefine pipelines across industries, bringing new contributors and collaborators to the table.

  • Collaborate with researchers on innovative new techniques for meeting the software needs of our content creators.

  • Provide team members with regular feedback, support them in developing a plan for growth, and deliver annual performance reviews.

  • Mentoring other engineers.


  • 8+ years of strong professional engineering experience in media production environments.

  • Ability to design & architect sophisticated software systems in Python and C++.

  • Strong software engineering skills, and dedicated craftsmanship are a requirement. Git, code reviews, automated testing, and continuous integration are key parts of our workflow.

  • Thrive in a collaborative and diverse environment where you exchange knowledge with accomplished technologists and draw inspiration from extraordinary artists.

  • The ability to navigate a large code base with many active contributors.

  • Be able to communicate improvements and/or blockers on early prototypes effectively and constructively, and in an inclusive and positive way.

  • Build software holistically from planning and proposal to implementation, testing, optimization and deployment.

  • Solid understanding of USD concepts such as the representation of primitive objects, groups and hierarchies, schemas, layers and composition.

  • Proven experience writing and supporting USD tools in production, including traversal the import and export of USD data in DCCs, and the manipulation of scene graph data and metadata in a collaborative workflow

  • Experience scripting Python/PyQt plugins or extensions for at least one of the following DCC tools (e.g., Maya, Houdini, Blender, Katana) and/or game engines (e.g., Unity, Unreal Engine)

  • Familiarity with commonly used file formats for meshes, images or textures, as well as interchangeable assets (glTF, USDZ, FBX, Alembic).

  • Hands-on experience with one or more source code control systems (Perforce, git)

  • Solid general programming skills including knowledge of software patterns, build systems, and methods for coding high-performance applications

  • Containerization and Container PaaS offerings (e.g. Terraform, Docker, Kubernetes)

  • Familiarity with Deep Learning toolkits such as PyTorch or Tensorflow

  • Passion to exploit technology and constantly learn

  • Solve problems creatively, with attention to detail, and a desire to discover and address root causes

  • Self-motivated with strong communications skills and able to work both in a team and independently


  • Experience working in Film/animation production environment and building filmmaking production pipelines.

  • Video and DCC production tools (e.g. Avid, Premiere, Resolve, Nuke, FFMPEG, Maya and Houdini).

  • Editorial formats (e.g. AAF, EDL, OTIO, etc.).

  • Video/audio formats & codecs (e.g. MOV, MXF, H.264, DNX, etc.).

  • Web services (e.g. REST, etc.).

  • Modern computer graphics, OpenGL, Metal and GPU technologies.

  • Maintain a solid understanding of parallel programming, multithreading, as well as scene graph and data flow representations and algorithms.

  • Interest in deepening your understanding of modern CPU hardware and compiler architecture.

Required Education

  • BS in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or 10+ years of development experience in the M&E industry



Additional Information!:


About Studios Content:

The Studios Content group encompasses a collection of world-class entertainment studios that produce high-quality cinematic storytelling for both theatrical and streaming release. It is also home to Disney Theatrical Productions, producer of popular stage shows on Broadway and around the world.

About The Walt Disney Company:

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with the following business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. From humble beginnings as a cartoon studio in the 1920s to its preeminent name in the entertainment industry today, Disney proudly continues its legacy of creating world-class stories and experiences for every member of the family. Disney’s stories, characters and experiences reach consumers and guests from every corner of the globe. With operations in more than 40 countries, our employees and cast members work together to create entertainment experiences that are both universally and locally cherished.

This position is with Walt Disney Pictures, which is part of a business we call Studios Content.

Walt Disney Pictures is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or protected veteran status. Disney fosters a business culture where ideas and decisions from all people help us grow, innovate, create the best stories and be relevant in a rapidly changing world.

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