DIT, The profession - Digital image Technician
DIT, THE PROFESSION
DIGITAL IMAGE TECHNICIAN
Today in the Camaleon Rental blog we are going to speak about the role of a DIT. The first question is to define what a DIT is as well as determine if this position belongs to the camera crew or to the postproduction crew. The answer would be that he is kind of a liaison between both department, even though if we have to make a choice we would say that he is part of the camera department since he works on set.
The DIT profession (Digital image technician), arrives with the appearance of the first high definition cameras and then with the digital cinema cameras. At this point we should remember that when these cameras arrived both directors of photography and assistant cameramen came from working for many years with film cameras. So after the arrival of such new and different gear, it was necessary the inclusion of a new figure to the camera crew in order to advise the DoP on how to squeeze the best out of this new technology that, as we all know reacts in a very different way to exposure. The DIT helps him out
thanks to the use of waveform monitors and vectorscopes. But another very important task of the DIT was to help the first and second assistant camera to choose and set camera parameters such as the resolution, codecs, speed, etc of the camera, as well as the navigation through the several pages of the menu menu with which the ACs had to deal for the first time.
Since the DIT was the person who knew better not only the camera but also the files that were generated, he started to be in charge of the download of the footage and the creation of backup copies. Nowadays this labour is usually handled by the data manager, even though sometimes is the same DIT who takes over. Another important task for the DIT is related with multicam shooting. Speaking of which, we can compare him with the camera control unit technician (CCU) that used to work, and still works, in a television set. Both the DIT and the CCU tech are responsible of adjusting all the settings of exposure, color balance, tint, bright, etc., of the different cameras in order to have the same imagen in all of them. Aside of that, the DIT works closely with the playback technician, designing the path of the video signal from the camera to the monitors of the DoP, director and clients. In fact, another of his task is to calibrate those monitors in order to show the same contrast and colour of the image for each camera and monitor.
In a nutshell, the tasks of a DIT as part of the camera crew are:
· To download the footage.
· To set the parameters of the camera or cameras.
· To advise and help the DoP on the best exposure for any given sequence or shot.
· To control how the video signal travels from the camera to the monitors.
· To calibrate the different monitors of the video village.
On the post production side of his duties, the DIT assume others tasks more related to the
· Apart of downloading the cards, he makes at least one back-up copy of the footage
to ensure that it is safe. To do that, during the pre production he makes an
estimation of how many hard drives the production is going to need, depending on
the number of cameras, the resolution and the codec in which the project is going to
· He makes a quality control of the footage, looking for any out of focus, drop or
· He makes the transcodes of the material to an optimized codec for a smoother
workflow in edition and postproduction, regardless the fact that the film is going to
be edited in AVID, Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere.He could also be asked to do
other transcodes in low quality to be sent to the DoP, director, producer or script
supervisor, so they can check all the footage whenever they want.
· He makes a basic colour grading too, by applying LUTs or giving the look the
director of photography is wanting to achieve. This is specially useful when we are
shooting with cameras that are setted in logarithmic curve of color, which means the
image has low contrast and is highly desaturated, hence very edition-unfriendly.
To correctly and fastly perform all of those tasks, the DIT usually owns what is called a DIT Station. It is a computer made for managing the back ups in different hard drives through high speed connections. But it also usually features a professional monitor for colour grading and a powerful processor and graphic card to render the transcodes. The DIT Station is ready for be easily moved so it could be close either to the camera or the client’s monitors, in order to send them the video signal if required.