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just a little DIT
by Will Strauss
W hen it comes to a file-based shoot, having a DIT on
the crew is invaluable. Here, Will Strauss looks at their
Like the Offshore Windfarm Engineer or the Waste Management
Consultant, the Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) is very much a 21 st Century
profession and one that didn’t exist 10 years ago.
Generally recruited for a digitally-shot feature film, commercial or TV drama, the
role was initially a camera technician position, a sort of security blanket for the
transition from tape-based to digital production.
Although still very much an intermediary between camera and editorial, the DIT
role has changed quite a lot since its inception, and, in truth, is still evolving. So
much so in fact that it is regularly misunderstood with DIT becoming a catch-all
job title for anyone that manages media.
In truth, the role is something akin to the modern day equivalent of the old film
lab – especially on a 4K shoot.
The DIT will certainly manage the media and back it up. But he or she can
play a much bigger role than that, doing quality control, colour correction and
transcoding on set and then creating quick-turnaround dailies for almost-instant
review. Crucially, the DIT also works closely with the DoP to apply a specific
‘look’ to footage before it gets to post-production.
As you can imagine, to do all those things requires a whole heap of kit. And,
while the requirements differ greatly from shoot-to-shoot, generally speaking,
there are several consistent elements of a DIT station, cart or van.
First up is a computer. Not just any old PC obviously. This could be a MacBook
Pro laptop or a Mac Pro or any of a number of other available high spec
workstations (HP ones are popular).
Then the DIT needs hard drives, video cards, card readers, a Red Rocket card
(if shooting Red), RAID storage, a transcode drive, fast transfer connectivity,
a decent monitor (including a grading one if doing colour work) and an
uninterruptable power supply.
Available software should include some sort of data management app.
Depending on what camera is being used this could be R3D Data Manager,
ShotPut Pro, Al3xa Data Manager or Elklight’s Velarium. Then they need
38 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 84 DECEMBER 2013
something for those dailies, first
grades and colour corrections such
as DaVinci Resolve, Color, Assimilate
Scratch, Truelight or Pomfort
Another option is Red Giant Software’s
recently launched Bullet Proof, a ‘one-
stop shop’ for data transfer, on-set
review and colour correction. Or, if it’s
a Red shoot, the REDCINE-X.
That’s not all. Some DITs will also need
an editing package, and most will
want some QC scopes or waveform
monitors. They may also need to bring
along iPads (other tablet devices are
available) for review and approval.
And it all needs to be mobile in some
fashion. You can of course build a DIT station
yourself but here are six commercially