DIT

I am a DIT and I thought I’d let you into what I do.
I should mention that this isn’t the way for everyone and might vary from person to person depending on software use, etc.

Firstly though, what is a DIT?
A DIT is a Digital Imaging Technician who works closely with the DOP/ Cinematographer in order to achive the look that he or she is looking for.
So working closely with the DOP you’ll be able to work on LUTs (Look Up Tables) before the start of production so that you can make theses to put on while they shoot and you produce the deliverables.
Of course sometimes this does not happen and you end up making LUTs as you go on the job, although sometimes not at all.
A DIT depending on job can be someone who sorts out everything that is taken from the camera straight through to the editor.
So this meaning that you offload the media from the camera onto hard drives to then log the footage, quality control, then encode the footage so that the editor can edit with a low resolution version.
OK this is inbrief but at the same time you need to know the camera that you are using and its workflow before you enter onto the shoot, also is you need to be a good technical problem solver as you need to know pretty everything in order to solve problems with the camera, and your own kit. Trust me weird things do happen….

I should warn you that I’m only going to touch on the basics and some workflows, any technical aspects please have a look at my course for learning material:
http://www.jamesiangray.com/Blog/my-research/
Also on another note I’d say if you’re taking this up as a career then please do contact me for help, also do your research and get to know some DITs as this will help you become an assistant and work your way up from there.

What is a normal workflow?
Well to be honest there isn’t really a normal workflow, but the basics are:
-Get the card and label it, eg Roll number camera, etc.
-Put it somewhere safe.
-Deal with one card at a time, and have an in-tray and an out-tray.
-Offload with a programme (SilverStack, shotput pro, etc).
-Open footage up in a viewing programme (Davinci, Scratch, etc).
-Review the footage, Quality Control and make sure all metadata is there and add in Roll number, scene, take, etc. Only if needed.
-Apply a LUT if needed, include a change to the LUT for brightness, colour, etc.
-Encode the footage to an edit deliverable, most common –
Avid – MXF DNX HD 36
FCP – MOV Pro Rez 422
-Encode to a Dailies format, example –
iPad – MPEG4
-Distribute footage around.

What technical things does a DIT need to know?
Well where do I start, you need to know about what the camera does, how it makes the pictures and how Digital works.
Then from that working with the image look at the waveforms, etc.
You then need to know what sort of footage your going to get and what it’ll look like. For example C-Log, S-Log, etc and why that is needed.
How LUTs effect the footage.What types codecs and compression, etc.

There are lots to include in this but you need to know it all before you can call yourself a fully fledged DIT.

Thats it for now but come back for more or ask away, in the comments below.

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  1. […] James Ian Gray calls himself a ‘junior cinematographer’. He has a new site and his blog is a good way to understand what is a DIT and what are LUTs? His industry career started two weeks […]

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