Digital imaging technician
A digital imaging technician (DIT) works in the motion picture film industry. The DIT position was created in response to the transition from the long established film movie camera medium into the current digital cinema era. The DIT is the camera department crew member who works in collaboration with the cinematographer on workflow, systemization, camera settings, signal integrity and image manipulation to achieve the highest image quality and creative goals of cinematography in the digital realm.
With the progression of the digitization ever more tasks concerning data management emerged: the position of the Digital Imaging Technician was introduced. The DIT is the connector between on-set time and post production. DITs support the camera team with technical and creative tasks with the digital camera. Their purpose is to ensure the best technical quality possible, as well as production safety. DITs are responsible for tasks during preparation, on-set time and post production. They are also responsible for managing data on set, such as making backups and quality checks of the material. In post production, the DIT hands the recordings to the post production team, possibly after checking the quality of the material and generating working copies.
Data backups and quality control are of great significance for the DIT who has to make sure that the original camera data and metadata is backed up at least twice daily, ensuring data integrity with checksum verification. Furthermore, the data has to be backed up on LTO tape which is more sturdy than electronic devices and is used for long-term storage. Another copy must be made on a transfer data carrier that will be sent to post production along with the reports of the content. Again, the data has to be backed up. The data has to be accessible at all times and should be saved in a system where it can be reviewed, displaying the metadata of each clip.
The DIT's role on-set has become especially prevalent through assisting cinematographers, normally accustomed to film stock, in achieving their desired look digitally. This is accomplished by the DIT through monitoring picture exposure, setting up Color Decision List (CDL) on daily basis and, if requested, "look up tables" (LUTs) for the post-production. Additionally, the DIT deals with settings in the digital camera's menu system, such as recording format and outputs.
Next to the DIT, the data wrangler position is created as a support role for managing, transferring and securing all the digital data acquired on-set via the digital cinematography cameras, interacting with the 2nd AC. Depending on the scale of the project, the DIT can be the data wrangler but never the opposite. Additionally, the DIT is responsible for securing the digital audio recorded by the external digital audio recorder operated by the Production Sound Mixer.
Prior to the DIT position, several other positions, such as Video Controller, Video Shader or Video Engineer, performed similar functions of exposure and color control over the live video image. While these positions continue to exist, especially in live broadcast and studio television, the DIT position has become entrenched in Cinema, Commercials and higher end television.
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