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After now having the opportunity to work with countless on set technicians whether they fit the bill of any of the position titles listed below, I can’t help but feel like we are doing something right in Toronto!

 

I guess I should start by explaining what the basic difference is between these positions:

DIT: (Digital Imaging Technician)

  • Normally utilizing a live color grading station on set
  • Fairly close to the camera due to needing to potentially be tethered to the camera for an SDI feed going into his/her system
  • Often does not do his/her own data backups as this technician’s main focus is to ensure that looks are being dialed in while cameras are either being set up or during takes.
  • Will sometimes control the IRIS on the camera remotely and let the DP know when they need to stop up or stop down.  Some will even ride the exposure throughout the shot will they are rolling.
  • This person is expected to know the camera inside and out and coordinate with post production on how things should be set up for the files being recorded (format, codec, framerate, framing).

DUT: (Data Utility Technician)

  • Often works under the DIT
  • Sometimes works without a DIT if a LUT box is being used on set or the crew is not worried about making look adjustments on set
  • Main priority is to back up the data being recorded by file based cameras
  • No color grading is typically done by this DUT or they then should be titled as a DIT.
  • This position is often also expected to help out the camera assistants with cables, monitors, etc..
  • This person is not expected to know the camera and post specs inside and out like a DIT or DMT would be.

LOADER:

  • This is basically the same thing as a DUT as they perform a lot of the same tasks.
  • This person is not expected to know the camera and post specs inside and out like a DIT or DMT would be.

DMT:

  • Only exists as far as I know in Toronto, Canada
  • Doesn’t work in a live grading scenario and therefore deals with everything after it has been recorded
  • Does all hard drive backups for anything that has been shot on a file based camera
  • Color grades material (after it has been recorded and downloaded on to his/her cart)
  • You could basically say this is someone doing both the DIT and DUT role.  However certain tasks are taken off of their plate as they would never be telling the DP to stop up or down, controlling the IRIS, or anything that refers to the live image being recorded.
  • This person is expected to know the camera inside and out and coordinate with post production on how things should be set up for the files being recorded (format, codec, framerate, framing).

 

In terms of pay scale, the DIT will be the highest paid position on this list.  The DMT would come in second and then the DUT followed by the Loader.

 

Now that I have gotten that out of the way.  Only speaking from my experience of course (about 22 tv shows, 4 features and a couple hundred commercials), I have been finding that there are two camps when it comes to how DPs tend to work.  One being the camp that utilizes their monitor heavily for judging where their levels are at.  The second camping being one that lights solely off of a light meter and only uses an actual monitor for framing and performance.  One thing I am not certain of is where the DPs that are coming from the camp of wanting to light off of their monitor have built up that workflow.  Could it be from working on tape based jobs where it is more of a “what you see is what you get” workflow?  Or maybe the light meter camp has more of a film based background where you only use your monitor for framing and performance….Either way you cut it, both camps exist and both get the job done!

 

Here are a few different workflow scenarios that seem to be popular right now and which position they often employ:

Live Grading

Live_Grading_Scenario-2

– Employs a DIT

– As outlined here in this picture, could employ a DUT or loader for managing the media.  Or they could just be shuttling the cards back to the lab for downloading.  However more often then not the cards will indeed be managed on set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LUT Based Workflow

LUTBox_Workflow-2

– Sometimes employs a DIT

– Sometimes employs just a DUT

– Sometimes employs just a loader

 

 

 

 

 

Color Timing Sessions Back at the Lab

– May not employ anyone on set for color management at all

– May employ a DIT (Often not though

– May employ a Loader or DUT

 

Ad lastly…My favorite workflow of them all!

Coloring on set BUT not being tied to the camera:

Brief breakdown:

  • The DIT or DMT depending on where you are will take the cards from the camera and along side backing them up, he/she will then put all of the files into a color grading application.
  • This person will then color grade every single shot and not be in the way of production.  The DIT or DMT could therefore be “Near Set”, maybe in the camera truck, etc..
  • Ideally the DP would pop by to the cart once or twice a day to have a very quick look and sign off.  If the DP can’t make it over though, the DIT or DMT can walk a few samples over to the DP on an iPad to get quick sign off.
  • A Davinci project file can be passed to the lab at break and wrap and every shot can have a unique look, therefore NO GUESS WORK back at the lab!!  What you see is what they did and what got signed off on!  (With live grading based jobs, the lab will absolutely always have to tweak shots to match.  So with this workflow, the DITs work ACTUALLY GETS CARRIED ACROSS.  And I know every DIT that reads this will argue that their looks will match.  Unfortunately however, with us in the lab only ever getting 1 look per setup (ish), to make everything actually match.  Tweaks almost always (unless in a studio) need to be tweaked shot to shot.  One big problem with the whole live grading method is that most DITs are not able (or choose not to due to time constraints) pull up side by side references for media recorded an hour ago, to what is now being shot for the same scene…  If you are outside this is a must to ensure editorial is happy…  Davinci 10 now has the ability to capture stills which I am hoping will help this!!
  • No trying to match paperwork, or read slates for LUT names and then trying to match them up to the shot they were intended for
  • When working with a LUT or CDL system (that a DIT live grading would use), you have to have a much stronger colorist in the lab and not to mention you better be ready to spend a lot more time coloring.  Therefore this system streamlines this process.
  • Every file from the DMT has a screenshot automatically and you are also able to get any still frame reference created during the DIT or DMTs session with no extra work at all!  With a live grading system you have to ensure they either have a monitor that can export stills from or design a big work around in order to get them….not ideal.
  • 1 person rather then 2  can be employed to make this process happen.
  • 1 data cart rental rather then 2 on a live grade scenario