A Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) is the person on the camera department crew who works with the cinematographer (also known as the director of photography, or DP) on workflow, systemization, camera settings, signal integrity, on-set color correction and other image manipulation to ensure that the production meets the DP’s creative goals and maximizes digital image quality.
The DIT position is a fluid one, the specifics of which depends upon the production and its particular DP. These are common responsibilities the DIT has on and off the film set.
- The DIT communicates with the DP before and during production to make sure their needs are being met and their vision achieved. This is especially important when the DP is familiar with film stock but needs help achieving their desired look digitally. To do this, the DIT monitors picture exposure, sets up a daily Color Decision List (CDL) and makes “lookup tables” (LUTs) for the post-production. (How closely a DIT works with the DP on creative matters depends on the DP. Some cinematographers want or need help and others do not.)
- The DIT devises a workflow for the production and post-production crews that all parties agree upon. This is crucial to a successful transfer of material from set to editors.
- After establishing standards and best practices, the DIT maintains the exposure and color baseline throughout production through rigorous quality control, so image quality never lessens.
- The DIT helps camera assistants evaluate focus, watch for boom shadows, unwanted reflections, lens flares, and other gaffes to ensure that what everyone sees on set on monitors is what they’ll see in dailies. When something appears off on their monitor, they communicate with the digital camera operator to make adjustments.
- On set, a critical part of the DIT job description is managing data. The DIT has to make sure that the original camera data and metadata are backed up at least twice daily, ensuring data integrity with checksum verification. They back up data on LTO tape, which is more sturdy than electronic devices and is used for long-term storage. They also make a copy on a transfer data carrier that they then send to post-production along with the reports of the content. The DIT ensure that the data is accessible at all times and saves it in a system where it can be reviewed, displaying the metadata of each clip.
- The DIT delivers the recordings to the post-production team after checking the quality of the material and generating working copies.
- The DIT secures the digital audio recorded by the external digital audio recorder operated by the Production Sound Mixer.