Thread: A Digital Loader is not a DIT

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  1. #1 A Digital Loader is not a DIT 
    The use of DIT to describe a Digital Loader is becoming far to prevalent. These two positions need to be separated, because as the transition from film to digital becomes more wide spread, the need for a Digital Loader will become in ever increasing demand. Let's first break down exactly what these two different jobs are.

    A DIT (Digital Imaging Technician) is focused on color. They primarily work in HD environments and their responsibilities include matching multiple cameras or "painting the cameras" using tools like vector scopes to accurately see what the camera is recording. They work with the D.P. to make sure every shot isn't being blown out or is too dark to assure the best footage is being handed to post.

    A Digital Loader is focused on data. They make sure that every piece of media is safely and securely stored. They use tools like computers, RAIDs, LTO decks, etc. to protect data as well as quality check footage, render media, and work closely with post on a solid workflow.

    Of course, this is a brief description of both, but the important distinction here is that a DIT is focused on color, and Digital Loader is focused on data. So why are so many Digital Loaders calling themselves DITs?

    One reason, the position of Digital Loader is so new that there currently isn't a union position to define it. As of now, there are many different titles used to describe the same position. This includes Digital Loader, Digital Asset Manager, Data Capture Engineer, Digital Management Tech and Data Wrangler among others. While I personally prefer Digital Loader, any of the other terms I listed would work just fine. DIT however, does not describe this position, and since it is already a well defined job, I believe a need to separate the two is essential.

    As the transition from film to digital productions speeds up, a need to determine a common title for this position is necessary. A clear definition of job responsibilities and pay grade also need to be worked out. The fact that both Local 600 and 695 unions are vying for this position doesn't help.

    With so many variables up in the air, the one thing I do know is this. The position of DIT already exists and does not have anything to do with data management. While I'm sure many will disagree, or argue that the term DIT has simply evolved, the traditional DIT still exists and is used on productions. And because of this, the person who manages data needs a different title. I am interested to see how others feel about this topic, and what title (Digital Loader, Data Capture Engineer, Data Wrangler, etc.) should be used.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Alex Carr's Avatar
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    You are right, The two are very different.

    A Digi-loader should be able to move up to AC.
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  3. #3  
    http://reduser.net/forum/showthread....&highlight=dit

    One thing is important I think: A DIT should not focus on color too much (look-wise; we're shooting RAW) but on advising the dp on how to expose the image the best way possible.
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    Member Curtis Abbott's Avatar
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    On smaller productions couldn't this be the same person? I have been filling both descriptions; checking false color in RAW, working with the dp, transferring data and backing up, doing a first light in redcine to verify image quality.

    Am I right in thinking this, or way off?
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  5. #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by curts View Post
    On smaller productions couldn't this be the same person? I have been filling both descriptions; checking false color in RAW, working with the dp, transferring data and backing up, doing a first light in redcine to verify image quality.

    Am I right in thinking this, or way off?
    This is a good point. Many argue that there isn't a need for a DIT with the RED ONE because it's shooting raw, and I have yet to work on a RED production that had one. In your case I've heard people call themselves a Red Tech, which seems to imply a combination of basic DIT work and basic Digital Loader work. And certainly on smaller shoots this sort of combination isn't uncommon.

    What's important here is that you not simply label yourself a DIT. I think as RAW shoots become more prevalent the need for a DIT will become less important, and the camera department will revert to a more traditional hierarchy (D.P., Operator, 1st, 2nd, Digital Loader).
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    Senior Member Pietro Impagliazzo's Avatar
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    How come the need for a DIT will become less common because of RAW?

    Unless the DP knows everything about the RED, because you can fuck up pretty well not knowing how to expose properly with the Mysterium and what not.

    Do DPs need Image Technicians for film shoots? I never heard of it.

    Now... With a new gen of DPs being educated in the digital cinema reality don't you think he'll know everything a DIT should?

    So in this case yes... If the DP is well familiar with the digital world, he won't need a DIT, because he'll be one as well.
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    Senior Member Alexis Hanawalt's Avatar
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    I generally agree, and I generally accept any title I'm given. It's usually either DIT or "Red Tech." The latter seems more appropriate but 1st ACs will eventually know and understand the camera well enough that the notion needing to have someone standing by to answer questions about it will evaporate. The footage offloading aspect, however, will always exist - and it should be added that this position was already common on shoots involving P2 cards.

    I feel that it's an assistant editor position. I've done a lot of assistant editing, and what I do on set when I'm offloading, transcoding, syncing and backing up is no different than what I would do if I were stepping in to something that's already in post. The processes involved have nothing to do with the training and skill involved in being a film loader.
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  8. #8  
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    Let's wait and see. People are learning and technology is changing. One reason to have a digital loader on the set is to make sure everything is backed up safely. But suppose next year we have solid state memory big enough to shoot an entire day on and the camera (Epic or Scarlet) provides tools to properly check your footage (such as 1080p out, fast navigating with thumbnails and iphone tagging of shots) then what does the digital loader do?

    Personally I don't really care what I am called. People who do this job have different skills and you need to be aware of that when you hire somebody.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Nick Gardner's Avatar
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    Unless the DP knows everything about the RED, because you can fuck up pretty well not knowing how to expose properly with the Mysterium and what not.
    If you can't expose properly on any camera system without help, you have no right to charge people money as a DP. Exposure, and lighting ratios are what makes one a DP. Whether you use math, or go by eye or feel, lighting a scene is at the center of the job. I have had the discussion of what are dits for with many fellow DPs, and we all take great offense when some dit makes an issue of how we are exposing a scene.

    Protecting highlights is a great concept, but whether it's film, varicam, or Red, sometimes you want shit to burn out. Having some doofus come screaming at you in front of the producer that you are clipping the sky is not helpfull. At the risk of offending dits, many of them inflate the level of their responsibility, and try to exert more control than they have. Black shading 3 or 4 times a day is not necessary, but I see it done all the time. They try to build mystery into their job so that they are perceived as essential.

    As a Dp, if I have the choice between a dit and an extra grip, or a dit and an extra 6k, i'll lose the dit every time. Give me a good loader, that can back up data responsibly, fill out my time card, and cover the second when necessary any day of the week.

    That's just my opinion, mileage may vary,

    Nick
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  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by hoylecd View Post
    The position of DIT already exists and does not have anything to do with data management. While I'm sure many will disagree, or argue that the term DIT has simply evolved, the traditional DIT still exists and is used on productions. And because of this, the person who manages data needs a different title. I am interested to see how others feel about this topic, and what title (Digital Loader, Data Capture Engineer, Data Wrangler, etc.) should be used.
    Local 600 ACs can "load" and "un-load" digital magazines.

    It only falls to DIT classification if the IMAGE IS MANIPULATED, LUTS/LOOKS created, etc.

    Words like "managed" and "wrangled" are pretty damn vague - and they lead the all the debate happening now.

    My opinion:

    DATA = FILM = CAMERA DEPARTMENT

    LOAD, UNLOAD, COPY = AC or DIT

    LUTS/LOOKS, COLOR/IMAGE PROCESSING (on set dailies, etc.) = DIT

    I also think it's a SHAME that local 700 and local 600 are not working more closely together. This should all be about the crew members, not politics.
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