Posts Tagged ‘workflow’

The Value of a DIT in Today’s Digital Workflow

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
Composite image of flash memory cards, showing...

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File-based work flows in video production have presented an incredible amount of benefits to the overall production process, but they have also demanded that video producers/directors reshape the way they move from production into post-production, and finally, to delivery. One of the key members of a tapeless video crew is the DIT, or Digital Imaging Technician. This individual, depending on the size of the shoot, is responsible for many things, but in my opinion, the most important function of the DIT is managing all of the assets while on location. This means taking the memory cards from the DP or camera assistant and transferring them over to hard drives. Once on the hard drives, a DIT will usually back up those files to a redundant drive and ensure that everything transferred correctly before re-formatting the cards for use again on the set. In addition, a DIT will prep each file for use in post-production and will prepare dailies for the director and the client to review.
For projects with smaller budgets, it may be tempting to forego the services of a DIT and simply let the director, DP, or a production assistant handle the duties of a DIT. Although this approach works, consider the side effects of this approach:

  • Using the director and/or DP to handle this job could slow down the pace of the shoot considerably. Once the cards are full, the director or DP must stop work, start transferring footage, wait for that footage to be transferred, confirm the transfer, reformat the cards, then return to the set. A DIT can handle all of this while the director and/or DP continue their work of shooting, setting up for the next shot, or working with the client and/or talent. This maintains a good work flow throughout the day and ensures that everything stays on schedule.
  • Using a production assistant as a DIT means assigning a less experienced person to do the job. An experienced DIT knows the equipment, knows exactly what he/she is doing, and can properly communicate with the director/DP.

So, even for those shoots that have smaller crews, a good DIT is a valuable asset to the team. However, with the ever-increasing capacity of memory cards, and the ever-decreasing cost of those memory cards, it will become easier for small ENG crews to spend an entire day shooting to memory cards, without ever having the need to transfer and reformat. All of the cards can simply be stored until the end of the day, then transferred at night, and used again the following day. But if the production turn-around is extremely tight, it may be in the producer’s best interest to hire a DIT and allow him/her to transfer all the footage during the course of the day, start prepping for post, and begin work on a rough edit. This will save a lot of time and will allow the producer to get the final video out to the client much quicker.

Ultimately, the use of the DIT depends on the situation, but don’t underestimate the value of that position in the ever-increasing world of tapeless video production.

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Working with the Canon T2i

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

I’m excited to say that we’ve added another camera to our video arsenal. We recently acquired the Canon T2i, a great DSLR that shoots full frame 1920x1080p HD video in variable frame rates. Last weekend I spent some time shooting test footage, so I could get to know the camera a little better. Then I brought the raw footage into my editing system to see if I could establish a good workflow. Below are three clips I shot over the weekend. Here are some of my first impressions with the camera:

  1. The shallow depth of field that you can get with these cameras is pretty remarkable.
  2. Boosting the ISO will always add more grain to your shot. If you are shooting indoors and you don’t want a lot of grain in your image, keep the ISO as low as you can and add more light to your scene.
  3. It’s a good idea to invest in some neutral density filters for exterior shooting. Using ND filters will allow you to keep your shutter speed at a slower setting. Increasing the shutter speed will cause your video to strobe more, creating a very staccato feel. Of course, this might be just the effect you are looking for.
  4. Unless you are using Premiere Pro CS5, you will probably need to use some intermediate codec to convert the native MOV files into a format that your NLE can work with.
  5. The T2i provides manual control over exposure and focus, and offers three different HD movie modes – 1080p/30fps, 1080p/24fps, and 720p/60fps. There doesn’t seem to be any manual control over white balance, but if you know of a way to change it, let me know.
  6. Establishing rock-solid focus marks for your scene will be difficult without adding some kind of follow-focus system on to your camera. It’s not impossible, but it will take some rehearsing.
  7. Make sure you purchase SDHC cards with fast transfer speeds. That will ensure better recording and better playback.
  8. I love the LCD screen. Very large, very clear.
  9. The ergonomics of hand-holding the camera isn’t as awkward as some people make it out to be. Is it different? Yes, but you can easily adapt.
  10. The image stabilization in both the kit 18-55mm lens and the 50-250mm lens seem to respond very well. I didn’t use a tripod on any of my test shoots and was pleased with how the IS in each lens reduced hand shake.

Again, these are simply my initial impressions and observations. I’m sure I will post more as I start using the camera on client projects.

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