DIT = Digital imaging technician
The person that looks after the media. That may include setting up camera menus, copying/backing up/filing/storing files, converting shot files into something more easily viewed on site, maybe even doing quick rough cuts for directors, making tea etc.
Thanks. Yea DIT, digital imaging tech, or someone that checks stuff, marks stuff and keeps stuff in order. With motion it's vital everything is checked, because there is no economic way to fix it in post and if you have a camera that's acting up you need to know. A week ago I was in Northern California shooting and about 3 hours in I realized I hadn't seen the tech. I had this sinking feeling and ran out to the tech station and said "why the h__l didn't you come in and tell me how it's going?" He replied, everything looks fine so I didn't want to bug you. I felt relief and a little over reaction at the same time, but I wanna know that A camera is working, B camera is working, all the white balances match and (choke, cough, choke) we're in focus.
I have a big honking dit station from maxx digital that I don't use anymore except for studio, or very close in locations. It's in a long large pelican case, holds a raid 5, battery backups, fans, lights, two powerbooks, a red rocket and it's a monster. Did a gig from Bangkok to KL and back and after moving that bloody thing decided to never do it again.
One thing about digital is it may look easier to shoot than film, but it's not, it's just as difficult, maybe more. Just saw the Lone Ranger (great technique, silly direction) and read that it was shot on Kodak vision pulled a stop to give an iso of 25. 25 seems very low in todays world and with our budgets would be a nightmare because we use a lot of fluorescent fixtures, led panels and my highest wattage hmi's are those blue broncolors at 800, though most are 575 watts. For the RED's at 800 iso they're perfect, for the gh3's that pull a perfect film look at f2.8 more than perfect, but having base iso of 800 outside requires 3 or 4 stops of nd, which is kind of a pain.
At ISO 25 on the Lone, that gave them about f 5.6 in bright sunlight, though that's the problem of reading what people do in the 200 million dollar world. I'll bet they had dozens of 10ks of fill everywhere and days of rigging prior to shooting and most of our real world budgets don't allow for that.
The director of the Lone mentioned that he went with film so not to add ND's and because he got 16 stops out of pulling the film so if they were 1 or 2 stops off they could recover that. I guess, but at 200 million, I think being two stops off would be kind of a miss.
Anyway if I added to commandments I'd say that anything you don't do on set or in prep will cost you 4 times the effort (maybe the money) in post. Just naming the scenes and building a file structure that is logical on set will save many hours in the backend, even if some of the file structure has a folder that reads, (Wild Shots Outside Of Kids Running), because somewhere down the line it's gotta be processed, transcoded to prorezz, knocked down for web and put in galleries for the clients and the editors to see and find.
We run multiple cameras a lot and keeping multiple cameras in order is difficult and you don't want to lose a great cutaway just because you can't easily find it, (it happens).
Actually I normally run two RED 1's and a Scarlet or GH3, though I've tried to keep scenes matched to cameras. If I can run on supports I run the reds because they're not easy to hand hold, if we're more fluid, or hand holding, or small car mounts I use two gh3's, because it's a pain to match color from different cameras. One thing I have to watch is becoming too technically perfect. If everything is smooth, locked down, all even exposure it sometimes get's boring or you find yourself limiting the talent where they don't move in a fluid manner and it doesn't look real it looks artificial.
Given my preference and time, I'd run just one camera, reset the scene for each change check each take and make adjustments, but my world doesn't allow for this. I have learned that just shooting a lot will never make up for shooting good (duh). It's easy to get caught up in running too much footage, especially in digital, but good footage is good footage and c__p is c__p.
Since I run multiple cameras, multiple brands, we haven't done genlock (a wired or wireless system where every camera runs the same timecode), but now I almost always run one brand of camera for each scene and will begin to genlock when we can.
Sound guys hate running to camera. Michael mentions don't run sound to camera and I don't agree, as long as the sound guy has a mixer and you have a great sound guy. (Always hire a great sound guy), because the RED 1's have 4 channels of sound and I've compared it until my ears bleed and what goes into the RED's from the mixer sounds just like the files the sound guy gives me.
For the GH3's sometimes the sound is good, sometimes I replace it, but even if your never running sound to a camera, at least put a scratch mike on the camera because it makes it much easier to find and identify the sound file for replacement and sync.
Once again sound is a monster and there is a reason they made sound stages. Not for shooting convenience, but to allow clean sound and I firmly believe that the music score was not invented for added pleasure but to hide bad background sound. (somewhat kidding).
Michael also mentions don't autofocus. On this I also disagree. Yes manual focus and an expert focus puller is ideal and if you have the budget, the time, the equipment then it works most of the time (though every focus puller will miss and always miss on the best take), but the Sony FS100 pulls very good focus (not the best file) but good focus with E mount lenses and the Pana GH3's pull very good autofocus if they're set up correctly and per scene. They have about 10 settings and they excel in very fast point here, point there, back to here focus, seem to have more problems in long slow movements like tracking someone walking horizontal and then towards the camera, back to horizontal, though a dedicated focus puller also has problems with that scenario.
As a side note I have great respect for RED and Panasonic. All three very different companies, but both of these companies have listened, take they're equipment seriously and responded with changes.
RED has made some mistakes, some promises not exactly kept, but they really changed the world in high end motion imagery, because I've never heard of a camera coming out of nowhere from a clean sheet that addressed what indie film makers have been asking for decades to get. RED's aren't cheap in the still world, but in the motion film world, they're almost free, compared to 80 grand engs and hundred grand Arri's.
There are a lot of people that don't like RED, too many people that are fanboys regardless of what RED does, but RED has balls and looked at the world and said why not. My R1's are the only cameras I've ever owned that I think I can use forever, except for my Phase One backs. They've paid for themselves many times over and maybe I've been lucky, but those cameras are so good, so robust and understand I'm not a fan boy of anything have paid close to retail for everything I own. I only like stuff that works.
Since I shoot the gh3's next to the RED's I have direct comparison and the gh3's are damn good cameras, great zooms, with little breathing and for the price, the deal of the complete century.
I can promise you I could shoot most everything I do with them and very, very, very few people would notice. They're still digital, still a little funky sometimes with ambient color looks, but overall they're bloody brilliant and Panasonic really listened to people that work for a living. I just wished they'd make a more dedicated motion camera with multiple sound inputs and some viewfinder options, but for the price, they put everybody in the league of no excuse film making.
The only issue with the Panas is they shoot h264 and have to be converted to prorezz and base colored and rely on third party coloring suites like baselight, DiVinci and a whole bunch of plug ins that kind of work, kind of not. RED has the rocket that transcodes and Cinex that does first color and the workflow is very smart and fast.
Anyway, back to focus.
If I am manually focusing myself on the REDs I use Zeiss Nikon Mount lenses, because they have the same glass as zeiss mini primes and the focus throw is 1/2 turn of the lens for about 100 ft. where a PL mount lens is a turn and a half, so you can do it yourself and do it well, but I need a viewfinder, not a flat panel because flat panels kind of throw me for focus. The Zeiss still lenses are cheap (in the film world) sharp and kind of pretty, but they look a little silly with a 12 oz. lens on a 18 lb camera, but I love the RED 1's so what the heck.
One last thing. In the motion world the debate of film vs. digital rages on.
I don't like the word video because RED, Arri, Panasonic have done a great job emulating film looks and to me video is a Sony ENG for covering talking heads and football.
With good post you can get digital close to film, though digital never has the continuous look of film, because it's too ambient color sensitive. If it's a warm room, you'll have a globally warm shot with digital and film is kind of dumb and doesn't see a lot of color bleed. Also people like technicolor have about a trillion years of working film to digital and unlike the still world, they share all that knowledge. If you want a cold look, they'll tell you the stock, the settings, even the lenses and if you want warm and happy, they have a plan for that.
RED has done an amazing job in building a film like digital camera, but film is film and a three light telecine is something you have to see to really enjoy.
Most of the paying world will not wait or budget for film and the hardest thing to explain to a client is at the rate we produce work, it takes 3 days minimum for every day you shoot to get a well graded, first light (minimum corrected) daily. (Daily is a silly word because you won't see good digital in a day, unless your working one set, one style of lights.).
There is no perfect camera. Yes we need a 4 sound channel, 16 stop, autofocus camera that weighs in at 3 lbs, has lenses that don't breath, has it's own built in cage to add peripherals and has a complete system where you put footage into a machine, twist a knob, hit the color, push a button and out pops perfectly graded footage, but that doesn't exist. Actually the closest to this is RED because they do have a system where you can buy everything from them (at a price).
Also I'd be wary of anyone that tells you one camera does it all, because it doesn't. Sure there are great works done on everything. Shane Hurlbut (the guy that Christian Bale screamed at) shot Act of Valor with 5d's and it's very, very pretty, though I've heard they spent a long time in post.
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) who I think is one of the best dialog directors presently working shot her breakout film Hurt Locker on a 16mm A minima and the camera didn't make the movie, don't think it even helped it, but her direction did, plus that script and her talent could have been shot with GH3's and had the same look in proper post production and if you look at that movie, it's real, always fluid and breaks about twenty rules in established film direction. I guess my point is it's better to get a compelling shot, than it is to get a technically perfect one and though hailed as an overnight success, Ms. Bigelow did Point Break in 1991, so it takes a long time to be an overnight success.
I really don't believe that digital is exactly there in motion or stills. I know you can make any camera look like good film, given the time (time more than budget, though time is budget) and I also know that everything everybody tells you as fact gets changed by someone that knows the rules then breaks them for a reason, but it's important to know the rules first and regardless of what is written or told, there is no one workflow or exactly right way of doing motion imagery.
If digital has a good side (it's kind of hard to find it's good side in todays budget cutting world) it's that motion imagery is accessible to anyone that has the will to produce something with their vision. I know those phrases are always used, but there is some kid setting somewhere with an Iphone right now shooting something that is good, maybe better than 90% of what we see on any commercial screen and I'll bet he/she doesn't care if it's in focus, 2k or 4k, 8 bits or 14 bits, -4 db or peaking past level of ear drum bleed.
I know the best motion piece I have produced was done out of dumb luck and probably being a little stupid. I had a song from someone I admire that I always wanted to shoot to. I got a call from an AD whose agency wanted to pitch a real world look for a soft drink and I drove out to an old 1/4 mile dirt track to scout it, had a Nikon D700 and a 200mm lens and just started shooting it with my finger held down. I put it light-room, graded it, threw it into fcp 7 and made motion imagery out of it, made notes, listened to the song 40 dozen times and went back out to finish it up. Funny thing was I loved it and didn't want to present it for the commercial project because I'd have ruined it. I told the AD I'd shoot something else for them, (he got laid off so that never happened), but I did shoot it for me and that piece has brought more work into our studio than anything I've ever produced.Magic Man
I also know that since I did this piece a lot of clients expect me to make it up as I go along . . . and I do . . . sometimes because spontaneity is good, sometimes because that's just the way life goes, but I've also found it's very important to have an open mind. I consider anyone that points a camera at a subject is there to serve the subject. If I walk away from the day and the subject(s) are proud of the way they talk, walk and look, then I've done my job. Not everyone will agree with me though.
Especially clients that want B roll.