Sunday, April 14, 2024
Subscribe Now

Voice Of The Crew - Since 2002

Los Angeles, California

HomeCraftsPostproductionThe DIT: New Kid on the Block (Column #1)

The DIT: New Kid on the Block (Column #1)


With each new generation of digital cinematography cameras, the technology gets more and more sophisticated and increasingly complex, and these days even cinematographers can find themselves lost in the cameras’ complicated menu systems.The cameras themselves perform mathematical gymnastics in real time to give you an output that’s useable. But at its heart, it’s still a computer, and if it’s going to be useful as a production tool, you need someone around on set who knows how the computer side of the camera works.So it was really the launch of Sony’s 24P CineAlta camera in 2000 that gave rise to the role of the digital imaging technician (DIT)—a new position on the film crew, and one that’s evolving rapidly. Today, a DIT would be considered pretty much indispensable on any shoot using anything from a CineAlta up to some of the newer electronic cinematography cameras like Thomson’s Viper, Arri’s D-20, Panavision’s Genesis, or Dalsa’s Origin.“The role of the DIT has gone farther than simply a representative from the rental house to facilitate the use of the equipment,” said Joshua Gollish, who is serving as the DIT on Everybody Hates Chris, a show currently being shot at Paramount with the Viper for UPN. “There’s a big need for guys like me right now.”Indeed, especially with the newer cameras, finding someone with enough knowledge about the camera to troubleshoot problems as they arise can be a challenge. And although it’s a role that can be vital to keeping production on track, Gollish reported that it’s often poorly understood.“Often producers and directors come up to me and say, ‘what do you do? What’s your job?’ That’s the most common question. Perhaps they know what I do, but since the technology continues to change and get better, they’re not always certain,” he explained. “But I only expect them to have a general idea [that] I’m just a part of the camera team at large.”Over the past two years, Gollish has probably clocked more time as a DIT with the Viper than anybody else in the business. In addition to Everybody Hates Chris, he also served on The 4400, Terminal City, the pilot episode of Sex, Love and Secrets, and the upcoming feature Gray Matters as well as two commercials. In addition to the Viper, he has also served as DIT on several sets shooting with Sony F900s and F950s.There are currently no film schools offering courses for DITs, and Gollish explained that the only way to learn how to be a DIT is to hang out in the camera rental houses and play with the cameras, because the DIT has to know the camera inside and out.“I spent two years before I did [Terminal City] learning about all of the equipment that’s available and going over all of the practices that the camera department goes through. What I wanted to do was get the most thorough background that I could before trying to jump into hot water on set,” explained Gollish. “So it took me two years of going in to play with the equipment, because you have to go to the rental houses and figure them out. It’s no easy task.”And his understanding of the idiosyncrasies of each type of camera has to be thorough.“It’s the little things you learn—oh yeah, the camera does that every now and again,” he said. “When a problem arises, I have to have a solution: I have to have a way to act or react, so that it continues to make the process of filmmaking transparent to the talent,” explained Gollish. “Once the talent is on set, it’s all about them. You don’t want to say, ‘wait, the camera’s screwing up!’”While the DITs role evolves hand in hand with the technology, it also changes from one production to the next. “There are so many ways to configure a camera package,” said Gollish. “But ultimately my role is to make the transition to digital on set transparent to a cinematographer, so that they can light and create the mood of the film and do their job, as has been the case with film cameras for the last 100 years.“So in some ways, I’m doing my job best when people don’t know what I’m doing. They think I’m not doing anything. But if you always see me running around fixing something, I’m not doing my job. I haven’t eliminated the problem.”He stressed that the ‘hands-on’ testing is vital. “A lot of people start trying to answer questions when a problem arises. When you’ve got directors and producers in a room with an image on screen that doesn’t look right—believe me, I’ve been there, and it’s not a fun room to be in. You don’t want to get into that situation not knowing what you’re talking about,” he said. “You get through those times by knowing your stuff. When you’ve done those tests, you know what you’re talking about.”

Written by Scott Lehane

- Advertisment -


Brad Allan

Over the Weekend 8/9/21: Night Court‘s Markie Post Dies, The Suicide...

Unfortunately, this past weekend was one full of sadness as a number of prominent and beloved people from across our industry passed away. First up, Markie...

Beowulf and 3-D