DIT faq

What’s the difference between a Digital Imaging Technican (DIT) and a Data Wrangler?

Data Wranglers primarily perform camera digital media card offloads, much like a 2nd AC used to load and offload film magazines. Depending on the skill set and day rate, these digital offloads can be unverified drag-and-drop copies (not recommended) or checksum verified & error-checked with special software. A Data Wrangler is never involved in the camera setup, on set color decisions, or making dailies. Simple offload of digital camera data media is the general job description for a Data Wrangler.

A DIT, on the other hand, is involved in all functions mentioned above – from camera setup and live grading of camera signals, to media offloading (always checksum verified), audio synching, primary (one light) color correction, and striking dailies for NLE editorial use.


Why do these functions need to happen on set?

If a production has a quick turn around time frame, then making dailies that are ready to edit immediately is a great idea.  Additionally, the Director and DP have the opportunity to embed the look that they want the footage to have by utilizing this process on set.  If dailies are postponed until later to be done by a post production person, then this look will not be the look displayed by the dailies.  Making these decisions and embedding them into the footage on set is the best insurance that the look that was achieved on set is the correct and corrected look that the dailies footage will have. This data as camera metadata will then will follow along right to the final color correction session.


Does a DIT have to know every camera make?

No, not all – but it doesn’t hurt. An intimate knowledge of any camera utilized on a set will be most helpful for problem solving as well as basic and advanced setup of a specific look that a Director or DP are looking for. Any good DIT has this working knowledge and is respected for having it.


Is the DIT involved in Post Production?

Obviously, many of the functions that a DIT performs on set fall into post production categories – audio synching, color grading, and transcoding dailies for instance. A good workflow is best established by having detailed conversations prior to the start of production with the post production supervisor or equivalent in order to establish a clear workflow process that works for everyone involved.


What are some additional DIT functions?

A DIT will almost always be carefully scrutinizing the live camera feed for exposure values as well as any other anomalies that might be discovered like foreign objects in the shot. Any exposure issues are quickly brought to the attention of the DP so that any corrections can be immediately applied. Most cameras output a range of important data via their video output feeds, and this data is always scrutinized for the correct frame rate, color temperature, etc. Any settings that have changed accidentally or need to be changed can be brought to the attention of the camera crew immediately.


You are not a DIT if;      (list found on internet)

– If you sit there dragging and dropping to transfer files, you are not a DIT.

– If you don’t know color theory, you are not a DIT

– If you cannot read a histogram, you are not a DIT.

– If you can’t do setups like detail, noise reduction, secondary color correction in the camera in every scene, you are not a DIT

– If you can’t match a whole material on-set instead of “fixing everything in post” you are not a DIT

– If you can’t record the proper signal – so you could use as much information in post as you can, you are not a DIT.

– If you never use a gray card…. and you don’t know why you should use a gray card, you are not a DIT.

– If you can’t advise on exposure, you are not a DIT

– If your DP does not respect your opinion, you are not a DIT

– If you color on-set, yet don’t/can’t calibrate your own monitor, you are not a DIT

– If you are not the consultant on-set for your camera crew, you are not a DIT

– If producers are more excited over your rate that your work, you are not a DIT.

A DIT is a person who is competent in data management, look creation, and giving knowledgeable advice to the DP on ways to get the best image possible.