One of the most fluctuating positions affected by these changes has been the DIT (digital imaging technician)—a somewhat new camera-crew position that's the product of digital filmmaking technology. Initially, the DIT ensured that digital files were backed up and distributed for postproduction. They would also collaborate with cinematographers to make sure they were getting exactly the look they wanted. The job responsibilities have advanced to include color correction and dailies creation, which was previously done in a lab or by a member of postproduction.
As it often has been said, "It's a real bad wind that doesn't blow somebody some good," and in that spirit, a handful of companies have made it their business to provide solutions and have created a seamless workflow. Part software, part hardware and part human, these companies not only are creating a workflow for file-based footage, but also are blurring the line between physical and postproduction.
Since opening in 1963, FotoKem has been assisting filmmakers by closing the gap between physical and postproduction. Three years ago, FotoKem started a small division called nextLAB. Vice president and general manager of nextLAB, Tom Vice, says nextLAB is essentially "a post system in a remote environment. The aim of the new post house is to support any camera that comes through the door."
According to Vice, nextLAB is focused on supporting file-based cameras both at their facility and in the field using a custom array of hardware and software they call nextLAB Mobile. These systems are capable of performing color correction, syncing sound and processing dailies all on set, without having to physically transport files to the facility. Vice explains nextLAB's workflow is flexible to meet the needs of the production. "Often, we'll have a production rent our on-set system," he says. "DITs will use our system as a media-management system and as a color-correction tool. Then they will pass their files off to a post house that does all the transcoding, archiving, QC and deliverables."