Difference between DIT and Data Manager?

Difference between DIT and Data Manager?

Cameras, Post Production

In the past few years, we’ve been hearing more and more about a new on-set position: DIT or Digital Imaging Technician, or a Data Manager. Why are these mysterious editor-like crew members sitting at their computer all day seemingly just watching status bars and percentages all day? Are they a DIT or a Data Manager? Why do we need them?

There are many different opinions on the subject, with some arguing that it’s an absolutely necessary position on every shoot. Others believe there are times when it is not needed.

At Decade Pictures we like to play it safe with our footage. If there is a budget for someone whose sole responsibility is to makes sure every clip is ingested, backed-up and accounted for, then why wouldn’t you take the extra precaution?

Another factor to consider is the difference between DIT and Data Manager, a position with a much-disputed definition.

DIT or Digital Imaging Technician

  • -takes the media cards straight from the camera and backs it up to multiple drives
  • -creates a preliminary look for the footage, as discussed with the director of photography and/or client
  • -converts the footage into the appropriate editing file types
  • -organizes the editing project files to ensure a quick hand-off to the editor

Data Manager

  • -takes the media cards straight from the camera and backs it up to multiple drives
  • -converts the footage into the appropriate editing file types
  • -organizes the editing project files to ensure a quick hand-off to the editor

Basically, the main difference in roles of a DIT and Data Manager is the color correction aspect. If you are using a camera that shoots RAW, such as the RED cameras or a camera shooting Log Color Space like the Canon C300 (and many others), you may want to opt for a DIT rather than a Data Manager.

DIT and Data Manager: The Kit

Another major thing to consider is the kit needed for a DIT and Data Manager.

To be able to withstand the massive data amounts needed to transfer, the computer MUST have updated hardware and ports. A general rule we abide by here at Decade Pictures is to make sure our DIT has one or more of the following ports:

We have found that without these, the task can become extremely slow, causing the shoot to move on without the footage being verified.

This is the basic explanation of a DIT and Data Manager, which we believe is a necessary position. Many would argue this point, but you can never put a price on data security.

There are many DIT and Data Manager station setups on the market and choosing one can be tricky. Check out next week’s article to learn which computers will give you the best DIT set-up for your money and to see our favorite set-up.

Article by
Jack Finlay