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The following article is the result of conversations with over 150 industry professionals around the world to seek to define on-set tasks and responsibilities involving image and data pipelines as well as to create descriptions of the roles commonly associated with performing those tasks in order to ensure that individuals hired to carry out these tasks are properly qualified and equipped to provide the highest quality image fidelity and data protection for Netflix productions. 

Not all of these tasks or roles are required on every show, and establishing the needs of a specific production will be determined in collaboration with key stakeholders like the Line Producer, DP, Post Production Supervisor and Netflix. The Production Workflows team at Netflix is available to guide the needs of each production and to assist in navigating workflow decisions. 

 


 

Table of Contents

1. Common Digital Imaging and Data Management Roles

1.1 DIT (On-Set)

1.2 Data Manager / Digital Loader 

1.3 DIT Near-Set

1.4 DIT Assistant / Digital Utility

2. Tasks to be Avoided On-set / Near-set

3. Breakdown of Tasks and Responsibilities On-set / Near-set

3.1 Pre-production

3.2 Production & Post Production hand-over

4. A Guide to Determining Roles and Responsibilities on Your Production

 


 

1. Digital Imaging and Data Management Roles

It is important to describe the on-set digital imaging and data management roles as they are commonly carried out, and recognize their differences. Please note the distinction between a ‘DIT (On-Set)’, which is often considered the more traditional way of looking at the role , and a ‘DIT (Near-Set)’, a role that combines some of the common DIT tasks with those of a Data Manager. 

 

1.1 DIT (On-Set) 

A key role in setting up, overseeing and communicating the overall image pipeline between the set and Post Production and VFX departments, working closely with the Cinematographer (DP), camera assistants and gaffers. They are subject matter experts for color and image pipelines, digital cameras, imaging capture, metadata and data management. On-set DIT’s should be capable of live color correction, exposure checks, live QC and establishing an accurate and consistent viewing experience. A DIT should have working knowledge in the setup, maintenance and troubleshooting of digital cameras and associated equipment. 

 

1.2 Data Manager / Digital Loader 

An authority on the design and execution of the Data Management Plan (including Visual Inspection) for the OCF (Original Camera Files) and production sound files. They work on-set or near-set, alongside the DIT (when present), maintaining strong, clear communication with the Dailies Lab, Editorial and Post Production departments. 

 

1.3 DIT (Near-Set) 

A hybrid role between the DIT on-set and the Data Manager. This role is often employed when the separation of DIT and Data Manager/Digital Loader isn’t possible (e.g. due to location constraints or workflow requirements). Key responsibilities cover data management plus some of the duties of the DIT, including workflow and camera setup, basic color management and OCF color grading. Duties such as Live Grading and Live QC will not be possible in a Near-Set configuration. 

 

1.4 DIT Assistant / Digital Utility / Video Operator “VTR” Assistant 

A DIT Assistant, also variously referred to as a Digital Utility or Video Operator “VTR” Assistant, assists the DIT on-set deploying the live signal feed from the on-set cameras. At the DIT station, color management is applied and distributed to the various on-set monitors, including video village. This role can also help the DIT on-set to manage the RF requirements and the video transmitter(s).

 


 

2. Tasks to be Avoided On-set / Near-set

Some tasks are not recommended to be performed On-Set or Near-Set due to the requirements of the work environments and the time constraints required to properly perform those tasks. If these tasks must be performed on or near set, we recommend that they are managed by a dailies lab with dedicated personnel, in the proper environment and with adequate time allotted. 

Full audio and visual QC:

This is a rigorous check of the OCF that takes substantial time and a controlled environment to perform correctly. 

Archiving to LTO or Content Hub Upload:

LTO tapes are very fragile and uploading to Content Hub requires time, a stable high speed internet connection and specialized equipment to perform correctly.

OCF Dailies Processing:

Modern technologies allow fast image processing and rendering to be accessible everywhere, even on-set. However, the job of processing OCF into proxy files isn’t just about speed; it requires manual operations that require human focus and dedicated time. If proxy creation absolutely must be done near-set due to specific production considerations then it is vital that the involved departments are highly aligned on the workflow variables: distance from the nearest lab, amount and type of OCF to process, available equipment and locations, available internet bandwidth, etc. 

 


 

3. Breakdown of Tasks and Responsibilities On Set/Near Set

The following is a summary of the tasks and responsibilities associated with On-Set and/or Near-Set digital imaging and data management practices. In each case, there should be a Subject Matter Expert (or a small team of experts) accountable and responsible for these tasks in coordination with the other key departments. 

It is crucial to the success of a production image and data workflow that these Subject Matter Experts are given enough preparation time to perform these tasks correctly and efficiently, including time to provide clear and concise documentation.

 

3.1 During Pre-production 

Color management workflow:

Each production has its own unique approach to color. Defining each stage of color management from set to the lab is critical to successfully translate the creative intent downstream from set to the dailies, editorial and image post. This task requires someone who understands color management best practices and the expectations from Post. The earlier this person is involved in conversations around color management with the DP, dailies lab, finishing lab and finishing colorist, the more likely it is that the vision on-set can be reproduced during the final stages of the production.

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set)

Key Stakeholders: DP, PPS, EDITORIAL, STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: DI LAB, DAILIES LAB, VFX

 

Color critical monitors; choosing, profiling and calibrating the right display: 

Choosing the right displays for the production and having the tools and knowledge to calibrate them is crucial to maintaining image consistency. This task often requires initiating or at least facilitating the conversation to select the appropriate monitors, and to calibrate all essential monitors to a “source of truth” display where there will be a visual sign-off from stakeholders. No matter if the task of calibration is performed by a member of the crew or outsourced to a vendor, we encourage the creation of calibration reports so they can be shared with stakeholders who are not on-set.

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set)

Key Stakeholders: DP, EDITORIAL, STUDIO, CAMERA, PRODUCTION, RENTAL HOUSES

Departments who share this responsibility: DI LAB, DAILIES LAB, VFX, EDITORIAL, VIDEO

 

Framing and image extraction pipeline: 

Defining and communicating the working area and resolution of the image is a critical part of the camera framing conversation and impacts the work downstream in Post Production. If the key departments are not aligned on the intended framing composition, issues may arise in Editorial and finishing, causing delays and inefficiencies in later stages of the image pipeline. This task should also involve the cinematographer, the camera team, and the editorial and VFX departments so that there is alignment on the design of each unique camera sensor’s extraction guidelines. 

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set)

Key Stakeholders: CAMERA, EDITORIAL, PPS, DAILIES LAB, STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: DP, DI LAB, VFX

 

The Data Management workflow: 

This is the creation of a robust data management workflow plan from set to archive that ensures an acceptable amount of redundancy (such as 3-2-1) for OCF (Original Camera Files) and production sound files. This plan should be established during prep, in collaboration with the dailies lab and post team.

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert(s): DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set), Data Manager, Digital Loader

Key Stakeholders: CAMERA, SOUND, DI LAB, PPS

Departments who share this responsibility: PPS, PRODUCTION, DAILIES LAB, DI LAB, STUDIO

 

Media recycling protocol: 

It is important to plan the logistics of on-set media management and reports early on. This includes the planning of all actionable decisions leading up to clearing the camera cards and/or on-set hard drives so that all production teams are presented with a well documented, reliable turnaround time and camera card count. 

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert(s): DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set), Data Manager, Digital Loader

Key Stakeholders: STUDIO, RENTAL HOUSES, SCRIPT SUPERVISOR, PPS

Departments who share this responsibility: CAMERA, SOUND, DAILIES LAB, PRODUCTION, EDITORIAL 

 

Metadata workflow planning and roundtrip: 

Metadata that is created on-set is the thread that connects Production to Editorial, VFX and FInishing; planning the workflow for collecting and managing it is a pivotal step of prep. Having a clear understanding of where the metadata is coming from, which departments rely on it, whether additional hardware or software might be required to collect it and testing metadata consistency and usability throughout the pipeline (well before principal photography starts) is critical.

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert(s): DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set), Data Manager, Digital Loader

Key Stakeholders: SCRIPT SUPERVISOR, VFX, EDITORIAL, DAILIES LAB, DI LAB, PPS, STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: CAMERA, SOUND

 

Camera Prep and Setup: 

During the Camera (and Sound) departments’ prep time, camera settings, which include; frame lines (extraction lines), recording and color settings, genlocking, lens and filters packages, as well as expectations around color management, should be set. This task is about keeping alignment between key stakeholders of all these settings and overseeing broader documentation. 

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set)

Key Stakeholders: DP, SOUND, DAILIES LAB, DI LAB, PRODUCTION, PPS, VFX, STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: CAMERA, SOUND, RENTAL HOUSES, VIDEO

 

Documenting the Camera Settings: 

This task involves documenting how all cameras should be set up for a particular project, specifically recording frame rate, recording file compression or codec settings, sensor mode, frame lines (extraction lines), recording and color space. These settings should be saved in a format that can be easily distributed to other shooting units or specialist departments that rely on this information.

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set)

Key Stakeholders: DP, PPS, VFX, DAILIES LAB,DI LAB, STUDIO, CAMERA RENTAL

Departments who share this responsibility: CAMERA, SOUND

 

Equipment Prep and Check: 

There should be time set aside during pre-production to procure specialist items such as transfer drives and on-set RAIDs, and test the rental of any necessary high value hardware such as displays, signal converters, video routers, and camera media readers. Costs relating to hardware procurement should be communicated to production as early as possible. 

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert(s): DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set), Data Manager, Digital Loader

Key Stakeholders: PRODUCTION

Departments who share this responsibility: STUDIO, CAMERA, RENTAL HOUSES

 

Sensor Check: 

In Pre-Production it is important to check that the camera sensors are working properly. This task must be performed in coordination with the camera department to ensure the camera sensor is clean and has been well maintained. This becomes even more critical when multiple camera bodies are involved, with special care on color matching when using the same camera model.

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set)

Key Stakeholders: DP

Departments who share this responsibility: CAMERA

 

Lens Evaluation: 

Performed during camera prep and supporting the DP, camera, and VFX departments, lenses should be evaluated for color consistency, distortions, and sensor coverage. These considerations should then be documented and communicated downstream, and frame leaders, lens grids and extraction charts should be shot.

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set) 

Key Stakeholders: PRODUCTION, DI LAB, RENTAL HOUSES, STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: DP, CAMERA, VFX

 

Camera Filter Check: 

This task involves supporting the camera department in monitoring how specific filter packages affect the camera image. The goal is to find the best combination of filters that results in a consistent color shift. 

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set)

Key Stakeholders: PRODUCTION, DI LAB, RENTAL HOUSES, MAKE-UP, COSTUME, ART DEPT, STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: DP, CAMERA, VFX

 

Radio Frequencies (RF) / Internet Protocols (IP): 

Mapping radio frequencies and managing networks has become a critical part of physical production. This task involves having a good understanding of the importance of RF and IP and designing or contributing to a management plan on how to feed signals to and from stakeholder departments on and near-set. It is also often necessary to manage the RF/IP traffic during Production, or, at the very least, actively monitoring it. Ideally the RF/IP needs should be communicated to Production well in advance of principal photography.

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set)

Key Stakeholders: PRODUCTION, STUDIO, STUDIO FACILITIES

Departments who share this responsibility: CAMERA, VIDEO, SOUND, STUDIO, PRODUCTION

 

3.2 During Production

On-set monitoring setup and basic color management: 

This task involves ensuring that all monitors are correctly set up according to the agreed pre-production planning. This includes agreeing to the best possible viewing environment and the ability to set clear expectations for creative sign off. It also might involve setting up the monitors under black/dark pop up tents or flags to control the lighting conditions around the screens.

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set)

Key Stakeholders: DP, CAMERA, VIDEO, DAILIES LAB, PRODUCTION, DI LAB, RENTAL HOUSES, STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: SPECIALIZED EXTERNAL VENDOR, RENTAL HOUSES, VIDEO

 

Critical color management: 

This task involves checking if the color pipeline designed during prep and referenced in the workflow document is well executed during the shooting. Specialist equipment to perform this task should include LUT boxes and color management software. 

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set)

Key Stakeholders: DP, PPS, PRODUCTION, RENTAL HOUSES, STUDIO, DI LAB

Departments who share this responsibility: VIDEO, CAMERA

 

On-set or near-set color correction: 

Color grading from the live camera feeds or from the raw OCF data requires expert knowledge. This task involves and is performed if there is a requirement for shot balancing (between cameras) or a look is required beyond the base color transform (aka show-LUT or ACES transforms). Note, there are two kinds of grading indicated here:

  1. Live Grading which is performed in interaction with the lighting, make-up, costume and other on-set departments, where the features of an image can be adjusted in concert with each other. 
  2. Near-set grading which is performed on the OCF and is mostly about consolidating or fixing the images after the fact. 

It is recommended to use only standard parametric primary grades in the form of ASC CDL for these changes and not use secondary grading tools or power windows. More elaborate grading operations typically can’t be passed along downstream in an efficient and meaningful way. Some imaging software can allow more than primaries to be translated, but will lock you into a proprietary ecosystem throughout the filmmaking process, which requires strong commitment from all parties involved.

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set)

Key Stakeholders: CAMERA,PPS,PRODUCTION,RENTAL HOUSES,VIDEO,DI LAB,DAILIES LAB,STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: DP

 

Exposure Check: 

This is one of the more challenging roles to perform on-set, as exposure is inherently linked to a DP’s creative vision. It should be clearly understood that it is not within the scope of this task to police the exposure (ultimately, exposure is the DP’s responsibility), but rather to employ proper equipment (digital scopes and capable reference monitors) so that the results of exposure can be checked remotely and any necessary adjustments are communicated to the camera department or DP to help them achieve their desired look while maintaining integrity of the OCF. 

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set)

Key Stakeholders: SCRIPT SUPERVISOR, VFX, PPS, EDITORIAL, PRODUCTION, DI LAB, DAILIES LAB, STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: DP, CAMERA 

 

Live QC: 

This task involves reviewing a live feed from the cameras in order to perform a quality check of the frame for basic discontinuity like objects, crew, focus issues, and unexpected flares. Doing this on-set saves valuable time and money as issues are reported on the spot while still shooting.

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert: DIT (On-Set)

Key Stakeholders: DAILIES LAB, EDITORIAL, SOUND, MAKE-UP, COSTUME, ART DEPT, VFX

Departments who share this responsibility: DP, CAMERA, SCRIPT SUPERVISOR 

 

Visual Inspection: 

Visual inspection covers any possible recording, sensor, metadata, or data transfer issues after camera media has been offloaded. It serves as a technical check that can provide immediate feedback to the shooting crew. Visual inspections on or near-set are fast scrub throughs rather than a full watchdown, which is meant to happen during the Full QC process. 

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert(s): DIT (Near-Set), Data Manager, Digital Loader

Key Stakeholders: CAMERA, EDITORIAL, PPS, PRODUCTION, SOUND, SCRIPT SUPERVISOR, STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: DAILIES LAB 

 

Metadata Consistency: 

This task involves being in constant communication with key departments to ensure that the recorded metadata is consistent, communicated and recorded in the correct way. 

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert(s): DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set), Data Manager, Digital Loader

Key Stakeholders: SCRIPT SUPERVISOR, PPS, STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: CAMERA, VFX, DAILIES LAB, SOUND, EDITORIAL, DI LAB 

 

Card Clearance: 

Depending on the size of the show, this responsibility can also land with the camera department. Whoever ends up being responsible for this particular step, communication is critical. Often camera cards can be wiped and reformatted once:

  • All necessary QC has been performed, specifically:
    • A Visual Inspection has been performed
    • A Full QC has been completed by a Dailes Lab
    • A “Sign-Off” is received from post (i.e. the Dailies Lab or Editorial), which has given the ‘ok’ that they have everything - a process of cross-referencing all available reports from set
  • The Dailies Lab has confirmed the archive of the footage to LTO or safe cloud storage (e.g. Netflix's Content Hub) is complete and verified. 

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert(s): DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set), Data Manager, Digital Loader

Key Stakeholders: CAMERA, SOUND, SCRIPT SUPERVISOR, PPS, PRODUCTION, STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: DAILIES LAB, EDITORIAL 

 

End Of Day reports and references from set:

All production documentation such as camera, sound and script reports, VFX database updates, data reports, color decisions, and reference stills need to be handed off to the Dailies Lab and Editorial. This task involves managing the distribution of these reports, oftentimes in collaboration with the production coordinator,  in order to maintain a single stream of information from set to post. These reports are usually shared at every break, usually lunch and end of day/wrap.

Common Roles & Responsibilities:

Subject Matter Expert(s): DIT (On-Set), DIT (Near-Set), Data Manager, Digital Loader

Key Stakeholders: CAMERA, SOUND, SCRIPT SUPERVISOR, PPS, PRODUCTION, STUDIO

Departments who share this responsibility: DAILIES LAB, EDITORIAL 

 


 

4. A Guide to Determining Roles and Responsibilities on Your Production

With a comprehensive understanding of the required on-set roles and responsibilities, as described above, the next step is to evaluate the unique requirements of your specific production, including the necessary workflows and budget considerations. Answering some fundamental questions early in pre-production will help guide you in determining what is needed for your production to be successful.

 

Workflow Questions to Consider:

  • How many cameras are you going to use? Do you have multiple cameras playing at the same time? How much footage are you estimating to shoot every day?
  • Where are you shooting? Are you working in a studio, in a convenient location or in a remote location?
  • Is the DP operating the camera?
  • How far are you from a lab facility? Can you have a near-set lab?
  • How many set changes are expected per day?
  • Do you require live-grading on-set? 
  • Do you have HDR monitoring on-set?
  • Do you require a live QC on-set? 
  • How complex is the workflow? Does it involve new technologies (Virtual Production, Remote Production, Cloud Streaming, HDR on-set, etc.)? Are you required to capture an exceptional amount of metadata? Are you dealing with a VFX-heavy production?

 

Common Production Scenarios & Recommended Roles

Every production has unique requirements which result in a variety of possible scenarios. As technologies and workflows evolve, the roles and requirements will also continue to change. The Production Workflows team at Netflix is available to guide the needs of our productions and assist in navigating these workflow decisions. Below are some common examples of production workflow setups that may be encountered, along with the recommended personnel to adequately support the production:

 

Scenario A

  • The DP and/or director have expressed the need for live-grading, live QC and/or someone to monitor exposure. In addition, there are multiple cameras and therefore a significant amount of footage to process every day.  A dedicated dailies operator is processing the editorial media and studio dailies at a nearby dailies lab.
    • Recommended Role(s): DIT On-set + Data Manager

Scenario B

  • The production is shooting primarily on sound stages. The DP does not require on-set live-grading, but possibly some near-set look application. A dedicated dailies operator is processing the editorial media and studio dailies at a nearby dailies lab.
    • Recommended Role(s): Near-set DIT

Scenario C

  • The production is shooting primarily on sound stages. The DP does not require on-set live-grading, but possibly some near-set look application. A nearby dailies lab is NOT available; instead a dedicated dailies operator will process editorial media and studio dailies at a near-set dailies location (office space, hotel room, mobile-lab).
    • Recommended Role(s): Near-set DIT 

Scenario D

  • The production does not require on-set grading or QC and the dailies will only require a simple, single-look application. A dedicated dailies operator is processing the editorial media and studio dailies at a nearby dailies lab.
    • Recommended Role(s): Data Manager

Scenario E

  • The production is using more advanced technology and workflows, such as HDR on-set monitoring, virtual production or remote production techniques. A dedicated dailies operator is processing the editorial media and studio dailies at a nearby dailies lab.
    • Recommended Role(s): On-set DIT + Data Manager

 

See the DIT / Data Manager Comparison Chart for additional guidance on determining specific production needs.

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