Tiffany Armour-Tejada 0

Protect the Position of the Local 600 DIT

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To our Brothers and Sisters of the IATSE,

This letter is written on behalf of the Local 600 Digital Imaging Technicians (DITs) in our Union nationwide. The security of the DIT position is under threat as a growing number of digital productions are shooting without a DIT.

Many productions are eliminating the dedicated DIT position as a cost-cutting measure while still utilizing equipment traditionally maintained by DITs. That equipment is instead being monitored and manipulated by other camera department personnel, often in addition to their already considerable workloads. Without a dedicated DIT to oversee the implementation of the cinematographer’s intent, quality control suffers and the digital negative is often in the hands of crew members whose primary focus is on other tasks.

This workflow not only puts our craft in jeopardy, it also harms the Union, camera departments and productions alike. Adding responsibilities outside of a discipline's job description is a step towards eliminating the focus and expertise of the entire craft system on which our Union is based.

There are many examples of how the responsibilities of a DIT are currently performed without a qualified technician. One Union brother in New York City has built a business renting fully assembled video carts, many capable of live image manipulation, to television productions which typically man them with Loaders, Utilities, or ACs. Another well-known production uses a program called “Foolcontrol” to remotely manipulate the image metadata live on set. Numerous others perform live image manipulation via external devices and computers, all without a DIT on set. There is also a trend of hiring a DIT for the first few episodes of a show, to set up equipment and develop creative look up tables (LUTs), then releasing the DIT and placing the responsibility of maintaining and loading the equipment and LUTs onto other members of the camera department. Instances like these, where a DIT is not used and should be, are what we would like to correct.

While we recognize that every digital shoot cannot be required to use the services of a DIT, it is unacceptable to delegate responsibilities to other members of the camera department which are traditionally performed by a DIT. This scenario echoes the playback issues Local 52 Video Assist Operators fought against years ago. There, the solution was to prohibit productions from offering playback unless there is a qualified individual on set.

Crew members from all unions and crafts need to be protected. As members of the IATSE, the undersigned ask for our Union leadership to acknowledge this issue and work with representative Local 600 DITs in advance of the April 2015 contract negotiations to ensure that our DITs have a voice in clearly delineating and preserving their responsibilities on set.

Please stand with us in defining the role of a Digital Imaging Technician, thereby protecting the future of our positions and the ongoing enhancement of our craft. Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter.

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