How Can I Become a Digital Imaging Technician?

Research what it takes to become a digital imaging technician. Learn about the skills, job duties, average salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Visual Communication degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information At a Glance

Film directors, editors and cinematographers rely on digital imaging technicians (DITs) to help them manipulate images to convey ideas to an audience, sync images and correct colors. This ensures viewers are immersed in a continuous visual narrative. They also work with camera operates that use specialized cameras to record images or scenes for television, advertising, and motion pictures.The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Education Required Postsecondary training recommended; bachelor's degrees are common
Education Field of Study Film production or film
Key Responsibilities Work with camera and computer software, assist with technical image processing and solve any technical problems
Job Growth (2014-2024) 11% (for all camera operators)*
Median Salary (2015) $49,080 (for all camera operators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Digital Imaging Technician Job Duties

DITs assist with technical image processing on the sets of films and commercials. As a DIT, you could be responsible for synchronizing cameras, downloading raw footage from a camera onto a hard drive or Web storage site and solving any technical problems that arise on the set. Since DITs record raw footage from multiple cameras, it's crucial that all data is named and categorized correctly for easy recall by the director of photography, the film editor or the cinematographer. You may occasionally be asked to play back a recently recorded clip for a client to view on set.

What Skills Do I Need?

It takes knowledge of computer and camera software components, as well as an understanding of the film and photography industry, to work as a DIT. Because this is a relatively new field, DITs need to stay abreast of the latest technological trends in order to remain competitive.

There are a number of certificate programs in film production that can help you gain the knowledge and hands-on training necessary to work as a DIT. A certificate program could acquaint you with camera functions, on-set data management and the roles of the film crew. You may also study video lighting methods, script writing, audio in film and working with actors. Courses that explore film or photo editing software applications, like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Photoshop, are often included as well.

What Jobs Are Related to the Field?

Experience as a DIT and knowledge of the field can provide an entryway to a number of related professions. Your attention to image quality - coupled with film editing skills - could lead to work as a film colorist. In this position, you may intensify colors and minimize film grain during the post-production process in order to enhance image quality. Your knowledge of the camera and it's specific technical limitations might prepare you for a camera assistant career. Camera assistants ensure that what the director is recording on set maintains image sharpness and focus.

Salary and Job Outlook

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't list salary data specific to DITs, it does provide figures for comparable careers. In May 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for camera operators was approximately $49,080. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of camera operator jobs was predicted to grow by 11%, which is slower than the average for all job sectors.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Digital imaging technicians support individuals such as editors and camera operators, so many of those skill sets will overlap. Sound engineering technicians have a similar role as digital imaging technicians but in relation to the sound of a film, television show, or advertisement as they maintain and troubleshoot the electrical equipment. Multimedia artists and animators produce visual effects for television, movies, and other forms of media and photographers use their technical knowledge of imagery to tell a story.

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