Rave Late: Working as a Digi Op

This is notes from the talk by a Digi Op at the Rave Lates talks:

Rave Short: Photography: Working as a digital operator

7 years
Then freelance


ones of the best ways to get in
good for networking
Setups – different ones
learn from others mistakes
long hours
paid late
on and off busy
jobs come in late
have a second job

spacewise is quite intimidating – many people watching

be accommodating
lots of different people
be before 15 mins before call
Anticipate needs of photographer
ask where, how,
see flow of the shoot

like a paid apprentiships

always learn something new on every shoot

basic role
check equipment
chat to photographer
Tidy set
set up lights
digi station
can be stressful
can be up to 10 lighting assistants
Catering – intolllarances
Music – play lists
seating area – art director, client, more people, accountant, make sure not in your way

end of shoot
cool down lights
call for collection
Take back to car

Other stuff
asked to do other stuff
ordering gear
data recovery
hold on to photographer
location scouting
starting out
as a runner just observe
easy role
many photographer now have interns – work for free, every day
get to know the lights being used

Lighting assistant
lighting set up and control
Some photographers don’t know lighting
some know a lot –
Take notes
lighting diagrams
Mark down
encase something moves
Power supply – on location – especially HMI’s
Direct Photographic course – 1 day
Saftey of set!! – cables
general assistance
Gear delivery and pick up
check the cameras – make sure it is set to raw – usually set to default – so jpeg
back up – main thing!

Digital Operating
phase one course
make sure you are on speed with problem solving
try to engage art director to do edit on shoot
What do they need??
Export during the day
Creating styles
need basic understanding of photoshop
mood boards
Calibrate the screen to the printer

Lighting assistant
lighting set up
test everything
mostly hire more stuff than needed
set lights
after all set up it quietening down
make sure flash is popping
Hold and or flex reflectors
Hydrated photographer
set tidy
set up another set up
Digit op
collaborate mac and printer
locations of the station
Introduce to client and art director
which files??
folder structure preferred
set up the folders before – all ready to go
test cables
Set up camera
Back up soft wear
Capture can crash – because batch queue is full – make sure you delete them
save styles
make sure shooting into folder
light has changed??
if changes let lighting assistant know
make sure tags on clothes go
You’re the only one seeing the image
make sure focus is good
Check space on the mac


Make sure you back up!
No drinks or food on digs station

good to know about moving image!!

understanding the photographers needs
lots of stress – lots of people

bring something to cover in bright sun
Online tutorials
Hands on training – digital 1 – some won’t hire without it

get to know tethering cables – tethering problems

if you pass you can use logo on cv and be on their website – can be looked up

Entering the industry
intern runner
Studio assistant
Rental house
full time assistant – rare
Freelance assistant

Freelance assistant
cv – Nice looking
be personal
nail it in first two sentences
networking events
Meet assistants
pass jobs and help people
Short and sweet
address with names
Excel spreadsheet with photographers you like
persistent with emails
follow on twitter and insta – comment
not too pushy
why you would be an asset to their team
put up a website – email with link to it
Photo assistant
aop – find photographers – £80 – rigorous testing though
up to 4 months after getting paid
they don’t pay on time
more email and network
Liability insurance

Pay rates
lighting assistant
80 short days—> food 100-120 —— normal 150 —-> bigger jobs 200 and above

Digi op
small jobs 80-120
Fashion 150
Most shoots are on capture 1


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