Close Collaboration Across a Dedicated Team: Henrikas Genutis on Heist 88

Heist 88 Movie poster Production Insight

In the film, ‘Heist 88’, DIT Henrikas Genutis utilized the entire Pomfort camera department ecosystem as a communication tool to stay in constant contact with two post houses, the on-set crew, and the DP. We got the chance to sit down with Henrikas and learn more about his experience on set, and the challenges and triumphs of doing virtual production. But first, we asked Henrikas to give us some background on himself and how he became a DIT.

Becoming a DIT

Henrikas Genutis is a Lithuanian DIT who grew up mostly in the United States with two very distinct dreams— one of becoming an actor, and the other, to become a pilot. 

Unless he were to play the role of a pilot, these two dreams didn’t necessarily have much intersection— or so he thought. Nevertheless, his parents supported his acting dream early on and took him to auditions where Henrikas was first exposed to a film set at a very young age. 

He scored a few roles as an extra in some short films. However, it wasn’t until one experience he had on set, that he decided he much preferred being behind the camera, not in front of it.

“I distinctly remember working on a short film where the crew let me sit behind the camera and explained what they did.” 

From then on, he took fewer acting roles and spent more time taking photos and exploring camera work, until he went to high school and got to join the film club. 

Then came time to decide where to go to college and Henrikas had to make a big decision— pursue film or become a pilot?

“Learning to fly was something that was always in the back of my mind, but I ended up getting accepted to Columbia College Chicago, so I stuck with film.” 

At Columbia College, Henrikas became immersed in the world of movie making including how to shoot on 16mm, 35mm, and digital systems. When he wasn’t shooting something, he focused a lot on the “grip/electric side of things.” 

Finally, he took some coloring classes that led to the introduction of the role of DIT. 

“I strayed a bit from the course objectives and took it upon myself to learn about ACES, Livegrade, and other ways of doing things. That was actually the first time I tried Silverstack Lab and Livegrade Studio.”

He ended up using Silverstack Lab in some school projects where he performed the DIT responsibilities, even though he hadn’t even considered becoming a full-time DIT until after he had graduated from Columbia College with a BFA in Cinematography. 

“During the pandemic, I shot my first feature. It was a low-budget feature called Saturday Night Inside Out with a now great friend of mine, Connor McBride.” 

They spent a month shooting this feature, and afterward, Henrikas got a call from a producer asking if he could be a DIT down in Arkansas. 

“I ended up going down there and working as a DIT, more so a near-set DIT, and not so much live-grading.”

Once that show wrapped, Henrikas “fell into” a few other DIT roles and eventually joined the ICG Local 600. 

Like most DITs, he “didn’t really plan to be a DIT,” but he recognizes what a great experience it is. 

“I’m close to the action, and I’ve learned so much that I hope will help me to transition into a DP in the future. Nevertheless, I have no regrets about becoming a DIT.” 

“Heist 88”

Henrikas usually works on features, with the occasional commercial or corporate gig, but recently, he worked on a production called Heist 88

Heist 88 is not your typical heist film, but a drama based on a real heist that happened in Chicago in 1988.” 

Henrikas got involved with this show when he interviewed with DP Thomas Harting CSC. 

“We hit it off immediately, but he warned me that there wasn’t much prep time, so we would have to come up with a show look on the fly.”

To prepare for the show with the little time they had, Henrikas and Thomas had to figure out how to “best capture the project, and luckily there was lots of room to be creative.” 

At the beginning of the shoot, they planned to do a bit of virtual production. This would have been fine, but on the first day of the shoot, DP Thomas tested positive for COVID and was not allowed on the set.

Sony camera on the set of feature film Heist 88
Sony Camera on set

“Instead of shutting down production work for a week, we pushed forward. Video assist streamed him in through a Q-Take and I had him on my cart over Zoom. It wasn’t ideal, but we made it work. Day 1-2 ended up feeling like day 50 and I probably got a few grey hairs, but after the first week, Thomas was back on set and things got a lot smoother.”

Thankfully Henrikas also had the support of his loader, Scotton Hoelzer, and his utility, Brianna Cokley. Scotton constantly “kept him in the loop regarding how much [they] were shooting, how many cards there were, and if there were any issues.” 

Brianna helped him with “everything signal-related. She moved the Teradek arrays, ran 200ft of cable, troubleshot certain monitors,” and as Henrikas said, she “really made [his] life easier on set.”  

Once Thomas was back on set, Henrikas collaborated with him every step of the way and “helped him understand what was possible with a dual-base camera.” 

“I would occasionally nudge Thomas in a certain direction when it came to color or exposure. Sometimes I acted as the buffer between him and the camera assistants— passing notes about focus, etc. I kept in constant contact with the assistants, so I was aware of which lens, filtration and settings were on the camera.”

DIT Cart and Workflow

Digital Imaging Technician Henrikas Genutis' cart during prep for feature film Heist 88.
Henrikas’ DIT cart during prep

When it comes to his DIT setup, Henrikas claims that it “looks a lot more complex than it is,” so we asked him to walk us through his cart:

Henrikas: When I do live grading, I run it off my MacBook Pro laptop which is then connected to the box. My 6u rack mount case has the following: 

  • A small UPS
  • A drawer for organization
  • Blackmagic UltraStudio Mini
  • Blackmagic UltraStudio 4K Mini
  • Four BoxIOs (Dual Channel Version)
  • Blackmagic Video Router 20×20

I also have an SDI patch panel that’s mainly the ins and outs to my monitors, VTR, village, or wherever. That’s so I don’t have to stick my head inside the box to find the connectors. Then, I have a power distributor and finally, I have a 2U fan to pull the hot air out of the case. All that hardware wouldn’t really do much without the Pomfort desktop applications Livegrade Studio and Silverstack Lab.

Video Monitor on the set of Feature film Heist 88

I’ve tried to build my cart in a way where I never have to go inside. The router has a bunch of ins and outs that seem redundant, but allow me to change the routing on the fly. So, if I needed to add cameras or monitors I don’t have to physically go in and change an SDI. This is partially a result of me being absent-minded and maybe a bit cheap and not buying color-coded SDI cables, so it would take a bit to figure out what goes where. 

Pomfort on Set

For Heist 88, Henrikas used the full Pomfort ecosystem including Silverstack Lab, Livegrade Studio, and ShotHub. 

“I decided to stick with Pomfort because it’s faster in every way; collaboration, reporting, offload speeds, the fact that it communicates with BoxIO, Teradeck, and video routers, and it also runs ACES.” 

Digitial Imaging Technician Henrikas Genutis' cart during day nine of the production of feature film Heist 88
Heist 88 production day 9

Silverstack Lab

Silverstack Lab was mainly used by Scotton (loader) for “offloads, QC, and reports.” However, he made sure to take the time to show them some useful tricks like “using wildcards instead of making folders manually, and adding metadata by syncing ZoeLog,” to speed up the offloading process. 

“I loved being able to check [Scotton’s] work by syncing his library with my version of Silverstack Lab, finding a specific clip or even putting in some metadata when I had some downtime. It is essential to keep all the information in one place instead of running multiple programs and slowing everything down.” 

Livegrade Studio

Henrikas referred to Livegrade Studio as his “workhorse,” as it helped him manage his “routing, color pipelines, and of course, allowed seamless collaboration with Thomas” when creating the looks that were sent over to post to be made into dailies. 

Digital Imaging Technician Henrikas Genutis' Cart and stream deck device
Henrikas’ cart with Stream Deck

“Livegrade was paired with stream deck, which really improved my workflow. I had a bunch of quick keys for color, a toggle for log, switching routing for my monitors, some metadata bits, and quick keys for captures and recordings.” 


ShotHub synced all information between Henrikas, Scotton, and the post houses in LA and Chicago. 

“I felt strongly that everyone needed to be in the loop as much as possible to hopefully minimize the amount of emails always asking for reports. All three Pomfort applications work so well together with only a few minor hiccups, but nothing that the Pomfort team couldn’t quickly solve.”

Working with the DP

Henrikas describes Thomas as having “loads of energy” on set. 

“He was constantly roaming between set and the cart, often a dramatic entrance and exit from the tent. We didn’t have a lot of time to prep a look so we really collaborated and explored what direction would best fit the story.” 

Thomas would describe a feeling that he wanted to evoke, and Henrikas would come up with a few different versions of a look. Typically, Henrikas would create “a literal translation of what [Thomas] said, and then something more defined if [there was] time.” 

Henrikas was also in constant conversation with the post house to ensure that their looks were applied, and asking for stills to compare them with what they had on set. 

“This way, we didn’t stray too far from Thomas’ vision.” 

They would save looks in Livegrade as a preset, then toggle back and forth to compare stills using the reference feature. 

“The routing was killer. I would often switch to reference images, to the live feed, and then to a raw version of the feed. I’m honestly surprised that my computer handled it.” 

If their chemistry and smooth collaboration on set weren’t enough, Henrikas also found out that Thomas has a pilot license and often flies on his own— maybe film production and flying do have a small intersection after all!

“We tried to find some time to fly together, but the weather wasn’t on our side so we never could.” 

As far as DITs and DP’s go, Henrikas and Thomas made a pretty great fit! 

Challenges & Memories of Set

Anyone working on a film set knows that productions are full of challenges and rewards. So we asked Henrikas, what he struggled with on set, and what are some of his best memories. 

Henrikas: Of course, the weather was a bit of an issue. It was very hot and even though we had a small AC unit in our blackout tent, it still was a huge struggle with loads of monitors and four people. 

Digital Imaging Technician Henrikas Genutis' cart in the black out tent
DIT cart in the blackout tent

The most consistent challenge, however, was managing the signal and not seeing the cables running through the set into some room. Either those cables were video assist connecting from me or our Teradeck array running to my cart because it just needed a better signal. A few times we had A camera shoot close to us and then B run and set up for the next shot with the expectation that I would be able to switch to A or B quickly to do those shots, so we had quite a bit of cable to run. I honestly couldn’t have done it without my utility, Brianna. 

Looking back to Heist 88, the most memorable experience, as cheesy as it sounds, is getting to know Thomas Harting and the rest of the camera team— especially the operators and my utility. We celebrated birthdays together, shared war stories, and if we had a rough day we were all there for each other. I remember the first few days when Thomas wasn’t there, Brianna was one of the people who kept me sane while everything was going wrong since we had to scramble to get everything to work with Thomas behind a Zoom feed. 

The B camera operator Beau was also a big help, giving me a bit of guidance or support when needed. Even though the shoot at points got rough, I really enjoyed that everyone was there for each other. 

Finally, we asked Henrikas if there was anything we left out.

Henrikas: DIT is a strange position. Over the years it’s been mixed into different things where I find myself having to educate certain productions about what I do and where the line of the DIT starts and ends. There are plenty of great resources out there to find out more about what it is and how to become a DIT on platforms like Facebook through different groups, forums, and discords. Though, many of us are more than happy to share what we know, so feel free to reach out on social media or through email! But keep in mind, we do work in a very interesting industry, so we can’t always answer due to our schedules, or for whatever reason. At the end of the day, we’re only human. 

Thank you, Henrikas, for sharing these wonderful insights with us!

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Henrikas Genutis , DIT

Henrikas is a Lithuanian talent in the film industry specializing as a Digital Imaging Technician and Cinematographer. Graduating with a BFA in Cinematography from Columbia College Chicago, he mastered a range of techniques from shooting to coloring across 16mm, 35mm, and Digital formats. Joining the Local 600 in 2022, Henrikas is now poised to expand his career, aiming to take on more shooting roles in features and commercials.

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About the Author
Mae is a Marketing Content Manager for Pomfort’s Silverstack and Shothub applications. When she’s not chasing down exclusive production insights, she’s busy planning a constant stream of editorial content.