DIT carts don’t have to be large to be incredibly powerful – as the cart of Tokyo based Taki Yusuke shows. On his Magliner Mini Cart, he has equipment installed for various tasks on set, ranging from data management to audio mixing. In an interview with us, he explains why the size of DIT carts in Japan really matters, how he copes with power outages on set and why a game controller is the one item that completes his cart.
Hi Taki, Nice to meet you! To start off, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi there! My name is Taki Yusuke. I’m living and working in Tokyo, Japan. I originally started my career as a camera assistant and video engineer for sports and music shows on TV. Back then, cinema cameras were not so popular to use yet, and the video system was still based on VTR. The knowledge of the video signal and the television system that I learned back then really is the foundation of my current work.
I now work as a DIT, mainly for TV commercials and music video shoots.
Let’s have a look at your cart. First, how would you personally describe your overall cart setup?
Even though I’m mainly doing DIT work on set, it’s not the only type of work I’m doing. I’m also supervising the image creation process in general (which includes, e.g., video assist work). My cart setup really reflects these types of different work.
Generally, I have three Macs on my cart plus a video/audio system, with which I can respond to any kind of request from the Director, DoP, or client on set. The only thing I cannot offer on my cart is coffee…
Please tell us a bit more about the components of your cart. What size is it?
My cart is a Magliner Mini Cart with middle shelf. Generally, here in Japan the size of the DIT cart can’t be too large, as everything here is quite narrow (including filming spaces).
Theoretically, I could fold the cart. But just thinking about that gives me a headache… It would probably take more than a day to assemble it again! So I’m usually trying to avoid the folding option and instead use its 8’’ wheels to move it around.
How many monitors does it have?
My main monitor is a Sony BVM 17’’. It’s accompanied by a Leader LV 5330 Waveform monitor, as well as a Blackmagic Design Smart View Duo. This one I use for operating live switches.
Besides those, I also have a 4K 30’’ monitor that’s installed right next to the cart.
Lastly, there is an LCD monitor that I use asa monitor for my 2 MacPro’s that are installed on the cart. They’re connected by HDMI/USB connectors.
What kind of video gear and computer gear do you have on your cart?
My video system consists of: 2 routing switchers and 2 live switchers with chroma keyer, 2 LUT boxes for a total of 3 camera sources, a 16 channel multi-viewer, 2 multi-format converters, an SDI transmitter, and an iOS transmitter.
All SDI internal/external wiring can be changed flexibly through the routing switchers.
I also have a QTakeHD system mounted on my cart, which I operate myself. With this system, I can monitor 16 cameras at the same time, and composite up to 4 layers in real-time, which is super helpful!
Regarding the computer gear, I have 2 MacPros and one MacBook Pro 15’’ on my cart. I use one of the MacPros for data management with Silverstack and the other one for live grading and on-set editing with LiveGrade Pro (for live grading I also have a Tangent panel on the cart). The MacBook Pro is used for the QTakeHD system.
The computers are accompanied by 2 RAIDs (4TB / 12TB), with which I can download data at high speed.
All Macs and storages are connected via the GbE LAN, so I can access RAW data and clips recorded with QTake immediately from any PC. I also use it to exchange LUTs and metadata information between PCs.
How do you handle power supply on set?
In order to use all functions of the cart, I need AC power. Here in Japan, the power supply voltage is quite low, so we have to manage the voltage more carefully than in other countries.
Naturally, since it’s always possible for the power supply to accidentally be shut off at the shooting site, I also have UPS installed on the cart.
In case I cannot get any power supply on set, I usually prepare a different cart running at 12 VDC. This cart is like a “minimum version” of my regular cart.
Any accessories or special features that you have on your cart?
It’s not necessarily ‘special’, but I do have an audio system mounted on the cart – including a monitor speaker, 4 channel mixer, and a microphone. The reason I need the audio mixer is that the reference level of the audio signal usually differs depending on the camera. As mentioned, I’m doing a lot of things on set, so managing audio and timecode actually is also my job.
What makes your cart special in your eyes?
I would say what makes my cart special is that it’s small but still very powerful (and actually also very heavy in terms of weight!). As I’m also supporting video assist functions, the cart has to be small, so it can stay close to the camera at all times. At the same time, it needs to be able to help me with all my other work I’m doing. So it’s really a very small cart but containing various types of equipment, making it an ‘all-rounder’ cart.
What’s your latest addition?
I’ve added a personal item recently: A traditional Japanese game controller that was used earlier on to control PC software like video games more intuitively… I think it’s important to always have a playful mind – even during work. So I added the controller to be constantly reminded of that!
We’d like to say ‘Thank You’ to Taki for sharing all these insights into his cart with us!