DIT carts come in various forms and sizes. What they all have in common is that they are designed to support their owners in their daily tasks. The cart of DIT Adam Braverman is a compact and powerful cart that fits just about anywhere on set.
In a recent interview he shares some details on his equipment, explains why his cart is sometimes jokingly referred to as ‘coffin’ cart, and surprises us with some very unique places his cart has been to.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? For example, where are you based and what projects are you usually booked for?
Hello, I’m a Vancouver based DIT. I’ve been working in the industry since 2008 and came up through camera assisting, first as a Camera Trainee in the IATSE 669 training program and then as a 2nd AC. I was lucky that in 2011 a lot of TV shows at the time employed both a DIT and a Digital Loader and that fostered a lot of mentorship. A fellow loader at the time was getting upgrades to DIT 2nd unit and he hired me to be his loader, teaching me data management. From there I built up my skill set, confidence and equipment so that by 2014 I was being offered 2nd unit DIT gigs from my colleagues and mentors. I’m primarily booked for network episodic TV shows and I’m slowly starting to get features.
We are interested in your DIT cart because we know that everyone’s cart setup varies. How would you describe your personal overall cart setup?
My cart is a compact vertical design, sometimes jokingly referred to as a ‘coffin’ cart. Its an aluminum shell with a built in custom made drawer and contains 18u of front and rear rack rail. I named her TARS after the robot from ‘Interstellar’. I designed it so that I can sit front-centre and nice and low. This allows the DP, director and any others to sit comfortably on a directors chair and see over my head at the big monitors on top.
Please tell us a bit more about the components of your cart. What about the cart itself, what size is it?
The cart is very narrow at just 22” wide, so it’s super easy to fit through doorways and cram into small spaces. It’s 24” deep rail to rail and an extra inch on the front and back from where the recessed rack rail ends to protect the equipment. The frame of the cart was designed with this purpose as opposed to having the components flush so that the rackmount gear wouldn’t take any serious hits from other carts during transport. The cart is 53” tall and the monitors sit on top of this height
Does it have wheels?
The cart has big burly wheels to move through rough terrain. 8” pneumatic swivel caster wheels on the front and 16” wheelbarrow rims with 4” wide wheels on the rear.
How many monitors does it have? And what kind of computer gear is on your cart?
I currently have two 25” OLED’s on my cart. As for computer gear, I don’t often have to deal with transcodes on my jobs so my my computer is a 2015 Macbook Pro Retina model. Using the Thunderbolt 2 connections I have my Raid storage, card readers and I/O split between the two ports. On the USB 3 side I run everything into a 10 port hub. From there I plug in my SSD shuttle drive and all my peripherals, including a usb to ethernet dongle which jumps into an 8-port gigabit switch for all my network gear.
For color work I have four LUT boxes installed currently. The first three are BOX IO Lite’s running in single channel mode for 33 sided cubes, the fourth LUT box is a trade COLR. All four are setup with static IP and controlled via hardwired ethernet connection. I keep a Tangent Tk panel on a sliding tray to make all my primary adjustments.
How about video gear?
My video gear consists of 2 LEADER 5330 waveform/vectorscsopes, 2 Atomos Samurai Blades with 256GB SSD storage for reference playback, a BMD ATEM TV Studio HD Switcher/Mixer, an ultra studio Express, an AJA I/O 4k and a Decimator DMON QUAD. All of the above goes through my AJA KUMO 16×16 router. From there I have four 1×4 DA’s (AJA and Atomos brand) to help with signal distribution to my patch bay.
How do you handle power supply on set?
The Electrics always have my back and I make a point of introducing myself to the Gaffer and Lamp Ops on Day One if it’s a crew I haven’t worked with. They’re pretty quick to power me up first. Barring that I have a 2U rack mounted Cyberpower PFC sine wave UPS rated for 2200VA/1800W. It’s a heavy beast at 60lbs but it reliably runs my whole cart with everything turned on for 40 minutes. If I’m just downloading or running a transcode I’ll turn off the OLEDs, waveforms and some other video gear which allows for 60 minutes run time on a full charge. I also had a 12v distro box made and a bunch of custom cables taking most of my 12v accessories to 2 pin Lemo. I was able to dump a bunch of AC/DC wall warts which was awesome of saving space and weight but it’s also given me the option to power off a camera clock battery via 4 pin XLR and take some of the strain off the UPS in a pinch.
What are your favorite accessories and special features of your cart?
One of my favorite accessories is my BMD Micro HDMI to SDI adaptor. I use it to connect my computer’s GUI to my router. Along with a Bluetooth speaker I can send picture and audio to all the monitors on set. I was on a show with a lot of Star Wars fans so I’d play trailers for Rogue One, Episode 8 and recently Solo. The director and show runner loved it so much they carved out 5 minutes of the day’s schedule so everyone could watch. Sometimes it’s the little $50 items that make a cart fun.
What is your personal favorite component of your cart?
It may not be my favorite component but my KUMO router is definitely the brains of my cart. It’s an invaluable piece of equipment where every SDI signal is patched into. Along with my KUMO CP I can quickly route with 1 or 2 button touches anything anywhere I want. It’s been reliable, robust and I couldn’t do my job without it.
What has been the latest addition to your DIT cart?
I added a lot of new gear for my latest show but the one I’m finding the most useful is the AJA IO 4k. Set to ‘4k mode’ and with the Pomfort SDK for LiveGrade Pro I can pull in 3 separate HD streams for stills capture and camera metadata and output a reference feed all from the same box. It’s made matching and looking at reference stills way more streamlined for my workflow.
Are there any notable stories that have happened with or to your cart while on set, and that you’d like to share with us?
I’m known for my passion towards alpine climbing, ski-mountaineering; essentially anything outdoorsy or extreme. So my gear has travelled to some spectacular locations throughout Canada. The best would have to be when I put my DIT cart in a UH-60 BlackHawk Helicopter. That was exciting!
Many thanks to Adam for sharing all these insights and photos of his cart!