DP Michael Simmonds brought DIT Chandler Tucker onto the set of the second season of The Righteous Gemstones for three weeks to fix discrepancies between dailies and raw footage. However, after Michael saw how Chandler could provide top-level continuity between shots, scenes, and episodes by using recorded references in Silverstack Lab, Chandler was asked to stay on for the rest of the season. In this interview, Chandler sheds some light on his workflow, and what made it so valuable to the DP.
Chandler Tucker is a New York City-based DIT, whose experience of color grading on the set of the second season of The Righteous Gemstones serves as a prime example of the usefulness and importance of the role of DITs.
He got his start in the film industry during a summer internship in Wilmington North Carolina while studying post-production at UNC-Chapel Hill. After graduation, he worked freelance on the post-production side of things and “dabbled,” in video asset work. It wasn’t until he first met a DIT on the set of Iron Man 3 that he was formally introduced to the role of Digital Imaging Technician.
“I realized that the role of DIT was a great mix of post and production and was exactly where I wanted to be.”
From that point, it was a steady ascent to a full-time unionized DIT as he moved from Wilmington to Atlanta, Atlanta to Philadelphia, and finally settled full-time in New York City.
Now a seasoned DIT, Chandler is no stranger when it comes to Pomfort software. Having used the Livegrade Studio and Silverstack Lab integration for years, he recognizes that “Silverstack Lab provides unparalleled support for file management and reference recall.”
So when Chandler was brought on set for the second season of The Righteous Gemstones to handle media backup, Pomfort products were his go-to.
“It’s nice to be able to bring all of my grades and metadata from Livegrade Studio into Silverstack Lab and quickly apply it to the footage based on a timecode.”
The crew of the Righteous Gemstones did not include a DIT for season one. However, when DP Michael Simmonds recognized some issues regarding the inconsistencies with the dailies and the raw footage, he brought Chandler on for three weeks to do some problem-solving.
In his own words, Chandler’s task at hand was to “get the show going, make sure everything was in its place and leave once the production was happy.”
However, some things never go as planned. Chandler successfully sought out the source of the issue and “provid[ed] much more support on set than the production was used to.” This made such a positive impression on DP Michael Simmonds, that Michael urged the production, and HBO, to keep him on set for the remainder of the season.
He particularly loved Chandler’s “ability to pull up full recorded references and provide top-level continuity between shots, scenes, and episodes.”
“I personally prefer using [Silverstack Lab] over the reference recall features in Livegrade. I use a workflow between the two programs that make Log-based recordings of all takes, brings them into Silverstack Lab, and links all the metadata and looks via PFLA.” This workflow allows him to tweak the color of a previous shot, or even completely regrade an entire scene through Silverstack Lab’s multi-view option.
Once Chandler was locked in for the remainder of the production, he settled into a steady routine.
“While we [were] lighting, I match[ed] and grad[ed] cameras as well as input any metadata into the system that the camera didn’t automatically feed down the SDI. Once we start[ed] shooting, I use[d] Livegrade Studio to arm the appropriate cameras and record every take that was shot from all cameras as a Log file.”
They shot with up to seven cameras at once— a combination of both Arri Alexa LFs and Arri Alexa Mini LFs. For Chandler, “It was great having the ability to record all of them simultaneously.”
After completing a specific setup, he would “load all of the clips into a bin for that scene in Silverstack Lab, then sync grades and metadata via a PFLA file.” Then, the full-take references would be ready as soon as the crew began lighting for the next setup.
“As we work[ed] through the scene, these references became even more important because they allow[ed] us to see an overview of what ha[d] been shot.”
Once the scene was completed, Chandler used “the multi-view option to display up to 12 frames on the screen at a time,” take a screenshot and send it to the DP and Director to view before the dailies were available.
Then, upon receiving new footage, he would back it up and apply the “previous PFLAs via timecode” to match all of the metadata.
“Looks are also brought over and I applied any adjustments I made in Silverstack Lab while using the references. Once I verified everything looks the same on the source footage and I am happy with continuity and style, I export stills along with CDLs and reports for the dailies colorist.”
Safe to say, the Silverstack Lab and Livegrade Studio integration supported Chandler’s workflow significantly and made a huge impact on The Righteous Gemstones Season 2 production.
“You can’t match the compatibility between Livegrade Studio and Silverstack Lab. It’s absolutely seamless to match looks between the programs and quickly export transcodes.”
This was especially helpful when it came to the shooting schedule.
“The most demanding part was probably the fact that the show isn’t shot in the order of the episodes. The entire time we were filming, we were jumping between all nine episodes.” With a challenge like this, it requires a lot more work to ensure continuity. Luckily, “having such a robust system to pull up references makes [it] that much easier.”
In addition to the overall benefit of using the Silverstack Lab and Livegrade Studio integration, Chandler wanted to shed some light on some smaller features that made a big impact on workflow efficiency.
“I am a big fan of the recording feature in Livegrade Studio and the ability to transfer information via PFLAs. Having the multi-view option in Silverstack Lab is my go-to for checking continuity and providing support to the DP during lighting. It’s vital in our industry to have tools that are developed specifically for our needs and to have a development team that is so receptive to feature requests and bug fixes.”
Finally, we wanted to ask Chandler what his most memorable experience on the set of The Righteous Gemstones was. Simply put, he said the crew.
“Most of us have been working together for years and it shows in the trust that we have for each other. Everyone is very open to suggestions and doesn’t let their ego get in the way of doing a great job. This isn’t my first job with Rough House Pictures, and I continue to work with them because they treat their employees with respect and surround themselves with talented and awesome individuals.”
Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us, Chandler!
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Chandler Tucker , DIT
Chandler Tucker grew up in rural North Carolina with a passion to make movies and see more of the world. His background in post-production has proven to be a vital asset to his role on set as a DIT. Chandler's ultimate goal is to make films and television that his family will enjoy for generations to come.