DIT FRANCESCO SAUTA
DIT Francesco Sauta is becoming a go-to DIT for many blockbuster movies, at the same time as developing strong relationships with top cinematographers. He recently completed work on Spider-Man: Homecoming with Salvatore Totino ASC AIC. He talks with us here about his career and the evolution of the DIT role on-set. His other recent credits include Inferno (also with Sal Totino) and The Mummy (with DP Ben Seresin, principal photography was film).
How did you get to where you are today?
Before moving to the USA in 2006, I was a TV editor (documentaries & news). But I always had a passion for movies and photography. My journey into the film industry started as unpaid intern in the Camera Department, then camera PA, film loader, and 2nd AC. It was when the digital era "took over" that I decided to become a DIT. Somehow, both backgrounds (editor & AC) turned out to be the perfect combo for me.
Did you go to film school? When did you first come across the job “DIT”?
I received a PhD in Communications in Rome. When I moved to Los Angeles I attended a post-graduate Certificate in Cinematography & Production at UCLA. On one particular course, we used all film cameras from 16mm to super 35mm, and all types of film emulsions. It was only when I started to work in the field that I saw the increasing use of digital cameras in commercials & studio movies. Quickly, I realised that DITs were becoming an essential role on set.
When did you first use Codex equipment?
The very first time I used Codex was on an independent low budget short in 2011. We used Codex Onboard-M Recorders with ARRI ALEXA cameras. The project was quite an adventure, but the technology was solid.
How’s your experience with Codex’s support team been?
It's always been great, even when I've worked abroad. The Codex team is always available and knowledgeable. I personally feel that, to this day, Codex is the most reliable technology in the film industry.
Do you have any mentors in the industry?
Oh yeah, Sal (Salvatore Totino ASC, AIC). He is my mentor in the kitchen too.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
It's hard to predict. I really enjoy being a DIT & colour grading for now. On the side, I shoot independent projects where I can experiment and try new technologies such as VR.
Tell us about a particular movie project with Codex that was challenging but enjoyable.
I've used Codex on almost all movies I've worked on in the past five to six years.
On Marvel's Spider-Man: Homecoming, our main cameras were ARRI ALEXA XT PLUS, so Codex was our main technology. We also used other cameras like Black Magic, Sony EX3, and RED. The challenging part was to match multiple cameras and formats.
Is your role on-set the same with every DP or is it different with every DP?
Every DP is different. Besides the technical and creative aspects of working as a DIT, communication and understanding the vision of each DP is key.
What's your favourite aspect of the DIT role?
Our role as a DIT is to make production's workflow as solid and smooth as possible. Since the camera technology is constantly evolving, the role of the DIT is always adapting. I enjoy working side by side with the DPs, interpreting their vision, troubleshooting and giving the technical/creative support. In the end, our role is to truly be a team player within the camera department.
“I PERSONALLY FEEL THAT, TO THIS DAY, CODEX IS THE MOST RELIABLE TECHNOLOGY IN THE FILM INDUSTRY”
Images courtesy of their respective owners.