Monitoring the Look for Fox’s ‘The Exorcist’

VANCOUVER—As the digital imaging technician on Fox’s “The Exorcist,” I work with Byron Shah, director of photography, and Director/Executive Producer Jason Ensler to create the feeling for the show. The look is very distinguished and season two starts with a warm and happy feeling, which slowly changes between episodes.

Because these looks are so important to help portray the feelings, themes and motives of the show, it’s essential for me as DIT to make sure we’re on top of the current looks for the episode, as well as what’s to come. While many scenes take place in the same house, the look changes slowly and sometimes quite dramatically from scene to scene.

Blackmagic monitors help keep track of “The Exorcist’s” changing look throughout season two.

My DIT cart is equipped with everything I need to support my workflow, including a variety of monitors and supporting monitoring devices, as in the end they are essential to not only seeing the looks, but seeing a variety of looks in a variety of places on set.

The main component of the cart is a Blackmagic Design Smart Videohub 20x20 router. The Smart Videohub 20x20 helps me route and quickly switch picture to routed sources. In addition to using it for switching between cameras on multiple monitors, it helps me switch between the RAW and LUTed images to multiple screens.

My first allotted inputs on the Smart Videohub 20x20 are pictures from the A-C cameras. From there, I route these images to a variety of places, including Blackmagic Design’s SmartScope Duo monitor and Mini Converter SDI Distribution boxes. The SmartScope Duo is a great supplement for scopes and we tend to use its scopes for our secondary waveforms. Its dual monitors provide waveform monitoring, but each of the monitors are independent, so we can choose to display a combination of waveforms or picture if we want.

Typically, all my outputs to the director’s and producer’s monitors, iPads and iPhones, as well as the MultiView 4, come through the Mini Converter SDI Distribution boxes, which distribute the LUTed images. An interesting aspect to this workflow is Blackmagic Design’s MultiView 4, as it’s a great way to send out a split image from however many cameras we are shooting with to a single director’s monitor on set, allowing us to monitor four completely independent SDI video sources on a single display.

One of the best and most helpful devices has been, surprisingly, the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K monitor/recorder. It’s been a great asset as not only our recorder when we use our Micro Studio Camera 4Ks, but also as a monitor for scopes, recording and 3D LUTs for our second unit days. Its ability to load six independent 3D LUTs, while also showing waveforms, in such a convenient, small monitor has made second units that much easier for me to maintain and watch after.

Overall, I need to get these images where they need to go, as well as make sure the look is right for the show and analyze image quality, so that it’s accurate for the broadcast. The Blackmagic Design gear has helped me work faster and more efficiently on set.

Jonathan Yip currently resides in Vancouver and works as a DIT and 1st AC in IA Local 669. He can be

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