Digi-Tech Q&A with Justin Green

This Q&A series is all about shining a spotlight on people in the industry. The goal is to learn about them and share their insights with you. There are many talented people in various markets around the world, and hopefully this series will help you get to know them better.

Q: Who are you, where are you based and what type of jobs do you work?

Justin Green, Orlando Fl. But I travel all over the country and when I can outside the country. The jobs I work are all across the board. Advertising, editorial, athletes, product, food and some architecture. More and more jobs have been working on productions where a large video production is shooting a commercial and we are working alongside them.

Q: How did you become a Digital-Tech and how long have you done it?

I started assisting shortly after I graduated from college in 2010. After about 5 years of assisting full time I started to transition into teching. There was one main tech in town that I worked with often. I would always ask him questions and slowly built up my skill set. As he transitioned into being a full time shooter it left the hole for me to become a full time tech in his place.

Q: What do you like most about your work; what do you like least?

The thing that I like most about the work is collaborating in the creative process and helping to make the final project the best that it can be. I think the thing that I like the least is the uncertainty of it all. I love the freedom of being a freelancer and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But when you have those slow points its so easy to let your anxiety take over and convince you that you’ll never work again.

Q: What do you feel is important to learn for anyone starting out or what do you wish you knew when starting?

Ask all of the questions as soon as possible. What camera are they shooting with, is there a specific file structure or naming convention that should be used, metadata and what type of processing output is needed. ( processing info is the most important, you need to know this before the start of shooting. You don’t want to find yourself at the end of a 10 hour day and they expect processed tiffs that you haven’t started yet)

Location; are we shooting indoors or outdoors and do we have a solution for power.

Kit requirements; cart or sticks, number of monitors/ iPads ext.

I also like to ask about hard drives and who is providing them. I’ve shown up to a shoot where no one had any drives because they never thought about it. So by bringing it up beforehand hopefully that never happens again.

Q: What’s one item in your kit you can recommend to everyone?

The item that I would recommend actually has nothing to do with the job itself but with your comfort on set. Have two usb powered clip on fans that I take on every job where we will be outside working in the sun. It’s always important to have some kind of shade to keep the sun off you and the gear but the fan makes all the difference in keeping your mind on the work especially when it’s 100 or hotter in the sun.

Q: What piece of equipment would you like to never see on set again?

Old spinning drives. It never fails at the end of a long day, there will be one more backup that needs to be done after you have been keeping up with 3 others all day. And that one more drive will be a spinning drive that at max is 100mps but more like 60 and you have anywhere between 200-700 GB of data.

Q: If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

I would increase the importance of stills on shared video and stills commercial sets (in terms of time allotted). In these sets even when stills are talked about as just as important it tends to fall away when it gets busy. This gets super stressful especially when the client is asking to see images of something that video didn’t allow any time for us to capture or we were given 5 minutes but didn’t get what they wanted. It’s one of those things that we as tech have very little if any control over.

It says one thing but I have two more:

 - Producers booking you with "STRONG" holds or confirmed jobs and maybe even ask you to challenge another hold you have and then weeks later when you contact them for information they inform you the job canceled and they forgot to let you know.

- Call sheets coming at the last possible moment! Ideally I would love a call sheet days in advance (I have time anxiety and want to know my plan) but I understand that is impractical most of the time. But we should never be receiving a call sheet at 11pm with call times of 3 or 4am. (Yes this has happened multiple times).

Q: What was your best day on set?

This is a really hard question. There are so many. The one that just jumped into my mind was a catalog shoot for a boat company. We were on a mountain lake in Oregon at like 3am shooting a Milky Way photo with the boat floating in the foreground. It was a long day in the middle of a hard week of work but it was the most stars I have ever seen and the shot turned out incredible!

Q: How do you explain what you do for work to family/strangers?

I run the computer on commercial and editorial photoshoots. We connect the camera straight to my computer so that as they shoot, the images come straight through to me and the monitors for the client and creative director to view so that they can ensure that they are getting what they want.  

Justin Green





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