James Ian Gray, Class of 2007 | Cinematographer & DIT

JamesIanGray_ShootingPeopleOur 2007 graduate James Ian Gray calls himself a ‘junior cinematographer’. He has a new site and his blog is a good way to understand what is a DIT and what are LUTs? His industry career started two weeks before he graduated in sound at a television shopping channel. He’s been a runner at the BBC, managed 10 edit suites, worked as a researcher, became a freelancer, camera assisted and is a DIT. This is a must-read story from graduating to working on a BBC doco and film in the last couple of years. He said:  I’m currently working as a DIT on a couple of music videos and art projects. I’ve just finished a Feature Bonded By Blood 2 (2015)  as a DIT.  Here is Jim’s latest showreel and he would like your feedback.

My career started in 2007. I got a job as a Sound Operator on Ideal World, and worked there for 9 months, learning the ins and outs of TV. But I knew there was more out there. 

With the help of my girlfriend at the time (now wife) I got a job at the BBC as a runner for the Repeats and Reversioning Unit. I got a knowledge of post production and with the unit being the main online original content for the BBC YouTube channel I learnt about Online and TV scripting.  7 months later I was then put in charge of all 10 edit suites where I managed all technical requirements from HD to SD capturing and playouts. Including fitting new equipment and constantly improving the units efficiency by buying in new equipment to stay up-to-date and not get slowed down by old technology. Also working with the support team “Support Partners” I worked with making the edit suites running, and at highest top spec at the time.

From working up to 2 years at the BBC, and moving into the role of Researcher, my contract was no longer extended leaving me to go freelance. I started JGrayOnline.com which was the start of my freelance career in 2010. The businesses main activity was at the time of start-up in Sound, Editing and Camera. With working on mainly corporate gigs, but not getting many TV gigs or Film gigs, in 2011 I decided to move into Camera AssistingFrom making this move my experience accidentally fell into the role as Digital Imaging Technician (DIT). Working on commercials as a DIT for mainly car commercials, from Bentley to Kia, and much more.  I quickly learnt the basics of camera assisting and helped out on a couple freebee films for starters, but mainly working as a DIT.  This led me to working with the BBC on a documentary Cloud Lab (2013), NFTS on two graduate films (in 2012), Stink and BBC Films on a Feature Lilting (2012), and much more.

In 2014 I decided that I needed to learn more about Cinematography, so I made a blog to show the beginning of my career and what I’ve learnt throughout.  I’m just a person who is learning about Cinematography and just showing you what I have learnt through mainly doing and experimenting, how I get my contacts, why I’ve done certain things and what mistakes I’ve made and what I’ve learnt from it. Any comments are welcome (of course if they are sensible) on my blog: http://www.jamesiangray.com/Blog

I’ve got a couple of projects coming up as a Cinematographer, but are all a little bit on the secret side and I will be able to talk about later this year …