Lighting Technicians

Lighting Technician at Work in Booth

Lighting technicians set up and control lighting equipment for live television broadcasts, recorded television shows, motion pictures, and video productions. They begin by consulting with the production director and technical director to determine the types of lighting and special effects that are needed. Working with spot and flood lights, mercury-vapor lamps, white and colored lights, reflectors (mainly employed out-of-doors), and a large array of dimming, masking, and switching controls, they light scenes to be broadcast or recorded. Lighting technicians are sometimes known as assistant chief set electricians or lights operators.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Assistant Chief Set Electricians, Best Boys, Chief Lighting Technicians, Gaffers, Key Grips, Lights Operators
Duties Set up and control lighting equipment for motion pictures, television broadcasts, recorded television shows, and video productions
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $75,000
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but are best in Los Angeles and New York City
Minimum Education Level
  • Some Postsecondary Training
  • Associate's Degree
School Subjects
  • Mathematics
  • Technical/Shop
  • Theater/Dance
Experience Participating in an internship or co-op during college will be useful
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Problem-Solving
  • Technical
  • Building/Trades
  • Interpersonal
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Chief Lighting Technician or Key Grip
  • Best Boy
  • Lighting Technician
  • Assistant Lighting Technician or Production Assistant

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