Week 3: Lighting Tech – What they do and how to become one – Unit 3


In this task I’ll be researching into the different job roles in the lighting part of the film industry, what they do and how to become one.

There are 3 areas in which lighting technicians work, Theatre, Corporate/Concerts and Film/TV. Being trained in one of these areas gives you the skills to work in any of the other areas. Someone trained in Theatre Production, specialising in Lighting could end up working on a Film set, as the skills are transferable. Some people will work on a Film set one week and then work in the Theatre the next week.

In Film and TV there are 3 main job roles for Lighting. These are Lighting Assistant, Lighting Technician and Lighting Designer.

Lighting Assistant:

This is the entry-level job in lighting and usually young people will take this job to work their way up to becoming a Lighting Technician and Lighting Designer. The Lighting Assistants main job is to prepare the lighting equipment for the Lighting Technician. They will change light bulbs and open barn doors under the instruction of the Lighting Technician, as they are their superior. The Assistant will also help the Technician set up the lighting by the design of the Lighting Designer.

Lighting Technician:

This job is usually taken by people who started out being a Lighting Assistant and have worked their way up to this role. The Lighting Technician does what the Lighting Designer tells them to do and tries to understand their vision. They make what the Designer designs happen in real life. The Technician does all of the physical labour by putting out and positioning all of the equipment along with the help of their Lighting Assistant. They are also in charge of keeping the equipment safe and not damaging any of it by keeping to health and safety requirements.

Lighting Designer:

The Lighting Designer works with the Director, Writer and Producer a lot to try to encapsulate their shared vision into what they design for the scene. A lot of Lighting Designers recreate the location on 3D modelling software and then plan their lighting through that, however some still use methods of drawings and pictures and actually being on set to plan it. They also have to do a lot of work with Set Design and the Costume Department so that none of the clothes worn in the scene or props will interfere with the lighting. Also so that if there is anything in the set or on the clothes that need to be in light or in the dark.

How to become one:

The best way to become a Lighting Technician is to get a degree in Film Production that you will be able to specialize in lighting in the third year. This will show employers that you have knowledge about all roles in the Film Production process, but have specialized in Lighting and so have a more in-depth knowledge of lighting. Usually you will train to become a Lighting Technician at university, but will sometimes get a job as a Lighting Assistant as a starting point anyway.

Another way is to get an apprenticeship with a lighting company that could lead onto a job as a Lighting Assistant and start that way. However you would have to go to college at least 1 day a week and wouldn’t be paid much at all whilst still an apprentice. This route may be quicker than going to university, however when in work the pay may not be as good and it may not be as easy to move up the ladder into a Lighting Technician or Lighting Designer.

Apprenticeships can be found using this website: https://www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch


In this lesson I learnt about the different roles in Lighting which I wasn’t aware of. I found it difficult to grasp some parts, but I still find it interesting to learn about the different aspects of the Film Production process and now I have learnt some things about lighting that I can use in my own projects.

Week 3: Lighting Tech – What they do and how to become one – Unit 3

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