The lighting department is responsible for creating the visual light or shade in a production. 

Skills needed

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Adaptable and able to use initiative
  • Strong understanding of the health and safety procedures and laws
  • Physically fit to operate heavy equipment and comfortable with working with heights
  • Keen eye for detail
  • Work well in a team and under pressure
  • Working at a fast and precise pace
  • Expertise with an array of lighting equipment, effects and accessories
  • Driving licence

Job roles

  • Electrical trainee
  • Apprentice lighting technician
  • Electrician
  • Genny operator
  • Practical lighting technician
  • Moving light operator
  • Light operator
  • Console operator
  • Best boy
  • Gaffer

Duties include

  • Designing the specific look required for each shot based on the script or brief from the production team
  • Creating plans and budgets, and determine which lights are needed for the production
  • Directing the lighting cues from the gallery
  • Liaising with the director, floor manager and heads of department to carry out the vision of the director
  • Setting up and operating specialised lights and accessories
  • Managing a team of lighting crew (“gaffer” and “sparks”)

Useful Links

Peaky Blinders and Riviera cinematographers stress the importance of lighting

Event report: Lighting from Every Angle