Pay for lighting technicians varies depending on experience and type of industry. Many lighting technicians are freelancers and work can be hard to find.
Lighting technicians working on films, television series and commercials usually work 10 hour days.
Lighting assistants usually earn between $36 and $40 an hour.
Generator operators / electricians usually earn between $40 and $45.
Best boys / girls usually earn between $50 and $52.
Gaffers usually earn $55 and $70 an hour.
Pay for lighting technicians working for lighting companies at events varies with experience.
Entry level event lighting technicians usually start on $17 an hour.
Experienced event lighting technicians can earn up to $27 an hour.
Source : The New Zealand Film and Video Technicians' Guild, 2017.
This information is a guide only. )
What you will do
Lighting technicians may do some or all of the following :
select and set up the lights and equipment
light each scene in television, film and theatre productions
operate the lights during performances
maintain and repair equipment
set up frames and scaffolding for lighting rigs
consult with the event manager, director and camera operator to assess what lighting is required for an event, show or scene.
Skills and knowledge
Lighting technicians need to have :
knowledge of lighting special effects, and the qualities of light and colour
knowledge of heath and safety requirements and procedures
technical skills, including electrical knowledge
an understanding of the environment they are working in
knowledge of the filming process, particularly different camera techniques if working in film or television.
Lighting technicians :
may work long and irregular hours, including evenings, weekends and public holidays
work in theatres, on television and film sets, and at a variety of venues for corporate functions, outdoor events and concerts
may travel between venues and locations depending on the type of work they do.
There are no specific entry requirements to become a lighting technician. Skills are usually learned on the job as an assistant lighting technician.
However, a tertiary qualification in television, video or film may be useful.
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a lighting technician. However, English, maths, physics, design and visual communication (graphics) are useful.
Lighting technicians need to be :
practical and accurate
well organised, with good planning skills
able to work well under pressure.
Useful experience for lighting technicians includes :
working backstage in theatres
working for a lighting hire and supply company
computer or electrical work
work in the entertainment industry
production work in film or television.
Lighting technicians need to be reasonably fit and strong as they often work long hours with few breaks, be able to climb up rigging and carry heavy equipment.
They also need to have good hearing and normal colour vision.