When it comes to jobs in TV production, it may seem at first glance that a lighting technician position is relatively simple. Make sure that the subjects have the right light and follow instructions and that’s it. However, becoming a lighting technician in TV production or in any film production field requires a great deal of skill, artistry, and training.
Most of the time when a production is filmed, the lighting may seem ideal at the time, but when an editor begins to work on the film to bring the scenes together, it may become clear at that point that the lighting was too strong, the shadows too deep, or other lighting issues that make the film footage essentially useless. That is why it is essential to have exceptional skills in lighting technology when working in the film or TV production industry.
A Demanding Job
Lighting in the TV production industry can be an extremely taxing job, both mentally and physically. A lighting technician will be responsible for not only designing the lighting for each scene, whether you are filming a television program, setting up a news station studio, or other scene, but also for managing generators, reading lights, and also on occasion, if licensed, doing electrical engineering work.
Lighting technicians sometimes work with high-voltage equipment but it is also important to understand the subtle nuances of different colored lights, different types of light, and how to use angles to create the effects that the director and/or producers desire in a given scene.
Educational Demands for Lighting Technicians
In the field of TV production, lighting technicians are generally required to have at least an associate’s degree and oftentimes a bachelor’s degree in lighting technology. Once you have earned a degree in this field, there are many paths that you can choose for your career. These will depend on your particular interests, such as whether you want to become involved in the movie industry, television programs, news stations, community cable programs, advertisements, or more.
Careers in Lighting
There are two key goals that most lighting technicians aim for when they first start out: Lighting designer and lighting director. The lighting designer works with the director and producers to create the ideal design and feel for lighting a scene. The lighting director, also known as gaffer, is in charge of the electrical department on a television or film production.
If you’re wondering about salaries for working in TV production as a lighting technician, they can vary greatly. Most lighting technicians, though, are members of various unions and enjoy a number of health and vacation benefits.