Job type


£35k - £50k

Typical salary

37 – 42

Hours per week

Gaffers head up the team of lighting and electrical technicians for a film, tv, or video production.

More info

  • Work on exciting film and tv projects overseeing the lighting and electrics
  • Opportunities to travel and work on a wide range of different projects
  • Hours can be long and you may need to spend a lot of time away from home


  • Lead a team of specialist lighting technicians to make sure the correct lighting and electrics are in place to make the scene work
  • Work with the director and cinematographer to determine what kind of lighting effects are needed for each scene
  • Direct your team to make sure the right lights are in place with the relevant electrical supply needed


You'll usually move from project to project and gaffers are often freelancers. During the filming of a production your hours will be long and you'll often need to travel and work away from home for long periods.

You'll need

You'll work both in studios and out on location so you'll need to build up a range of skills including leadership, problem solving, resourcefulness, and the technical knowledge to create the effects needed.

Although you don't need a degree to become a lighting technician studying a specialist qualification in lighting design, technical theatre, or film may help you gain the skills and knowledge you need.

Most lighting technicians are qualified electricians, so getting started by doing an apprenticeship or completing a qualification in this field is often a good way to start as you'll have a good technical foundation on which to build your skills.

Volunteering as a lighting technician on plays and amateur films and productions can be a good way to build up your skills and knowledge - and even more important in this industry is building up a network of contacts, so attending events or building up relationships with those working in the industry are good first steps into your first job.


Most gaffers work their way up in the industry from a junior lighting technician to 'best boy' who assists the gaffer, then into the gaffer role.