- Set up lighting rigs and manage lighting for shows, events and performances
- Opportunities to travel the world and work in the entertainment industry
- You'll need excellent technical skills along with attention to detail
You'll usually specialise in film and TV, or theatre, concerts and live events. Your work would range from basic spotlighting to operating strobes, lasers and pyrotechnics.
- Interpreting a lighting designer's plan
- Carrying out risk assessments for health and safety purposes
- Planning where to run cables and place lights at film locations
- Helping to rig and check the equipment
- Taking cues from the stage manager in theatre or the floor manager in TV
- Programming and operating manual and computer-controlled lighting systems
- Taking down the equipment after shows or filming
You may be the only lighting technician on a theatre production, or you could be part of a large crew on a concert tour or feature film. Freelance work is more common than permanent work.
You could work at a film studio, on a film set, at events, in a theatre, or at a TV studio. Your working environment may be hot, outdoors some of the time, at height and travelling often.
As a lighting technician, you'll need knowledge of building and construction; the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools; maths knowledge; thoroughness and attention to detail; analytical thinking skills; good initiative; leadership skills; and patience in stressful situations.
You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma, or degree in performing arts (production), lighting design, lighting design, lighting and performance technology, or technical theatre.
You could qualify as an electrician and get practical experience in production lighting.
You could also do a college course such as a Level 3 Certificate or Diploma in Production Arts, or a Level 3 Certificate in Technical Theatre: Sound, Light and Stage.
You'll need relevant practical experience, like a traineeship with a specialist lighting company, or work experience in lighting equipment hire, theatres or concert venues, amateur theatre, or student or community film projects.
You could get into this job through a technical theatre sound and lighting advanced apprenticeship.
You may be able to get training through one of the new entrant training schemes that broadcasters offer, such as BBC trainee schemes, Channel 4 training scheme, or ITV Careers. There are also short courses in production skills run by film schools, regional screen agencies, and private training providers.
Making a showreel or portfolio of your work can help.
With progression, you could work on more complex events, or specialise in areas like electrical safety, inspection and testing, pyrotechnics or rigging.