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Lighting Technician

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A lighting technician sets up the lights on stage, in a film or broadcasting studio or on location outdoors. They control the position, strength and colour of lighting during the production.

The Work

You could be:

You would usually specialise in film and TV or theatre and live events. Depending on the size and type of production, the lighting technician may also have responsibility for sound (see the Sound Technician job profile).

Pay

The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:

Starting salaries are in the range of £15,000 to £17,000, rising with experience to £27,000 and above. Higher earnings are possible.

Many lighting technicians are freelance and earnings can vary widely depending on the job. The BECTU (Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union) website has details of recommended freelance pay rates.

Rates vary depending on the type of production you work on. For TV drama work, the minimum rate is £247.50 to £270.00 a day depending on whether it is a low or high budget production and for commercial work the maximum rate is £341.00 for a 10-hour day.

Conditions

Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

Traditionally, you get in through the route for an electrician (see Electrician). However, many entrants now do specialised training in lighting design or include the subject as part of a more general theatre studies course.

There are jobs with theatre, film and broadcasting companies in towns and cities, but vacancies are scarce and competition is fierce. You may have to move around for work.

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

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Job Outlook Scotland

Employment

Unemployment

Percentage of workforce registered as unemployed (Scotland)

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Job Outlook Scotland and UK

  Scotland
2018
20877
0.5 %
RISE
2023
20975
  United Kingdom
2018
189809
0.3 %
RISE
2023
190312

LMI data powered by EMSI UK

What Does it Take?

You need:

Training

Getting On

More Information

The Network scheme is run in connection with the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, where young people get the opportunity to work behind and in front of the camera and to make useful contacts in the industry. Find information on the next programme on the GEITF website (see Contacts).

The Creative and Cultural Skills website has a careers section called Creative Choices which covers careers information, jobs and opportunities in the theatre and music, including lighting work and working as a lighting designer.

Video

Courtesy of Creative Skillset

Contacts

The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT)
Tel: 020 7242 9200
E-mail: office@abtt.org.uk
Website: http://www.abtt.org.uk/
Twitter: @theabtt

BECTU Scotland (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union)
E-mail: info@bectu.org.uk
Website: http://www.bectu.org.uk
Twitter: @bectu
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BECTUOfficial

Creative Skillset Scotland
Tel: 020 7713 9800
E-mail: info@creativeskillset.org
Website: http://creativeskillset.org/
Twitter: @SkillsetSSC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/creativeskillset

Creative Skillset works with the UK’s screen-based creative media industries to develop skills and talent from classroom to boardroom.

Edinburgh International Television Festival (EITF)
Tel: 020 7278 9515
E-mail: info@thetvfestival.com
Website: http://www.thetvfestival.com
Twitter: @EdinburghTVFest
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsEdinburghTVFestival

Scottish Drama Training Network
Tel: 0141 270 8349
Website: http://sdtn.org/
Twitter: @SDTNtweets
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sdtnofficial/

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