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Lighting Technician

Large portable spotlights pointing at a building

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:

Most 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. The minimum rate is £301.60 - £315.20 for a 10-hour day working on a TV drama (January 2023 - January 2024); and £396 for lighting technicians working on commercials (2022). The current rates for working on a major feature film are £396.90 for a 10-hour day (£416.55 for April 2024 - March 2025) (BECTU website May 2023).

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

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Job Outlook Scotland and UK

  Scotland
2023
25900
9.3 %
RISE
2028
28307
  United Kingdom
2023
203620
3.4 %
RISE
2028
210537

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What Does it Take?

You need:

Training

Getting On

More Information

The Network scheme is run in connection with the Edinburgh TV 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 Edinburgh TV Festival website.

Trainee Finder is ScreenSkills flagship new entrant programme which offers paid work placements across a range of roles in film and TV. Applications are currently closed for the 2024-25 programme. Recruitment will usually begin around September of the year before placement. Find out more and apply online by visiting the Film Trainee Finder website.

Video

Credit to Wicked the Musical

Contacts

The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT)
Tel: 07760 549476
E-mail: admin@abtt.org.uk
Website: http://www.abtt.org.uk/
Twitter: @theabtt

BECTU Scotland (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union)
Tel: 0141 370 1590
E-mail: info@bectu.org.uk
Website: http://www.bectu.org.uk
Twitter: @bectu
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BECTUOfficial

ScreenSkills
Tel: 020 7713 9800
E-mail: info@screenskills.com
Website: https://www.screenskills.com
Twitter: @UKScreenSkills
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UKScreenSkills

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

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