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).


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 £280 for a 10-hour day working on a TV drama (March 2019 - January 2021); and £417 for Lighting console operators working on commercials (2019). The current rates for working on a major feature film are £339.40 for a 10-hour day (£347.90 for April 2020 - March 2021) (BECTU website January 2020).


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.

What Does it Take?

You need:


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.

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.


Courtesy of ScreenSkills


The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT)
Tel: 020 7242 9200
Twitter: @theabtt

BECTU Scotland (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union)
Twitter: @bectu

Tel: 020 7713 9800
Twitter: @UKScreenSkills

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

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