Summary of occupation
Lighting technicians prepare, install, operate and maintain lighting rigs for live productions, film and television productions and events such as theatre, music and corporate functions. They work in conjunction with lighting and production designers and directors to decide on the type of lights that will be used for a production, their placement and the way in which they will be used. They also wire up lighting systems, position lights on metal scaffolding and undertake maintenance and repairs on broken lights and lighting equipment. They also operate lighting desks, including filters and reflective screens, during filming or live productions or performances and may be responsible for transporting lighting to production locations.
Positions and controls lighting equipment for film, television or video productions or stage performances.
A lighting technician needs:
- an interest in performing arts
- technical and practical skills
- the ability to work as part of a team
- strong communication skills
- problem solving skills
- the ability to work to tight deadlines.
Lighting technicians work in theatres, on the set of film and television productions, at venues that host corporate functions, and award ceremonies and at outdoor events. When working outdoors they are required to work in most weather conditions. They are often required to work at heights. They work irregular hours, including evenings, and on weekends and public holidays. They are often required to travel to the location of productions on which they are working.
On average, lighting technicians, classified under performing arts technicians, can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a lighting technician develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Lighting technicians use lighting rigs, including metal scaffolding and cabling, a range of lights such as spotlights and floodlights, filters, and reflective screens. They also use lighting control desks, and hand and power tools. They use ladders, and when working at heights are often required to wear protective clothing such as harnesses and hard-hats.
You can work as lighting technician without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a formal qualification in screen, film, media, live production or other related areas.
The Certificate III in Media, and the Certificate III in Media (Film and Television) are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
You can also complete a traineeship. The live production, theatre and events (technical operations) lighting traineeship, or screen traineeship takes 12 to 24 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.