How to become a Film and Television Lighting Operator

Film and television lighting operators position, set up and operate lighting equipment to light sets or studios during stage performances, television broadcasts or film productions. Film and television lighting operators are responsible, both creatively and technically, for lighting interior and exterior scenes and must achieve desired effects through the placement, intensity and colour of lighting.

Personal requirements of a Film and Television Lighting Operator

  • Patient
  • Enjoy the technical aspects of film and television production
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Creative

Education & Training for a Film and Television Lighting Operator

You can work as a film and television lighting operator without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification. Applicants may be required to attend an interview and/or submit a folio of work. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a film and television lighting operator through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Duties & Tasks of a Film and Television Lighting Operator

Film and television lighting operators: • study scripts and discuss lighting effects with production staff • coordinate activities with electrical crew when putting up metal scaffolding to support lighting equipment • select and position equipment such as spotlights and floodlights • arrange and connect cables to electrical supplies using portable junction boxes • operate lights during filming or broadcasting and vary intensity of light using various filters and reflective screens • maintain and repair lighting equipment • arrange for transportation of equipment to remote locations.

Working conditions for a Film and Television Lighting Operator

Film and television lighting operators may be required to travel to remote locations. They usually work irregular hours or shifts.

Employment Opportunities for a Film and Television Lighting Operator

Film and television lighting operators are employed by television stations and film and television production companies. Competition for entry-level positions is very strong.

Avg. weekly wage:

$1,320

Future growth:

Stable

Employment by state:

ACT ACT 1.7%

NSW NSW 32.1%

NT NT 0.5%

QLD QLD 16.4%

SA SA 2.8%

TAS TAS 1.7%

VIC VIC 29.6%

WA WA 15.2%

Hours worked:

43.3

Unemployment:

Higher unemployment

Gender split:

Male 61.9%

Female 38.1%

Education level:

Age brackets:

15-19 - 2.2%

20-24 - 13.9%

25-34 - 39%

35-44 - 18.5%

45-54 - 15.1%

55-59 - 3.2%

60-64 - 3.4%

65 and Over - 4.6%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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