What does a lighting trainee do?
Lighting trainees spend a lot of time moving equipment. They get to set early and might help unload the gear. Following the instructions of the best boy (lighting coordinator) and the sparks (lighting technicians), they help set up for filming, under supervision.
They run errands. A spark will talk on the radio to the crew on the truck about what he needs. The electrical trainee will then be sent to collect it. With supervision, they might help run cables and set up lights. They make the tea, or, rather, they create a good impression if they do.
Lighting trainees are not allowed to work alone, plug up or have significant responsibility. This is because working with electricity is dangerous if people have not been trained. Their role is to watch, learn and make themselves helpful.
What’s a lighting trainee good at?
- Understanding light: appreciate the techniques required to achieve different lighting effects and the kit needed to achieve them
- Watching film and TV drama: have a passion for the genre and a love of the industry
- Learning by watching and asking: observe what’s happening and ask questions at the appropriate moments
- Reliability: get to set on time and do what’s asked
- Communication: take direction and work as part of a team, working under pressure and in stressful situations
- Electricity: be interested in circuits, power supplies, motors, cables and fuses