An Inside Look at the Roles Within a Hollywood Lighting Department
Does the thought of working around lights on set spark your interest?
Last week, DP Matthew Workman taught us all about the roles within the Camera Department, and now he's moving on to the Grip and Electric Departments. So, if you're more inclined to be involved with setting up lights, rigging, and operating cranes and dollies, check out his latest video in which he breaks down all of the major positions you could potentially fill.
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=J50ivBNQ0K8
So, here's a quick breakdown of the roles Workman mentions in the video:
Responsible for the electrical components of lighting: electricity, lights, generators, etc.
- Gaffer: head of department
- Best boy electric: foreman of department, management, etc.
- Electric: responsible for setting up electricity
Responsible for the non-electrical components of lighting: diffusion, camera movement tools, etc.
- Key grip: head of department
- Best boy grip: foreman of department, management, organizing equipment
- Dolly grip: responsible for rigging dollies, cranes, etc.
- Grip: responsible for setting up flags, rigging equipment, etc.
These two departments answer to the cinematographer/DP and their job is to try to ensure that he/she has everything they need in order to get the lighting and camera movement the way they want it. The bigger the project, the bigger these two departments are most likely going to be, which is why it's smart to get an idea of what/who you might find when you arrive on set.
Even if you're only really interested in working on no-budget projects with skeleton crews it's still beneficial to learn about these roles, because these duties still need to get done regardless of how many people and technicians are there to do them. The more you know about the responsibilities of each department, the more of an asset you'll be.