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Thinking Outside the Traditional Career: Lighting Technician

Have you ever watched a movie and were instantly drawn to the atmosphere of it? (One that always comes to mind is Charles Laughton’s Night of the Hunter) The same with a theatrical play or television show? Some of the unsung heroes of creating a production’s mise en scène are lighting technicians.

This career path is an intriguing mix of art and technical skills. Lighting technicians work closely with a director and director of photography to design for the production; they also are called to develop CAD drawings, set up and maintain equipment, and have specialized electrical knowledge.

If you are interested in the blending of art and a trade skill, Richland Library has the resources for you to learn more – from books, to informational videos in Lynda for Libraries, to movies and television shows that showcase great lighting.


Jennifer T. Says: One of my favorites and the lighting has a lot to do with it being my most recommended movie.
Amazon Says: The Night of the Hunter—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a standalone masterwork. A horror movie with qualities of a Grimm more...
Amazon Says: The Night of the Hunter—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a standalone masterwork. A horror movie with qualities of a Grimm fairy tale, it stars a sublimely sinister Robert Mitchum (Cape Fear, The Friends of Eddie Coyle) as a traveling preacher named Harry Powell (he of the tattooed knuckles), whose nefarious motives for marrying a fragile widow, played by Shelley Winters (A Place in the Sun, The Diary of Anne Frank) are uncovered by her terrified young children. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic—also featuring the contributions of actress Lillian Gish (Intolerance, Duel in the Sun) and writer James Agee—is cinema’s quirkiest rendering of the battle between good and evil. less...
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Jennifer T. Says: Something to watch for : the infamous "X" lighting motif
Amazon Says: One of the most influential movies of all time, the original Scarface is an exciting story of organized crime's brutal control over Chicago during the Prohibition era. Academy more...
Amazon Says: One of the most influential movies of all time, the original Scarface is an exciting story of organized crime's brutal control over Chicago during the Prohibition era. Academy Award winner Paul Muni gives an electrifying performance as Tony Camonte, an ambitious criminal with a ruthless drive to be the city's top crime boss. Produced by the legendary Howard Hughes and directed by Howard Hawks, this compelling tale of ambition, betrayal and revenge is a groundbreaking masterpiece that influenced all gangster films to follow. Filmed during the "pre-code" era before censorship shaped the way movies were made, "this powerful gangster film is the most potent of the 1930s" (Leonard Maltin's Classic Movie Guide). less...
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Jennifer T. Says: Cinematographer Andrew Laszlo made the lighting effects work in this film by wetting down the streets.
Amazon Says: Warriors, The (DVD)A battle of gigantic proportions is looming in the neon underground of N ew York City. The armies of the night number 100,000; they o utnumber th e police 5 more...
Amazon Says: Warriors, The (DVD)A battle of gigantic proportions is looming in the neon underground of N ew York City. The armies of the night number 100,000; they o utnumber th e police 5 to 1; and tonight they're after the Warriors - a street gang blamed unfairly for a rival gang leader's death. This contemporary actio n-adventure story takes place at night, underground, in the sub-culture of gang warfare that rages from Coney Island to Manhattan to the Bronx. Members of the Warriors fight for their lives, seek to survive in the u rban jungle and learn the meaning of loyalty. This intense and stylized film is a dazzling achievement for cinematographer Andrew Laszlo.]]> less...
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Amazon Says: Comprehensive. Detailed. Practical. Set Lighting Technician's Handbook, Fourth Edition, is a friendly, hands-on manual covering the day-to-day practices, equipment, and tricks more...
Amazon Says: Comprehensive. Detailed. Practical. Set Lighting Technician's Handbook, Fourth Edition, is a friendly, hands-on manual covering the day-to-day practices, equipment, and tricks of the trade essential to anyone doing motion picture lighting, including the lamp operator, rigging crew, gaffer, best boy, or director of photography. This handbook offers a wealth of practical technical information, useful techniques, as well as aesthetic discussions. The Set Lighting Technician's Handbook focuses on what is important when working on-set: trouble-shooting, teamwork, set protocol, and safety. It describes tricks and techniques for operating a vast array of lighting equipment including LEDs, xenons, camera synchronous strobes, black lights, underwater units, lighting effects units, and many others. Since its first edition, this handy on-set reference continues to be widely adopted as a training and reference manual by union training programs as well as top university film production programs. New to the fourth edition: * More coverage of the aesthetics of lighting * Detailed information on LED technology and gear * Material is harmonized with industry safety and skills training curriculum * More coverage than ever before about setting up and running DMX512 networks and DMX512 enabled devices, including wireless DMX512 networks * Completely revised and updated sections of HMIs, tungsten light fixtures, and fluorescent technologies * Additional information on dealing with current harmonics, working with portable generators. * New section on using 480V power * In addition to previsualization software, new material provides a primer on creating professional light plots and using computer aided design software * New additions to the arsenal of electrical distribution equipment that make our sets safer and easier to power * More rigging tricks and techniques * Written in the same friendly, easy-to-read style that has made this book so popular * Companion Web site contains exclusive articles written by the author, illustrations, and an indispensable resource center with key industry links. Please visit www.focalpress.com/cw/box-9780240810751 less...
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Amazon Says: Automated Lighting: The Art and Science of Moving Light in Theatre, Live Performance and Entertainment continues to be the most trusted text for working and aspiring lighting more...
Amazon Says: Automated Lighting: The Art and Science of Moving Light in Theatre, Live Performance and Entertainment continues to be the most trusted text for working and aspiring lighting professionals. Now in its second edition, it has been fully updated to include new advances in lamp sources such as LEDs and plasma lamps, automated and programmable displays, updates for managing color, and new methods for using electronics. Its clear, easy-to-understand language also includes enough detailed information for the most experienced technician and engineer. less...
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Amazon Says: TV Scenic Design is a comprehensive resource for aspiring and practicing set designers. Summarizing the principles and practices of scenic design, it details design approaches more...
Amazon Says: TV Scenic Design is a comprehensive resource for aspiring and practicing set designers. Summarizing the principles and practices of scenic design, it details design approaches, structures, and staging methods. TV Scenic Design is a comprehensive resource for aspiring and practicing set designers. Summarizing the principles and practices of scenic design, it details design approaches, structures, and staging methods. The information contained in the book can be applied to a variety of design situations, from campus or network TV studios, to exhibitions, audio-visual presentations or window displays. Whatever the scale, space or budget, the methods described in TV Scenic Design will ensure professional results. Now expanded to cover 'virtual' set design, this new edition continues to be an invaluable aid to anyone involved in creating effective sets. Contents: The background of design * The basics of design organization * Scenic construction * Staging techniques * Staging practices * Shoestring staging * Scenic effect * Electronic reality * Scenic operation * The designer on location * Controlling the tone and color * Lighting and the designer * glossary * Index Gerald Millerson's books on television and video have been acknowledged as among the best ever published. His other titles for Focal Press are Video Production Handbook, The Technique of Television Production, The Technique of Lighting for Television and Film and, in the Media Manual series, Effective TV Production and Video Camera Techniques. an up to date reference written for today's TV scenic designer includes a new chapter on VIRTUAL SET technology updates to sections include new illustrations to help understanding of the subject less...
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Amazon Says: Miss Color Theory class, again? That’s OK. You can borrow our notes.   Lucky for you, we didn’t miss a single class the entire semester so you’ll find all of the i more...
Amazon Says: Miss Color Theory class, again? That’s OK. You can borrow our notes.   Lucky for you, we didn’t miss a single class the entire semester so you’ll find all of the important points explained in the notes, along with the class assignments.   Sorry if you can’t read the handwriting sometimes, but there was a lot to cover. We went over all of the basics–how light works, ROYGBIV, RGB, CMYK, color wheels, how to choose colors and compose with colors, all of that stuff.   If it helps, we tried to include a lot of drawings because that’s how we remember things best.   Oh hey, to learn more, just go to the class website at www.design-fundamentals.com  or check out the “Notes on Color” pinner on Pinterest. The instructor put extra projects and exercises on the site, a bunch of cool links, recommended reading, that sort of thing.   Good luck! See you in Visual Elements and Principles of Composition class next semester.   less...
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Amazon Says: Enables readers to produce top-grade results whether they are lighting off-the-cuff with a portable compact kit or tackling a major project with an extensive heavy-duty rig. I more...
Amazon Says: Enables readers to produce top-grade results whether they are lighting off-the-cuff with a portable compact kit or tackling a major project with an extensive heavy-duty rig. It does not assume technical knowledge or previous experience and after covering basics it guides readers towards the most effective ways of tackling particular projects, and shows typical professional solutions to everyday situations. Wide coverage of all aspects of lighting provides an understanding of the techniques involved Benefit from the inside knowledge and expertise of the author Easy to understand jargon free step by step guide to tackling everyday situations less...
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Amazon Says: Enter the world of film noir, a world of darkness, ambiguity, and moral corruption. Meet the cynical and obsessive heroes of film noir portrayed by actors like Humphrey Bogart more...
Amazon Says: Enter the world of film noir, a world of darkness, ambiguity, and moral corruption. Meet the cynical and obsessive heroes of film noir portrayed by actors like Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, James Cageny, Joan Crawford, and Bette Davis. You may encounter a gun-toting gangster, a femme fatale wrapped in fur, a detective with the brim of his hat turned down, or a desperate murderer lurking in the shadows of a doorway. It's a world we all know - the seedy underbelly of the American Dream, and every bit as much a part of our culture. This wonderfully exhaustive text - tallying more than three hundred thousand words with hundreds of film stills and photos new to the work - distills everything about the movement into one volume from movies to stars to themes and motifs, and brings us up to date with contemporary contributions to the movement. Now completely revised, expanded, and redesigned, this classic pioneering work is the final word on a dark subject. less...
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Amazon Says: Skilful lighting involves a subtle blend of systematic mechanics and a sensitive visual imagination. It requires anticipation, perceptiveness, patience and know-how. But learn more...
Amazon Says: Skilful lighting involves a subtle blend of systematic mechanics and a sensitive visual imagination. It requires anticipation, perceptiveness, patience and know-how. But learning through practice alone can take a great deal of time. This book is a distillation of many years' experience, with advice and guidance that will bring successful results right from the start. Whether you are a student studying lighting techniques in the television, video and film media, or a professional lighting for the camera, this book will be an invaluable aid. Other members of the production team, including camera crews, designers and directors, will also find the information here interesting and useful. The book concentrates primarily on the fundamental principles of lighting in studios, on location and display, as well as single-camera, small unit production, improvised and economy lighting, and working with limited facilities. Emphasis is also placed on the safety aspects of working with lighting equipment. Lighting for Television and Film reflects the author's considerable experience of lighting techniques in BBC studios, his teaching and consultancy work. Gerald Millerson's analytical writings spring from a lifetime's personal experience in the medium, and from his teaching and engineering background. During his career with the BBC, he was primarily associated with studio operations in the Television Service. His lecturing background included courses in TV production at a number of American universities. His other books for Focal Press are Television Production, TV Scenic Design, Video Production Handbook and, in the Media Manuals series, Effective TV Production, Lighting for Video and Video Camera Techniques. *A classic and definitive work *Internationally acclaimed sourcebook *Reflects current development in lighting technology less...
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