When you think about stage productions or live events, the first thing that comes to mind might be the actors, musicians, or performers. But there’s another crucial element that makes these performances truly memorable – the lighting. A lighting designer is responsible for creating the perfect lighting for a stage production or live event.
What is a Lighting Designer?
A lighting designer is a professional who works with directors, producers, and other creative professionals to design the lighting for stage productions, concerts, and other live events. They use their technical and artistic skills to create the perfect lighting for each scene or moment, working closely with the production team to ensure that everything is just right.
Primary Responsibilities for Lighting Designers
So, exactly what does a lighting designer do? As a lighting designer, your day-to-day responsibilities include the following:
- Creating and implementing lighting designs that enhance the mood, emotion, and atmosphere of a production or event
- Collaborating with other members of the production team to understand the overall vision for the performance and to ensure that the lighting complements the set design, costumes, and other elements of the production
- Using a wide range of lighting equipment, including fixtures, controllers, and other tools, to create a variety of lighting effects, including color washes, spotlights, and more
- Keeping the production budget in check, constantly making informed decisions about energy use and equipment purchases.
- Participating in dress/technical rehearsals to finetune lighting
- Overseeing all aspects of lighting during a production’s run
Of course, your job description can vary from production to production because every situation is unique.
Skills You Need to Work in Lighting Design
In order to be successful in their field, a lighting designer needs:
- Technical skills and knowledge of the latest lighting technology and design principles, including:
- Theatrical design
- Color theory
- Lighting consoles/tools
- Lighting techniques/styles
- The ability to work under pressure and make quick decisions during live performances
- The creativity and artistry to work with the director and the creative team to develop a lighting design that complements the production’s overall vision
Lighting Designer Career Path & Outlook
To become a lighting designer, you typically need professional training and education in film/video production, lighting design, or a related field. Many lighting designers start their careers as assistants to more experienced professionals, working their way up through the ranks.
The career outlook for lighting designers is generally positive, with steady growth projected in the coming years. As live events and productions continue to grow in popularity, there will be a growing need for skilled and experienced lighting designers.
Learn More About Professional Film & Video Lighting
It’s easy to see why a lighting designer is so important to the production’s end result- and why so many skills are required to become one.
At the BeOnAir Network of Media Schools, with campuses located in Miami, Chicago, Colorado, and Ohio, you can learn the ins and outs of production lighting as a student in our Film & Video Production program. Once you graduate, you’ll be ready to dive into an exciting industry and make your professional dreams come true.