The gaffer is the chief lighting technician on a set and is head of the electrical department. The gaffer’s job is to run a team of lighting technicians to execute the lighting plan for a production.
The gaffer’s job description includes responsibilities during the preproduction and production phases of a movie or television show.
- Reads the script and makes note of any special lighting needs for the production.
- Meets with the director, producers, and director of photography to determine their vision for the lighting.
- Comes up with a plan to execute that vision, including what lights and lighting equipment will be best for the job, all within the production’s budget.
- Assembles the lighting crew, including set lighting technicians, lamp operators, and the best boy.
- Gives the lighting plan to the best boy, who leads the lighting technicians in setting up the lights and electrical equipment. Lighting technicians use specific tools to do their job, like “gaffer tape,” which secures electrical cords on set.
- Observes the lighting on the film set or television set during filming and makes any adjustments to ensure the lighting is just right.