Harry C. Box’s Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook is by far the most important book a Lighting Technician can own. This book is considered required reading for Lighting Technicians, Grips and Cinematographers. Buy the Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook on Amazon here.
I have carried this book on 90% of the film sets that I have worked on as a gaffer, best boy or electric. The information inside has saved me countless times. My copy has dozens of sections marked, highlighted and even notes that I’ve added with additional tips and tricks!
Don’t Believe Me When I Say How Great This Book Is?
Check out some other reviews on Amazon.com – The few negative reviews are due to issues with the layout of the Kindle edition, another reviewer bought it thinking it was something completely different.
The Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook Review
What can I possibly say about a book that I have called “The Lighting Technician Bible” at least a dozen times. This is THE BOOK when it comes to working in the lighting department. There is no substitute and the information inside is invaluable.
Who Should Buy This Book
- Gaffers, Electrics and Grips. Basically anyone in the grip or lighting department.
- Starting out Cinematographers and even experienced pros. Understanding lighting fixtures and how to best utilizing them is one of the most difficult things for a new cinematographer to grasp.
- Students and new industry people interested in Lighting and Grip. This is a great read and reference manual for a student or low level filmmakers interested in making a career in the lighting department. The best place to start off are your own projects. This book will help you bring a level of professionalism to your small productions.
Who Should NOT Buy This Book
- The Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook is not for Hobbyists or anyone just curious about film lighting. This book contains a lot of technical information not really meant for the casual reader. Although it can be fun to read and contains a lot of interested anecdotes and stories, the majority of the content it based around having a basic understanding of the film industry that a casual reader does not have. If you are interested in getting some insight into film lighting or film sets in general there are far better books out there for you.
- Kindle users. LOL. I dunno, it sucks apparently.
- People who hate lights?
Chapter 1 – Set Basics: Your First Barbecue (Pages 1 – 12)
The first dozen pages of this book contain a fairly detailed job descriptions of such positions as, Director of Photography, Gaffer, Best Boy Electric, Electric, Rigging Crew, the Fixture Operators, the Generator Op & the Grip Department.
Although these descriptions are fairly detailed, they do not give us much insight into the ins and outs of the jobs.
For more information on some of these departments, check out the following posts:
In addition to the job descriptions of the DOP & Grip/Lighting teams, we also get some solid descriptions of the Production Staff, the Assistant Director Team, Camera Dept, Sound Dept, Location, Transportation, Art & Civilians.
Check out some of our posts related to the production departments:
Finally, the first chapter ends with an introduction the crucial steps of filmmaking that most professional level crews follow in order to work quickly & efficiently.
This is known as: Block, Light, Rehearse, Tweak Shoot – Check out this post that breaks down this process and it’s importance.
Chapter 2 & Beyond
Chapter 2 – Pre Production Planning: Lighting Package, Expendable, and Personal Tools (Pages 15 – 37)
A solid intro to the tools of the trade.
Also check out our Technician Tools Blog Post
Chapter 3 – Lighting Fixtures – The Basic Tungsten Arsenal (Pages 39 – 67)
Here we get an understanding of a basic tungsten package. These are some of the most common studio and location lights you will encounter in your career.
Chapter 4 – Lighting Fixtures – The Basic HMI Arsenal (Pages 69 – 94)
Here we start to get into the bigger guns, HMI’s and imitating daylight.
The book goes on from here with chapter after chapter of fantastic and highly educational content.
Below is a list of the remaining chapters covered:
- Chapter 5 – Fluorescent Lights
- Chapter 6 – Stands and Rigging
- Chapter 7 – Lighting Objectives and Method
- Chapter 8 – Manipulating Light: Tools, Techniques, and the Behavior of Light
- Chapter 9 – Electrician’s Set Protocol and Aerial Lifts
- Chapter 10 – Specialty Lighting
- Chapter 11 – Electricity
- Chapter 12 – Distribution Equipment, Rigging and Dimmers
- Chapter 13 – Power Sources
- Chapter 14 – The Work World
If you are a Lighting Technician or Cinematographer you need this book. Period.
My Rating: 9.9/10 Stars!
Check out the Set Lighting Technician’s Handbook on Amazon.com.