A Look at the Electrical Department on Film Sets

A Look at the Electrical Department on Film Sets

A Look at the Electrical Department on Film Sets

Lighting on a set can make or break the creation of a scene.  It is an essential component of creating the best and most authentic scene.  Creating shadows on the wall helps to create a spooky mood, lighting a single person helps to create drama, and rapid moving lights helps to create speed and movement.  Lighting not only creates authenticity, but it also helps to create emotion as well.  These elements help to move the audience and create a connection, which is vital to the viewing experience.  As grip electric specialists, we work with the electrical department behind-the-scenes to take care of all the electric needs.  There are many people that work in the electrical department to help produce the electric needed to create a film.


A gaffer is the lead and the manager of the electrical department on set.  They also may be referred to as the Lead Lighting Technician, which is a much more understandable title that defines their role.  They are responsible for executing their design of the lighting plan for each scene.  This requires knowledge and awareness of the script and the director's vision for the film.  They also work closely with others to help achieve this look and aesthetic.  Gaffers also help to shape the light and create the effects they desire.

Best Boy

A best boy is the assistant to the gaffer.  This person takes all their tasks directly from the gaffer himself, which makes him his right hand man and best resource.  Best boys will typically manage schedules of the staff underneath him and also keep a close eye on the electric truck and rentals.  They are responsible for keeping an eye on the electrical equipment so that the gaffer doesn't have to worry about its whereabouts.  


Although they technically do not work directly with the electric themselves, grips are those who assist the electrical department with set up in order to create the lighting look they are trying to achieve.   They set up any gear or equipment that is needed to achieve that look.  Many of their responsibilities include lifting, moving, or creating materials that help gaffers and directors get the angle and shot that they want.   They are the technicians that work with the set up equipment and deal with camera movement, dolly tracks, and the lights themselves.

These are the people that work closely in the electrical department behind-the-scenes in the film industry.  Grip electric and gaffers work with their managers to help produce the lighting effects that are necessary for creating authentic scenes.  This then helps to promote positive audience reactions and connections with the film.  Contact us if you are looking for quality grips to work on your film.

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