An Inside Look at the Electric Department

An Inside Look at the Electric Department

An Inside Look at the Electric Department

The electric department is one of the most essential in every production. Our grip electric experts will offer an inside look at what the electric department does and the job titles you will find there.

What an electric department does

The electric department works closely with the grip department, both under the direction of the Director of Photography, to determine and carry out a lighting plan for every shot in the production. As a result, grip and electric departments are commonly referred to as G&E.

Providing lighting to every aspect of a set is the primary job of all members of the electric department. This includes everything from the video village, talent trailers, craft service's microwave, to every light used to illuminate the film set. This makes the electric department one of the most influential groups in a production.

Electric department roles


A gaffer is the leader of the electric department who plans and assembles a lighting plan for a production under the supervision of the director of photography. A gaffer is commonly referred to as a lighting director in the television industry. The gaffer stays with the director of photography during a shoot and gives the best boy direction on any lighting changes.

Best boy

The best boy is the gaffer’s primary assistant and acts as the electric department foreman. They oversee all electric department operations, carrying out the gaffer's commands by giving them to electricians and helping them execute the lighting plan. Best boys are typically in charge of hiring and managing members of the electric department and helping to carry out the lighting plan. The best boy stands in for a gaffer whenever they are unavailable and is sometimes referred to as assistant chief lighting technicians.

Lighting technician

An electric department's workforce is the lighting techs. They are called electrics or electricians on many productions, though they can be referred to as juicers or sparks. Their obligations include unloading and loading lighting equipment, lighting plan execution, and mounting cables, light fixtures, and other gear and light manipulators safely out of the course of the crew and cast members. They are also charged with overseeing the power on set, running cables, operating generators, outlets, and other on-set energy sources wherever required.


Some productions demand an electrician team to work ahead of the show to provide set pre-lighting according to a Gaffer's lighting plan. This helps keep the production moving quickly by limiting the time spent setting up and moving lights. Rigging gaffers lead rigging electricians under the leadership of their personal best boy but answer to the electric department's head gaffer.


Swings are the grip or electric department associates that can help with either division, as needed. These professionals can significantly lower set up and tear-down duration on larger productions because of their authorization to operate in both departments.

This is an overview of the duties of the electric department and the job titles you may encounter on a production. Contact us today if you need grip electric for your upcoming production. We have the experience and expertise to keep your set running efficiently.

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