Lighting Programmer

Plan and arrange lighting effects for stage or film productions.
picture of Lighting Programmer

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$26,000 – $104,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Lighting Programmers do?

The job of a Lighting Designer is to decide out how and where to use lights in a production to achieve the best overall look. Why do you need to know this information? Because as a Lighting Programmer it will be your job to work closely with this person, translating their vision into actual cues and directions others can follow.

Your job as the Lighting Programmer could be as a go between the Designer and those working the actual lighting board, or sitting at the board yourself, setting up cues to turn different spotlights on at the correct times. A Lighting Programmer who work son rock concerts or big shows like the Super Bowl usually works with other Programmers to make sure all cues are being hit.

Although this job takes a lot of ability, a big part of it is having good communication skills. Being able to talk to the Lighting Designer and translate their vision is a must. And if you’re working with another Programmer to light the same stage, you can’t outshine (literally) the other or attempt to hit the same cues at once.

Speed is another necessary skill, and one that comes with practice. And in recent years there has been a movement towards digitalizing this field, so the more information you gain on new technology the better.

Finally, you need a sharp attention to the stage: Actors don’t like to wait for their time in the spotlight.

Should I be a Lighting Programmer?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • How to become a Lighting Programmer

    We recommend at least a Certificate. Check out these schools offering Lighting Programmer-related education!
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