Light and Grip Training – What Is A Gaffer?

Light and Grip Training

Light and Grip Training – What Is A Gaffer?

Have you ever watched the credits roll at the end of the film and found yourself wondering ‘what is a best boy, gaffer or a grip?

Well lets start off by giving you some information about a Gaffer.


The Gaffer (if your internal monologue doesn’t switch to Cockney when you think the word “gaffer”, then what are you even alive for?) is the head of the lighting department.

The Gaffer’s job to make the lighting in the film look like how the Director of Photography wants it. They will determine what lights are used and how they are set up. The Best Boy (and sometimes the grip) then sets them up.

The term Gaffer comes from a couple of sources. In ye olde Victorian Britain a “Gaff” was a long pole with a hook on the end that was used to adjust theatre lights. Gaffer is also a colloquial British term for a “Boss”. So as the boss of the lighting department, Gaffer is the perfect title. Apart from Boss of the Lighting Department, but that doesn’t have the same character.

Also, the film industry usage of the term “Gaffer” is how Gaffer Tape got its name. The tape is especially useful in the film industry as it can be used to tape down cables and other stray filming paraphernalia, such as runners, to keep it out of shot, plus it can be removed without leaving a load of glue on your set. But as anyone who’s worked on a film set will tell you, Gaffer Tape has myriad uses beyond taping pesky cables.

As we used to say; something’s broken? Use some gaffer tape on it. It’s still broken? You haven’t used enough gaffer tape on it.


Get the basic tools you need to be effective in the creative and technical world of Lighting & Grip! This department, also known as Grip and Electric or “G&E” is made up of a team of people who not only handle all the lighting on a set, but also build the rigs that hold the lights, diffusers, green screens, etc. A lot of creativity is needed in order to light a set for the mood the director needs. The show quite literally cannot go on without the G&E department! In the Lighting & Grip Boot Camp, students will gain inside knowledge of the department from working professionals at MBSE located right on the Pinewood Atlanta Studios lot!

Students can expect to learn:

Equipment and tools of the trade
Diffusion panels, HMI, quartz, c-stands, flags, cables
G&E safety
The complete breakdown of the G&E department and the various roles and titles
The basic duties/responsibilities of each person within the department
How to get a job in the G&E Department
Hands on experience and in-depth knowledge from working professionals
Production terminology
Union vs. Non-union

If this sounds like an interesting way to get involved in the film industry, register while seats are still available!



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