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Set Lighting Technician's Handbook: Film Lighting Equipment, Practice, and Electrical Distribution [Paperback]

Harry Box
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 2 2010

Comprehensive. Detailed. Practical. Set Lighting Technician's Handbook, Fourth Edition, is a friendly, hands-on manual covering the day-to-day practices, equipment, and tricks of the trade essential to anyone doing motion picture lighting, including the lamp operator, rigging crew, gaffer, best boy, or director of photography. This handbook offers a wealth of practical technical information, useful techniques, as well as aesthetic discussions.

The Set Lighting Technician's Handbook focuses on what is important when working on-set: trouble-shooting, teamwork, set protocol, and safety. It describes tricks and techniques for operating a vast array of lighting equipment including LEDs, xenons, camera synchronous strobes, black lights, underwater units, lighting effects units, and many others. Since its first edition, this handy on-set reference continues to be widely adopted as a training and reference manual by union training programs as well as top university film production programs.

New to the fourth edition:

* More coverage of the aesthetics of lighting
* Detailed information on LED technology and gear
* Material is harmonized with industry safety and skills training curriculum
* More coverage than ever before about setting up and running DMX512 networks and DMX512 enabled devices, including wireless DMX512 networks
* Completely revised and updated sections of HMIs, tungsten light fixtures, and fluorescent technologies
* Additional information on dealing with current harmonics, working with portable generators.
* New section on using 480V power
* In addition to previsualization software, new material provides a primer on creating professional light plots and using computer aided design software
* New additions to the arsenal of electrical distribution equipment that make our sets safer and easier to power
* More rigging tricks and techniques
* Written in the same friendly, easy-to-read style that has made this book so popular
* Companion Web site contains exclusive articles written by the author, illustrations, and an indispensable resource center with key industry links. Please visit

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Frequently Bought Together

Set Lighting Technician's Handbook: Film Lighting Equipment, Practice, and Electrical Distribution + The Grip Book: The Studio Grip's Essential Guide
Price For Both: CDN$ 92.87

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Product Description


"Harry Box's Set Lighting Technician's Handbook (Focal Press) is a gold mine of information about safety, lighting and studio procedures." - Ron Dexter, ASC

From the Back Cover

"Harry has taken the mystery out of set lighting for the beginner or pro. Current and includes the most up-to-date tricks of the trade. A book written by a pro who loves and respects his craft and is selfless in sharing information." -Mike G. Moyer, gaffer, Steel Magnolias, In the Line of Fire, Ground Hog Day

"Box's style is reminiscent of an old buddy showing his best friend the ropes.perhaps the most easily read technical handbook to date.the broadest in scope and coverage, yet carefully covers the essential details." -Seth Greenspan, Filmcrew Magazine

The Set Lighting Technician's Handbook is a friendly, hands-on manual covering lighting and rigging equipment, day-to-day practices and tricks of the trade essential to anyone doing motion picture lighting. The book delves into every aspect of lighting: from lighting design decisions to set protocol and teamwork; from rigging safety to equipment troubleshooting; from basic electricity to advanced electrical systems planning. Whether you're a lamp operator, best boy, rigger, gaffer, or director of photography, this trusted, long time industry favorite covers what's important on set.

New to the expanded Fourth Edition:

* Expanded coverage of LED lights, lighting control networks, computer applications in lighting, advanced automated and digital lighting devices, creating effects with ellipsoidal spotlights, wet locations and GFCI protection, rigging, dimmer systems, modern battery technology, small generators and much more

*Reflects all the current industry safety standards, guidelines, practices, and codes

*Companion website offers exclusive content, including tables, illustrations, articles, historical information, and more. Please see

Harry C. Box has worked in television and motion picture production since 1989. Over the years he has done substantial work as a lighting technician, gaffer, camera operator, director of photography, and as an educator. His recent credits include network and cable television series, such as Heroes (NBC), Brothers and Sisters (ABC), and Everybody Hates Chris (CW). He has worked on major motion pictures, independent feature films, telefilms, documentaries, music videos, commercials, and industrials.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars fast shipping great book June 3 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very informative, a must for anyone looking for comprehensive knowledge of this field and the perfect guide for techs working there already
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5.0 out of 5 stars One excellent textbook!! Jan. 18 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Top Marks for the Handiest reference book on lighting ever!
Highly Recommended and Essential guide to Film and TV lighting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you need to know, under one cover! Aug. 28 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is definitely the best primer I've found so far about film and video lighting.

It contains all of the technical information you could ever need, organized into handy tables and appendices. Portions of this book are definitely not for beginners!

That being said, however, it also contains a great background section about all of the roles, methods and equipment used in the lighting department.

Wonderful book for novices and professionals alike!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have Lighting book March 23 2011
By Kiyo M. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I also have the Lighting for Digital Video and Television, Third Edition book (also a Focal Press release), which seemed more like a book geared more towards students; I was hoping for something a little more professional and this book is exactly what I was looking for focusing on lighting. It is very descriptive and technical from what each lighting crew is responsible and the equipments. It is also helpful explaining in detail of how a cinematographer decides on the lighting and the necessary involvement of the crews for each other; not just a simple generic description of it.

It is like the The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age, but focused all on lighting. I can see that this book won't just benefit filmmakers/gaffers but anyone interested in electrical components.

I definitely recommend for anyone interested in filmmaking/gaffer/cinematographer. This is a must-have for lighting. I really wish I had this book sooner when I had to be the cinematographer for a Super 16mm student short film.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for ETCP Electrical Test Sept. 18 2010
By Gary J. Sleeman - Published on
Although this book is basically about Motion Picture production, the later electrical chapters are a must read to study for the ETCP Electrical Certification Test. Break-a-leg.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even amateurs learn a lot! Feb. 26 2013
By Getitright - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This book is a professional guide to set lighting, but you'd be amazed how many DECORATING tips and ideas I got by reading it! The lighting tips are amazing, but the book also has lighting equipment reviews, so you know exactly what lighting does what. I used the info to create perfect accent lighting around our home that is so natural and impressive, guests think I had a pro do it. Really, if you want to understand lighting, this is the book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Set and Stage Electricians, Theatre Techies and Film Buffs Should Buy This Book May 10 2011
By Walt Boyes - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Harry Box's fantastic single volume textbook is now in its Fourth Edition,
with lots of updates and new practices for the professional stage
electrician. Even if you don't want to join IATSE or work in Hollywierd,
this book will further your education into how film sets are lit, and what
the best practices for safety, electrical distribution, and quality
performance are.

Part of my job as a content creator is to keep up with the "how to" not just
the "here write this script" part. This book will help me do that, in a very
big way.

If you are a professional stage or soundstage electrician, you need to buy
this book.

If you are a film buff, and want to find out how those effects you like so
well are done, you need to buy this book.

Walt Boyes
Editor in Chief
Control and
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pro, very technical. March 22 2011
By C.J. Hustwick - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Ever walk by a movie set and wonder exactly what all of the piles of equipment are used for? Harry's looking out for ya.

This book is an extremely well laid out, exhaustive guide for basically everything you need to know to prepare to shoot professionally. Not only does it demystify the often egotistical, obfuscating world of lighting and cinematography, but it does it with grace and style. This is the fourth edition of the book, which was originally published in the early '90s.

Just to be clear, this is a technical guide for aspiring pros by a pro, focusing on serious, well-budgetted productions. There is little discussion of lighting aesthetics. So, while it is excellent, it might be overkill for your needs.

Yet to his credit, Harry Box is such a clear and concise writer that he has made most of the material interesting and applicable to even people who are considering wading into deeper waters. For instance, preproduction planning is covered extremely well, and it should help clarify any thoughts you have in deciding upon the scale and variety of equipment to employ on a shoot.
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