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Set Lighting Technician's Handbook: Film Lighting Equipment, Practice, and Electrical Distribution Paperback – Aug 2 2010

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 4 edition (Aug. 2 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240810759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240810751
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 3.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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.

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x97c42a8c) out of 5 stars 51 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97c45078) 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.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97c4533c) out of 5 stars A must read for ETCP Electrical Test Sept. 18 2010
By Gary J. Sleeman - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97c4557c) out of 5 stars BEST BOOK ON THE TOPIC I HAVE READ Feb. 19 2011
By fmwaalex - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Set Lighting Technician's Handbook, Fourth Edition: Film Lighting Equipment, Practice, and Electrical Distribution

As any one who as read my reviews before knows I am into film making and love reading books on the subject. So when I was given the chance to learn more about the lighting process and read this book I jumped all over it. I had a decent amount of knowledge on lighting before but one can always learn more. So when this arrived in the mail I was ready to get to reading.

This is with out a doubt the best book I have read on lighting giving you everything you could ever want to know about it. From the equipment and what is best used for what all the way to how to use it. And the little intricacies that you wouldn't even think of are here. The book is easy to read to but like some of the other reviews have said you may not understand everything at first. That is fine, just keep reading and learning, because there was stuff here I had to reread.

Now this book does focus on film lighting mainly but trust me it will help in any setting and form of entertainment of photo shoot. Harry Box did an excellent job with this book going into every technical breakdown but he makes it an easy read. Also I must say that he even covers lighting techniques that you may have never even thought about. I will not give them away but I am sure when you read it you will know what I am talking about. I do recommend this book as it is the best on the subject I have ever read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97c458ac) out of 5 stars Great Book - An essential reference guide for the library. May 4 2013
By finaldraft151 - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book covers so much detail of the lighting aspect of film that it's no wonder most refer to it as the must have 'bible' for filmmakers. It's loaded with tons of info, but the downside is that it is not exactly an introduction guide to basic lighting 101; Rather, it is definitely a professional guide and reference tool for folks who already have a clear understanding of lighting, aperture, ISO, shutter speed and the electrical aspect of this craft.

However, DO NOT let that scare you off! Just because you're an indy filmmaker on a low/no budget with a single DIY light-kit doesn't make this book an expensive paperweight. The info in this book gives one the solid foundation to improve their skills, no matter what level. Granted there are lots of 'advanced' details, and I would say that a lot of the ground covered on electricity might be a bit much for those who only use a few lights plugged into a standard socket, however if you're serious about learning the craft, this book covers it.

Even BETTER: The chapters that cover lighting, color temperature and gels is an excellent reference tool for the amateur. As lighting kits become more affordable, more people are skipping the DIY work light set up and going with pro kits. The only problem is most folks just turn on the lights without giving much thought to placement, temperature, and diffusion. Too much of the wrong light is just as bad as not enough of ANY light and this book covers more than just the generic "3 point setup" along with the details of placement, rather than just a generic diagram with no explanation.


It covers the craft, art and history of lighting in film and how to achieve each look via reference charts and guides as well as detailed info on pretty much every light standard on a set/shoot in today's industry along with more info on electricity and the various tools and equipment used to power and achieve the lighting 'look' and feel for a scene.


I can't really list any cons, aside from pointing out that it isn't an introduction to DIY lighting; (which isn't a con since it never implies it as being a guide to DIY) - If you only plan on shooting with basic DIY work lights (and there isn't ANYTHING wrong with that) you will probably find this book is geared more for the pro's - However, even if you can't afford the standard ARRI kits, the info is invaluable and if you're serious about film, this book and the info will go from being foreign techno garble to an invaluable tool.

Another plus is the homage and detail it pays to the standard Fresnel and Lowel lighting kits as well as the invaluable info on warming/cooling/converting lights with gels and diffusion. So you don't have a $100k Grip package? No problem. This book will give you the info and tools needed to crank out shots that will make your $200 Ebay lighting package look like you have a killer lighting package. I am by no means a pro (at anything) but this book is a must have whenever I tackle a shoot (still or video) where there is a lot of MIXED lighting and not a lot of options for controlling it (or so you think..) - Read the book, practice and tinker with your lights and you will be amazed at the difference after applying some simple knowledge gained from a few chapters in this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97c45618) out of 5 stars Couldn't ask for more, packed with information March 5 2011
By Careful Shopper - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
From the product description area;

"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"

Many times you take a general product description with a grain of salt.... I see no way to improve on the above statement, what a pleasure that is.

While there are a couple of short chapters on how to light a scene, this is not a book for that part of the process.

This book covers the nuts and bolts, nitty gritty end of things that you need to know to be able to have what is needed on the set/stage before anyone can even begin to light a scene, right down to how to tie the proper knots in a rope to safely hold cables and fixtures in place etc.

Information on the various pieces of equipment, down to the titles and jobs of the people you would be working with and depending on.

I could not believe how much information is in this 592 page book, will take some time to get through all the chapters and pages, but look forward to every one and the knowledge they hold.

Would like to say, even if you don't plan on using the information in your work, if you have interest, you will finally know what all those people do you see listed in the movie credits 8-) And soon be spotting what they used and how they lighted your favorite movie scenes.

Tremendous book, well written and understandable, could be used as a text book in lighting school, and/or as a complete quick reference for needed information on the job.