Intelligent lighting engineer

An intelligent lighting engineer


Intelligent lighting engineers set up, prepare, check and maintain digital and automated lighting equipment in order to provide optimal lighting quality for a live performance. They cooperate with road crew to unload, set up and operate lighting equipment and instruments.

Includes people working in event and rental companies.

Intelligent lighting engineers typically do the following:

  • Collaborate with lighting designers, directors, and production teams to understand the artistic concept, mood, and requirements of each project.
  • Design and implement lighting systems using intelligent lighting fixtures, LED fixtures, and control systems to achieve desired visual effects.
  • Program lighting cues and sequences using lighting control software, ensuring precise timing, color changes, intensity variations, and movement of fixtures.
  • Operate lighting consoles during rehearsals and performances, executing cues and making real-time adjustments to lighting effects as needed.
  • Conduct on-site installation and setup of lighting equipment, including positioning and rigging of fixtures, cabling, and power distribution.
  • Perform routine maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of lighting equipment to ensure optimal performance and safety.
  • Collaborate with other technical departments, such as audio and video, to synchronize lighting effects with other production elements.
  • Stay updated on industry trends, new lighting technologies, and software advancements to incorporate innovative techniques into designs.
  • Conduct research and testing of new lighting products, evaluating their suitability and potential application in specific projects.
  • Assist with the development of lighting plans, diagrams, and documentation to facilitate smooth communication and coordination with the production team.
  • Collaborate with stage managers and crew members to ensure safe and efficient movement of lighting equipment during load-in and load-out.
  • Adhere to safety protocols and guidelines, including proper handling, installation, and operation of lighting equipment and fixtures.
  • Provide technical support and guidance to the production team, including training and assistance with lighting equipment operation.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to intelligent lighting engineer:

intelligent light technician
automated lighting technician
intelligent lighting technician
automated lighting engineer
automated light engineer
automated light technician
intelligent light engineer

Working conditions

Intelligent lighting engineers work primarily in event venues, theaters, concert halls, or other performance spaces. They often work long and irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, depending on the production schedule and event requirements. The work environment can be physically demanding, involving lifting and positioning heavy lighting equipment, working at heights, and being exposed to stage lighting and electrical hazards. Intelligent lighting engineers must be adaptable, as they may need to travel and work in different locations for various projects. They work closely with a diverse team of professionals, including lighting designers, directors, performers, and technical staff, requiring effective communication and collaboration skills.

Minimum qualifications

Intelligent lighting engineers typically hold a bachelor’s degree or vocational training in theater production, stage lighting, or a related field. They should have a solid understanding of lighting design principles, electrical systems, and control technologies.

Proficiency in lighting control software, such as DMX or Ethernet-based systems, is essential. Practical experience in operating lighting consoles and programming cues is highly valued. Knowledge of intelligent lighting fixtures, LED systems, and automation technologies is necessary. Intelligent lighting engineers should have good problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work well under pressure in fast-paced production environments. Ongoing professional development and staying updated on the latest lighting trends and technologies are crucial in this field.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Intelligent lighting engineer is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Intelligent lighting engineer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to intelligent lighting engineer.

video technician
lighting technician
followspot operator
audio production technician
light board operator

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of intelligent lighting engineer. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of intelligent lighting engineer with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

mask maker
video designer
puppet designer
lighting director
technical director

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of intelligent lighting engineer.

  • Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
  • Understand artistic concepts: Interpret an artist’s explanation or demonstration of their artistic concepts, inceptions and processes and strive to share their vision.
  • Draw up lighting plan: Create technical drawings and documentation within the lighting department.
  • Assess power needs: Prepare and manage the provision of electrical power for different areas.
  • Ensure safety of mobile electrical systems: Take the necessary precautions while providing temporary power distribution independently. Measure and power up an installation.
  • Distribute control signals: Distribute control signals between light boards, dimmers and other lighting equipment. Control systems can be either DMX or network based.
  • Use personal protection equipment: Make use of protection equipment according to training, instruction and manuals. Inspect the equipment and use it consistently.
  • Prevent technical problems with lighting equipment: Anticipate possible technical problems with lighting equipment.
  • Pack electronic equipment: Safely pack sensitive electronic equipment for storage and transport.
  • Adapt to artists’ creative demands: Work with artists, striving to understand the creative vision and adapting to it. Make full use of your talents and skills to reach the best possible result.
  • De-rig electronic equipment: Remove and store various types of electronic equipment safely after use.
  • Prepare personal work environment: Correct settings or positions for your working instruments and adjust them before starting operations.
  • Set up light board: Install, connect and try out light board in a live performance environment.
  • Manage personal professional development: Take responsibility for lifelong learning and continuous professional development. Engage in learning to support and update professional competence. Identify priority areas for professional development based on reflection about own practice and through contact with peers and stakeholders.
  • Work with respect for own safety: Apply the safety rules according to training and instruction and based on a solid understanding of the prevention measures and risks to your own personal health and safety.
  • Light a show: Light a show based on concrete production needs.
  • Keep up with trends: Monitor and follow new trends and developments in specific sectors.
  • Set up equipment in a timely manner: Make sure to set up equipment according to deadlines and time schedules.
  • Follow safety procedures when working at heights: Take necessary precautions and follow a set of measures that assess, prevent and tackle risks when working at a high distance from the ground. Prevent endangering people working under these structures and avoid falls from ladders, mobile scaffolding, fixed working bridges, single person lifts etc. since they may cause fatalities or major injuries.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of intelligent lighting engineer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

ISCO group and title

3435 – Other artistic and cultural associate professionals

  1. Intelligent lighting engineer – ESCO
  2. Featured image: Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash
Last updated on July 17, 2023

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