Electrical Department

Film Crew Position: 3rd Electric

What does a 3rd Electric do?

The 3rd Electric, often referred to as the Third Electrician or Lamp Operator, is a key member of the electrical department on a film set. Their primary responsibility is to manage the setup, maintenance, and operation of lighting equipment under the guidance of the Gaffer and Best Boy Electric. As part of a film's lighting crew, the 3rd Electric plays a crucial role in achieving the desired visual aesthetics and contributes significantly to the mood and tone of a scene.

What role does a 3rd Electric play?

In the role of a 3rd Electric, the individual has several duties, including rigging lights, running cables, and setting up generators. They work closely with other department members to execute the lighting plan designed by the Director of Photography (DP) and Gaffer. Safety is a top priority; they must ensure all electrical equipment is used correctly to prevent accidents. Although not at the top of the hierarchy in the electrical department, 3rd Electrics are essential for the smooth operation of lighting on set and often assist with on-the-fly adjustments and troubleshooting.

Do you need to go to college to be a 3rd Electric?

Becoming a 3rd Electric does not necessarily require a college degree, though some formal education in film production or electrical work can be beneficial. More often, practical experience, apprenticeships, or training programs are critical for acquiring the skills needed for this position. Many 3rd Electrics have worked their way up from entry-level positions, gaining hands-on experience and knowledge on the job. A solid foundational understanding of electrical principles and film set protocols is paramount for anyone looking to fill this position.

What skills do you need to be a 3rd Electric?

A 3rd Electric must possess a variety of skills, including a thorough understanding of electrical safety and knowledge of lighting equipment and techniques. They should be adept at problem-solving and have the ability to work effectively under pressure. Good communication skills are necessary as they collaborate with various crew members. Physical fitness is also important, as the job involves lifting heavy equipment and working in a variety of environments. Additionally, they need to be adaptable, quick learners, and have a strong work ethic to succeed in the fast-paced film industry.

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