What do Gaffers do?
Sometimes the Gaffer is credited as chief lighting technician (CLT). In television the term Lighting Director is often used, but sometimes the Technical Director (T.D.) will light the studio set. Experienced Gaffers can coordinate the entire job of lighting, given knowledge of the time of day and conditions to be portrayed, managing resources as broad as electrical generators, lights, cable, and manpower. Gaffers are responsible for knowing the appropriate color of gel (plastic sheeting) to put on the lights or windows to achieve a variety of effects, such as transforming midday into a beautiful sunset. They can recreate the flicker of lights in a subway car, the motion of light inside a turning airplane, or the passage of night into day.
Usually, the Gaffer works for and reports to the director of photography (the DP or DOP). The DP is responsible for the overall lighting design, but he or she may give a little or a lot of latitude to the Gaffer on these matters, depending on their working relationship. The Gaffer works with the key grip, who is in charge of some of the equipment related to the lighting. The Gaffer will usually have an assistant called a best boy and, depending on the size of the job, crew members who are called "electricians," although not all of them are trained as electricians in the usual sense of the term. Many Gaffers are expected to own a truck complete with most basic lighting equipment and then rent extra lighting equipment as needed.
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Job description sources include (but are not limited to) imdb.com, skillset.org and wikipedia.