In this article, we’ll explain what an L1, aka Lighting Engineer, does. If you’re new to the industry and want to know a little bit more about what everyone does, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to find out about the job of an L1 (Lighting Engineer).

Quick Answer: At smaller events, the L1 will be in charge of everything to do with lighting. At larger events, the L1 focuses on the setup and operation of the lighting equipment, working alongside a lighting designer and lighting programmer.

L1 (Lighting Engineer) Job Description

The job description of an L1 can be hard to pin down; it depends on the size of the event. At small events, the L1 will be the lighting engineer, the lighting programmer, and the lighting designer.

At larger events, all of these roles will be filled by different people:

  • Lighting Designer
    Comes up with the look for the show.
  • Lighting Programmer
    Just programs the console
  • L1 (Lighting Engineer)
    In charge of setup and operation of all lighting equipment.

L1 (Lighting Engineer) At A Small Event

When we say small, it could be a corporate event with a capacity of up to 1000 people. At events of this size, the L1 will be doing the work of three people.

  • Setting up the truss
  • Laying out and addressing the fixtures
  • Running power, DMX, and other required cables and tech
    The L1 needs to know how everything works to either set it up themselves or direct a crew.
  • Program the lighting console
    An L1 should be able to program on any of the major consoles.

How Much Experience Do You Need To Be An L1 (Lighting Engineer)?

An L1 is generally involved or brought onto the site when an event is larger than 500 people and has a lighting rig.

With about 5 years of experience, it’s pretty easy to get a job as L1 at a smaller event. As the events get bigger, you’ll need a lot more experience behind you to be considered. An L1’s pay increases in a similar way, with the bigger events being the best paid.

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