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Photography student Ruby Bambridge learnt about lighting for film at the Illumination Weekend

Enlightening experience for young photographer

6th December 2023

An East London Institute of Technology Photography student is thrilled to have been sent on a film and television weekend workshop.

14 students, studying various subjects including Electrical Installation, Production Arts, Creative Digital Media and Photography got to spend two days trying out hands-on lighting techniques. The idea was to widen their horizons and show young people the plethora of jobs they can get, using the skills they’ve learnt at college.

Photography student Ruby Bambridge centre front learnt about lighting for film at the Illumination Weekend

The students were delighted to be taught by Ian Barwick who has worked on Marvel shows and Dan Walters who has most recently been working on Mission Impossible films.

18-year-old Ruby Bambridge was wowed by the experience, saying: “It was absolutely brilliant! We went into a real film studio and were taught all about lighting. It was an exhausting day; we did lots of heavy lifting, but it was a fantastic experience with everyone working as a team.

“We had two amazing trainers who taught us what goes into lighting film sets; we were taught how creative and playful you can be with lighting and how lighting can be used to evoke emotion and feeling.”

The workshop was delivered by MBS Group, the world’s largest studio operating and production services company, who teamed up with Film Barking & Dagenham to offer local students a unique hands-on learning opportunity. Four trainees from MBS Equipment warehouse also joined the college students on the day.

The Illumination Weekend was very interactive, with students getting to try out everything themselves; for example, they made their own ‘softbox’, which diffuses light and is a way of dimming lighting to eliminate shadows and is used in both photography and in film.

Photography student Ruby Bambridge makes a lighting softbox at the Illumination Weekend

Ruby only started at the East London Institute of Technology in September and had no idea she would be offered such amazing opportunities. She added: “It was a joy. I absolutely loved the experience. There are so many different job roles you can have, and I would definitely consider a career in film lighting now.” In the shorter term, the workshop has inspired her to be more playful and creative with her photography.

Anna Wilson, Sector Lead for Film & Creative Industries, Film Barking and Dagenham, said: “Barking & Dagenham is exceptionally privileged to be hosting Lighting and Electrical training delivered by professionals at the very top of their game. Giving students the opportunity to engage with high end equipment on a working sound stage to gain practical skills is incredibly inspiring.

“Our ongoing collaboration with MBS Equipment and the film studios through our ‘Make It Here’ programme, is opening up whole new career pathways for the young people of the borough.”

“It was fantastic working with such a focused and interested group of local students.” adds Toby Dare, Director, Sustainability & Risk Management, MBS Equipment Company. “It’s always a delight to see people realise they have the ability to work in the Film and TV industry, when perhaps they had previously not considered it, or felt it was out of reach.”

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