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Rigging, Code of Practice

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I had a quick Google on this but can't seem to find it in the BR. Basically, I have been asked to be a tutor on a BTEC course, and I am to show students how to rig. I would say that I am competent at putting a lantern onto a bar, but what do you teach someone without getting it wrong?! My method is to check over item to be rigged, place hook clamp over bar, and attach bond to rig, using lantern point if available or around the yoke. Then tighten hook clamp, and point/focus lantern. Check that lantern is right way up, and that lens tubes, if rotated, are not about to drop their gate contents. Then route cable to socket without cable resting on lanterns. Any extensions run over the bar (as BR members might remember a topic on that last year, here!)

Would this be OK to teach to Secondary School pupils, what do I need to read up on? All advice/suggestions gratefully received!


Edit, thank you and sorry Bryson, one day I might grasp where posts belong!

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Ok, I thought I'd let others do it first, rather than me doing my usual jump in.


Right, what you are planning is perfectly suitable for school top years, college bottom years.


You will be amazed, though, how your simple idea can be misunderstood, and total abortions made. What will happen is that some will be bored, and not join in, others will be far too enthusiastic and go too fast. Your job is to look after both of these. One trick is to prepare the cables, clamps etc in a way that prevents it going right first time. So, do the g clamp screws up too tight for fingers, same with bolts. If at all possible, have some old safety chains available - they will put them on and leave no slack, so they won't move. You can then introduce bonds and show how they are safer. Make sure the cables are too long, too short and LET them start at both ends, leaving dangly bits, or 6 " of gap between plug and socket. If you have enough kit, another method is to pair the kids up and if it is BTEC ND or 1st, look at the spec and check the wording of the criteria that will set the grade.


Assuming it is a national diploma, then one item in the spec concerns itself with rigging, and sets these criteria:


rig and focus equipment with some assistance and support = PASS


rig and focus equipment independently = MERIT


rig and focus equipment independently and confidently = DISTINCTION


make sure you video the results for evidence, or take photos - no writing needed here.


Make it an assessed task - they can be given the task written down with the criteria as 'rules'.


The idea is to rig, say 4 lights. If they do it, but need to ask you for help, they get a pass. If they do it on their own, they get a merit, if they know what they are doing and do it spot on, they get distinction. They will be competitive and won't want to ask - when they get in a mess, they can either sort it, or ask. Usually the whole thing is great fun, too. AND the people you are doing it for will be amazed you managed to actually get some real grades out of the activity. You will need their help with devising the paperwork as it has to be quite exact, but the evidence is in the video and photos.


You can always pm me if you need more info.


If they are between 15-18 this works really well - just make sure you show them the correct way, before you test them. If you want, they can even tell you what grades they are going to get when they look at what they did - the criteria are quite clear on this one.


Make sure they know this is just one small criteria, and that even if they get a distinction, it can be wiped out by rubbish work in say, a lighting design. Not a fair world, but tough!

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Guest lightnix
Well since nobody has replied, I can only assume my methods are OK!
Ooh, steady... Assumption is the mother of all *u**-ups :)


It just seems that just for once, nobody here has any advice or experience to offer (I'm kind of surprised Mr. Coker hasn't popped up on this one, it's one of his fortés ;) ) Have you tried the ABTT for advice?


Mods, feel free to delete this topic!
We'll leave it, if you don't mind. It's far from being a useless question and it may still be answered in due course, just a bit slower than you hoped.
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If they do it, but need to ask you for help, they get a pass. If they do it on their own, they get a merit, if they know what they are doing and do it spot on, they get distinction.



Hmmm.... could be some merit in using such a scheme for degree classification ;-)



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I rather thought they already did? Actually, the BTEC system gets a lot of stick for the way grades are awarded. In the case of technical theatre, I think they make a great deal of sense. You can see that talking somebody through a task still means they did it, and should be able to do it again, but access to higher grades means thinking was involved, and to get a distinction they have to be confident, which is very difficult for students!
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Add a blob of catalyst and stand back....! ;)

Thanks for your post Paulears, as far as I know yet, it is level 1 BTEC ND. Age range is 15-17 (yrs 10/11). Current plan (for my part in the course) is to demonstrate the lanterns, how to use them, and what for. Then get them to rig and focus them. One idea I have was to give them name tags, with peel off labels on the back so that they get a lantern to rig and a focus requirement each, but they don't know which ones, thus take an interest in all! Eg One person has "Rig and focus a Fresnel" and someone else has "Soft-edged, wide pool of light, but no light to spill onto flat behind" they then have to match up to which lantern fits the focus requirement (=pairs) to focus lights. Then repeat as many times as required so that they all get a chance.

It is fair to say though that most of them are already helping out the technician there in their breaks etc, so are interested people.

Ps (to lightnix) mother of all f..k ups or another version "To ASSUME, makes and A*S out of U and ME" :)

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ND= level 3, which makes sense with your group. Well worth reading the unit - if you don't have it, I could email you the entire thing. Bearing in mind, that pretty well if it's not mentioned in the unit, they won't get any credit.


Best advice I can give is avoid or minimise demonstrations - very few will get much out of that bit, they just wait to be allowed to touch. Self discovery, even if maybe slower, works better - so my advice is, quick run through, then let 'em at it. One pointer, watch the slides on the fresnels, I bet you pop a bubble when it suddenly gives and they forget to stop pushing! A good time to introduce fuses and breakers.

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Thanks again. I think that I am to teach unit D13 of This course, which is a BTEC First Diploma/Certificate in Performing Arts (Production) NQF Level 2.

Or unit C1 on This (1mb) guide.

Will add your point about lamps poping, to the list of questions I have for the school. I was told it was quick demo then hands on. (ie these far apart = narrow beam angle, close together = wide, and this one at the back you shouldn't need to worry about yet. Right who want's to play!?)

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