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BTEC ND Production Arts (Theatre)


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Evening all,


Just thought I'd express my frustration with Edexcel and the BTEC National Diploma criteria.


Having sat down with my tutor today discussing how I can improve my grades we came to Unit 66: "Stage Lighting Operations". Now for those of you that haven't come across the grading system: Within a unit there are usually 4 - 5 criteria which the learner must fulfill in order to pass the unit. The learner is either awarded a Pass, Merit or Distinction depending on written work and how they perform practically. So onto the criteria:


Criteria 4:


Pass: Select and use some appropriate colours for specific set projects.


Merit: Select and use appropriate and conventional colours for specific set projects.


Distinction: Select and use successful and unconventional colours for specific set projects. :D How on earth am I meant to show/explain what a "successful" colour is? And determine an "unconventional" colour?


I currently stand at a merit for this criteria,


Just wondered if any of you BTEC students have come across this criteria and have had similar thoughts about it.

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Not an Edexcel expert, but I do know that they didn't hire the most educated :(.


Successful I would deam as a good colour mix, finding colours that suit eachother.

Unconventional being a colour that doesn't necessarily work but fits a purpose.


That's what I can decipher out of it anyway, hope it helps :D

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Although this was generally a rant at the course criteria, thanks for your interpretation.


How about conventional colours?! What would you class as a conventional colour? :D


And I'm still struggling to understand why this criteria comes under "Lighting Operations" :( When its more like Lighting Design?

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I suspect that the person who wrote that wanted you to think a bit. The thing you have missed is that many people who don't do lighting design, just select from a limited choice of the popular colours. So when somebody suggests red, then Lee 106 gets popped in! There are, as the BBC always say, plenty of other reds out there. So if you pick some colours that work, my guess would be the person assessing you will say they're appropriate, and give you a pass. If perhaps, you were told to create 'Hell' - people could automatically think yep, that's fire, so that's red - and maybe pick Lee's flame colour or one of the other orangey-reds. These reds are what a lot of people would call conventional - based around historic convention, fire=red. However, maybe you looked inside a gas fire and saw in addition to the reds, some blues and yellows flickering away - I'm sure the assessor would then smile, and include the blues and yellows as unconventional. You can apply the same thought patterns to things like moonlight, or foliage.


If you look at the criteria for all the units, you'll see that for the top grades you must show independent thoughts and actions - so being a bit unconventional in a successful way is pretty important.


You're quite right about it being a bit of lighting design, but the facts of life in the industry are that most people in the LX department do not spend all their time doing what others design, they have a considerable input into what happens, and when the local dance school turn up at the venue, they don't hire a lighting designer - they get you to do it!


Does that help in any way?


Anything else about the criteria descriptors you don't like?




To KayDee28 - I'm intrigued about the uneducated bit?

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My music tech course was edexcel. The assignments themselves are fine but I just remember reading really odly put questions that obviously weren't the 'best' way to phrase.


Obviously for anyone working at edexcel it was a joke :D.


(I feel an oncoming rush of pain) :P

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Thanks for that Paul, appreciate it.


If only the specification sheet/criteria suggested that independent learner thought/actions are required in order to hit the higher grades.


I could have easily talked about how the colour red has references to fire, anger, hell, etc if it was suggested next to the distinction criteria. Its hard to achieve something specific when its not explained very well.


Another criteria I don't particularly like is criteria 5 also within Unit 66:


"D5: Focus luminaries safely with accuracy and speed" Surely speed is unsafe?


From what I've picked up on, speed leads to mistakes which can kill in this industry. Its not a race to get a rig up and functioning as quick as possible. Surely efficiently would be more appropriate?



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Too fast can be dangerous but equally too slow won't get the job done. I once worked with a tech who took over 90 minutes to patch 6 floor cans into 3 pais at the bottom of 3 sets of legs.


Personally I would class this as too slow and if it were up to me I wouldn't be employing them again.

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No - you missed the point, Adam. There is no requirement by the board for you to use independent thoughts or actions in the criteria. As you point out, you are required to use conventions (or not) - HOWEVER, the criteria are the means the assessor awards grades. It is up to your teacher to conjure up a context, that allows him to apply the criteria - so, usually they write an assignment that tells you clearly what you have to do. It is very unusual for you to have to do this. Nothing says you can't, but most students need a shoev in the correct direction. In fact, when your assessor has a visit from the awfully nice Edexcel people, one question they always ask is if the task you have been given matches those criteria.


As for criterion 5 - speed is not unsafe. In fact, speed is an esential factor in being efficient. I've forgotten how many times I've actually been working against the clock with a new member of crew who is taking forever to focus a handful of lanterns with house opening time approaching. Being able to do it quickly is a skill essential for working in the industry. Time really is money. Nobody is saying anything about being unsafe - just speedy. In this case, being efficient is being fast - and I can tell you it very often is a race that you lose!


In fairness, it could well be that the inclusion of speed is there to prevent somebody taking two hours to focus half a dozen lanterns. If people want to be genuinely useful, they must be quick. I don't think the person who wrote that intended speed to mean having a race - just not dawdling, or having to stop for a break because their arms ache. All sadly typical student stuff. Here's a bar, here's a plan, get it done before 4pm - seems pretty real to me?



Don't forget that there are large numbers of criteria, and for everybody who hates individual ones, somebody else loves 'em, because they like that particular process.


To Ken - don't forget what the teachers ask you to do is up to them, not Edexcel, so if you didn't like what they told you to do, probably best to them. All Edexcel do is provide the framework within which your teachers design their own course.

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I had the same sort of criteria for 'Stage Lighting Operations' as you mentioned above and I found it odd that it involved design as well. Although a got a merit in operations, I also got a merit in design even though they weren't seperate and I don't remember getting a lighting design criteria. Part of my lighting operations also involved design, therefore I got the mark for design and operations for a show. But working on amateur productions I design and operate so its all good.
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