Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Examiner's Report - Ability / Disability (June 12 extract)

 (oops, last page of the report is missing - see below)

In general, Centres appear to be heeding advice from previous reports about discarding simplistic colour determination in analysis of characters and their actions, which is encouraging. Also more candidates attempted to engage with the issue of lighting to varying degrees. The most able candidates offered detailed and at times quite sophisticated analysis of the representation of ability and disability, because they linked analysis to informed exemplification from the extract. Lesser achieving candidates could describe the mise en scene, but often lacked reference to how the representation was constructed or focused too much on character function, status, family and/or power relations over ability and disability.

The analysis of sound is continuing to improve with candidates attempting to link music with the representation of the characters. Some candidates were able to discuss the ways in which sound in the extract represented David’s frustration at having a disabled brother, for example with the use of the diegetic soundtrack “Wouldn’t it be nice’. Most candidates could associate the use of diegetic sound with empathy for Ben, exemplified by the close up of Ben on the bus juxtaposed with a shallow focus and muffled diegetic sounds, signifying detachment and vulnerability.
There seemed to be more confident use of terminology in relation to the soundtrack this series, for example the most able candidates recognised the irony of the pop song used from the Beach Boys. Many candidates were proficient in analysing diegetic/non diegetic sound (however a number of candidates did get diegetic and non diegetic sound mixed up). Candidates also made frequent reference to the dialogue in the extract, especially the use of the voiceover at the beginning of the extract when David anchors his personal feelings for Ben when he narrates his co-existence and lifestyle in terms of his relationship to his disabled brother. Candidates also understood the voiceover technique and acquainted this with David’s burden. Lesser achieving candidates relied solely on dialogue in analysis of the sequence, sacrificing analysis of other uses of sound in the extract to analyse the representations offered.

Candidates were able to discuss the shot-reverse shot technique, for example in the family home and the positioning of the two main characters. In addition, most candidates were able to identify and discuss the significance of the use of slow motion at the end of the extract, discussed with varying degrees of success. The most able candidates also made reference to a range of editing techniques, which included the use of crosscutting, pacing and the montage of black and white evolutionary images. The montage of evolutionary images used was identified by most candidates, some offering in analysis, an examination of the David’s thoughts and an evolutionary scale, whilst some candidates were simply confused about the context and use of these images; or even omitted any analysis of this sequence of shots. ‘Jump cut’ remains a term that is misused and overused, for example, when candidates labelled the transition from the establishing external shot to the interior shot of the family home.

Editing remains the most challenging area for analysis, although there are some encouraging signs that fewer candidates this series seemed to omit this area altogether. Some less able candidates had gaps in their knowledge and understanding of editing terminology, for example editing transitions were often identified as ‘switched’ or ‘flicked’ or ‘choppy editing’.
Advice offered to centres is keep working on editing as a micro aspect examined for question one and focus on how meaning is constructed through shot sequencing and what is being represented by the edited TV drama extract. 

Doc Martin - Examiner's Report (mock feedback)

1. This is a great resource compiling some responses from Summer 2013 on the Doc Martin extract.

Go to page 12 to see a Level 4 / Grade A answer.

2. Detailed notes from the Examiner's Report: