G235: CriticalPerspectives in MediaTheoretical Evaluationof Production 1(b) Media Language
Aims/Objectives• To reinforce the basic media language that create meaning in texts.• To have a basic understanding of how to evaluate your coursework against the media language that you used.
Importance of media language• Every medium has its own ‘language’ – or combination of languages – that it uses to communicate meaning. Television, for example, uses verbal and written language as well as the languages of moving images and sound.• We call these ‘languages’ because they use familiar codes and conventions that are generally understood.
• Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules. Each form of communication-- whether newspapers, TV game shows or horror movies-- has its own creative language: scary music heightens fear, camera close- ups convey intimacy, big headlines signal significance.
• Understanding the grammar, syntax and metaphor system of media language, especially the language of sounds and visuals which can reach beyond the rational to our deepest emotional core, increases our appreciation and enjoyment of media experiences as well as helps us to be less susceptible to manipulation.• E.g the example from Men’s Health is so transparent once you know how to read a media text (and you can’t ‘grow’ muscle....)
Denotation, Connotation and Myth• In semiotics, denotation and connotation are terms describing the relationship between the signifier and its signified.
• Barthes (1977) argued that in film connotation can be (analytically) distinguished from denotation.• As John Fiske (1982) puts it “denotation is what is filmed, connotation is how it is filmed”.
Making connections? • Evaluating media language is an evaluation of all micro elements and how they have created meaning to inform us about genre, narrative, representations/ ideology, targeting of audiences. • This requires us to use semiotic terminology to explain our encoding of elements and codes and conventions within our texts. • We must also remember to discuss the preferred meaning (Hall, 1980) that we wanted our audience to DECODE.
Micro Elements: Mise-en-Scene• Mise-en-scène constitutes the key aspect of the pre-production phase of the film and can be taken to include all aspects of production design and Cinematography.• Mise-en-Scene creates the diegetic world - the fictional space and time implied by the narrative, i.e. the world in which the story takes place.
Aspects of Mise-en-Scene – video and print style1. Location - settings, set-design and iconography2. Character – Costume, Properties and Make Up, Actors and Gesture• Cinematography - Lighting and Colour• Layout and Page Design – colour, juxtaposition of elements.
Micro Elements: Camerawork• There are Four aspects to camerawork that you need to understand:• Shot Types – particularly relevant for print.• Camera Composition• Camera Movement• Camera Angles
Link to Propp (1928)• The villain — struggles against the hero.• The donor — prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object.• The (magical) helper — helps the hero in the quest.• The princess and her father — gives the task to the hero, identifies the false hero, marries the hero, often sought for during the narrative. Propp noted that functionally, the princess and the father can not be clearly distinguished.• The dispatcher — character who makes the lack known and sends the hero off.• The hero or victim/seeker hero — reacts to the donor, weds the princess.• [False hero] — takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess.
Micro Elements: Editing• Editing is a post-production technique in which the footage shot during production is cut up and reassembled in such a way as to tell the story.• TV shows are not filmed in chronological order.• They are filmed out of order in short sequences, called ‘takes’, which then have to be assembled in the correct order.
• Long Takes: takes of an unusually long length.• Short Takes: takes that only last for a few seconds.• There are two basic types of editing:5.Continuity and…6.Non-Continuity.
Continuity• Establishing/Re-establishing Shot• Transitions.• The 180° Line Rule.• Action Match.• Crosscutting.• Cutaway.• Insert Shots.• Shot-Reverse Shot Structures.• Eyeline Match.
The Structure Of The Classic Narrative System• According to Pam Cook (1985), the standard Hollywood narrative structure should have:• Linearity of cause and effect within an overall trajectory of enigma resolution.• A high degree of narrative closure.• A fictional world that contains verisimilitude especially governed by spatial and temporal coherence.
Micro Elements: Sound• Sound is layered on tracks in order to create meaning. On Premiere you used multiple audio tracks (one for dialogue and music). You can have sound bridges and sound motifs to enhance meaning.• There are 2 types of sound:• Diegetic• Non-diegetic sound
• Diegetic Sound, which refers to sound whose origin is to be located in the story world such as the voices of the actors, sound effects etc.• Non-diegetic Sound, which refers to sounds not explained in terms of any perceived source within the story world, such as mood music, or ‘voice-of- God’ type commentaries.• Music added to enhance the show’s action is the most common form of non-diegetic sound.
• Diegetic sound includes:• Dialogue• Sound Effects and in some cases…• Music
• Non- Diegetic sound includes:3. Incidental Music4. Voice Over/Narration5. Non-diegetic sound effects (which can be asynchronous)
Think of this question as the first part of your revision...• “Media is communication”. Discuss the ways that you have used media language to create meanings in one of your media products.