Analysis: Preparing for MS1Here is a list of terms and ideas you need to be familiar with for MS1.Check off those you are already familiar with and go away and researchthose you have forgotten/ don’t know:Visual Codes Audio Codes Technical CodesMise-en-Scene Diegetic and Non- Shots defined by Diegetic Sound distance – ECU, CU, MCU,Setting/ Location MS, MLS, LS, ELS, SoundtrackCostume Shots defined by angle – Theme MusicProps/ Accessories low-anlge, high-angle, Incidental Music eyeline angle, cantedColour Palette (colourdescriptors e.g. pastels/ (how to describe music angle, aerial, bird’s eye,neons, earthy tones…) by referring to its mood, worm’s eye, wide angle instruments or pace) Shots defined byCharacter Movement andPositioning within the Ambient sound/ atmos or movement – pan, tilt,frame wildtrack track, crane, zoom, reverse zoom, handheldFacial Expression and Specific Sound Effects –Body language especially if amplified/ Specific types of shot or enhanced shot sequence–Any use of captions or establishing shot, mastergraphic devices Dialogue – including type shot, two-shot, point of of voice/ accent/ tone / view shot, reaction shot, style of delivery shot-reverse-shot, over Voiceover the shoulder shot Mode of Address – Framing and composition direct or indirect; formal – rule of thirds, use of or informal foreground and background Lighting – High key or low-key; side lighting, back lighting; artificial or natural looking light, use of colour filters Editing Styles – continuity or invisible editing; montage; cross-
cutting; action matches, graphic matches; sound bridges Editing Pace – long or slow takes Editing Transitions – cut, fade in/ out, dissolve, wipe, jump cut Editing Effects – slow- motion/ speeding up/ time lapse; creating composites – layering images on top of each other Special effects – animation; back projection; captions; chromakey; CGI; graphics, use of modles, pyrotechnics (explosions); stuntsAs well as these three basic categories, you may also be asked to commenton Narrative or Genre.NARRATIVE:Remember that NARRATIVE is not just what happens but the order and mannerin which the events are revealed to us – it’s as much about how and in whatorder, as in what actually happens.You need to be able to analyse NARRATIVE in terms of basic theories. Can youfill in the grid below?
What are the key terms/ What does itTheory components you need to describe? remember?TODOROVBARTHESPROPPLEVI-STRAUSSWe will now look at a trailer for a film – see if you can analyse the narrativecodes being used and comment on the producers’ choices here:Battleshiptrailer narrative analysis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpoabtbEJOI
Many films have a single, unified narrative but some programmes, like soaps,have a multiple narrative – where there are lots of separate storylines going on,that may or may not coalesce later on, which the main story often cross-cutsbetween.Narrative devices can be used to help tell the story – look for the presence ofVOICEOVERS (to create clarity/ closeness to a character); CAPTIONS(especially useful for settling time and place); FLASHBACKS (to fill in importantinformation from the past) and FLASHFORWARDS (useful to intrigue us aboutwhat will happen eventually)Is it a FIRST-PERSON or THIRD-PERSON NARRATIVE? Are we distancedfrom the characters or brought close to them?Think about how we, the audience, are POSITIONED within the narrative – arewe a neutral observer (able to see all – omnipotent and god-like), linked to acharacter’s point-of-view (limited but encourages bonding?) Are we encouragedto identify more with a particular character or to see some characters aspositive and others as undesirable?In the exam you need to comment on the narrative techniques and structuresbut must also comment on what they add to the text – why they have beenchosen above other means of telling the story.GENRE:GENRE refers to a type of media text. Every media text belongs to at least onegenre. Some will have a main and a secondary genre.For example, a film trailer will firstly belong to the genre of film trailers (it willshare features with other film trailers) but it will also have a film genre as asecondary genre e.g. it may well show a film that belongs to the thriller genre.Genres also apply to non-fiction texts – news programmes, soaps anddocumentaries are also genres of media text that share common features.Some products will be HYBRIDS – they will mix a number of genres together –The X-Factor is a hybrid of a quiz show, a soap and a documentary; The Hunger
Games is a mix of the action thriller, reality TV show, romance and teen rites-of-passage genres.Why are hybrids popular with producers?In the exam, you will need to identify what genre(s), your text belongs to, ifthis is one of the task’s emphases.You will then need to consider how it uses the CODES AND CONVENTIONS ofthose particular genres - the features that we expect to find in this type oftext. This can be made up of:CHARACTERS we expect to encounterNARRATIVE – the type of story or sequences we often associate with thegenreSETTINGS - the places and times we usually find in these genresPROPS/ ICONS – typical objects we link to this genreMEDIA LANGUAGE – the sort of media language we often encounter in thisgenre – the low threatening music and low-key lighting of horror; the brightly litstudio sets and canned laughter of a quiz showThese features tend to create a formula for each genre, a formula establishedthrough repetition that audiences have become very familiar with and expect tofind. This sense of audience expectation is important, as we often havefavourite genres which we pick, based on what enjoy and expect to see in a filmor programme of that genre and audience pleasure will link to delivering what weexpect.In the exam, there are two things to focus on:- what features do you expect these genres to have and which of these is inevidence in the texts in front of you? Think in terms of the elements identifiedin the box above. Comment on WHY it is important to include a good number ofthe expected codes and conventions.
- anything that is unexpected or different… most genre texts will innovate alittle bit and offer something new. Comment on WHY this is done and why youthink these specific differences will appeal to the audience…Look at the list of possible material you could be given and ensure you have agood idea of the key codes and conventions for each: a TV advert, a radio sequence, a film clip (any genre), a TV extract (could be drama, news, documentary…..), a music video, a computer game extract or trailer.Obviously, with film and TV, this is more complex, as you need really to know thespecific genre of film or programme and there are many of these. Ensure youcan tackle the key film genres (action-adventure; horror; romantic comedy; teenmovie; sci-fi; western; war; thriller….); fictional TV genres (police procedural;medical drama; soap opera; sitcom; serious drama….); and, non-fiction TV genres(news, documentary; quiz show; talk show; magazine style-show e.g. Richard andJudy; current affairs)What are the key conventions of an Advert? (e.g. Lynx Excite – Even Angelswill Fall ad; Lynx – Unleash the Chaos advert; Pinkbomb ad or Goth Holiday adfor IrnBru)
A Music Video? (e.g. Beyonce ‘Who Rules the World (Girls); S and M by Rihanna;Love Story (Taylor Swift) – any video – you’re probably better at finding thesethan we are!)A Video Game? (e.g. Lara Croft 2011/12 trailer; new Crysis video game; LANoire trailer)A Trailer? (e.g. Battleship; The Hunger Games – any recent trailer – easilyfound on YouTube; could also look at trailers for the Olympics or big soapstorylines on TV)
A Radio Extract? (Dip into BBC radio clips – the archers on Radio 4; JeremyVine on Radio 2; sports on Radio5 Live; Asian network; Radio Lancashire…)Some ideas about radio: radio programmes can be music-based or talk-based posse radio – where the DJ is joined by other minor presenters (who may do a guest slot, the weather, the traffic etc) and indulge in banter radio can be public service (e.g. BBC) or commercial (e.g. Rock FM) – the latter are paid for by advertising and feature these prominently. Radio can be national or local Magazine format radio – a programme that features lots of different segments – Radio Four Woman’s Hour tends to have a main presenter who introduces various interviews or features and often includes a serialised book. A radio slot can also be a drama e.g. Radio Four’s The Archers is a rural soap. Other stations way well feature one-off plays. Radio stations have different audiences – make sure you know who listens to the main BBC Radio stations and what these are… An analysis has to consider SOUND above all. This includes thinking about the words used, sounds, music, as well as the narrative and genre conventions. Words include: register and address (the style of language sued and how the reader is addressed – directly or indirectly?); the use or absence of jargon – how much of an expert is the listener assumed to be?; accent;
voice tone and style of delivery?; assumed age and gender of speaker?;use of any pauses, changes in tone, pitch, volume or pitch (paralinguisticdevices) and what these signify to us. Some may use a vox pop – a quickmontage of different people’s opinionsSounds include: sound effects and what these tell us – significant meaningcarriers or background noise realism?; tunes and jingles; idents – thebrief piece of music used to signal a programme’s identity (e.g. The ChrisEvans Breakfast Show ident); non-diegetic soundtrack – how does musicconvey a sense of character to a programme or emotional mood?What can I do to prepare for the analysis part of MS1? 1. Ensure you know all the terminology and ideas for the VAT Codes, Narrative and Genre 2. Know the timings and how to use the time in the exam – have a strategy 3. Know how to write an analysis of VAT features – describe and analyse 4. Know how to write about narrative and genre – work through these sheets and others you have 5. Practice viewing three times and making notes – use any of the examples referred to above or find your own. Try and go for a range of different types of clip. You need to cover all three categories you will be asked to write about and must have enough to write for about 50 minutes. 6. Practice writing up – maybe just a few paragraphs to develop technique 7. Look over practice analyses done in class and any model answers your teacher may have provided – they will pin-point what you need to work on/ develop to get better marks. 8. If you find it hard to do the above, work with a friend – no reason you can’t revise with others