Media & Film Studies
BTEC in Media
Heath Park Business & Enterprise College
The Media and Film Department
What is studying the Media about?
From the internet to television, from cinema to video games, much of our
waking lives is dominated by consuming, talking about and using the media.
This course seeks to broaden and deepen the student’s understanding of the
media and the role that it plays in society.
Studying Media and Film can be taken in one of two ways – the ‘A’ level route
and the vocational route.
The ‘A’ Level Route
The department offers AS level Film Studies. There is a separate handbook
for those starting the course in September. If you require any further
information then please go and see Mr. Fletcher who will only be too happy to
discuss an outline of the course requirements.
The Vocational Route
The BTEC in Media Production can be taken as either a double award or
single award. It is designed to enable young people to develop creativity and
confidence and the ability to think, question, explore, create and
communicate. You will learn about the media industries, explore your own
creativity, develop skills in critical thinking, and learn practical skills in media
production that enable you to apply your ideas in different ways. It is a unit-
based course that will take up most of your timetable if you take the double
What will you study?
You will study and learn in a variety of ways, including individual, small group
and whole class productions, internet-based research, discussions and
contact with media professionals. Much of the time will be spent working with
others in making media products, so the course is very hands-on. You will
work on productions involving video, desktop publishing, photography, audio
mixing, computer games and possibly animation.
You may well make products for real audiences, including the possibility of
cinema screenings and internet showcases of your work.
How will you study this subject?
The course will be based here at Heath Park, however some of the production
work will take place ‘on location’ at different sites. By necessity you will have
to out of school in production teams to complete film assignments and
individually to complete photographic work.
Assessment will be based upon portfolios with tasks set and marked by the
teachers. There are no examinations. The single award is worth the
equivalent of one ‘A’ level and the double award two ‘A’ levels.
The BTEC in Media Production will develop a range of skills that will allow
you to go on to a range of specialist or more general higher-level courses,
such as degree courses in Media Studies, Film Production, Games Design or
Photography. You would also be able to progress to a creative apprenticeship
of some sort or undertake training to support future employment.
Combination with other subjects
You can choose one other subject if you do double award and two if you do
the single award.
What’s the difference between Film Studies and the BTEC in Media
• You will work in a wider range of areas
• You will be assessed though coursework and not take any exams
• You will spend a much greater proportion of your time studying media
• You will have more opportunities for work related learning with media
• Good qualifications are desirable in English, Music, ICT or Business
• An ability to respond to media texts and engage creatively with them
• An ability to discuss media text in some depth
• Be able to work independently
• A desire to work with technologies in creating practical production work
of a high standard
• A desire to work in the media or film industries
• To be punctual and attend all lessons
• You will have a dedicated area online, which we will all regularly
contribute to. All of the basic course information will be available for
you to access 24 hours a day - key dates, assessment tasks,
assessment criteria and a course outline are all available to download.
• You will be introduced to key media texts from a variety of media forms.
You will have the opportunity to develop your skills and knowledge by
learning both in and out of the classroom and by teaching each other
about different aspects of the media world.
• You will have your academic progress monitored and checked against
regular assessment tasks, initially model coursework leading to actual
coursework assessed against marking criteria, and providing you with
written feedback and targets for improvement.
• You will have your general progress assessed through the course’s
compliance with the whole school Core Assessment policy, again
against the course’s real assessment criteria.
• You will be provided with a range of multi-media resources to support
and develop your learning. You will in time contribute your own multi-
media resources to help teach each other.
• You will have both general and specific opportunities to voice your
views about the content, structure and delivery of the course and the
progress you feel you are making.
• You will attend regularly and punctually, appropriately dressed,
prepared and resourced for our lessons.
• You will meet deadlines.
• You will take responsibility for monitoring and organizing your own
learning and progress, making effective use of time and resources both
in and out of school.
• You will work with your peers in an academically productive way,
courteously and openly, in a manner appropriate to your senior position
within the school.
BTEC in Media Production Level 3 – Course Overview
The BTEC in Media Production offers students an in-depth look at the world of
media production. It allows learners the opportunity to gain an understanding
of employment opportunities, job requirements and working practices.
Furthermore it gives students to start building the technical skills and
knowledge relevant to a sector or sectors of the media industry.
The course being offered at Heath Park is the Edexcel BTEC in Media
To achieve this course students are required to study a total of 6 units (4
lessons a week) for the BTEC National Award or 12 units (8 lessons a week)
for the BTEC National Certificate.
The units are made up as follows:
1. Research Techniques for the Media Industries
2. Pre-Production Techniques for the Media Industries
3. Understanding the Television & Film Industries
4. Film & Video Editing Techniques
5. Single Camera Techniques
6. Music Video Production
Students on the double award will replace unit 3 – Understanding the
Television and Film Industries with Understanding the Media Industries
They will also study these extra six units:
1. Production Management Project
2. Working to a Brief in the Media Industries
3. Television & Video Studies
4. Film Studies
5. Page Layout and Design
6. Web Authoring
All units are internally assessed by the teachers and externally moderated by
a visiting moderator. There are no external tests or exams, and ongoing
assessments and moderation will take place throughout the course.
All units are individually graded as PASS, MERIT or DISTINCTION. The
overall certificate is also graded in the same way. For the National Award the
‘A’ Level equivalent in UCAS points are: PASS – ‘E’ Grade (40 points); MERIT
– ‘C’ Grade (80 points); and DISTINCTION – ‘A’ Grade (120) points. For the
National Certificate double the points shown above.
You will need to complete a piece of research based work that will directly
lead into the beginning of your course in September.
1. Research a film of your choice (a recent one may well help). You will
need to demonstrate your research by finding out the following:
(a) What company (or companies) made the film and how much it
cost to make?
(b) How much it made at the box-office?
(c) What methods of marketing were used in the distribution of the
(d) What various people thought about the film?
2. Research a television programme of your choice. You will need to
demonstrate your research by finding out the following:
(a) What company makes the television programme?
(b) How popular the programme is?
(c) What various people think about the programme?
We will consider the following points when marking your research:
• The way that your results are presented: These can be done
in any way that you see fit – such as written and typed, via a
blog or a podcast. Please be as imaginative as you want to
• The detail in which you discuss the topics above: Be thorough
in your research and don’t just accept the easiest answer. For
instance with 1(d) above think about the variety of people that
might have watched the film. People you know, people online,
people in newspapers or magazines, people in different
countries or people of different ages are a few ways of
splitting ‘people’ into different categories. The limits are very
much up to you. The more thorough you are the better marks
you will get.
• Referencing you research: All good researchers will leave an
accurate ‘breadcrumb’ trail of where they have been. Good
referencing is a bit of a chore but it is absolutely vital if your
research is going to mean something to anybody reading your
3. Summary of Year 1 for BTEC Media Production
Term National Award/ National Certificate National Certificate
Unit 1 Unit 49
Research Techniques Page Layout & Design
Unit 21 Unit 3
Single Camera Techniques Production Management Project
Film & Video Editing Techniques
Understanding the TV and Film Unit 57
Industries Web Authoring
Understanding the Media Industries
(For Nat Cert students only)
Summary of Year 2 for BTEC Media Production
Term National Award/ National Certificate National Certificate
Unit 2 Unit 4
Pre-Production Techniques Working to a Brief
Unit 28 Unit 24
Music Video Production Television & Video Studies
↓ Unit 25
Key Subject Terminology
A thing created by human hand. In the media field, this term can refer variously to a radio
broadcast, an advertisement, a page of a newspaper etc.
The unknown individuals and groups to who mass communications are addressed. Audience
in culture is defined as an ‘individual or a group of persons’. Audience is an umbrella
designation which identifies members' socioeconomic, class, lifestyles, motivation, disposable
income, fantasies etc. and that knowledge enables institutions and producers to "target" their
One approach to film theory is to consider the film as a work of art created by and
representing the viewpoint of its director, who is then seen as its author or auteur. Auteur
theory is applied to directors with a very distinctive style e.g. Hitchcock
This concept refers to the textual strategies by means of which a viewer or reader is
encouraged to make sense of a factual or fictional narrative in a particular way, or according
to a particular ideological framework.
A code is a system of signs. (There are also codes of behaviour such as the rules of cricket,
or dining-room etiquette). Codes are signifying systems and are therefore ways of
communicating meaning. All codes must have a systematic and a paradigmatic dimension.
Connotation is the meaning of the sign interpreted subjectively by the reader and is
dependent on the reader's own values and culture.
The word means a generally shared agreement.
CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY
In media studies, this idea emphasizes that there is no single 'reality', rather a range of
definitions of 'reality'. Reality as presented by the mass media is therefore not a picture or
reflection of 'reality', but, rather, a constructed interpretation of reality for just about every
aspect of reality seems to be considered a social construction.
Used extensively in text analysis with its simple meaning - text must be read or interpreted
under certain conditions, or in a certain context.
A textual or social practice shared by members of a culture or subculture. Conventions are
usually understated and taken for granted. They derive from the shared experiences of those
who adopt them and create shared expectations. In media studies, the term convention is
applied to those typifications of a specific genre which differentiate it from others. For
example, in a Western film, convention dictates that 'baddies' wear black hats, gamblers wear
bootlace ties and women are either virginal school teacher or saloon bar whores.
The term culture can be used to characterise a society as a whole, or the particular life-style
of a social group within the social structure. In the broader sense, it is used to refer to the
pattern of ideas, beliefs, values and knowledge that the members of a social group or society
have about themselves and their social and physical environments.
Deconstructing a text involves identifying the levels of meaning which are either implicit or
repressed within its overt structure but which nevertheless provide a key to its operation as a
This is the inherent, obvious meaning of the sign, simply what it depicts. This meaning is
objective and refers to the sign itself.
Feminism is often viewed simplistically as a version of female suffrage - a perpetual struggle
by women to obtain equal rights in social, political and economic spheres.
A transformation of the notion of looking or ways of seeing, the concept of the gaze suggests
that the activity of looking is structured by conventions of representation. This implies that
when we look, for example, at the countryside, what we see is governed by the convention of
landscape, itself rooted in the historical convention of historical art and architecture which is
informed by the notion of perspective.
Feminist writers, notably Laura Mulvey and Rosalind Coward, have suggested that looking
involves power; that typically, this way of looking is invested in the male gaze which refers
specifically to the look of men at women; and that in this convention, men have power over
women. Men objectify women and women take on the identity of objectification by making
themselves up, by constructing themselves as an object for the male gaze. In Mulvey's
argument, this male gaze takes two main forms, voyeurism and fetishism.
Literally a type - of film, novel, broadcast etc. that follows recognized conventions. For
example, the Western, the detective novel. Genres may overlap, examples being, the musical
HEGEMONY or DOMINATE IDEOLOGY
Traditionally this describes the predominance of one political power over another, of one
social class over another. The effect that the beliefs and 'world-view' of the dominant class
are incorporated into the ideas and beliefs of the traditional majority therefore lead to ideology
being imposed through coercion by the dominant group.
Iconography is concerned with the use of visual images. Although the term can be applied to
many fields, it is commonly employed to refer to sets of visual images found in films. Genre
films often display certain kinds of visual images which are recognizable and trigger the
reader's expectations. These can be associated with the mise-en-scene - the saloon fight or
the stagecoach in westerns.
Ideology is concerned with the influence that ideas have on social organization. It refers to
patterns of ideas, both factual and evaluative, which purport to explain and legitimise the
social structure and culture of a particular social group or society, and which serve to justify
social actions which are in accordance with those patterns of ideas. They are usually seen as
centring on political or religious Issues.
An index sign has a direct relationship to that which it represents. For example, a
thermometer is an index of temperature.
A social institution is an aspect of social life in which distinctive values and interests, centring
upon large and important social concerns, are associated with distinctive patterns of social
interaction. The social institutions distinguished within a society usually consist of:
the family and kinship political institutions economic institutions religious
institutions educational institutions (i.e.. the process of schooling) social control institutions
(judicial, policing, military)
This is an idea that stems from, though standing in contradiction to, the notion that great
works of art and literature are discrete entities, owing their greatness to their singularity.
Intertextuality suggests that within popular culture, meanings circulate through different texts,
each feeding off the other. Texts exist in a relationship to one another in a process of
Literally - beyond language, but usually means a language about language. In its wider sense
it covers all forms of textual analysis.
A term used in film and television which refers to the process of arrangement on the set and
therefore to what appears on the screen in a single shot, as opposed to montage which is
concerned with the ordering of different shots.
Barthes suggested that myth is a form of speech, by which he means that it is a discourse
and has form rather than content. He develops this notion by suggesting that myth is a
second order signifying system. That is, when a sign becomes the signifier-part of a new sign
(a second-order sign), then a myth (a second order meaning) is constructed.
A narrative is a sequence of events that constructs a story. It also refers to the means or act
of telling a story. Film and television texts can be analysed as narratives in the same fashion
as literary or other texts and this is a major component of media theory.
NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION (NVC)
Communication between people by means other than speech. NVC derives from the following
major sources : Eye contact, mouth (e.g.. smiling or grimacing), posture, gesture, orientation
(of the body to the addressee), distance (from the addressee), smell (including perfume), skin
(blushing etc.), hair and clothes. There are many cultural determinants and variations in NVC.
No simple predictions about non-verbal behaviour can be made, since variables such as,
types of relationships, impact on the individuals understanding.
A yearning for the past or some past condition or state which can be sentimental or
excessive, going beyond the desire for a 'return home'.
This is the structural, systematic and historical domination and exploitation of women. The
concept is widely and generally used to refer to the total social organization of gender
relations, institutions and social processes which produce and reproduce women as socially,
politically and sexually subordinate to men.
Popular culture is an inter-disciplinary subject which has a great deal in common with media
studies but extends that field to cover not only cultural artefacts, but also social institutions,
leisure activities and lived experiences.
The deliberate attempt by some individual or group to form, control or alter the attitudes of
others by the use of communication with the intention.
REPRESENTATION or Re - presentation
Rather than being a simple mirror image of a real thing, a representation, in Communication
Studies, is seen as constituting an object of enquiry in itself - with its own internal structure
This is the name for the study of signs and sign systems. Semiology suggests that all cultural
artefacts can be regarded as signs or sign systems.
A sign comprises two components - a signifier and a signified.
The signifier is the actual 'thing' that conveys the meaning, the signified is the meaning
conveyed. For example, if the signifier is a lamb in a field, the signified is springtime, youth,
freshness, a new beginning.
A fixed conventionalised representation of a type (usually a type of person) often to the point
of caricature, and is held in consensus by the dominate ideology.
Subcultures are subdivisions within wider cultures. They correspond with the particular
positions of certain social groups.
Used in general terms to mean an object that represents or stands for something else. It has
a more specific usage in semiotics.
Traditionally referring to the printed word, the term is extended in the media sense to include
any media artefact.
USES & GRATIFICATIONS
Developed from the Effects Tradition, it inverts effects research by asking not what the media
does to people, but what people do to the media, what uses they make of it and what
gratification they expect and get from it.