Example answer for Question 1b Critical Perspectives: Section A
• Q: Analyse one of your productions in relation to media language• Intro: Define the concept. Explain what the production is, be detailed.• Para 2: What are some of the key features of the concept you are being asked to apply? Maybe outline two of the theories/ideas of particular theorists, be brief.• Para 3: Start to apply the concept, making close reference to your production to show how the concept is evident in it.• Para 4: Try to show ways in which ideas work in relation to your production and also ways in which those ideas might not apply/could be challenged.• Para 5: Conclusion
Example• Example is former student video - R1-17 I Dont Want To See You (2008/09)• http://youtu.be/rTV-hp4dpOg
• Media Language encompasses the technical microelements used to create meaning specific to the macro-elements of characters, narrative and genre. It can also include the generic conventions and visual signs and symbols, any aspect that has, through repetition, come to act as a sort of ‘short hand’ for an audience. The production I will be analyzing is the main task for my A2 Advanced Portfolio. I created a music video for the song ‘I don’t want to see you’ by the band Camera Obscura, a Scottish indie pop group.
• Media Language is a broad term that will enable a broad brush approach to the analysis of this media text. Music videos are also a broad medium and the approach we took was a character based approach that used iconography and mise en scene to construct a particular impression of the central character, the artist. It is possible for an audience to identify the genre of this music video through the visual iconography. Many of the visual signs were used to create a nostalgic and quirky feel to the final product. It is possible to apply the theory of semiotics to the music video to get an impression of the preferred reading we were trying to construct.
• We specifically used quirky costumes to enable the viewer to identify that the artist makes indie music. The black t-bar shoes over knitted white tights, the long knitted hat, the long green scarf, there was a definite ‘vintage’ feel to many of the costumes worn by the artist, these costume details coupled with the fuzzy degraded film effect put over the top during post-production were specifically designed to communicate nostalgia, and to a certain extent childhood and innocence, to the audience. Many of the activities that the artist carries out connote childhood and more carefree times, things such as kicking up autumn leaves, playing pooh sticks, dressing up etc. These all link into the lyric ‘a woman pretending to be a girl’, Andrew Goodwin believed that most music videos followed a structured approach, one aspect of which was the relationship between lyrics and visuals. The approach my video takes is an illustrative relationship, the aforementioned lyric is the primary illustration that is explored throughout the video.
• Roland Barthes theorized that the language of signs used objects to ‘stand in’ for concepts or to infer a deeper meaning. The origami swan on the record player could signify the way in which the female character is going around in circles trying to fix her relationship. The mid shot of the artist that cuts frequently to show her wearing different hats could connote that she has a playful side or it could signifiy multiple aspects of her personality, or possibly how she is hiding behind a disguise to escape from her current difficulties. Masks are used later on in the video, when the male character is introduced he interacts with the artist while she wears a mask. In many cultures masks were used to allow people to explore aspects of their personality that were hidden, there is a long tradition of masquerade balls.
• The preferred reading of the video is that it is a representation of that time when a girl grows up and becomes a woman, it is about a loss of innocence and a yearning to return to that innocence. The use of cinematography, editing and particularly of mise en scene constructs an impression of the character as being very nostalgic for her own childhood as she sings about not wanting to see her partner again. This video uses microelements to construct a particular impression of the artist and alongside this it uses iconography, signs and the illustrative approach to visuals and lyrics to communicate a clear story to the viewer. A narrative of a woman longing for the simplicity of childhood when you played with yo-yos, made paper chains and climbed trees.
Theories used• Semiotics• Andrew Goodwin• Stuart Hall – Preferred reading• Denotation and Connotation• How microelements inform macro-elements