Critical perspectives

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  • 1. 1. Iconic signs and codes are created to represent the thing itself so that an image of a mafia gangster looks like, or signifies, amafia gangster.Iconic codes also work to create extra meaning so that when we see an image of a gangster we associate it with meanings oflawlessness, of a person involved in drug dealing, a dangerous person who will kill, and who our culture identifies as a definite‘baddie’.2. Indexical signs are different. They work by indirectly suggesting a meaning by prodding our existing knowledge andunderstanding.3. Symbolic codes act as signifiers of meaning which are not remotely the same as what they actually look like (what theydenote).Often in a film the bad guy wears all black, and this is to symbolise evil.An all black outfit may suggest ‘cool’ too. Both meanings have nothing intrinsically to do with the clothes themselves.In comedy sketches a burglar may wear a striped shirt, a mask, and carry a bag marked swag – we all know that this costumesymbolises a comic burglar – it works as a short hand for the audience– but why the striped shirt symbolises a burglar is aninteresting question.Theorists in Semiology tell us that the meaning a code communicates is always culturally determined. This means that welearn codes and symbols as we grow up according to our society and culture.Well known buildings can connotate much more than the image of a large building. Go through your trailer and consider all the use of iconography in your work seperate them under the following heading: Iconic signs and codes Indexical signs Symbolic codes
  • 2. This seems to have come along way from film iconography but, if you think about it, it is all very similar. Think of any film that youenjoyed - the characters, the costumes, the settings, the objects, the way the film is shot, the use of lighting, the selection of shots– big close ups, or a lot of of wide shots, the way the film is edited, the use of music ( where would the film Breakfast at Tiffanysbe without the song Moon River) all these things go towards the iconography of the film.It’s really fun working out how all the signs and symbols work to create a rich cinematic experience.
  • 3. Semiotics TerminologyAnchorageThe fixing of a set of meanings, often found in a photograph or advert, usually through captions or other written textArbitrary SignWhere the signifier has no connection to the signified e.g. Snow and ChristmasCodesA system of signs, languages or symbols that allow audiences to decode meaning e.g. Technical and Symbolic codes orNarrative codesContent AnalysisA way of decoding meaning by breaking down and studying the different elements of media textsConventionsThe expected format of a media text e.g. A Tabloid or a Broadsheet newspaper or Genre conventions in Film or TVCultureOften understood through the different system of communications produced by language/media and the arts from differentcountriesConnotationsThe different meanings produced by the sign i.e. what is signified. Remember connotation is open to interpretationDecodingThe process where meaning is deconstructed or ‘read’ by audiencesDenotationThe physical form of the sign, the signifier
  • 4. Dominant Preferred MeaningThe meaning that has been encoded into media texts and constructed by producers in the hope that this meaning only will beunderstoodEncodingThe meaning that has been ‘put in’ to a media textIconic SignWhere the signifier has a resemblance to the signified e.g. a road sign with a picture of old people onIndexical SignWhere the signifier is direct evidence of the signified e.g. Smoke and FireIntertextualityWhere media texts make reference to other media texts that it is hoped audiences will recogniseJuxtapostionImages or objects are placed next to each other to create a third or different meaningMode of AddressThe way a media text speaks to its audience e.g. Capital Radio has an upbeat mode of address through its rhetoric ofpresentation and sound levelsNegotiated ReadingMeanings of a sign which are not always agreed uponOppositional ReadingThe meaning that is decoded is the opposite of what was intended by the producer of the media text e.g. Ali G is racist (which wasnot the dominant preferred meaning)PolysemicWhere a sign is capable of producing a number of different meanings e.g. a photograph without a captionSemiotics/SemiologyThe study of the science of signs by breaking down the different elements of a media text Use these terms and apply examples from your trailer: At least one per term
  • 5. Apply Media Language and Audience theoryIntercuttingWhere there are cuts between two scenes that are happening at the same time e.g. the audience is introduced to two stories atto One of Your Productions.onceProduction Values Opening Paragraph: Outline the brief and the context,Identifies the budget of a film e.g. Donnie Darko has ‘low production values’ created a FilmHand Held Camera Campaign for a specific audience in the genre of horror. Outline dems/psyAllows audiences toaudience.character and deconstruct realism of a specific identify withTracking ShotReflects the steady movement of the camera along tracks, often following character movement Paragraph 1: Introduce textual Analysis and treatment of your film trailer.Two Shot REMEMBER YOU DIDNT MAKE A SHORT FILM YOU MADE AA shot of two characters framed opposite each other to imply a relationship TRAILER. Highlight the purpose and intention of your media product (theHigh Key To create anticipation and excitement to watch the film for the trailer). LightingOverall illumination i.e. brightly lit. often used in glossy big budget Hollywood Films intended audience.Low Key LightingOften used in Independent films to encode realism Paragraph 2: Begin textual analysis. Highlight the relationship between the text and the audience: Repetition/Variation: How you used genre conventions and enigma codes Genre Marketing: How have use used conventions of genre (including conventions of a trailer) Semiology: How you have used sign and symbols to have an effect on the audience, what is that effect? Uses and Gratifications theory: in relation to how the text is used by the audience. Paragraph 3: Evaluate to what extent you feel understanding of media language has had an effect on your final product.
  • 6. Moving Image Terminology + SemioticsUse these terms to record examples of where you have applied them (where you can see them) in your production. Somewill bemore relevant than others. For example, Semiotics/Semiology is the study of signs and will be apparent in all yourproductions butyou won;t be able to find an example of itSemiotics/SemiologyThe study of signs that help us to deconstruct Media TextsSignifier/DenotationThe physical form of the sign, without deeper meaningSignified/ConnotationMeaning associated with the relationship between signifier and signified. Connotation is open to interpretationMythical ConnotationMeaning which is subjective interpretation, yet untrueAnchored MeaningA Media Text has a reinforced meaning, e.g. in AdvertisingPolysemicMany meanings e.g. a photograph has many connotations without the addition of text
  • 7. EncodingWhere meaning is put into a Media TextDecodingWhere meaning is deconstructed by the target audienceDominant Preferred MeaningThe meaning that the producer of the media text wishes the audience to deconstructOppositional ReadingWhere the audience deconstruct the opposite of what is intendedNegotiated ReadingThe sub-conscious meaning that is formed between the relationship with producer and target audienceTechnical CodesConstructed codes e.g. Camera angle, types of shot, types of edit, type of lens, SFX, Sound, Framing, FocusSymbolic CodesCultural Representations – in film the mise en scene can be described as symbolic codes ie they ‘stand’ for something
  • 8. Mise en SceneThe Mise en Scene comprises – setting, objects and props, body language, pose and posture, gaze or ‘the look’, lighting andcolour – everything in the shotNarrative EnigmaLimit audience understanding to ensure 100% concentration and engagement with the narrativeSound BridgesA piece of music is carried across two different scenes to connect the narrativeNon-diegetic soundSound added during the process of post production e.g. musicTiltUp and down camera movementPanLeft to right/right to leftStar MarketingWhere a film is marketed to audiences primarily on the status of the A’ List celebrity
  • 9. Genre MarketingWhere a film is marketed to fans of the genre e.g. Sci FiEstablishing ShotIdentifies setting and often introduces the central protagonistsFast paced editingQuick cuts, often to increase tension and anxiety in the audience e.g. Action FilmsIntercuttingWhere there are cuts between two scenes that are happening at the same timee.g. the audience is introduced to two stories at onceProduction ValuesIdentifies the budget of a film e.g. Donnie Darko has ‘low production values’Hand Held CameraAllows audiences to identify with character and deconstruct realism
  • 10. High Key LightingOverall illumination i.e. brightly lit. often used in glossy big budget Hollywood FilmsLow Key LightingOften used in Independent films to encode realism
  • 11. 1(b) Apply theories of narrative to one of your coursework productions. [25]Candidates will need to choose one production from either Foundation Portfolioor Advanced Portfolio.Explanation / analysis / argumentUse of examplesUse of terminologyExaminers are reminded that candidates are asked to relate a media production to atheoretical concept and they are at liberty to either apply the concept to their productionor explain how the concept is not useful in relation to their production.1 x Overall grade with a sum up commentfrom the mark scheme2 x Positive comments1 x Target to improve
  • 12. Critical PerspectivesTo understand Q1ATo research different aspects of the skills progression from AS-A2
  • 13. Hardware A2 Digital Photography:Hardware AS Cannon SLR 500, changeable lenses,Digital Photography: extra lighting equipment, features thatStandard megapixle, standard built in allowed for change in aperture, focuslense: Changed shot size to create and depth of field. Lighting becameimages. Aim to create an image for an expressive at A2.artist, Hard lighting to express artist. Digital Filming:What examples do I have that show I Cannon SLR 500, changeable lenses,have used this skill? Refer to AS extra lighting equipment, features thatproduction: allowed for change in aperture, focusFront cover: Composition of main and depth of field.images, consideration of lighting. Sound recorders: Used to record sound and dialogue alongside filming, allowing for moreDigital Filming: professional look.Used filp camera in Prelim Task, toapply conventions of continuity editing. What examples do I have that show IPoint and click have used this skill at A2:What examples do I have that show I We shot in a derelict basement and had tohave used this skill? Refer to AS pay consideration to the lack of light andproduction: create our own lighting effects to expressThe meeting the horro within the scene. For exmaple, to create the isolated image of our anatagonist Grace we....Mac Computers:Organise and file work allowing you tobe creative. Convergence Mac Computers:
  • 14. 0
  • 15. A2 Software Photoshop:AS CeltixSoftwarePhotoshop: Imovie: Shot insertion, manipulating lighting, hue and saturation, speed of the shots, sound layering and ducking, titling became moreImovie Previous version: competentUploading, Spitting and trimming,some use of transitions and sound- Use of Examples: Creating horroreffects. Use of examples to create effects that express genre,the effect of continuity editing, Heightening of awareness andmainly use of shot reverse shot anticipation through pace and tempo and titlingGarage Band Garage Band
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  • 17. Openeing Paragraph:Why are codes and conventions important? Outline balance between repetition variation. Link toAudience. In this essay I will highlight the importance of understanding both conventions of Genre andmedium specific ones. Moreover, I will express range of examples across the AS/A2 course to underlythe significance my research and how it was applied to my media products.Paragraph 2:For my AS coursework we were given the brief to....This involved exploring codes and conventions ofmagazine layout and design as well as the genre codes and conventions to specific music types, in mycase......2 examples of media that influenced your layout and design2 examples of media that influenced your choice of genreHow have this research been applied: Adhered or Challenged: Link back to R&V argument andexplain how this has been used to create a successful media product for an intended audience
  • 18. Paragraph 3:For my A2 coursework we were given the brief to....This involved exploring codes andconventions of film campigns as well as the genre codes and conventions to specificmusic types, in my case......2 examples of media that influenced your layout and design2 examples of media that influenced your choice of genreHow have this research been applied: Adhered or Challenged: Link back to R&Vargument and explain how this has been used to create a successful media product foran intended audience.Leading Paragraph:What was the difference between AS and A2 on the way existing media productsinfluenced your production:Mainly adhereing to convention at AS, challenging convention at A2. For example...Breadth of Research was much wider at A2 which might account for the creativity andvariation in your trailers. For example....Independent learning through research and planning: At A2 you became a lot moreconfident through the use of digital technology.Group based division of labour allowed for much more research. For example, (showhow the research was applied).
  • 19. Critical PerspectivesAims:To Understand the requirements for the critical perspectives examTo begin preparing for the summer examinationTo research key theory as applicable to the exam
  • 20. Level 1 (0-9 marks)Candidates at this level attempt to relate the production to the basic concept of narrative, with limited clarity. The account may be incomplete orbe only partly convincing.Very few, if any, examples are offered from the chosen production.The answer offers minimal use of relevant basic conceptual terms.Some simple ideas have been expressed. There will be some errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar which will be noticeable andintrusive. Writing may also lack legibility.Level 2 (10-15 marks)Candidates offer a mainly descriptive, basic account of how their production can be understood in the basic theoretical context of narrative.A narrow range of examples are described, of which some are relevant.The answer makes basic use of relevant conceptual terms.Some simple ideas have been expressed in an appropriate context. There are likely to be some errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar ofwhich some may be noticeable and intrusive.Level 3 (16-20 marks)Candidates demonstrate the ability to relate their own creative outcomes to some ideas about narrative drawn from relevant media theory.Some relevant and convincing examples from the production are offered and these are handled proficiently.The answer makes proficient use of relevant conceptual language. Level 4 (21-25 marks) Candidates demonstrate a clear understanding of different theories of narrative and associated media theory and can relate concepts articulately to the production outcome, describing specific elements in relation to theoretical ideas about how media texts are structured to tell stories. Candidates offer a broad range of specific, relevant, interesting and clear examples of § how their product can be understood in relation to relevant theories of narrative. The use of conceptual language is excellent. Complex issues have been expressed clearly and fluently using a style of writing appropriate to the complex subject matter. Sentences and paragraphs, consistently relevant, have been well structured, using appropriate technical terminology. There may be few, if any, errors of spelling, punctuation and grammar. Section A total – 50 marks.
  • 21. David Buckingham studied 8-12 year olds undertaking this experiment. He found that “ genre was being used as an unspokenrationale for moving from one topic to the next. Thus, discussion of one comedy programme was more likely to be followed bydiscussion of another comedy programme, rather than of news or soap opera.” ( Buckingham 1993: 139 )Discuss how it is only by understanding the conventions of the genre, knowing its generic feature of leading the audiencethrough various red-herrings until the real villain is revealed at the end, that they understand how to read this murder/mystery text.This supports Steve Neale’s way of defining genres as ‘a set of expectations’ (Neale 1980: 51 ). So here, a competent reader ofthe genre of murder/mystery understands that the first suspect is unlikely to be the villain and expects to have to wait until the endbefore the actual villain is revealed.These examples all support the ideas of John Hartley (Key Concepts in Cultural Communications and Cultural StudiesO’Sullivan et al. 1994, 128.) when he comments that genres are “agents of ideological closure” which limit the potentialmeaning of a given text. He sees genre expectations as restricting the potential for any unexpected developments. By placingthe text in a particular genre the situations which can be explored are limited to the conventions of that genre.Activity: Discuss how far you have applied Hartley’s theory during the above tasks, thinking about how closely each of the textsyou studied followed your generic expectations of them, and how difficult it was in the activity where you “ changed” the genericconventions mid-way through to produce something that was plausible.
  • 22. Apply the Theory of Narrative to one of your coursework productions 25 marksFor this essay you will need to discuss your A2 film campaign in relation to narrative theory. Aim todiscuss how the theories apply to your production work.For guidance on how it has been done before visit:http://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-a-level-gce-media-studies-h140-h540/Go to support materials and download exemplar answersThis work is due in a week
  • 23. He also concluded that all the characters could be resolved into 8 broad character types in the 100 tales he analyzed: 1. The villain — struggles against the hero. 2. The dispatcher —character who makes the lack known and sends the hero off. 3. The (magical) helper — helps the hero in the quest. 4. The princess or prize — the hero deserves her throughout the story but is unable to marry her because of anunfair evil, usually because of the villain. the heros journey is often ended when he marries the princess, therebybeating the villain. 5. Her father — gives the task to the hero, identifies the false hero, marries the hero, often sought for during thenarrative. Propp noted that functionally, the princess and the father can not be clearly distinguished. 6. The donor —prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object. 7. The hero or victim/seeker hero — reacts to the donor, weds the princess. 8. False hero — takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess. [4
  • 24. However, if every text only ever slavishly followed the conventions of its genre, then audiences would become bored with them.So in reality what happens is that producers understand that audience pleasure is derived from preserving many of the acceptedgeneric conventions, whilst still providing audiences what Steve Neale (Genre 1980) terms “repetition and difference”.The familiar elements of a genre gives audiences security, but products in genres cannot become too predicable; there needs tobe some element of development or change to keep audiences interested.
  • 25. Apply one of your coursework productions to the concept of representation(remember to use media language in response to the question)