Analysis of All Media Forms
Audience: the people who consume a media product. Audience is also used to divide specific social
groups, by class, sex, age, race socioeconomic status etc.
Binary Opposition: opposites, for example, black and white, good and evil.
Code: a system in which allows a particular culture to communicate through the use of signs. All
codes are signifying codes and they refer to ideas, events and society and create meaning. Ie The
Highway Code which is a series of codes that we learn and then understand their meaning.
Connotation: something that is suggested by or associated with an image, word, sound, phrase etc.
For example the connotation of a dove is peace and the connotation of a rose is love.
Denotation: is the first order of meaning of a sign. It is the obvious or surface meaning of a word,
image, object etc. For example the denotation of a rose is that of a rose.
Dominant ideology: ideas set by the government and society. For example, many years ago it was
considered wrong to have children outside of marriage and this was a dominant ideology.
Gender: the social category based on behaviours thought appropriate to an individual’s sex. Sex
refers to the biological differences whereas gender refers to the social, psychological and cultural
differences between men and women. For example the masculinity of a man like and action hero or
the femininity of a female like a housewife.
Genre: a specific type of film, radio or television production. Examples of genre are action films,
horror, comedy etc.
Juxtaposition: the use of contrasting shots in order to produce a narrative structure which works
through a process of comparison.
Mediation: The process by which the media select, alter, interpret, edit or invent aspects of the world
before presenting it to the audience in the form of representations. There is an important difference
between mediated experience and one’s direct personal experience. Think about how the X-Factor
only shows you the best and worst performers.
Messages and Values: values are the cultural norms, moral principles and priorities which every
individual has learned, which give a personal and social context to the message, Both messages and
values are ideological in nature and are encoded in all media products.
Mode of Address: whether something is formal or informal. For example, a kids TV show will be
presented informally, whereas the six o’clock news will be presented formally.
Polysemic: having multiple meanings. Dependent on the context in which you see the symbol.
Different people will take a different reading based on social background, age etc.
Production Values: the degree of care taken with the preparation of a films ‘fictional environment’.
High production values indicate convincing attention to visual detail, preparation of narrative structure
and good quality of sound production. For example ‘Vogue’ magazine has high production values and
is produced on high quality paper using top model compared to ‘Take a Break’ magazine, which is
printed on cheaper quality paper and has a series of readers stories.
Preferred Meaning: the interpretation that the maker of the text expects.
Primary Audience: the most important ‘target market’ for a product. For example the primary
audience for GQ magazine is middle aged, middle class males.
Representation: the process of producing meaning. Some representation can be misrepresentations
showing a particular element of society in a negative way.
Sign: any image, sound or word that communicates meaning.
Signifier: the signifier can be a word, an image or a sound. The signifier only exists to represent the
Anaylysis of Print based media
Celebrity – person usually in an entertainment industry who is famous in their lifetime. The concept
encompasses a wide range of people, from megastars such as Madonna and Jonny Depp to those
who are well known for their brief appearance on reality television shows. The latter are often referred
to as z-list celebrities.
Cover Price - the price printed on the outside of the newspaper or magazine, usually with a bar code.
The price usually reflects the audience for the product. The higher the price the higher up the socioeconomic model the audience will be.
Cover Shot – The dominant image on the front cover of a magazine.
Headline – the main title running above any story in the print media. A headline attempts to sum up
the story in as few words as possible.
Image – normally a visual representation. In studying the media we are concerned with the range of
possible meanings encoded within the images, as they carry denotation and connotations. Images are
considered more powerful in their effects on the audience than words. For example news footage of a
train disaster will communicate the horror far more effectively than a purely verbal description.
Language – this term refers to the style of language used when addressing a particular audience,
largely depending on its age and educational level: for example the language used in The Sun is more
simple and colloquial than that used in The Daily Telegraph.
Masthead – the title of a magazine or newspaper as it appears on the front cover
Mode of Address – the manner or ‘tone of voice’, in which the media ‘speak’ to their audience. The
mode of address adopted by any individual media outlet is based on a mixture of knowledge and
assumptions about the nature of their audience. For example, journalists on The Sun may imagine
themselves addressing the typical driver of a white van. It would be assumed that this person was
working class, possibly self employed, with a set of right wing opinions. BBC 3 60 seconds news
programmes is very youthful compare that to Channel 4 news which adopts a more serious concerned
Plug – to promote something (often a media related product) magazines tend to promote the next
issue or sometimes a fashion brand or associated product this is sometimes done through a
competition of advertorial.
Primary audience/target readership – the target demographic for a media product. For example, the
primary audience for GQ magazine is middle aged, middle class males.
Sell lines/coverline – the line of the text on a magazine cover that describes some of the particular
Special issue/edition – usually an issue concentrating on a specific area of interest. For example a
football magazine might devote a single edition to the world cup.
Stereotype – simplified portrayal of a social group, often used as a quick way to establish characters
in media texts. Example: IT Technicians are often portrayed in TV comedy as socially incompetent
with a strong interest in Science Fiction.
Typeface/font – a set of letters, numbers and punctuation marks with a unified design, as used for
printing, desktop publishing, moving image captions and other such purposes. Also known as the
‘font’. Choice of typeface is an important element of design in any medium that uses lettering, since
different styles communicate different semiotic meanings.
Socio-economic model – A, B, C1, C2, D, E these grades are based upon factors such as
occupation and income. The higher the category the higher amount of disposable income. An example
of an A category would be a Lawyer who would have a large disposable income. Advertisers use
these to categorise different target audiences.
Demographic profile - a term used in marketing and broadcasting, to describe a demographic
grouping or a market segment. This typically involves age bands (as teenagers do not wish to
purchase denture fixant), social class bands (as the rich may want different products than middle and
lower classes and may be willing to pay more) and gender (partially because different physical
attributes require different hygiene and clothing products, and partially because of the male/female
Mainstream audience/media – consumers of mass-produced media products such as blockbuster
Hollywood movies, tabloid newspapers, celebrity magazines and pop radio stations.
Niche audience/marketing - a niche audience is one with a special interest as opposed to general
interest. An example of a niche audience would be the readers of Angling Times, a magazine aimed at
Sexuality – the general realm of sexuality behaviour – things to do with sex as an act rather than
simply the state of being male or female (as in for example, ‘A significant element of Marilyn Monroe’s
star identity was her sexuality) sexual orientation: whether a person is heterosexual, homosexual or
somewhere between. Many media texts make use of stereotypes associated with sexuality.
Social class – layers in society based on economic divisions. This is important because:
audiences have traditionally been divided into social classes, both by media institutions for
marketing, and by academics for academic study.
media texts can often be anaylsed in terms of their representation of social class groups,
particularly through stereotyping.
British society has traditionally been broken into; working class’, ‘middle class’ and ‘upper
class’, but these are not clear divisions.
Youth Culture – a generic term for the behaviour, interest and fashions adopted by young people.
Four main characteristics that these groups are:
Extensive free time
A strong interest in media products, especially pop music, TV and film.
A desire to be markedly different from both children and adults in dress, language and
Active audience/ active reading – the audience is not passive but active in the process of making
Hypodermic model/theory – the idea that media products have an immediate, negative effect on the
behaviour of spectators. So called because the media ‘injects’ the ideas into the audience.
Preferred meaning - this is the meaning that the producers of the text expect you to take.
Dominant reading – the concept of the dominant ‘reading’ of a media text to differentiate between
two other possible readings- the negotiated and the oppositional.
Negotiated reading – an interpretation that audiences make of media texts in which preferred or
dominant reading is recognised and broadly accepted, but with reservations and modifications.
Example: A man watching ‘Sex and the City’ may enjoy the programme and get the overall concept
and narrative of the film however they cannot directly relate to the characters circumstances.
Oppositional reading – where the reader of the text disagrees with the ideology or meanings of the
Pleasure - Individual enjoyment. Pleasure is a key element of spectatorship-based approaches.
Positioning – The relationship between audience and a character in a narrative. Sometimes we
sympathise with a character, admire them or dislike them.
Uses and gratifications model (PIES) –
P – personal identification
I – Information
S – Social Integration
Analysis of Cinematography
Cinematography is the making of lighting and camera choices when recording photographic
images for the cinema. It is closely related to the art of still photography. Many additional
issues arise when both the camera and elements of the scene may be in motion, though this
also greatly increases the creative possibilities of the process.
Aerial shot: shots that are usually done with a crane or with a camera attached to a helicopter to view
Angle: the position of the camera whilst filming. For example high angle these make the object look
weak or powerless and a low angles makes objects or people powerful.
Composition: the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ingredients in a film.
CU/Close Up: A close up image of the object you are filming/taking a photo of. This shows emotion or
significance of an object
Depth of Field: is the portion of a scene that appears acceptably sharp.
This highlights what is important
Dolly: a piece of equipment with wheels that you would
put your tripod and camera on to achieve a fluid shot.
The shot that a dolly produces is usually referred to as a
ECU/extreme close up: a very tight framing method
that shows only a tiny part of the subject in great detail.
This draws our attention to a specific detail of an object or
ELS/extreme long shot: a shot notable for the extreme distance of the camera from the subject.
This gives an overview of a location,
establishing the setting.
LS/Long Shot: shows the entire object or human figure and is usually intended to place it in some
relation to its surroundings.
MS/medium shot: framing a person from just above the top of the head to around their navel or
This shows us the waist up allowing us to
see both the expression of a person, but also see movement and understand their body language
Overhead Shot: also known as the birds eye, this camera shot is directed vertically downwards
towards the subject.
This type of shot makes the subject look
vulnerable and small.
POV/Point of View Shot: shot as seen through the character's eyes. Used regularly in horror film and
the TV programme ‘Peep Show’.
Shot: a single unedited piece of film material
Shot Length: how long a shot lasts. Example: this shot last 8 minutes
Tracking Shot: Shot where the camera (mounted on a mobile platform) steadily travels along a
horizontal plane to the object being filmed.
Two-Shot: A camera view including two subjects, most generally applicable to interview situations.
WS/Wide Shot: framing of a shot from a distance so that a larger amount of the action taking place
can be seen in the frame.
Analysis of film/video editing
Film editing is an art that can be used in diverse ways. It can create sensually provocative
montages; become a laboratory for experimental cinema; bring out the emotional truth in an
actor's performance; create a point of view on otherwise obtuse events; guide the telling and
pace of a story; create an illusion of danger where there is none; and even create a vital
subconscious emotional connection to the viewer, among many other possibilities.
Cross-cutting: an editing technique most often used to establish action occurring at the same time in
two different locations.
Cross-fade: simultaneous fade-in of one audio or video source as another fades out so that they
Cut: the commonest form of edit in moving image texts, this is instantaneous change from one shot to
another in an edit.
Cutaway: the interruption of a continuously filmed action by inserting a view of something else. It is
usually, although not always, followed by a cutback to the first shot.
Fade (in/out): a shot which begins in total darkness and gradually lightens to full brightness
Insert shot: the camera cuts to something that is, or will be important to the story, for example, wallet
on the bedside table, while the character feels in their pocket for the wallet.
Jump cut: an immediate transition from one scene to another
Montage sequence: a technique in film editing in which a series of short shots are edited into a
sequence to condense space, time, and information.
Pace: the speed at which a scene is being filmed or edited. This can add to the audiences
understanding of the scene. For example you expect the pace of a car chase to be fast and a lingering
Reaction shot: a shot showing the reaction of a character to something or someone seen in the
Shot duration: the length of a scene that is being filmed and its duration.
Wipe: a gradual spatial transition from one image to another.
Analysis of Lighting
Lighting in an audiovisual text can directly affect your understanding of the text. Someone that
is poorly lit can be viewed as evil or bad. Colour can also be used to change our understanding
of the text, the used of red usually connotes danger or passion depending on the context.
Ambient lighting: lighting designed to deliver a predominately uniform level of light throughout an
Artificial lighting: the opposite of available light, this refers to any additional sources of light used in
film and TV production
Available lighting: literally light that is naturally available. It may be used in documentary or where a
sense of realism is required.
Back lighting: lighting from behind.
Fill light: a light placed to the side of the subject to fill out shadows and balance the key light
Filter: a camera accessory consisting of an optical filter that can be inserted in the optical path.
High-key lighting: the distribution of light within the image so that bright tones predominate.
Key light: the principal light source used to illuminate a scene.
Low-key lighting: lighting that puts most of the set in shadow and uses just a few highlights to define
Under lighting: Placing the lighting below the subject. This technique is sometimes used to create
dramatic, eerie effects.
Analysis of Mise-en-Scene
Mise-en-Scene refers to everything that appears before the camera and its arrangement—sets,
props, actors, costumes, and lighting. By analyzing the mise-en-scene you can then take a
reading of what is going on in the text. For example if you see a character in a police uniform
you will read that character as being a policeman/woman.
Cast: all the actors in a film/TV show.
Character: the persona that the actor plays.
Costume: the clothes/appearance that the actor wears when playing the character.
Interior: relating to the inner environment of a scene. Also, used in scripts.
Location: the place where scenes are filmed/photographed.
Make-up: cosmetics applied to the face to improve or change your appearance.
Performance: how an actor behaves within the film reality for the audience.
Props: items carried on the set by an actor or small items on the set used by the actors.
Realism: the depiction of subjects as they appear in everyday life, without embellishment or
Set: the place where the scenes of a film/TV show are shot.
Special effects: artificial effects used to create an illusion in a film/TV show.
Codes and conventions: a series of things (signs) that we associate with a text. Generic codes are a
series of signs that help us understand the text. For example in a western film you would see
cowboys, horses, guns, a saloon etc. These are all generic codes and conventions.
Iconography: the images and symbolic representations that are traditionally associated with a person
or a subject.
Analysis of representation
Representation refers to the construction in any medium of aspects of ‘reality’ such as people,
places, objects, events, cultural identities and other abstract concepts. Representation can be
positive or negative and change depending on your own circumstances. A woman may look at
the front cover of Zoo magazine and regard the representation of a bikini clad model as
negative, a man may view the text differently.
Archetype: an original model of a person, ideal example, or a prototype after which others are copied,
patterned, or emulated; a symbol universally recognized by all.
Celebrity: a widely known person who is famous for doing something or being somebody.
Ethnicity: an ethnic group is a group of humans whose members identify with each other, through a
common heritage that is real or assumed.
Ethnic minority: a group of people who have a different ethnicity, religion, language or culture to that
of the majority of people in the place where they live.
Feminism: a social theory or political movement supporting the equality of both sexes in all aspects of
public and private life.
Heterosexual: a person who prefers to have sexual and emotional relationship with members of the
Homosexual: a person who prefers emotional and sexual relations with the member of the same
Identity: the individual characteristics by which a thing or person is recognized or known by.
Ideology: an orientation that characterizes the thinking of a group or nation.
Male gaze: a theory by Laura Mulvey describing the way in which men ‘gaze’ upon women as sex
objects whilst in films, TV shows, magazines etc.
Masculinity: the trait of behaving in ways considered typical for men.
Middle class: the social class between the lower and upper classes. It is based on factors like income
but also it is about attitude and values. Example: A middle class person would like going to arts
cinemas and the theatre whereas a working class person would prefer going to a social club and
reading The Sun.
Minority: a group of people who differ racially or politically from a larger group of which it is a part.
Race: a group of people who are of the same genetics.
Racism: discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race.
Realism: the attribute of accepting the facts of life and favoring practicality and literal truth.
Sex: two categories male and female which most living creatures are divided into.
Sexuality: the sexual orientation of a person, whether heterosexual or homosexual.
Social class: a class of people, based on social power, wealth or another criterion.
Social construct: is any phenomenon 'invented' or 'constructed' by participants in a particular culture
or society. For example gender. Women in a western society are expected to wear makeup and take
care in their appearance. This is social constructed.
Stereotype: a commonly held public belief about specific social groups, or types of individuals. This
can depend on their image, where they live and also their occupation.
Target audience: the specific group of people, (audience) that a film/TV show/publication is aimed at.
For example, Heat magazine is aimed at women. This can also be defined by social class and age.
Values: the beliefs and attitudes held by and individual, a group or a whole society.
Working class: a term used to describe those employed in lower tier jobs as measured by skill,
education, and compensation.
Analysis of sound
Sound can add another dimension to the visual images. It can create emotions and add to the
flow of the visual image. Imagine ‘Jaws’ without the infamous theme tune.
Dialogue: speech in a script/ conversation between two people.
Non-diegetic: that does not occur as part of the action, and cannot be heard by the film's characters.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkPzSxD_NdE (first 2min 50seconds)
Pitch: the frequency of sound. Low pitched sounds can be used to reinforce tension or comedy, high
pitched notes can scare us, like the shower scene in Psycho. http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Tempo: speed of music. This relates to the images, for example a chase sequence would have fast
tempo music to increase tension in the audience. Listen to the fast tempo music in this scene
Theme music: music specifically written for a film or TV show and is usually played during the intro or
a particular scene.
Voice over: the voice of an unseen commentator in a film of television program.