KEY CONCEPTS IN MEDIA STUDIES
The type or category of a film, programmeor other media text. Media Studies is concerned
1. The conventions of genre texts (generic conventions).
2. How & why audiences are attracted to genre products.
3. Industries’ useof genre.
4. How genre formats develop and evolve.
A complex term, broadly relating to a framework of ideas and beliefs. These may be
formally or informally held. In Media Studies ideology is inextricably linked to
How a story is told / how a plot unfolds before an audience. Media Studies is concerned
1. The conventions of narrative (including how conventions aresometimes broken).
2. How narratives inter-relate with each other.
3. How and why audiences are attracted to narratives, and what they gain fromthem.
4. Industry’suseof narrative.
Itis important to remember that narrative exists in factual and fictitious media forms.
Representation forms the foundation of Media Studies. Media texts are re-presentations of
reality, they are an interpretation, an opinion, they are never a transparent‘window on the
An organisation is another name for a company.
An institution can be used as another word for organisation or company but also is used to
recognisethat organisations havea systemof values, usually apparent in the way in which
texts are produced.
Without an audience the media could not exist. Media Studies is concerned with:
1. How audiences are targeted.
2. How audiences use the media.
3. How texts position audiences.
4. How audiences are affected by the media.
5. How audiences affect / shapethe media.
Representation Stereotype Counter Stereotype
Social class –
SOCIAL CLASS –
SOCIAL CLASS –
Camera Shots and Angles
Name and Descriptionof Shot or
Picture of shot Why use it?
Taken from above looking down to
a character or place
Taken from below looking up to a
character or place
A shot taken deliberately slanted
to one side
A long shot that establishes
location / setting and general
Camera shotwhere the audience
see the character or prop in detail
Camera shotwhere the audience
can see the character/characters
from the waist up
Camera shotwhere the audience
can see the whole body, or more
generally a shot with a wide field
Wide shot / Extreme long shot
A shot that capturesthe widest
picture possible in the frame to
show a landscape, scene, or
A shot of two people
A shot taken from far overhead,
usually via plane or helicopter, to
give a bird's eye perspective
Point of view shot
A shot taken from the pointof view
of a character
Over the shoulder shot
Shottaken over the shoulder of a
character, asif you are in the scene
Name Where does it move? Why use it?
Tracking shot Camera moves forwards
and backwards as wellas
side to side. The
movement is smooth as
it is on a dolly
Towards the character or
Away fromthe character
Tilt shot Up and down on an axis
Zoom Movement of the lens
(focus point). In or away
Arc shot Full or semi circle around
an object or character
Panning Left to right following a
Crane shot A shottaken by a camera
on a crane
Name Description Why use it?
Framing Framing is the technique of
drawing attention to the subject
of your image by blocking other
parts of the image with
something in the scene.
Rule of Thirds The rule of thirds is a rule that
states that an image should be
imagined as divided into nine
equal parts by two equally-spaced
horizontallines and two equally-
spaced vertical lines, and that
elements should be placed along
these lines or their intersections.
Proponents claim that aligning
a subjectwith these points
creates more tension, energy
and interest in the
composition than simply
centering the subjectwould.
Depth of Field
- deep and shallow
Depth of Field: The distance
between the nearest and farthest
objects in a scenethat appear
acceptably sharp in an image.
Deep Focus: In some cases, it may
be desirable to have the entire
image sharp (a large DOF)
Shallow Focus: Emphasizing the
subjectwhile de-emphasizing the
foreground and background (a
Focus Pulls Changing the focus of an image
between two different things.
Mise En Scène
Aspect of Mise-en-Scène What is it? What to look out for?
Location / Set
Costume and Make Up
Name of Editing Description
Shot reverseshot A film technique wherein one character is shown looking (often off-
screen) at another character, and then the other character is shown
looking "back" atthe firstcharacter
Cut What the shot moves fromone to another
Long take A long time spent on one shotbefore it cuts to the next
Shorttake A shortamount of time between 2 shots
Eyeline match The eyeline match begins with a character looking at something off-
screen, there will then be a cut to the object or person at which he
is looking. For example, a man is looking off-screen to his left, and
then the film cuts to a television that he is watching.
Parallel editing Inter-cutting between two simultaneous stories or scenes.
Jump cut A jump cut is a cut in film editing where the middle section of a
continuous shotis removed, and the beginning and end of the shot
are then joined together. The technique breaks continuity in time
and produces a startling effect. Any moving objects in the shotwill
appear to jump to a new position
Rapid cutting A fastsuccession of cuts. Often used to speed up the pace of the
scene- to match the action in the sceneeg. A car chase.
Cut away A shot, often a close-up, inserted during editing, that cuts away
fromanother shot, usually to illustrate a detail.
Dissolve A gradualtransition fromone image to another.
Fade in/ out A gradualtransformation to black or opposite.
Ellipsis To show the passing of time
Flashback A reversalof time within a story
Wipe One shotis pushed off the screen by another one.
Name of Sound Description
Diegetic sound Sounds fromthe world of the TV drama – a kettle boiling, a siren, a
Non-diegetic sound Added sound to emphasis tension / mood – the underscore
Ambient sound Ambient sound means the background noisepresent in a scene
Sound bridge Music that crosses over from1 scene to the next
Sound motif A recurring sound that hints to the sameevent / character
Voiceover Dialogue over the scene – possibly narration, possibly whatthe
character is thinking
Soundtrack Songs played over scenes
Score A piece of music created especially for a programmeor scene
Dialogue A better word for talking
Synchronous sound Synchronous Soundsarethosesounds which aresynchronized or
matched with what is viewed. For example: if the film portrays a
character playing the piano, the sounds of the piano are projected.
Sound which is indigenous to the action but not precisely
synchronized with the action.
Sound effects Added sound during editing to make a certain effect
Sound mixing The way sounds aremixed / blended together
Sound perspective Sound perspective refers to the apparent distance of a sound.
Incidentalmusic Background music which adds atmosphere
Themes The theme song for the tv drama. Specially created for that show
Stings A shortclip which is associated to a specific program
Mode of address a term used by semioticians which proposes that media texts address
its intended audience in a particular way, establishing a relationship
between the producer of the text and the media’s audience
Direct address When a character talks to the audience
Additional Key Words
Key Word Description
Semi active audience
There are a range of audience theories
in media studies which try to explain:
a. the effect the media has on the audience
b. how audiences usetexts
In broad terms, these theories can be described as belonging
to one of three
1. Passive: Includes the hypodermic needle / magic bullet, and
inoculation theories. All view the audience as passive
recipients of media messages.
2. Semi-active: Semi-active theories such as the two step flow
model suggestsome action on the part of the audience, but
ultimately they are still affected by media messages.
3. Active: Audiences actively control and select media texts
according to their own needs and desires. Examples include
the uses & gratifications theory.
Audience expectations What the audience expects froma particular media text.
Audience gratification Pleasurethat an audience gains froma text. An audience
might feel pleased with themselves if they solvean enigma or
recognisean example of intertextuality.
Audience positioning How texts are structured in ways that position audiences to
adopt a particular perspective.
Convention Unwritten rules / typical features of a media text. A text
which follows conventions of its type / genre may contain
many typical elements. Audiences are usually awareof these
conventions on a subconscious level.
Denotation The everyday, commonsense, or obvious meaning of a sign.
Connotation The implied meaning of a sign due to its symbolism.
Anything you want to add
Key Word Definition