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AS and A2

Media Studies
Skills
Development
Booklet
Key concepts relevant to Media Studies
Representation refers to the construction in any medium (e.g. film, television, magazines of
aspects of !reality" such as people, places, o#$ects, events, cultural identities and other a#stract
concepts. Such representations may #e in speech or %riting as %ell as still or moving pictures.
&hey may include use of stereotypes and %ill often focus around issues like gender, class,
ethnicity, age, disa#ility, se'uality and regional or national identity.
Genre comes from the (rench (and originally )atin %ord for *kind* or *class*. &he term is %idely
used in media theory to refer to a distinctive type of !te't". +ontemporary media genres tend to
relate to specific forms e.g. films are routinely classified (e.g. in television listings magazines as
*thrillers*, *%esterns* and so on , genres %ith %hich every adult in modern society is familiar. So too
%ith television genres such as *game sho%s* and *sitcoms*. All of these genres %ill have
conventions %hich are e'pected to occur %ithin them e.g. %esterns often end %ith a gun fight,
sitcoms tend to have a self,contained storyline running for the half hour episode.
Narrative, in media terms, is the coherence-organisation given to a series of facts. &ypically, a
media te't %ill have a start, middle and end %ith events unfolding chronologically. &his is kno%n as
!linear narrative". A film that plays around %ith this convention, such as &arantino"s !.ulp (iction"
has a !non,linear narrative". &here are a num#er of theories of narrative. /ne of the most
cele#rated is that of &odorov %ho talks a#out states of e0uili#rium and dise0uili#rium in the
narrative.
Media Language refers to %ritten, ver#al, non,ver#al, aural and aesthetic communication and
usually a com#ination of these. in television drama, a phone conversation #et%een t%o characters
in different locations can only #e understood #y the audience #ecause of the relationship #et%een
the camera angles (close,ups, head and shoulder shots or longer shots sho%ing location conte't,
non,ver#al performance (facial e'pressions during the phone conversation, dialogue (%hat the
t%o characters say, lighting (to provide a meaningful atmosphere, editing (so that %e can follo%
the conversation and so that continuity is correct and sound (#oth diegetic and non,diegetic. 1e
often don"t notice these and come to e'pect certain styles of acting, editing, filming and sound for
certain types of programmes-films. &his allo%s us to !read" the media language as easily as %e
can understand our friends in conversations %ithout having to recall the meaning of every %ord.
Audience is the group of consumers for %hom the media te't %as constructed as %ell as anyone
else %ho is e'posed to the te't. 2t is often descri#ed in terms of gender, class, ethnicity and age,
particularly %hen referred to as a !target audience".
Creativity or !creative skills" operates on t%o levels3 first, the a#ility to use digital technologies to
make meaning so that the audience can respond easily to the te't and second, the a#ility to
engage and interest the audience. &his may #e #y follo%ing conventions or #y challenging them.
Media products emerge as a result of hundreds of creative decisions. 1hen you analyse te'ts you
%ill %ork out %hat these decisions %ere. 1hen you make them, you %ill account for and evaluate
these decisions from your o%n personal e'perience.
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Reflecting on your AS production work (coursework
At A2 you %ill take an e!a" called !#$eoretical %valuation of &roduction", and
ans%er a 0uestion on ho% your production skills have developed during the t%o
years of the course. 4ou %ill #e asked to comment on ho% your skills have
developed in one or t%o of the follo%ing areas3
'igital tec$nology
Researc$ and &lanning
(sing Conventions fro" real "edia te!ts
&ost)&roduction
Creativity
&he pages #elo% %ill help you organise your thoughts on the production %ork %e
have done so far in the course, from the .reliminary task 5 the college magazine, to
the main task, the completed music magazine.
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Skills*+ ',G,#AL #%C-N.L.G/
Digital technology here refers to #oth hard%are (eg cameras and soft%are (programmes. Ans%er
the follo%ing 0uestions as honestly as possi#le3 the unit asks you to reflect on ho% your skills have
developed during the course and is not a test of ho% impressive your skills are. 4ou %ill #e
re%arded for reflecting honestly and for ackno%ledging pro#lems and areas for improvement.
Begin #y reflecting on ho% e'perienced a user of digital technology you %ere at the start of the
course. 2n the space #elo%, %rite do%n the names of any soft%are or hard%are you used at school
(or at home to produce media te'ts. 4ou may not have used any6 2f you have, #riefly descri#e
%hat you used the technology for (ie image manipulation, desktop pu#lishing
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Skills*+ ',G,#AL #%C-N.L.G/
AS &reli"inary #ask
Cover and Contents &age for a college "aga0ine
Maga0ine Cover+ Ado1e &$otos$op
Although this %as only a short preliminary task, you have used .hotoshop for this task and should
have developed your skills sufficiently to #e a#le to produce the front cover of a magazine.
,"age "anipulation
4ou %ill have used .hotoshop to manipulate your central image (s in some %ay, %hether
importing, cropping, or resizing, for e'ample. /utline #elo% the image manipulation skills used
during this pro$ect.
2 have used .hotoshop and have developed a num#er of skills including skills such as, cropping,
resizing, editing and selecting certain colours. 7sing .hotoshop has helped me gain skills and
these skills that 2 have o#tained have helped me create my final magazine cover and contents
page. 2 have used all of the skills listed in the creation of my pieces.
2 used my skills %hen placing and cropping images to fit to the page and 2 used the magic tool and
the colour select to make the pages appealing and suita#le to the target audience.
#e!t "anipulation
4ou should also have used .hotoshop to create and manipulate te't on your cover3 changing the
size, colour or position of the fonts you used, for e'ample. /utline #elo% the te't manipulation
skills you used during this pro$ect.
2 %as a#le to manipulate the te't in many %ays, such as adding stokes to make them stand out,
making them #older, #righter and more attractive. 2 %as also a#le to make the te't the same colour
as a certain colour in an image- the #ackground. 2 %as a#le to make a puff that 2 could place
#ehind the te't to create a cover line that stands out and that %ill attract the reader.
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Skills*+ ',G,#AL #%C-N.L.G/
Contents &age+ Ado1e ,n)'esign
(or this task you have learnt ho% to use in,design to produce and layout a contents page. &his %ill
have involved you developing skills in areas such as structuring the layout of your page using te't
#o'es and arranging te't into columns, and also using the programme to move te't and images
around the page.
)ist #elo% the skills you have developed using in,design in terms of page layout and te't and
image manipulation.
2 have o#tained many skills %hile making my magazine. Some tricks that 2 have learnt a#out page
layout include the rule of thirds %hen you have the masthead in the top left and have the main
image (if a person facing the camera at the top, centre of the page looking at the camera. &his
makes the reader feel like they kno% the person on the cover and it makes it feel personal.
2 have also learnt that the strap line must #e at the #ottom of the page %ith the #arcode if it is to
follo% common codes and conventions. 4ou must also have a date line and an issue num#er
although it must not #e #ig and #old, it has to #e seen #ut not in the %ay.
'igital stills ca"era
4ou used the digital stills camera to take your photos for this pro$ect. )ist #elo% any photographic
skills you have used in doing this (such as framing, focus etc
1hile using the cameras to shoot my location pictures 2 used various skills to take the perfect
photo, for e'ample find a #ackground that includes multiple things that mention or sho% the
college setting. Also 2 learnt that if you focus on the main image, the person on the cover, then the
#ackground %ill #e #lurred and it %ill add a special effect making the reader concentrate on the
person in the shot.
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Skills*+ ',G,#AL #%C-N.L.G/
Summarise #elo% ho% pleased you are %ith the skills you have developed during this pro$ect. 8o%
effectively have they allo%ed you to produce the kind of product you %anted to produce9 1hat
further skills %ould you like to develop using these programmes9
2 used my mo#ile phone and a camera to take the pictures, .hotoshop to #uild my cover and
contents page, dafont.com helped me find a font that %as suita#le, #logger to upload my %ork and
.rezi to present my evaluation in a different and more en$oya#le %ay. 2 learnt many skills %hile
doing so and they have ena#led me to create my final piece %hich has taken many hours and 2
have used all of the skills that 2 have learnt and had learnt #efore to use .hotoshop, .rezi. Blogger
and scri#d.
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Skills*+ ',G,#AL #%C-N.L.G/
AS Main #ask+ Music "aga0ine cover, contents page, dou1le page article2
4our music magazine is the main task you %ill do at AS, and as a result you should have
developed your skills in .hotoshop and in,design significantly from the preliminary task. &he
0uestions #elo% are designed to help you record and reflect on this.
,"ages
(irst, reflect on your use of the digital stills camera for your photographs. Summarise #elo% ho%
your skills in the use of the digital camera have developed from the preliminary task (this refers to
taking photos, not i"age "anipulation. &hink a#out mise,en,scene, framing etc.
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Skills*+ ',G,#AL #%C-N.L.G/
Music Maga0ine Cover+ Ado1e &$otos$op
Begin #y looking #ack at the comments you made a#out ho% you used .hotoshop for your college
magazine. &hen consider ho% you have developed your skills for this e'ercise.
,"age Manipulation+
/utline #elo% the new image manipulation skills you have developed during this pro$ect. Say %hat
you used the skills to achieve and ho% pleased you are %ith the results.
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Skills*+ ',G,#AL #%C-N.L.G/
#e!t "anipulation
/utline #elo% the ne% skills you have developed during the production of your cover. &hink a#out
all of the te't manipulation you might have done, such as shado%ing, etc. Again descri#e %hy you
used each techni0ue and ho% pleased you are %ith the results.
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Skills*+ ',G,#AL #%C-N.L.G/
Summary3 8o% useful do you feel .hotoshop %as in ena#ling you to produce your magazine
cover9 1ere there any limitations to the programme or skills you %ould still like to develop9
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Skills*+ ',G,#AL #%C-N.L.G/
Music "aga0ine+ ,n'esign
4ou %ill have used 2nDesign to produce your contents page for your music magazine and also for
the production of your article. 7se the space #elo% to outline and reflect on any ne% skills you
have developed.
Layout
+omment on ho% you used in,design to layout your pages, using te't #o'es, columns, etc.
+omment on specific tools you used and on ho% useful you found the programme to #e.
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Skills*+ ',G,#AL #%C-N.L.G/
#e!t
+omment on ho% you used 2nDesign to position and manipulate te't. Descri#e specific techni0ues
you used and evaluate their usefulness for the tasks you %ere set (ie production of contents pages
and article.
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Skills*+ ',G,#AL #%C-N.L.G/
Su""ary+
Summary3 8o% useful do you feel 2nDesign %as in ena#ling you to produce your contents page
and your article9 1ere there any limitations to the programme or skills you %ould still like to
develop9
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Skills3+ Researc$ and &lanning
(or #oth your .reliminary and Main course%ork tasks, you undertook #oth secondary and primary
research. Belo%, you are re0uired to reflect on this, #eginning %ith the .reliminary task.
College "aga0ine.
Although your college magazine %as a preliminary task, you should have carried out some
research in order to allo% you to complete the task.
/utline #elo% %hat your research o#$ectives %ere for this task3 ie e'actly %hat it %as that you
needed to find out.
/utline #elo% and discuss the usefulness of the research methods that you used during the
production of the college magazine.
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Skills3+ Researc$ and &lanning
1as the research that you carried out sufficient to allo% you to complete the task to a satisfactory
standard9
8o% might you improve your research skills ne't time9
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Skills3+ Researc$ and &lanning
/utline #elo% the planning tools you used for this task and reflect on their usefulness
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Skills3+ Researc$ and &lanning
Music Maga0ine.
4our main task is a more detailed task and as a result you should have developed and used more
advanced and sophisticated research skills. 4ou need to outline and reflect on these #elo%.
Audience Researc$
Before producing your magazine you %ere re0uired to carry out research into the tastes and
interests of your audience in order to help you produce a magazine that %ould appeal to them.
Summarise the aims and o#$ectives of your audience research #elo%3
/utline the research methods you used for audience research (ie 0uestionnaires, focus groups.
/utline the different styles of 0uestioning you employed (ie open-closed and talk a#out the
strengths and %eaknesses of each style.
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Skills3+ Researc$ and &lanning
8o% did you select your sample9 :eflect on this.
8o% did you present your findings (graphs, etc.9 :eflect on this.
2t is important in this unit that you sho% ho% your skills have developed. 2n %hat %ays do you feel
you could improve your audience research for your ne't piece of production %ork9 Set clear
targets for this.
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Skills3+ Researc$ and &lanning
#opic Researc$
2n addition to carrying out audience research you should also have carried out research into the
particular genre or area of music that you made your magazine a#out. /utline and reflect on this
#elo%.
Begin #y outlining your research o#$ectives. 1hat e'actly %as it that you %anted to find out9
,nternet Researc$2
/utline #elo% the %e#sites you used for your research, indicating ho% useful you found each to #e
and summarising %hat you found from each site.
8o% did you check the validity and relia#ility of your findings9
)ist and reflect on the usefulness of any other research methods you used for your topic research
#elo%.
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Skills3+ Researc$ and &lanning
2t is important in this unit that you sho% ho% your skills have developed. 2n %hat %ays do you feel
you could improve your topic research for your ne't piece of production %ork9 Set clear targets for
this, eg ;e't time 2 %ill ensure that each fact 2 use %ill have #een cited #y at least 2 sources.
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Skills 4 (sing Conventions fro" real "edia te!ts
All Media genres have set of conventions that the audience e'pect to find in them3 in a Science
(iction film, for e'ample, %e e'pect a certain type of setting plus spaceships, aliens, e'plosions,
possi#ly #attles in space. &hese conventions develop, ho%ever, as Media producers challenge
some of the traditional conventions of te'ts. 2n the film !.sycho", for e'ample. Alfred 8itchcock
unsettled and surprised his audience #y having the character played #y the films main star killed
after <= minutes3 something 8orror audiences at the time didn"t e'pect to happen in a horror film
(or in any film, come to that.
Before you produce any Media te't you %ill need an understanding of the conventions of that
particular genre. &his unit asks you to reflect on ho% you have done this and ho% your a#ility to
follo%, or develop, the codes and conventions of the media te'ts you %ill produce has improved
during the course.
College "aga0ine
1rite #elo% the codes and conventions of college magazines. 2ndicate ho% and %hy you have
either used, ignored or developed these in your magazine.
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Skills4 (sing Conventions fro" real "edia te!ts
Music Maga0ine
Before starting to produce your music magazine you should have spent time discussing the codes
and conventions of the genre in lessons. 4ou should also, individually, have researched e'amples
of the specific kind of music magazine you decided to produce individually. Belo% you should
discuss %hat you found the main codes and conventions of your te't to #e, in terms of style and
content. 4ou should then reflect on the e'tent to %hich you have follo%ed these codes and
conventions and also comment on any codes and conventions that you have not follo%ed or have
tried to challenge or su#vert, e'plaining %hy you have done this.
5ront Cover
7se the grid #elo% to reflect on ho% you have used or developed the codes and conventions of
music magazine covers. )ist the main conventions and then comment on ho% you have used
them in your cover 5 eg 2 used 2 !(ree offer" splashes on my cover as 2 feel they are important in
attracting readers in a competitive market.
Conventions+ Content
+onvention +omment
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Skills4 (sing Conventions fro" real "edia te!ts
Conventions+ Style
+onvention +omment
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Skills4 (sing Conventions fro" real "edia te!ts
;o% do the same for your contents pages and for your article
Conventions+ Content page content
+onvention +omment
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Skills4 (sing Conventions fro" real "edia te!ts
Conventions+ contents page style
+onvention +omment
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Skills4 (sing Conventions fro" real "edia te!ts
Conventions+ article content
+onvention +omment
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Skills4 (sing Conventions fro" real "edia te!ts
Conventions+ Article style
+onvention +omment
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Skills6 &ost &roduction
(or this section of the unit you are re0uired to descri#e and reflect on the post,production activities
you have carried out. &his refers to areas such as gaining audience feed1ack on your products
and successfully evaluating ho% you have %orked.
College Maga0ine+
/utline #elo% any methods you used to gain audience feed#ack (ie 0uestionnaires, focus groups.
Summarise your findings
/utline #elo% any evaluation that took place after you completed your production. :eflect on your
conclusion and the methods you used.
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Skills6 &ost &roduction
Music Maga0ine
(or your music magazine you should have spent longer on the post,production stage. Belo% you
should reflect on this.
Audience feed1ack
Briefly summarise %hy it is important to gain audience feed#ack on a production. &o %hat use
might the data #e put9
/utline #elo% the aims and o#$ectives of your audience feed#ack. 1hat information %ere you
trying to o#tain9
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Skills6 &ost &roduction
;o% descri#e the methods you used to gain audience feed#ack on your product (ie
0uestionnaires, focus groups. /utline the methods of 0uestioning you used %ithin your
0uestionnaires (ie open-closed-restricted choices and reflect honestly on ho% productive these
methods %ere.
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Skills6 &ost &roduction
Summarise #elo% your findings from your audience feed#ack. 8aving looked at this, ho% do you
feel you could improve the 0uality of audience feed#ack you receive ne't time9 Set clear targets,
#ased on your e'perience this time around.
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Skills6 &ost &roduction
%valuation
/utline #elo% the methods you used to produce an evaluation for this production (ie po%erpoint
presentation, essay 8o% useful and appropriate %as this method9
8o% reflective do you feel you %ere in your evaluation9
8o% do you feel you might improve the 0uality of your evaluation for your ne't production9
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Skills7+ Creativity
College Maga0ine
8ere you are re0uired to reflect on your creativity during the production tasks you produce on the
course. &his refers to your a#ility to create original and good 0uality products.
8o% pleased are you %ith the piece you have created for this task9 1hat elements of it are you
especially pleased %ith9
:eflect #elo% on the !creative process" 5 ie ho% you came up %ith your ideas
(#rainstorming-looking at e'amples of e'isting practice-drafting.
1hat e0uipment %as especially important in helping you to produce %hat you %anted to produce9
Music "aga0ine
8o% pleased are you %ith the piece you have created for this task9 1hat elements of it are you
especially pleased %ith9
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Skills7+ Creativity
:eflect #elo% on the !creative process" 5 ie ho% you came up %ith your ideas
(#rainstorming-looking at e'amples of e'isting practice-drafting. &his may #e an assessment of
ho% you organised the photography, ho% you used the photographs, ho% you organised your
layouts, the language you used, the %ay you dre% attention to certain elements etc
1hat e0uipment %as especially important in helping you to produce %hat you %anted to produce9
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