What is Media Studies?

Here is a presentation to help students and parents get an idea of what Media Studies is:MEDIA STUDIES

Some videos to provide some ideas and starting points for media.


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Taxi to the Dark Side

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The Film Industry



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CSP’s on Advertising and Marketing (and mock exam)

As part of your AQA GCSE media course you are required to look at a number of CSP’s (close study products). They cover a range of different media forms and in the next four weeks up to our xmas break we will look at the CSP’s for advertising and marketing.

This should follow on neatly from our production work, which was a set of print adverts for a watch.

Our work with the CSP’s will be assessed by a formal mock exam just before xmas.

To give you an idea of what the exam may look like have a look at this mock paper Media 1 exam paper and mark scheme Media 1 mark scheme.

Here is some guidance provided by Mr Doyle.

To start with let’s have a look at this product and think about it in terms of our knowledge of advertising, in particular focussing on;


What do I need to study?

Key Questions and Issues

This product relates to the theoretical framework by providing a focus for the study of:

  • Media Language. What are the connotations and denotations of the various signs that make up this advertisement? How do elements such as layout and design, typography, body language and use of language contribute to the meaning of the product? Messages and values are clearly different to those found in modern advertisements, but how are these messages and values communicated by the signs, codes and conventions used in this advertisement? How effectively is media language used to create a persuasive message? How does the combination of elements in the advertisement contribute to a narrative? How does the media language used here position the target audience and how does today’s reader interpret these signs differently?
  • Media Representations. You will need to study the representations of gender here; particularly femininity but also the implied representation of masculinity. To what extent does the product make use of a stereotype or stereotypes? What is unfamiliar and what is familiar about the 1950s world that is re-presented here? Discuss your own interpretations of the representations here. How are these interpretations influenced by your own experiences and beliefs.
  • Historical, social, cultural and political contexts. You should discuss the ways in which media language and representations reflect the social, historical and cultural contexts in which this advertisement was produced. Does the help you to make sense of the contexts influencing today’s advertisements? Useful contrasts can be drawn with the two other advertising and marketing Close Study Products. Have political changes played a role in the developments that have made this advertisement seem outdated and unusual, especially in terms of gender representation?

SEMIOTICS – reading signs

Semiotics is an approach to media studies which breaks up the process of reading a ‘text’ (ie advert, TV programme, film, radio etc) into 2 parts:

  1. Denotation (denotes) = what you actually see or hear ie the thing itself
  2. Connotation (connotes) = what the thing might mean

At times this can be quite an easy process, where literal objects are easy to identify and understand. At other times, it can be quite difficult, think for example of the effect that Arief put onto Mr Rudge – what does that stripe of colour mean, suggest, communicate?

Let’s try apply a semiotic reading to both the print products and the OMO advert. You will need a document with 2 columns

DENOTATION (what you see)                  CONNOTATION (what it means)

Try to use Media Specific Terminology as much as possible (ie the Language of Print).

Question: How would you change your watch advert to make it look like it was something from another decade?



It is easy to think that ‘stereotyping’ is all bad, however, it is a really useful ‘short cut’ for advertisers to attract potential customers and target a specific audience.

Have a look at some of these videos and then write down both the positive and negative aspects of ‘stereotyping’ in both the OMO advert and your watch adverts.

The conclusion should be that advertisers make CHOICES in their use of LANGUAGE to REPRESENT  a particular group, product, social situation, to try to SUCCESSFULLY SELL THEIR PRODUCT. . .

. . . BUT in the process continue to reinforce predictable, conventional (stereotypical) representations which can be very harmful.

  • Which is why the OMO advert would not be successful now, because it draws on outdated representations (Female = Mother, Housewife, Carer, SLAVE?)
  • So did you reinforce conventional and predictable representations in your watch campaign?
  • What would you change in the OMO advert to make it more relevant (in terms of representation) to a modern audience?

Read this report about changes in representation from ASA (the advertising standards authority)

CSP 2: Represent – NHS on-line campaign

Advertising and Marketing – NHS Blood and Transplant online campaign video Represent featuring Lady Leshurr

This is a Targeted Close Study Product for which you will need to focus on the following areas of the Theoretical Framework:

  • Media Language
  • Media Representations

Selection Criteria: This is a product that targets a niche audience with a clear persuasive message. It incorporates the conventions of music video and illustrates many aspects of media language and media representations as theoretical framework areas. There are rich and challenging opportunities for analysis here.

What do I need to study? Key Questions and Issues This paper relates to the theoretical framework by providing a focus for the study of:

  • Media Language What is the message of this product? How are the chosen codes and conventions helping to communicate this message? Skills of semiotic analysis will help you understand this product. What is the genre of Represent? Are there any elements of intertextuality or hybridity? How would you describe the narrative structure of this product? How is narrative being created to construct a point of view?
  • Media Representations: Represent offers the opportunity to analyse a range of representations – ethnicity, masculinity, femininity, age, class, ability/disability and place amongst others. How effective is the use of stereotypes in Represent? How do theoretical perspectives on representation including processes of selection, construction and mediation help with the understanding of this product? What factors affect the audience interpretations of the representations offered in this product?
  • Social and cultural contexts: The NHS Blood and Transplant marketing campaign Represent featuring Lady Leshurr is directly aimed at the BAME audience in an attempt to boost the number of blood donors from this section of society. This product raises issues about the social function of some promotional products and the impact they can have on behaviour, attitudes and beliefs.

CSP Product 3:

Product: Advertising and Marketing – Television advertisement for Galaxy

This is a Targeted Close Study Product for which you will need to focus on the following areas of the Theoretical Framework:

  • Media Language
  • Media Representations

Selection Criteria: This advert is of some cultural significance because of its extensive use of CGI and its intertextual references to a dead celebrity. It also provides extensive opportunities for analysis using techniques and concepts drawn from the study of Media Language and Media Representations.

Some useful links:

How Audrey Hepburn was resurrected

Pictures of Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn commercial took over a year to make!

What do I need to study? Key Questions and Issues This paper relates to the theoretical framework by providing a focus for the study of:

  • Media Language: Semiotic analysis of this product will help develop your understanding of how codes and conventions are used to communicate meaning. How would you describe the narrative structure of the advert? How useful are narrative theories (such as Propp) in the analysis of the Galaxy advert? What elements of intertextuality can you identify? Which techniques of persuasion are used to promote the product?
  • Media Representations: representations of place, celebrity persona, the product (Galaxy chocolate), a historical period, nostalgia, masculinity and femininity, class and age. How are these representations constructing a version of reality? Identify the stereotypes used and explain their function. How are choices made by the producers of this advert in order to convey particular viewpoints, messages, values and beliefs? What factors will affect the audience’s interpretations of these representations?
  • Social and cultural contexts: The product raises issues of the link between advertising, identity and consumerism within a broadly consumer culture. Comparing the Galaxy advert with historical examples (e.g. early television adverts for confectionery) will help you understand the powerful influence of changing social values and beliefs on advertisements.

In preparation for your mock exam write 150-250 words to answer this question:

Compare the language and representation in 2 of the 3 CSP that we have looked at.

Use our shared google doc so that we can see what we all produce. Can you learn anything from looking at each others work?

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Business and the modern world

Watch from 1:25:00


Task: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Conquest, War, Famine & Death, are highlighted in this film as bringing us close to catastrophe.

Your task is to provide 10 points of action that will arrest this global crisis.

So what would you recommend to the world?



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In Design Support Tutorials


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Double Page Spread

Now that we have completed a couple of drafts for the front cover and having had an interview about your film, you should be ready to start work on your double page spread, which I would suggest should be an interview and review of you (as director) of your new film – particularly, as this is the main feature of your front cover.

We will use an Adobe Product called ‘In Design’ which operates like publisher. The main reason for using In Design is the flexibility to work with text in columns.

Before you start a new A3 document on In Design, you need to look at some real media products, to identify an appropriate STYLE MODEL. You will then need to:

  • sketch out and plan your design (on paper)
  • write up your copy / ie an interview with you as director (using the video interview as your basis for information)

Firstly, let’s re-cap on key terms of the ‘Language of Print’ (codes and conventions) print terms. Then can you remember any of the Semiotic Terms that we encountered last half term?

Your task is to look at a number of real media products and apply both the print terms and the semiotic terms in your analysis. You can find some examples below.

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Print Product

Now that we have developed some skills using a DSLR camera, studio lighting and Photoshop, let’s move forward by trying to produce a single page (A4) print product.

The product I would like you to produce is a single page review of your film, which will include an interview with you as director. You will also need to include some images, for example you could include your film poster.

You must also include a number of key features that you would expect to see in a print product, for example, a heading, a sub-heading, a by-line (ie who wrote it), a couple of quotes, page numbers etc.

To help us identify what we need to include I would like you to analyse at least 3 real media products and then sketch out a mock-up using paper and pencils (this only needs to be a very rough sketch / outline of your ideas)

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Statement of Intent

task 1

I have uploaded the annotations that we made in class in the last lesson to the blog library, so please could you make a post of your own that has all of this work (as I have done below). Could you then make 3-5 bullet points of the main elements from the set brief that you will include in your own project.


task 2

Now that we have established the criteria for the mock NEA, could you please complete the ‘statement of intent’ (below), and upload it to the blog before presenting it to the rest of the class.

NEA Statement of Intent template

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For your GCSE you will need to produce some coursework (or NEA = non-examined assesssment). As such, over the next 4 weeks we would like to give you a chance to go through this process in preparation for your real NEA. As such, you can think of this as a MOCK NEA.

Mock NEA

Therefore, you have 4 weeks to:

Create three print advertisements for a new range of watches.

The advertisements should emphasise a sense of tradition and history, and will be part of a campaign that will run in upmarket magazines.

The target audience will be 25-40 year olds.

To help you follow this guidance to ensure you follow the minimum requirements:

  • Three different advertisements, each emphasising a different aspect of the watches’ appeal
  • A common house style to the overall campaign
  • Five original images in total, including a different dominant image in each advertisement
  • A narrative situation represented in the dominant image for each advertisement, featuring at least one ‘character’
  • Pack or product shot in each advert
  • Logo design (for the campaign or for the watch itself)
  • Appropriate choice of slogan and call to action
  • Original copy, within the adverts, to embody the USP of the watch to the target audience (minimum 70 words per advert, each advert having a different emphasis)
  • Appropriate choices of font, type sizes and colours to create meanings.

getting started . . .

First of all let’s look at some of the key terminology that is contained in the guidance above, to make sure we all clearly understand what is expected. To help this process, can you all choose 5 print adverts for watches and post them onto your blog? (please note that it is much better to download an image from google and then upload to the library, rather than just copying and pasting it in)

Then let’s link our key words to what we see.


Once you have uploaded 5-10 images on a blog post. Go through the support criteria outlined above and link all of the key words, phrases and elements to real watch adverts that you have uploaded to your blog.


Write up a ‘statement of intent’ that clearly outlines what it is your are going to do . . . who you will use, what shot sizes, the slogan, the house style, the type of copy, the sense of narrative, etc etc. Use pictures from your research as illustration of your intentions.

Next, let’s work out what we understand by ‘upmarket magazines . . . with a target audience of 25-40 year olds’. Again let’s search for some front covers to help us identify a number of appropriate titles.

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Storyboard & First Shoot

As you know I have been a bit disappointed with the amount of work that you have managed to complete during this first half term. As such, I think it is essential that you make sure that you are completely up to date by the time we return after the half term break.


I also want you to complete your first shoot.

This will be a sequence of different shots, that we can then edit together.

(Upload evidence of your shoot – for example some photos – to your blog and then post this link to our google classroom by the deadline)


To prepare for this process please storyboard your sequence in class, using your script and your recce shots as a guide to help you sketch out and plan your:

  • shot sizes
  • camera movements
  • mise-en-scene
  • edits

This is really important, without any footage we cannot move onto the edit programmes and start producing our film opening / trailer.

So please – no more talking about what you are going to do and DO SOMETHING GOOD!

Please post up a copy of your storyboard to our blog.


There are a number of key ideas that you need to bear in mind when you are shooting

  1. be prepared to re-shoot your work in the light of feedback and analysis
  2. make sure you shoot at 25 fps – whether you use your phone or an SLR camera
  3. make sure you film plenty of footage to work with – shoot each shot several times
  4. make sure you have a variety of shots – particularly, an establishing shot (identifying location and setting) and several BCU / ECU (big close-ups / extreme close-ups) to add detail, emotion and drama.
  5. make sure you have plenty of light (more is better than less)
  6. make sure you are taking your time for focus and framing (so what is your point of focus and what is in your frame)

Watch some of these videos (or similar) to give you some ideas and support.


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