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Unit 2: Key Media Concepts (50%)


There are two sections to this unit which is assessed by examination. The examination is 2 hours long.

Section A: Textual Analysis and Representation

An ‘unseen’ moving image extract with one compulsory question dealing with textual analysis of various technical aspects of the languages and conventions of moving image media. Candidates will be asked to link this analysis with a discussion of some aspect of representation within the sequence. Students will explore a range of texts by looking closely at the function of the following:

  • Camera Angle, Shot, Movement and Composition
  • Mise-en-Scène
  • Editing
  • Sound

The focus of study for Section A is the use of technical aspects of the moving image medium to create meaning for an audience, focussing on the creation of representations of specific social types, groups, events or places within the extract. Students should be prepared to discuss, in response to the question, how these technical elements create specific representations of individuals, groups, events or places and help to articulate specific messages and values that have social significance. Particular areas of representation that may be chosen are:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Sexuality
  • Class and status
  • Physical ability/disability
  • Regional identity

Section B: Institutions and Audiences

This is a case study of at least one media industry, (such as Film, Music or Magazine) and the processes of production, distribution and consumption within the industry, as well as the issues raised by those processes.

Students should be prepared to understand and discuss the processes of production, distribution, marketing and exchange as they relate to contemporary media institutions, as well as the nature of audience consumption and the relationships between audiences and institutions.

In addition, candidates should be familiar with:

  • the issues raised by media ownership in contemporary media practice;
  • the importance of cross media convergence and synergy in production, distribution and marketing;
  • the technologies that have been introduced in recent years at the levels of production, distribution, marketing and exchange;
  • the significance of proliferation in hardware and content for institutions and audiences; 
  • the importance of technological convergence for institutions and audiences;
  • the issues raised in the targeting of national and local audiences (specifically, British) by international or global institutions;
  • the ways in which our own experiences of media consumption illustrate wider patterns and trends of audience behaviour.

For film students are expected to research and present information on a specific studio or production company within a contemporary film industry that targets a British audience (eg Hollywood, Bollywood, UK film), including its patterns of production, distribution, exhibition and consumption by audiences. This should be accompanied by study of contemporary film distribution practices (digital cinemas, DVD, HD-DVD, downloads, etc) and their impact upon production, marketing and consumption.