Snow + Year 13 = work? Booooo

Dear Year 13 students,

Just a reminder that we move on next week to Postmodernism so all your outstanding tweaks and ordering, branding of your blog needs to be done by the end of school on Friday.

There is an essay on Classroom for you to plan and submit that we would have been doing in class this week.  It is a Post-production Skills essay so you should be able to use a lot of your production skills stories from your blog as examples as long as you have stories from earlier on in the course to show the progression of that particular skill. Always remember to have a specific anecdote to illustrate the impact the skill had on the product. Submission is Monday 4th March.

Here is some initial feedback from the Mock exam which you should read so that this Skills essay does not make any similar mistakes. Mr Gregson and Mrs Cobb will be going through your essays individually.

Good luck and take the opportunity of some home time to get on top of stuff.

Mrs Cobb and Mr Gregson


Before we start to focus on Postmodernism for the rest of the term, we need to focus on some admin bits and pieces and ensure the mock essays were a useful exercise.    Let’s clear the decks and get on with Postmodernism with an open and hungry mind.

This week you will need to:


  • Ensure your problem areas on the blog are sorted i.e. a few of the attachments don’t open etc. See Mrs Cobb to check.
  • Check your slideshares fit on the scrolls!
  • Check that all attached PDFS made on google or any GOOGLE DOCS embedded are SHARED TO THE WORLD.
  • Check jpegs have pdfs attached so that the examiner can see them clearly.
  • Brand the blog – if not already done so.
  • Sort your folder so that you can make room for all the new stuff on Postmodernism and start to collate your worksheets/essays on Skills and Concepts.
  • Read the blog post on POMO over the weekend.


  • Then as a group divide the following tasks up for THE GREGSONS so that they can all be completed. Instructions on the blog for the P Drive folder filing.


We will kick off Postmodernism at the end of this week, so make sure you read the introductory post over the weekend. Get your theoretical and critical perspective juices flowing. Turn over a new leaf and now focus on making the most of the remaining few weeks to make sure you get the grade you deserve and want.

It will be fun – promise!

Mock Preparation

You will have 1 hr to write responses to section 1a – Skills and section 1b – Concepts:  Allow 5 minutes for planning and 25 minutes to write.  There are 25 marks available for each answer and you should focus on using the TEAS structure.

You need to double check when your Media exam is.

The mock Concept question will be on AUDIENCE.

  • You need to ensure you understand Hall (Audience) and also include Barthes (Media Language which encodes meaning for an audience) and probably reference to Genre (Expectations and Predictable Please) and even Dyer (Star Image).
    • Remember the exam is not on the theorists; you should only use them to explore the impact of the concept on specific examples from your text!
  • Ensure you know which product you are going to dissect in reference to Audience.
  • Ensure you have a good definition of what you understand Audience to be.
  • Examiners’ report:
  • Theorist’s Booklet
  • Suggested Essay Structure
  • See Classroom or use this and take a copy of a template that you can fill in and help you streamline your examples and the terms you should be using in conjunction with the examples.
  • Exemplar

The mock Skills question be on RESEARCH AND PLANNING.

  • Use your skills template stories and prepare at least 4 skills stories that show progression. Use your Skills Template in classroom.
    • Remember to keep to the R&P stage.
  • Refine a good definition of what you understand R&P to be, its function and a short list of the kind of RP you did.
    • Then get stuck in to @ 4 different skills stories about skills you employed in the RP stage of the process.
  • Feedback caveat from examiners report: *The Examiner is keen to point out that Conventions research should be kept to a minimum in RP as Conventions has its own section in 1a. However, if you do mention it, you must focus on the ways you researched texts and the effect the results had on your product.
  • Examiners’ report.
  • Suggested structure
  • Exemplar


Remember, we expect to see you in school next Friday if your evaluation questions and blog are incomplete. We start moderating over half-term.

Skills – 1a

Lesson 1 + 2

Big Fat Skills Quiz

Fully Complete your Skills template in classroom. In particular focus on RP (this will be your mock question).  Remember some of the stories you have already done for PP and DT could be used here – don’t make work for yourself.

Do not complete the Conventions section yet.

Always remember the skill needs a starting point and a finishing point.  This can be anywhere in the course but each skill story needs to show progression.

The most important aspect is that you evidence how the skill impacted specifically on the product i.e. not just that it made it nicer, more professional. What do you mean by that. How did the colour filter directly impact on the anarchic, grungy star image? How did  the transition develop the narrative disruption for the story?

Remember to use the name of the tools, techniques.

Revisit your essays for excellent examples and revisit classroom for exemplar paragraphs that others have submitted.

Write like a media student: use terms from across your media learning.




Genre – Concepts 1b

Lesson 1

First of all – try and write a definition of Genre in one sentence.  This could be your opening sentence for your concepts essay, if Genre comes up.  Share your ideas with the class.

Just to recap – how much can you remember about Genre and the theories, theorists that accompany this concept?  Take the quiz.

Big Fat Genre Quiz – to recap on structure and basic theories

Revisit Genre

Victoria Sponge

Read this presentation on your own for 10 minutes & familiarise yourself with its contents.

It has everything you need in it for the Concepts section of the exam.

Genre Framework – you can use your Thriller, Music Video or Digipak.

Concept Essay Structure

  • Think about all the work you have recently done on Conventions for your Evaluation Questions.
    • The answers and ideas are all in there.
    • So revisit your blog posts about Genre.

And now revisit the quiz. How much more do you remember, know now than at the beginning of the lesson?

Lesson 2

Now that you have revisited and refreshed your memories about Concepts and in particular Genre, you will write up an essay in this class.  You can use your notes or refer to the blog for ideas but you will only have the allocated 25 minutes. So the first 15 minutes of the lesson you can prepare as well. Those of you who have extra time can have the whole of the lesson so do some prep before or you can complete the question at home.

The question will be:

  • Apply the concept of genre to one of your coursework productions. – June 2014

Audience Feedback on final products – preparation for Ev Q 3

‘What have you learned from your audience feedback?’

In order to prepare for Evaluation Question 3, you will need to do a final evaluation of your products based on some summative feedback from an audience.

You will need to focus on the following areas:

  • The degree to which you communicated a specific genre of music?
  • The values, attitudes and belief (ideology) of your band/star.
  • What is the audiences’ reading of your texts and do they match your preferred reading?
  • What is the meaning/sense in the narrative?

Linked / embedded into the questionnaire will be the products for the audience to consume and respond to.

To complete this, you must work with your group to set up a questionnaire of 10 questions in Google Forms.

Each class will then send it to your allocated media students (see this list for who to send it to) in other classes, so that you will get at least 10 responses. However, you should also circulate the questionnaire to some target audience members too, in order to get 10 responses.

This means that you will all have to spend regular time checking your gmail and helping your peers out by filling in their submissions.

The results can then be collated and summarised in your response.

Task 1:

Brainstorm 10 suitable questions with your group. You will need to get a variety of question types and in particular, include some that will encourage the audience to describe their responses and reactions using adjectives (perhaps give them a choice of adjectives including ones that encompass a negotiated or oppositional reading).

Task 2:

Set up Google forms.

Distribute to your allocated recipients plus others you can think of.

Task 3:

After 1 week, collate the responses.

Task 4: 

Use the results, along with your ongoing feedback to respond to Evaluation Question 3, details of which to come later.

This is a link to a questionnaire from last year – not necessarily brilliant but an idea of how you should structure it.

These are some possible questions:

  • What genre do you think is communicated by the front cover of the DP – pop, rock, reggae, ska
  • What aspects of the narrative make you want to watch the video again?
  • What 3 adjectives describe the star image of the lead singer? (give a choice perhaps using a semantic differential scale)
  • What themes are included in the narrative? (give a choice of binary oppositions – conflict pairs)
  • Do you understand the narrative? (Short response)
  • How conventional is the performance section – MES, location, performance style, editing, filters etc?

This must be done ASAP so that you have time to get responses – WHICH IS WHY YOU NEED YOUR FINAL PRODUCTS.

MOODBOARDS – alternatives to Pinterest



Upload the (good one) app to Chrome and then you can easily drag and drop images to the board and add commentaries.  Tell the examiner to click on the text icon in the top right hand corner to see the notes you have written.

Or this one?


Or collages.

  • – be careful though as you have to save the URL as you are editing it so that you can revisit it and edit it again. – as above.


WELL DONE!  You are nearly there and you have all been working incredibly hard. The videos and drafts of the Digipaks/Adverts are looking good.  Mr Gregson and I know that it is a stressful time of year and a lot is being asked of you.  If we have been nagging and chasing you, it is only that we want you to complete your products in good time so that further stress is not stockpiled for later in the year.  It may be that you will need to be spending lunchtimes and after school this week just making sure it is all done and dusted – you all deserve a good break.

However, you must get all your products completed by Friday.  That means ON YOUR HOME PAGE there will be:


On the final two days of term, you can make sure you  have documents, screen shots etc loaded onto your drive so that you can catch up on blogging over Xmas.  We will not be setting you an essay, but expect the blog to be more or less up to date before the start of next term.


We will be working on the 4 Evaluation questions, that are detailed and involved so there will be no time to return to blogging in class. It is in your own best interests to get as much of it up to date before then.

The other issue you must be aware of, is that after January we will be moving to Room 73 as the desktops are to be used by other students, so there really will be no more opportunity to use the Adobe creative suite.



DP Backgrounds – be creative – get out and take shots!

click to open a file with all kinds of backgrounds that I took at home last night. As black canvases they are not particularly exciting but take them into photoshop and play with the filters and liquify and you could end up having some really funky backgrounds for your Digipak.

You have to get some shots in – experiment and look for angles, perspectives, textures and composition of random objects.



Mr Gregson has designed a 4 x pane Template for Indesign that includes a spine and the dimensions should be correct for our covers.  It is important that the final version fits into a Cover as the examiners are keen that you show how it will look as a completed product and photograph it accordingly.

The Template is in the P DRIVE.

Take a copy of it and save one for your own use.


Media Language

In part, Media Studies is the study of ‘media language’.

Any given media text (form) is a series of codes or signs which communicate meaning.

A sign, according to media language theory, is made up of two parts:

  1. A signifier. That is, ‘Something in a media text which carries meaning’.
  2. The signified. That is, ‘The meaning carried by that something’.

Your job as a media student it to identify the signifiers and analyse / argue what they signify.

Here’s Mr G explaining:

Here is slideshow which tries to explain – the last few slides give you an approach to your text.


Complete a detailed media language analysis of one of your media products.

You should use this document to help you cover the key ideas.


Here is an example essay

Contact Sheets

How To:

Make sure ALL of your photos are in your project folder in the D Drive.

  1. Open Photoshop & Your Blog
  2. Go to File>Automate
  3. Select Contact II
  4. Choose the Folder where the images are
  5. Select how many rows and columns for you contact sheet 4×6 is OK, but depends on the number of photos.
  6. Export as a PDF & Jpeg and upload to your blog.
  7. Below the contact sheet – put the image(s) that you are going to use in your design

Peer assessment sheets for feedback on video and DP/Advert

These are to help you get feedback on your media products. You should seek out 3-5 people with some media knowledge (students in other classes are fine). Make sure they record the feedback in the YouTube for the video. For the digipack a few comments on the areas in the list.

These will be useful for Draft 4 of the Music Video and for your Draft 1 DP/Advert.

Remember, to be reflective, evaluate your progress, include terms and refer to theories as and when appropriate.

Digipak templates + PMA (Production Meeting Agenda) + Risk Assessment

This week you should be planning, executing and producing your Digipak.  Make sure your planning is precise and comprehensive. All planning documents should be uploaded to the blog. You will have to organise your group, models and performers. Remember you have fewer lessons this week so you need to work in a focused manner.

Attached to this post are links to shot lists, agendas and digipak templates.

You should also use Adobe Indesign to create your templates. You can choose one from the list.

Use Photoshop to amend, edit and manipulate your photos and Indesign to construct the actual Digipak.

You must also include your contact sheets in the blog and give an overview of which shots you finally choose and why. Make copies of the PMA and RA sheets.

Production Meetings Agenda

Risk Assessment

4 Pane

4 Pane

Front Cover

Back Cover + Folds

Inlay Behind CD

Inlay Front

These links may be helpful in setting up the templates so that your work is the correct size in photoshop.–Using-our-Templates-with-Adobe-Photoshop

Digital Mock up + Feedback from target audience

You need to create a digital ‘PHOTO MOCK UP‘.

For this exercise you can borrow images.

It is this version that will need feedback.

Exemplars here and here.

  • Place the BORROWED photos in a clear CD cover and take photos of how it looks. You will need to collect filmed feedback on it from your class.  Remember, you are asking them for their preferred reading, do they recognise the genre, what is the star image of the performer, what is encoded in the design?  You could ask a focus group to decide which adjectives best describe the performer, band in terms of the star image communicated by the DP? Ask them to choose a genre that it conveys and give them a list of possibilities.

We will be moving on to Production Meeting Agendas, Risk Assessment and first shoots very shortly so make sure you have caught up on all your Music Video posts.

Ideas – inspiration – photo albums that might spark an idea!

This website has lots of ideas from artists and media makers around the world. It might just offer you some inspiration for your MES – remember simple but meaningful use of MES could make all the difference: some broken plates, antique books, a bright red balloon, tattered armchair, sleek hair do, interesting window frame, bright red lipstick, beaten up car etc.

However, be careful not to over stretch yourself. Look at previous student’s work and see what is likely and possible. You may have to ‘cut your cloth’ (plan one’s aims and activities in line with one’s resources and circumstances) and do something simple and brilliantly as opposed to attempt something spectacular but badly.

Here are some links to some specific pages that could whet your appetite:

Continue reading

Digipak analysis – conventions

We now need to have a look at how digipaks and adverts are designed to work alongside videos to support the promotion of a new album.

Consider digipak covers. What do they have in common? What are the conventions?

Here are our notes on the conventions of a digipak. Read them when you get stuck.

Now you must find a digipak cover from the same genre as your music video and annotate it for the design conventions. This must be uploaded to your blog. Make it detailed and use the terms from the sheets below. If you can find the back of it too, that would be great for some of the technical conventions i.e. barcode, publisher logo etc.

Here is an example analysis

You should focus on: images, graphics, illustrations, font, colour, technical conventions (barcode, parental advisory, album title on spine, tracks on the back), register of copy, mise-en-scene, composition, intertextual references, how does the cover communicate meaning, denotations and connotations, image manipulation, filters, generic conventions, how can it be ‘read/interpreted’ by an audience, star image, metanarrative, representation?

This is a textual analysis – decode it!  Use connectives like connote, infer, imply, represent. This is another way MEDIA LANGUAGE is used to communicate an idea, message, image etc.

In the introduction to the blog post we want you to do a bullet point list of the conventional and technical features that are common to digipaks too – include the spine, inside covers and back cover – what is commonly featured? Bar code?  Parental advisory?  Name of the album and performer on the spine?  Song list on the back? etc

Draft 2 for Friday – last minute advice

Remember, by Friday we would like a draft on your blog that has both narrative and performance in so that we can give you some detailed feedback.

You can carry on filming over half term for any missing shots you know you have but once we are back after half-term, all lessons will be devoted to the Digipak and Advert design. You can keep editing, fine tuning and do any last minute pick-up shots but it will all have to be in your own time.  You also have all day on the Monday 30th October as this is an INSET day and the rooms will be open for you to edit. You may have to negotiate terminals with other groups.

We will also  be doing many of the essays next term so you need to clear the decks. One of the essays is being set this week.

We are harrying you for your own good. The light, the weather and the motivation will quickly disappear next half term. It is in your own interests that you work your socks off this week to break the back of the filming and editing. It will also mean that there is a draft video on your blog that we could enter for moderation if you then broke your arm!

Good luck. We know you can do it.
Mr G and Mrs C

Representation Essay

‘With examples, discuss the central figures in one of your media products and consider how they are represented in the text.’

Use must use the essay template and use the theory booklet.

Remember you are A2 students so need to reflect, analyse and argue, not just regurgitate theories; apply them to specific examples in your media product.

Some help with the theorists for this essay:

Barthes Summary by Mr G
Dyer summary by Mrs C

Click to view

Hall Summary by Mr G

Some More Help

What is representation and what general approach should I take?

Here is some example extracts from previous students’ essays