Evaluation Question 1 – Conventions

‘In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?’

This evaluation question must be done individually!


  1. A collage of nine images from three professional music videos of the same genre (to include your own performer if possible) + brief explanation of how that example is conventional compared with nine images from your own video:  comparing it with the conventional features identified from the professional texts.
    1. Images should illustrate the convention of the genre and the form (technical conventions) i.e. urban feel, breaking the 4th wall, close up on performance, generically typical themes, expressionist visual style…
  2. A comparative collage of print materials (DP and Advert); using call outs (text boxes & arrows) identifying  conventional design and generic features and including an explanation on how these features were used (or not) in your own texts.

Video Collages

In your collage of conventions and forms from music videos. You could consider some of the following conventional features to use in your analysis of the professional texts and then your own:
  • images that shows a link between themes in the music and how they are amplified / illustrated in the visuals
  • images that represent a generically (un)conventional star image
    • images that represent your artist as ordinary / extraordinary
  • images that demonstrates conventional use of camera
  • images that demonstrates conventional use of lighting / colour
  • images that demonstrates generic mise-en-scene
  • images that show an (un)conventional use of narrative
  • images that show you’ve drawn  inspiration from other music videos & media texts
  • (words in bold italics could form some of your sub headings for analysis and comments)
  • FORMS – those technical conventions of lip syncing, editing to the beat, repeatability, narrative/performance ratio/ type of narrative

Number the images in the collage and then beneath or between write a brief (1-2 sentences) comment explaining what the conventional features are:

You should use at least three professional videos to draw examples from:

This is one layout with a separate commentary but is more complicated to navigate.

Ev q 1 video ev q 1 x 2

This layout is easier for the examiner to read.

adam ev q 1

This is an alternative version done in slides:


Refer to your analysis of the conventions of a digipak and advert as research for this section.

In your collage of the digipack and poster you should consider the following generic & design conventions for the FRONT and BACK covers:

  • how do the images scheme reflect the genre of music?
    • rules of composition
    • filters / images adjustment
    • colour scheme
    • design of mise-en-scene / art work
  • how is the layout / DTP conventional for digipacks and adverts?
    • typeface selection & size
    • designed elements
    • type size
    • spacing
    • relationship between image and copy
    • Forms: those general technical conventions i.e. tracks, publisher, copywrite, album name, performer name, image, advert image from DP.
You should use a digipack and poster from the same album and same performer or similar one of the same genre, and draw out the relationships between the two products:

ev q 1

adam dp

Top Tips & More Help

Here is a link to a document on conventions broadly and some conventional features of some genres.

Aim to include as much terminology as possible and some theorists, where applicable.


Some of the concept / micro terms you should include…remember to use the terms related to Genre:

conventional, generic, typical, usual, frequent, unusual, subvert, unconventional, challenged, used, applied, developed, manipulated, exaggerated, amplified, increased, augmented,  + repertoire of elements, genre, blueprint, contract, ingredients, star image, audience expectations, paradox of the star, ordinary, extraordinary, semic codes, cultural codes, symbolic codes, mise-en-scene, camera, lighting, font, integration of copy and images, shot distances, composition, editing, camera movement, narrative structure, disjunctive/amplified narratives, character types…

You should also regularly use ‘analysis words’ such as…

…represents, implies, suggests, connotes, reflects, signifies, emphasises, highlights, underlines, illustrates, shows, contributes to…

And always have…

apply, develop, challenge or synonyms such as extend, subvert, amplify, exaggerate, increase, improve, extend, copy, contrast, contradict…

Revisit your concepts and theorists (particularly ‘Altman’  but also ‘Hall’ , ‘Barthes’ and ‘Dyer’ for more buzz words and read their handouts for ideas.

Remember to answer the question on every example. So, how was this an example of the convention? A development of convention? A deliberate subversion / rejection of the convention?

Brainstorming Task

What is conventional about your music video as a form of media? And what isn’t? What did you ‘use, develop, challenge?’ 

What is conventional about your genre of music video? And what isn’t? What did you ‘use, develop, challenge?’

Conventions of a magazine advert for album

You need to annotate an advert for a digipak from your performer or a similar artist from your genre.  Find the advert for the DP that you annotated if you can, if not find another advert that has a DP cover that you can include in your annotation to highlight the similarities. Whatever happens, the advert should be for your Genre/Performer.  Deconstruct it for meaning – why colours, fonts, composition, images, register have been used in the way they have. Some of the DP analysis were not particularly detailed enough as textual analysis so take this chance to show the examiner that you can decode, read and understand how media language is used in print texts.


Conventions of a Magazine Ad for an Album


  • A = Attention – does it catch up eye, stand out, stop you flicking through the pages?
  • I = Interest – now that it has caught your eye, does it make you want to find out more?
  • D = Desire – the purpose of all advertising is to make you WANT/DESIRE something – does the advert make you want to buy the album?
  • A = Action – does the advert tell you what you have to do to buy, download, stream engage with the product – part with your money?
Labelled Magazine Ad – Example

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

Genre (1b Concepts) Research

Genre is simultaneously an act of similarity and difference.

Two of the theorists you should understand and be able to quote, apply and analyse for the Concepts 1b section of the exam are Lacey and Altman (Page 13/14 of the Theory Booklet). You may get a question on genre and how one of the products was ‘generic’ i.e. it followed set patterns, conventions and ideas to fit the genre of music in order to appease its fans.

Lacey’s ‘Repertoire of Elements’ (recipe of ingredients) contribute towards the following ideas of how genre is classified according to Altman.

  • Blueprint 
  • Label 
  • Contract 
  • Structure

TASK (this is collaborative so you can submit the same document but you all have to equally contribute).

Create a Slideshow with a voice-over or a Voicethread focusing on the Repertoire of Elements necessary for your particular band /artist to be generically conventional.   You could also use Screencastify to record your narration. You can then embed it in your blog. You should also mention print design.  You can probably already use a lot of your ideas from your song pitch but be careful not to just copy this but instead use it as a foundation for exploring the genre of your song and how this will impact on the video and the digipak design.

Some of the suggested areas to cover are on the sheet provided but you should consider too: iconography, camera and editing, sound, narrative, star image, performance and Digipak designs.

Find generically similar artists.

  • Discuss who they are, what do they wear, how do they style themselves, where do they perform, who are their fans, how are their digipaks / videos similar, what common features are there in their music videos (fast paced editing, hand held camera, filters, locations, authentic/live performances, produced performances etc). Use your performer too in amongst the analysis.

Ensure you get the following terms in to your PRESENTATION and also your introduction and reflect on the value of the task in the blog:  

  • Repertoire of elements
  • Conventions
  • Blueprint
  • Predictable pleasure
  • Contract
  • Label
  • Target audience

Consider ‘genre’ as you produce your video and it will be so much easier to talk about if it comes up in the exam in Section 1b. 

This is an exemplar from last year: look for Genre Analysis in the Music Video category

Victoria Sponge! One way of remember what ‘genre’ is all about.

MV – Conventions and detailed contents analysis

Here’s a music video we’re going to complete a close analysis of, Katy Perry – Chained to the Rhythm:

You should type  up that analysis and embed it into the post called Close Analysis of Music Video.

Here is a blank version of the form you can use.

To supplement this, you must do your own close analysis. Choose another video from the list suggested and use the sheet attached (make your own copy) and do your own analysis.

This work is important as it shows that you are able to deconstruct the narrative, performance, star image and generic & technical conventions of a music video. This will help inform your own production ideas and help prepare you for the exam by starting to use all the terms that you need.


Radiohead – Just

Kodaline – Love Like This

Lana del Rey – Born to Die

Muse – Time is Running Out

Taylor Swift – Wildest Dreams

Christina Aguilera – Say Something

Foo Fighters – Pretender

MV – Music Video Playlist + Contents Analysis/Narrative

Study, reflect, consider, enjoy, be inspired:

This week we’re going to be watching most of the videos from this playlist. They were carefully chosen because as they illustrate many of the conventions typical of this media form.

You need to study these videos carefully so that you understand the following:

  • The media form
  • Technical conventions
  • Features typical to the genre of music.
  • Narrative conventions and structures.

You must be understand these things in order to be able the develop and devise videos of your own video and knowingly use, challenge or subvert conventional features.

Complete this form and make a copy yourself and then save as a PDF and upload to your blog.

It is your first piece of coursework so do it well!

Narrative presentation.

Here are some other suggestions but try and get a range of genres and different narrative/performance ratios.

Narrative Only

Performance Only

Performance and Narrative (disjunctive)

Narrative Only

Narrative and Performance

Performance and Narrative