All posts by Mrs C

Camera – framing, angle and distance all make meaning

In groups of @ 3, you must shoot 9 photographs using some of the techniques we have been experimenting this week. You should try and use a DSLR.

For example:

  • an extreme close up of a tear stained eyes could underline a character’s sadness and vulnerability.
  • an extreme long shot of a man standing alone on a deserted beach might portray his isolation and solitude.
  • a two shot of a two people, with one in the foreground looking away from the camera and the other slightly out of focus in the background could add an enigmatic, mysterious feel to the scene as well.

Remember to consider:

  • Angle – high, low, canted x 3
  • Distance – ECU, MS, LS, ELS x 3
  • Composition – rule of thirds, lead space and Depth of Field x 3

Each photo should then be uploaded to with the technical details of the photograph annotated (T), a description of the scene (E), some connectives for represent and what meaning is communicated (A) using appropriate adjectives.  TAKE A NOTE OF THE URL FOR YOUR OWN MOODBOARD ON GOBOARD.COM SO THAT YOU CAN EDIT IT LATER.

Remember to bring in facial expression, body language, proxemics and gesture to add weight to the narrative story your picture is trying to tell. What about MES to add even more weight to the meaning?  Try and get some special FX in too i.e. motion speed blur? is also good (this is the one that I have used) but you have to upload and comment and complete all at one go as it doesn’t seem you can return to it.

Use locations around the school (but be respectful and safe) i.e. from a high angle at the top of the stairs looking down at your subjects or a low angle looking up at your subject/frames/point of views, lead space looking whistfully out of a window at the sky?

Image result for close up of tear stained eye
The close up of the tear stained eyes conveys a sense of sadness and vulnerability of the model.
Image result for high angle shot of a small child
The high angle shot of the small children  helps represent their weakness by reinforcing their small stature. The composition using the rule of 3rds also draws attention to their isolation as they sit firmly in the middle of the shot surrounded by foliage and no other humans.
Image result for depth of field
The yellow snooker ball  is clearly the important object in this frame. Using depth of field, the other snooker ball is out of focus, present and yet not as important as the yellow one that signifying that the important focus of the photograph is the yellow number 1 ball.

Please click on the moodboard below to go a moodboard site to see how the comments on the meaning and composition of the shots have been compiled. Good luck. HAVE FUN!

Essential Rules of Composition

Good shots do not just rely on using the focal length and shutter speed well or even just getting something in focus.  You must always try and work out how and where to place  the objects/subjects in your frame so as to draw attention to the main focus of your ‘story’ (picture).


Remember, this is all about story telling so make sure the signs, symbols and messages you want to convey are placed and highlighted correctly in the frame.

There are a number of rules relating to formal composition:

  • The Rule of Thirds
  • Depth of Field
  • Contrast & Texture
  • Lead Room

These are rules which can be followed or subverted to effect in film making.


How to use a DSLR

When you come to take your photos for your Music Magazine, you need to take some excellent shots. Many of you will have up to date and advanced smart-phones which will take some great shots, but using a DSLR camera when you can implement depth of field and get excellent images by playing with shutter speed and aperture size, could mean your photos are much, much better.

Neither Mr Gregson or Mrs Cobb are specialist photography teachers. However, this is your chance to play around and experiment with the DSLR cameras after a short introduction to the very basic controls and functions available.

With your partner, experiment with aperture size, (which changes the focal length) and shutter speed in various lighting conditions (inside, outside, natural light etc) and with the flash and automatic and manual settings. Only by playing, making mistakes and learning by them will you be able to use a DSLR for your photo shoot.

Here is a very good video, which talks through and illustrates the three key parts of a DSLR that you need to experiment with:

  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture
  • ISO

Enjoy the time to play.

TV Drama Textual Analysis of Mise en Scene

Your Textual Analysis Essay.

Please answer the following question in 6 sentences of beautiful analysis. Each sentence should contain the following:

  1. A well described example (EXAMPLE) from the text, which uses media terminology (CLAMPS – TERM) to identify it.
  2. An analytical connective (see examples below – REPRESENTS, PORTRAYS, ENCODES, SUGGESTS ETC).
  3. Interesting and varied adjectives which describe the ideas (connotations) being communicated to the audience. THE ANALYSIS/SIGNIFICANCE TO THE QUESTION.

Analyse the ways in which mise-en-scene communicates the different life styles of the people living and working in Downton Abbey. (500 words max)

Here is the clip you should analyse:


You should use this document to help you make notes and structure your analysis.

Below is the presentation on we gave you on mise-en-scene. You should use this to remind you of the areas you should cover in mise-en-scene. It may also point you to ideas think about within in the sequence.

Here is a glossary of terms to help you identify and name the feature you wish to analyse.  Here are some useful adjectives and a reminder of some alternative connectives/active verbs to represent.

Please submit your essay via google classroom and adhere to the submission deadline.  All the resources you need are in google classroom including exemplar essays.

Contact Sheet – how to

Make sure ALL of your photos are in your Pictures Folders.

Open Adobe Bridge and Photoshop


  • Select the photos from the pictures folder
  • Tools – select Photoshop – select Contact Sheet


  • Contact Sheet should be displayed
  • Export as Quick Export PNG

Embed the Contact Sheet Full Size in your blog.



Designing your Music Star – MISE EN SCENE

Remember for this post on costuming and dressing a model for your allocated genre of music performer you should include the following 4 elements:


Explain how you were allocated a genre to research and what you found – refer to the moodboard findings.

Embed the moodboard with images of ideas for how a performer from your allocated genre could be represented in terms of costume, facial expressions, hair, make-up, body language, gestures, props etc. Use adjectives AND describe and pick out some of the most important MES conventions for the genre.

Add in some relevant adjectives as to how that genre is generally represented – edgy, anarchic, produced, synthetic, friendly etc. Use terms Mise En Scene, Genre and Star Image (how are they represented/presented to the audience). If you can get the term ‘CONVENTIONS’ in too that would be great – those expectations, commonalities of the genre.


You then used all the research and findings to dress, encode your model as a star from that genre. Include a draft photo with the ‘post-its’ from the class in your test outfit with the comments and adjectives that the class suggested as to how your character was represented.  Reflect on how you, as a producer, used all the conventions from the genre to encode your model with the appropriate MES and the audience decoded them correctly (or not).  Did they read the star image correctly? What were their responses? List and reflect.


Having decided on the conventional MES, you then went and carried out a photo shoot.  Embed ALL PHOTOS taken from the actual shoot with commentary on the good, the bad and the ugly and adjectives to describe them.  Follow the Contact sheet instructions in the post above or just place them on a google slide.

Reflect and annotate a few of them: blurry, out of focus, badly positioned, no facial expression, bad body language, bad framing etc.


Final and chosen photo of your artist in costume with a commentary on how they are represented/portrayed with plenty of relevant adjectives.

Reflect on how and why that image seems to work better than the other ones from the shoot.

Overall, reflect on the importance of using MES to convey meaning – tell a story – an image and an idea and HOW WILL THIS NOW IMPACT ON YOUR OWN PLANNING/RESEARCH FOR YOUR MAGAZINE PRODUCTION?

Tips for a Tip Top Blog

This is your chance to ‘nail’ 50% of your A Level grade. Don’t waste the chance to optimise a top grade by using your independent study time to ensure your blog is bootiful, up to date and reflective.

Here are some tips for a TIP TOP BLOG.

  1. Must be mobile friendly.
  2. Must be a ‘scrolling’ format.
  3. Posts should show in their entirety to avoid the examiner having to click open.
  4. Typeface should be easily read.
  5. Appearance should be ‘media’ focused i.e. not fishing, babies, animals etc.
  6. All evidence should be attached as PDFs, JPEGS or embedded and access checked for examiner.
  7. Never just embed a link – looks messy.
  8. All evidence should be available to be seen by the examiner so don’t include google docs.
  9. Make sure you keep the posts in order with the blog league – the journey makes chronological sense then.
  10. Do not be tempted to COPY anyone else’s blogs.  If you have worked on evidence, documents, presentations as a group then you can upload them. NEVER just copy other people’s reflections.
  11. Reflect – analyse. How does the post now help you with your own production decisions, ideas and progress?  Look back and look forward to how and where you are going.
  12. Get someone to proof your work – as a media student you should be keen to communicate and communication is about correct spelling, grammar and punctuation:
  13. Common mistakes:
    • ‘I’ not i
    • capital letters for names, places, titles
    • do not use slang such as geezer.
    • avoid words that say your work looks more professional, is nice, is more interesting; WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Be precise.
    • spellings of media words such as connotation, equilibrium etc
  14. Don’t write essays. Always present your reflections and analysis with bullet points, paragraphs and sub-headings to make it easy on the eye.
  15. Remember – A BLOG POST A DAY IS THE WAY TO AN ‘A’.



Reflections – how to

Read this document on how to create your Creative Critical Reflections for your blog posts.

Your first reflection is on your Media Collage.


Always look back and consider what you have learnt and how this knowledge and understanding could impact on your own magazine  production.

For example, understanding why and how people engage with media will impact on your own decision making process for your magazine. In other words, you will need to make your magazine entertaining, informing, full of opportunities to react with people and also will reinforce their personal identity.  If you only hit a couple of these Uses and Gratification, then you will be limiting your commercial return.  It needs to be ‘all singing and all ringing’.

You should also include TERMS and THEORY if you can so refer to Blumler and Katz and how their ideas will impact on your magazine design.

Setting up your BLOG

A big part of the Media Studies course is your blog. It’s the place where you record your learning in Media Studies and is worth 20% of your overall grade!

  • It is expected that you post to your blog when instructed by your teacher.
  • You should also blog about work you’ve done as part of your independent study.
  • You should be spending approx 2 hours each week maintaining and updating your blog.
  • We run a drop in during lunch every week to help you with your blog.

Starting your blog.

Right click here and ‘Open in new tab’.

1) Click on ‘Get a Blog’

  • Your username should be your name all lower case, no spaces e.g. ‘edgregson’
  • You must use your school e.mail account, e.g. ’’
  • Get it to ‘Give you a Site’

2) Then you will be asked to give your site a name.

  • Your user name should be formal e.g. Ed Gregson (Media Blog)
  • Select ‘Search Engine Blocked’
  • Prove you’re not a robot.

3) You will then have to check your school e.mail (not your g.mail)

You should get an e.mail which looks like this.
  • You should follow the activation link.

The link should take you to a web page, which looks like this.

4) Login

You should now receive a second e.mail with your username and password, which you should use to log in to your blog, using the link in the email:
  • Login (using the username & password provided).
  • Change your password in the dashboard (record the password somewhere).
  • Update your profile so it suits.
  • Start blogging.

5) Join the Class Blog

  • Click on the ‘My Class’ button in the top left corner, just below the Edublogs logo.
  • Click search for a class and search ‘mediastudies1820’
  • Send a request to join
  • A link to your blog will appear in the margin of the Media Studies AS blog, which your teachers and the examiner will use to access your blog.

Choose a mobile friendly theme and one that scrolls down so that you don’t have to open and close posts all the time.

6) Setting up your blog home page and menu items.

Please use this document to format your blog.

Blogging Help

Before asking a teacher for help with any aspect of your blog that you are stuck on please use the Edublogs ‘Help and Support’ page. Its accessible through the Edublogs logo in the top left hand corner of the screen.