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Codes and Conventions

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Rebecca Rose

on 23 November 2014

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Transcript of Codes and Conventions

Codes and Conventions
What are codes?
Codes are systems of signs, which create meaning to a media product. Codes can be divided into two categories – technical and symbolic.

Technical codes
are used to suggest meaning through the use of technology. For example, the use of camera angles can convey different emotions or add an element of curiosity. The use of lighting, more or less of it can create different moods, and feeling for the audience, the use of low lighting can cause the audience to feel anxious, as the visibility is minimal.

Symbolic codes
suggest meaning through the choice of content. What is included within the media product that we see. For example the presenters facial expressions when presenting a serious news piece, or an army field reporters outfit.

What are conventions?
When producers and audiences have particular ways of doing things, these are called conventions. They are usually things that are regularly used and become a normal and accepted. For example the new being presented formally behind a desk. However sometimes things can defy the standard convention that are used by media producers. An example of this was when channel 5 news showed the presenter walking around the studio and sitting on the edge of a desk.
Studio News Readers
A
studio news reader
also known as a news presenter, news anchor or newscaster - is a person who presents the news during a news programme on the TV or radio.
Observational
Observational
documentaries are simply those that observe, allowing viewers to reach whatever conclusions they may deduce. This format uses the observations of a camera which doesn't attract attention. It just observes to show the subject in everyday life. Documentary maker usually follow a subject to observe the events that happen. The equipment used can be informal, such as the use of hand-held cameras as capturing, for example, someones everyday life, it isn't always possible to have a camera crew constantly following a subject.
There is usually no interviews or voice overs included and the editing is minimal.


Reflexive
A reflexive documentary shows the production side of making a documentary as well as the actual factual content. Within these sorts of documentaries the film maker acknowledges their presence in front of the camera, whilst also providing a narrative to the documentary.
Expository
Expository
documentaries speak directly to the viewer, often presented through verbal commentary from an invisible voice-over narrator, while images provide the evidence.
This is most associated with documentaries in general.

The intention of these types of documentries is that the voice over uses the images on screen to provide the evidence, then they provide a more detailed description of what is happening.

Field Reporters
A
field reporter
also known as a correspondent or on-the-scene reporter - is a journalist that isn't based in one location, like a 'studio news reader'. Their job is to get up and close to a story, by reporting from the location in which a story is or has taken place.

In most cases they find eye witnesses or people to hear different the perspectives. This can create a better report on a news story as the audience can a clearer image on what is actually happening.

Understanding codes and conventions of factual programming for television

They are the studio news readers, because they present and deliver the main parts of the news within the main studio.
Definition - Newsreader is someone who reads out broadcast news bulletin
Usual dress more casual, or suitable to the location they are in.
Links To Studio
Mode of Address to Viewer
Mode of address
to viewer is the style in which the news reporter presents the news to the viewer(s). For instance news programmes such as BBC news and Sky news are very formal in the way they deliver and structure the news. Where as other news programmes for instance E! news and channel 5 news are more casual and informal, which allows them to engage the younger audience. They may be more likely to sit on the edge of the desk instead of behind one, and perhaps present with a more upbeat friendly tone and facial expression.
A
Links To Studio
is used when a field reporter is reporting from a location and is linked with the studio where the main news programmes is presented. This can sometimes be shown with the field reporter talking to the studio new reader, in situations such as an event that maybe occuring/unfolding whilest it being reported, for example a political agreement.
Another example of a link to studio is when a main news programme links to a localised programme. For example when the main news is shown across the country, and is then linked with the local news, "now the news where you are" this provides news which is particular to a specific locations, basing the audience on their regional identity.
Interviewing
An
expert
is a reliable source that has had the experience/education in a particular field and can provide the established facts about the relevant topic.
An interview is a conversation between two or more people where questions are asked by the interviewer to find out fact and/ or statements from the interviewee.
Experts and Witnesses
Witnesses
have seen and observed first hand what really happened and can provide information within the news to strengthen a story with the different points of view from each witness.
Report Structure
Report structure
is an important thing when making factual programmes such as the news. It is designed to make it more effective to the audience, by balancing and laying out the different story's and bulletins in the right way which can allow the audience to gain all the information they need and ensuring the news piece is effective. An example of this is when they open the news with the headline and include the most important news first. Once the main information is addressed they then follow with other structure features such as interviews or a cut away ect. to develop the information further.
In news programmes, interviews usually involve asking people things that may build a bigger picture for the audience. Interviews can be with members of the public carried out by field reporters. They can also be with guests in the studio and interviewed by the studio news reader.
PTC: Piece To Camera
Facts and Stats
C/A: Cut Away’s
V/O: Voice Over
I/V: Interview
Vox Pops: Voice of the People

Techniques used in a report:
Actuality Footage
Actuality footage
is unscripted footage, that shows and records real people in real life and not by actors. Actuality is the action and interaction that is unfolding in front of the camera lens at the time. The footage wouldn't be scripted or planned it is simply footage that show it how it is. Almost all of the footage used for news programs is actuality footage, as you cant script the news.
Documentary Formats
Documentary
Documentary Formats
Interactive
Interactive
, also known as the participatory mode is a documentary format that uses interaction between filmmaker and subjects. These documentaries usually take the form of a series of interviews, for instance, getting a number people talking about a topic, sharing their views and experiences. The film-maker actively engages with the situation they are documenting, asking questions on the specific subject. These types of documentaries rely almost entirely on subject interaction/participation.
An example of a documentary which is made in this format is A Brief History Of Time. The film maker has used people explaining their own perspective and experiences about Stephen Hawkings.
.
Realism
Realism
in documentary contains all the different basics that make them realistic, this includes features such as actuality footage (which is actual film taken from a scene or event of a subject matter that is real), interviews with witnesses, experts and/or related people (who may have some involvement in the subject matter), documents, recorded phone discussions and photos.
Dramatisation
Dramatisation
in documentary is the reconstruction of an actual event in a form suitable for dramatic presentation. Some documentaries might dramatise an event to make it more interesting to engage the audience more. However in a lot of cases dramatisation in documentaries can be used to portray historical events. This is because in most cases when creating a documentary about something in the past, there may not enough/any material (actuality footage, photos, interviews, etc.) to make it into a realism documentary. So they reconstruct what they do know, and sometime including aspects of fiction.
Performative
Performative
documentaries highlight the subjective or expressive aspect of the filmmaker’s own involvement with a subject. These films reject objectivity and favour emotion. They are strongly personal, unconventional, and might include hypothetical enactments of events designed to make us experience what it might be like for us to possess a certain perspective on the world that is not our own.
One of the most famous filmmakers currently making films in this form is Michael Moore, who has made documentaries such as Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11.
Narrativisation
A
narrativisation
is a narrated documentary, that tells the story as it takes place on screen. Giving an event a narrative and structure allows the audience to develop an understandable meaning of what they see taking place. The narrator makes the events and situations easier to understand and describes whats going on in depth to the audience.
Documentary Formats
Documentary Formats
Documentary Formats
News
Examples of studio news reader:
Fiona Bruce
Huw Edwards
George Alagiah
Mark Austin
Sophie Long
Formal clothes, professional,
suit and tie.
Serious facial expression,
balanced, crucial for a
formal news reader
Behind a desk,
conveys formality
However
Studio news readers for an audience of
young people and children have different
codes and conventions, to those which have an
audience of older viewers.
Newsround for example words the news to engage the audience of children, using words that they understand.
Studio news reader
standing up, no desk,
less formal.
Outfit that is smart
casual, no suits of ties.
Dresses, jumpers, jeans, etc.
Friendly engaging
facial expression, direct
mode of address, which
is welcoming to a young
audience.
Studio news readers on BBC and ITV news etc. Have an audience of adults so they target the audience to suit an adults understanding.
• Historical
• Biographical
• Health
• Science
• Nature
• Environmental
• Music and more topics.
These types of documentries include voiceovers which narrate actuality footage.
An example of this styled documentary is
the film, The War Room which is political film that follows part of the 1992 Clinton campaign for president. It shows the footage for how it is.
Louis Theroux is a good example of a film maker who has made reflexive documentaries. He is known for his controversial method of reflexive film making, as he is in front of the camera and is a casual interviewer. Sometimes he takes part in the activities he is documenting, so he can get an inside look, but still remains slightly detached and impartial.
An example of a documentary which uses this is Louis Theroux Gambling in Las Vegas
Full transcript