Digital Media

profileNuty Chaves


I need a 350 word meaningful comment on the following notes. I am attaching all of the necessary information, but you should add other article to support your poit of view.





Questions to consider answering via your initial discussion post

How is conducting a textual analysis for still images different than conducting a textual analysis of moving images? 

Lawton & Cortes (2010) ask “In what respects to the new media require different, maybe unique approaches to and skills of media literacy?” (p. 57).   How would you answer this question?  Your argument should include a definition of media literacy. 

How would you explain semiotics to a friend or family member?  Provide original examples in your response. 



By the end of week 2, you should be able to:

   identify methods for conducting "micro" textual analysis for still images

   identify methods for conducting "micro" textual analysis for still images

   identify approaches to critical media literacy for time and space based texts

identify conceptual models for deconstructing contemporary media forms.



Media studies: The basics (p. 34-61)
I. Media language: still image analysis

1.     Media language describes the combination of written, verbal, non-verbal, aural and aesthetic communication and its instantaneous connection to meaning.
i. Task of media student: deconstruct
ii. Semiotics: the study of signs; branch of Structuralism

a. Signifier
b. Signified
c. Connotation

2.     Iconic signs

i. Have a direct resemblance to what they represent in the ‘real world’

C. Symbolic signs
i. Have a completely arbitrary cultural connection to what they represent
ii. Could be changed or swapped around if everyone agreed because they are just

symbols for the concepts they signify

D. Indexical signs
i. Have some kind of indirect or suggestive relationship to what they represent

E. Photograph at Nou Camp stadium, Barcelona

      i.         Why take a photograph in front of this sign?

a. Attempt to preserve a moment
b. Trip requires recording as special occasion
c. Sense of pilgrimage to a ‘Mecca’ of the sport

    ii.         Why does a boy from Birmingham want to wear the Barcelona kit? a. Holiday souvenir

b. Connotations the kit carries – skill, winning trophies, glamour, very expensive player

c. Barcelona is set up as a more global brand by the sponsor

  iii.         What’s the meaning of the hat?
a. From Cuba, signifying the revolution

b. A boy from Birmingham, hat from Cuba, worn in Barcelona – carries meanings about global culture and postmodern signification


iv. What’s the meaning of ‘Més que un club’?

1.     Barcelona’s motto and carries connotations of Catalan identity that set the

club apart from the rest of Spain and the world

2.     Subcultural tensions

3.     Boy will understand the global meaning of ‘Barca’ as ‘more than a club’

4.     Meanings of Barcelona football club are ‘multilayered’

5.     Contemporary application of Barthes’ influential semiotic analysis of


6.     Semiotics helps us to look at what things represent symbolically, but only if we let them, only if we agree on their connotations in a coherent system of discourse and myth.

II. Media language: moving image analysis

1.     When deconstructing moving image texts, the key elements are camera, editing, sound, and mise en scène

2.     Camera
i. Choice of shot (long shot, ‘point of view’ shot

ii. Angles
iii. Camera movement
iv. Understanding the conventions of media texts and the degree to which, at the

‘micro’ level, particular texts reinforce or challenge/subvert conventions is a fundamental part of close reading.

3.     Editing
i. Often intended to seem ‘invisible’

ii. The meaning of moving images often resides in the connections and relations between shots, rather than in separate shots themselves.

iii. Symbolic layers are added by making choices about rhythm and pace.
iv. Persuasion is critical; the ‘grammar of the edit’ has the intention of trying to

influence our view of the sequence of events and what they mean. v. Ellipsis describes the process of removing parts of the story.

vi. Dialectical montage: the simple, everyday process of combining two shots to construct meaning

4.     Sound
i. Sound provides anchorage.

ii. Sound provides either contrast or flow.
iii. Diegetic sound describes sound that originates from within the narrative.
iv. Non-diegetic sound is a sound that is not part of the narrative – such as background

music – that is added just for the audience, to help convey meaning.


E. Mise en scène
i. Refers to the overall atmosphere/ambience of a scene

ii. Achieved through a combination of elements: costume, lighting, props, sound and the performance of actors (as well as the casting)

iii. These micro elements add up to the construction of verisimilitude – a logical sense of ‘realism’ that we accept when viewing a moving image text.

iv. Generic realism adopts the conventions for the genre that we have come to accept. v. Cultural, or social realism, attempts to convince us that it is an authentic

representation of the existing social world, whether fictional or not. vi. The active audience makes the meaning.

vii. There is always a range of ways in which elements of a text may be interpreted; this plurality of meaning is called polysemy.

III. Film studies

1.     Villarejo: “Cinema’s dynamism...reveals its dimensions...deeply social, historical, industrial, technological, philosophical, political, aesthetic, psychological, personal and so cinema.”

2.     Macro vs. micro – Villarejo is describing what the ‘micro’ close readings of film texts will add up to in terms of how we can analyze films in relation to life and society.

3.     Genre, auteur, star, spectatorship

                        i.         Spectatorship

1.     How we receive films in the contexts of our social and political lives, how we attribute value to some films and not others and why

2.     Films are analyzed as products with four life stages – production, distribution, exhibition and reception.

3.     Theories of spectatorship look at ways in which the way we view films is institutionalized, generic and informed by marketing and promotion.

                      ii.         Genre

1.     A category of media text that comes to be recognizable through its


2.     Branston and Stafford: “Genres are seen no longer as

sets...repeated...innovated...’repertoires of elements’ on both sides...audience familiarity...audience looks forward to play within these stabilities.”

4.     Auteur theory

                        i.         This is the part of Media/Film Studies that is closest to English literature in approach

to texts.

                      ii.         Michael Winterbottom


1.     His works share an interest in blurring the boundaries between real events and fiction which is a defining principle of postmodern media.

2.     All of his films deliberately mess around with the boundary between ‘suspending disbelief’, reality and the obviously artificial.

3.     No attempt is made in any of his film or TV texts to disguise the mixing of styles and the deliberate lack of any one, stable version of ‘the real’.

  iii.         Wong Kar Wai
a. Labeled a ‘postmodern auteur’

b. His films deal with the ways that the context of the changing nature of Hong Kong impacts on people’s lives and in particular he pays attention to time, memory and space, more postmodern themes.

c. Wright: “Spectators must fully experience...continual...dependent on the context...metaphor for the characters...represents...sense of detachment...endless array of possible scenarios...unraveling and reconfiguring of spatio-temporal constrictions.”

d. Media student will be most concerned with the instances where the same film can be viewed as an ‘auteur film’ or as part of a film genre, movement or style.

   iv.         Andrea Arnold

                       1.         Her work is sometimes assessed as a unique body of work and sometimes as

an example of contemporary ‘social realism’.

                       2.         Very resistant to the idea of ‘social realism’ and connections that have been

made to other ‘auteurs’

                       3.         Compared to Shane Meadows – an auteur associated with both social

realism and also a ‘neo-realist’ style

     v.         Bollywood

                       1.         The study of Bollywood has tended to focus on stars, genre hybridity and

fandom/spectatorship – a more ‘sociological’ approach.

                       2.         The desire for Western academics to understand Bollywood/Indian cinema

as an alternative to Hollywood and European cinema has, it is suggested, concealed the auteurism of directors in India.

E. Star theory

      i.         More often than not, a film features stars with identifiable semiotic meanings in

their own rights, an auteur director with a repertoire of elements in their oeuvre and a set of clear genre expectations that are met or subverted to greater or lesser degrees.

    ii.         Star theory is most closely associated with the work of Richard Dyer.

  iii.         A ‘star’ has a range of meanings.

   iv.         Stardom is a social phenomenon in which people come to carry meanings way

beyond their ‘real’ labor as actors.


v. Kallioniemi: “The role...magnitude of the star...different media networks...important to pose...’spectacle of the popular’...cultural and social expansion?”

IV. Representation

1.     Buckingham: “The of the founding education...transparent ‘window’...mediated it.”

2.     Representation is the sum of various ‘micro’ parts and relates to broader theories of collective identity, cultivation and ideology.

3.     Hall: “Meaning is...symbolization...meaning is produced.”

4.     Bragg: “Establishing space...imagine a Britishness...understanding how and why...British identity...encompass such diversity.”

    V.         Narrative

                       1.         ‘Unpacks’ the ways that texts organize events

                       2.         Conventional ways of telling stories cross over from one form to another in a process of ‘remediation’.

                       3.         Classical narrative tends to be based on cause and effect and an underlying structure of meaning that is highly conventional but in no way natural or inevitable.

                       4.         The analysis of ‘voice’ and how this situates the viewer is important in narrative theory.

                       5.         Branston and Stafford: “Narrative theory...whatever media...certain features...’tell’ stories in different ways...different media and technologies...who use and enjoy them.”

                       6.         Videogames – reliant on the player progressing; narrative is only realized through the play actions of the audience and every narrative is unique to the gameplay enacted by the user

  VI.         Narratology/ludology

                       1.         A ‘narratologist’ will see games as extensions of other forms of media, as spatial stories.

                       2.         A ‘ludologist’ will see the simulation element of games as fundamental.

                       3.         Burn and Parker – ‘narrative multimodality’

i. Three interdependent modalities that game narratives establish

a. Naturalistic modality – how the bits we control blend with those we don’t b. Technological modality – how we come to control the game


c. Sensory modality – the way we believe that we are in the game, our sense of ‘flow’

4.     Frasca: “The storytelling model...inaccurate...limits our understanding...ability to create...traditional media...representation...alternative semiotical structure...simulations and narratives...common elements...mechanics are essentially different.”

5.     ‘Narratologists’ think that games hsare narrative principles with older forms of linear media.

6.     Ludologists argue that the game player is doing something fundamentally different to the film viewer or novel reader.

7.     Dovey and Kennedy: “Meaning generated...reading...encounter with the text...generate allows us...playing out these roles...avatar...gameplay...entry in to the game world.”

VII.         Time and space

                       1.         C. Bazalgette distinguishes between time-based and space-based texts.

                       2.         Lawton and Cortes attempt a ‘taxonomy of web-based media’ with five categories: web- based traditional media; reference media; social networking media; gaming; interpersonal communication.

                       3.         Lawton and Cortes: “In what respects...traditional mass media require different...skills of media literacy?”

                       4.         Prensky is concerned with ways in which Media Studies tends to focus on nouns, rather than verbs. (Nouns change but verbs are constant.)

VIII.         New concepts

                       1.         Lister: “The notion...shifts...subjectivity...advent of digital...diverse...little agreement...historical and technoculture.”

                       2.         Playback is about the status of the text as in circulation, its meaning never fixed because its audience is an intrinsic part of the text.

                       3.         Frivolity is what we find when we spend more time doing ethnographic work with media users (such as game players) to find out how they are really thinking about the ideological elements at work in an event such as Grand Theft Auto – rarely do they take a serious view of this, more often they are ‘playing’ with the meanings set up by the game.


4.     Discourse describes ways of writing, talking and thinking about culture that tend to become conventional and it would appear that there is an important ‘remix discourse’ developing on YouTube that might need a new academic approach to understand it – representation and audience might not capture it.

5.     Diegesis, a concept that is part of the classic inventory of the critical media student, needs to be more prominent – where does the textual world being and end, or does it?

6.     Whether we need these new concepts depends on whether we consider new media technologies to be reconfiguring cultural practices significantly enough and, more importantly perhaps, whether we decide that these ‘new media’ are really a transformation of media as opposed to a reorientation of ‘old media’


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