English – N5 Media – Academic Year 2020/21

N5 Media – Academic Year 2020/21

Intro to Nat 5 Media

National 5 Media – Course Introduction


Please read over pages 2- 5 in the document below. This will give you an overview of what we will be learning in the National 5 Media course


There are 7 Key concepts in National 5 Media that we need to have a thorough knowledge of. These will help us in our analysis of our class text and will inform the planning, preoduction and evaluation of your own media product.

The seven key concepts are:

Categories Genre, purpose, tone, style
Language  medium/form specific technical codes, cultural codes, anchorage
Narrative  structures, codes and conventions
Representation stereotypes, non-stereotypes, cultural assumptions
Audiences target audience, preferred reading, differential decoding
Institutions  internal factors, external factors
Society  the time, place, facts, ideas, history, events, politics, economics or any other factor relevant to the society in which particular examples of media content are made, consumed or set.

The key concept of film language underpins eveything that we do. Without a thorough knowledge of this concept, you will struggle to make sense of the course. The next few weeks will be spent gaining a solid understanding of each element of film language. By the time you start your summer holidays, you should be able to identify every aspect of film language and explain their effect (how they make the audience think and feel).

Concept 1: Film Language

Here is an overview of the key elements of film language

  1. A) Use Of Camera

Distance shots

  • Establishing shot
  • Long Shot
  • Medium Shot
  • Close Up
  • Extreme Close Up
  • Point Of View
  • Over The Shoulder
  • Two Shot


  • Straight On
  • High Angle
  • Low Angle


  • Pan
  • Track
  • Tilt
  • Steadicam
  • Aerial
  • Hand held
  • Zoom


Read over and revise the following document

Intro to film language

Now watch the following trailer and identify as many distance shots/angles as you can. For each shot that you identify, explain what it makes us think/feel about the place, characters or events being represented:

Fast and Furious 9 Trailer #1 (2021) | Movieclips Trailers

  1. B) Mise En Scene

This vital element of film language is categorised as a cultural code (along with lighting and colour).

Mise en scene translates roughly as ‘put into shot’ and requires you to think about almost everything within the frame.

  • Setting
  • Props
  • Hair/Makeup
  • Facial Expressions/Body Language/Movement (Performance)
  • Lighting and Colour (High Key, Low Key, Back, Top, Under)
  • Positioning Within The Frame


Read over the following slideshow and attempt each task to check your knowledge and understanding

Film Language: Mise-En-Scene explanation and examples.

  1. C) Sound
  • Diagetic
  • Non-Diagetic
  • Parallel/Contrapuntal sound
  • Dialogue
  • Music
  • Sound Effects
  • On/Off Screen Sound
  • Sound Bridges


Raed over and revise the following slideshow

Film Language – sound


Sit back and watch the following clip (with headphones)

Film Sound Techniques and Theory


Choose a scene from a film that you enjoy (age appropriate please). Identify examples of diagetic and non-diagetic sound, then explain the impact of these examples of sound in terms of your enjoyment and understanding of the scene.

  1. D) Editing


  • (slow, medium or fast)


  • Straight Cut
  • Jump Cut
  • Fade
  • Wipe 
  • Dissolve
  • Zoom
  • Graphic Match


Read Over the following slideshow

film language – editing


Read Over this slideshow and attempt the tasks (click on the various links embedded and they will take you to clips on Youtube).

Film Language: Editing explanation examples and worksheets. 


Sit back and watch this video about editing

Cuts & Transitions 101


Watch the opening of ‘There Will Be Blood’ (a modern classic). Comment on the pacing of the editing and the impact it has on us an audience.

There Will Be Blood Opening Scene

Some Things To Think About

Film Language

Filmmakers use the term film language to mean everything they can use to deliver the story most effectively to the audience. This language includes:


  • cinematography/camerawork
  • mise en scene
  • sets, costumes and make-up
  • locations
  • lighting
  • casting
  • editing
  • music and sound


The essential elements of’ cinematography are lighting, cameras, and lenses. The way moving images are photographed is crucial in a film and the position of the camera is of key importance. For example, if a camera is looking down on Its subject its position is one of power. By manipulating camera angles the filmmaker can tell us a lot about the relationship between two characters looking at each other. The camera can also take on a characters point of view and allow the audience to identify with that particular person.

When choosing camera shots and lenses filmmakers have to decide what is more  important to bring across the desired meaning. Should the emphasis be on the expression of certain feelings or moods or on realism for that particular moment in the film?

 Mise en Scene

When we watch a film everything we see on screen is enclosed within a film frame. Sometimes it is as if we are looking through a window and a scene is passing naturally in front of our eyes. In fact, what we are looking at has been carefully arranged within that frame by the director of the film. The director chooses where to place people and objects within the frame in order to give us a particular point of view or understanding of what is going on in front of our eyes.‘ Mise en scene’ is a French term which refers to the arrangement of actors, props and action on a film set. It is used to describe everything that can be seen in a frame, the setting, lighting, visual composition, costumes and the action. The director controls the mise en scene and sets up the scene for the camera. The composition of the individual frame can strongly influence the way we understand a character’s behaviour. The setting, lighting, costumes and make-up etc. all contribute

to the meaning of ‘mise en scene’ and to our understanding of filmmaking. Every scene that we see on the screen could be filmed in a different way according to the meaning

the director wants to convey to the audience. The setting – this is much more than simply a container for the action and can greatly influence the meaning of a scene. The setting can evoke calmness, excitement or drabness which can reflect the emotions of the characters in a scene. Colours can also be used to give a certain feel to a scene.

Sets, Costume and Make-up

The overall appearance of’ characters in a film is extremely important for the way we see them. Costumes and make-up play an important role in providing information about characters, their motivations and their significance within the story. Characters are often dressed to underline their personality and mood, and this helps to explain why they act in a certain way. When choosing the costumes the filmmaker has to decide whether it is more important for the characters to look natural and realistic, or whether their significance can be better conveyed through a more stylized and exaggerated look.


The way a lighting director lights objects and characters on a set can greatly influence our understanding of a scene. Our attention can be guided by a brightly lit object, a gesture or facial expression important to the storyline, whilst keeping other details in darkness. An evenly lit room with few shadows can convey a feeling of calm and security, whereas highly contrasted light and shade can create fear or unease. Lighting can be used to create a sense of place, atmosphere and the state of mind of the character.


When films were first made, filmmakers set up their cameras and kept the film rolling taking one continuous shot of an event so the time it took for the action to really take place was the amount of time that the event was shown on screen. As cameras were developed to take more film, filmmakers realised that their audiences were becoming more sophisticated and experimented with putting together different scenes, editing

together strips of’ film showing different scenes. They saw that audiences did not need to be shown an event in real time’ consequently a technique of editing a film together began to emerge. Filmmakers could build up the narrative using different sequences not necessarily in chronological order.


What do we hear on the soundtrack of a film?

Voices, background conversation, voice-overs (thoughts, commentary, explanation) special effects, noises, music.

Sound effects are used to create a feeling of realism and they can also act as clues – we may hear a sound before we know where it is coming from. Sound can anticipate action or let us know that something important is about to happen.


Please spend the next few weeks revising the terminology for film language that you have been learning. You will need to have a thorough understanding of this concept  when you return in August


Week Commencing 25th May

National 5 Media – Film Openings Assignment