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Author Topic: SAC One: Narrative & Production/Narrative Elements  (Read 8415 times)  Share 

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xlaiyn

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SAC One: Narrative & Production/Narrative Elements
« on: December 18, 2013, 11:49:18 am »
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First up on the VCE Media course is the “Narrative” topic. It generally involves an overall examination of how different narratives are structured and organised in order to successfully engage their audiences. The majority of teachers usually pick two films for their students to study.

If you’re planning on submitting a short film as your SAT, keep a close eye on how the professionals do it, and take down a plethora of notes while you’re at it. As a consequence of narrative being a specialized area, there is topic-specific terminology that comes along with it. In order for you to be able to successfully and confidently discuss the way a narrative is organised and put together, you’ll have to become fairly familiar with various terms and phrases. I suggest making a poster and sticking it somewhere you’ll see it frequently (ie. your bedroom door, the toilet door etc.) or putting the terms on flash cards and testing yourself regularly.

Throughout the Narrative section of the course, you'll also be required to examine the relationships between texts and the various styles, techniques and genres they use or reference, the interrelationship that is formed between production elements and story elements in the organisation of fictional narratives in order to structure and communicate ideas and concepts, along with media terminology and language commonly associated with media studies and the media industry.

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On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse the nature and function of production and story elements in fictional media texts and discuss how combinations of these elements structure the narrative to engage an audience. - VCE Media Study Design

The SAC will usually either be a question asking how story/production elements illustrate a particular point of view or construct a particular character, or it will be a few questions enquiring about how some of the production elements work in order to create a particular setting and realise possibilities of the narrative, and so on.

If you're aiming for success in this SAC, ensure that you:
  • Know the texts or productions you are studying extremely well
  • Understand each story and production element, along with the relationships and differences between them
  • Are aware and able to recite particular examples in the production where these elements are used

With a little luck, my guide will help you to prepare for it!

Production Elements
You’ll be required to study how production elements contribute to narrative structure, and these include (in no particular order):

CAMERA
 -
This covers the focus, angles, distance of shots, the movements that the camera are making, and sometimes even involve the colour present in the shot. (e.g. The film utilized wide angled shots and panning shots to set the scene)
CAMERA TECHNIQUES
Throughout productions, the way in which the camera is moved and positioned makes a giant contribution to the storyline. The following are examples of common types of shots, angles and movements:

SHOT SIZE
This is referring to how far away the subject is positioned from the camera. In general, there are six basic shot sizes.
Shot size refers to how far away the camera is from a subject. There are six basic shot sizes. Descriptions and a video with examples are listed below:


Extreme Long Shot
There are usually used at the commencement of a scene in order to present where it will take place. Hence, these are often termed 'establishing shots'.

Long Shot
There is usually a great deal of the background present, and it is sometimes possible to discern individuals in the frame.

Full Shot
A full shot includes a character's presence from head to toe. These are usually used as a 'master shot', which show all of the action that is occurring.

Medium/Mid Shot
These is a common shot used when conversations are filmed. It is frequently included in film and television.

Close-up
A close up normally shows a character's face, and is frequently also incorporated when filming conversations.

Extreme Close-up
These shots are used to show details within the frame, such as eyes, lips, etc.

For further explanations and/or more information, check out these:
http://learnaboutfilm.com/film-language/picture/shotsize/
http://www.elementsofcinema.com/cinematography/shot-sizes.html
http://deepoceanstoryboards.wordpress.com/film-work-tutorials/framing/

CAMERA ANGLE
This refers to the angle at which the talent/subject is filmed. This can have a crucial effect on the audience.
A girl I'm subscribed to on Youtube has some fairly helpful tips on Camera Angles when you're filming a video, so if you're interested for your SAT or just curious, the video is below:


OVERSHOT -
This is when the camera is directly above the subject. It's usually for establishing shotes, in which the camera 'flies' over city streets.

HIGH ANGLE -
This is when the camera is above the subject, looking downwards. This makes the subject appear to be smaller, and is usually used to make them seem vulnerable and powerless.

EYE LEVEL -
This one is fairly straight forward - it's when the camera is at eye level (obviously), and is common in film and television.

LOW ANGLE -
This is when the camera is positioned below the eye level, and is angled upwards, giving the implication of dominance and power from the subject.

UNDERSHOT -
This is when the camera is positioned directly beneath the subject, and is angled upwards. These are often seen with POV shots, in which the character is looking up at something.

For further explanations and/or more information, check out these:
http://www.mediaknowall.com/camangles.html
http://portals.studentnet.edu.au/literacy/Minisites/SCEGGSDarlinghurstrevised/vliteracy/angles.htm

CAMERA MOVEMENT
Below are descriptions of different types of camera movements, along with a clip by Videomaker on Youtube that gives another perspective on various movements.


Dolly
A dolly is basically any moving platform to which the camera is mounted on. Professional crews usually lay down tracks for the camera to be moved along, or occasionally the camera is mounted on the back of a car. When producing a short film with friends for Media this year, I used my skateboard and a tripod. It sounds somewhat dodgy, but it worked!

Tracking Shot
This is when the camera follows a moving subject.

Pan
The camera is turned horizontally whilst (usually) having been mounted on a tripod.

Tilt
This is when the camera is tilted upwards or downwards.

Crane
The camera is (usually) mounted on a crane in order to achieve intriguingly dynamic overhead shots.

Handheld
This is when the camera is actually held, in order to achieve a realistic sense. (e.g The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity etc.)

Steadicam
This is a device that aides the camera operators in achieving a smooth, fluid camera movement.

Zoom
The lens of the camera is utilised in order to magnify the image.

For further explanations and/or more information, check out these:
http://www.videomaker.com/article/14221-camera-movement-techniques-tilt-pan-zoom-pedestal-dolly-and-truck
http://www.videomaker.com/article/10775-the-9-classic-camera-moves
http://www.mediacollege.com/video/shots/movement.html

ACTING
 -
Fairly simple, this basically covers the actor’s performance.

For a detailed explanation and/or more information, check out this:
http://lessonbucket.com/vce-media/units-3-4/narrative/acting/

MISE EN SCENE
 -
Mise En Scene basically covers everything visual within the frame. It is used purposefully throughout productions in order to contribute to the narrative. Try identifying a scene within the production you're studying. Watch the scene several times, and take note of how the use of lighting, costumes, props, colour and make-up make a direct contribution to the narrative's structure. Contrary to a rumour that I saw floating around these boards a few months ago, this does not include sound. (eg. What is the reaction of the audience in relation to the costumes, props, the set etc? Are there any connotations between those present and those that are implied?)

Also, make sure that you focus on the use of costumes, lighting, make up, props and colour within each scene and explain how these elements are contributing to the narrative when you're in your SAC. It's very important, as it's such a broad element!


For further explanations and/or more information, check out these:
http://www.elementsofcinema.com/directing/mise-en-scene.html
http://classes.yale.edu/film-analysis/htmfiles/mise-en-scene.htm
http://collegefilmandmediastudies.com/mise-en-scene-2/

EDITING
 -
The pace of the production, style, rhythm, placement and techniques. Basically, how everything has been put together to create the final product. Pay close attention to editing. Ask yourself why does the director choose to cut certain scenes, and when do they do that? Does the director have a particular technique they use, such as montage or jump cuts? What effect does this kind of editing have on the audience and how does it contribute to the narrative?

There is a multitude of terminology used when editing, or even when discussing editing. The majority of it is listed below:

Cross Cutting
This involves cutting back and forth between two events that are occurring simultaneously.

Cross Dissolve
When an image fades from one to another.

Cut
Basically a simple edit in which a shot is replaced by another shot.

Cut In
Within an edited sequence, a 'cut in' is when a shot shows part of the action occurring in detail.

Cut Away
Within an edited sequence, a 'cut away' is when a shot is edited so it is unrelated to the action.

Fade In
The screen starts off as black, and a shot gradually appears. This is often the case in the beginning of a sequence.

Fade Out
The image gradually fades to black. This is often the case at the end of a sequence.

Jump Cut
A cut between the two shots in which the camera position moves only slightly, yet the subject moves considerably, which gives them the appearance of jumping across the screen. This is incredibly common in Vlogs (ie. Charlieissocoollike, Anna Akana, Ray William Johnson etc.)

Match Cut
A cut or a dissolve between two images that are visually similar.

Montage
A short-ish sequence that shows the condensed progression of time.

Parallel Editing
Cutting between two scenes that occur simultaneously.

Shot Reverse Shot
This is when cuts are made between two characters who are looking offscreen in differing directions, which creates the impression that they're conversing with one another.

Wipe
A transition that wipes from one image/shot to another image/shot.

Below is a video which gives examples of the types of cuts used here:




LIGHTING
 -
Whether the lighting is beneath the subject, at the top, back or side of the frame, whether it is natural (ie. sunlight), artificial light, realistic lighting, expressive lighting. (eg. What emotions is the lighting attempting to provoke from the audience?)

The following is terminology that will help when discussing lighting:
Key Light
The main source of light within a scene.

Fill Light
A secondary source of light within a scene - often incorporated to reduce shadows.

High Key Lighting
A scene with few shadows that is well lit.

Low Key Lighting
A scene with limited light, resulting in darkness and shadows. This is particularly common with horror and film noir.

Backlight
A light that is positioned behind a subject, which usually casts them into darkness/shadows.

The following video is helpful with basic lighting tips, if you might be thinking of producing a short film for your SAT:


SOUND -
Sound is one of the most important aspects of a production. What can you hear within the piece? How do ambient sounds convey a sense of setting and atmosphere? How do all of the foley sounds and other special effects help to tell the story? What effect does the film score have? How important is the music? It's crucial to take into consideration the contributions that sound make when telling the story and engaging the audience. There are two types of sound within productions - diagetic and non-diagetic.
Diagetic - within the world of the production (eg. coughing, rain etc.)

Non-diagetic - outside of the world of the production (eg. film score)

The sound element also covers sound effects, dialogue and background music.

I remember them by using the acronym “CAMELS”. Each letter stands for an element, and it’ll be far easier to regurgitate information under SAC/Exam conditions when you have a mnemonic or acronym to help.

Narrative Elements
You’ll also be required to show how narrative elements contribute to the structure, and these include (in no particular order):

OPENING SEQUENCE -
How is the scene set, the plot and the characters introduced to the audience? What problems occur? What possibilities for the film are introduced?
CLOSING SEQUENCE -
How have the problems raised in the beginning been resolved (if applicable)? Have the characters slowly progressed/been altered?
STRUCTURE OF TIME -
What does time appear as? Is the time frame "jumpy"? Is it non-linear or linear? Are various scenes and aspects of the production given meaning by their duration?
POINT OF VIEW -
Who is the audience becoming sympathetic/empathetic towards? Which character's POV is the story being told from?
note* this does not include the camera angle.

CAUSE AND EFFECT -
The motivations of the character, what is driving the plot, the causes that evoke actions in the characters and which events spark other events throughout the production.
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT -
The ways in which characters and their personalities change and grow, along with their experiences. This can cover their looks, actions, behaviour, personality and relationships with other characters.
SETTING -
Does the setting drastically change the way you would view the story line? (ie. if it were set somewhere mildly different, would it completely change your outlook on the plot?)

Genre
The majority of people today are completely aware of what 'Genre' is. This is due to years of experience with television and films. Feeling sophisticated yet?

The term is actually french, and simply means 'type'. Films are classified into different genres (types), and when you walk around a video store, sift through films online or even go to a movie theatre, there is generally a way in which films have been classified. The first two are usually more obvious, with signs or text letting patrons know. As someone who has worked in a movie theatre for the last 3 years, I'm often required to specify different genres to kids and adults alike when they're off to see a film.

Notable genres include: action, adventure, black comedy, comedy, crime, epic films, horror, indie, musicals, romantic comedy, science fiction, teen films, war films, westerns and film noir.

The conventions that are associated with a genre are generally elements that occur within the films, such as the personalities of characters, situations they are in, settings, themes, events and props. However, certain films cannot easily be placed under a single genre. For example, Back to the Future Part III can be classified as comedy, western and science-fiction.

Make sure when studying for your SAC that you consider the relationships that are formed between the narratives you're studying and the genres they come from. A vast majority of filmmakers deliberately use the expectations of genres/stereotypes within genres to engage their audiences.

Reception Context
This refers to, when a narrative is viewed, the conditions under which it is being taken in. This is crucial to audience engagement. A prime example is movies being downloaded and watched on an iPod, iPhone or iPad. A viewer will have a drastically different experience watching a film on their iDevice in comparison to the experience of viewing it in a theatre. Hence, the engagement of the audience will be negatively skewed if they're viewing a terrible bootleg copy of a production.

For example, Psycho, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, puts forth an intriguing example of reception context. Upon the original release of the film, it was said to be shocking, horrific and just terrifying in general. That said, contemporary audiences today have responded differently, because we as a society are now exposed to more violent and graphic content. Thus, psycho is not as engaging for modern audiences as it was upon the time of it's original release.

Getting Started - SAC Preparation
BEFORE THE SAC -
- Rewatch the films you are studying.
- Take note of what your expectations for the films were, your knowledge of the genres the films are associated with, whether or not the films were engaging, if they were predictable and your favourite scenes.
- Identify scenes that show various production and narrative elements.
- Answer short questions from past exam papers. (They can be found here: http://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Pages/vce/studies/media/exams.aspx)

DURING THE SAC -
- Highlight terms in questions that you feel will ensure you to know what each question is asking of you.
- Try to answer/include the question in your opening sentence (e.g. In the opening scene of _______, camera angles are utilised to establish ________."
- After you've answered a question in a sentence or two, elaborate and provide further detail.
- In your concluding sentence of your response, incorporate a brief summary of what you've explained, and reiterate your response to the question briefly.
- Ensure that you incorporate clear language and media terminology. Make sure that you use it appropriately in accordance with each question.

AFTER THE SAC -
- Carefully consider the feedback you've been given. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Collect all of your revision and notes in a folder, as these will be priceless when it comes to the exam.
- Breathe. You've gotten through the first SAC.

Sample Questions
1. Characters are a crucial part in narratives. Choose one of the narratives you have studied and then explain how a particular character's personality was established and developed throughout the piece. In your response, ensure that you make reference to the appropriate production elements: camera techniques, acting, mise-en-scene and visual composition, editing, lighting and sound.
2. Some narratives have multiple storylines. Explain how one storyline was established, developed and eventually resolved in one of the narratives you have studied.
3. Referring to any scene from one of the productions you have studied, explain how the production elements contributed to the engagement of the audience.
4. Reception context heavily influences audience engagement. Referring to one of the pieces you have studied, explain how the reception of that text could influence the engagement of the audience.
5. In reference to a narrative you have studied, elaborate on the production elements and how they were used to structure time.
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xlaiyn

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Re: SAC One: Narrative & Production/Narrative Elements
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2013, 11:50:28 am »
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I will most likely add and/or edit things here and there, but feel free to let me know if I should add anything or change anything, or make your own additions below!
2013: Software Development @ CRC
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2015 - 2017: Bachelor of Emergency Health (Paramedic) @ Monash University

psyxwar

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Re: SAC One: Narrative & Production/Narrative Elements
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2013, 12:25:27 pm »
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Great work, I'm almost tempted to drop chem to do media.
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MD/BMedSci 2015-2020

shadows

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Re: SAC One: Narrative & Production/Narrative Elements
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2013, 12:48:06 pm »
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OMG this is so awesome.


xlaiyn

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Re: SAC One: Narrative & Production/Narrative Elements
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2013, 06:05:51 pm »
+1
Great work, I'm almost tempted to drop chem to do media.

Join us.

2013: Software Development @ CRC
2014: Literature | Psychology | Biology | Media | Further Math @ RMIT
2015 - 2017: Bachelor of Emergency Health (Paramedic) @ Monash University

xlaiyn

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Re: SAC One: Narrative & Production/Narrative Elements
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2013, 06:06:21 pm »
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OMG this is so awesome.

Haha, thank you! It took me 3 hours.  8)
2013: Software Development @ CRC
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2015 - 2017: Bachelor of Emergency Health (Paramedic) @ Monash University

Lasercookie

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Re: SAC One: Narrative & Production/Narrative Elements
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013, 02:07:01 pm »
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Great work, stickied this. If anyone gets around to writing up more stuff for media, it'd be nice if we could get a resources thread going (similar to what you might see in the other boards).

xlaiyn

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Re: SAC One: Narrative & Production/Narrative Elements
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2013, 02:08:19 pm »
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Great work, stickied this. If anyone gets around to writing up more stuff for media, it'd be nice if we could get a resources thread going (similar to what you might see in the other boards).
I'm more than happy to start on one!
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2015 - 2017: Bachelor of Emergency Health (Paramedic) @ Monash University

kevin_barrie

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Re: SAC One: Narrative & Production/Narrative Elements
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2014, 12:55:11 pm »
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Hi, I do not understand this point in the study design. Hoping you could clarify please?

- the interrelationship between production and story elements in the narrative organisation of fictional narrative to structure and communicate ideas.

Thanks

fareseru

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Re: SAC One: Narrative & Production/Narrative Elements
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2014, 04:44:22 pm »
+1
Hi, I do not understand this point in the study design. Hoping you could clarify please?

- the interrelationship between production and story elements in the narrative organisation of fictional narrative to structure and communicate ideas.

Thanks

Basically it's asking you to describe the way in which production and story elements work together to structure and communicate 'ideas' (eg that the protagonist is the protagonist, that someone is evil or whatever - any idea at all). The two constantly overlap - for example, camera (production element) is often used to create the point of view from which the narrative is presented (story element).
« Last Edit: October 20, 2014, 04:46:01 pm by fareseru »