Home - Media Studies
Media Now
AS Media (Year 12)
A2 Media (Year 13)
Media Mission
Media Studies Revision Site - For A-Level & GCSE Media Studies
Students of today, producers of tomorrow
The Practical
Media Key Concepts
Textual analysis tools
The Practical
Student Exemplars
Essential Viewing
Case Studies:
Film industry
Music industry
Video Games
Print Media Texts

   The six P's:

(Perfect Planning Prevents P*** Poor Performance)

I cannot stress this enough.  You will have anything between 7 - 17 weeks to complete your coursework.  It is possible to get full marks if you are fully prepared and well organised.  Below are some pointers and tips to help you achieve the best in your coursework, suggestions for research and development and links to websites that can support your work.



 Example:  You want to produce an action-comedy.  Research http://www.filmsite.org/genres.html



You should create a word tag or word cloud using a definition of that genre by copying and pasting the text into wordle.net or worditout.com

word it out action comedy


You can get better versions of this depending on where you get your definitions from.  However, you can start to see the codes and conventions of what an action-comedy film should have.  Start creating mood boards selecting appropriate mise-en-scene, one for props, costume and setting.  Other elements like lighting, camera angles and narrative can be discussed in more detail through textual analysis.


When analysing film openings, please make sure that they are appropriate and relevant to what you are trying to produce.  Why analyse a film opening of Alien if you plan to make a UK version of Rush Hour?  So, those three primary texts I was talking about - how about studying the opening of 48 Hours (historical action-comedy genre), coupled with Rush Hour and then Hot Fuzz.  

  48 hourshot fuzzrush hour

Spend time analysing the promotional material for each film, highlighting the use of iconography, colour and typography.  The biggest let down to many opening sequences is the lack of originality of title design and style.  Visit www.dafont.com



So, you've created some mood boards and have started to consider what codes and conventions need to be exhibited in your film opening - it's time to start anaylsing title sequences.  But where do you start?  Well, thankfully some film enthusiasts have modelled good practice.


A Brief History of Title Design from Ian Albinson on Vimeo.

This video summarises the development of the title sequence, but also highlights the importance of effective openings and how (looking at the exam brief) credits and titles should appear clearly and effectively within frame.  Visit the website www.artofthetitle.com and notice how they break down a title sequence into 9 key frames.  You should do the same for each of the three films you are analysing.  But, don't forget to comment on all elements: The use of camera (movement, angle, shot), editing (continuity, montage, parallel), sound (music, dialogue, other non-diegetic) and mise-en-scene (iconography, signs, colour - connotations).

You are about halfway there towards good planning...

Don't neglect the institutional practices that go into producing a good quality film.  You should conduct some research into the production and distribution models in film production.  This means exploring ownership and examining ways in which directors/starts and organisations may be contracted to particular studios and conglomerates.  Every film studio has an ideology that you should research and understand, for example - Marvel Studios had a distribution agreement with paramount, but have since been taken over by Disney.  This will ultimately affect the outcome of production, you just have to research it.  "Why do I need to know this?"  Well, remember that you are creating a film opening with titles and credits.  Every film opening starts with an institutional logo - see below.


You can find most of the studio logos on video sharing websites like youtube.  Study the ones relevant to your genre, New Line and Dimension films tend to produce horror/thriller as an example, and think about using it in your production.  How do you do that?  Simply paste the url into a website like www.keepvid.com and you can download the clip as a video file which you can later insert into your production.

But there's more, you should really create a logo for your own production company.  You can do this in two ways, you might be fortunate enout to have livetype or after effects, but using a Desk Top Publishing software like photoshop will also help.  Don't have that?  Then why not use a free online version like www.sumopaint.com

The standard template size should match that of a video frame, so 720 pixels wide by 576 pixels high should give you a standard template to work from.  Create a personal logo and think carefully about what you, or your group, want to say about yourself as a production company.  What connotations do you want to create when people look at your logo?  What sound can you use to enhance the stylistic elements that you have constructed?  There are several tutorials online, even on Youtube, that tell you how to create animated 3D effects, but go with what you are comfortable doing.

Next you need to start coming up with your movie pitch - ideally you should present your idea to the class and summarise all of the above.  It's useful because you can start to get audience feedback.  Now, don't neglect your audience - research should begin with looking at www.sbbfc.co.uk and looking at what rating you intend your film to be.  Once you have a better idea of target audience, start thinking about demographics and creating a profile of your typical/preferred audience who would enjoy your product the most.  Think about audience theories, like uses and gratifications, and what you hope your audience will get out of the film.  Conduct surveys and focus groups, pitching your ideas and recording the responses to feedback.  Google 'online surveys' or even use social networking, hash tags in twitter with your proposed film title and create opportunities for your target audience to respond to your media text. 

 Location scouting and health and safety considerations.  Given the advent of phones that can do anything, you need to research where you are going to film your masterpiece.  You will know where you want to film, but you should give as much evidence as possible (photographic) showing where you will shoot.  Is it a public place or private home?  If shooting in the public, you should really consider the danger posed to you and by you - ask your teacher for a letter confirming your role as a media student and by no means should you go wandering around town at night with a mask and real knife...you'd be surprised by how many students have done this.


There are several risk assessment factors in the above video, mainly to do with safety, but it's admirable how they practised with some camera shots, different exposures, angles and saw potential lighting issues.  Good planning makes for excellent production experiences.

Storyboarding - the process that many students fear because of the quality of their drawings.  If you can't draw, don't fret - as long as the shots are appropriate and meaning made clear then there should be no problem.  Look at the storyboard template below, they allow you to position according to the rule of thirds, think about camera angle and shot type.  The animatic work sheet talks you through the process of pre-visualising your final constructed piece - a youtube search of animatics should yield some results on how they can be effective.

Storyboards become animatics

The above example is a good example but can be further improved by adding titles, credits and institutional logos and a mix of soundtracks.




Whetever you do, don't go out and film without knowing how to use a tripod or operate the camera.  You should experiment with manual focus controls, adjusting the white balance (using an indoor white balance setting outside can create a nice, cold blue effect; using an outdoor white balance setting inside can create a rich, orange efffect), you can also manually adjust the lens aperture to let in or reduce the brightness/amount of light.  There are several guides on how to use camcorders effectively and there is no excuse for blaming the camera if your project doesn't become a masterpiece.  A bad workman always blames his tools - know your equipment and use it well.

The shoot:  Take lots of pictures, be experimental if the opportunity arises, enjoy the activity and make the most of the light.  Be sure to document your work and look at some of the following tips below.


Your Centre will require you to show evidence of research and planning in several ways, some still use powerpoint, which is fine providing that text is used sparingly and images and hyperlinks to other sites/group material are featured.  Try adding audio and go easy on sill transitions.

Voki is a great way to expres yourself, watch the talking avatar below talk you through some of the ways in which you can improve your work.

Blogs are popular methods, but don't blog once a month, make it constant - tell the moderator that you are active in your research, planning and construction.  Why not set up a blogspot on blogger.com or create a weebly, or even better, a wix website at www.wix.com Do create accounts with vimeo or youtube and fulfil your Match of the Day fantasy by creating video doodles on www.voicethread.com/about/features/doodling/ 

If you want to produce a great title sequence but don't have the skills, then this program below could be the one for you.

There are SO MANY ways to be creative in the planning, construction and presentation of your coursework - for free!  Do not disappoint your media teacher or ICT evangelistic moderator.  Media Studies expects... 

The evaluation:

There are many ways to approach the evaluation, the below powerpoint gives you an approach for OCR G321.

Print Media



Getting feedback and why it matters:


The evaluation:


Ways to improve your marks:


Final submission:


coming very soon...

tags: media coursework, practical production, film opening, OCR G321








to play around with fonts which match the genre you are trying to create.


 as a starting point and highlight all the codes and conventions of this genre.  In this case, you will need to look at action and comedy as seperate genres and then talk about the concept of hybrid-genres or sub genres.


Your first point of call should be to begin genre research, an investigation into the history of your genre.  This should ideally include a groundbreaking film that helped define your genre, followed by a contemporary example and one other that you will use as a model.


Planning & Research:


Some Centre's may restrict you to producing one type of genre, like horror or thriller, but do speak to your teacher if you feel that this inhibits your creativity. 


The brief typically will involve producing an opening sequence to a new film.  Those students studying OCR, unit G321, will be given guidance and expectations on what will constitute an effective film opening.

Home - Media StudiesMedia NowGalleryAS Media (Year 12)A2 Media (Year 13)ResourcesDownloads/ShopMedia Mission