Key Section from Reading
Visual Codes. These include codes of composition, codes of
movement, and codes of sequence.
- Codes of Composition...include the codes which govern the way a
picture is framed, colored and lit. How many elements are on screen
together, and what is their relationship? How does the way they are
lit affect their signification or connotative qualities? How does the
use of composition codes set news apart from other television genres?
Codes of movement govern movement within the frame of both the
camera and the subject. One routine convention in newsfilm is the pan
from an apparently insignificant object (like the flag of a ship's
mast) to the 'real' subject of the report (like striking seamen
gathered on the ship's deck). A similar device is the zoom from
long-shot into big close-up of the newsworthy celebrity, or the
hand-held camera doggedly following the star, the ball, the
police...into the thick of the action.
Codes of sequence are those associated with editing. How quickly
shots are changed, what images are juxtaposed, and how different
aspects of a story are differently edited into a sequence, can
radically affect the 'meaning' of an event.
- Video cameras
- Videoediting capabilities
Create a news story about a mundane topic at school,
but use as many conventions from the article, "Conventions of
Television News" as possible.
- Student groups can brainstorm topics, share camera work and decide on
how they want to divide up being news anchors and field reporters.
- Note: Explain what is meant by 'mundane topics'? Examples: 'My
Locker will not Open' (or possibly called, 'Operation Locker Stuck'),
'Christine Lost her Calculus Book' (or possibly called,
'Responsibility and American Youth: An Impossibility?') etc.
Discussion: Analyzing Visual Codes
- Depending on the number of computers in your classroom, students
can get screen captures of news footage off the web (putting the image
in a word document) and then analyze the image using the questions to
inspire thinking. If time permits, teachers can have students share
what they found in groups or as a whole class.
- How many elements are on screen together, and what is their
relationship? How does the way they are lit affect their signification
or connotative qualities? How does the use of composition codes set
news apart from other television genres?
Discussion: Exploring Relationship of Images and Words
- In groups or individually depending on number of computers,
students do their own study of news footage by looking at clips on the
web or of video on VCRS. Students analyze footage using questions
below. Groups share findings and ideas with the rest of the class.
- Hartley asks us to think about the relationship between spoken words.
And, pictures on television. Discuss which carries greater authority
or importance? Ask students to recall examples where the images simply
illustrate the words? Have students point to places where the words
simply provide a caption for the pictures. Ask where there are cases
where the verbal narration stops and they simply respond to silent
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