Media Theory Revision Guide

"...essential for all media students"

All A level theorists covered alongside revision summaries and exam practise exercises.





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Binary oppositions


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WaterAid underlines the contrasting experiences of the advert’s UK audience with those experiencing water poverty in Africa. A carefully choreographed set of stylistic oppositions at the start of the advert reinforce this sentiment, with the opening shot of a rain-soaked British scene (composed as a claustrophobic closed frame mid shot) providing a stark contrast to the open-framed long shot of Claudia’s sun-soaked search for water.


In terms of diegetic sound usage, too, the rainy ambience of the first scene is replaced by the dry crunch of Claudia’s footsteps, whilst, visually, the green colour palettes of Britain transform into dusty browns of the African Savannah. These stylistic clashes are used, ultimately, to underline the stark disparities that exists between the viewers’ water rich existence and those less fortunate than themselves

Binary oppositions

Strauss tells us that media narratives work through the construction of conflict - presenting oppositional characters and events to create viewer interest or to construct ideological viewpoints. Viewers in narratives are usually positioned to agree with one of the oppositions presented to them.

Media terminology used

Stylistic opposition

The use of digital media by everyday audiences to make or distribute media content. Shirky argues us that the publish first/filter later revolution will replace professional media broadcasts because they are cheaper and quicker to distribute.

Open frame composition

An open frame refers to a shot from which a character can escape - a composition that has no objects or frames at the edge. Open frames connote freedom or can be used to suggest isolation if coupled with a long shot composition.

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Media Theory for A Level
The Essential Revision Guide