Textual analysis terminology

Textual Analysis: Some terms… not even NEARLY all of them!


Extreme Close up – Camera is a few inches from subject: for example, a shot of an eye
Close up - For example, a shot of a face
Mid shot (Middle long shot / Middle close shot) – Usually a shot of an individual from knees up
Long shot – For example, a shot of the outside of a building
Extreme long shot - A landscape shot
Zoom – Use lens to increase magnification on subject without moving camera.
Establisher – Shoot used to establish time or place. Usually an ELS but could be a shot of a newspaper, a watch, a landmark.
Reaction shot – A shot (often a close up of an individual or long shot of an audience) to show reaction to something said or done.
Crane shot – Camera is mounted on a crane. Often used to ‘swoop’ across an audience.
Dutch angle – Frame is twisted
High angle shot – Shooting from above the subject
Low angle shot – Shooting from below the subject
Two-shot – Two people in the same frame, e.g. two anchors on a sports show.
Pedestal shot – Move camera vertically up the subject.


Panning – Moving from side to side
Tracking – Camera is (traditionally) mounted on a track – camera usually moves back and forward.
Tilt – Camera stays stationary, tilts up and down


Mise en scene – The arrangement of objects in the frame (eg where things are positioned in a sports show set or on an advertisement.)
Leading lines – Lines created in the mise en scene to lead the eye to a certain point
Rule of thirds – Mise en scene is arranged according to a tripartite structure
Fill the frame – No clear space left at edge of frame.
Visual hierarchy – The arrangement of things from most to least important in the mise en scene.
Palette – The range of colours used.
Monochrome – The use of only one colour (black and white is one example)
Low key lighting – Main (‘key’) light is below – creates shadows. Often a single light source.
High Key lighting – Main (Key) light is above – minimises shadows. Multiple light sources.
Hard lighting – Harsh, bright lighting.
Soft lighting – Gentle lighting.
Ambient lighting – The actual, real, unedited light. ‘Natural’ light.
Over saturation – Palette is made brighter.
Under saturation – Palette is made duller.
Slow motion – Film is slowed to create slower-than-reality effect.
Set – The physical (or digital) environment in which the action takes place.
Talking head – Close up (usually) on a person (often an expert) talking directly to camera.


Diegetic sound – The sound which should logically be there in the diegesis (the ‘world’) of the text (e.g. applause in a sports award show.)
Non diegetic sound – Sound which would not logically be there in the diegesis (most music, voice overs.)
Sound bridge – The sound of the next clip starts while the current clip is playing; bridges the two.
Ambient sound – Natural sound.


Transition – Effect designed to merge one clip into another
SFX – Special effects – anything non-realistic designed to enhance action
Fast / slow cutting – Speed (the rhythm or ‘beat’) of the editing
MTV editing – Cutting action to rhythm of music.
Fade – End of clip disappears gradually
Cutaway – Edit away from one subject to another.
Graphics – (Usually) digital effects – lettering, scores – used to give additional information or enhance action.


Direct mode of address – Text ‘speaks’ to audience directly (e.g. the anchor on a sports show talks directly to the camera.)
Indirect mode of address – Information is given by other means e.g. we listen to a ‘conversation’ between an anchor and a interviewee.
Parallel Narratives – Use of the star’s (supposedly) real life to engage audience.
Narrative image – When a still image tells a story or suggests a narrative.
Imagined Communities – Creation of a supposed group with a shared interest (eg fans of a particular team, concerned mothers, ‘cool’ teenagers.)


Institution Ident – An institution’s logo / introductory sequence
Slogan – Short phrase used to market or brand a subject or product.


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