Soap Opera Genre –
Name: Liam Quinn
Candidate Number: 6476
Center Name: St. Paul’s Catholic College
Center Number: 64770
OCR Media Studies – A2 Level
Unit G324: Advanced Portfolio
Verbal Codes – Comment on the use of Dialogue, Voiceover, Sound Effects or Soundtrack
In this trailer for verbal codes there are;
• Incidental music – There were dramatic sounds that increased tension in the trailer as there has been a murder, the incidental music
highlights the feelings of all of the characters as the pitch gets louder as the camera shots get close up. The incidental music was
effective for this trailer because of the situation that it is set around.
• Character Dialogue – There has been a huge amount of character dialogue in this trailer as most characters have been accusing each
other of Lucy’s Death. This connotes how each character is almost fighting for their lives as an attempt to ‘survive’ (Maslow’s Hierarchy
of Needs) and possibly get away with murder.
• Sound effect – Sound effect was high pitched piercing noises in the background of the incidental music, this is used when Ian Beale is
presented to be looking at the water, the high piercing sound is exaggerating as the audience then think the piercing sound may force
the glass to smash.
• Non diegetic dialogue – This is used near the end to explain the disequilibrium (Todorov) of the trailer. There is dialogue used in this
trailer near the end to pretty much close and end the trailer, “You’ll never know what happens behind closed doors”. This is a non
diegetic form of dialogue and urges the audience to become curious about which character was involved with the murder.
Non-Verbal Codes – Comment on the use of Setting, Lighting, Costumes, Facial Expressions and
There are Non-verbal codes used which are;
• Costumes – Most of the characters in the trailer are wearing working class (Propp) uniform to give the sense of reality for protagonists.
• Facial expression – All of the characters in the trailer have these shocked and despair facial expressions, a lot of Lucy’s friends and family
were presented in the trailer to be emotional and Ian Beale was presented to be on the phone with a petrified look on him. He was
presented in this trailer to be a suspect which will confuse the audience as well as intrigue.
• Setting – The setting of the trailer is in a working class community which is evident to the clothes that the characters are wearing, there
is also a multi-stranded narrative as it reveals a few characters in the pub. It is set in Albert Square which is a real place in Walford which
is the prime location of Eastenders.
• Lighting – There is low key lighting right through the trailer which adds mysterious effects and horrifies the trailer even more to suit the
aim. All the rooms used are of a dark atmosphere to ‘signifies’ (De Saussure) possible darkness in all of the characters.
Technical Codes – Comment on the use of Camera Angles, Shot Types and Camera Movement
Fast paced cuts are continuously used throughout the trailer as it switches to each character and connotes how the audience have little
to no time to establish who might be the guilty character and in the process encourages them to consume the show to find out who is
guilty. This presents the soap-opera genre theme of a multi-stranded narrative as it switches to each character in different locations to
present what they are doing or how they are feeling. The fast paced cuts gets faster and faster which builds and increases the tempo of
the trailer, making it even more effective to the audience as the non-diegetic soundtrack is synchronous to the these technical codes.
This may ‘signify’ (De Saussure) or connote that the answer may be revealed soon which will entice the audience and encourage them
to watch the next upcoming episodes.
There is a close up shot of Ian Beale’s facial expression when he is on the phone, possibly shocked from what he has heard. This was
also used throughout the trailer to present the feelings of all characters involved, this is a sign of continuity in the trailer as it aims to
capture the expressions of each character for the audience. This is also a technique that has been used by the producers in order to
maneuver soap opera conventions.
A high angle shot is used at the end of the trailer when the camera gets a good shot of all the characters bundled up outside the Queen
Vic pub. This was done to present all the possible suspects of the murder which also allows the audience to think about who done it as
they all look guilty and shocked.
At the end of the trailer there is the use of on screen text to add emphasis to the trailer. The on screen caption denotes “There’s a Killer
Amongst Them”. This is positioned perfectly and placed at the correct time of when all the characters are grouped up together and
provides an appealing enigma clue (Roland Barthes – Enigma theory) for the audience to find out who is guilty amongst the community
of characters presented.
There is camera movement at the end of the trailer where the whole cast are grouped up outside the Queen Victoria (Pub). The camera
zooms out revealing the surroundings and setting as well as the cast who are all presented to be looking at the camera. The action of
using the zoom movement may be that the killer may not be those who are stood outside the pub, and possibly another character
hiding in the possible surroundings (Abercrombie).
Verbal Codes – Comment on the use of Dialogue, Voiceover, Sound Effects or Soundtrack
Dialogue – dialogue is used throughout the trailer at distinctive parts to captivate the viewers attention by the use of language that is used, such as
the irony which is used with Siena when the husband states “I would like to thank Sienna, my beautiful Sienna, not only is she wonderful with
children”. This is irony as half way through the trailer it reveals how Sienna has captured a child and refuses to let him go. One of the characters
mentioned “It’s all going to crash down soon” to Siena which present the audience with the belief that she will get caught in the end.
Incidental music – In the trailer there is incidental sounds used to build up the tension of the events that are taking place which engages the
audience and interests them. For example when Siena has a conversation with one of the other female characters the music suddenly stops to let
the characters talk. This allows the audience to hear the conversation and gives them the sense that it may be sharp and key information for this
Narration – There is the use of narrative at the start of the trailer where there is on screen text for “Friday the 13th”, it is known that on this
particular day there are always horrific events. This is a stereotype which is known by the audience and may give the audience something to wait
Non-Verbal Codes – Comment on the use of Setting, Lighting, Costumes, Facial
Expressions and Characters
Facial Expression – Facial expressions from the main character Sienna gives her away as it is a expression of guilt, this takesplace when she is
confronted about of it and looks at her husband in shame and anxious.
Facial Expression - Another facial expression is after she is slapped, she is shocked and scared as tears run down her face.
Characters - All female characters in the trailer seem to have this dominant effect over the males as they attract the audiences attention more by
the actions that take place. It is a multi-stranded trailer presenting a working class community as they all know one another which means they are
most likely local to one another. Sienna seems to be the most dominant until she is sooner or later “ganged” up on by other female antagonists. This
relates to the Rebecca Feasey theory (2007) as the females are more dominant than the male characters.
Costumes – Sienna wears a full black costume (Propp)in the trailer which is a spooky/dark effect which proves how devious the antagonist is
portrayed. She also wears a flower dress which is an attempt to cover the evilness that she is determined to hide which is real irony.
Lighting - There is a mixture between low key lighting and high key lighting in this trailer, an example of low key lighting is when the trailer displays
the child being kidnapped by Sienna. It is a very low key lighting which presents that it is a bad and dark act.
Technical Codes – Comment on the use of Camera Angles, Shot Types and Camera
Transitions – There many transitions from scene to scene in the trailer to represent how multi-stranded the trailer is,
it helps build up the suspense of the trailer. There has been a mixture of slow and fast paced cuts to create tension
in the trailer which adds to the situation.
Mid shot – There is a shot where it presents Sienna touching/feeling her friends pregnant stomach which really
captures her attention. It is almost as if she got attached because of her “soft-spot” for children which is proven by
this action. It turns out that she is rather obsessed than to have just a soft spot for children.
Close up camera angle - There was many different shot types and camera angles used in this trailer, for example the
technical code of a close up camera shot after Sienna was slapped was taken to reveal the emotions that was going
through her mind such as anger and sadness.
Mid Shot - There was a mid shot taken near the end of the trailer which represents Sienna walking away with 2
children whom are not hers. This in a way either proves that Sienna loves children or she wants to get revenge at
someone else by kidnapping theirs.
Evaluation of Textual Analysis –
Compare and Contrast
Trailer 1) – Areas of Strength and what you would ‘repeat’ (Steve Neale - 1980) and/or
‘exploit’ (Abercrombie – 1995) –
Trailer 1 was a really good trailer in my opinion as it really tried to engage with the audience
with all of the codes that were used.
Many close up, eye level shots were used to switch between many different characters
throughout the trailer, I think this would be something I could possibly exploit (Abercrombie
1995) in my trailer as it really gets a good view of the characters facial expressions.
The use of low key lighting in a murder trailer seemed like an excellent idea for that specific
event and would be great if I use it in my trailer. This is because it would bring darkness to
the trailer and adds a spooky effect to what could happen next.
There were the use of on screen text at the end of the trailer to pretty much pass out a
message to the audience which could be a good idea as it is possible for it to somehow
add/or link to the cliffhanger.
Overall in my opinion, I feel as if there are a lot of great aspects of this trailer as it had really
engaged with me as a viewer and got me interested enough to watch the next episode. I
would like to attempt the repetition (Steve Neale) of most of these codes as they could
really benefit my trailer.
Trailer 2) – Areas of Strength and what you would ‘repeat’ (Steve Neale - 1980) and/or
‘exploit’ (Abercrombie – 1995) –
In the 2nd trailer that I had observed I found it to have a lot less aspects to talk about when
compared with the first one, but I really liked the aspects that were used and what I had
talked about previously. Such as the use of anti-stereotyping the females as they all seem to
be the ones in control as the narrative follows each female.
The dialogue that was used in this trailer was really good as it had those wow moment
which could useful to get the audience really clinching on and wanting to know what
happens next. These wow moments were when Sienna had actually threatened a child when
confronted and at the end where she is displayed to be kidnapping 2 children that are not
hers. This also signified Siena to almost be a villain (Propp) in the eyes of the audience which
creates the sense of having binary opposition (Levi Strauss).
In my opinion this trailer really demonstrated the love that most females have for children
and family which is almost backed up when she says “I thought hard to protect my family”.
When I produce my trailer I think it would be interesting if I was to repeat how this trailer
uses dialogue in different situations to introduce the characters as well as maybe get those
“wow” sentences to capture the audiences attention.