Importance of Television Encoding - Essay Example

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The paper "Importance of Television Encoding" discusses that contrary to popular belief, encoding is not exclusive to the fictional television, broadcast that we have come to consider as objective, hence presumably immune to manipulation that comes with encoding such as news and current affairs are subject to the same. …
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Importance of Television Encoding
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According to John Fiske, televised events are subject to encoding, and for any event to be televised it is encoded by social codes in three levels that are; Reality, which is constituent of the appearance and dress and make up environment behavior or speech activities and related events. The second level includes the technical aspects such as lighting, editing and background music etc. They determine these assign the contents a dimension such as narrative, character setting or the casting among others. The third level is the ideological perspective and arranges the material into something coherent and socially acceptable while still making allowances for the diverse sociological differences. They inculcate, among other ideologies such as individualism materialism and consumerism (Fiske).
Codes are semiotic systems with governing rules and signs with mutual convection that are understood by the members of a culture. Codes make facilitate linking the ideas from the producers’ writers, the text as well as audiences despite their varying interpretations of the same material. This is because they create inter-connection between the symbiotic networks that are constituent of our natural world, through which texts interrelate in a network of meanings that constitutes our cultural world. Friske explores other codes, which are less easy to specify or manipulate such as background landscape, however; they are inseparable from the overall production. For instance, different trees and landscapes are used for both their connotative and denotative meanings. Despite looking fortuitous, a simple image such as a trees shade in water, in a romantic film is actually encoded prior to the filming.
Technical codes are easier to specify and analyze although the available choices are somewhat limited. For instant, when all one is working with is a camera, they can only vary the angle of the lenses or distance and suchlike technical adjustments. However, social codes give more allowance for change and adjustment, the perception of the audience can be enhanced and effectively manipulated to further the director’s ends and create appropriate impressions. Fiske explores the lighting in relation to the characters role. There exists juxtaposition in that the villain is depicted in a stark white light and in an extreme close ups likely be perceived as invasive and harsh by audiences. The hero, on the other hand, is lighted in softer yellowish colors and respectable distance, this way he can appeal to the audience as a non-threatening character unlike his nemesis. Editing through music is also imperative in creating the desired impressions with major keys being used to show hero’s progress and minor ones for the villain (Fiske).
Contrary to popular belief, encoding is not exclusive to the fictional television, broadcast that we have come to consider as objective, hence presumably immune to manipulation that comes with encoding such as news and current affairs are subject to the same. Fiske explains the techniques that covertly encode otherwise non-fictional events. For instance in some interviews, the press has been known to employ tactics such as placing the subject in a partial shadow to give what they are suing an aura of mystery. In so doing, make it appear more sensational or dramatic then the speaker might have intended. Distance and personal space may be used with misleading effects on the audience, for instance if someone is interviewed from too closes a distance they may get hostile and speak defensively or appear that way. As such, they may appear to be hiding something or lying, but they are simply reacting to the pressure put on them by the interviewer who may have intended for the selfsame result. The heroes in drama or those the media wants to convey as such are given more time than “villains” “It has become a conventional rhythm of television common to news, drama, and sport” (Fiske).

The characters represent more than individual people do, they represent ideological encoding in the society, and these ideologies are a representation of the social biases and assumptions. According to his research, Fiske discovered that in TV dram heroes are often likely to be a Middleclass or classless white in the prime of their lives. The heroes were likely to be blond and attractive and often subordinate to the hero on an intellectual level. Often the villainess changes directions before the end of the program and joins the hero against the villain in a classic case of “The good guy always gets the girl”. The drama is also likely to be portrayed as feminine and interested in superficial things like beauty and more likely to be moved by emotion than men are.
His illustrations from Hart to Hart depict the women being concerned with aesthetics and men to be focused on the issues. “In both cabins, the women are prettying themselves, the men are planning” (Fiske), this serves to; enhance the idea that the man is an intellectual and activist while the woman is subordinate and superficial. The villain is also often depicted in uniform, which places him in a lower cadre than the hero; the villainess is also depicted less tastefully in dress and culture than her nemesis. Other ideological codes such as the fact heroes are often humorous, but villains are depicted as stern and less likely to appreciate jokes. The value and function to which characters assign certain objects is also a reflection of ideological codes, for instance, villains will see jewels as something to turn into cash while heroes are more likely to consider them for their sentimental value.
Ultimately, while the books may not be an exact illustration of the Television encoding as they are dynamic and change changes in society it serves to show that popular television is more than just the picture on the screen, but it is underlain by a myriad of complex ideological imputations.
Work Cited
Fiske, J. Television Culture. 1984. Web. 11 September 2012. Read More
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