Unit 4 - Responding to a media brief

Unit Learning Outcomes

Candidates will be expected to:

AO3Demonstrate research, planning and presentation skills. (15%)
AO4Construct and evaluate their own products using creative and technical skills. (15%)

The aim of this unit is for candidates to produce a campaign across two media forms/platforms in response to an industry-related brief. This unit is worth 30% of the Double Award.

This unit will be assessed by means of controlled assessment. Centres should note the following:

Each task is specified by AQA. Candidates must respond to the industry-related brief for that year as set by AQA. The supervision of candidates by centres must ensure that candidates complete tasks as set by AQA.

Research may be undertaken with limited supervision. Candidates need not be under the direct supervision of staff at all times. However candidates are required to complete all of the work other than research under informal supervision. This means that the centre must ensure that:

  • plagiarism does not take place
  • the sources used by candidates are clearly recorded
  • each candidate's preparation for the final production of the work is his/her own.

Teachers may provide guidance and feedback to candidates and the nature of any guidance and the details of any feedback must be clearly recorded. Candidates may be guided as to the approach they might adopt but the outcome must remain their own. Likewise feedback may evaluate progress to date and propose suggested broad areas for improvement but the detailed correction or annotation of work for feedback purposes is not allowed.

Each controlled assessment task should take an amount of time which approximately corresponds to the marks available for that assignment. The response for Unit 4 is marked out of 90.

The work of individual candidates may be informed by working with others, for example in undertaking research, but candidates must provide an individual response as part of the task outcome. The production itself may be individual or group work. However, teamwork is an important part of media production so if candidates choose to work on their own, they must be sure that they will be able to meet fully the demands of the brief. In either case, candidates must record their individual contribution to the final outcome. Each candidate must produce their own individual research and evaluation.

Candidates' access to resources is determined by those available to their centre.

Controlled assessment advisers will be available to provide guidance to centres.

Candidates will need to produce a campaign across two media forms/platforms in response to an industry-related brief set by AQA. The brief will be available on the AQA website in June of the previous year. Candidates will simulate industry practice by following the production process from the 'ideas stage' through to production and post-production work. They will need to gather and respond to audience feedback. They will need to show an awareness of the importance of research, planning, working to deadlines and having a clear sense of the target audience and their needs, including the limited time which they allocate to receiving media messages.

Candidates will choose two different media forms/platforms from the following categories:

Forms/Platforms
  • Print and Electronic Publishing including newspapers, comics, magazines etc.
  • Moving Image:
    • Television including genre study, franchises, scheduling etc. 
    • Film covering features, shorts, trailers, production, distribution and exhibition as well as genre study.
    • Video including promotional, training and corporate
  • Radio including commercial, network, public broadcasting, community etc.
  • Web-based Technologies/New Media including Internet, web design, social networking, weblogs, vblogs, podcasts, gaming etc.

It is noted that the following can be found across the media forms/platforms listed above:

  • Advertising and Marketing – including advertisements in print publications, on radio, on television, in the cinema, film trailers, billboards etc.
  • Popular Music – including Artistes & Repertoire (A & R), promotion, marketing etc.
  • News – including television, newspapers, internet, radio etc

Candidates are required to develop two ideas (one in each media form/platform) in response to the brief through to treatment stage. The term 'treatment' is used across all the media forms and platforms to which it refers to designate a short, accessible proposal capable of communicating the key ideas of a project to an interested party such as a commissioning editor or potential financial backer. The two pieces must be fully realised as a linked campaign, and then evaluated carefully.

Generally, a media form is a description of the type, content or communication you are using to create the content, whereas a media platform is the technology used to deliver and access the content. For example, television can be the form by which we create a new situation comedy, but it can be delivered via an internet platform to a PC/Mac, a cable platform via a set top box, a broadcast platform via an aerial.

For this unit, candidates need to produce the following for assessment:

  1. Research, Planning and Presentation
  2. Two production pieces
  3. Evaluation (500–800 words)
Guidance on Evaluation

Each candidate must produce a 500 – 800 word evaluation which should reflect upon the individual's role within the group collaboration and how successfully:

  • the two media products are linked
  • research has been used to fulfil the brief and meet the needs of the client
  • the products apply appropriate codes and conventions
  • the products target the appropriate audience
  • representational issues have been addressed
  • the production process is organised and scheduled
  • considerations of any rules and regulations have been applied.

To produce a successful campaign, candidates will need to draw on the knowledge, understanding and skills developed through their work on units 1, 2 and 3 of this specification. Research, planning, production and evaluation skills should be developed further from those in other units.

Further guidance on the approximate quantity of work required in each medium, on collaboration and on how confidence in the use of technology can be demonstrated, can be found on pages 14-16 of this specification.

Assessment, Planning and Presentation

Research, Planning and Presentation(AO3 45 marks)
Level 6
Candidates research independently and effectively drawing on a wide range of sources and techniques. Candidates demonstrate flair and creativity through their pre-production work which is convincing and engaged and uses appropriate forms and conventions. They draw on relevant products, concepts and contexts. Material is presented skilfully. There is a clear understanding of how audiences are identified and how production is tailored to audience needs and expectations. They present appropriate and independent ideas to a client effectively, using a range of presentational skills, with well planned opportunities for feedback and discussion. They plan and present work which responds directly and efficiently to the needs of the target audience to produce a coherent and integrated campaign.
37-45 marks
Level 5 
Candidates research successfully using a range of sources and techniques. They demonstrate evidence of imagination in the pre-production work which is clearly fit for purpose and uses many appropriate forms and conventions. Material is presented effectively. Audiences are identified, their needs are taken into consideration and awareness is demonstrated of how this has shaped the ideas. They present appropriate ideas to a client successfully, using a selection of presentational skills, with opportunities for feedback and discussion. They plan and present work which responds successfully to the needs of the target audience to produce an integrated campaign.
28-36 marks
Level 4
Candidates have researched appropriately. Ideas are apt and mostly employ appropriate forms and conventions. Material is well presented. Candidates are able to identify and target audiences. They indicate how this has informed their plans and ideas. Candidates present ideas to a client appropriately, using a selection of presentational skills, and gather some feedback. They plan and present work which clearly acknowledges the needs of a target audience.
19-27 marks
Level 3 
Candidates show evidence of research. Their ideas show some understanding and involvement with the task and use some appropriate forms and conventions. There is a basic attempt to present the work in a straightforward way. Some understanding of appealing to a potential audience is evident. They present some apt ideas to a client in a straightforward fashion. They plan and present work with reference to the needs of a target audience.
10-18 marks
Level 2
Candidates use minimal research. They have some ideas that are at least partly relevant or appropriate to the task. Some forms and conventions may be employed. Presentation of the material is limited. They present some ideas which may be partly relevant or appropriate to a client in a limited fashion. They plan and present work with some reference to the needs of a target audience.
1-9 marks
Level 1
No work worth the award of a mark.
0 marks
Production(AO4 35 marks)
Level 6
Candidates construct their product(s) using production skills appropriately and effectively. They handle technology confidently, including ICT, and use the techniques and conventions of the chosen medium and genre creatively. They deploy the codes and conventions of relevant media or medium with originality and suitability to the demands of the task set out in the brief. They meet the needs of the target audience fully and effectively and fulfil the terms of the brief in all respects.
29-35 marks
Level 5
Candidates construct their product(s) using production skills clearly and appropriately. They handle technology competently, including ICT, and use the techniques and conventions of the chosen medium and genre effectively. Candidates make effective use of relevant media resources with some originality and some evidence of creativity. They deploy the codes and conventions of relevant media or medium with awareness of the demands of the task set out in the brief. They meet the needs of the target audience and fulfil the terms of the brief in most respects.
22-28 marks
Level 4
Candidates construct their product(s) using appropriate production skills. They utilise technology, including ICT, and use appropriate techniques and conventions of their chosen medium and genre. They demonstrate understanding of the codes and conventions of relevant media or medium. They acknowledge the needs of the target audience and fulfil the terms of the brief in many respects.
15-21 marks
Level 3 
Candidates construct their product(s) using some appropriate skills. There is evidence of some appropriate techniques, including ICT, and conventions of their chosen medium and genre. They make some explicit reference to the codes and conventions of relevant media or medium. They make some explicit reference to the needs of the target audience and begin to fulfil the terms of the brief.
8-14 marks
Level 2
Candidates attempt to use practical processes, techniques and technologies, including ICT, to create a recognisable media product. They make some reference to the codes and conventions of relevant media or medium. They make some reference to the needs of the target audience and try to address some of the terms of the brief.
1-7 marks
Level 1
No work worth the award of a mark.
0 marks
Evaluation(AO4 10 marks
Level 6
Candidates offer a focused, cogent and critical evaluation of their contribution to the production process. They draw on convincing evidence and valid criteria to assess the degree of success of the completed media production in fulfilling the terms of the brief and meeting the needs of the target audience. Responses are communicated using accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.
9-10 marks
Level 5
Candidates offer a successful evaluation of their contribution to the production process. They draw on some convincing evidence and valid criteria to assess the degree of success of the completed media production in fulfilling the terms of the brief and meeting the needs of the target audience. Responses are communicated using mainly accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.
7-8 marks
Level 4
Candidates discuss their contribution to the production process. They draw on some relevant evidence to show how successful the completed media production has been in fulfilling the terms of the brief and meeting the needs of the target audience. Responses are communicated using some accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar.
5-6 marks
Level 3
Candidates describe their contribution to the production process and comment on the success of the completed media production in fulfilling the terms of the brief and meeting the needs of the target audience. Communication, including spelling, punctuation and grammar, may not be wholly effective.
3-4 marks
Level 2
Candidates provide a simple review of their contribution to the production process and may offer some ideas on the success of the completed media production in fulfilling the terms of the brief and meeting the needs of the target audience. Communication, including spelling, punctuation and grammar, may be limited.
1-2 marks
Level 1
No work worth the award of a mark.
0 marks