The Key to Media’s Hidden Codes – Ben Beaton
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The Key to Media’s Hidden Codes – Ben Beaton


Translator: Ido Dekkers
Reviewer: Emma Gon (Music) Every movie you’ve ever seen, every TV show, every magazine, every time you surf the Internet, you’re absorbing information, a bit like a sponge absorbs water. The words on the screen, the images, the colors, the sounds, the angle of the camera, every detail is designed to make you think, act or feel a certain way. Your brain is subconsciously decoding images and sounds, and just by being alive today, by interacting with and reading all these different types of media, you’re already an expert at decoding and understanding these hidden messages. A set of codes and conventions that work together to make you feel happy, angry, afraid, excited. To make you want to buy a particular product — a refreshing drink, a new phone. To style your hair a certain way. To cheer for the hero or boo the villain. Welcome to the family tree of technical codes. So what constitutes a code? First of all, it has to be recognized by all who read it. Imagine a busy city where motorists don’t know how to read the traffic signals. We all have to know red equals stop, green means go, for the system to work. Otherwise it would be chaos. Secondly, codes are made meaningful by their context. We can’t fully interpret or decipher a code until we see how it relates to other signs and symbols. Look at these two intersecting lines. Without any context, things around the code to help you understand or make meaning from it, it’s hard to know exactly what these lines represent. They could be a cross, symbolizing religion, an add sign, symbolizing a mathematical concept, the letter T from the alphabet, or they could just be two lines intersecting. If we add a crescent moon shape, and a circle with a line on it in front, the two lines now have a context, a relationship to their surroundings, and are magically revealed as the letter T. By adding additional information around the code, we’ve changed its context, and therefore given it a concrete meaning. Let’s meet the family. Technical Codes, Senior has three sons: Symbolic Codes, Written Codes and Technical Codes, Junior. Symbolic Codes has three sons: Symbolic Color, Symbolic Objects and Symbolic Animals. This branch of the family is all about representation. Red represents hot or stop or danger, depending on its context. So if you see a red light above a yellow and a green light on a pole above the road, you know by this context that the light represents stop. Written Codes has three sons: You and Only You, Buzzwords and Catchphrase. These guys are all about saying a lot with a little, or planting a word in your subconscious that triggers a response whenever you hear or read it. Have you noticed how many times I’ve said the word “you?” You should feel like it’s directed specifically at you, and only you, that it’s addressing your needs and desire to learn about your world. If I tell you that all the cool, fresh and hip people are buying a new drink or wearing a particular brand, the buzzwords “new,” “fresh” or “free” make the product seem more interesting and appealing. If I wrap that product or idea in a simple phrase that’s easy to remember and becomes part of your everyday speech, then every time you hear or say those few words, your brain connects them to the product. So Just Do It, Think Different, and Enjoy the power of the catchphrase. And Technical Codes, Junior has three sons: Camera Angles, Framing and Lighting. For these boys, it’s all about how the camera is placed, how objects, people and places are shot, and what we see on screen — or just as importantly, what we don’t see. When the camera is placed high above the subject, it makes you look small, insignificant and powerless. And the reverse is also true, when the camera is below. So is this video trying to manipulate you to buy something? Yes, an idea. The idea that understanding the relationship between technical codes and the role they play in shaping your understanding of the world around us through the media we consume is fun and interesting. Is it trying to make you feel a certain way? Absolutely. Every image, every word, has been carefully crafted to work together to make you feel positive about the idea that you need to be educated to engage with what you read, watch and listen to in movies, TV shows, magazines and on the Internet. By understanding these codes, and how they work together to subconsciously change the way you think, feel and act towards products and ideas, you’ll be aware of these techniques and able to identify their impact on you. One of the most powerful advertising mediums in the world is word of mouth. If you’ve ever recommended a product or movie, a service, or even a video online, then you’ve played your part in passing the message. So soak all this information up. Recognize how the family tree of technical codes works on you, and those around you, to make an impact Find excellent examples, and spread the word.

100 thoughts on “The Key to Media’s Hidden Codes – Ben Beaton

  1. does anyone know the name of the movie that was shown at 4:16? (its a silent film) cant remember the name of it. . .

  2. You may find my channel of use. I've got quite a large variety, some may look absurd, while others are more tame, but I keep even the ridiculous as long as it appears in some way to be reasonable or a new idea.
    I love to see that you've decided to do this; that is an enrichment to my day. The education system has no plan to assist in critical engagement of young minds. I highly encourage keeping religion out of child "sponges" so we don't add to the relentless indoctrination.

  3. me: I'd like to buy 100,000 ideas please.
    seller: Well, what are you looking at me for?
    me: I said 'I'd like to buy 100,000 ideas please.'
    seller: Son, you already have ideas all around you. All you must do is make them into something new and interesting. Run along now and get your 100,000 ideas.

  4. studying manipulation is validating manipulation. this video makes you feel positive about a negative topic. retardation as celebration

  5. it is not impossible to agree that the question itself is worthy to agree upon. and that it is a just question.

  6. it's grammatically impossible to agree to a question… If you were agreeing to the idea that they should "sons and daughters" you should state it, where as all you said is "i agree", where you should have said "I agree that it should be sons and daughters, too".

  7. i knewthat and im 14. then again i saw a movie dedicated to her (julie and julia) then saw her kitchen at the smithsonian….

  8. It would be my pleasure, friends. I have gathered videos from many sources; Internet, VHS tapes and other video formats. My collection is not as organized as I had originally planned it to be, however, I will organize the videos in a concise manner as to cover different areas of focus. Some of the videos are available on YouTube already. I will see if those in my personal library that are not available can be uploaded to my account with the proper permissions. I apologize, it may take some time.

  9. That is one of the kindest and most sincere sentiments ever directed toward me. Thank you very much, friend, though it is you who I feel others should be more like. If more people were kinder toward those they interact with throughout any given day, and not fearful of giving due compliments, such as your generously considerate one, then I believe the behavior would spread and become as natural as breathing. Positivity and respect shown to an individual can make an impact on one's day, or life.

  10. I apologize for not replying sooner, I had been without power for quite some time due to storms. Thank you very much for thinking so. I really appreciate kindness and positive, unsolicited compliments, especially toward complete strangers. I now have one more hero, or heroine on this world. Perhaps, one day, noble qualities will not be such a rarity. Again, thank you kindly.

  11. This is very true that's why the media is showing nothing but bullshit on TV.. Thats why I don't watch anymore T.V… Corrupting our Youth with media (MTV/jersey shore / kardashian etc..) advertising there poisonous chemical foods such as ( MC.D /JACK IN THE BOX/WENDYS (MSG and perservatives/sodium nitrate) ETC.. also the drinks ( high fructose corn syrup) and ( deadly sugar substitutes(splenda / aspartame etc. )

    Zero Calories = Zero Neurons!

    subliminally brain fucked anyone???

  12. companies like disney has been using 'media codes' are years, thats how they effectively sneak penises, the word sex, and support the illuminati in all their cartoons. lol the magical world of disney 😀

  13. Oh my, This is so strange when i started watching this without looking realising your comment on the comment section, i was thinking i want to download all TEDEducation videos for one day when i have kids. Open they minds a bit.

  14. a very obvious piece of media, the cycled flashing images don't work, and it feels that the producer doesn't know how to manipulate those codes effectively to give any real educational value … just saying it doesn't make it so. overall it describes the string holding the carrot without any context to the entity offering it or the carrot and donkey.

  15. i really couldn't watch this video… was forced to close my eyes for nearly the entire presentation. i'm clueless how someone can come up with the insane idea to run screen flickering for minutes and how it can be actually signed to be used for a TED video…

  16. We cannot begin any visceral intelligent dialogue addressing the scope and impact of photography across myriads of social strata without first making an investigation into the intimate lives and experiences of its prolific imagists. They are a vital spring that renews vision and cultivates cognitive evolution among modern societies.

  17. Hurmm… I wish there was a mention of semiotics or a comparison of technical codes vs. semiotics. Anyway, this video is a tease into the world of semiotics and philosopher Roland Barthes.

  18. This video is somewhat of a letdown, since I was expecting more information or – at least – more interesting information. But it was just "meh"…

  19. These video clips are good. I'd been so confounded watching my mate move from being lame to a ladies man. He started getting women overnight. He pretended he failed to notice. Then he told me when he was drunk on Bourbon. Turns out he makes use of the Jake Ayres Master Attraction Formula. Google it if you wish to know about it… He's seeing a beauty… Lucky guy!

  20. Is incredible the form in what we manipulate at others.

    and how they manipulate us.

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