I’m going to compare the credits of two soap operas and consider how they gently introduce the audience to the soap. The two soaps I will be studying are Coronation Street and Emmerdale. I will be thinking about how each shot creates a certain atmosphere and what helps create the impression the audience receives. I will also be taking into account how characters lives and the locations of the two soaps are portrayed. Finally I will consider the difference in the styles of the music and how this helps to prepare the audience for the story lines that will face them.
The story lines in soap operas relate to the ongoing stories happening in real life. However they are blown up out of proportion because of the small community the soap has to be set in. An audience can only appreciate the different values of a character if there are a small number of them. Current issues that have come through in soaps recently are prostitution in EastEnders and bullying in Brookside. Teenage pregnancies have also occurred in most soap’s.
The credits of a soap are very important as it is the first thing the audience will see to prepare them for the story lines that will face them. They have to introduce the characters and the sorts of lives they lead. Audiences watch soaps mainly for entertainment value. However they also expect to receive many other things for example social interaction (be able to debate about story lines with their friends and family) they want to find events they can identify with and learn from in a soap. The producers understand this and therefore incorporate these expectations in to the credits.
The credits of Emmerdale make it seem as though we are being drawn into the character’s lives by long sweeping shots of the Yorkshire dales. These credits take us from rural to urban connoting that Emmerdale is set in a small village surrounded by countryside. Coronations street’s credits also use the same method to show that this soap is set in a big city.
Coronations streets first shot is taken from a high angle position and is of a few terraced houses in the foreground and big tower blocks in the background denoting that the soap we are about to see is set in a city. In the same way the first shot of Emmerdale shows deserted fields. Both of these shots set the scene and tell the audience what type of community they will be watching. Because the shots show so little detail they connote to us that we should keep watching as mysteries will be revealed. However I think this is shown much more in Emmerdale as Coronation Street tells us what area the soap is set in and also connotes that the houses in the foreground are where the selected community lives.
Both of the second shots show more detail and hint at what story lines the soaps could be based around, for example in Emmerdale we can see a tractor in a field connoting the rural life they live in. This effect makes the audience feel as though they are being drawn into the soap and being introduced the characters slowly.
The third shots in each soap again show more detail about the characters. In Emmerdale we see the first piece of evidence of human activity, a bridge. This coming in the third shot contrasts with the houses shown in the first shot of Coronation Street. This method connotes in Emmerdale the difference between the vast country side and the small village. We see the first evidence of the type of story lines in the third shot of Coronation Street as we see telephone wires, this connotes the daily activities and lives of the community.
Shot four, five and six of Emmerdale are again leading us closer to the village, starting from an image of a road and a river giving us a vague idea of the community to an image of a car. Because Emmerdale takes more time to get to the community and therefore has more shots than Coronation Street it again shows the audience the difference between the rural village Emmerdale is set in and the urban vast city Coronation street is set in.
The penultimate shots of both soaps are more focused and more intimate than the previous shots. In Emmerdale we actually see the village and in Coronation street we are shown the back alley of the characters houses.
Both final shots are increasingly more intimate than the previous shots, making the audience feel like there journey is at an end and they are ready to be introduced to the community. In Emmerdale the shot is taken at eye level in the village and make the audience feel like they are standing there ready to be introduced to the characters. The idea of the van passing in front of the camera also gives the idea that the audience is really there and not just watching it. The last shot of Coronation street shows washing lines and a cat this is taken in the back garden of a characters house making the audience feel as though they are already friends with the community and are going to watch their friends lives in progress.
There are six super-imposed images printed over the top of the Emmerdale credits, showing us the possible story lines that will go on in this soap and therefore introducing us to the community. The first one for scene one and two is of a mother and a child hugging. This could show any number of story lines focusing in on the family, for example conflict between parents, a child going missing or a child doing something good at school or socially. The next image for the next two scenes is of a man and a woman kissing. This could show marriage, or pure love between to people, but it may also show an affair or love conflict between three or more people. The third image for shot five and six is of a woman slapping another, this shows arguments, fights and anger between two people living in the community. Shot four for the next two scenes is of a women praying, looking very upset. This shows tragedy, concern, betrayal, basically any bad or upset feeling. The next image is of a man jumping for joy, this contrasts to the last image as he is experiencing good feelings. The last image is of a man and a woman hugging and laughing together. This could, like image one, show the importance of family in the community. I feel these super imposed images improve the credits by focusing in more on the factors that audiences expect to see in the soap.
The instruments that play the theme tunes and the way the instruments play are also conciderd by the producers. For example the brass family was chosen for Corronation Street to show a homely and urban feel where as the wind instruments for Emmerdale indicates the rural community.
I think that Emmerdale prepares the audience for the soap more efficiently than Coronation Street does. With use of the super imposed images. I also like the soap Emmerdale better than Coronation street and I think this shows the importance in the shooting for soaps credits.