• 1-inch Type C
    A legacy professional reel-to-reel analog videotape format (designated Type C by SMPTE) using helical scan recording of the full-bandwidth video signal co-developed by Ampex and Sony in 1976. The format introduced many new features including still, shuttle, and variable-speed playback (including slow motion). The reliability of the format made it a mainstay in television and video production for almost two decades before the introduction of compact formats like Betacam SP, D-1, and D-2 replaced it.
  • 2K
    Video with a resolution of 2,048 horizontal pixels.
  • 3-Chip
    A term used to describe prosumer and professional cameras that use three separate CCD or CMOS sensors, one for the red channel (with a red filter), one for green (with a green filter), and the third for blue (with a blue filter) as opposed to using a single sensor with a Bayer pattern.
  • 3K
    Video with a resolution of 3,072 horizontal pixels. Typically used to describe digital image sequences produced by digital cinema cameras as distinct to digital video cameras.
  • 4x3
    The aspect ratio of standard television, as opposed to the 16x9 aspect ratio of high definition television, a.k.a.1.33: 1.
  • 4K
    There are two flavors of 4K. 1. Ultra-high definition (UHD) video format with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, or 2160p with four times the pixels as 1080p HD, 4K offers four times as many pixels for more photorealistic images; 2. DCI 4K format with a resolution of 4,096 horizontal pixels. See also HD, UHD, DCI.
  • 16x9
    The aspect ratio of wide screen television (may be either standard or high definition) as opposed to the 4x3 aspect ratio of standard television. Sometimes referred to as 1.77: 1 or 1.78:1.
  • 24p
    A format of progressive video, 24 frames per second. See Progressive Scan, See also 24pN, 30p, 30pN, and 24pA.
  • 24pA
    A video format that encodes a native 24p video stream as interlaced video at 60 fields per second (60i). This method was originally developed so that 24p video could be recorded using 60i videotape recording systems and play back in standard video equipment. A 24pA aware editing system or conversion software can reconstitute the 24p video from the 60i video stream. The translation is illustrated below. See 3:2 Pulldown.
  • 30p
    A format of progressive video, 30 frames per second. See Progressive Scan, See also 24p, 30p, and 24pA.
  • 30 Rule
    Dictates that when cutting between shots (especially of a single subject), the difference in angle between the two shots should be equal or greater than 30 in order for the cut to be effective. A cut that combines shots that are too similar will be upsetting to the viewer. If cutting to a particular shot violates this rule, continuity may be improved through the use of a cutaway to a reaction shot or a close-up of something else and then cutting to the second shot, however, this is not considered strict continuity editing.
  • 3:2 Pulldown
    A technique used to convert 24 frames per second film to 30 frames per second 60i video. Every other film frame is converted to 3 video fields resulting in a sequence of 3 fields, 2 fields, 3 fields, 2 fields, etc. as illustrated above. See Progressive Scan.
  • 60i
    Interlaced video with 60 fields per second (30 frames per second). A longtime broadcast and consumer standard which is finally starting to lose its dominance as progressive formats like 30p, and 60p take its place. See Interlace Scan.
  • 180 Degree Rule
    In continuity editing, the 180 degree line (a.k.a. axis of action) is an imaginary line passing through the two main actors (or actor and object) of a scene, defining the spatial relationship among scene elements as being to the right or left of this imaginary line. The 180 rule suggests that the camera should not cross the imaginary line at a cut, as this would disorient the viewer by reversing the spatial relationships. This rule is among the most important rules of continuity because we expect the relationships of the things presented to us to remain constant. If the camera breaks the line of action (that is, the imaginary line that restricts the camera) and cuts to the other side of the line, it will appear as though the characters have switched places. In most situations this is considered bad form, although it is admissible if the cut is so blatant that we can understand that the position of the characters has remained constant. The camera may move during the shot from one side to the other in order to re-establish a new imaginary line. See continuity editing.
  • 360-degree pan
    A panning shot which turns around a full circle. See Pan.
  • AAC
    Abbreviation of Advanced Audio Coding. A lossy audio compression file format thats higher quality than MP3.
  • Above the line
    Refers to the creative elements of a feature motion picture production such as the writer, producer, director and actors. Literally, these are the elements which appeared above a bold line which divided standard production budget sheets. See Below the line.
  • AC
    1. Abbreviation of Alternating Current, an electric current with periodically changing polarity (e.g. 60 Hz power in the United States); 2. Abbreviation of Assistant Cameraperson.
  • AC-3
    Abbreviation of Adaptive Transformer Code 3). A lossy audio compression format. See Dolby Digital.
  • Accent
    A light source used specifically to illuminate an individual object (often to make it pop out from the rest of the background are often called accent lights. The term special is also used for lights that are focused on a specific object. You may also hear this referred to as a spotlight, though spotlight is usually reserved for the types of very bright spots used in theatre and performance lighting.
  • Access
    The key ingredient for a good documentary: access to the subject and their social milieu.
  • Accessory shoe
    Used to mount a light, microphone mount, wireless receiver, or other gear on the camera (a.k.a cold-shoe).
  • Acoustics
    The science of sound wave transmission. In general the term is used to refer to the characteristics of rooms, theaters, auditoriums, and studios in terms of their design and audio characteristics.
  • ADC
    Abbreviation of Analog-to-digital converter. A device used to convert analog electrical signals (e.g. from a microphone or analog mixer) to digital data that represent the level and frequency information contained in the original analog signal.
  • Additive color
    Given that our color receptors have peak sensitivities in the blue, green and red range, any color that the human eye can detect can be created with a mix of pure blue, green, and red light. Video and digital imaging systems are modeled after this. These colors form the additive color primaries. If we mix the right amount of red, green, and blue light, well see white (refer to the illustration below). All colors that are combinations of two primaries are known as secondary (or complimentary) colors: Red + Green = Yellow; Blue + Green = Cyan; and Red + Blue = Magenta. Mixing the secondary colors gets you back to the primaries: Yellow + Magenta = Red; Cyan + Yellow = Green; and Magenta + Cyan = Blue. Furthermore, mixing a primary with its corresponding secondary gets you back to white: Red + Cyan = White; Green + Magenta = White; and Blue + Yellow = White. See subtractive color, gel, color correcting gel.
  • Address track
    A videotape timing and control track which contains control data for quick and accurate location of program material.
  • Aerial shot
    An overhead shot, usually taken from a helicopter or airplane or some clever contraption involving wires. Can also refer to any high angle view of a subject taken from a crane or any high stationary position.
    The digital audio standard set by the Audio Engineering Society and European Broadcast Union and used by most forms of professional digital audio.
  • AGC
    Abbreviation of Automatic Gain Control. An audio circuit that in which the signal level is adjusted to an appropriate level to prevent clipping (and thus distortion). The disadvantage of AGC is that when recording a mix of quiet and loud signals, the AGC will tend to make the quiet passages louder and the loud passages quieter, compressing the dynamic range as well as recording an audible pumping up and down of the noise level (higher with quiet signals and softer with louder signals). Therefore, professionals prefer to set audio levels manually using a peak-reading meter and use a limiter for those unexpected peaks. This is how audio is set with the DVX100, which offers a limiter, but not AGC. See Limiter.
  • AIFF
    Abbreviation of Audio Interchange File Format. A lossless audio compression format used in production and post-production. Uses PCM (Pulse Code Modulation), a straightforward representation of binary digits of the audio sample values. The sampling rate is typically 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz, with a 16-bit bit-depth, however, other sampling rates and bit-depths are possible. Commonly found on the Macintosh, less commonly used by Windows applications. Files in this format are given a .aif or .aiff extension. See WAV, FLAC, Broadcast Wave Format.
  • ALC
    Abbreviation of Automatic Limiter Control. A circuit available on Panasonic prosumer camcorders. It starts attenuating incoming audio signals around -6 dB and then limits peaks to -4.5 dB. With ALC you still need to adjust the overall levels manually, since transitory peaks will still cause distortion, however, this is preferable to automatic methods. Most other manufacturers simply call this a limiter. See AGC.
  • Aliasing
    Defects in the picture caused by too low of a sampling frequency or poor filtering. Usually seen as jaggies or stair steps in diagonal lines. Aliasing also can occur in the temporal domain, for example, as wagon wheels moving backward or slower than the wagon is moving, due to the frame rate of the camera vs. the speed of the wheel. Any undesirable distortion of image or sound that is a result of less than perfect digital encoding can be considered aliasing.
  • Ambient light
    Any source of light that naturally exists in the scene before lighting instruments are added. This may come from a window or overhead fixtures.
  • Ambient sound
    The total sound in an environment which is unique to that environment. Also known as room tone. Plays an important role in making seamless audio edits, which requires that the silence between words and sentences contains ambient noise that matches the environment in which the dialogue takes place.
  • Amplitude
    The strength of an electronic signal as measure by the height of its waveform.
  • Analog
    A signal that varies continuously in relation to some reference. In contrast, a digital signal varies in discreet steps.
  • Analog recording
    A means of recording audio whereby the recorded signal is a physical representation of the waveform of the original signal. 1/4-in. reel to reel magnetic tape is an example of an analog audio format. Whenever a copy is made of a recording in an analog format, the copy exhibits additional artifacts not in the original.
  • Anamorphic lens
    A lens that allows a wide image to be photographed on a standard-sized frame. The anamorphic lens essentially takes a wide aspect-ratio image and squeezes it into a frame thats not as wide as the image. This is how the motion picture industry implemented wide-screen movies in the 1950s without changing the film format. Just as an anamorphic lens is used with a camera, a lens is required during projection to return the image back to its wide screen format. In video terms this is often called squeezed or anamorphic video.
  • Angle of light
    The horizontal and vertical relationships between camera/subject and light/subject affects modeling (visual) and mood (emotion). For example, the key light can be anywhere from 0 (for flat lighting) to 90(for side lighting) from the camera/subject axis in the horizontal plane. On the set the terminology is usually along the lines of top, side, front, 3/4-back, etc.
  • Angle of view
    The angle of acceptance of a lens which depends on the focal length of the lens and the camera aperture (related to the size of the imaging device or film frame). Wide angle lenses have a wide angle of view (and a short focal length), telephoto lenses have a narrow angle of view (and a long focal length). See normal lens, wide angle lens, telephoto lens.
  • Animation
    1. A film or video in which inanimate objects or individual drawings are photographed frame by frame in order to create an illusion of movement on the screen when the film or video is played back at the standard speed. By manipulating the objects or drawings for each frame, the filmmaker can make objects or characters appear to move, thus the term animated; 2. A moving image sequence in which objects are rendered frame by frame by computer software in order to create an illusion of movement on the screen.
  • Answer print
    The first graded print of a film that combines sound and picture created for the producer, director, and cinematographer to view and approve prior to the lab printing additional copies of the film.
  • Anti-aliasing
    The process of removing aliasing artifacts. For example, adding vertical blur to an interlaced video image, which assures that any fine detail straddle more than one line, prevents line jitter on an interlaced display.
  • Aperture
    An adjustable opening (iris) in a camera lens that controls the amount of light passing through a lens, often expressed as an f-number (a ratio of the opening and the focal length of the lens). The aperture has an effect on depth of field. Wide openings (e.g. f/2.8) result in shallow depth of field, smaller openings (e.g. f/11) result in greater depth of field. Thus the aperture affects both the exposure and the depth of field.
  • Apple box
    A wood box used to raise things on the set or in the studio, e.g. a piece of furniture or a person (i.e. make a short person taller). Apple boxes are available in several sizes: full (8-in. high), half (4-in. high), quarter (2-in.. high) and eighth (1-in. high, a.k.a. pancake).
  • Appropriation
    Taking media elements or stylistic techniques and using them for ones own ends, particularly when one is remixing them for the purpose of critique or reinterpretation.
  • Archival footage
    Film or video footage that can be used in other films (also described as library footage or file footage). The footage may be outtakes or previously used footage from other productions or shot specifically for sale as stock footage. a.k.a. stock footage.
  • Area lighting
    Lighting that illuminates specific areas of a set rather than the entire set.
  • Art
    A signification system in which an audience, viewer, or participant is expected to evaluate and respond to a work according to a formal set of criteria determined within a prescribed system either expressed or implied. This signification system (a.k.a. aesthetics) is circumscribed within and interdependent on culture and language, however, at the same time contains its own logic which expands and/or challenges the cultural context in which the work is being experienced. Any observer and/or participantnot just an artist, curator, scholar, or criticmay choose to evaluate or respond to the work in the form of an aesthetic response. See video art, experimental video.
  • Artifact
    1. Any object made by human beings with an intention for subsequent use; 2. any feature that is not naturally present but is a product of an extrinsic agent, e.g. unwanted noise in the soundtrack or an effect in the image caused by an error or limitation in the image capture, storage, or reproduction system, or a combination of them. British: artefact.
  • Aspect ratio
    The ratio of the horizontal dimension to the vertical dimension of a frame. 35mm films are typically shot with an aspect ratio of 1.85: 1 or 2.35:1 (cinemascope), widescreen video is 1.78:1 (16x9), standard video and 16mm film is 1.33:1 (4x3).
  • Assembly edit
    The process of organizing and joining shots of video into a rough sequence as they might appear in the finished project.
  • Associate producer
    Someone who performs specific producing functions under the supervision of a producer. The term may also refer someone in an executive producer role, but working in a capacity subordinate to another producer on the project. On documentaries and independent productions it it may refer to someone who made significant contributions to the project, e.g. a generous Kickstarter donor. There is no single universal definition.
  • Associational editing
    The juxtaposition of shots in order to present contrast, comparisons, or ideas.
  • Asynchronous sound
    Sound which is not synchronized with the image. See also non-synchronous sound and synchronous sound.
  • Atmosphere
    Extras who are staged to portray normal human traffic needed to add natural detail in a scene.
  • ATSC
    Abbreviation of Advanced Television Systems Committee. The standards organization that recommended the new digital television standards to the FCC.
  • Attenuate
    To reduce signal strength. See Attenuator.
  • Attenuator
    A device that reduces signal strength. For example, audio line levels need to be attenuated before they can be fed into a device that only accepts microphone level signals, so you would use an attenuator in this situation.
  • ATV
    Abbreviation of Advanced Television. An acronym for the new digital television standards. See HDTV.
  • Audible spectrum
    Sound waves in the frequency range between 20 and 20,000 Hz that move through the atmosphere and produce an audible sensation in the average human. As we get older the high end of the spectrum is reduced.
  • Auteur theory
    A theory popularized by French film critics in the 1950s and 1960s which argued that the director is the author of a film, with the power and artistic control to provide the work with their personal vision.
  • Automatic white balance
    A circuit in a video camera that attempts to adjust the white balance automatically. See White Balance.
  • AutoPole
    Adjustable lighting poles that can be mounted floor to ceiling (vertical) or wall to wall (horizontal) in order to support lighting and grip equipment.
  • Available light
    Shooting under the lighting conditions that exist in nature or in a location. If you study lighting technique, you will be in a better position to make the best of available light, which can be beautiful. Often changing the angle or position of the subject relative to existing light sources can make the difference between ugly light and beautiful light. Windows make for wonderful soft lights, albeit unreliable due to the movement of the sun and clouds. When we talk of available light photography or videography, were talking about shooting without the introduction of artificial lights. a.k.a. existing light.
    Abbreviation of Advanced Video Coding, HD. An inter-frame video codec widely used among HD consumer cameras that shoot to some variation of tapeless media (flash card, hard drive, etc). In most cases it has to be transcoded to an intermediate format for editing (e.g. Apple Intermediate Codec or ProRes 422) since its very difficult to edit directly. See H.264, Codec, Compression, Inter-frame compression.
  • Avid
    1. Short for Avid Media Composer, which was the first commercially viable non-linear editing system and became the industry-standard among Hollywood, broadcast, and public television editors. For a long time it was the only show in town, especially if you were doing film match-back for feature films. Avid offers a family of products designed for a wide range of applications ranging from independent producers to large-scale facilities. Once upon a time it owned the non-linear editing marketplace, and while it remains a dominant player, it shares the marketplace with competitors like Adobe Premiere Pro which is widely used among in-house video producers, freelance video makers, artists, and independent artists and filmmakers. 2. Short for Avid Technology, an American technology company founded in August 1987 by Bill Warner, based in Burlington, Massachusetts that markets a range of products including the Avid Media Composer.
  • B-roll
    Shots in a documentary that are used to illustrate what an interviewee is talking about or to cover breaks in an interview. Often used to refer to the footage that is shot for the purpose of using later as cut-away shots. See Cut-away shot.
  • Baby
    1. Nickname for a 1K fresnel lighting instrument. 2. Used to describe any light which is smaller than a standard size unit of comparable intensity (i.e. baby 1K, baby 2K, baby 5K, etc.). See baby pin.
  • Baby legs
    A tripod with short legs.
  • Baby pin
    Refers to the small 5/8-in. pins found on smaller lights and mounting hardware designed to fit into a standard 5/8-in. receiver. This is the pin youll find on the end of smaller light stands. In order to mount a small light on a gobo arm, you can attach a baby pin to the grip head. The pin gets its name from Baby, the slang for a 1K Fresnel instrument, a widely used fixture in studio lighting before the advent of LED and fluorescent technology.
  • Baby plate
    Used for mounting smaller light fixtures that have a Baby (5/8-in.) receiver to a flat surface. They can be screwed into a surface or clamped in place with a C-clamp, or gaffer taped if the fixture being used is lightweight.
  • Background
    1. Term used to describe the activities in a scene that take place behind the principal characters in a scene. 2. Term used to describe the ambience in a scene or to relative volume, put the snapping sound in the background.
  • Backlight
    A light source that comes from behind the subject. If it comes from directly overheard, it is often called a toplight. It can add dimensionality, however, at the same time, unless it is motivated, it can look artificial. Often youll use more than one backlight, for example, one might be focused on the subjects hair, while another provides a rim around a shoulder, see kicker.
  • Backlighting
    A situation in which the primary source of light is coming from behind the subject, silhouetting it, and directed toward the camera.
  • Balanced signal
    An audio circuit with 3 wires, two carry the signal, and the third provides the ground. Compared to unbalanced circuit using a single signal wire and a ground, balanced signals are much less susceptible to picking up interference. Therefore, professional sound recording equipment is usually designed to work with balanced wiring. While XLRs are the most widely used connectors with balanced wiring, a particular connector does not guarantee the existence of balanced wiring. Better camcorders provided balanced XLR connectors for audio input and offer a choice of Line or Microphone level input.
  • Bandwidth
    The amount of information that can be passed through a system at a given time. Typically, the greater the bandwidth the better the image or audio quality, however, the compression techniques (if any) used also influence this, since some compression formats allow for a reduction of bandwidth while maintaining very similar image quality, for example, H.264 vs. MPEG-2.
  • Barn doors
    Folding doors mounted on the front of lighting instruments used to control illumination. They work best on Fresnel instruments.
  • Bayer pattern
    A color filter array for arranging RGB color filters on a square grid of CMOS or CCD photo sensors used in most single-chip digital image sensors in digital still and video cameras. The filter pattern is 50% green, 25% red and 25% blue and is sometimes referred to as GRGB or RGGB. a.k.a. Bayer mosaic.
  • Beat
    1. A beat is an event, decision, or discovery in a narrative that alters the way the protagonist pursues their goal. 2. In the context of a screenplay, it usually represents a pause in dialogue. 3. A periodic variation of amplitude resulting from the addition of two frequencies that are slightly different.
  • Beep
    1. A tone placed in a particular position on a sound track in post-production in order to establish a sync point. The tone is used to align the audio track with the picture for precise synchronization. A fool proof method that is often used as a backup even when time code is being used. For example, your composer might give you audio tracks and place a beep two seconds prior to the start of picture so you can line up the music with your project. 2. Sound made by the Roadrunner.
  • Below the line
    Refers to the technical components of the production staff. Literally, these are the budget elements that appeared below a bold line on a standard production budget form. See Above the line.
  • Best boy/gal
    On a traditional film set there are two kinds of best boy/gals, each functions as the foreperson of their department. The best boy/gal electric is the assistant to the gaffer and best boy/gal grip is the assistant to the key grip.
  • Betacam SP
    A legacy professional analog video tape format using the CCIR 601 standard to record 4:2:2 component video in compressed form on tape. It was widely used in broadcast, ENG, and documentary production prior and was the cats meow for professional video production until the introduction of compact high definition videotape formats.
  • Bin
    1. In the film editing room of days gone by, a bin was a storage container lined with a cloth bag, into which cut film or sound stock could be arranged and hung. 2. In a digital non-linear editor like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro, bins refer to folders which contain video clips, image files, sequences, and effects which can be selected for use during editing.
  • Bit
    1. A single element (1 or 0) of digital representation of information. 2. A minor role in which an actor may speak only a few lines of dialog. Also known as a bit part.
  • Bit rate
    The amount of data transported in a given amount of time, usually defined in Mega (Million) bits per second (Mbps). Bit rate is one way to define the amount of compression used on a video signal. Uncompressed standard definition video has a bit rate of 270 Mbps. The DV and HDV video standards have a bit rate to 25 Mbps.
  • Bit stream
    A continuous series of bits.
  • Black balance
    In order for a video camera to reproduce blacks accurately, black balancing adjusts the zero level of all three primary colors (RGB). If the black balance is not adjusted properly, shadow details will be reproduced with a color cast. It is not normally necessary to adjust the black balance, however, you should adjust it when: a) you use the camera for the first time.; b) you use the camera after not using it for a long time; c) the ambient temperature changes greatly; d) you change the shutter speed of the camera; or e) you switch between the progressive and interlaced video modes (this may not apply to all cameras, refer to your camera owners manual for specific details).
  • Black box
    1. A piece of equipment dedicated to a specific function whose inner workings are not accessible to an observer; 2. A theater consisting of a simple performance space, usually a large room with black walls and a flat floor, a.k.a. black box theatre or experimental theater.
  • Black paper tape.
    Typically 1-in. or 2-in. wide paper tape used for a variety of tasks especially those in which the tape might come in contact with hot metal parts close to quartz and HMI lights since the adhesive will not make a mess the way gaffer tape will.
  • Black wrap.
    Aluminum foil painted with black paint used to reduce light spill from lighting instruments or creating custom cookies, dots, fingers, snoots, etc. and ideal for use close to hot lights.
  • Blocking
    1. The grouping or arrangement of subjects or actors in a particular shot; 2. The patterns of movement in a shot or scene.
  • Blonde
    Slang for a 2K open face lighting unit, also known as a mighty. The name refers to a particular brand of open face lighting instrument that was color coded yellow for 2K (and thus blonde) and red for 1K (and thus redhead).
  • Bobbinet
    Black mesh cloth used primarily for making nets. It also is available in rolls for darkening windows. See net.
  • Boom
    A pole used to extend a microphone above the subject or actor you want to record, permitting sync sound recording without interference with the subject or actors movement. Boom poles are available in a range of lengths, materials (aluminum or super-light carbon fiber), and with or without internal wiring.
  • Bottom chop
    A flag used to keep light off of the floor or the lower part of a scene. See flag, cutter.
  • Box rental
    A fee paid to a crew member for providing their own equipment or other specialized gear for use in a production.
  • Branch holder
    A pipe-like unit with a locking nut which is used to hold branches, wooden poles, or other items.
  • Branchaloris
    Slang for branches which are placed in front of a lighting instrument acting like a cucoloris to provide a shadow pattern. See cucoloris.
  • Breakdown
    Refers to a preproduction function where elements of a script are isolated and noted. Also called a script breakdown.
  • Bridging shot
    A shot used to cover a jump in time or place or some other form of discontinuity. Examples are the hands of a clock moving quickly, falling calendar pages, newspaper headlines, time-lapse, seasonal changes, etc.
  • Broad
    A rectangular open-faced light used for general fill or for illuminating a cyc.
  • Broadcast quality
    An nebulous term used by marketing people to describe video products in a manner thats more appealing.
  • Burned in time code
    Time code numbers that are superimposed on the image, a video tape or file with burned in time code is called a window dub. In the days of analog tape dubs with burned in time code would be made for logging, today stock footage houses still use this technique to prevent video clips from being incorporated into a program prior to proper licensing. See window dub.
  • Bus
    1. A network that combines the output of two or more channels on a sound mixer.
  • Butterfly frame
    A large aluminum frames designed to hold various fabrics for controlling light, usually used outdoors.
  • Butterfly kit
    Consists of ssorted nets, silks, solids, and grifflon which are used for light control; usually with a 5 x 5, or 6 x 6 frame. Note that 12 x 12 or 20 x 20 kits are more properly called overhead kits, but are sometimes referred to as butterfly kits.
  • BWF
    Abbreviation of Broadcast wave format. An extension of the WAV audio format that is widely implemented by professional digital audio recorders used in radio, television, and motion picture production. The extension implements metadata to enable the exchange of sound data between different devices and applications. This metadata is stored as extension chunks in a standard digital audio WAV file so BWF files do not require a special player for playback. Files in this format are given a .wav extension. See WAV, AIFF, FLAC.
  • Byte
    8 bits. A common unit of digital information. The combination of 8 bits into 1 byte allows each byte to represent 256 possible values. (see Megabyte, Gigabyte, Terabyte).
  • C-47
    A slang term for hardwood clothes pin. A small clip made of hardwood used on the set to attach gels to barn doors and other similar tasks. Also known as a #1 wood clamp. The origin of the name is tied to several colorful stories.
  • C-Stand
    A versatile stand used to support equipment on the set. Usually outfitted with a grip head and a gobo arm. In addition to holding grip and lighting equipment like flags and nets, they can also be used for hanging sound blankets or holding a Boom Baby (accessory for holding a boom pole that connects to a grip head mounted on a C-Stand or light stand). The grip head found on the stand and at the end of the gobo arm is designed to hold three different pin sizes. Their unique leg design allows for nesting several stands within a very small space. See grip head, gobo arm.
  • California scrim set
    A scrim (net) set with two doubles. See net.
  • Call sheet
    A form which lists all of the scenes to be filmed, all of the personnel, and all of the equipment needed for shooting on a particular day.
  • Camera angle
    The position of the camera in relation to the subject during filming. It may be straight (eye-level shot), tilted up at the subject (low-angle shot), tilted down at the subject (high-angle shot), or tilted off the vertical axis to either side (Dutch-angle shot).
  • Camera log
    A sheet used to keep track of information about scenes or shots on a particular tape or memory card.
  • Camera movement
    Any movement of the camera during a shot, such as panning, tilting, dollying, tracking, etc.
  • Camera speed
    The rate at which film is run through a motion picture camera in frames per second (fps). The normal speed for sound film recording is 24 fps. Video cameras that simulate film shooting at 24 fps use the same terms as film cameras to describe the camera speed. See also Overcrank and Undercrank.
  • Camera tape
    A term for 1-in. wide gaffer tape, since it has commonly been used for taping film cans. See gaffer tape.
  • Candela
    A unit of light intensity, a standard candle.
  • Capacitance
    The ability of an electrical component to store electrical charges. Condenser microphones work on the principle of capacitance.
  • Capture
    The act of transferring digital video material from a camera into a non-linear editing system. When tapeless cameras are used, the term ingest, transfer, or import are often used to describe this process.
  • CBR
    Abbreviation of Constant Bit Rate. A compression technique used in both audio and video applications where the amount of compression does not change. For example, H.264 video files can be encoded either as Constant Bit Rate or as Variable Bit Rate files.
  • CCD
    Abbreviation of Charge-Coupled Device. A semiconductor sensor that produces an electrical charge in response to photons of light energy falling on the surface that is widely used in the design of video and still cameras. See also CMOS.
  • CD
    Abbreviation of Compact Disc. A digitally encoded audio storage format containing over an hour of music digitized with a sampling frequency of 44.1 KHz and a bit depth of 16 bits. The data is read from tiny pits on the surface by a laser beam.
  • CD quality
    An nebulous term used by marketing departments to describe audio products.
  • Cel
    Transparent plastic sheets on which traditional animators draw images to be photographed frame by frame for an animated film or to be superimposed over live action. Animation done from such drawings is called cel animation.
  • Celo
    A type of cucoloris which is made from wire mesh coated with plastic. See cucoloris.
  • Chiaroscuro
    Lighting that emphasizes light/dark contrast (fast falloff, with light coming from a specific direction). Has the effect of personalizing and emphasizing the subject. Commonly thought of as dramatic lighting, see contrast ratio, flat lighting.
  • Chinese lantern
    A paper-covered wire frame globe into which a socket and bulb may be placed for soft lighting (a.k.a. china ball). Chimera makes a professional version out of heat-resistant material called the Chimera lantern.
  • Chroma key
    A production technique used to place a foreground subject shot against an even colored background in front of a different background. The colored portion of the foreground image becomes transparent when composited with the background image through the use of a key (a.k.a. matte). The key is created by a keyer. The process may be performed in real-time (e.g. using a video switcher or similar device) or in post-production (e.g. using the Keylight chroma keyer in After Effects). Blue and green are the colors most often used for chroma key, a major reason for this is that red is the dominant primary color in human skin tones, while blue and green are much less dominant. Green is currently favored over blue for two reasons, 1. most video encoders compress the blue channel more than the green channel, thus a matte based on green will be sharper than one based on blue, and 2. green requires less lighting since its inherently brighter that blue. See keyer. a.k.a. color keying and colloquially referred to as blue screen or green screen.
  • Chrominance
    The color component of a video signal. a.k.a. chroma. See luminance.
  • Cinéma vérité
    In French, literally, cinema truth. A style of documentary filmmaking in which the filmmaker captures real people in real situations with spontaneous use of hand-held camera, naturalistic sound recording, and with participation on the part of the filmmaker, for example, Chronicle of a Summer (1961, Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin, French title: Chronique d'un été). Sometimes called direct cinema, however, direct cinema often refers to a different style that was dominant in the United States in the 1960s and differs in terms of much less filmmaker involvement, for example, Salesman (1968, Albert & David Maysles).
  • Cinematographer
    The person responsible for the camera work and lighting in a film. Sometimes the term is used even though the medium in use is video. Also called a lighting cameraman or director of photography.
  • Click track
    A prerecorded track of metronomic clicks used to ensure proper timing of music to be recorded. Used in music scoring sessions.
  • Clipping
    When an input signal exceeds the capability the equipment to reproduce the signal, clipping occurs. In an analog recording system the results are audible distortion, however, in a digital system you end up with incomprehensible noise.
  • Close-up
    Abbreviated CU. A close view of a person or object which features details isolated from their surroundings. A close-up of a person typically only shows their head. Close-ups can be used in juxtaposition with other close-up shots to guide the viewer through a process of inductive interpretation in comparison to the more deductive strategies employed from wider frames. Close-ups can convey intimacy and are often used to emphasize the importance of a particular character at a particular moment. How and where close-ups occur in a sequence reveal not only the importance of characters and/or objects but the flow of the narrative. Close-ups are often used on parts of the body to designate imminent action (e.g. a hand pulling a gun out of a holster) to enhance the suspense. Close-ups are also used to emphasize objects with an important role in the development of the narrative.
  • CMOS
    Abbreviation of Complementary MetalOxideSemiconductor. A technology used for making video and still camera image sensors that consume less power and are less expensive compared to CCDs. See CCD.
  • Codec
    The particular image processing technology used to compress video into a compact format suitable for storage on a digital medium (and also to decompress it prior to playback) is called a codecs (for compressor / decompressor). In a nutshell there are two major flavors of codecs, intra-frame and inter-frame. See also compression, intra-frame, inter-frame.
  • Coded
    A process in which a set of meanings may be inscribed within a shot, sequence, or video, though such meanings may not be obvious or visible at first.
  • Color correction gel
    Gels used to match or correct light sources. The most commonly used color correcting gels include CTB (Color Temperature Blue) used to convert tungsten sources (3,200K) to daylight (5,500K) and CTO (Color Temperature Orange) used to convert daylight (5,500K) to tungsten (3,200K). CTO and CTB are available in eighth, quarter, half, full, and double intensities. See diffusion, gel.
  • Color keying
    Another term for chroma key. See: Chroma key.
  • Color Rendering Index
    Abbreviated CRI. A quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reproduce the colors of objects faithfully in comparison with an ideal or natural light source, in other words, the smoothness of the spectral response curve as illustrated below. When you purchase lamps or lighting instruments with built-in light sources, youll often come across a CRI number. Sources with CRIs in the 60s and 70s dont render colors accurately, while those with CRIs in the 80s are just barely acceptable for color reproduction. Good color rendering results with a CRI of 90 or better. Typical LEDs are around 80 and most fluorescents way below that, however, youll find high-end LED and fluorescent sources with a CRI of 90 or better, matching that of conventional quartz-halogen lamps.
  • Color temperature
    A standard for measuring the characteristics of light sources that emit light in the yellow-orange to blue-white range. It is measured in degrees Kelvin based on the color given off by a theoretical black body radiator (a fancy term for a theoretical version of the filament in an incandescent bulb). As this theoretical filament glows hotter and hotter, the color given off goes from red to orange to yellow to blue (see the chart below for the color temperature of various natural and artificial light sources). Some light sources are rich in the blue end of the spectrum, but deficient in the reds (sky light), while others are rich in the red end, but deficient in the blue (incandescent household lamps). While our eyes can compensate for these differences, video cameras cant. Therefore, without adjustment, cameras will reproduce daylight as too blue and indoor lights as too orange. When we white balance a camera (by pointing the camera at a white card and setting white balance), we are telling the camera that the particular balance of red, green, and blue light falling on the white card should be considered its reference point for white. This white card may have light falling on it in the range of 1800K if were shooting by candle light, 3200K if were shooting with halogen lamps, or 5800K if were shooting outdoors at noon. We usually write color temperature without the degree symbol followed by K for degrees Kelvin.
  • Combo stand
    A heavy duty junior stand without wheels. Called a combo because it can be used for either reflectors or lights.
  • Compander
    An audio device or software filter that compresses an input signal and expands the output signal in order to reduce noise.
  • Compilation film
    A film composed largely of archival footage or clips from other films, for example, Millhouse: A White Comedy (1971, Emile de Antonio), see archival footage.
  • Component video
    A video signal in which the Luminance and Chrominance signals are kept separate. This requires a higher bandwidth, but yields a higher quality picture.
  • Composite video
    The luminance and chrominance signals are combined in an encoder to create the common standard definition NTSC, PAL or SECAM video signals. Typically the format that comes out of a P2 consumer VCR or camera (connector RCA connector color-coded with yellow). Essentially a form of analog video compression to allow the economical broadcasting of video.
  • Compositing
    The process of assembling multiple video elements into a single video clip or sequence. The process is used to create special effects shots combining several elements that are parts of the same scene but have been shot at different times. A matte is used to hold back the background and allows the foreground picture to appear as if it was in the original picture. Often a green screen is used behind an object or person to make it easy to create a matte for compositing from the areas of the image that are green. Often these elements are a mix of live-action and computer-generated images. Compositing can be done in real-time, for example, placing a weather reporter in front of a computer generated weather map during a television broadcast or to place an new anchor into a virtual set.
  • Compression
    1. Video: The process of reducing the amount of digital information required to represent an image. This is usually accomplished by throwing out redundant information, or doing sophisticated calculations to represent portions of the image in a manner that they can be reconstructed with minimal amounts of data. Compression techniques using DCT techniques simply throw out redundant information, other techniques like MPEG-2 and H.264 use more sophisticated analysis, modeling, and reconstruction techniques. See also Codec, inter-frame, intra-frame. 2. Audio, analog: The reduction of a span of the greater amplitudes in an audio signal for the purpose of limiting the reproduction of those particular amplitudes with the effect of reducing the difference between peak amplitudes and average amplitudes, making the overall signal sound louder when some gain is added (since peaks will no longer over modulate).3: Audio, digital: A method for reducing the bitrate of a digital representation in order to reduce storage requirements of the representation. Methods like MP3 involve the use of psychoacoustic models to discard portions of the audio signal that people will not notice, but always results in artifacts. For professional audio recording, always work with uncompressed audio file formats (e.g. WAV or AIF).
  • Compression ratio
    The ratio of the amount of data in the original video compared to the amount of data in the compressed video. The higher the ratio the greater the compression.
  • Condenser microphone
    A microphone design in which sound causes the movement of a plate (diaphragm) in relation to a fixed backplate. This movement causes a change in capacitance (electrical charge) which is translated to voltage by an amplifier. Therefore, condenser microphones require electrical power to operate. Microphones designed for video production can usually be powered using phantom power from a camera or mixer. Some condenser microphones use an onboard battery, while others work with either a battery or phantom power (and to be safe, dont use both, as some designs can be damaged as a result). Condenser microphones are far more sensitive than dynamic microphone, thus used in video production in situations where microphone cant be placed as close to the sound source as a dynamic microphone would require. Large diaphragm condensers are used in studio situations for vocal and musical instrument applications. Small diaphragm condensers are more portable and thus widely used in field production situations.
  • Contingency
    A designated amount of a budget which is added in anticipation of possible overruns in the budget. Typically 5 to 10 percent.
  • Continuity
    1. Editing: The predominant style of editing in mainstream narrative cinema (often referred to as continuity editing). Editing for continuity means to cut smoothly and unobtrusively between shots with smooth transition of time and space which emphasizes logical and psychological coherence, guiding the viewer seamlessly and logically from one sequence or scene to another without calling attention to technical craft. Continuity editing is based on the idea that when we cut from one angle to another, the basic information between the two shots will remain constant and thus we will focus on what is happening rather than that the angle has changed. Because motion pictures are often shot with just one camera at a time (in order to provide the director with more possible camera angles while allowing the cinematographer to optimize the lighting for each setup) this further complicates the problem, as over the course of the several hours that it takes to shoot a single scene many things might normally change. Thus, keeping all factors constant is the first challenge of continuity editing, see also: 180 rule, 30 rule, cutting on action, match cut, and screen direction; 2: The work performed by the continuity supervisor (a.k.a. script supervisor) who is responsible for maintaining the internal continuity of the production and for recording daily progress in shooting the script. Essentially, the script supervisor is the editors and writers representative on set, as well as being an assistant to the director and the cinematographer.
  • Contrast ratio
    The difference (in terms of intensity) between the brightest (white) and the darkest (black) portions of the image is called the contrast ratio. A low contrast scene has a low key light intensity to fill light intensity ratio, a high contrast scene has a high key light intensity to fill light intensity ratio. For example: A 1:1 contrast ratio would be described as flat lighting, without any definition. A contrast ration of 2:1 is pretty standard for television studio lighting for news and talk shows. while 3:1 or 4:1 provides nice dimensionality to a scene, and 5:1 or 6:1 starts to become seriously dramatic (e.g. film noir). Film noir utilizes high contrast ratios. TV news and talk shows typically use a 2:1 lighting ratio.
  • Cookie
    1. A term commonly used to refer to a cucoloris; 2. A delicious snack often found at the craft services table.
  • Cover set
    A location that serves as an alternate shooting site in case the chosen shooting site is unusable or weather prevents shooting in the planned location.
  • Coverage
    Additional and more detailed shots which are intended to be intercut with a master shot or scene. Typically involves shots and their respective reverse-shots in a dialog scene, along with inserts and possibly a two-shot, and any additional shots that will help the editor construct the scene. See continuity.
  • Crane shot
    A shot taken from a crane or large mechanical arm that moves the camera and its operator smoothly and noiselessly in any direction. See also Jib arm.
  • Cribbing
    Short pieces of lumber which are used for various grip purposes, along with wedges, especially useful for leveling track.
  • Cross-cutting
    Cutting between different realms of action that may be occurring simultaneously or at different times. Cross-cutting is used to build suspense or to show the relationship between the different realms of action. Cross-cutting is often used somewhat incorrectly to refer to parallel editing.
  • Crossfade
    The gradual mix of an incoming and outgoing sound. Typically a software effect that simulates the simultaneous manipulation of two or more mix console faders or a simple transition effect in an editing system.
  • Crossover
    The frequency at which an audio signal is split in order to feed separate parts of a loudspeaker system.
  • Crosstalk
    This is the amount of audio signal bleed between channels measured as separation (in dB) between the desired sounds of one channel and the unwanted sounds from the other channel.
  • CRT
    Abbreviation of Cathode Ray Tube. The technical name for a glass video picture tube. LCD flat panel displays have all but replaced them, and manufacturers have stopped making them for environmental and cost reasons, but some colorists and cinematographers still prefer to evaluate images on glass monitors with SMPTE-C/EBU phosphors, providing accurate color, tonal range, and solid black. In spite of the image quality of professional CRTs, their time is slowly coming to an end as LCD monitors improve rapidly and professional LCD monitors are now available that allow for accurate color grading and offer a weight, cost, and environmental advantages over old glass CRTs.
  • Cube tap
    An electrical adapter with one male Edison plug and three Edison receptacles, making it easy to run power to multiple lights from one extension cord (though be careful not to exceed the current rating of the primary extension cord and the circuit it is plugged into). Some are actually shaped like a cube, thus the name, though the name is used for a wide variety of devices all doing the same thing.
  • Cucoloris
    Term used to describe any of a variety of contraptions used to create shadow patterns, a.k.a. cookie. Standard models are made from plywood or poster board with random shapes cut out. A soft cookie is made from plastic. The best cookies are custom made from a wide variety of objects including tree branches (among my favorite). Practically anything you place between a hard light light and a subject or background can be used as a cookie or gobo (something that goes between the light and a surface).
  • Cueing
    A term with a broad range of uses meanings depending on the context. For Voice-Over Narration or Dialogue Replacement, the marking of the cue point in a way which will permit a signal to be given to the talent to begin each element of dialog at the appropriate time. In general, any system used by a person to signal another person that recording (or some other activity) should begin.
  • Cultural production
    The concept that a work of art is a product of a particular culture, at a particular time, in a particular context, and is influenced by a wide range of factors such as price, market, curatorial policies, review policies, display environment, audience expectations, etc.
  • Cup blocks
    Wooden blocks with an indentation in the center which are used to keep the wheels of light stands from moving.
  • Curtain
    Placing a conventional 4:3 video image within a wide screen image (typically 16x9) in a frame by placing black bands at the left and right of the screen. See Letterbox.
  • Cut
    The juxtaposition of two shots. A cut may transport the viewer from one action and time to another, giving the impression of rapid action or of disorientation if it cuts within the same scene and not matched. Depending on the nature of the cut and the images themselves, a cut will have different meanings.
  • Cutaway
    A shot of an image or action in a film which is not part of the main action, sometimes used to cover breaks in a scenes continuity. In documentary often called B-roll.
  • Cutter
    A large or odd shaped flags used to cut the light from a particular areas of the set. Flags larger than 30-in. x 36-in. as well as odd shaped flags e.g. 12-in. x 42 -in. or 18 -in. x 48 -in. are usually called cutters instead of flags, but terminological variations exist. See flag.
  • Cutting on action
    Editing two shots at a point where the movement in the first one is not yet completed and where the movement in the second one has already begun. Along with an angle change can be a very seamless edit providing the viewer with the impression that the action is continuous and uninterrupted. It is the actual action within the shot that not only connects the two cuts but also distracts our eye from the fact that we are cutting to another angle. When screen direction is maintained, our eye is able to track the motion continuously so we dont focus on the new surroundings but instead we follow the action. You cant, however, just cut on any action, every edit creates anticipation on the part of the viewer for new information or a dramatic insight, every cut counts. See continuity.
  • Cyc
    Short for Cyclorama. A background built in a studio which has a curved surface at the floor line in order to facilitate the creation of a shadowless backdrop. Often used for green screen work.
  • Cyc lights
    Special row lights with a reflector designed to provide even illumination of a cyc or other background.
  • D-1
    A legacy standard definition digital videotape format using the CCIR 601 standard to record 4:2:2 component video on 19mm tape. It was the first digital video tape format, hence D-1. Prior to the introduction of high definition video formats, this was the cats meow.
  • D-2
    A legacy standard definition digital videotape format using the 4fsc method to record composite digital video. Uses a 19mm tape and a cassette similar to D-1.
  • D-SLR
    Abbreviation of Digital Single Lens Reflex. Among videographers, refers to digital still single-lens-reflex cameras capable of shooting video. In the past two years professional SLR still cameras have added video recording capability, offering a serious challenge to video cameras. Videographers praise the images due to the shallower depth of field made possible by the use of a much larger imager chip compared to prosumer video cameras. Current digital SLR models use one of three sensor sizes: 1. Four Thirds, 17.3mm by 13mm, developed by Olympus and Kodak and available in Olympus and Panasonic D-SLRs; 2. APS, varies from 14mm by 21mm to 16mm by 24mm, approximately the size of one of the various APS film formats, most digital SLRs have imagers in this size, including most Nikon, Sony and Canon (e.g EOS-7D) models; and 3. 35mm-film format, 24mm by 36mm, a.k.a. full frame, a sensor the same size as a 35mm frame, cameras with these large sensors are expensive, however, they provide the shallow depth of field film look that many filmmakers prefer, available in cameras from Nikon and Canon (e.g. EOS-5D).
  • Dailies
    In film production the first positive prints or video transfer made by the laboratory from the negative shot on the previous day. Also known as rushes. It can also mean on a video production the video shot the same day when its watched at the end of the day.
  • Dance floor
    A floor built using 3/4 inch plywood and often covered with masonite to provide a smooth surface for free-form dollying.
  • DAT
    Abbreviation of Digital Audio Tape. A legacy professional two-channel digital audio tape format using 4 mm magnetic tape in a cassette recording at a 48 or 44.1kHz sampling rate at 16 bits quantization. The format was developed by Sony and introduced in 1987, intended as a replacement for audio cassettes, however, the format was never widely adopted by consumers because of issues of expense and concerns from the music industry about unauthorized high-quality copies. On the other hand, the format saw moderate success as a smaller and lighter professional audio recording alternative to the industry standard Nagra analog 1/4-in. tape field recorders their run for the money. DAT has been superseded by solid state digital recorders.
  • DAW
    Abbreviation of Digital Audio Workstation). A computer-based system used for recording, editing, processing, and mixing sounds. Originally referred to expensive workstation-based systems, today software-based DAWs run on standard hardware including Avids Pro Tools, MOTUs Digital Performer, and Apples Logic.
  • Day out of days
    A document listing the workdays for various cast or crew members of a given production.
  • DCT
    Abbreviation of Discrete Cosine Transform. A widely used method of video compression. The technique is employed in formats like DV and DVPRO HD. DCT requires more space than formats like MPEG-2, however, it exhibits significantly fewer artifacts.
  • DDR
    Abbreviation of Digital Disk Recorder. A digital video recording device based on hard drives.
  • Dead spot
    An area within a location in which sound waves are canceled by reflections arriving out of phase with the desired signal thus creating an area of reduced audibility.
  • Deal memo
    A document listing the details of salary, guaranteed conditions, and other essentials of a work agreement negotiated between a production company and a member of the cast or crew.
  • Decibel
    Abbreviated dB. A unit used to describe sound levels. The decibel quantifies sound levels relative to some 0 dB reference. Decibels are actually ratios. The ratio of the sound pressure at the threshold of hearing to the limit that ears can hear without harm is above a million. Because the power in a sound wave is proportional to the square of the pressure, the ratio of the maximum power to the minimum power is above one trillion. To deal with such a range of numbers, logarithmic units are useful: the log of a trillion is 12, so this ratio represents a difference of 120 dB. Its easier to deal with numbers between 0 dB and 120 dB to talk about the dynamic range of sound rather than a trillion. The reference level is typically set one of several ways depending on the context: 1. When referring to sound pressure levels (SPL) the reference is set to the threshold of perception of an average human; 2. In digital recording, you set the level in a recording system relative to as 0 dBfs where fs refers to full scale, or the strongest signal that can be recorded without distortion, digital level meters read in negative numbers from left to right like -20dB, -12dB, -6dB, -3dB, 0dB; 3. when adjusting audio levels in a non-linear editing system, typically 0dB for each clip is the level of the clip as imported you can adjust it plus or minus in terms of dB in order to make the clip softer or louder; 4. An increment of sound adjustment when editing/mixing: We typically work with sound adjustments in 3dB (tiny change) and 6 dB (noticeable change) increments. Even though an increase of 3 dB represents a doubling of the intensity of the sound, we dont perceive it that way, thus 3dB amounts to a small change and 6 dB amounts to a significant change when making adjustments during sound mixing.
  • Decoder
    A device or software component that reads a signal and turns it into some form of usable information. For example, an MP3 decoder takes audio that was compressed with an MP 3 encoder and converts it to sound data that can be played back on a computer or iPod. The same goes for H.264 video.
  • Deep-focus
    A cinematographic technique which keeps objects in a shot clearly focused from close-up range to infinity. Involves the use of wide lenses and small apertures. Gregg Tolands work in Citizen Kane contains some wonderful examples of deep focus cinematography (see below).
  • Depth of field
    In a nutshell, the range in front of the camera lens within which objects appear in sharp focus. The size of the sensor used in the camera affects the depth-of-field. Smaller format cameras like the 1/3-in. HVX170 produce images with a lot of depth-of-field. On the other hand, D-SLRs and digital cinema cameras, due to their large sensor size, make it easier to produce images with shallow depth of field. In other words, to produce shallow depth of field shots with the HPX170, youll have to set the zoom lens to a long telephoto setting and back up a great distance. On the other hand, with a large sensor camera you can shoot at a normal distance from your subject and achieve shallower depth of field.
  • Deuce
    Nickname for a 2K fresnel lighting instrument.
  • Diagonal
    A shot where the camera pivots both horizontally and vertically.
  • Dialogue
    Synchronous speech in a film or video with the speaker usually, but not always, visible.
  • Dialogue track
    A sound track which contains sync dialog. While editing, dialog tracks are typically organized on separate tracks so they can be processed differently from ambience, music, and sound effects tracks.
  • Diegesis
    The denotative material of a moving image narrative. According to Christian Metz it includes not only the narration itself, but also the fictional space and time dimension implied by the narrative. Typically refers to the internal world of the story (the diegesis) that the characters themselves experience and encounter including those not actually shown on the screen but referred to in some way within the story. Thus, film elements can be diegetic or non-diegetic. The term is most often used in reference to sound, but can apply to other element in a film. For example, titles, subtitles, background music, and voice-over narration (with exceptions) are non-diegetic elements.
  • Diegetic music
    Music from a source within the film scene, such as a live orchestra or a radio playing. See Non-diegetic music.
  • Diegetic sound
    Sound originating from a source apparent within a film scene.
  • Diffusion
    A material available in various densities providing different amounts of beam spread. For example, Opal Frost provides a small amount of beam spread. quarter diffusion provides more, half diffusion provides even more, and full diffusion (a.k.a. 216) turns any hard light into a much softer source.
  • Digital
    A representation format in which data is translated into a series of ones and zeros. Numerical data (base 10) is translated into binary numbers (base 2). Symbolic data is translated according to codes (for example, the ASCII code system assigns binary numbers to characters so they can be encoded digitally). Audio and images are sampled. See also sample, sampling rate.
  • Digital Betacam
    A legacy professional digital videotape format using the CCIR 601 standard to record 4:2:2 component video in compressed form on tape.
  • Digital recording
    A method of recording video (or audio) in which samples of the original analog signal are encoded on tape or a file as binary information for storage and retrieval. Unlike analog recordings, digital video (or audio) can be copied repeatedly without degradation.
  • Digitizing
    The act of taking analog video and converting it to digital form. The term is often used synonymously with ingest or capture, which is the process of transferring a digital video format into a non-linear editing system (its already digital, so you are simply capturing or ingesting, youre not actually digitizing).
  • Dimmer
    A device using to reduce the voltage in order to dim incandescent lamps which causes electromagnetic interference, often with the effect of annoying the sound recordist. See filament buzz. 2. A function of some HMI, fluorescent, and LED lighting systems that allow them to be dimmed (they cant be dimmed with a standard dimmer).
  • Directional characteristic
    For a microphone, the variation in response at different angles of sound incidence.
  • Dissolve
    A transition between two cuts in which the first image gradually dissolves or fades out and is replaced by another which fades in over it. A dissolve is a soft transition (in comparison to a cut) that is often used to suggests a longer passage of time. a.k.a. lap-dissolve.
  • Distortion
    The addition of artifacts to the original audio signal appearing in the output which was not present in the input.
  • Documentary
    A non-fiction film, usually photographed using actual people in real locations rather than with actors and a scripted stories. Defined by John Grierson as the creative treatment of actuality, a definition that allows for a wide range of films to fall under the definition, which has always been a source of debate among filmmakers, viewers, and theoreticians.
  • Dogme 95
    An avant-garde filmmaking movement started in 1995 by directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg with the signing of the Dogme 95 Manifesto and the Vow of Chastity. The goal of the Dogme collective was to purify filmmaking by refusing expensive and spectacular special effects, postproduction modifications and other gimmicks. More information may be found on the official Dogme 95 web site at:
  • Dolby Digital
    A multi-channel audio format that is standard for DVD, Blu-ray, and HDTV broadcast. Consists of five channels (left, center, right, left surround, right surround), and one low-frequency effects (subwoofer) channel, thus the designation, 5.1. Subsequent versions have added additional channels, 7.1 splits the surround and rear channel information into four distinct channels. Widely used on professional movie releases. a.k.a. AC-3.
  • Dolby Stereo
    1. The analog predecessor to Dolby Digital. Widely used on professional VHS and DVD movie releases (on the analog stereo tracks). In post production a Dolby Stereo encoder left, center, right, and surround channels into a stereo track that is compatible with stereo equipment, but when passed through a Dolby Stereo Decoder results in left, center, right, and surround channels. See Dolby Digital.
  • Dolly
    A mobile platform on wheels upon which a camera can be mounted to give it mobility.
  • Dolly shot
    A shot made from a moving dolly. See tracking shot.
  • Dollying
    1. A tracking shot that follows the subject as it moves. 2. The process of moving the dolly on the set. See tracking shot.
  • Doorway dolly
    A versatile plywood dolly with four soft tires which is narrow enough to fit through a standard doorway. On big features it is used to transport equipment and cables, on smaller productions it is used as a camera dolly with the camera placed on a tripod which in turn sits on the plywood platform. The four soft tires can be replaced with track wheels allowing the doorway dolly to operate on standard track. Panther has developed a version of the doorway dolly called the briefcase dolly that folds up into a smaller unit for easier transport.
  • Dots
    Small nets and flags used to control light. See net, flag.
  • Double exposure
    The superimposition of two or more images. Also called multiple exposure. With film it is achieved with multiple exposures.
  • Double-system sound
    The technique of recording sound and image using separate recording devices. In film production this is the normal methodology since film camera cant record sound, however, it is sometimes used in video as well when mobility is required by the sound recordist who may want to avoid running wires to feed the video camera with the audio signal.
  • Drift
    Flutter that occurs at random rates in audio equipment.
  • Drop frame time code
    A system of time code generation that adjusts the generated data every minute by skipping frames as it counts up (not dropping video frames, only the time code numbers) in order to compensate for the spread of the NTSC television system running at 29.97 frames per second. Otherwise, the running time code would not match real time. Non-Drop Frame (NDF) time code refers to time code that does not drop numbers and therefore does not align with real-time.
  • Drop out
    Loss of a portion of an audio or video signal, usually caused by an imperfection in the tapes coating or dirt covering a portion of the tape. HDV, due to its long GOP format is particularly susceptible to drop outs because an drop out is likely to affect multiple frames. Hi8 was a format notorious for drop outs. While an artifact that may still occur with memory card cameras for other reasons, its become a very rare artifact when recording on solid state media.
  • DTV
    Abbreviation of Digital Television. Another acronym for the new digital television standards. See HDTV.
  • Dub
    1. A verb describing the action of making copy of an audio recording. 2. A noun describing a copy of an audio recording. 3. The looping process.
  • Dubbing
    Adding sound to a film after shots have been photographed and edited. Also, to insert foreign language dialogue into a film after it has been shot.
  • Dutch-angle
    A tilted camera angle obliquely slanted to the frames vertical axis so that the horizontal frame line is not parallel to the horizon. Also called an oblique angle shot or a canted frame.
  • Duvetyne
    Black, flame-retardant, cotton fabric used to make Flags, Cutters, and Butterflies. It can also be used off the roll as needed to mask off windows, objects, or reduce light reflecting off objects.
  • DV
    Abbreviation of Digital Video. A digital video format developed by Sony, Panasonic, and JVC using a small tape that became a widely used standard among consumers., artists, and documentary videomakers. The DV specification (IEC 61834) defines both the codec and tape format. The intraframe DCT codec with a bit rate of 25 Mbit/sec provides good image quality and simplified editing. DV cameras are easy to connect to non-linear editing systems via a FireWire (IEEE 1394) interface. Unlike Hi8, which was notorious for video dropouts, DV provided excellent image and audio quality acceptable for video documentaries intended for broadcast and theatrical distribution. Sony also introduced DVCAM which uses a wider track pitch for increased reliability. While still a viable format for web video and teaching video, documentary filmmakers are rapidly moving to HD formats since the cost of HD cameras has dropped precipitously and demand for HD material is high and HD is a more future-proof format. See also HDV, DVCPRO HD, AVCHD.
    A digital video format developed by Panasonic using an intra-frame DCT codec with a higher bit rate than HDV. The format down-samples HD, i.e., 1280 x 720 is stored as 960 x 720 and 1920 x 1080 is stored as 1280 x 1080. In spite of not being full HD the format looks pretty good due to not using intra-frame compression techniques and is also very easy to edit with because it does not require the intensive processing necessary to decode inter-frame codecs like AVCHD. Essentially the HD replacement for DV among Panasonics prosumer camera line.
  • DVE
    Abbreviation of Digital Video Effects. A black box which digitally manipulates the video to create special effects. Common DVE effects include inverting the picture, shrinking it, moving it around within the frame of another picture, spinning it, and a great many more. While this used to be a piece of hardware, today all non-linear editing systems include DVE effects (and more) in software. Most of these effects are quite tacky, so be careful using them.
  • Dynamic microphone
    A microphone design that utilizes a moving coil (in a magnetic field) to translate the motion of the diaphragm to an electrical signal (essentially the inverse of a loudspeaker) and thus does not require external power to operate. Not as sensitive as a condenser microphone, thus typically used in handheld designs that can be used close to the sound source.
  • Dynamic montage
    Editing intended to evoke strong emotional reactions. See Russian montage.
  • Dynamic range
    The difference in decibels between the loudest and quietest portions of audio that a system is capable of processing.
  • EBU
    Abbreviation of European Broadcast Union. A standards organization.
  • Echo
    A sound wave that has been reflected and returned with sufficient magnitude and delay as to be perceived as a wave distinct from the wave that was initially transmitted.
  • Edison
    Slang for extension cords with Edison connectors on both ends.
  • Edison plug
    An ordinary household plug with two flat blades and a ground pin.
  • Edison socket
    An ordinary household socket that accepts a plug with two flat blades and a ground pin.
  • Edit master
    The tape or digital file containing the master copy of a finished (edited) program.
  • Edit points
    Also known as in and out. The beginning and end points of an edit during the process of video or sound editing.
  • Editing
    a.k.a. montage or cutting. The process of assembling sequences of shots to make up a film or video. The editing process is unique to cinema. Other elements of cinematic language originated in a different medium (photography, art direction, writing, sound recording) but editing, a.k.a., montage, springs from cinema. The grammar of video borrows from traditional cinema and expands on it. The editor assembles the video using shot selection, rhythm, pace, sequencing, and effects to craft a compelling experience. Editing may be accomplished in wide range of styles and while traditionally editing has been focused primarily in the temporal domain, it can also be done in the spatial domain using multiple images, composites, or superimposition. See continuity, intellectual montage.
  • EDL
    Abbreviation of Edit Decision List. A list of edit decisions made during and edit session and usually saved to a file or printed out. Allows an edit to be redone or changed at a later time without having to start all over again. Thus used to be a big deal in the off-line, on-line, edit days, when you would transfer the results of your off-line, edit (which you did on inexpensive equipment) to the on-line edit (which was done in an expensive suite) via the EDL. Still useful when moving media from one edit system to another, but today, there are better formats like Avid OMF and Final Cut Pro XML format which include much more information than a standard EDL.
  • Effective output level
    The sensitivity rating of a microphone defined as the ratio in dB of the power available relative to sound pressure.
  • Electronic Image Stabilization
    A technique in which the video image is shifted frame to frame, enough to compensate for the motion due to camera shake. It uses pixels outside the border of the visible frame to provide a buffer for the motion. The quality is not as good as Optical techniques. See also Optical Image Stabilization.
  • Ellipsis
    A term referring to periods of time left out of the narrative. The ellipsis is marked by an editing transition which, while it leaves out a section of the action, nonetheless signifies that something has been elided. In classic cinema language fades or dissolves are used to indicate a passage of time.
  • Ellipsoidal
    Lighting instruments with a lens and shutter system that produces a very crisp beam (with the edges controlled by the built-in shutters) and accept slide-in gobos in order to project patterns (e.g. ETC Source IV). You will find ellipsoidal units at work in most theatrical lighting setups because of their long reach and controllability.
  • Emulsion
    The coating on film stock which contains light-sensitive particles of silver-halides.
  • ENG
    Abbreviation of Electronic News Gathering. Designates equipment designed for portable field use, typically for the purpose of broadcast video journalism.
  • ENG snake
    A cable designed to connect the output of a field mixer to a video camera. It usually includes two channels of balanced audio, a headphone return, and a quick release connector on the camera end (thus its also know as a breakaway cable) in order to allow the camera to move independent of the cable when needed.
  • Envelope
    The shape of the graph as amplitude is plotted against time. The envelope of a sound includes the attack, decay, sustain and release.
  • Environmental sound
    General sounds at a low volume level coming from the action of a film which can be either synchronous or non-synchronous. See also Ambient sounds.
  • Epic
    A film genre characterized by sweeping historical themes, heroic action, spectacular settings, period costumes, and a large cast of characters.
  • Equalization
    The modification of specific ranges of sound frequencies for a specific purpose, e.g. to improving the clarity of speech or removing a frequency range with unwanted noise.
  • Establishing shot
    A camera shot, usually a long shot, which identifies, or establishes, the location of a scene.
  • Ethnographic film
    An anthropological film that records and perhaps comments on a group of people and their culture of which the filmmaker is not a part of.
  • Expendables
    Refers to the consumable items you can expect to purchase for every shoot (e.g. batteries, gaffer tape, spike tape, gels, C-47s, showcard, foam core, etc.).
  • Experimental film
    Works made in a style different from, and often in opposition to, mainstream narrative and documentary filmmaking. Often connected with one of the avant-garde movements, however, its possible to make experimental films outside of a specific cultural or artistic movement. Most often made independently and placing emphasis on phenomenological experience and/or the intrinsic qualities of the medium. The use of actual silver-halide film technology is essential for the work to be classified as avant-garde or experimental film. The approach and concerns overlap with those of video artists, however, issues of material specificity prevail over any common ground between the two artistic practices. See experimental video, video art.
  • Experimental video
    Video works that emphasize the artists self-expression, or explore the material characteristics of the medium, or present a radical cultural critique, rather than commercial success. The use of analog or digital video technology is crucial for the work to be classified as artists video, video art, or experimental video. The approach and concerns overlap with experimental film, however, issues of material specificity, historical context, and artistic practice prevail over any common ground between the two practices. See video art, experimental film.
  • Expos
    An investigative documentary that reveals or discredits, often in shocking ways, information, people, or events.
  • Exposure index
    Abbreviated E.I. Film sensitivity denoted as a number, for example, EI 100 is relatively slow film, EI 800 is relatively fast film. often used to express sensitivity of a video camera but the comparison in tenuous. Also referred to as ISO, the initials of the International Organization for Standardization that sets standards for photographic and digital cameras.
  • Expressionism
    A style of media making which distorts physical reality in some way in order to express strong feelings about it. Typical expressionistic techniques include the use of distorting lenses, extreme camera angles, bizarre lighting and sound effects, and fragmented editing. See Realism.
  • Extreme close-up
    Abbreviated XCU. A very close view of a person or object which features specific details. An extreme close-up of a person typically shows only their eyes or mouth (see below). The closer up the shot, the more the spectators eye is directed by the camera to the specified reading and the process of interpreting the image along the the surrounding shots takes on a more directed, inductive approach on the part of the viewer.
  • Extreme long shot
    Abbreviated XLS. A panoramic view of a scene, photographed from a great distance which could be as far as a quarter-mile away. Often used as an establishing or transition shot. As the camera moves further away from the subject the visual field lends itself to more complex, deductive reading, there is more information for the viewer to decode.
  • Eye light
    a.k.a. Obie light. A small lighting instrument close to the camera shining on the face of a subject, often used to fill deep-set eye sockets. The term Obie light originating with Merle Oberon who always insisted on the perfect eye light. An eye light may be any small lighting instrument attached to the camera directly over the lens. On camera lights can be good fills, but when they become the key it can make the overall image feel flat.
  • Eye line match
    Editing shots that are aligned, or matched to suggest that two characters in separate shots are looking at each other. In classic cinema language, when a character looks into off-screen space the viewer expects to see what the character is looking at. Thus there will be a cut to show what is being looked at: object, view, another character, etc. Eyeline then refers to the trajectory of the looking eye. The eyeline match creates order and meaning in cinematic space. Another use of the eyeline match which is in the context of shot/reverse shots, also known as the reverse angle shots, which are widely used in dialogue scenes. The camera adopts the eyeline trajectory of the actor looking at the other actor as they speak, switching when needed to the other persons position in the same manner as the first.
  • Fade in
    A cinematic punctuation or ellipse. The screen is black at the start, then gradually the image appears, brightening to full strength. See also fade out, dissolve, cut.
  • Fade out
    A cinematic punctuation or ellipse. The image brightness gradually loses strength until the image disappears and the the frame is black. See fade in, dissolve, cut.
  • Fast motion
    Shots photographed slower than the standard speed of 24 fps so that the action on the screen appears faster than normal when projected at standard speed. See Slow motion, Under-cranked, Over-cranked.
  • FAY
    A 650 watt quartz-halogen PAR light with a daylight balance dichroic filter.
  • Feather
    The process of moving a flag closer to or further away from a light source will feather (move it closer to the light to soften; move it farther from the light to harden) the shadow on the surface that the light is falling on. See flag.
  • Feature film
    A full-length motion picture produced for commercial distribution.
  • Feminist criticism
    Analysis and criticism from a feminist perspective, concerned primarily with the social and political implications of how women are depicted in film.
  • Fetishize
    To create a sense that an idea, person, institution, material object, or work of art may have extraordinary or even magical powers.
  • Fiction film
    Any film that employs invented plot or characters; often called narrative film.
  • Field
    One half of a complete interlaced video image (frame), containing all the odd or even scanning lines of the image. See also interlace, frame.
  • Field mixer
    A portable sound mixer, small and powered by batteries, designed for location sound recording. See sound mixer.
  • Filament buzz
    Some incandescent lamps will buzz when the voltage is lowered using a dimmer. A great annoyance to sound recordists. See Dimmer.
  • Fill light
    The light falling on a subject filling in the shadows caused by the key light. Effectively softens the shadows caused by the key light, changing the lighting ratio of the scene. Fill. The fill light need not be a lighting instrument, sometimes it is provided by the existing light in a scene or you can use a reflector, e.g. Flex-Fill. See key light, lighting ratio.
  • Film criticism
    The analysis and evaluation of films, often according to specific aesthetic or philosophical theories.
  • Film noir
    In French, literally, black film. A type of film, mainly produced in Hollywood during the 1940s and 1950s, which depicts dark themes, like crime and corruption in urban settings, in a visual style that features night scenes and dramatic, low-key lighting.
  • Film recorder
    A device that records digital files to films.
  • Film scanner
    A device that converts film to digital files.
  • Filter
    1. A piece of glass fitted in front of a camera lens to control the color or quality of light entering the camera. Sometimes the filter is built-in to the camera, which is common for ND filters. 2. An audio signal processing component that modifies the audio signal in some manner, e.g. a low-cut filter reduces low frequencies; 3. Another term for gel.
  • Final cut
    1. The final, edited version of a film as it will be released for exhibition. See Rough cut, First assembly; 2. Short for Final Cut Pro, non-linear editing software sold by Apple, Inc.
  • Finger
    A small flag used to control light. See flag.
  • FireWire
    A fast data interconnection standard originally developed by Apple, also known by the standards designation IEEE 1394 or i.Link, Sonys brand name for the same thing. FireWire may be used for connecting cameras and external hard disks to a computer. There are two flavors: FireWire 400 (capable of 400 MB/sec) that uses either a 4-pin connector (without power) or a 6-pin connector (with power) shown above on the right; FireWire 800 (capable of 800 MB/sec) that uses a 9-pin connector (with power) shown above on the left. For external hard drives, FireWire 800 provides improved data transfer performance and is favored by video editors who want the best performance. All DV and HDV cameras have a FireWire connector. Tapeless cameras may sport either a FireWire or USB connector, however, several variations of USB are eclipsing FireWire, relegating it to the category of legacy inter-connection standards.
  • Fisheye lens
    An extreme wide-angle lens that distorts the image so that straight lines appear rounded at the edges of the frame.
  • FLAC
    Abbreviation of Free Lossless Audio Codec. An open-course lossless audio format with 2:1 compression. Files in this format are given a .flac extension. See WAV, Broadcast Wave Format, AIFF.
  • Flag
    a.k.a. solid. A rectangular metal frames with a mounting pin covered with Duvetyne used to block light and casting shadows on the set. Flags come in a wide rage of sizes and attach to a grip head. Small flags are referred to as Dots (round) or Fingers (rectangles). See silk, net.
  • Flashback
    A scene or sequence (sometime an entire motion picture), that is inserted into a sequence in present time and deals with the past. The flashback is the closest motion pictures come to a past tense.
  • Flashforward
    A scene or sequence (sometime an entire motion picture), that is inserted into a sequence in present time and deals with the future. The flashforward is the closest motion pictures come to a future tense.
  • Flat
    1. Usually an agreement to perform work or provide a service for a fixed fee or wage (flat-rate) which will not be affected by overtime restrictions of unexpected costs. 2. Set construction elements used in most cases to create walls; 3. Short for flat lighting.
  • Flat lighting
    Lighting that deemphasizes light/dark contrast. Lack of shadows and little or no fall off (low contrast between the illuminated and shadow sides of a subject). Has the effect of depersonalizing or deemphasizing the subject. See chiaroscuro, contrast ratio.
  • Flex arm
    An extension arms with several lockable ball joints for mounting Dots, Fingers, Scrims, and very small lights. The joints enable precise adjustment and placement. Often attached to a mafer clamp. Also refers to flexible arms without joints that are one continuous flexible arm.
  • Flex-fill
    A flexible reflector that folds up into a small disk for transport and unfolds into a larger disk for use. Different surfaces are available. Matte white on one side and matte silver on the reverse side is a versatile combination, giving you a choice of how intense the reflected light will be. Flex fills are very handy for creating fill light when shooting outdoors on a sunny day to reduce the contrast ratio on a persons face. They can be used hand-held or mounted on a stand with a flex-fill holder that attaches to a baby pin. If you are traveling light and only want to carry one piece of lighting gear, this should be it.
  • Flicker
    The alternation of light and dark which can be visually perceived.
  • Flood
    The widest beam spread setting on a Fresnel or other lighting instrument with a focusing feature.
  • Floodlight
    A studio lamp that illuminates a relatively wide area by flooding" it with light. Also called a flood. See spotlight."
  • Fluorescent
    Lighting technology utilizing a gas-discharge lamp and ballast that is more efficient than tungsten lighting but more complicated due to their requirement for a ballast. Fluorescent units can be fitted with either tungsten or daylight balanced tubes providing soft light and very little heat. The Diva-Lite pictured here from Kino Flo is a widely-used fluorescent unit for lighting interviews and dramatic scenes. As the cost of large LED units drop, fluorescents become less attractive.
  • Flux
    A quantity of light present as measured in lumens.
  • Foam core
    A sandwich of two pieces of cardboard (usually white) with a foam middle often used as a reflective surface in order to turn a hard light source into a soft source.
  • Focal length
    The distance from the center of the lens to the point on the film plane where light rays meet in sharp focus. A wide-angle lens has a short focal length; a telephoto lens has a long focal length.
  • Focus
    1. The sharpness or definition of an image. 2. A range of distances from the camera will be acceptably sharp. Its possible to produce images with deep focus or shallow focus. See also deep focus, depth of field.
  • Focus in
    A change in focus in which the image gradually comes into focus, or the focus shifts from one object to another object.
  • Focus out
    A change in focus in which the image gradually goes out of, focus, or the focus shifts from one object to another object.
  • Focus pull
    The process of refocusing a lens during a shot in order to keep a subject in focus or to change the subject of attention. On a major motion picture production this is the responsibility of the 1st Assistant Camera person.
  • Foley
    Creating sound effects by watching the picture and mimicking the action, often with props that do not exactly match the action but sound good. For example, walking on a bed of crushed stones in order to simulate walking on the ground.
  • Following shot
    A shot in which the camera pans or travels to keep a moving figure or object within the frame.
  • Footage
    1. Exposed film stock. 2. Recorded video tape.
  • Formalism
    An approach to filmmaking or film criticism which emphasizes form over content, arguing that meaning emerges from the way content is presented.
  • Format
    The video codec, resolution, and frame rate used for a production. For example, DVCPRO HD 720/24p (1280 x 720 progressive scan at 24 frames per second using the DVCPRO HD video codec).
  • Formula
    A familiar plot or pattern of dramatic action which is often repeated or imitated in films, for example, in genres like gangster films and westerns.
  • Frame
    1. Film: An individual photograph recorded on motion picture film. The outside edges of a film image on the screen. 2. Video: One complete video image, or two video fields. There are 30 frames in one second of NTSC video. Also a single video or film image. See also Interlace, Field. 3. Lighting: A device, also called a gel frame, used to hold a large gel with a stud that can be mounted in a grip head.
  • Frame line
    The line that designates the top of the frame. When using a boom microphone, the boom operator communicates with the camera operator to understand where the frame line is in order to avoid getting the boom in the shot.
  • Frame rate
    The number of individual frames per second (fps), for example, traditional film is shot at 24fps while video is typically 30fps. A lower frame rate would not provide smooth motion. These standard frame-rates are an attempt to balance the need for smother motion (the higher the frame rate, the better) with storage efficiency (the lower the frame rate, the better).
  • Framing
    The visual composition of a shot within the frame with the intention to elicit a specific readings. Size, volume, contrast, etc. within the frame speak as much as dialogue or music. So too do camera angles. For example, a high-angle extreme long shot of two characters may points to the vulnerability of the characters, while on the other hand a angle shots in medium close-up on a characters can emphasize their power.
  • Freeze-frame
    A shot in which one frame is repeated in order to look like a still photograph when projected. Also called a freeze shot.
  • Frequency
    The number of times a signal vibrates per second. Expressed in Hertz (Hz), which is the number of cycles per second.
  • Frequency response
    The sensitivity of a given microphone or sound recording and playback system in terms of frequency and a variation, e.g. 20 to 15,000 Hz +/- 3 dB.
  • Fresnel
    A lighting instrument with a special glass lens with circular scalloped ridges on its outer surface that produces a focused beam of light with the quality of sunlight. Fresnel instruments have a control knob on the back that allows you to adjust the beam of light from flood to spot. Fresnels provide the most even bean and crispest cuts when set to flood. Barn doors on Fresnel instruments are much more effective than barn doors on open face instruments because the beam is focused.
  • Full shot
    A long shot that includes the human body in full within the frame.
  • Gaffer
    A term for the chief lighting technician on the set responsible for electrical distribution and lighting instruments.
  • Gaffer tape
    A strong cloth-based tape (usually 2-in. wide) with a special adhesive that does not leave behind any residue when carefully peeled off surfaces. Not to be confused with duct tape which leaves a sticky mess behind. Professional grade gaffer tape is recommended. For use around hot lights, use black paper tape instead, as the adhesive of gaffer tape becomes a mess when heated.
  • Gain
    1. A video camera circuit that amplifies the video signal in order to make it possible to shoot in very low light situations. The side-effect of video gain is that the image will exhibit considerable more noise, therefore, you only want to shoot at high gain settings when its absolutely necessary. 2. The ratio, expressed in decibels (dB), of the signal level at the output of an audio device to the signal level at its input.
  • Gamma
    The gamma curve is a correction to the contrast of a video image designed to correct for the fact that the intensity displayed on different devices is not related in a linear fashion to the relationship between illumination and the corresponding voltage in a video image. Some video cameras provide a choice between video gamma and cine gamma. With cine gamma the camera favors more shadow details at the expense of highlight details, providing an image that more closely resembles film. Visually the image feels lower in contrast with the shadows opened up quite a bit.
  • Garbage matte
    A specific type of matte (or mask) used to assure that objects appearing in the foreground image are excluded from the final composite. See Matte, Chroma key.
  • Gaze
    A term referring to the exchange of looks that takes place in cinema as a result of applying psychoanalysis to cinema in an attempt to understand the spectator/screen relationship as well as the textual relationships within the film. Drawing on Freuds theory of libido drives and Lacans theory of the mirror stage, various film scholars have explained how cinema works at the level of the unconscious. The spectator sits in a darkened room, desiring to look at the screen and deriving visual pleasure from what they see. Part of that pleasure is also derived from the narcissistic identification they feel with the person on the screen.
  • Gel
    A heat-resistant material placed in the path of a light source to change its color or diffusing source. They are available in 21-in. x24-in. sheets or 4-ft. x 25-ft. rolls in a wide range of colors and types of diffusion used to spread the beam (and thus soften) lights. Gels used for color balancing are often called color correcting gels, while gels used to stylize a scene or create a particular mood are often called theatricals. Large gels are usually held in place with a frame, with smaller lights they are usually attached to the barn doors using C-47s. See also diffusion, color correction gels.
  • Gel pack
    a.k.a. jelly roll) is a storage device used for keeping and organizing sheets of gels and diffusion. They roll up and are fastened with a velcro strap for compact storage.
  • Genre
    A type of motion picture, such as westerns or science-fiction films, which employs similar plots, narrative conventions, character types, and formulas.
  • Genre criticism
    A type of film criticism that examines genre films to determine how they reflect or comment on social values.
  • German Expressionism
    A film movement in Germany from 1919 through the mid-1920s characterized by the use of dramatic decor, lighting, and camera techniques to express strong feelings and inner experiences.
  • Gigabyte
    1 Billion bytes.
  • Glamor lighting
    a.k.a. Hollywood lighting), A style characterized by a subtle, symmetrical, butterfly-shaped shadow beneath the subjects nose. This is accomplished by placing both the key and fill lights high above the camera, with the fill below the key. It flatters people with high cheek bones, however, it tends to hollows out cheeks and eye sockets in some people. See also Rembrandt lighting, loop lighting, split lighting, and profile lighting.
  • Gobo
    Anything that is placed between a lighting instrument and the subject with the goal of creating some kind of shadow or visual texture.
  • Gobo arm
    A grip head mounted on the end of a diameter, 30 long arm used as a device for holding sound blankets and other equipment. Consists of an arm with a grip head attached to the end and a second grip head that is used to attach the arm to any support device with a a baby pin. Gobo arms are usually found attached to a c-stand, however, they can be used in many other configurations. See grip head, c-stand.
  • Gray Card
    A gray colored card that reflects a known and uniform amount of the light (18%). Used as a reference to set exposure and calibrate light meters. In typical usage, 18% grey corresponds to 50% (or 50 IRE) in terms of video luminance. Good exposure is often defined as the exposure required to reproduce an 18% gray card in the scene as 50 to 55 IREs in the video signal. When placed at the head of a shot, they can be later used as a neutral reference when color grading, particularly valuable when very accurate color reproduction is required. See Macbeth color chart.
  • Grip clip
    A spring-loaded metal clip that comes in a variety of sizes and used for attaching things on the set (e.g. sound blankets to C-Stands, attaching two flags together, etc.)
  • Grip head
    a.k.a. gobo head. A fully rotatable, adjustable clamp usually mounted on the top of a C-Stand and used to support a Gobo arm, equipment, or a sound blanket. Its core component is a gobo head, which accepts the pin on a flag or a -in. gobo arm. If you mount a baby pin in a grip head, you can then mount a small light on the end of a gobo arm. The grip head found on the end of a gobo arm is attached to the arm without a knob as pictured here. See gobo arm, c-stand.
  • H.264
    a.k.a. AVC (Advanced Video Coding), MPEG-4 Part 10, a high quality and efficient (yet computer intensive) form of video compression used in Blu-ray Disc and web video services like YouTube, Vimeo, and the iTunes Store. Due to the efficiency of this codec, it is used by a wide range of consumer and pro-sumer cameras for storage of high-definition and 4K video.
  • Hand-held
    or hand-held camera. A shot where a camera operator, rather than a tripod or a mechanical device, supports and moves the camera during filming.
  • Hard disk
    1. An electro-mechanical data storage device with internal spinning disks. Used for storing video, audio, sound effects, documents, media archives for back up. For video editing, drives that run at 7,200 RPM are better than standard 5,200 RPM drives. In addition, faster interfaces, like Thunderbolt and USB 3 are preferred due to their faster data transfer time; 2.A data storage device with internal solid-state storage, which is more reliable and offers higher shock-resistance than an electro-mechanical device with a spinning disk, though more expensive than a traditional hard drive.
  • Harmonic distortion
    Audio distortion characterized by undesirable changes between input and output at a given frequency.
  • HDMI
    Abbreviation of High-Definition Multimedia Interface. An audio/video interface for transferring uncompressed video data and compressed or uncompressed digital audio data between HDMI-compliant devices, such as cameras, computers, monitors, video projectors, or digital audio devices. HDMI is the digital replacement for existing analog video standards (composite, S-video, and component) among consumer and prosumer devices.
  • HDTV
    Abbreviation of High Definition Television. A television format with a aspect ratio of 16x9 (as opposed to the classic 4x3) and higher resolution. Rather than a single HDTV standard the FCC approved several different standards, allowing broadcasters to choose which to use. This means that HDTV television have to support all of them. All of the systems are broadcast as component digital. The New HDTV/SDTV standards include: HDTV 1920 x 1080@ 30i or 30p or 24p frame rate with a 16 x 9 aspect ratio; HDTV 1280 x 720 @ 60p, 30p, 24p frame rate with a 16 x 9 aspect ratio; SDTV 720 x 483 @ 60p, 30p, 24p frame rate with a 16 x 9 aspect ratio; SDTV 640 x 480 @ 30i with a 4 x 3 aspect ratio (i = interlaced, p = progressive, scan).
  • HDV
    A legacy consumer-oriented high-definition video format using MiniDV tapes which differs from DV in that it uses MPEG-2 inter-frame compression in order to encode the higher resolution needed for HD at the same bit rate as DV using the same tape. The use of a MPEG-2 long GOP inter-frame compression can sometimes produce motion artifacts. HDV also complicates the editing process since inter-frame compression requires significantly more processing power than DV since editing systems have to reconstruct intermediate frames computationally. HDV has been widely adopted by both consumer and professional users who need to work with a small and portable camera but want to produce shows that are compatible with the newer high definition video standard. HDV does not implement full-resolution high definition, instead it records at 1440 lines (full HD is 1920 lines). See also AVCHD, XDCAM EX, and DVCPRO HD.
  • Hertz
    Abbreviated Hz. A unit for specifying the frequency of a signal, formerly called cycles per second (cps).
  • High-angle shot
    Abbreviated H/A. A shot where the camera is tilted down at the subject.
  • High-contrast lighting
    A style of lighting which creates a stark contrast between bright light and heavy shadows. See also high-key lighting and low-key lighting.
  • High key
    In high key lighting, the key light provides all or most of the light in the scene. See also key light, fill light.
  • High-key lighting
    A style of lighting which creates bright, even illumination and relatively few shadows. See also high-contrast lighting and low-key lighting.
  • High-pass filter
    An electronic or software audio filter used to attenuate all frequencies below a chosen frequency, thus the name, high pass.
  • Highboy
    A heavy-duty rolling stand, usually with a combo head, that has a junior receiver and a large grip head. Also called overhead stands.
  • Hiss
    Noise that is caused by normal imperfections in the surface of analog recording tape. Also known as asperity noise (literally, roughness noise).
  • HMI
    A high-technology daylight balanced lighting instrument that requires the use of a special ballast, which makes them bulkier, however, they are very bright and efficient, yet expensive. Small HMI units (e.g. Kobold 575W HMI) using powerful batteries are often called sun guns and are used when daylight balanced key or fill light is needed when shooting outdoors.
  • Hollywood
    1. A term used to describe the mainstream film industry of the United States. 2. The act of holding a gobo with your hands instead of using a C-Stand.
  • Hollywood montage
    An editing device, often used in Hollywood films, which condenses time or summarizes events in a rapid collection of shots.
  • Impedance
    Impedance is a combination of DC resistance, inductance, and capacitance, which act as resistances in AC circuits. An inductive impedance increases with frequency; a capacitative impedance decreases with frequency. Either type introduces change in phase. See microphone impedance.
  • Import
    The process of importing references to digital video or audio files from the storage media into a non-linear editing system. It's important to be aware that when you import video into a non-linear editing system, you're not actually importing the media itself, the files remain on whatever storage device they are on, the non-linear editing system simply remembers the file path (the location within the file hierarchy) of the files being imported. See also Capture.
  • In-camera editing
    Editing done within the camera itself by selectively starting and stopping the camera for each shot.
  • Incandescent
    Light sources made with a filament of coiled tungsten wire in a glass bulb (filled with nitrogen or argon gas). When electric current passes through the filament, it glows (becoming incandescent, thus the name), emitting heat and light. The color temperature of incandescent bulbs is between 2700K to 2800K. The disadvantage of incandescent bulbs is they produce a lot of heat and are not energy efficient, on the other hand, you can easily dim them with a dimmer and they are inexpensive to purchase. See halogen.
  • Independent film
    Any motion picture produced outside of a commercial film studio. The term applies generally to avant-garde, experimental, or underground, narrative, and documentary films made outside of the Hollywood establishment. Often the term implies independent vision as well as independent financing.
  • Inductance
    The resistance of a coil of wire to rapidly fluctuating currents which increases with frequency.
  • Inkie
    Nickname for a small (250 watt) Fresnel lighting instrument.
  • Insert
    A shot of a detail edited into the main action of a scene. Also called an insert shot. See cut-away.
  • Intellectual montage
    Editing intended to convey an abstract or intellectual concept by juxtaposing concrete images which suggest it. A good example of this can be found in Sergei Eisensteins October, in which the director juxtaposes Christian symbols with pagan idols in order to criticize the church. Eisenstein suggested that montage was the explosion which drives the film forward. In his writings, he used language like film must plough the psyche of the viewer and believed that artists were the engineers of the soul. This idea of the combination of ideas is absolutely essential to editing as we know it today, as more and more we see incredibly tight shots of objects and characters that require our minds to link together and create a meaning between the various shots. See Kuleshov effect.
  • Intensity
    A term used to describe the brightness of a light source, often described in relation to other source as the contrast ratio. We often say things like, the fill is two stops below the key, which means that the fill has an intensity 25% of the key. Each stop is a halving or doubling of the intensity of the light.
  • Inter-frame compression
    When a codec uses an inter-frame compression technique the frames are not only compressed individually, but each frame relies on the frames around it in order to determine the most efficient way to encode the video. The codec typically looks at one frame, then looks at the next to see whats changed, and records only the changes instead of the whole frame. Inter-frame is often used by cameras to fit more footage onto the recording media (a tape, card, or hard disk), but is more difficult to edit with, as the computer has to work harder at decoding the frames. While less storage is required, more computational power is required, and therefore when editing inter-frame codecs newer, faster computers are required. Examples of inter-frame codecs include: MPEG-2, H.264, AVCHD (H.264 codec, currently used in several tapeless cameras like the Canon VIXIA series), and HDV (MPEG-2 codec). See also Codec, Compression.
  • Interlaced
    Short for interlaced scan video. A process in which the picture is split into two fields by sending all the odd numbered lines to field one and all the even numbered lines to field two. Field one is then displayed first, followed by field 2. This process was necessary in the early days of television broadcast when there was not enough bandwidth within a single television channel to send a complete frame fast enough to create a non-flickering image. Interlace introduces a problem called interline twitter in which areas with fine vertical detail will have a twittering motion. Another artifact is stair-stepping on diagonals. These artifacts are among the reasons professionals prefer to shoot progressive video formats. See also Field, Frame, Progressive scan video.
  • Internegative
    Abbreviated IN. A color or black and white negative duplicate made from a positive. Internegatives were used for optical effects as well as during 35mm release printing in order to protect the original negative from damage.
  • Interpositive
    Abbreviated IP. A positive duplicate of film which is used for further printing, often used as an intermediate when creating optical effects.
  • Intra-frame compression
    Also called I-frame, with this compression technique each frame (the individual pictures that make up a movie) is compressed separately. In other words, the video is stored as a series of discrete pictures, and the compressor deals with each frame independently of the others around it. Intra-frame techniques are usually preferable to inter-frame for editing, since it is easier for the computer to decompress frames while editing, but it also produces bigger file sizes and thus may require a more hard drive storage to work with. Examples of intra-frame formats include: DV, as well as DVCPRO, DVCPRO HD, and ProRes 422. See also Compression, Codec.
  • Inverse square law
    1. Light: The intensity light from a point source falls off inversely to the square of the distance. Or, put another way, if you double the light source to subject distance, you end up with only a 1/4th of the original light intensity; 2. Sound: The intensity of sound from a source falls off inversely to the square of the distance. Or, put another way, if you double the sound source to microphone distance, you end up with only a 1/4th of the original sound energy.
  • invisible editing
    Editing made unobtrusive by carefully cutting on action or matching action between shots. Also called invisible cutting.
  • Jam sync
    A process of locking the time code generator of one devices to an external time code source in order to have multiple devices (e.g. cameras and audio recorders) all record the same time code number in real-time to facilitate synchronizing multiple devices in post-production..
  • Jet
    1. An type of aircraft that sometimes flies over the set in order to provide interesting sound problems. 2. To leave the set quickly after the shoot.
  • Jib arm
    A mechanical are which is supported on a tripod, dolly, or other device, which is counterweighted to hold a camera for an increased range of motion.
  • JPEG
    A lossy standard for compressing still images. JPEG-2000 provides lossless compression. See PNG. The standard was created by the Joint Photographic Experts Group, thus the name.
  • Juicer
    Slang for an electrician on a film set.
  • Jump cut
    The opposite of a match cut, an abrupt transition between shots which disrupts (often deliberately) the continuity of time or space within a scene. When cuts are made between shots that dont have at least a 30 angle change, they appear more as jumps rather than seamless cuts. Jean-Luc Godards Breathless introduced a whole new way of thinking about jump cuts, which mark a transition in time and space but it jars the viewers sensibilities.
  • Junior
    A 2K quartz-halogen fresnel lighting instrument.
  • Junior pin
    Refers to 1-1/8-in. pins used for mounting larger lights designed to fit into standard 1-1/8-in. receivers. The pin gets its name from Junior, the slang for a 2K Fresnel instrument, a widely used fixture in studio lighting before the advent of HMI and LED technology. You will encounter junior pins in the studio, but practically all of the lights youll encounter in portable lighting kits are designed to mount on baby pins.
  • Kelvin
    Abbreviated K. The unit of measurement used for absolute temperatures and color temperatures.
  • Key
    1. Lighting: Short for key light. See: Key light, Three-point lighting. 2. Post: In digital compositing, a key (a.k.a. matte or mask) is a greyscale image in which black pixels representing transparency, white pixels representing full opacity, and grey pixels representing varying levels of opacity. See: Chroma key.
  • Key grip
    The chief grip who works directly with the gaffer in creating shadow effects for set lighting and who supervises dollies, cranes, and other platforms and supporting structures in response to the requests of the director of photography.
  • Key light
    The primary light source illuminating a subject. Often placed at a 45 degree angle to the camera-subject axis, the key is the source providing shape and definition to the subject. The key need not come from in front of the subject. We often talk about a side key or a side-back key. In a moving shot, the subject may move in and out of multiple key lights. See also high key and low key.
  • Key numbers
    Numbers and barcodes placed on the edge of the film stock by the manufacturer in order to provide a unique identification every 16 frames in 35mm and every 20 frames in 16mm. These numbers can be read by a telecine to facilitate synchronization with audio elements and are also used to facilitate match-back with a digital non-linear editing system.
  • Keyer
    Software (used in post-production special effects) or a hardware device (used for real-time processing, e.g. weather broadcasts) used to insert data into the video stream based upon a key in order to overlay video, titles, or logos over another video stream. They key itself may be generated by the keyer or an external software process or hardware device. See Key, Chroma key.
  • Keying
    Refers to the process of compositing two images together using a key. The key determines which pixels in the final image should be taken from the foreground image and which pixels should be taken from the background image. See: Matte, Key, Chroma key.
  • Kick
    An object with a shine or reflection on it from another object.
  • Kicker
    A light source that strikes a subject from the side and back (often called a three-quarter backlight). The term may also used for any light A kicker is different from a backlight in that it bounces off the side of the subject. See backlight.
  • Kilobyte
    One thousand bytes. Actually 1,024 bytes because computer storage is measured using base 2 (binary) number system with each digits value based on a power of 2 (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1,024) rather than base 10 based on powers of 10 (1, 10, 100, 1,000) which is our everyday number system.
  • Kiss
    A light that gently brushes a subject.
  • Kuleshov effect
    An effect named for Lev Kuleshov, who ran a school that Sergei Eisenstein attended. Kuleshov conducted a famous experiment in which he took footage of actor Ivan Mosjoukine making a neutral face and cut it together with various other images. For example, the clip opened with the actor making a neutral face, cut to a baby crying, and then cut back to the actor. When audiences were asked about the actors performance, they raved that he had shown such subtle emotionthat you could see the feeling in his face. A separate audience was shown the same clip, only with the baby replaced by a bowl of soup, and the audience claimed that the actor was clearly hungry. The Kuleshov effect forms the foundation of intellectual montage which according to Eisenstein is the highest form of montage, based on the idea that two images, when presented in juxtaposition, created a third and entirely new idea. Editor Ralph Rosenblum writes that Eisenstein illustrated his point with Oriental hieroglyphic writing, in which two symbols were joined to make an entirely new idea. Such was the case, for instance, when the symbols for eye and water were combined to yield crying (Rosenblum, 1979, p. 48).
  • L-Cut
    An edit in which the in (or out) points of the video and audio are different. This is often done to have audio lead the video, in other words, you hear some one start to talk before you see them. In a J-cut, the sound of the next shot precedes the picture, and in an L-cut, the image changes but the audio continues. The names come from these patterns: when the audio cut comes first, it forms a J shape in the timeline and when the audio cut follows the picture cut, it forms an L shape in the timeline. Some old timers may use the term video or picture advance and audio advance to describe these edits.
  • Latitude
    The range between overexposure and underexposure in which a film will still produce usable images. See dynamic range.
  • Lavalier
    a.k.a. lav or lapel microphone. A small microphone designed to work attached to the vicinity of the actor or subjects chest. The can be placed over or under clothing. Because of their small size, when combined with a wireless system, they are excellent for shooting walking and talking actors or subjects. Dont forget to pair them with a lavalier windscreen on a windy day.
  • Layback
    In audio post-production, refers to the transfer of the finished conformed and/or processed audio track to a video edit master file or tape. It is often the last step of a video project and essentially brings together in one place the final audio mix and the final picture.
  • Laydown
    In audio post-production, the recording of a final audio track to a deliverable medium, (i.e. digital file, videotape, or film), and is often monitored by an engineer for quality control. The term laydown does not refer to marrying audio to picture (this would be defined as a layback")
  • Layoff
    In audio post-production, refers to the transfer of the audio program from a video or audio master to an intermediary tape or file format. This is usually done to edit the audio. The results can then be used for a laydown to deliverable medium or a layback to a master picture tape or file.
  • LCD
    A solid state technology used for image display, short for Liquid Crystal Display. See CRT.
  • Leader
    1. A length of non-image film which is used for threading, identification, cueing, or fill-in purposes; 2. a length of non-image video used for identification, fill-in, or cueing purposes.
  • Leatherman
    The brand-name of a popular multi-purpose tool thats handy to have with you on the set in the event you need access to a screwdriver, knife, pliers, file, etc., thus saving you a trip to the tool box.
  • LED
    Abbreviation of Light Emitting Diode. Semiconductor devices that are very efficient at converting electricity into light, with very little heat dissipation when compared to incandescent and quartz-halogen lamps. Their cost is dropping rapidly and LED units can be found in a wide range of configurations including daylight or tungsten balanced grids, color changing units, and fresnels. Their high intensity output relative to their low energy requirement makes them easy to run with batteries. LED lighting instruments are available in a variety of configurations including soft lights, fresnel, and LED panels, many of which offer color-changing capabilities allowing you to dial in how much daylight or tungsten light you want, making it easy to match with other light sources with the twist of a dial. The combination of small size, relative high intensity, and the option of using battery power makes portable LED instruments ideal for on-the-go documentary work.
  • Lens
    An assembly of several pieces of precision ground glass through which light rays are focused to create an image on film or imaging device. See normal lens, telephoto lens, wide-angle lens, zoom lens.
  • Letterbox
    Placing a wide screen image (e.g. 16x9, 1.85:1, or cinemascope) within a 4x3 frame by placing black bands at the top and bottom of the screen. Also refers to the process of placing wide images in a 16x9 frame. See Curtain.
  • Level
    1. The ratio of an acoustic quantity to a reference quantity, usually a measurement of audio signal amplitude in decibels (dB). 2. The intensity of the luminance level of a video signal, often used in describing the black level (0 IRE in digital video, 7.5 IRE in analog video) setting.
  • Lexan
    An optically clear, hard plastic sheeting material, available in varying widths, used to protect camera crew from splashes, debris from explosions, etc.
  • Light
    Electromagnetic radiation in the range of wavelengths visible to the human eye (about 400700 nm). We shape, cut, color, and modify light in order to enhance the emotional power of our work, to draw attention to particular aspects of the scene, evoke a specific time period and/or location, and so much more. Light from the sun is actually a mix of colors. When sunlight light passes through a prism, the various wavelengths are bent by different amounts, and thus a rainbow is formed showing the range of spectral colors visible to the human eye. See additive color, subtractive color.
  • Light-struck leader
    Film which was fully exposed to light which is then used as leader.
  • Light value
    A reference to a fast acting, variable opening shutter to control the light intensity in printing film.
  • Limbo lighting
    A style of film lighting which eliminates background light and isolates the subject against a completely dark (or neutral) field. A classic example of limbo lighting is George Lucas THX-1138.
  • Limiter
    A limiter is a type of audio compressor that limits the level of the audio signal to a particular threshold. A limiter prevents any additional gain above the threshold, protecting you against occasional signal peaks (that cause clipping and distortion). See also Automatic Gain Control.
  • Line level
    In most cases, prosumer cameras provide a choice of microphone or line level audio inputs. Line level denotes the strength of an audio signal used to transmit analog sound between audio components such as a mixer and a video camera. In contrast microphone level signals are much weaker. Line level is less susceptible to interference compared to microphone levels. See microphone level.
  • Lip sync
    Dialogue or narration that is precisely synchronized with the lip movements of a character or narrator on the screen. See Synchronization.
  • Lip-sync
    The relationship of sound ad picture that exists when the movements of speech are perceived to coincide with the sounds of speech.
  • Liquid gate
    An optical printing method in which the original is immersed in a liquid at the moment of exposure. This is done in order to reduce the appearance of surface scratches and abrasions using a liquid with an index of refraction very close to the film base itself that fills in the scratches and imperfections.
  • Live action
    Film action with living people and real things, rather than creating action by animation.
  • Location shooting
    Filming in an actual setting with all sorts of noise problems, either outdoors or indoors, rather than in a quiet, controlled motion picture studio.
  • Long shot
    Abbreviated LS. A shot that shows a fairly wide view of a subject within its setting. A long shot of a person typically includes his entire body and much of his surroundings.
  • Long take
    A take (shot) of lengthy duration.
  • Loop
    1. Film footage spliced tail to head in order to run continuously. Also called film loop. 2. The section of film in a projector that undergoes intermittent motion; 3. A continuous sound track that runs repeatedly in playback as a guide for re recording. 4. To perform looping, see looping.
  • Loop lighting
    A variation of glamor lighting in which the key light is lowered and moved farther to the side of the subject so that the shadow under the nose forms a loop on the shadow side of the face. See also glamor lighting, Rembrandt lighting, split lighting, and profile lighting.
  • Looping
    1. The process of having actors dub lip-sync sound to scenes which have already been photographed. Also called ADR (automated dialog replacement) or additional dialog recording. The term looping refers to the old days when a film loop of the scene would be put on the projector with cue marks on the film so the director and actor could see the scene while they were looping and multiple takes would be recorded.
  • Low-angle shot
    Abbreviated L/A. A shot in which the camera is tilted up at the subject.
  • Low contrast original
    An oriinal reversal film designed to produce prints having good projection contrast. a.k.a. low con.
  • Low key lighting
    In low key lighting, the key light provides much less of the total illumination. See also key light, fill light.
  • Lowboy
    A heavy duty rolling stand, usually fitted with a combo head, but not as tall as a highboy.
  • Lowpass filter
    A filter that attenuates frequencies above a specified frequency and allows those below that point to pass.
  • Luminance
    1. A measure of brightness. 2. The portion of a video signal that encodes brightness information (not color). See Chrominance.
  • M-S
    Abbreviation of Mid-Side. A stereo microphone technique in which two microphone elements (a middle element with a cardioid or hyper-cardioid pattern and a side element with a bidirectional pattern) are incorporated into a special configuration for recording. Offers the advantage over other stereo techniques in that it offers excellent mono compatibility without phase cancellation issues because the two elements are coincident (very close together).
  • Macbeth color chart
    a.k.a. Macbeth chart. A standard color reference for testing and calibration and a handy tool for experimenting with both exposure and color reproduction. The chart consists of color chips and a a six chip gray scale that is specially formulated to provide an accurate and repeatable color reference. See grey card.
  • Machine leader
    Leader threaded through a film processing machine which is used to pull film through the machine during its operation.
  • Mafer clamp
    a.k.a. photo clamp). A clamp combining one flat and one v-notched grip in their padded jaw. Used to attach fixtures and equipment to pipes and a variety of irregular objects. They accept a baby pin from which you can attach a small light or other piece of equipment.
  • Magnetic film
    a.k.a. mag film). Film which is coated with an iron oxide compound on which sound is recorded and from which sound is reproduced. Often the iron oxide is in the form of strips that dont cover the entire film base, however, when it does, its referred to as full coat.
  • Magnetic sound track
    A legacy sound track that is recorded on an iron oxide stripe at the edge of the film opposite the sprocket holes. This is how soundtracks were edited on a flatbed editing table before the industry moved to digital non-linear editing systems.
  • Masking
    1. Blocking out part of an image, usually at the edges of the frame, thus altering the size or the shape of the frame projected on the screen. See Curtains, Letterbox; 2. Auditory masking is a phenomenon whereby one or more sounds trick the ear into not hearing another, weaker, sound that is also present. 3. Sound masking is the addition of natural or artificial sound (such as white noise or pink noise) into an environment to cover up unwanted sound by using auditory masking.
  • Master
    a.k.a. print master. A positive film print made for the purpose of duplication.
  • Master shot
    A single shot, usually a long shot or a full shot, which provides an overview of the action in a scene. This shots provides the editor something to fall back on when the other coverage is not working, thus its also called the cover shot.
  • Match cut
    The opposite of a jump cut within a scene. Match cuts make sure that there is a spatial-visual logic between the different camera positions within a scene so that where the camera moves to, and the angle of the camera, makes visual sense to the viewer. Eyeline matching is integral to match cuts, the first shot shows a character looking at something off-screen, the second shot shows what is being looked at. See matching action, eyeline match.
  • Match dissolve
    A dissolve linking images which have similar content.
  • Match-image cut
    A cut from one shot to another shot having an image with the same general configuration or location of a specific object as the prior shot.
  • Matching
    a.k.a. impedance matching. With audio equipment, arranging for the impedances presented by a load to be equal to the internal impedance of the generator. This is essential to avoid loss of power. In microphones, the loss results in an increase in the signal-to-noise ratio (added noise). Matching is accomplished by using a transformer.
  • Matching action
    Cutting together different shots of an action on a common gesture or movement in order to make the action appear continuous on the screen. See continuity editing, match cut.
  • Matte
    Refers to an image mask used specifically to control which parts of the image an effect will be applied to. A black & white high contrast image that suppresses or cuts a hole in the background picture to allow the picture the matte was made from to seamlessly fit in the hole. The term originated during the era of optical printing of film. See Chroma key.
  • Matte shot
    A type of special effects shot in which part of a scene is masked so that other action or background/foreground images, photographed separately, can be added later in a compositing program or non-linear editing system. Often the mask is created from the background which is an evenly lit blue or green background. The shot with a person or object shot against blue or green screen is referred to as the beauty, in contrast to the background image it will be composited with. See Traveling matte.
  • Maxi-brute
    A 9 light quartz-halogen unit with 1K PAR 64 lights designed for lighting large areas. A choice of bulbs is available with either 3200K or 5000K color temperature. Bulb options include wide flood (WFL), medium flood (MFL), narrow spot (NSP) and very narrow spot (VNSP), a.k.a. a Molepar (Mole-Richardson trade name).
  • ME track
    a.k.a. music and effects track. The music and effects tracks which are combined into one or stereo or surround set for use with foreign language re-recording of a film. Its important during post-production to keep essential music and effects out of dialog tracks so they are not lost when the ME track is made.
  • Meat axe
    A grip arm accessory with a gobo head at the end of the arm designed to clamp onto the hand rail of a studio catwalk or another suitable object.
  • Medium shot
    Abbreviated MS. A relatively close shot that shows part of a person or object in some detail. A medium shot of a person typically frames a character from the waist, hips or knees up (or down). The camera is distanced such that the character is seen in relation to their surroundings (e.g. in a dining room). In comparison to close-ups, its a more open shot in terms of readability, showing considerably more of the surroundings in relation to the character or characters in the frame. Typically, characters will occupy half to two-thirds of the frame and the shot is commonly used in indoor sequences allowing for a reading of the relationship between characters. Compared to close-ups, the characters can be seen in relation to different planes (background, middle ground, and foreground) which serves to produce more information from which the viewer can derive meaning from the shot.
  • Megabyte
    Abbreviated MB. Put simply, 10002 bytes. The unit prefix mega is a multiplier of 1,000,000 (106), thus, 1MB = 1,048,576 bytes (1,0242 bytes). Why is this different than base 10? Computers work with binary (base 2) numerals, thus bytes (8 binary digits) are multiplied by powers of 2.
  • Melodrama
    A play or film based on a romantic plot and developed sensationally, with little regard for convincing motivation and with strong appeal to the emotions of the audience.
  • Method acting
    A naturalistic style of acting taught by the Russian actor-director, Konstantin Stanislavsky, where the actor identifies closely with the character to be portrayed. Also called the Stanislavsky Method.
  • Mickey
    Slang for an open face 1K lighting instrument. The name comes from the Mickey-Mole, a trade name for a unit manufactured by Mole-Richardson. See redhead.
  • Mickey mousing
    Creating music that mimics or reproduces a films visual action, as, for example, in many Walt Disney cartoons.
  • Microphone impedance
    The nominal load impedance for a microphone indicates the optimum matching load which utilizes the microphones characteristics (resistance, inductance, capacitance) to the fullest extent. As long as you stick with microphones and mixers designed for professional video production, you will not have to worry about impedance matching. See impedance, matching.
  • Microphone level
    In most cases, prosumer cameras provide a choice of microphone or line level audio inputs. Microphone level denotes the strength of an audio signal used to transmit analog sound between a microphone and a video camera. In contrast line level signals are much stronger. Microphone level signals are more susceptible to interference compared to line levels. See line level.
  • MIDI
    Abbreviation of Musical Instrument Digital Interface. A protocol that allows keyboards, synthesizers, computers, audio interfaces, samplers, and other devices to communicate with and/or control each another.
  • Mini connector
    1. A 1/8-in. TRS (Tip, Ring, Sleeve) connector that is typically used for connecting headphones to cameras and mixers, however, some mixers have a 1/4-in. TRS headphones connector, so its always good to have an adapter in your kit; 2. Some consumer cameras used a 1/8-in. TRS connector for microphone input. Sometimes these inputs provide 5V plug-in power, the consumer equivalent of phantom power.
  • Mise-en-scne
    A French term for putting-in-the-scene, refers to what is colloquially known as the set, however, more generally mise en scne refer to everything that is presented before the camera to produce intended effects, as opposed to editing.
  • Mix
    1. To combine sound from two or more sources onto a single sound track, often performed in the field as part of the sound recording process. 2. The post-production process of combining multiple audio tracks consisting of dialog, sound effects, ambience, and music into a finished mono, stereo or surround audio track. Also called sound mixing.
  • Mix cue sheet
    a.k.a. cue sheet. A document having several columns for notations of audio elements including fades, volume levels, and equalizations which are used in mixing sound tracks where each column usually represents one track. A cue sheet may also used to keep track of licensed sound effects or library music tracks which must be reported to the license holders.
  • Mixer
    A device used to mix multiple channels of audio to a single mono or dual stereo track. See Sound mixer.
  • Mono
    Single-channel sound utilizing only one microphone for recording or one loudspeaker for reproduction. Often for stereo compatibility two channels are fed from a common signal source. In the case of multiple microphones and channels used for stereo recording, a mono signal may be derived by mixing the two channels. See also stereo sound, surround sound.
  • Monologue
    A character speaking alone on screen or, without appearing to speak, articulating her or his thoughts in voice-over as an interior monologue.
  • Montage
    1. The assembly of a sequence of shots that portray an action or ides through the use of many short shots in rapid succession, see Hollywood montage; 2. Another term used to describe editing; 3. Eisensteins idea that adjacent shots should relate to each other in such a way that A and B combine to produce a new meaning meaning, C, which is not actually recorded on the film, it is through the collision of shots that new meaning is created in editing.
  • MOS
    Shooting image without recording sound. Lots of colorful stories have evolved in an attempt to explain the origin of this curious term: one story suggests that a famous Hollywood director from Germany used to say mitt-out-sound while other explanations are technically oriented, suggesting it means minus optical stripe (since some old sound recording systems recorded the audio signal as visual variations on light sensitive film), or it could simply mean motion omit sound, but no one really knows the origin of this term. Which story do you prefer?
  • Motif
    A recurrent thematic element in an artistic object.
  • Motivated lighting
    A lighting style in which the light sources imitate sources such as practical lamps, windows, the moon, or other sources of illumination that exist in the story world.
  • Moviola
    A trade name for an old-style upright film editing machine.
  • MP3
    MPEG-1 Layer III. An audio compression format used for streaming and delivery. A file using encoded with a bitrate of 128 kbit/s will result in about 11:1 compression. MP3 files can be encoded at higher or lower bitrates, with higher or lower quality results. The compression technique works using perceptual coding techniques that reduce the accuracy of certain parts of the sound that are beyond the auditory resolution ability of the average listener.
  • MPEG
    A standard for compressing moving pictures. MPEG-1 uses a data rate of 1.2 Mbps (Mega Bits per Second), the speed of CD-ROM. MPEG-2 supports much higher quality with a data rate (a.k.a. bit rate) from 2 to 10 Mpbs. MPEG-2 is the format specified in the DVD standard and is also used as a camera recording format (e.g. HDV). MPEG-4 is a lower data rate version used for web video and mobile devices. For web video, the H.264 codec within a MPEG-4 wrapper is widely used. Developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group, thus the name.
  • Multi-screen projection
    Projecting motion picture or video images simultaneously on more than one screen. Sometimes called multi channel projection.
  • Multichannel
    1. In film, used to refer to a final mix that includes more than stereo information, i.e., LCRS (Left, Center, Right, Surround); 2. In video art the simultaneous use of multiple monitors or other video display devices in a video installation. See single channel.
  • Multiple-image shot
    A shot that includes two or more separately photographed images within the frame.
  • Multitrack
    a.k.a. multitrack recorder. A sound recording device capable of recording more than two tracks of sound at the same time.
  • Musical
    A film genre that incorporates song and dance routines into the film story. Also called musical film.
  • Narration
    1. Production: Information or commentary spoken directly to the audience rather than indirectly through dialogue, often by an anonymous voice of god off-screen voice. See voice-over. 2. Narratology: The process through which a story is told, as opposed to the story itself.
  • Narrative montage
    Editing that constructs a story with images by arranging shots in a carefully sequenced order. See montage.
  • Naturalism
    A style of filmmaking which is starkly realistic and which avoids any semblance of artifice.
  • Negative image
    A photographic image in which dark and light tones are reversed, with dark areas appearing light on the screen and light areas appearing dark.
  • Neo-realism
    An Italian film movement after World War II characterized by starkly realistic, humanistic stories and documentary-like camera style. Neo-realistic films were generally shot on location, using available lighting and non-professional actors. Also called Italian Neo-realism.
  • Net
    1. Grip gear used for reducing the intensity of light consisting of a 3-sided metal frame holding fabric scrim material. Available in single (green edge) and double (red edge) variations, cutting light by 1/2 stop and 1 stop respectively. Nets come in a wide rage of sizes (in the same options as flags) and attach to a grip head. See silk, flag; 2. short for the internet.
  • Neutral Density
    Abbreviated ND. A colorless filter that reduces the intensity of the light entering the camera. Think of it as sunglasses for your camera. Many video cameras have built-in ND filters, usually in the increments of 1/4 (2 stops or ND2), 1/16 (4 stops or ND4); 1/64 (6 stops or ND6).
  • Newsreel
    A type of short film that presents a compilation of timely news stories.
  • NLE
    Abbreviation of Non-Linear Editor. A video editing system characterized by digital storage and random access. Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Sony Vegas are examples of contemporary non-linear editors. Today we take it for granted, but at the dawn of the digital age the term came into use to differentiate digital editing from videotape machine-based editing systems in which the assembly process was linear in nature (edits were performed using two tape machines, one a source deck, and the other a record deck, and edit masters were assembled in a linear fashion, since you could not ripple edits once laid down on tape.
  • Noise
    1. Electrical interference or other unwanted sound introduced into an audio system (i.e. hiss, hum, rumble, crosstalk, etc.) 2. Unwanted ambient sounds.
  • Non-diegetic music
    Music in a film which does not have an apparent source within story world. Often called background music. See diegesis.
  • Non-diegetic sound
    Sound in a film which does not have an apparent source within story world. See diegesis.
  • Non-fiction film
    Any film that does not employ an invented plot or characters. Often used to describe films that are different from a documentary. See documentary.
  • Non-synchronous sound
    Sound whose source is not apparent in a film scene or which is detached from its source in the scene; commonly called off-screen sound. See synchronous sound.
  • Normal lens
    A camera lens that shows a subject without significantly exaggerating or reducing depth of field in a shot. Neither wide nor telephoto, typically has around a 45 degree angle of view. The perspective of a normal lens approximates that of the human eye. The actual focal length of a normal lens is determined by the size of the imaging sensor. In 35mm still photography the 50mm lens is considered normal, and many lenses specify their 35mm equivalence in their descriptions because 35mm still photography is the most widely understood standard in terms of relating perspective and angle of view to focal length.
  • NTSC
    The analog broadcast television and video standard in use in the United States. NTSC broadcast is scheduled to be turned off in 2009. Consists of 525 horizontal lines at a field rate of 60 fields per second. (Two fields equals one complete Frame). Only 487 of these lines are used for picture. The rest are used for sync or extra information such as VITC and Closed Captioning. The standard was developed by the National Television Standards Committee, thus the name.
    A high definition video format used by some Sony cameras, capable of recording up to 24Mbps AVCHD, a higher-quality alternative to the tape-based HDV format.
  • Octave
    The interval between two sounds having a basic frequency ratio of 2:1.
  • Off-line editing
    Working with a low resolution version of your video on an inexpensive editing system. This allows you to make creative decisions at lower cost and with greater flexibility in comparison to working with an expensive, full-featured, high-performance editing system. Even though today we can edit full-quality video on a laptop, the distinction of off-line and on-line editing is sometimes used to differentiate editing from the final grading and mastering process. See on-line.
  • Off-screen space
    Space beyond the cameras field of view which nevertheless the audience is aware of.
  • On-line editing
    An editing system used to create a final video master. In the old days this involved access to an expensive suite that contained a special editing computer, video monitors, a video switcher, an audio mixer, a digital video effects (DVE) device, a character generator (for making titles), and several expensive video tape machines. Today you can online on a laptop and a good reference monitor, though on higher-budget projects the distinction between off-line and on-line is still made, since the final color grading, special effects work, and mastering might be done on higher-end computers.
  • Open face
    Refers to lighting instruments consisting of a quartz-halogen bulb and a reflector. Sometimes these units will includes a flood/spot adjustment other times not. These units (e.g. Lowel Omni and Lowel Tota) are quite harsh when used alone, however, they make a good key or fill when fitted with some diffusion or bounced off a reflective surface like an umbrella. They are also good as a general broad background light. They are being slowly replaced by LED units as the cost drop and the brightness rise. See fresnel, halogen, LED.
  • Optical Image Stabilization
    Abbreviated OIS. A technique for eliminating some of the shake from hand-held shooting by compensating for the angular pan and tilt movement of the camera. In most implementations, it works by using a special lens element that moves orthogonally to the optical axis of the lens using electromagnets. Camera vibration is detected by piezoelectric gyroscopic sensors, one detects horizontal movement and the other to detects vertical movement. Various vendors use a trade name for OIS, for example, Sony calls it Super Steady Shot. See also Electronic Image Stabilization.
  • Out-take
    Any footage deleted from a film during editing; more specifically, a shot or scene that is removed from a film before the final cut.
  • Over-modulation
    Feeding a sound signal with an intensity greater than the levels a system is designed to accept. Digital systems cant tolerate over-modulation, when your audio is too loud it will sound like raspy unintelligible noise. Avoid over-modulating audio just like you avoid over-exposing video.
  • Overcrank
    To run film stock through the camera faster than the standard speed of 24 fps, producing slow motion on the screen when the film is projected at standard speed. Also used to describe the analogous effect in a video camera. See Undercrank.
  • Overhead shot
    A shot photographed from directly overhead, a.k.a. birds eye view.
  • P2
    A solid-state memory card format used in Panasonic professional and prosumer tapeless cameras. Standard P2 cards are available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacity. They are more expensive than CF (Compact Flash) and SD (Secure Digital) cards with the same capacity due to their high-reliability, rugged, and high-data throughput design.
  • Packaging
    The process of putting together the key elements of a major motion picture including the script, director, actors, and often some of the financing before the project is taken to a major studio. Agencies receive a fee from the studio for putting together packages.
  • PAL
    Abbreviation of Phase Alternating Line. The standard definition television and video standard in most of Europe. Consists of 625 horizontal lines at a field rate of 50 fields per second. (Two fields equals one complete Frame). Only 576 of these lines are used for picture. The rest are used for sync or extra information such as VITC and Closed Captioning.
  • Pan
    Short for panorama. 1. A shot where the camera pivots horizontally, turning from left to right or from right to left, a.k.a. panning shot. A panning shot is sometimes confused with a tracking shot. 2. Moving the camera from left to right or right to left around the imaginary vertical axis that runs through the camera.
  • Peak
    An audio level higher than 0 dBFS (full scale). Unless a limiter is engaged, an audio signal peak will cause distortion since digital systems cant represent audio levels over 0 dBFS. See also limiter, decibel.
  • Petabyte
    1024 terabytes, or a million gigabytes. bytes. Today, multiple-Terabyte drives are common, tomorrow the petabyte?
  • Phantom power
    A method of powering the preamplifier in condenser microphones by sending the voltage through the audio cable in a manner that does not interfere with the audio signal. Most professional cameras and mixers provide the option of supplying +48V phantom power to microphones. See plug-in power.
  • Phase
    The timing relationship between two audio signals.
  • Phase shift
    The displacement of a waveform in time. When various frequencies are displaced differently, distortion occurs. Cancellation of the signal may occur when two equal signals are out of phase. Usually used in describing audio signals.
  • Pick-up pattern
    A polar diagram showing how a microphone responds to sounds originating from various directions. Usually these diagrams also show how directionality varies based on the frequency of the sound. Common patterns include: omnidirectional, cardioid, hyper-cardioid, super-cardioid, and shotgun (lobar).
  • Pink noise
    An audio test signal that has an equal amount of energy per octave or fraction of an octave.
  • Pitch
    The frequency of audible sound.
  • Pixel
    Picture Element. The basic unit from which a digital image is made. Essentially a dot with a given color and brightness value. For example, high definition (HD) video images are usually 1920 x 1080 pixels.
  • Pixilation
    A type of film animation in which real objects or people are photographed frame by frame in order to make them appear to move abruptly or magically when the film is projected. See also stop motion.
  • Playback
    A technique of filming music action that involves playing the music through loudspeakers while performers sing, dance, play instruments, etc. Often done when shooting musicals and music videos.
  • Plug-in power
    A consumer version of phantom power. Most Sony camcorders with a microphone input and several audio recorders like the Roland R-05 provide plug-in power in order to power consumer and prosumer condenser microphones. Unlike professional phantom power, compatibility among cameras, recorders, and microphones is not universal. See phantom power.
  • Point-of-view shot
    Abbreviated POV. A shot taken from the vantage point of a character or object. Also called a first-person shot or subjective camera shot.
  • Porta Pak
    The Sony CV 2400 Porta Pak ensemble first became available in 1968. It consisted of a lightweight portable video camera and a recorder you could carry on your shoulder. Video sequences up to 20 minutes could recorded on a single magnetic tape. It was possible to play the video after connecting the recorder to a television set. The Porta Pak was widely used by video artists through the 1970s.
  • Post-production
    The phase in a project that takes place after the production phase, or after the production. Included in post-production is picture editing, sound editing, scoring, sound effects editing, sound design, motion graphics, titles, color grading, sound mix, mastering, etc.
  • Post-synchronized sound
    Sound added to images after they have been photographed and assembled; sometimes called dubbing.
  • Practical
    An ordinary household lighting unit that appear in the frame.
  • Process shot
    A shot in which live" foreground action is photographed against a background image projected on a translucent screen."
  • Production sound
    The activity of recording and/or mixing sound on location during a shoot. Typically recorded to dedicated digital recorder (double system) or directly to the video camera (single system). See single system, double system.
  • Production still
    A photograph taken of a scene for promotional purposes, not to be confused with a frame enlargement reproduced from actual film or video footage.
  • Production value
    A nebulous term used to describe the visual quality or professional look of a movie. A significant yet invisible component of production value is the quality of the sound.
  • Profile Lighting
    a.k.a. rim lighting). Used for dramatic effect. The back of the subjects head is in shadow while the illumination from the key and fill lights come from the side. See also glamor lighting, Rembrandt lighting, loop lighting, and split lighting.
  • Progressive scan
    An image scanning system where each line is displayed progressively (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ...) in contrast to interlaced scanning, consisting of two fields: the first field (lines 1, 3, 5, 7 ) and then a second field (lines 2, 4, 6, 8, ...). Computer monitors use progressive scan. The HDTV standard includes several progressive scan options. Video has historically been 60i (60 interlaced fields per second, 30 frames per second). The Panasonic DVX100 was the first prosumer camera to provide 24p and 30p progressive scan. Today, many video cameras offer a progressive scan option. Progressive scan offers an image that is well suited for web video and for display on computer monitors and flat-screen displays. The Panasonic can be used to shoot true 24p progressive using 24pA (24p advanced) mode in which the progressive frames are recorded onto interlaced video using a 2:3:3:2 cadence which is then unravelled back into 24p by the editing software. This can be tricky. Unless youre working with legacy footage or want to shoot with a legacy camera, its best to avoid 24pA.
  • Prop
    Any movable item used on a theater or film set. Short for property.
  • Pull back
    1. A tracking shot that moves away from the subject to reveal additional context. 2. To reduce the intensity of a filter or effect on a shot, e.g. pull back on the blur.
  • Pull focus
    To change the focus of a lens during a shot in order to follow a specific object or person. See rack focus.
  • Puppet film
    An animated film in which inanimate objects or figures are manipulated and photographed frame by frame in order to make them appear to move when the film is projected.
  • Pure cinema
    A type of experimental film that explores the purely visual possibilities of cinema rather than narrative possibilities. Also called pure film.
  • Quality
    A term used to describe the characteristics of a light source primarily as hard, semi-hard, or soft. The quality of the source depends on the size of the source relative to the subject. Direct sun behaves like a point source, this it is very hard, casting crisp shadows, with very little wrap around a face. On the other hand, a large window facing the northern sky without direct sunlight is a very large soft source, casting soft shadows and wrapping gently around a face. We can also think of quality in broader terms beyond hard/soft, direct/indirect, sourcy/ambient, chiaroscuro/flat, strong/gentle, crisp/wrapping, focused/general, etc. The quality of light along with the contrast ratio are highly influential in setting the mood and atmosphere of a scene.
  • Halogen
    a.k.a. Quartz Halogen or Quartz. Specialized incandescent bulbs made with a quartz glass envelope filled with an inert gas mixed with a small amount of halogen (e.g. iodine or bromine). The halogen prevents darkening of the bulb by redepositing tungsten from the inside of the bulb back onto the filament. The filament burns at a higher temperature than a standard bulb which gives the light of a higher color temperature of 3200K compared to conventional incandescent devices. Another advantage is their smaller size, which makes it easier to design lighting instruments. Wait for halogen units to cool before moving them, when the filaments are hot they are very fragile. If you do need to move the light while it is on, use extreme care to move it slowly and gently. While LEDs may be rapidly replacing halogen instruments, the are still a lot of halogen instruments in widespread use. See fresnel, open face.
  • Rack focus
    a.k.a. shift focus or focus pull). To change the focus of a lens during a shot in order to call attention to a specific object or person, the technique involves shallow depth of field to direct the attention of the viewer from one subject to another. Focus is pulled, or changed, to shift the focus plane, sometimes rapidly.
  • RAW
    An image format that consists of the raw image data collected from an image sensor with little or no additional processing. Requires processing in post production for use as an image with proper color rendition and tonal response. D-SLR cameras typically offer a RAW mode, and high-end digital cinema camera (e.g. Arri Alexa and Red) provide the equivalent of RAW images, unlike standard video cameras that record raw data off the image sensor but then throw away a substantial amount of image information in the conversion to a compressed video format (e.g. H.264).
  • RCA connector
    A common connector used with cables used to transmit a composite standard definition video signal or consumer line-level audio signal. Typically color coded as yellow for video, white for audio channel 1 (left), and red for audio channel 2 (right). In most cases, cables with RCA connectors are interchangeable. Some consumer equipment uses RCA connectors for analog component video color coded with red, green, and blue connectors. Also known as a phono plug, as this connector is also used for analog turntable interconnects.
  • Reaction shot
    A shot that shows a characters reaction to what has occurred in the previous shot.
  • Realism
    A style of filmmaking which endeavors to depict physical reality much as it appears in the everyday world. Typical realistic techniques include the prominent use of long shots, eye-level camera angles, lengthy takes, naturalistic lighting and sound effects, and unobtrusive editing. See expressionism.
  • Redhead
    Slang for an open faced 1K lighting unit, see blonde, mickey.
  • Rembrandt lighting
    Characterized by a triangular shaped highlight on the cheek of the shadow-side of the subjects face with the key coming practically from the side of the subject. See also glamor lighting, loop lighting, split lighting, and profile lighting.
  • Resolution
    The amount of detail in an image. Higher resolution equals more detail. Also used to describe the size of an image, usually in pixels, e.g. a full high definition video frame consists of 1920 x 1080 pixels, but may also be 1280x720. Standard definition is 720 x 480.
  • Resolution independent
    A term to describe equipment or software that can work in more than resolution. Some equipment and software work with only certain video resolutions, but many newer pieces of equipment and software are resolution independent (e.g. Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Final Cut Pro X are able to work at various resolutions including standard definition video, high definition video, 2K, and 4K).
  • Reverberation
    The presence of additional sound in a recording due to repeated reflections from walls, ceilings, floors, objects, etc. Reverberation is practically impossible to eliminate in post-production so its a good idea to avoid it in the first place. See Sound blankets.
  • Reverse angle
    Abbreviated R/A. A shot where the camera is placed opposite its position in the previous shot, reversing its view of the scene. In a dialogue scene, a shot of the second actor.
  • Reverse motion
    Action that moves backward on the screen, achieved by reversing film footage during editing or printing in reverse with an optical printer, or as an effect in a non-linear editing system.
  • RGB
    Abbreviation of Red, Green, Blue. The additive primary colors of light. Computers, video cameras, scanners, and similar devices typically process images using separate red, green, and blue color channels. For example, a three chip camera have a CCD sensors for each primary color. Single chip cameras have microscopic red, green, and blue filters on the pixels arranged in a Bayer pattern. [caption id="attachment_1003" align="alignright" width="300"] Additive RGB circles. Source: Wikimedia Commons, license: CC BY-SA 3.0[/caption]
  • Rim
    A light source from the back and to the side that helps create definition. Often a rim is called a kicker if it is on a persons face, and rim is used to describe the effect on an object. But the terms are imprecise at best and are often intermixed.
  • Rough cut
    An early version of a film in which shots and sequences are roughly assembled but not yet finely edited together for the final cut.
  • Run and gun
    A style of video and audio production that is fast, unpredictable, and often involves covering action in multiple locations in a short amount of time. A great deal of documentary and broadcast journalism is done in this manner.
  • Running time
    The duration of a finished film.
  • Russian montage
    A style of editing, typical of prominent Soviet filmmakers in the 1920s including Sergei Eisenstein which employs dynamic cutting techniques to evoke strong emotional, and even physical, reactions to film images. a.k.a. Soviet montage.
  • S-Video
    A legacy consumer version of component video that separates the luminance and chrominance of the video signal to maintain a higher quality picture compared to composite video. HDMI has eclipsed the use of both composite and S-video interconnects in most applications.
  • Sampling frequency
    The number of sample measurements taken from an analog signal in a given period of time. These samples are then converted into numerical values stored in bytes to create the digital signal.
  • Sand bags
    Bags (usually filled with sand) used to stabilize light stands, C-stands, and other objects by making it a lot harder to tip them over. An important safety consideration, especially when using larger lighting instruments. Sand bags have a handle and a built-in fold which makes it easier to get them to drape over the legs of stands. When using a sand bag with a C-stand, put the bag on the leg that is highest from the ground and opposite the weight on the gobo arm. Sandbags are available in various weights, typically 25 or 35 lbs. Smaller bags with lead shot instead of sand are referred to as shot bags. a.k.a. beach.
  • Scene
    A complete unit of cinematic narration. A series of shots (or a single shot) that takes place in a single location encompassing a single action. Sometimes scene used interchangeably with sequence. See also shot.
  • Science-fiction film
    A film genre characterized by plot and action involving scientific fantasy. Also called sci-fi film.
  • Score
    Original music composed specifically for a film and usually recorded after the film has been edited.
  • Screen direction
    An extension of the 180 rule. When a character is moving left to right in one shot, we expect them to continue to move left to right in the next shot because this is how we perceive day-to-day life. All action should be matched between shots in order to be more convincing and to provide the editor with the greatest flexibility in cutting. Just as with the 180 rule, though, this can be changed if a character changes direction while within the frame, and breaking the rule can increase dramatic tension if done skillfully. See continuity.
  • Screen time
    The time covered by the story in a film, as opposed to its running time.
  • Screenplay
    A written document describing the action, dialogue, setting, and critical components of the camerawork, lighting, sound effects, and music of a motion picture. A screenplay always refers to a script written for a screen (movie, television, web, etc.) while a script may also apply to a theatre play, video game, radio program, etc.
  • SD
    Abbreviation of Standard Definition. A legacy video resolution (usually 525/60i) that has all but been replaced by high definition (HD) video.
  • Selective sound
    A sound track that selectively includes or deletes specific sounds.
  • Semiology
    A theory of film criticism which views cinema as a language or linguistic system that conveys meaning via signs or symbolic codes. Also called semiotics.
  • Senior spot
    An quartz-halogen spotlight with 5,000 Watts of illuminating power; also called a fiver. In professional production, quartz-halogen lights are being replaced in many situations by HMI and LED lighting instruments.
  • Sequence
    A unit of film composed of interrelated shots or scenes, usually leading up to a dramatic climax.
  • Set-up
    The positioning of the camera and lights for a specific shot. Each repositioning of the camera is a new set-ups. We often talk about having completed a certainly number of set-ups per day.
  • Setting
    The location for a film or a scene in a film.
  • Shaky cam
    A shooting technique that follows a subject giving the audience a frantic or documentary feel using one or more of the following approaches: a hand-held camera, a camera attached to ropes, or a camera attached to a piece of lumber held on each side by a camera operator, or some other similar configuration. Great examples of effective shaky-cam footage can be found in Sam Raimis Evil Dead and the Cohen Brothers Blood Simple.
  • Shooting ratio
    The amount of film or video footage shot compared to the final running time of the work.
  • Shooting script
    The script that the director, cinematographer, actors, etc. use during the actual filming.
  • Shot
    1. A single, continuous run of the camera. The images recorded by the camera from the time the camera starts until the time it stops with a particular framing in relation to the subject. 2. A particular framing of a subject vis--vis the distance between the camera and the subject, commonly divided into seven categories: extreme close-up (XCU or ECU), close-up (CU), medium close-up (MCU), medium shot (MS), medium long shot (MLS), long shot (LS), extreme long shot (XLS or ELS). Shots can be subjective or objective: the closer the shot, the more subjective, the more the meaning is inscribed from within the shot. Conversely, the longer the distance of the shot the more objective it is, the greater the participation of the spectator or reader in deriving the meaning of the shot, as it suggests openness and the presence of someone looking. 3. The relative angle between the subject and camera, e.g. high-angle or low angle, each will evoke a different reading: from a low angle a subject may appear more menacing, while from a high-angle it may appear more vulnerable. 4. The terms one-, two-, and three-shots are used to describe shots with one, two, or three actors or subjects in the frame, usually of the medium close-up or medium shot variety.
  • Shot analysis
    Close and thorough study of the separate shots that make up a scene, sequence, or film. Also called shot-by-shot analysis.
  • Shotgun
    The term used to describe an interference tube (thus the name) microphone with a lobar-super-cardioid pickup pattern. Typically used for recording dialog outdoors and in environments with high ambient noise levels due to their rejection of off-axis sounds. For recording dialog in quiet setting, hyper-cardioid microphones provide better sound, since interference tubes not only reject off axis sounds, but also color these sounds.
  • Show card
    Sheets of cardboard available in a range of surfaces (including white, gray, black, matte silver, shiny silver, matte gold shiny gold) used as a reflective surface or to block light.
  • Shutter
    1. The mechanical device on a motion picture camera that shields the film from light at the aperture during filming. Some shutters have a variable angle adjustment allowing the camera operator to vary the exposure time. The smaller the shutter angle, the crisper the image and the more strobe like its appearance. Used to good effect in Saving Private Ryan. Lowering the frame rate of a film camera and step printing provides an effect very similar to show shutter on a video camera, in which the image update happens less often than 24 times per second and each frame exhibits motion blur. 2. On a video camera an electronic device that varies the effective shutter speed of the camera. Fast shutter provides crisp frames and the more strobe like its appearance. Slow shutter increases motion blur providing an effect very similar to lowering the frame rate and step printing, in other words, a single image is translated to multiple frames, with the appearance of motion blur when the camera moves. You have to experiment with the slow shutter of your video camera and see the effect for yourself.
  • Sibilance
    Exaggerated hissing in voice patterns.
  • Sider
    A flag placed on the side of a lighting instrument in order to block the light. See flag.
  • Sight gag
    A visual joke; a piece of non-verbal comic business in a film.
  • Signal
    1. Video: The variation over time of a wave whereby information is conveyed in a form by which luminance and color information is represented as electronic voltage changes over time, this signal is often viewed using a waveform monitor for exposure evaluation; 2. Audio: The variation over time of a wave whereby information is conveyed in some form which could be acoustic information (vibrations in air) or electronic voltages (representing sound).
  • Signal to noise ratio
    Abbreviated S/N. The ratio of the desired signal to unwanted noise in an audio or video recording system.Single system sound. A method of recording sound and picture on the same device, typically this is the way its done in video production. See double system sound.
  • Silk
    Uses the same metal frame as a net, however, they are made with diffusion material and do a nice job of turning a hard light source into a soft light source. Silks come in a wide rage of sizes and attach to a grip head. See flag, net.
  • Single channel
    1. In video art, a work that requires only a single monitor or projector to present the work, see multichannel; 2. To record only one channel of audio, see mono.
  • Slapstick comedy
    Broad comedy that is characterized by violent physical action. It is both a genre (popular during the era of silent cinema), and an element found in comedies that persists to this day. The name originated from the Italian batacchio, a club-like object consisting of two wooden slats used in commedia dellarte (mid-15th to mid-17th century), from which the genre evolved. When struck, the battacchio produces a loud smacking noise, though little force transfers from the object to the person being struck, allowing actors to hit each other with little or no physical damage but a strong aural effect. Examples include: One A.M. (1916), The Gold Rush (1925), Theres Something About Mary (1998), and Stuck on You (2003).
  • Slate
    1. Production: A device used to place an identifier in front of the camera at the beginning of a take. When shooting double system sound in the days of film, the clapping motion and the clapping sound was used to synchronize the audio to the picture in post production; 2. Architecture: A good roofing material that can last well over a hundred years and will never become part of the landfill problem.
  • Slow motion
    Shots photographed faster than the standard recording speed so that the action on the screen appears to move slower than normal when shown at standard speed. See fast motion.
  • Smash cut
    A jarring transition between two actions occurring at different times or places. Also called a shock cut.
  • Smash zoom
    A fast jarring zoom into a specific detail or object in a scene.
  • SMPTE count down
    Film leader with visual calibrations in one-second intervals used to lead into the film proper. Also called film leader. The classic number countdown youve probably seen many times is known as the SMPTE count down after the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, the standards organization which developed the count down leader.
  • Snake
    1. A multi-channel audio cable intended for use with microphone and/or line level signals. See also ENG snake; 2. A producer who does not treat their crew honestly and with respect.
  • Soft box
    A device you attach to a lighting instrument turning a hard light source into a source of soft, controlled light. When taken apart they are very compact, and very large when assembled. The larger the soft box, the softer the light they produce. a.k.a. Chimera Lightbank, or simply Chimera, a brand name.
  • Soft focus
    Blurring the sharpness of a film image with a special lens or a gauze over the lens in order to diffuse or soften hard edges; used especially for close-ups to make the human face look more sensual or glamorous.
  • Sound blanket
    Used as sound insulation or to dampen the sound in a space by placing it on a hard floor on on a wall. They are similar to moving blankets except they have eyelets to facilitate hanging them. Sound blankets are also used to eliminate unwanted light coming from windows or doorways, with the added benefit of sound insulation.
  • Sound bridge
    Sound which continues across two shots that depict action in different times or places, thus providing an audio transition between the two scenes. Sound designer. A sound specialist responsible for the development of all sound materials in a film or video production and ultimately in charge of the entire sound production.
  • Sound design
    The process of specifying, acquiring, and manipulating the sound elements of a moving image work. Traditionally it involves the manipulation of previously composed or recorded materials like dialogue, sound effects, and ambience. Sound design can evoke a sense of place, a desired effect, or mood. A sound designer is someone who practices the art of sound design for audiovisual works including film/video, video games, and theatre.
  • Sound effect
    A recorded or electronically processed sound that matches the visual action taking place onscreen in some interesting, creative manner.
  • Sound effects
    Abbreviated SFX. Any sound in a film thats not dialogue, narration, or music.
  • Sound mixer
    1. A device for taking multiple sound inputs and routing them to (typically) a stereo output bus. May include signal processing features like a limiter. 2. Another term for sound recordist. See Sound recordist. See also field mixer.
  • Sound recordist
    The person responsible for recording sound on location, they determine the right microphones to use and how to place them. They sometimes work in conjunction with a boom operator, on smaller productions the sound recordist and boom operator may be one.
  • Soundtrack
    1. The music contained in a film. 2. The entire audio portion of a film, including dialog, effects, and ambience.
  • Special effects
    Abbreviated FX. Shots which are unobtainable by straightforward filming techniques and may require special models, compositing, computer modeling, etc. The term also applies to most pyrotechnic and ballistic effects in a film.
  • Speed of sound
    Sound travels through air at about 770 miles per hour, which varies depending on ambient temperature and air pressure.
  • Spike tape
    1/2-in. gaffer tape usually used for spiking positions on the set (thus the name). See gaffer tape.
  • Split Lighting
    When the key light illuminates only half of the subjects face, with the effect of narrowing a wide nose and when used with a weak fill it can hide facial imperfections. See also glamor lighting, Rembrandt lighting, loop lighting, and profile lighting.
  • Split-screen
    Division of the frame into two or more separate areas for images, typically done as a special effect in post-production.
  • Spot
    A bright light source used to emphasize a performer in film and theatre or performance lighting situations.
  • Spotting
    In scoring and sound effects editing the process of identifying the specific scenes or points where music cues or effects cues take place.
  • Standing waves
    A deep sound in a small room caused by low frequency (long waves) with short reflection patterns.
  • Star system
    A system developed in the early days of Hollywood to market movies based on the appeal of popular actors and actresses, movie stars, who were under contract with motion picture studios to play leading roles in their productions.
  • Steadicam
    A camera stabilization device invented by Garret Brown which brings together the qualities of moving hand-held camerawork and the smoothness of a supported camera. The camera is mounted on a sled that lowers the center-of-gravity of the camera. The sled connects to a spring-loaded mechanical arm that replicates the function of a human arm. The arm, in turn, connects to a vest that redistributes the weight of the camera to the hips of the camera operator. A video monitor on the sled allows the camera operator to frame the shot. The steadicam insulates the camera from the operators movements, for example, the camera can glide smoothly even though the operator is doing something like walking up and down stairs. The steadicam shot is a standard staple in major motion pictures (appearing for the first time in Rocky), however, Aleksandr Sokurovs Russian Ark takes the cake: its a single 90 minute steadicam shot!
  • Stereo
    Sound recorded on separate tracks (usually with two microphones) and played back on two loudspeakers to reproduce and separate sounds more like natural hearing by providing the illusion of directionality and audible perspective. Stereo is the de facto standard in entertainment systems such as broadcast television, radio, recorded music, and streaming video. Muti-channel (surround) sound systems are also common. See also: mono sound, surround sound.
  • Still
    See Production still.
  • Stop-motion photography
    Filming real objects or live action by starting and stopping the camera, rather than by running the camera continuously, in order to create pixilation, trick-film effects, or time-lapse photography. Also called stop-action photography.
  • Storyboard
    A series of drawings and captions (often resembling comics) that shows the shots and camera movements planned for a scene or scenes.
  • Straight cut
    Two shots edited together without any effects.
  • Structuralism
    Cinematic theories focusing on how certain codes or signs are structured to convey meaning in a film, a genre, or the works of a filmmaker. See semiology.
  • Subjective camera
    1. The camera used as to suggest the point of view of a particular character. See point-of-view shot. 2. Idiosyncratic camerawork that follows the makers unique set of cinematic language rules.
  • Subtext
    Implicit meaning in a film or video which lies beneath the language of the text.
  • Subtitle
    A caption superimposed over picture, usually at the bottom of the frame. Most often used to identify a scene or to translate foreign language dialogue.
  • Subtractive color
    When we look at color mixing from the perspective of starting with white light and subtracting colors (using gels or filters) were working with subtractive color and the complimentary colors are known as the subtractive primaries. Illustrated below is what you would see if we placed various colored gels on a white light table. Thus: Yellow (Red + Green) = White - Blue; Cyan (Green + Blue) = White - Red; Magenta (Red + Blue) = White - Green. And note that: Cyan + Red = neutral density; Magenta + Green = neutral density; and Yellow + Blue = neutral density. Thus, if a light source is too blue, we can take some blue out using a yellow gel. If a fluorescent light fixture appears too green, we can use some magenta gel around the tube. Gels are available in a wide range of colors for controlling the color of lights. See additive color, gels, color correcting gels.
  • Superimposition
    1. To place one image over another. 2. To expose more than one image on film at the same time.
  • Surrealism
    An avant-garde movement in the arts during the 1920s which attempted to represent unconscious experience using dreamlike images. Surrealistic films rejected traditional notions of story and causality, for example, Un Chien Andalou (1929, Luis Buuel) and Meshes of the Afternoon (1943, Maya Deren & Alexander Hammid).
  • Sweetening
    Enhancing the sound of a recording or particular sound effect with equalization or other signal processing techniques.
  • Swish pan
    A shot in which the camera pans rapidly causing motion blur. Also called a whip pan or zip pan. It can be used as a very effective transition between shots and imply a fast pace of action. Also known as: swish pan, flick pan and zip pan.
  • SxS
    A solid-state memory card used by Sony for storage of video on some of their tapeless cameras.
  • Symbol
    An object or image in a film that has significance beyond its literal meaning.
  • Sync sound
    1. Recording sound in synchronization with image recording. Can be single or double system. In single system sound recording the camera records sound and image, with double system sound recording, the camera is used to record images and a separate sound recorder is used to record sound. 2. Sound whose source is apparent and matches the action in a scene. See non-synchronous sound.
  • Synchronization
    A precise match between image and sound. Also called sync.
  • Take
    A shot resulting from one continuous run of the camera. Filmmakers generally shoot several takes of the same scene and then selects the best one during the editing phase. Rarely done in documentary.
  • Tally lamp
    A indicator light on a video camera that is illuminated when the camera is recording. On some cameras a blinking tally lamp indicates low battery or end of tape or the storage card is almost full.
  • Telecine
    A device that converts film to either video or data files. See scanner.
  • Telephoto lens
    A camera lens with a long focal length that magnifies the size of distant objects. See also wide angle lens, normal lens.
  • Teleplay
    A script written to be produced for television. See screenplay.
  • Temp dub
    A preliminary mixing of dialogue, music, and sound effects, usually so that a first cut may be viewed with all the elements incorporated.
  • Terabyte
    One trillion bytes. Equivalent to a heaping amount of video or an insane amount of audio. A two hour high-definition movie at a resolution of 1920 x 1280 would take about one terabyte to store in an uncompressed format. Acquisition formats like DVCPRO HD, XDCAM HD, and HDV involve significant levels of compression in order to reduce the data required to store video.
  • Three point lighting
    A lighting configuration with the key and fill lights typically on opposite sides of the camera and to the front and side of the subject along with the backlight opposite the camera and behind the subject. Changing the position of the key light has a significant effect on the look and feel of the lighting. We may use more than a total of three lighting instruments, however, the basic configuration is still called three point lighting, referring to the primary light source roles of the key, fill, and back lights. To this we may add kickers, accents, and top lights.
  • Three-shot
    Abbreviated 3S. A medium shot with three actors or subjects in the frame.
  • Thunderbolt
    A high-speed data interface co-developed by Apple and Intel which has become the new standard for interconnecting displays, hard drives, and other peripheral devices (essentially replacing eSATA and FireWire). A single Thunderbolt port supports up to six Thunderbolt devices via hubs or daisy chains. A single legacy Mini DisplayPort monitor or other device of any kind may be connected directly or at the very end of the chain. Depending on the type of devices connected, the interface supports 5.4 Gbit/s or 10 Gbit/s per Thunderbolt lane. The technology continues to evolve and future versions are expected to support up to 100 Gbit/s.
  • Tilt
    A shot in which the camera pivots vertically, from top to bottom or from bottom to top.
  • Time code
    A time reference recorded on video tape or a video file to identify each frame, typically written or displayed as 02:23:43:02 designating hours : minutes : seconds : frames. A semi-colon between the seconds and frames typically indicates drop-frame time code. See drop frame time code.
  • Time code break
    Each time a videotape-based camera starts recording, it picks up the time code from the last frame previously recorded and continues counting up the numbers. A time code break occurs when the recorder is not able to do this, and as a result, resets the time code to zero and counts up from there while recording. This can confuse the editing system upon capture, and therefore should be avoided. see Capture.
  • Time-lapse
    A type of cinematography or photography in which the camera photographs at time intervals the same scene over an extended period of time in order to speed up on the screen a lengthy process or action, for example, the growth of a field of corn, traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge, the construction of a building, etc.
  • Tracking shot
    A shot in which the camera (mounted on a vehicle, dolly, or other moving support device) moves while shooting. Some people differentiate tracking shots as those following a subject as they move. Thus the method of support and characteristic of the movement determines the actual term used, for example, we call it a dolly shot when a dolly is used, we call it a tracking shot when tracks are laid down for a dolly to roll on, though not always true, for the most part, dolly, tracking, traveling, and trucking shots are synonymous. Depending on the speed, this shot has different connotations, if very slow it can have a serene or dream-like quality, on the other hand, if fast, it can be exciting, disorienting or frightening, depending on the context. A tracking shot can signify a character in motion and implicate the viewer into the narrative in that they identify with the characters point of view.
  • Treatment
    1. A written description of a narrative film which may later be developed into a script. Also called film treatment. 2. A written description of a documentary film which outlines the story including the interviews and visuals that will be used.
  • Trick line
    #4 cotton rope used in video production as safety cables on lights, cable ties, ties for sound blankets, butterflies, overheads, and silks, as well as many other uses.
  • Tripod socket
    A 1/4-20 (1/4-inch diameter, 20 threads per inch) socket on the bottom of most cameras for attachment to a tripod or other support device. This may also be used to attach the camera to custom made mounts. Youll find compatible bolts at most any hardware store. Make sure that any bolt you get is not too long, you dont want the bolt to bottom out in the threaded socket and risk damaging the socket or camera.
  • Two shot
    Abbreviated 2S. A medium shot featuring two actors or subjects in the frame.
  • Under-crank
    To run film stock through the camera slower than the standard speed of 24 fps, producing fast motion on the screen when the film is projected at standard speed. Also used to describe the analogous effect in a video camera. See Over-crank.
  • Underscore
    Music that provides atmospheric or emotional background to the primary narration or dialog.
  • USB
    Abbreviation of Universal Serial Bus. An interconnect standard used to connect computers, hard drives, cameras, scanners, printers, etc. USB (a.k.a. USB 1.0) is very slow not at all usable with video, USB 2.0 (a.k.a. fast USB) is widely used for connecting cameras and external hard drives to a computer. USB 3.0 is a newer standard for connecting external hard drives that is much faster than USB 2.0. Until recently, FireWire 800 has been favored by video editors for connecting computers to external hard drives due to better performance than USB 2.0, however, with the USB 3.0 standard widely supported on new equipment and the increasing availability of Thunderbolt interface, FireWire has become yet another legacy interface. When purchasing a hard drive for video editing, make sure it supports USB 3.0 and/or Thunderbolt.
  • VBR
    Abbreviation of Variable Bit Rate. A video compression method in which the amount of compression is varied to allow for minimum degradation of image quality in scenes that are more difficult to compress. For example, the MPEG-2 video compression used for making DVDs is typically done using VBR and a lot of streaming formats based on AAC/H.264 are also variable bit rate. VBR allows a higher data rate (and therefore requires more storage space) to be allocated to the more complex segments of the video while less space is allocated to less complicated segments. The average rate can be calculated to produce an average bitrate for the file.
  • Vegas
    1. A non-linear editing system sold by Sony (originally developed by Sonic Foundry) for Windows-based computers. 2. A nickname for Las Vegas, where the annual NAB Conference takes place, an annual meeting of the National Association of Broadcasters which includes a large showcase of new video technology.
  • Video art
    A category of art and artistic practice based on on moving images and comprised of video and/or audio. It is distinct from television production, mainstream motion picture entertainment, experimental film, and digital art. Video art came into existence during the early 1960s and early 1970s as new technology became available outside of the broadcasting industry. It has given rise to many variations of form and technique including video installations. Video art may be: viewed in galleries or other venues; distributed as video tapes, DVDs, or digital video files; displayed on the web either alone or in conjunction with other media elements; as an installation incorporating one or more video devices displaying live or recorded images and sound; and performances in which video representations are included. The term video art is named after the use of analog video tape formats, which was common during the early years of the form. With the emergence of digital technology analog tape has been superseded but the electronic video signal remains the carrier of moving image work. Despite many parallels, relationships, and overlapping moving image codes and conventions, video art is not the same as experimental film. Video art often has no discernible narrative nor adherence to mainstream codes and conventions that generally define motion picture entertainment. The intentions of video artists are quite varied, and may include exploring the boundaries of the medium itself; rigorously attacking the viewers expectations of video as shaped by conventional cinema; bringing to the surface the embedded ideology of media artifacts; etc. See experimental film, documentary, art.
  • Video synthesizer
    A device that creates a video signal electronically without a camera through the use of internal video pattern generators and video processors. It can accept a video signal as input and clean-up, enhance, or distort the imagery. The signal created by the synthesizer can be viewed on conventional video equipment and computer displays. Video synthesizers are still in use by video performance artists (VJs) and video artists. Image: Stephen Becks Direct Video Synthesizer, circa 1970.
  • Visqueen
    Polyethylene plastic sheeting (commonly referred to by its brand name) usually with a thickness between 4 to 10 mils (0.1 to 0.25 mm) and available as clear, opaque, or black. It has many uses on the set including protecting gear from rain, protecting floors from the crew and equipment, and more. Often misspelled as visquine.
  • Voice-over
    The narrators voice from an unseen narrator. Common in commercials, documentaries, and film noir (e.g. the first release of Blade Runner).
  • VU meter
    A meter designed to measure analog audio level in volume units which generally correspond to perceived loudness. The meters do not show peaks, peaks are typically indicated with a separate peak light. Still found on professional analog recorders and some consumer gear evoking the retro look. Digital meters behave in a totally different manner since they can respond instantly to peaks, which analog meters cant do.
  • Walla
    Background ambience or noises added to create the illusion of sound taking place outside of the main action in a motion picture.
  • WAV
    Abbreviation of Waveform Audio Format. A lossless audio compression format widely used in production and post-production. Uses PCM (Pulse Code Modulation), a straightforward representation of binary digits of the audio sample values. The sampling rate is typically 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz, with a 16-bit bit-depth, however, other sampling rates and bit-depths are possible. See AIFF, broadcast wave format.
  • Wave
    A regular variation in a video or audio signal level or a regular variation in sound pressure level.
  • Waveform monitor
    A type of oscilloscope used in video production to measure and display the level, or voltage, of a video signal with respect to time. The level of a video signal usually corresponds to the luminance (brightness) of the part of the image being drawn onto a video screen at the same point in time. While primarily used for evaluating exposure, it may also be used to visualize and observe the synchronization signals (e.g. vertical blanking interval) of a video signal. Originally, waveform monitors were analog devices, however, with contemporary digital video cameras, the waveform monitor is based on a rasterizer, hardware that simulates the behavior of a CRT vector display, generating a raster signal.
  • White balance
    A camera adjustment that determines the relative intensities of the additive primaries (red, green, and blue) with the goal of rendering colors (especially neutral colors and skin tones) correctly. White balance changes the overall mixture of colors in an image. Our eyes and brain are very good at determining what is white under different lighting conditions, however, video cameras are not, even with auto white balance (AWB) set. Incorrect white balance usually leads to excessively blue images outdoors or excessively orange or green images indoor. Video cameras are usually white balanced by pointing the camera to a white surface under the current illumination and setting the white balance. Cameras also have presets for daylight (5500K) or tungsten (3200K) color temperatures. Some cameras offer additional settings for cloudy days and fluorescent lighting. Images shot under extreme conditions are difficult to color correct properly because once the red or blue channel is overexposed, important color information is lost. Therefore, attention to white balance in production is important for good color reproduction and to provide maximum flexibility when performing color correction. See also black balance, color temperature, light.
  • White noise
    A signal having an equal amount of energy per Hertz.
  • Wide-angle lens
    A short focal length lens that enables the camera to photograph a wider area than a normal lens. For 35mm films a wide-angle lens is 30mm or less. Also called a short lens.
  • Wild sound
    Audio elements that are not recorded synchronously with the picture. Its a good idea to record wild sound wherever you go. These wild tracks of the environment can be used to build ambient sound beds or fix audio problems in dialog when you need to fill gaps of empty track.
  • Window dub
    A video tape or file with burned In timecode. Often used for preview, review, or transcription purposes, where the burn-in timecode window on the image makes it easily to visually identify particular frames of the video. See Burned In Timecode. Even with digital video files, the timecode may be different that the running time, so this allows for accurate communication about a specific frame in a video tape or file. Also used for previews when you dont want people to broadcast or share the material further, often used by stock footage houses to prevent use of their materials without licensing, but allowing you to place it in your program for editorial purposes.
  • Windshield
    A device placed over a microphone that reduces the effect of wind noise on the microphone. There are two main types of windshields, modular systems and integral slip-on systems. A a modular system (often called a blimp or zeppelin) consists of a flexible grey plastic netting tube (thus the name) with a screening material and a suspension system for the microphone (e.g. Rycote Modular Windshield). A furry synthetic fur cover, often called a windjammer, can be placed over the zeppelin for additional wind noise attenuation. In documentary and ENG applications one-piece slip on windshields consisting of a cellular foam base surrounded by synthetic fur are quite popular (e.g. Rycote Softie Windshield). The foam wind screen that comes with most microphones is only good to prevent wind noise due to movement of the microphone, outdoor shooting requires a windshield. Furry slip on systems or windjammers are sometimes called a dead cat. Some folks refer to a blimps windjammer attachment as a Wookie since they are typically larger than dead cats.
  • Wipe
    An effect in which an image appears to wipe-off or push aside the preceding image. It was common in the 1930s, seriously out of fashion today.
  • Work print
    A duplicate of camera original film footage, used during traditional film editing in order to preserve the original negative until the final cut. In traditional film post-production, once the picture is locked, a negative cutter will assemble cut reels of the original negative to match the editing decisions that were made using the work print. This is then used to make Answer Prints and Interpositives (IN) for distribution printing. This process is all but obsolete, however, some film restoration labs still work with optional elements.
  • X-Y Pattern
    A pair of cardioid microphones or elements aimed in crossed directions which feed two channels for stereo pickup. See also M-S.
    A high definition video format based on MPEG-2 used by Sony for storage of video on some of their cameras, a higher-quality alternative to the tape-based HDV format.
  • XLR
    One of several sound connectors having three to seven conductors plus an outer shell which shields the connectors and locks the connectors into place. Three pin plugs and jacks are the most common and are widely used to carry a single audio channel. Five pin plugs and jacks are commonly used to carry a stereo signal and are found on stereo microphones. These connectors are found on professional video and audio gear and some prosumer cameras..
  • Zebra
    A feature found on many video cameras used to determine exposure levels. Diagonal lines appear in the viewfinder or LCD display over any areas that are over-exposure. Better cameras allow you to choose between different zebra settings, typically 75%, 95%, or over 100%. These refer to the IRE video levels where 100 IRE corresponds to pure white, 75 IRE is a very bright area of the frame with textural detail, and 50 IRE is around middle gray (or 18% grey in still photography terms).
  • Zoom shot
    A shot made with a zoom lens, which makes the image appear closer (zoom in) or farther away (zoom out) by varying the focal length of the lens. Offers a very different quality than a tracking shot. See Tracking Shot.
  • 4:2:2
    A 4:2:2 chroma sampling rate means the two chroma components are sampled at half the rate of the luminance component. This reduces bandwidth by one-third with little or no visible difference in most uses. The sampling ratio used in many professional analog and digital video formats. For every 4 samples of luminance there are 2 samples each of R-Y (Red minus Luminance) and B-Y (Blue minus luminance).  While 4:2:2 works better than lesser rates for chroma key work, for the best results, 4:4:4 is preferred, which means the chroma components are sampled at the same rate as the luminance component of the video image.
  • 4:4:4
    The sampling ratio that has equal amounts of the luminance and both chrominance channels. High end digital video cameras used this format, especially good for doing special effects shots using green screen and compositing since the higher the sampling of the color channel, the cleaner the matte will be.