Selected Terminology Glossary

We recognize that the video production profession uses a language of their own. Some terms you may not be familiar with. Here's help. We made a sincere attempt to marry terminology from the often related fields of audio, video and film along with photographic, lighting, computer and electronic terms, all of which describe a particular facet of the craft. Some are unique "film theory" terms you might hear only in academic settings. A great deal of phrasing was borrowing from existing internet glossaries. If suitable definitions couldn't be found, we wrote our own, with an attempt to make a connection with the area of production closest to our hearts, the non-broadcast corporate video biz. This started out as an attempt to list terms that were particularly interesting or ironic, but soon grew into an "Oh, that should be on there, too!" list. For those who have made suggestions to add in, you know who you are. Thanks! If your word is not in yet - it should be updated soon. To all - be sure to drop us a line a you have any suggestions or corrections.


SMPTE standard for open-reel 1-inch composite, non-segmented helical video recording format. Defacto standard for analog video edit mastering up until the advent of digital formats in the early 1990's.

The convention that the camera can be placed in any position as long as it remains on one side of the action. Because video and film represent a simulated world in two-dimensional space, we can only relate to it the way would, say, to a painting. When you look at a painting, or walk around it from side to side, you have covered a 180 degree arc. The cameraman is confined to this same space and arc of shooting. For example, we expect that one character in a two-shot (two people appearing on camera simultaneously) will always be on the left and the other on the right. It is disorienting to the film and video viewer to suddenly lose this reference and find themselves on the opposite side of this plane. There are certain cinematic rules that apply for moving this plane over a sequence of shots but we won't get into them in this text.

The technique used to convert 24 frames per second film to 30 frames per second video. Every other film frame is held for 3 video fields resulting in a sequence of 3 fields, 2 fields, 3 fields,2 fields, etc.

Computer generated animation that is produced when a need exists to illustrate a concept or render an image that would be impossible to realize before a camera lens or as a static graphic. Outside of he entertainment industry and TV commercials, there is a great need for 3D animation in medical and engineering applications. 3D animation allows for a myriad of possibilities such as varying textures and shapes, motion, as well as qualities of light and simulated camera moves. A three-dimensional virtual representation of objects is stored in the computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering images. 3D graphics are akin to sculpting or photography, while the art of 2D graphics is analogous to drawing or painting.

Sampling frequencies in the ratio 4:1:1, used to digitize the luminance and color difference components (Y, R-Y, B-Y) of a video signal. The four represents 13.5 MHz, the sampling frequency of Y, and the ones each 3.75 MHz for R-Y and B-Y. Used in DV, DVCAM, DVCPRO.

Commonly used term for a component digital video format. A ratio of sampling frequencies used to digitize the luminance and color difference components (Y, R-Y, B-Y) of a video signal. The term 4:2:2 describes that for every four samples of Y, there are two samples each of R-Y and B-Y, giving more chrominance bandwidth in relation to luminance compared to 4:1:1 sampling. 4:2:2 is the standard for digital studio equipment like Digital Betacam.

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Acquiring or recording video onto videotape or digital alternatives like disc-based acquisition formats.

The videotape format or other electronic storage format decided upon which to shoot a particular production.


Ampex Digital Optics. Trade name for digital effects system. Introduced in 1981, the ADO created allowed rotation and perspective of video images, changing forever the way television material would be manipulated and created.

Versatile desktop video special effects and compositing package by Adobe Systems.

A film edited to airline industry standards for presentation aboard commercial aircraft.

An artistic technique that utilizes chance conditions and probability. In aleatory film, images and sounds are not planned in advance. Even in traditional film and video production and post-production, surprises, mistakes and sheer coincidence should be taken advantage of. They are gifts, in a sense, and can add creative and dramatic interest to a piece.

Stair-stepping. Stepped or jagged edges of angled lines, e.g., at the slanted edges of letters appearing on the raster of television image or computer display.

An 8-bit color channel which is used to specify the transparency of each pixel in an image. An alpha channel works like a sophisticated stencil, and is the digital equivalent of a matte

A wooden box in three basic sizes (full, half, and quarter) used on the set in a variety of ways--to raise actors, furniture, lights, etc.

Evidence that signal has been digitally modified - jaggy edges, strange smears, pattern overlays, missing information, etc., in computer graphics, and digital audio and video. Artifacts come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: they are chunks of stray pixels or data that don't belong in the image or waveform. An unintended visual or auditory effect or imperfection caused by an error or limitation of a system. .

Any video tape, CD-ROM containing photos music or other media that contribute to the post-production of video or other multimedia programs OR retained in a special library or repository is considered an asset.

A method of representing data using continuously varying electrical voltages. Analog video whether transmitted over cables, read from videotapes or broadcast, is subject to degradation due to noise, distortion and other electronic phenomena. Betacam-SP, an incredibly versatile high-quality video format, is recorded as an analog component signal. See COMPONENT.

The width-to-height ratio of an image. A 4:3 aspect ratio (Standard television) means the horizontal size is a third again wider than the vertical size (or 1.33:1). Widescreen DVD and HDTV aspect ratio is 16:9 (or 1.78:1). Theatrical motion picture film aspect ratios are 1.85:1 and 2.35:1. From a historical perspective, prior to 1955 all motion picture films were 4:3 format. Standard definition television (TV as we know it) was designed to be 4:3 based on the prevailing theatrical film format. As motion pictures took on various widescreen aspect ratios, the film stock format continues to remain 4:3, the width being altered optically by anamorphic lenses; squeezing the picture during filming and unsqueezing at time of projection. (See LETTERBOX, PAN AND SCAN)


Amount of illumination normally present in a particular environment: natural light, artificial, or a combination. Leading to the decision "We'll just shoot with available light".

Popular brand of non-linear editing system.

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Timing a program or segment backwards, from the end, instead of from the start. A technique used to synchronize emphatic points in video editing.

A rich, varied term borrowed from TV news, documentary and corporate image film and video making, b-roll refers to practical, inventive, creative and/or stylistic footage that covers the action being described by narrator or primary interview subjects or matches the general mood of the script or editorial needs of the piece. B-roll not only tells the story by presenting descriptive visuals to the audience, but is makes for good CUTAWAYS to cover JUMP CUTS in the audio-visual flow of the story. (see B-ROLL, JUMP CUT).

The term has many early practical origins. In the early days of TV journalism (when videotape editing was a difficult physical process) the studio news director switched between the field reporter "stand-up" playing back off the a-roll, and the story action scenes on the b-roll. It also refers to the process of creating dissolve transitions in film between A and B rolls (aka A-wind/B-wind). In a related sense, A/B roll is the process used in linear video editing to enable an editor to create electronic dissolves and other transitions between two videotape sources. Today's non-linear editing systems create any type of transition within the computer using one FEEDER DECK.

A B-roll package is a compilation of interviews and video footage that is edited for reporters and submitted via satellite uplink for pickup by broadcast and cable new outlets. It includes slated background information at the top of the tape and is similar to a VNR. However, there is no full-script and no reporter's narration. For clarity, a b-roll package is not restricted to image-based B-roll. It CAN include key interview soundbites, considered by purists to be A-roll. See VNR.

Very short tripod used when shooting low camera angles.

The focus between the lens and the camera. Adjusted by a ring at the rear of the lens (the closest ring to the camera body). If the camera appears focused when zoomed in, but becomes out of focus when zoomed wide, the back focus needs adjusting.

1 Illumination on a subject from behind, causing a separation of the subject from the background, often creating a fringe of light around the subject.

2. A luminaire that provides such illumination.

An arrangement of two or four metal leaves placed in front of certain kinds of lighting instruments to control the shape of the light beam.

Video color bars and audio reference tone typically recorded at the beginning of each new tape on a video shoot. Color Bars are a video test signal widely used for system and monitor setup and contain bands of color with fixed amplitudes and saturations. Tone typically refers to a single-frequency audio signal used as a level setting reference.

A term for applying an operation to multiple objects at the same time. e.g. batch-digitize.

Directional word used to indicate a pause in an actors speech or action. Editorially, a beat is a count of the rhythm of a scene. "Wait a beat, then cut."

Music used under a voice-over or primary voice track. Sometimes refers to any music track in a video program regardless of whether it is covered by voice or not. The base layer.

Chief assistant, usually of the gaffer, but more often lately used as a general term for the second in command of a group.

Portable analog component camera/recorder system using 1/2-inch metal tape originally developed by Sony as Betacam in 1982. Wider bandwidth recording system using metal tape known as Betacam-SP was released in 1986. Interestingly the shell of a 30 min Betacam cassette is identical to that of the early SONY Betamax consumer format that lost the format war to VHS in the 1980's. Beta-SP is geared toward the broadcast and high-end industrial video markets. SONY discontinued production of Betacam-SP camcorders in November of 2001, though the decks and tape are still produced and quite popular. That's progress?

The number of levels that a pixel might have, such as 256 with an 8-bit depth or 1,024 with a 10-bit depth.

2-D array of pixels representing video and graphics.

A composite color video signal comprised of sync, color burst and black video. Used to synchronize (genlock) other video sources to the same sync and color information. Black burst generators are used in editing systems "lock" the entire facility to a common signal ("house sync" or "house black").

Special heavy black foil used to control lighting and create "cookie" effects on sets and backgrounds.

The setting of the actors' positions and moves with respect to camera positions on the set of a video shoot..

A specially colored backdrop that can be matched with a color key and made transparent so that it can be replaced with another video layer. In post-production, the editor "keys out" the blue, replacing with any other video source at the discretion of the video producer. May be green as well (see GREEN SCREEN).

An overhead pole device used to position a microphone close to the actors, but out of the shot. A FISHPOLE is the portable version.

A white or silver card used for soft indirect lighting of the subject by bouncing light off the card. Can also be used to provide a gentle brightening of shadow areas. Especially out-of-doors as it does not require power.

1. Industry jargon for large (approx. 6"x4"x4") high-capacity rechargeable battery for use in professional video camcorder applications. Anton Bauer is a major supplier of battery bricks for professional cameras.

2. A solid, reliable unflappable individual.

1. To copy from one videotape to another, usually between varying formats.

2. To lose you rightful position on the schedule to participate in an edit session because of a scheduling mishap or some unforeseen emergency or higher priority. e.g. "Judy, the producer got bumped because of an emergency requiring the immediate editing of a package with the CEO."

A picture with a visible time code permanently superimposed (burned in), usually in the form of white numbers in a black rectangle. Video recordings with burned-in time code are normally used during previewing and off-line editing to locate the exact time code number of desired shots.

The one take out of several that the director has indicated as the best is the "buy". (Try to find this definition anywhere on the internet!)

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Folklore states that C-47 is a military term for clothespin, adopted by the motion picture industry. From attaching gels to light fixtures, to whatever you can think of, the clothespin is an indispensable part of the filmmaking process.

A chrome-finish lighting stand also known as Century Stand, Grip Stand or Gobo Stand. Probably the most popular multi-purpose stand ever developed. Its unique nesting leg design allows many Century Stands to be used in very limited floor space. Century Stand is a trademark of Matthews Studio Equipment Corp.

The time at which an actor or crew member is to report to a job.

A cut from one discrete camera view to another.

A videotape or roll of film negative recorded or exposed within the housing of the camera. One of a kind. Pertaining to video cassette originals, used in the editing of final, finished programs.

A microphone with a cardioid (heart-shaped) pick up pattern, which has maximum pick up from the front, less pick up from the sides, and least pick up from the back of the diaphragm.

Computer Generated Imagery. Any object or motion that does not actually exist before the lens when filming or taping the original scene. Added in electronically by computer artists and craftspeople during post-production to create a desired effect. Usually some form of 3D animation, the state of the art of CGI in motion pictures has reached a great level of sophistication.

A trademark for a style of cloth softlight that can attach to standard tungsten instruments (photographic lights). This makes for an attractive diffused quality of light for interviews and other subjects.

Also "tchotchke". Physical, ornamental objects placed in the background within the frame of the shot. Props in the background.

An electronic function that will render a specific color in a layer transparent. revealing other added video layers. Typically involves shooting an isolated person or object against a green or blue background.

A style of documentary filmmaking that stresses unbiased realism, often up close and personal.

On a film shoot, the British equivalent of a Second Assistant Cameraman in the U.S.

A video camera function which allows the camera to alter it's scan rate to match that of a computer monitor. This reduces or eliminates the flicker effect of recording computer monitors.

A video or audio compression component that can both compress and decompress (encode and decode) files. The name "codec" is short for "coder-decoder." Most audio and video formats (DV, MPEG, AVI, MOV, WAV, AIFF) use some sort of compression to save disk space. Codecs can also be used to compress streaming media (live audio and video) which makes it possible to broadcast a live audio or video clip over a broadband Internet connection.

1. Digital control over images in non-linear editing that can attempt or succeed in balancing color across the full spectrum in RGB color space. 3-way color correction allows you to shift color on three different value levels; blacks, midtones, and whites.

2. As it pertains to lighting, color correction refers to the use of carefully engineered colored gels predominantly of blue and orange tones that convert daylight to tungsten and vice versa. (See COLOR BALANCE and WINDOW GEL)

A set of parameters that describe color values, such as RGB (red, green, blue) or CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black). Color space is a way of referring to a model that represents all the possible colors that can be produced by a particular output device, such as a monitor, color printer, photographic film or printing press. Typically references are quoted in television: RGB, Y, R-Y, B-Y, YIQ, YUV and Hue Saturation and Luminance (HSL). Moving pictures between these are possible but require careful attention to the accuracy of processing involved. Operating across the media--print, film and TV, as well as between computers and TV equipment--will require conversions in color space.

A method for measuring the overall color of a light source, measured in degrees Kelvin (deg. K). Higher numbers indicate bluer light, lower numbers indicate a warmer, redder light. The color temperature of the lighting must match the color temperature setting of the camera. In video this is accomplished by "white balancing" the camera. Daylight in full sun is approximately 5500 deg. K. Overcast daylight is higher. Fluorescent Lights are approx. 4100 deg. K, but do not represent the full spectrum of reflected light. Indoor incandescent lights are 2800 deg. K and professional Movie/Video Lights are 3200 Deg. K Please understand color temperature doesn't refer to a measurable amount of heat, rather the wavelength of color.

An electronically generated video pattern consisting of eight equal width colors, used to establish a proper color reference before recording and playback and for monitor and equipment adjustment and setup purposes.

The basis of the analog composite color video signal. The color subcarrier is the carrier frequency (3.58 MHz in NTSC and 4.43 MHz in PAL) on which the color information is impressed. Color TV sets use special circuits which decode the color portion of the signal for accurate display. When the composite color video signal was first created, the 30 frame per second rate (NTSC example) was dropped to 29.97 fps, opening up room in the signal for the encoding of the analog color information.

A video system containing three separate color component signals, either red/green/blue (RGB) or chroma/color difference (YCbCr, YPbPr, YUV), in analog or digital form. Results in images of higher resolution and better color quality than composite video by keeping signals separate.

A video signal in which the luminance (brightness), chrominance (color), blanking pulses, sync pulses and color burst information have been combined using one of the coding standards. (NTSC, PAL, SECAM)

To combine multiple layers of video with different technical treatments, sizes, positions, opacities and motion on an NLE or high-end real-time device such as a FLAME. This may be a simple, uncomplicated process or a very deep composite requiring many hours to render.

Short for compilation reel. A videotape or videocassette containing an edited selection of scenes or takes from one or more video source tapes. Comp reels can make editing easier if the arduous and time consuming task of selected takes from many sources is done in advance. Also called a "selected takes" reel.

A method of reducing the size of a digital file, while retaining acceptable quality. This may be desirable in order to save space or to speed up access time. Professional digital systems can work with uncompressed video. Compression can be divided into two types: "lossless" and "lossy". Lossless compression removes only enough redundancy so that the original data can be recreated exactly as it was. Lossy compression sacrifices additional data to achieve greater compression.

In film editing: to match the original film to the final edited work print, often with the assistance of an edit decision list supplied in a computer-readable file. As applied to video post-production, conform means to create a finished quality online edit from the offline edit, again using an EDL to recreate the offline in exact matching of source material to time.

The seamlessness of detail from one shot to another within a scene. Continuity refers particularly to the physical elements, rather than to the choices in coverage that can result in a lack of seamlessness. Elements of continuity include any actions of the actor, the placement of props, the lighting, the costumes, and so on.

The difference between the lightest and darkest parts of a shot. The human eye can see into the darkest shadow on the brightest day - a ratio of maybe a thousand to one. Film can only register about 60 to 1 before detail is lost in the brightest or darkest parts. Video can handle about 30 to 1.

Technique of zooming out while moving toward the subject with the camera simultaneously, making the background seemingly run away

Familiar term for Cucoloris. Placed in front of a hard-light, it throws shadows or dappled light on bland walls and surfaces.

In any form of legitimate video and film production, it is necessary to a obtain permission for the use of copyrighted material. Some times a license is available as a buy out for certain production music or stock footage. Or negotiated as fee per use. Use of copyrighted works of music, television and film without permission in a no no.

The field of video production concerned with corporate communications, including employee, customer and shareholder communications, public relations and training. Sometimes referring to an in-house corporate video or A/V department. INDUSTRIAL VIDEO.

Editing term (industrial/corporate/news/documentary) that means to place b-roll, graphics or other necessary elements onto the video track of a program timeline (edit window). This step follows the editing of primary audio (narration and soundbites.) (see B-ROLL , CUTAWAY)

Shooting necessary shots relating to the main action of a scene for use as cutaways during the editing phase of post-production. (see CUTAWAY).

The technique of removing slices of an image from one or more edges, usually to improve composition. Photos and video images and designs are often cropped later to improve them.

Editing that alternates shots of two or more lines of action occurring in different places, usually simultaneous.

Shot of other than principal action (but peripherally related), frequently used as transitional footage or to avoid a jump cut. In a feature film or narrative short film or any action sequence, cutaways are the glue that make conventional editing of unrelated takes possible. In documentaries, B-roll footage works the same way as cutaway material between principal spoken portions of the piece. (See B-ROLL, JUMP CUT.)

An instantaneous shift from a distant framing to a closer view of some portion of the same space.

Animated still images generated in Photoshop and After Effects (both Adobe Trademarks) where the foreground image floats over the background with a distinctly 3D diorama quality and appearance. Sometimes called an animatte effect.

(pronounced SIKE) Short for cyclorama. A backing, mounted in the studio, to provide a continuous surface, such a black, to create a black limbo, an illusion of infinity. A background where all corners and intersections are rounded.

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(rhymes with "house") To demagnetize with an electromagnet or degausser. Computer and video monitors may be degaussed. Magnetically recorded media such as audio and videotapes may be degaussed as well, for the purpose of recording over or securely recycling or disposing of. Also known as bulk erasing. Metal Betacam-SP video tapes are very difficult to degauss. Named after Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), a German mathematician and pioneer of electromagnetic theory. See GAUSSIAN BLUR.

The process of preparing native television signals for playback on progressive scan devices such as computer screens

The area in which all objects picked-up by the camera lens appear in focus. While a lens focuses on a single plane of depth, there is usually an additional area in focus behind and in front of that plane. This is depth of field. Depth of field depends on subject-to-camera distance, focal length of the lens, and f-stop. Depth of field increases as the iris is closed. There is more depth of field the wider the lens and less the longer the lens. There is a deeper area in focus the further away a lens is focused than there is when a lens is focused closer. Depth of field does not spread out evenly; the entire area is about 1/3rd in front and 2/3rds behind the plane of focus.

Not covered in detail here. A sensitive video camera circuit (or circuits) that appears to add more resolution to the image. Too low and the image may look soft. Too high and the picture can get a funny buzzy, ringing look to it, having an especially negative effect on skin textures.

Technique of recording dialog under the acoustically perfect conditions of the dubbing studio, to replace the poor dialogue of scenes already shot on location. Actors time the delivery of their lines so as to match their lip movement as viewed on the screen. Also called Automatic Dialogue Replacement (A.D.R.), looping or dubbing.

A specially treated glass filter used on tungsten lamps to convert their color temperature to that of daylight. The filter reflects excessive red and transmits light that is bluer than originally. Stay cooler than gel-based color correction. Ideal for camera-mounted lights and SUNGUNS.

In a narrative film, the world of the film's story. It includes events that are presumed to have occurred and actions and spaces not shown onscreen.

The dominant style of documentary in the U.S. since the early 60's. Like cinéma vérité, it depends on lightweight, mobile equipment, but unlike it, it does not permit the filmmaker to become involved in the action, and, in fact, is noted for its avoidance of narration.

(aka CAPTURE) Digitizing refers the process of importing analog or digital audio and video information from a camera or deck into the digital domain of an editing computer.

An editorial technique in both film and video post-production in which two scenes gradually blend until the original shot is replaced completely by the second shot. This might take a fraction of a second up to several seconds. One shot is literally fading away while the other fades up.

Director of Photography. On a smaller-scale video shoot the D.P. directs the lighting as well as act as lead camera operator as well.

Short for SONY's Digital Betacam format (trademark), a superior digital format.

Uses the CCIR 601 standard to record 4:2:2 component video in compressed form on ½" tape.

A film term that refers to sound and picture as two separate elements, recorded, edited or projected in sync. 16mm and 35mm use the double system format. A camera photographs the picture and a tape recorder records the sound. In the end, the final print is Single System, combining sound and picture onto the same piece of print stock. Videotape is inherently single system, recording audio and video on the same tape in sync.

The process which changes the number of pixels and/or frame rate and/or scanning format used to represent an image by removing pixels. Down converting is done from high definition (HDTV) to standard definition. See UPCONVERT, HDTV.

A momentary partial or complete loss of picture and/or sound caused by such things as dust, dirt on the videotape or heads, crumpled videotape or flaws in the oxide layer of magnetic tape. Uncompensated dropout produces white or black streaks in the picture.

A type of SMPTE time code designed to exactly match "real time" or normal clock time. To accomplish this, two frames of time code are dropped every minute, on the minute, except every tenth minute. This corrects for the fact that video frames occur at a rate of 29.97 per second, rather than an exact 30 frames per second (see Non-Drop Frame). This time code system is used in television to insure that broadcast times coincide with real time. In one hour of video using drop frame time code, the numeric count of 108 complete frames (three seconds and 18 frames) are skipped. None of the actual frames of video material are deleted. Only the counting of the frames is altered because of minutely slowed frame rate (29.97 compared to 30).

Duplicate copy of a videotape. Also called a dupe.


Used to remove glare from the tops of people's heads. That's a joke. Used to take the shine off of objects and surfaces on the set.

To "dump out to tape" usually means making a "hard-copy" of a video that resides as a work-in-progress on a nonlinear computer edit system.

A composition with the camera viewing the scene at a diagonal. Same as a canted or oblique angle. Can be shot off a cameraman's shoulder as well. Also called simply DUTCH. Also a special tripod head known as a dutch head.

Arcing motion of the camera from side to side. Off the shoulder of a camera operator or using a dutch head on a tripod. Takes on a totally different slant in the Netherlands.

A Digital Video tape and compression format for consumer and professional video equipment using mini-DV, DVCAM and DVCPRO formats. DV format video and audio can be captured using a FireWire / IEEE 1394 interface and then imported and edited in a non-linear computer video editor. The compression ratio is 5:1.

Digital Video Effects. Special effects which employ digital signal processing to create two or three dimensional wipe and motion effects. These effects typically expand and shrink the video frame and alter the image in ways that can be both "cool" and "cheesy".

A professional grade of videotape using the DV compression format. The track pitch or azimuth (depth of recording contact from video head) is greater than regular DV and it runs 33% faster through the machine. This results in less frequency of drop outs in the recording. A Sony trademark.

Panasonic's answer to the professional DV format. Akin and somewhat compatible with DVCAM.

Panasonic tape format and recording system. DVCPRO 50 cameras and decks are the pricier side compared to DVCPRO or DVCAM. Compression ratio is 3.3 to 1.

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Edit Decision List. A computer generated list containing information about a specific program, the SMPTE timecodes and options chosen during production. It is used to inform an editing system of all the parameters involved in the creation of that program. An EDL is generally used to assemble a program in a traditional video editing suite.

ELEMENTVideotape, asset (or similar media) held in a video library or used during an edit session. See ASSET.

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A rating directly related to a camera's ability to allow for the admittance of light. In a camera lens, the f/stop is an equation that compares the size of the hole in the lens that lets the light in with the length of the lens. The f/stop number is the bottom, or denominator of the fraction. When the lens is set to f2, the hole in the lens is 1/2 as big as the lens is long. When the lens is set to f8, the hole in the lens is 1/8th as big as the lens is long, and so on. F/stops often apply to scrims used in the film and video industries on their ability to dim light.

Fast motion.

You'll look hard to find this term defined elsewhere. A feeder deck is a videotape deck in a non-linear edit suite for the purpose of digitizing or capturing media for editing and compositing. Could be Betacam-SP, DVCAM or Digital Betacam.

Supplementary illumination, usually from a floodlight or bounce card positioned midway between camera and subject, which lightens or eliminates shadows created by key light. [See back light, key light, three-point lighting.]

Verb transitive. To shoot film in a film camera. Not to be confused with TAPE. As in to shoot tape in a videotape camera. Both are technically possible to do on a corporate video production. One requires completely a completely different camera, stock and processing and transferring and costs about 25% more to produce.

Microphone boom pole used for sound recording.

Or FCP. Apple's trademark for their popular NLE which works well configured for both DV and uncompressed video.

A digital data interface capable of transfer speeds up to 400 Mbs. It works well for multimedia peripherals such as DV (Digital Video) devices and other high-speed devices like the latest hard disk drives, CD/DVD burners and printers. Also known as IEEE 1394.

A large black flat rectangular-shaped, often cloth covered item used for casting shadows and controlling light on a video shoot.

An expensive, real-time high performance visual effects system. FLAME offers artists one of the most comprehensive toolsets for visual effects design available today. Everything from state-of-the-art keying, tracking and color correction tools to one of the most sophisticated 3D compositing environments ever designed. Not used in your 'average' corporate video.

To suspend a lighting instrument or other object overhead.

On a film shoot, the British equivalent of a First Assistant Cameraman in the U.S.

The art of recreating incidental sound effects (such as footsteps, thuds and rustles) in synchronization with the visual component of a movie or video production. Named after an early practitioner.

Video or film footage which is not specifically shot for use in particular edited work. Found footage, whether combined from bizarre sources for an abstract film or as montage of individually culled images for an industrial film, is a useful creative tool and idea generator. How can these pieces be synthesized into a whole?

A small black metal flag attached to the camera with a positionable arm that is used to shade the lens from light in the case of a lens flare.

(pronounced freh-NELL) Fresnel Light - a focusable spotlight used in film, television, and theater lighting, which can be adjusted via a knob on the back of the light from "spot" for a narrowly focused beam, to "flood" for a wider beam. Called a Fresnel because it features a Fresnel Lens, a glass lens with concentric ripples that is visible on the front of the light, casting soft, even illumination across the light's beam. Named for its inventor, French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel (1788-1827), who designed the Fresnel Lens to efficiently project beams of light from lighthouses.

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The technician responsible for placing, rigging and adjusting lights.

Cloth tape specifically for use on film and video shoots, usually 2 inches wide in black or silver. The nice thing about gaffer's tape is that, unlike duct tape, it is designed not to leave a sticky residue behind.

A display setting related to the brightness of the middle tones of an image. You can adjust the gamma of an image to lighten or darken the midtones (the middle-gray levels), without significantly changing the dark and light areas (the shadows and highlights).

Video gain. As defined here, the control on a video camera that allows the user to alter the amplitude of the video picture signal. Results in increased range of picture contrast and brightness. In low light or available light situations, the gain setting on the camera can be increased (to +6 or +9 db). The tradeoff is a small increase in noise in the picture.

Originally a computer term describing the fact that the output data is only as good as the input data, it means basically the same as a video term. The output video and audio quality can only be as good as the source video and audio quality. There only so many things you can do to clean up an image.

A mask used in a keying operation to remove a region of a frame that contains unwanted objects.

Blur filters locate significant color transitions in an image, then create intermediary colors to soften the edges. The Gaussian blur is one kind of blur filter that uses a mathematical formula to create the effect of looking through an out-of-focus lens. Gaussian is a mathematical term named after legendary German mathematician, astronomer and physicist Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (sounds like "house"). See also DEGAUSS.

Thin colored sheets of plastic used to filter photographic lights, or to cover a window. Available in small sheets or large rolls, gels are used either for color correction (e.g. between tungsten and sunlight) or to create moods with either deep "theatrical" or less saturated colors. See WINDOW GEL, COLOR CORRECTION.

A concern when editing or copying one analog videotape to another. Most apparent in less expensive video formats. Theoretically absent from digital video editing. However, constant encoding and decoding of digital signals can have there own deleterious effects.

A system whereby the internal sync generator in a device, such as a camera, locks onto and synchronizes itself with a separate incoming signal.

Panel of opaque material on a footed stand with an adjustable arm. Used to confine the area a light illuminates, or to keep light from shining directly into the camera lens. A flag is sometimes called a "gobo," particularly when it is used to protect the lens from direct light. Any opaque unit used to eliminate light from a particular area; a "go-between". Also defined as a metal cutout that projects an image as in COOKIE. A GOBO ARM holds a gobo in place.

Crew member who carries, sets up and strikes equipment. Also hangs lights, pushes dollies, hefts (nice word for schlep) cases and handles reflectors.

Short for gradient. Gradual change or continuous shift from one color or shade to another. This term is equally useful for describing an effect used in photographic lighting effects as it is in the creation of textures in computer graphics. Also a filter placed in front of a lens to create gradient effects.

A specially colored backdrop that can be matched with a color key and made transparent so that it can be replaced with another video layer. In post-production, the editor "keys out" green, replacing with any other video source at the discretion of the video producer. Can be blue as well (see BLUE SCREEN.)

(also Magic Hour) On a clear day, the window of time (30min or so) in the early morning and late afternoon. when the sunlight has a characteristic warm glow.

As the sun sinks into the west, the size of the sun appears to increase and the color of the light changes as the light travels through more of the atmosphere.

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Immediate recording of all audio and video tracks on a magnetic recorder. A hard record is performed on blank tape when an edit is not required.

Ready-wired; without connectors. Hard wired components are sometimes clumsy or indicate cheap or inferior equipment. "Instead of a separate microphone and mic cable, the microphone had a hard-wired cable."

Compositional space left above a person's head.

8"x10" publicity photo of the face, possibly including head and shoulders used by models and actors, usually black & white/glossy. A resume is usually attached or printed to the back. An 8"x10" glossy.

High Definition Television. The generally agreed upon definition of HDTV is approximately twice the vertical and horizontal picture resolution of today's NTSC TV, which essentially makes the picture twice as sharp. HDTV also has a panoramic rectangular screen ratio of 16:9 as compared today's TV standard def 4:3 screens. HDTV offers 5.1 independent channels of CD-quality stereo surround sound, (also referred to as AC-3). Some forms of HDTV use a "progressive" scan to produce a flicker-free image, making text easier to read and fast-motion video appear smoother than televisions that use interlaced scanning (720p). The interlaced form is known as 1080i.

A short, low tripod that holds the tripod head and camera in position.

Discharge lamps which have a daylight color balance (5600 K). (alt HMI) A mercury, metal-halide, iodide lamp with a multiline spectrum housing The metal portion of a fixture that covers the light source, socket, and reflector.

Cannot find a corroborating definition anywhere. Verb. To hold an object like a flag in place without using a clamp and a stand. Usually held in place by a member of the crew such as a grip.

1. When one part of a sound mix is too loud compared to the others in the mix. Therefore "loud" is not an accurate description of this phenomena as the playback volume can vary and therefore is a purely relative matter. "Hot" in this instance does not mean overmodulated or distorted.

2. When a video camera picks up portions of the image that are to bright and result in a "burn" or "hotspot". Often an interview subject will need dulling spray or touch ups from the makeup artist due to glare or perspiration that read on the camera as being too "hot."

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An I-frame is encoded as a single image, with no reference to any past or future frames. Often video editing programs can only cut MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 encoded video on an I frame since B frames and P frames depend on other frames for encoding information. Please don't ask what B and P frames are.

Image magnification. Enlarged live image screens of speakers at meetings and similar events. (Speaker indicated here as a person, not 'loudspeaker.')

Industrial film or video. For image or public relations. CORPORATE VIDEO.

A small fresnel spotlight with a 1.5" to 3" lens diameter, usually 100-250 watts.

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The visible "steps" of diagonal lines or edges in a digital image. Also referred to as "aliasing", these steps are simply a consequence of the regular, square layout of a pixel.

Process of synchronizing a secondary time code generator with a selected master time code, e.g., using the time code generated by one camera to insert the identical time code on a second camera.

Remotely-operated, crane-like camera mount which can typically move a camera from floor or ground level to a height of 10 or more feet.

Unnatural, abrupt switch from and to shots identical in subject but slightly different in screen location. Awkward progression makes subject appear to jump from one screen location to another. Remedied with the cutaway. On the other hand ,jump cuts when introduced deliberately jump cuts can add an interesting rhythm and drama to a piece.

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1. (usually vt) To specify a region of an image or video clip to be used as a mask for transparency. Used to make part of the scene transparent or semitransparent, and then composite it with other superimposed images or video tracks. The region can be specified using features such as color (a color key) or intensity, or with a separate alpha mask or image matte.

2. In television and motion picture photography, the main light illuminating subject. In aesthetic photographic terms there is a proper position for the key in a video interview that is most flattering to the subject.

A low-angle side-backlight or rim light used add light to the side of the face. Often times reflected off a white bounce card.

Trademark for cool, energy efficient lighting instruments comprised of a bank of fluorescent bulbs producing soft light similar to what you'd find when sunshine reflects off a white wall. The ballasts are quiet and the light flicker free. Unlike standard lamps, they don't create a greenish cast on film or video, and they operate at a temperature and heat well below tungsten units.

Type of compression control in camera circuits and other electronics.

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Another name for SPLIT EDIT.

Small, easily concealed microphone, typically attached to clothing in an interview setting.

A commonly used term for an ellipsoidal spotlight, giving the ability to create patterns and define a hard edge to the light. Named after its inventors Levy and Kook, the names Leko and Lekolight are trademarked by Strand Lighting Co.

1. Caused by one or more lens elements acting as a source of light, or by reflection or refraction of light from parts inside the lens. It is the result of light entering pointing the camera lens directly. May be deliberate for a photographic effect, but usually an unwanted by-product of the positioning of the backlight. A flare hood or french flag positioned just above the end of the lens can usually block the stray light entering the lens and cancel out the lens flare.

2. Lens flare also refers to a digital simulation in computer editing that generates a representation of a lens flare that dynamically grows and disappears within a transition between two consecutive shots.

1. A technique used to display a widescreen video image (with a 16:9 aspect ratio) on a standard television display (with a 4:3 aspect ratio). The widescreen image fills the width of the screen, with an absence of image in the form of horizontal black bars above and below the rectangular picture.

2. A stylistic choice in video production to shoot the main images within a letterbox mask for a heightened panoramic effect (or simply crop them in post.)

Some say the term 'letterbox' derives from the shape letter envelope, but this is not correct. The term "letterbox" came to be used to describe movies formatted this way because the viewer had the impression she was looking through a horizontal mail slot. (see ASPECT RATIO and PAN AND SCAN)

Analog, electronic tape-based editing. Called linear because scenes are laid in a line along the tape. Has many disadvantages, such as the need to rewind and fast forward and the inability to insert footage without re-recording everything that follows. Compare with nonlinear editing.


Any compression scheme, especially for audio and video data, that removes some of the original information in order to significantly reduce the size of the compressed data. Lossy image and audio compression schemes such as JPEG and MP3 try to eliminate information in subtle ways so that the change is barely perceptible, and sound or video quality is not seriously degraded. (See COMPRESSION.)

Term used to denote placement of text person's name and title (on the lower third of screen, below their face). ID. Super. Key.

A general term for a complete lighting unit. It includes the housing, the reflector, lens and lamps. A lighting instrument used on a film or video shoot.

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Trademark for high-quality rugged aluminum handtruck with pneumatic tires. Used heavily in video production for carting equipment in and out of remote locations.

A one of a kind, original audio or videotape. There are camera masters, edit masters, and protection masters. However, the most correct use of master is the resulting product of working with other elements.

Shot that shows most or all of the scene and most or all of the characters.

Trademark for a popular brand of non-linear editor.

(pronounced "mE-"zä n -'sen, -'sAn) A French term with roots in the theater. It means, literally, "put in the scene." For film, it has a broader meaning, and refers to almost everything that goes into the composition of the shot, including the composition itself: framing, movement of the camera and characters, lighting, set design and general visual environment. Mise-en-scène can be defined as the articulation of cinematic space.. Cutting is about time; the shot is about what occurs in a defined area of space, bordered by the frame of the movie screen and determined by what the camera has been made to record.

Sound mix. This is the process of combining all your soundtracks into one, at their correct volumes, together with any equalization, filtering, and effecting of the sound to give you a desired end result.

1. A synonym for editing.

2. Dynamic cutting - a highly stylized form of editing, often with the purpose of providing a lot of information in a short period of time.

3. A stylized sequence of film or video images.

4. An approach to editing developed by the Soviet filmmakers of the 1920s, notably Sergei Eisenstein. Soviet Montage emphasizes dynamic, often discontinuous, relationships between shots. It also emphasizes 'intellectual montage', the juxtaposition of a series of images to create an abstract idea not suggested by any one image.

A process in which two image sequences are warped so that key features align as closely as possible and then a selective dissolve is applied to transition from the first sequence to the second. The result should be a seamless transformation between the two sequences.

To shoot without sound. The expression M.O.S. derives from an old Hollywood story about a German director asking for a shot to be filmed "mit out sound." The camera assistant complying with this request wrote "M.O.S." on the slate.

A method of using computer-controlled mechanisms to drive an object's movement so that it is continuously repeatable. Motion Control Camera. Also RIG.

The justification given in film for the presence of an element.

Moving Picture Experts Group. A standard for compressing moving pictures.

MPEG-1 uses a data rate of 1.2 Mbps (Mega Bits per Second), the speed of a CD-ROM. MPEG-2 supports much higher quality with a data rate (also called bit rate) of from 2 to 10 Mpbs. MPEG-2 is the format most favored for video on demand and DVD.

A plain-woven cotton fabric used principally as a hung backdrop in the theater, film, video and photography industries. Can be painted or mottled in different colors, shades and textures.

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1. A filter that absorbs light passing through the camera lens, enabling the camera operator to open his lens wider, reducing depth of field, effectively throwing the background out of focus.

2. Neutral density gels are cut applied to full windows to reduce light in varying degrees. Full sunlight through windows can present serious challenges to achieving proper lighting ratios, esp. in video where the contrast ratio is 30:1. N3 gel will cut by one f/stop (or stop), N6 by two stops, N9 by three stops (see COLOR CORRECTION or WINDOW GEL.)

Non-Linear Editing System.

Natural Sound. In a video script or edited program of a documentary nature (or even a nature documentary!), NAT SOUND indicates sound bridges that might include actual real captured dialogue of an event. It could be chatter at a meeting table, or a couple of office employees discussing the price of gasoline or some actual derivative sound effect source. One might also think of NAT SOUND as usable audio associated with a piece of b-roll footage.

"Native code" or "to run native." To run in native mode, rather than in emulation mode. An original, pristine form. 'Native code' is computer programming (code) that is compiled to run with a particular processor and its set of instructions. If the same program is run on a computer with a different processor, software can be provided so that the computer emulates the original processor, almost certainly more slowly than in native mode on the original processor.

A synchronization license for a specific use of library music (aka production music) within a given video or audio production. Library music was originally delivered on vinyl. The term came from dropping a needle onto the record to incorporate the track into a production Has been modernized by some to "laserdrop". Licensers are quite emphatic that any edit of a piece of their music constitutes a second drop.

A translucent flag made of hexagonal weave fabric for cutting the intensity of light in video film or theatrical lighting applications. Also a scrim.

To place a piece of stocking (such as Fogal) behind the lens of a film or video camera to create a softer, lower contrast image which creates a secondary halation effect (causes highlights to glow.) Netting behind the lens is very forgiving of hotspots and bright window light with video camera equipment.

A type of SMPTE time code that continuously counts a full 30 frames per second. The actual time-base of NTSC video is 29.97fps making an allowance for the room that the COLOR SUBCARRIER takes up in the video signal. As a result, non-drop-frame time code does not exactly match real time or clock time. See also DROP-FRAME.

A digital computer editing system that uses a software interface and digitized audio and video stored on a hard drive which allows for random access, non-linearity, and non-destructive editing. Incredibly versatile and powerful method of editing compared to LINEAR EDITING.

Short for National Television System Committee. The NTSC is responsible for setting television and video standards in the United States (in Europe and the rest of the world, the dominant television standards are PAL and SECAM). The color television system in use in the United States was adopted in 1953, and because the U.S. was the first to widely implement color television, we have the oldest (though not necessarily the best) color television standard in the world. Considering the era in which it was devised, the system represents nothing short of genius on the part of its designers. The NTSC standard for television defines a composite video signal with a refresh rate of sixty interlaced fields or thirty frames per second. Each frame contains 525 lines and can contain 16 million different colors. Kiddingly referred to as Never Twice Same Color.

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In modern non-linear editing systems, offline refers to when no disk file exists for a reference to a clip in a program, the file is said to be 'off line', and would need to reimported for use.

Editing that is done using inexpensive, non-broadcast-quality equipment to produce an Edit Decision List (EDL) which will be used later for assembling a broadcast quality program using more expensive, high quality equipment (on-line.) All creative decisions on picture and music track, are made during the offline edit process. Offline/online options have evolved over the years creating more choices for producers (see ONLINE EDITING).

The final technical editing process which uses the original camera tapes to repeat all decisions made in the offline editing process. Online editing uses a more sophisticated and expensive editing system capable of the best possible video. In the 1980's and the early 1990's, offline and online editing options involved largely linear, tape-based methods of finishing. Today, offline and online decisions mostly pertain to the domain of computer-powered NLEs. Sometimes the lines get blurred. It often makes sense to start and finish on the same system which defies offline/online distinctions. (See OFFLINE EDITING)

Literally: a motion picture abandoned by its owner or caretaker. More generally, the term refers to all manner of films outside of the commercial mainstream: public domain materials, home movies, outtakes, unreleased films, industrial and educational movies, independent documentaries, newsreels, underground works, experimental pieces, silent-era productions, stock footage, found footage, medical films, kinescopes, amateur productions, government films, advertisements, sponsored films, student works, and sundry other ephemeral pieces of celluloid.

Video images generally exceed the size of the physical screen. The edges of the picture may or may not be displayed, to allow for variations in television sets. The extra area is called the overscan area. Professional monitors are capable of displaying the entire video image (underscan.) See underscan.

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Production Assistant. Lowest paid member of the crew usually handling the most menial tasks while smiling the entire time.

An acronym for Phase Alternate by Line, a television standard used in most of Europe and Asia, with a frame rate of 25fps and 625 horizontal scan lines, resulting in somewhat higher quality video than NTSC.

A technique used to crop a widescreen film (with a 16:9 aspect ratio) to store and display it at standard 4:3 aspect ratio. Instead of just cutting off the two sides of the widescreen image, an operator pans a 4:3 window within the full widescreen frame in order to show the most important speaker or action. It is very typical for a two person shot in a movie to become a series of one shots "panning" or cutting between the people. Also PAN/SCAN. See also ASPECT RATIO, LETTERBOX.

A list of edits made entirely on paper by viewing window dubs of the original camera tapes or by cutting up paper (or electronic) transcripts.

By Adobe Systems. Undoubtedly the most popular graphics editing software in the world. Photoshop is used widely in the desktop publishing and graphics design industry as well as the web authoring profession. It is widely popular in the creation of graphics for video, as well, and it works hand in hand with Adobe's AFTER EFFECTS program in the creation of sophisticated 2D animation.

Resume a take from a specific point other than the beginning of the take. Pick up from where you leave off.

A heavy round disc with a lighting stud, used to position a light on the floor, much lower than a stand will go. Basically, it is a Hi-Hat for lights. See HI HAT.

Pro Tools is a software package for professional sound and digital audio editing,
first created under the name Sound Tools by Digidesign, now a division of Avid. It is widely used in the post production, music, and radio industries.

A license, as in for production music, that allows for multiple cuts of music to be used allows for a certain length or running time on a particular type media for a given maximum distribution for a set fee.

In an edit, something that serves as a substitute for another piece of media that is not ready to put in the show yet, such as a graphic or animation, a scratch track VO or anything else that helps to approximate the finished timing and stylistic nature of the show.

Point Of View. A POV shot is subjective shot from the actor's point of view. The camera becomes the center of the action and we are now looking through eyes of the subject, not simply a spectator on the periphery. Also called subjective camera.

The complete editing/finishing process in the recording industry, film or video.

A light, e.g. table lamp, that can be effectively switched on and off by an actor within a scene.


Processing amplifier that changes the video chroma and luminance signals feed through it. Also provides stable horizontal and vertical sync pulses.

Instead of splitting each video frame into two sequential fields like interlaced scan, progressive scan displays the entire frame in a single sweep. Progressive-scan picture quality is more film-like, with more fine detail and less flicker. Most computer monitors and some high-resolution TV sets display use progressive scanning. A progressive scan system displays the entire image once every sixtieth of a second, defining a true frame rate of sixty frames per second. Progressive-scan viewing requires a compatible digital TV ("HDTV-ready" or full HDTV), not available on all DVD players.

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Software from Apple Computer, Inc. that enables the storage, editing, and playback of digitized video and audio media on a computer.

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Shifting focus during a shot in progress, typically between background and foreground subjects.

The area of a TV picture tube that is scanned by the electron beam. Also the active area of visual display on a TV, monitor or any cathode ray tube (CRT).

A shot that cuts away from the main scene or speaker in order to show a character's reaction to it.

Computation or processing done in the present to control physical events occurring in the present. For example, when a digital effects system operator moves a joystick and the video image on the monitor appears to move simultaneously, the computations required to make the images move are said to have occurred in real time.

Common term used interchangeably with video cassette. In the case of "demo reel", one may be referring to a brief show that demonstrates someone's capabilities. In recent years, may not be a physical reel or cassette, but a short demo packaged as a computer file or DVD.

(Or Model Release) Agreement to be signed by anyone appearing in a video work, protecting principals of production from right of privacy lawsuit. Specifies event, date, compensation provisions, and rights being waived.


A recording of the "silence" of a room or any location, to be used to fill in gaps when editing the sound. The silence of a location is really not very silent at all, and the room tone of one location is not a substitute for another, so a sync sound shoot will usually end with the sound recordist asking everyone to be quiet for the recording of 30 seconds of room tone, with talent and microphones in place..

A quick assembly of raw clips to approximate the desired final program. As a first step in editing, arranging a collection of clips in the desired order as a storyboard of the production.

Sounds awfully politically incorrect these days, doesn't it? This colorful term describes a small video or news crew moving swiftly through time and space to capture that which is necessary for the story usually without a tripod and with very little other equipment or lights to slow them down. Sometimes just camera and sound, or camera and producer.

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A video signal that transmits luminance and chrominance information separately. Because the luma and chroma are separate, S-Video provides higher quality than composite video. Also called Y/C.

A Satellite Media Tour involves several interviews, generally on TV but sometimes in other media, in which a spokesperson in one location is interviewed live via satellite by selected broadcasters elsewhere.

Literal translation: dirt. Objectionable unwanted noise, junk, sloppiness in video image.

A little bit. Something in a small proportion.

Temporary voice-over or narration track usually recorded by the producer that serves as a substitute for the real thing. This allows for editorial wording changes to the script and earnest editing of large segments of the show without having the voice-over person have to come back for changes as the show is tweaked. Since voice-over people are usually paid each time they return to the studio for "pick ups", this can translate into a savings for the overall production.

The consistent pattern of movement from angle to angle: left to right or right to left.

Rolls of seamless paper available in different colors, used as a background in video, film and photography. Usually comes in widths of 53" or 107". Usually 36 feet long.

Sequential Couleur A'memorie. The video standard used in some European and surrounding countries, notably France. In countries using the SECAM standard, most video production is done using PAL and converted to SECAM prior to transmission. (See NTSC and PAL)

Transition from scene in a video program or film to the next. It maybe a written technique or an editorial effect.


Energy from a voice centered around 7 kHz caused by pronouncing "s", "sh" or "ch" sounds.

A scrim with one layer of scrim mesh material, effectively knocking down the light intensity by one half f-stop.

Slow-motion effect. Usually achieved by slowing down a tape machine or over-cranking a film camera. Also a staple technique of a non-linear editing system.

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. (Pronounced semp-tee).

Referring - to audio-video synchronization (lip-sync). If dialog appears not to be completely in natural sync, it is said to be "soft."

A large opaque flag, often mounted on a C-Stand.

Pronounced 'sot'. Rhymes with 'dot'. "Sound on Tape" As indicated in a video script apart from narration and editorial notes or directions, SOTs are SOUND BITES and NAT SOUND segments.

A segment from a "captured live" spoken interview or speech on audio or video. Could be three seconds long. Could be a minute long. Usually an element of a video script or video program along with other soundtrack elements: narration, music and sound effects.

A thick blanket used to help prevent sound reflections. Can be suspended, draped over furniture, or spread over the floor.

Photographic lighting of the quality and characteristics of what would appear to be the implied, natural source of light in a scene.. Can mean the opposite as well: to indicate an undesirable quality of light which makes an artificial source of light TOO obviously artificial.

What the tape operator or sound recordist will call out to acknowledge that they are rolling. It comes from the days when it took a few seconds for certain equipment to reach proper speed.

To adjust the video and audio portions of a clip separately so that they start or end at different times. Recognizable technique when used like this: You're watching a scene in which a narrator is talking over the action. Then before the picture cuts, you hear someone new speak but you don't see them. After a few seconds we cut (visual) to the new speaker. The split edit effectively delayed the video from the audio. It can also work in reverse. Also known as L-CUT.

Pre-designing and timing the sound effects and music track for a film video program.

Steadicam is a device used to produce smooth camera moves without the use of a dolly. The Steadicam operator wears a harness which holds the camera on a large spring-loaded arm. Trademark of Cinema Products Corp.

Another word for tripod.

The emphatic point at the end of a music selection that signals the climax and ending of the piece. More accurate than referring to the "end" of the piece, which may not have a climax built into it.

Video or news crews that are contracted by the day in remote locations. The term "stringer" refers to freelance newspaper writers at a time when they were paid not on a per-story basis, but by column inches, one newspaper column wide. Stringers kept track of the number of column inches they accumulated between pay periods, and invoiced based on the total column inches times the per-inch pay rate, measuring their work with a piece of string. When it came time to send in an invoice, many stringers just sent in the string--which provides a likely origin for the term "stringer." (story credited to Michael A. Banks.)

A video technique that freezes an image, releasing it several frames later, in a repeating cycle creating a zoetropic, flickery effect. . Also called a "stutter frame." See ZOETROPE.

A battery-powered light usually powered from a battery belt. Used in RUN & GUN situations when a small amount of extra illumination is required and no time or place to plug in lights.

1. (n or vt.) Super-impose. In video production or post-production: to place a graphic, text or other image "over" the main image or background layer, using a production switcher or NLE system. A type of "keying" effect.

2. (adj) Really swell.

Extremely rapid camera movement from left to right or right to left, appearing as image blur. Used for artistic, transitional or temporal effect.

An electronic device which permits video signal mixing from two or more sources - cameras, time base correctors, character generators -- for dissolves, wipes, and other clean transition effects.

1. (Synchronization) Horizontal and vertical timing signals or electronic pulses -- component of the composite video signal, supplied separately in RGB systems. Aligns video origination (live camera, videotape) and reproduction (monitor or receiver) sources.

2. Lip-Sync. Lose sync. Out of sync. Referring to the synchronization of the picture to the voice or soundtrack.

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Refers to speaker, spokesperson or interview subject on camera who might look like a head atop a body; a "talking" head.

1. What Arnold does.

2. In order for a video signal to be correctly transmitted without loss, proper end of line impedance is essential. A 50 or 75 ohm resistor is usually employed to accomplish this. Unterminated video signals may be looped to the next device where the signal can be transmitted in parallel. The final device in the chain must be terminated often with the aid of a termination switch.

A signal lamp or LED installed on a video camera which informs on-camera talent and crew members that the camera is currently live.

Time Base Corrector. A device used to rectify any problems with a video signal's sync pulses by generating a new clean time base and synchronizing* any other incoming video to this reference.

(Correctly pronounced "tell-uh-sinny" NOT "tell-uh-sign".)

A device used to convert film to video. Cinematic movie film is shot at 24 progressive frames per second speed. . NTSC video is a "field-based" format of 59.94 fields per second. A Field is the smallest unit in interlaced video format. 2 fields make up 1 frame. So, this 59.94 fields per second equals 29.97 frames per second. 1 second in FILM (24 frames) is NOT equal to 1 second in NTSC Video (29.97 frames). To be able to match the speed of an NTSC Video, conversion from a FILM format to an NTSC Video format undergoes a process called 3:2 pulldown. This process, in simplest terms, means to add 6 frames so that a 24 fps becomes 30fps which is close to 29.97 fps (another trick is used to get to 29.97). The most popular type of TELECINE is a flying spot scanner.

A device for displaying large, readable text on a partially transparent screen for video production. The tele-prompter uses a monitor, or flat panel video display, mounted under the camera lens, facing up, and a mirrored glass which reflects the monitor's image toward the talent. This way the talent can look directly into the camera lens as they read the script from the glass.

Any reference to the exact or projected length of time a program or program segment should run. In broadcast television, this is not a concept to be taken lightly.

A timing/ID/synchronization code usually laid down during recording on videotape to give each frame a unique number and to ensure exact, repeatable transitions during editing, as well as accurate recapturing of video media beyond original edit Also known as SMPTE (semp-tee) time code.

A boundary within the video frame. Generally, the center 80% of the entire video image area. The area which will legibly display titles without fear that titles will mesh up against edges of scanned video image.

1.Short for soundtrack.

2. Referring to one of many separate pieces of video or audio in a non-linear video edit.

Usually a synopsis in present tense, short story form of a screenplay summarizing dialogue and describing only what an audience would see and hear. Can also be a puff piece designed to sell the script rather than give comprehensive information about content. In corporate video applications, a document that describes how a video story will be told, including the use of any special devices or techniques.

Digital conversion process that converts NTSC, PAL or SECAM from one broadcast standard or another. This is quite a technical feat when you consider it, as each process involves significant interpolation video & and information of both scan line rates, and field/frame rate. Only the video portion of the signal is converted (or digitally rescanned), not the audio.

A convention for determining the proper scan rate and field/frame rate of a particular broadcast TV video signal. Currently (and for a long time) NTSC has been the U.S. standard, as well as for Canada, Puerto Rico, countries in the Caribbean, Japan and several other countries on the Pacific Rim. PAL covers many European countries, the Middle East, South Africa, Hong Kong, and lots more. SECAM comes a few types and is predominantly in France, Russia, as well as parts of the Middle East and Africa. The standards have to be digitally converted amongst themselves to played on the equipment of the other. When converting and shipping tapes overseas, you should consult a standards list for the destination country first. DVDs are making this some what easier, but that story's not finished yet.

The name for a Mole Richardson 650 watt fresnel light, because it falls be'tween' a 1K (1000 watts) and an "inky" (200 watt fresnel).

See 1" TYPE C.

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Trade name for the ¾" inch width tape videocassette format originally developed in the mid-1970's by Sony.

Raw digitized video displayed or stored in its native size without applying a compression algorithm to reduce its size.

Scanning of an image to include the top, bottom, and side edges of the display. Underscan is common in computer displays. Overscan, scanning out side of the visible edges, thereby losing the edges of the picture, is normal in television monitors and home sets. See OVERSCAN.

The process which increases the number of pixels and/or frame rate and/or scanning format used to represent an image by interpolating existing pixels to create new ones at closer spacing. Despite its name the process does not increase the resolution of the image. Up converting is done from standard definition to high definition. See DOWN-CONVERT, HDTV.

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Vertical Interval Time Code pronounced vitSEE. Time-code recorded in the vertical blanking interval above the active picture area. Can be read from video tape in the "still" mode as well as video tapes without an longitudinal time-code (LTC) address track.

Video News Release. A press release in video form, attempting to pass for, or intended as a template for an actual TV news story. Made available by satellite to broadcast and cable news outlets, VNRs are public relations tools used largely by corporations hopeful to make an impression on consumers; e.g. to create awareness of new products. 90-second segments produced in broadcast news style. While there is no guarantee that VNRs will be rebroadcast at all in whole or part they have a better chance of being picked up and played in full in very small markets with small or non-existent news budgets. See B-ROLL PACKAGE.

Voice-over or narration track as an editing element or as part of a mixed soundtrack.

Or AUDIO TRANSCRIPT. A computer file or paper record of text transcribed from of a video interview. It is now possible to have time-coded transcripts that have updated time code numbers running down the left margin of the transcript. Transcripts are used to select interview sound bites "offline" for use in a video program.

1. A brief scene acted out between two or more players. It may be scripted or improvised. It may be spoken or completely physical/visual.

2. A darkened ring around an image, placed there intentionally for effect or occurring unintentionally. Sometimes seen through a camera lens when attaching other lens adapters.

Undesirable darkening at the corners of a picture, as if the viewer is peering through a telescope, due to improper matching of lens to camera.

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Wash Light. Light used to give a general illumination of the stage; quite often a specific color is used in a wash.

An oscilloscope designed especially for viewing the waveform of a video signal and synchronizing pulses.

A very quick camera lens zoom with zoom motor turned off. Used as a special effect.

(pref. def.) An automatic circuit that balances the red, blue and green guns in a video camera. White balancing a camera enables you to bring the colors in line for the existing lighting conditions which vary between the red and blue ends of the color temperature spectrum. See COLOR TEMPERATURE.

A copy of an original videotape with the eight-digit time code displayed in a rectangular area generally at the bottom of the screen. Used only as a viewing copy or edit reference.

Color Correction gels available in rolls that are cut with care to cover glass of windows to A) diminish the passage of light or B) to convert the color temperature of the sunlight from approx 5,500K to 3,200K tungsten. Gels that reduce light are called ND or neutral density (one stop =N3, two stops =N6, three stops =N9) . Gels that convert daylight to tungsten are called SUN 85 or 85. 85N3-6-9. (See ND, COLOR TEMPERATURE, COLOR CORRECTION, GEL).

Short for wireless microphone.

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A feature of professional video cameras, which places diagonal lines across any over-exposed parts of the picture in the viewfinder. These stripes will not show on the output/recorded picture, they are only there as a guide for the camera operator.

An optical toy, in which figures made to revolve on the inside of a cylinder, and viewed through slits in its circumference, appear like a single figure passing through a series of natural motions as if animated or mechanically moved.

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Written, edited and compiled by Chris Howe   Howe Productions   Copyright 2004 - 2010

website designed by Gigi Howe         copyright © 2004-2010         all rights reserved