Post Production Glossary

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#

  • 2-pop
    Following on from the Academy leader, a single frame with a number '2' on it will appear that has a short audio tone for its duration. This tone allows the film lab and sound editors to correctly synchronize the audio to picture.
  • 3:2 pulldown
    Film is shot at 24 fps and NTSC video is displayed at 29.97 fps. In order to convert film to video (for telecine or TV broadcasting for example), some frames will have to be repeated to prevent the footage from speeding up. The fields are repeated in a 3:2 pattern - field A three times, field B twice, field C three times, etc. Where there is an odd number of fields, the last field will merge with the first field of the next frame, blending them together.
  • 3-point edit
    A method used to insert a clip into a track by setting three edit points. This could be the in and out points of the source media and the in point of the position in the sequence at which to insert the clip. Alternatively, if you wish to fill a specific gap, it could be the in and out points of the desired clip length in the sequence and the in or out point of the start or end in the source media.
  • 4-point edit
    A method used to insert a clip into a track by setting the in and out points on both the source media and destination sequence. If the selected range of the source media does not match the selected range of the sequence, the clip's speed will be adjusted to fit exactly into the gap.

    See also 3-point editing.

  • 480i
    A video mode with a resolution of either 720x480 or 704x480 pixels. The 480 part refers to the number of horizontal lines and the i part refers to interlacing. This video mode is used in most standard definition televisions.
  • 480p
    A video mode with a resolution of either 640x480 or 854x480 pixels. The 480 part refers to the number of horizontal lines and the p refers to progressive scanning, the opposite of interlacing. It is often offered on high definition televisions but is not considered a high definition mode itself.
  • 4K
    A term used to describe video that has approximately 4000 horizontal pixels. The actual number will depend on the aspect ratio but common resolutions are 4096x3112, 4096x1714, 3996x2160, 3656x2664.
  • 720p
    A high definition video mode with a progressive scan resolution of 1280x720 pixels. Some cameras may shoot thin raster at 1280x720.
  • 1080i
    A high definition interlaced video mode consisting of 1080 horizontal lines. The most common resolution is 1920x1080 but some cameras shoot thin raster at 1440x1080.
  • 1080p
    A high definition progressive video mode consisting of 1080 horizontal lines. The most common resolution is 1920x1080 but some cameras shoot thin raster at 1440x1080.

A

  • Above The Line
    The creative members of a production such as director, writer, producer and actors.
  • Academy leader
    A countdown from 8 to 3 that allows the cinema projectionist to know when to turn on the lamp in order to catch the start of the movie. See also 2-pop.
  • Accent light
    A light positioned to emphasise a particular subject.
  • Action cut
    A cut that uses the motion of an on-screen person or object as a distraction to hide the cut and create a smooth transition.
  • Action safe area
    A region of the screen where elements are guaranteed to be visible. The action safe area is larger than the title safe area and runs right up to the edge of the viewable area. This is for compatibility with older CRT TVs that did not display the full area of the image.
  • ADR
    Automated Dialog Replacement. This process involves re-recording actors' dialog in a studio and syncing it up to their moving lips on screen as if it was recorded on-set. This is usually performed when dialog is recorded poorly or to change certain lines.
  • Aerial shot
    A high angle shot taken from crane, a high stationary position or a helicopter or airplane.
  • Alpha channel
    A channel in an image or movie clip that controls the opacity region.
  • Ambient light
    General, non-directional light in a scene.
  • Ambient noise
    Background noise specific to the shooting location. See also roomtone.
  • Analog
    A continuously varying signal, as opposed to digital where information is captured periodically in discrete samples. Due to its continuous nature, analog can be better at conveying small signal fluctuations where a digital signal with a low sample rate would miss them.
  • Anamorphic
    16:9 footage (widescreen) that has been stretched vertically in-camera or during the post production process that results in the widescreen image filling up the whole of a 16:9 screen. This is in contrast to non-anamorphic screen footage in which black lines appear at the top and bottom of the image (known as letterboxing).
  • Angle of View
    The viewable field covered by a lens, measured in degrees.
  • Animation
    The process of creating a progressively altering image that gives the appearance of continuous motion.
  • Answer print
    The first film print of the movie, combining picture and sound for the first time. It is intended for internal scrutiny and not for general release. Often color correction will need to be performed for the release print.
  • Anti-aliasing
    Process for smoothing jagged lines in an image. Can also mean a method of filtering out erroneous frequencies in an audio signal.
  • Aperture
    A variable opening in a camera lens to control the amount of light that hits the film or image sensor.
  • Apple box
    Strong wooden boxes capable of holding heavy weights and used by a grip department for supporting dolly tracks and other purposes.
  • Artifact
    Undesired data in an image as a result of digital processing. See also noise.
  • ASA
    See ISO.
  • Aspect ratio
    The ratio of image width to height. 4:3 refers to standard definition television, whereas 16:9 commonly refers to widescreen. It can also be expressed in decimal form such as 2.35:1.
  • Associate Producer
    Usually a person who liases between a production company and post production personnel.
  • Assemble edit
    A linear method of editing in which new clips are placed one after the other in order to assemble the edit. This is in contrast to non-linear editing in which you can assemble the clips in any order to achieve the same result.
  • Assistant editor
    An editor that handles the technical and logistical aspects of editing such as synchronizing sound to picture, cutting in temporary sound effects and music, and overseeing the creation of optical effects ("opticals") such as titles and fades.
  • ATSC
    A digital broadcast standard that replaced the older analog NTSC standard. The standard covers both standard and high-definition formats.
  • Attack
    The time taken for a sound or musical note to rise to peak amplitude.
  • Attenuate
    To reduce the strength of a signal.
  • Audible spectrum
    The spectrum of frequencies audible to human ears, ranging from 20-15,000 Hz.
  • Auto conform
    The process of automatically recreating the online edit from an EDL file created from the offline edit.
  • AVI
    Audio Video Interleaved. A common Windows movie file format developed by Microsoft. Rarely used on Macintosh systems.

B

  • Baby
    Generally used to refer to a 1K light.
  • Background Artist
    A person who paints background art for the rear of the set. See also matte artist.
  • Backlight
    A light mounted behind a subject to illuminate their hair and shoulders without affecting their front.
  • Barndoors
    Folding doors mounted to the front of a light to control the illumination intensity and direction.
  • Bed
    Background music used underneath narration.
  • Below the Line
    The technical production staff such as grips, electricians and script supervisors.
  • Best Boy
    Assistant to the Key Grip.
  • Best light
    A telecine transfer performed in one pass with one color correction setting applied to the whole reel, as opposed to precise scene-by-scene correction.
  • Betacam
    Analog video format using 1/2 inch tapes that is sometimes used for standard definition broadcasting and acquisition.
  • Betacam SP
    An advanced version of Betacam that allows for longer recording and an increased number of audio channels.
  • Bin
    Originally a storage bin for editorial film reels but now commonly used to refer to hierarchical folders for storing clips in an NLE.
  • Black and code
    Tapes that have been pre-recorded with blank data (a black screen and timecode) before they are used. Another word for striped stock.
  • Black wrap
    Black aluminum foil for wrapping lights and controlling spill.
  • Blocking
    Plotting the placement and movement of the actors, camera and microphone in a scene.
  • Blue screen
    A blue background that the subject stands in front of that will later be replaced with another background in post production. See also blue screen compositing and green screen.
  • Blue screen compositing
    The process of making all blue elements in an image transparent and placing a different background underneath.
  • Boom
    A telescopic arm used for mounting a camera or microphone.
  • Breakdown
    A pre-production process where each scene is isolated into its component elements such as props, costumes and actors.
  • Burnt-in timecode (BITC)
    Footage with timecode permanently displayed on the image ("burnt in"). This can be used during offline editing to correctly match shots for the online edit.
  • Bus
    An auxiliary audio track used for grouping several tracks together for processing. For example, a reverb effect could be added to a bus in order to apply the reverb to every track in the bus.

C

  • C-47
    A standard clothespin used to affix gels to barndoors.
  • C Stand
    A general purpose grip stand.
  • Call sheet
    A list of scenes to be shot on a particular day and the cast, crew members and equipment required.
  • Camera blocking
    Plotting the placement and movement of the camera within in a scene.
  • Candela
    A unit of light intensity equivalent to a single candle.
  • Canted frame
    An angled frame that is not parallel to the horizon. Another term for Dutch Angle.
  • Cel
    A single frame of an animation, normally drawn on transparent celluloid so that it can be composited into an image.
  • CGI
    Computer Generated Imagery. The process of generating and animating elements in a computer to be seamlessly composited into a scene as if the elements were present when it was shot.
  • Changeover cue
    A visible mark on a film release print to tell the projectionist to change the reel.
  • Channel
    One of several grayscale components used to make up a color image. RGB images are made up of red, green and blue channels, with an optional alpha channel for transparency. Some file formats support additional channels to contain extra information such as z-index data.
  • Chroma key
    A compositing process that allows a selected color in an image to be made transparent. Commonly used for green screen compositing.
  • Chrominance (chroma)
    A video signal used for carrying color information.
  • Chyron
    Text on the bottom of the screen that is used to describe the time, place or characters in the scene.
  • Cinch marks
    Scratches on a film roll that run parallel to its edge, commonly caused by improper film winding.
  • Cinemascope
    An anamorphic system used for filming widescreen movies in the 1950s and 60s.
  • Claymation
    The process of animating and filming characters built out of clay. Commonly used to create fantasy creatures before the advent of CGI.
  • Clip
    A short piece of video or audio that is usually part of a larger recording.
  • Clipped whites
    Peaks in the luminance signal that have been cut off at certain value to prevent them from exceeding the limits of the video system.
  • Closed caption
    Closed captions or subtitles allow a textual representation of a film to be displayed alongside it. Useful for the hearing impaired, foreign language films and people in noisy environments.
  • Coaxial cable
    An electromagnetically-shielded copper cable commonly used for video signal transmission.
  • Codec
    A piece of software designed to encode and/or decode video data into a form readable by a computer.
  • Color bars
    A test signal recorded onto the start of every tape or reel that is used to synchronize the color settings of the camera with those of the capture deck or output device.
  • Color grading
    The process of altering or enhancing the color of an image to seamlessly blend cuts together in a scene, remove unintended mistakes (e.g. overexposure of highlights) or for creative effect. Also known as color correction or color timing for film projects.
  • Color space
    A mathematical model of color. Color spaces differ in how they model color - for example, RGB creates color from mixtures of red green and blue and CMYK creates color from mixtures of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Broader models such as YRYBY incorporate other factors into their models in order to create more accurate models for the specific display or recording device.
  • Color timing
    See color grading.
  • Color temperature
    The hue of the color, with lower ("colder") values towards the blue end of the spectrum and higher ("warmer") values towards the red end. Measured in Kelvin (K).
  • Colorist
    A person that performs color grading.
  • Colorization
    The process of manually adding color to a black and white movie in post production.
  • Completion bond
    An insurance policy that guarantees a film will be completed and delivered with the agreed script, cast and budget.
  • Composite print
    A film print with both picture and sound on it.
  • Component signal
    An analog video signal with luminance, color and saturation values encoded separately, resulting in greater picture quality than composite signals.
  • Composite signal
    An analog video signal with the luminance, color and saturation values merged into one signal. Lower quality than component video.
  • Compositing
    The process of combining multiple elements shot separately (still images, movie clips, CGI) into a final image or sequence to give the impression they were all shot at the same time.
  • Compression
    The removal of redundant information from a file or video signal in order to reduce its file size or transmission rate.
  • Concept art
    An illustration with the aim of conveying a style, idea or mood before it is incorporated into the final product. Commonly used for period pieces in order to ascertain historical accuracy of costumes and locations.
  • Contingency
    Money set aside in a budget to cover unforeseen costs.
  • Continuity
    The process of maintaining the consistency of the plot, characters, time period, objects, places and events of the film in order to maintain the audience's suspension of disbelief.
  • Continuity Report
    A detailed list of occurrences during the shooting of a scene with the aim of tracking, and therefore compensating for, any changed elements that may affect continuity.
  • Contrast
    The difference between the lightest and darkest elements of an image.
  • Cookie
    See Cucoloris.
  • Coverage
    The process of shooting additional footage and camera angles to cover the action in the scene so that the editor has a greater range of choices when the film reaches the post production stage.
  • Cribbing
    Short pieces of lumber used for various grip purposes.
  • Cross-conversion
    The process of converting from one high definition video standard to another. The opposite of up- or down-conversion.
  • Cross dissolve
    A video transition that fades the end of the preceding clip into the beginning of the next.
  • Cross cut
    Cutting to another scene or set of events while an existing scene is taking place, to give the impression that they are both occurring at the same time.
  • Crossfade
    Lowering the volume of the preceding audio clip while raising the volume of the following clip at the same time, with the aim of easing abrupt transitions between the two.
  • Crosstalk
    A phenomenon where a signal in one audio channel causes noise in another.
  • Crushed blacks
    Reduced detail in the shadow areas of an image caused by under-exposing the image or compressing the lower section of the contrast range in grading.
  • Cucoloris
    A perforated material used to break up light or create a patterned shadow. Also known as a cookie.
  • Cue sheet
    A list of music used in a production for the purposes of obtaining usage rights.
  • Cut
    To switch from one shot to another angle or scene.
  • Cutaway
    Cutting to a shot of something other than the main focus of the scene. This can be used to hide an edit or give significance to a particular object or hand movement, for example.
  • Cyclorama
    A large colored background that is curved at the floor level to provide a seamless backdrop.

D

  • D1
    Uncompressed standard definition VTR format developed by Sony and operates at a resolution of 720x486 (NTSC) and 720x576 (PAL).
  • D2
    A lower cost alternative to D1, developed by Ampex. This format stores data as a single composite signal rather than a component signal in order to save bandwidth but compromising image quality at the same time.
  • D3
    A format developed by Panasonic and designed to compete with D2. Like D2, it features an uncompressed composite signal but it is lossless. It also uses smaller tapes than D2.
  • D4
    The D4 tape format was never developed because the number 4 is considered unlucky in Japan.
  • D5
    A tape format developed by Panasonic that uses the same 1/2 inch tapes as D3. It can record in both standard and high definitions. Standard definition footage is uncompressed but high definition footage is compressed at a 4:1 ratio.
  • Dailies
    Raw, unedited footage shot in principal photography. Also called rushes.
  • DAT
    Digital Audio Tape. A low cost tape-based audio recording medium.
  • DAW
    Digital Audio Workstation. A hardware and software combination for creating and working with digital audio.
  • dB (decibel)
    A unit of measurement for the intensity of a sound wave.
  • DCP
    Digital Cinema Package. A series of files used for digital cinema projection.
  • Deal memo
    A short contract that defines the terms of employment for a crew member.
  • Decay
    The time taken for a sound or musical note to go from peak amplitude (attack) to the sustain level.
  • Decode
    The process of reading data in one format and outputting it in another, usually for the purpose of converting from a compressed format to one capable of being displayed on a monitor. See also encode.
  • Dead spot
    A place where sound waves are cancelled by out-of-phase reflections, resulting in silence or poor audibility.
  • Deep focus
    A technique where wide-angle lenses are used with intense lighting and small lens apertures to maintain the focus of objects in both the foreground and background of the frame.
  • Depth of field
    The distance from the camera lens at which objects are in focus. This range varies based on the length of the lens or the zoom level.
  • Dialogue Editor
    A sound editor that focuses purely on dialogue. His job is to assemble, synchronize and edit the dialogue in a production, with the aim of producing the clearest dialogue possible for the sound editor to work with.
  • Dialogue track
    An audio track that carries diegetic speech.
  • Diegetic sound
    Music or sound effects that appear to eminate from the world of the movie. This is in contrast to the music score for example, which accompanies the movie but generally does not appear to come from within it.
  • Difference key
    A matte extraction technique that separates a subject from its background using pixel value differences between the two.
  • Dimmer
    A device for varying power to lights, allowing precise control of lighting intensity.
  • Digital Imaging Technician (DIT)
    A person that works with a digital cinematographer on technical aspects such as workflow and image manipulation to achieve the desired result.
  • Digital Intermediate
    The process of digitizing a film, manipulating the color and other characteristics and then re-outputting to film. It differs from the telecine process in that the final output is film, not tape.
  • Digitize
    The process of converting analog video formats into a digital form that can be used with a digital editing system.
  • Dissolve
    Merging of one shot into another by gradually decreasing the opacity of the first shot while raising that of the second.
  • DME
    Dialogue, Music and Effects. A file with dialogue, music and effects split into separate stems for foreign language dubbing or trailer editing.
  • Dolby 5.1
    Six channel (five speakers and one subwoofer for bass) digital surround sound system by Dolby.
  • Dolly
    A wheeled camera platform used for creating moving shots.
  • Doorway Dolly
    A basic dolly that is slim enough to fit through a doorway.
  • Double-system sound
    A technique where production sound is recorded on a separate device to the camera. This can provide more maneuverability for the boom operator and reduce noise, however the audio and video need to be synchronized in post production. Also called dual-system sound
  • Down-conversion
    Converting from a higher quality format to a lower one.
  • Drop-frame timecode
    Timecode that is modified to remain in sync when 29.97 fps NTSC video is broadcast at 30 fps. In order to retain accuracy, the first two timecode frames of every minute are dropped, with the exception of every tenth minute. Note that only the timecode references are skipped; not the actual frames themselves. Drop-frame timecode is indicated with a semicolon before the frame component (01:00:00;00) or between every component (01;00;00;00).

    See also non-drop frame timecode.

  • Dropout
    A brief loss of signal that results in a "blank" area of video or audio, or adds excess noise to an image.
  • Dry-gate
    A telecine process in which the film is scanned with no fluid present. The opposite of wet gate.
  • Dubbing
    The process of copying a videotape.

    Can also mean adding extra voice tracks to a soundtrack in order to change lines or prepare the film for foreign markets.

  • Dust bust
    The process of removing dust, dirt and scratches from a frame. This can be performed on the film negative itself in a wet gate transfer or can be performed with a compositing package in post production.
  • Dutch Angle
    An angled frame that is not parallel to the horizon.
  • Duvetyne
    Heavy black cloth used for blacking out windows and many other purposes.
  • DV
    A standard definition tape and data format. Shoots at either 640x480 or 720x480 (NTSC resolution).
  • DVD
    An optical disc format that consists of microscopic reflective pits that are scanned by a laser. The displacement of the laser beam allows the drive to work out if the pit represents a 1 or a 0 in binary code.
  • Dynamic Range
    The difference between the loudest and quietest portions of a sound or the lightest and darkest parts of an image.

E

  • Edge numbers
    Numbers printed along the edge of a strip of film that allow the negative cutter to correctly identify which frames to cut.
  • Edit Decision List (EDL)
    A list of edits that describes how to piece together the sequence from the source footage. This is useful for negative cutting, grading and online editing.
  • Effects animation
    The animation of non-character elements such as explosions, smoke and rain.
  • Effects stock
    Film stock optimized purely for shooting visual effects footage. It has very fine grain to allow easier compositing and scaling.
  • Encode
    The process of writing data to a different format, usually for the purpose of compressing to a smaller size. See also decode.
  • Envelope
    A measure of a sound's amplitude over time. Envelopes include a sound's attack, decay, sustain and release (ADSR).
  • Equalization
    The process of balancing the frequency of a sound. This could involve raising the treble and lowering the bass, for example.
  • Establishing shot
    A shot generally shown at the beginning of a scene to indicate a change in location or time.
  • Eyeline match
    A technique where the editor cuts to a shot of something that a character is looking at off-screen.

F

  • F-stop
    A measurement of how much light is able to pass through a camera aperture opening. It is inversely proportional so small numbers indicate wider openings and large numbers indicate smaller openings. A higher number results in greater depth of field

    See also T-stop.

  • Fade
    A gradual transition from one image to another. Fade-In and Fade-Out refer to starting or ending the fade with black.
  • Feather
    A technique used for blurring the edges of a mask.
  • Full height anamorphic (FHA)
    A method of recording widescreen video in a 4:3 frame by squeezing the image horizontally. The image needs to be unsqueezed in order to be viewed correctly. This is a higher quality method of recording widescreen video than letterboxing, where data is removed at the top and bottom of the image.
  • Field
    Interlaced video is split into two fields: one comprising the odd-numbered scan lines, and the other comprising the even lines. There are 60 fields for every second of NTSC video.
  • Filler
    See slug.
  • Film grain
    The visual texture of film, caused by particles of metallic silver present on the film strip.
  • Film stock
    A term to describe film that is used for shooting and reproduction.
  • Filter
    A software add-on to simulate a given effect upon the footage. Common filters include blurs, de-grain and color correction.
  • Firewire
    An interface standard that is commonly used for connecting hard drives and cameras to computers.
  • Flag
    A device used on set to block light.
  • Flat
    A term used to describe a film that was not shot with anamorphic lenses.
  • Flex file
    A computer-generated file that establishes the relationship between timecode, keykode and often audio timecode. Flex files are important in the online editing process for movies that originated on film. They have the file extension .flx.
  • Flip
    To position an image upside-down.
  • Flop
    To position an image back-to-front so that the left side is now positioned on the right and vice versa.
  • Focal length
    The distance from the center of the camera lens to the object of focus.
  • Focus pull
    The process of refocusing a shot to keep an object in focus or to draw the audience's attention elsewhere.
  • Foley
    The process of recording sound effects on-the-fly in sync with the picture as it plays.
  • Foley artist
    A person who records sound effects using the foley process. Also known as foley walker.
  • Frames per second (fps)
    The number of frames played every second. The standard film frame rate is 24 fps, with NTSC video at 29.97 fps and PAL video at 25 fps. Shooting higher than these rates will result in slow-motion footage and shooting lower will result in fast-motion.
  • Frame
    One of the many still images that make up an entire movie. When several of these images are played in sequence, they give the impression of motion. See also frame rate.
  • Frame rate
    The rate at which frames are played or recorded. See also fps.
  • Freeze frame
    The repetition of a single frame of footage to give the effect that the action has stopped or that the audience is looking at a still image.
  • Frequency
    The number of times a signal changes in a second, measured in Hertz (Hz).
  • Frequency response
    A measure of the sensitivity of a sound or video recording or playback system.
  • Fresnel
    An efficient convex lens consisting of many small pieces of glass that allow large apertures and short focal lengths.
  • Full field
    A complete frame of video that is comprised of two fields.
  • Full raster
    A full frame image that has not been squeezed to preserve bandwidth. The opposite of thin raster.
  • Full screen
    The modification of a widescreen movie to fit a 4:3 aspect ratio completely without letterboxing. This can be achieved with a center crop or pan and scan process (cropping the image and panning).

G

  • Gaffer
    The chief lighting technician on a production who is in charge of the electrical department.
  • Gaffer tape
    A strong cotton-based tape similar to duct tape.
  • Gain
    An increase in signal amplification. It also results in an increase in signal noise.
  • Gamma
    A measurement of the intensity of midtones in an image. Adjusting the gamma adjusts the level of the midtones while leaving the blacks and whites untouched.
  • Gamut
    The entire range of colors capable of being displayed or recorded by the current input / ouput device or file format.
  • Garbage matte
    A matte designed to tell the compositing software which areas of an image to ignore or remove.
  • Gate
    The rectangular opening where a film is exposed to light. This must be cleaned regularly to ensure dust, hair and other debris does not make it onto the film during exposure.
  • Genlock
    The process of matching the internal sync generator of a device such as a camera with an external source. Commonly used on music video shoots to sync audio to a timecode slate or for syncing cameras in a multicam shoot.
  • Go motion
    Similar to stop motion, but more realistic due to the application of motion blur, achieved by moving the models slightly during exposure. Sometimes this is achieved through a series of complex rods connected to a computer for precise movement, and sometimes it is achieved by flicking or nudging the model so that it vibrates.
  • Gobo
    A grip head used for clamping other equipment.
  • GOP
    Group of Pictures. The ordering of intra- (I-frames or complete frames) and inter-frames (B-frames or frames that contain only the changes from one frame to the next) in a compressed video file. For example, MPEG-2 media is separated into groups of pictures no longer than 18 frames for NTSC or 15 for PAL. The length of the group determines how frequently an I-frame (complete frame) will be shown.
  • GPRM
    General Parameter. Space on a DVD player to store up to 16 1-bit numeric variables. These allow the disc to remember certain actions and preferences such as languages and audio formats, or to create interactive quizzes and games.
  • Green screen
    A green background that the subject stands in front of that will later be replaced with another background in post production.
  • Green screen compositing
    The process of making all green elements in an image transparent and placing a different background underneath so it appears that the subject is in a different location.

H

  • Handle
    Extra material beyond the in and out points to allow a clip to be extended and provide additional material for transitions.
  • High definition (HD)
    A general term for a video signal with a significantly higher resolution than standard definition.
  • HDMI
    High Definition Multimedia Interface. Interface for transmitting high definition digital audio and video data.
  • Headroom
    The space between the top of a character's head and the top of the frame.
  • Hi-con print
    A film print with the maximum contrast between light and dark elements.
  • High-pass filter
    An audio filter that allows allows frequencies above a certain threshold to pass through while stopping lower ones.
  • High-shelf filter
    An audio filter that allows allows frequencies above a certain threshold to pass through while reducing lower ones.
  • Hiss
    Noise caused by imperfections in the recording medium.
  • HMI
    An efficient mercury arc lamp.
  • House sync
    A timing reference signal used to synchronize devices in a post production facility to ensure they are all operating at the same speed.
  • Hue
    The shade of a color. This is the general color category that the color falls into, for example pink, crimson and plum are different colors but they all fall under the hue of red.

I

  • Illegal colors
    Colors present in a video signal that are not supported by the current video playback system. This can result in the image being displayed incorrectly and is especially important when preparing content for TV broadcasts, as NTSC televisions have limited color support. See also gamut.
  • In point
    The timecode position at which a clip begins. See also out point.
  • Insert edit
    The process of inserting a clip onto a timeline and pushing content aside to make room for it. With this method no content is overwritten. See also overwrite edit.
  • Intercut
    A technique where the editor cuts back and forth between two separate scenes as they play out. This is commonly used to give the impression that the actions are occurring simultaneously.
  • Interlace
    An image that consists of two half-height fields that combine to create a full image. This is the opposite of progressive scanning, in which the image is comprised of single frames.
  • Internegative
    A duplicate negative create from a positive print of the movie. Commonly used for creating release prints to prevent damage to the original negative.
  • Interpositive
    A positive duplicate of a film used for further processing.
  • Interpolation
    This is used in animation to calculate the motion in between two user-generated keyframes so that each frame does not need to be animated manually. This speeds up the process and makes the resulting animation smoother.
  • Intertitles
    Titles that appear on their own between footage. Commonly seen in silent movies to substitute dialogue but can also be used as chapter headings.
  • ISO
    A measure of the recording medium's exposure sensitivity. Digital cameras often have adjustable ISO settings.

J

  • Jam sync
    The process of using a timecode generator to synchronize timecode between devices. One example would be synchronizing cameras to enable easier multicam sync in post.
  • Jib arm
    A counterweighted support arm mounted on a tripod or dolly to provide an increased range of camera motion.
  • Jog
    To move forward or backward through video by playing it one field or frame at a time.
  • Juicer
    An electrician.
  • Jump cut
    A cut in which the action does not completely match that of the preceding shot, causing characters to "jump" to a slightly different position.
  • Junior
    A 2K light.

K

  • Kerning
    The horizontal spacing between textual characters.
  • Keyframe
    A frame that contains a record of specific settings (e.g. scale, rotation, brightness). By setting multiple keyframes, you can adjust these parameters as the video plays to animate certain aspects.
  • Keying
    A term for compositing two images together using holes created by mattes.
  • Keykode
    A Kodak-developed machine-readable edge code system to automate the creation of cut lists while at the same time retaining human-readability.
  • Key Grip
    The head of the grip department.
  • Key light
    The main light on a subject.
  • Key numbers
    See Keykode
  • Kick
    An object with a shine or reflection on it from another object.

L

  • Latitude
    The range at which a film can be over- or underexposed and still produce usable images.
  • Lavalier mic
    A small wireless microphone that can be hidden in clothing.
  • Layback
    Transfer of the completed sound mix back onto the video master tape.
  • Leader
    Extra information added to the beginning or the end of a reel for technical purposes. A leader may include a countdown, information about the program and a 2pop to aid audio synchronization.
  • Leading
    The vertical spacing of textual characters. Also referred to as line spacing.
  • Letterbox
    The process of fitting a 16:9 image on a 4:3 screen by placing black bars at the top and bottom.
  • Linear editing
    A form of video editing in which cuts are laid out sequentially, one by one, to produce the final scene. This is in contrast to non-linear editing in which cuts can be performed in any order.
  • Log
    A record of start and end timecode, reel numbers, scene descriptions and other information for a specified clip.

    Can also refer to logarithmic color space, which is a way of more accurately storing < a href="#analog">analog color information in a digital file.

  • Lossless
    A compression scheme that results in no loss of data from the file when it is decompressed. Lossless files are generally quite large (but still smaller than uncompressed versions) and sometimes require considerable processing power in order to decode the data. The opposite of lossy compression.
  • Lossy
    A compression scheme that discards data in order to lower file sizes. The opposite of lossless compression.
  • Low-pass filter
    An audio filter that allows allows frequencies below a certain threshold to pass through while stopping higher ones.
  • Low-shelf filter
    An audio filter that allows allows frequencies below a certain threshold to pass through while reducing higher ones.
  • Longitudinal timecode (LTC)
    Timecode recorded on one of the audio channels of video tape. It can only be read if the tape is playing.
  • Luma key
    The process of creating a matte from data related to the brightness of certain areas in an image. See also keying.
  • Luminance
    A measure of the brightness or intensity of each pixel in an image.

M

  • Matchmove
    The process of matching the motion of a computer generated object with the motion of the camera or an object in order to blend it seamlessly within the frame.
  • Matte
    An image mask that is used in visual effects to control which parts of the image an effect will be applied to.
  • Matte Artist
    A person who creates background art for use in a matte shot.
  • Matte painting
    The process of placing a glass-painted or digital background on footage in order to simulate a different or larger environment.
  • M & E
    Music and Effects. A file with music and effects split into separate stems for foreign language dubbing.
  • Mickey
    An open-faced 1K light. Also known as a Redhead.
  • MIDI
    Musical Instrument Digital Interface. A protocol for communicating between audio devices and musical instruments.
  • Modeling
    The process of creating 3D objects inside a computer.
  • MOS
    Shooting without recording sound.
  • Motion artifact
    Visual interference caused by the difference between the frame rate of the camera and the motion of the object. The most common display of this is when filming a computer or television screen. The screen will flicker or a line will scan down it, and is caused by the difference in frame rates and a lack of synchronization between the camera and television.
  • Motion blur
    The "streaking" effect caused when an object passes quickly across the screen. This is because the object is in several different positions during the exposure of one frame of film.
  • Motion capture (mocap)
    The process of digitally recording an actor's movement in order to apply this movement to a computer-generated object. See also performance capture.
  • Montage
    A self-contained sequence of short shots or images used to portray facts, mood or actions, that is often used to indicate the passing of time.
  • Motion control
    The process of controlling the motion of the camera by a computer in order to obtain precise control over its movement. Commonly used to match up a model with a live-action shot in order to composite the two together later.
  • MXF
    Material eXchange Format. A professional cross-platform container format for video, audio and metadata.

N

  • Negative cutter
    A person who physically cuts the film negative according to the cut list and then splices the film together in the desired order, ready for the final print.
  • Negative print
    A film print in which colors are reversed - black is white and white is black. It must be reprinted as a positive before it can be projected. The reason for creating a negative is the reduced cost of making extra prints.
  • Neutral Density (ND)
    A camera filter that reduces the intensity of the light reaching the lens without affecting its color.
  • NG (No Good)
    Commonly seen on camera and editor reports to indicate a particular take is unusable.
  • NLE
    Short for Non-Linear Editing system.
  • Noise
    Undesired data in a video or audio signal that is not intended to be present. See also artifact.
  • Non-drop frame timecode (NDF)
    Timecode that counts every frame and does not compensate for the innacuracies that occur when 29.97 fps is converted to 30 for NTSC broadcast. See also drop frame timecode.
  • Non-linear editing
    An editing system in which edits can be performed at any time, in any order. Access is random, which means that the system can jump to specific pieces of data without having to look through the whole footage to find it.
  • NTSC
    United States broadcasting system for standard definition television. Has now been superseded by ATSC.

O

  • Obie
    An eyelight mounted on a camera.
  • Offline edit
    The process of editing a project at a lower resolution than the final output, in order to cut equipment costs or reduce disk space - or in the case of film projects, to preserve the original negative.
  • OMF
    Open Media Framework. A file format intended for transferring media between different software applications on different platforms. It is commonly used for transferring audio from a video editing system to a DAW.
  • One light
    Telecine transfer in which the film is color timed on the first shot and the settings are then applied to the rest of the reel. Commonly used for grading dailies.
  • Online edit
    After an offline edit the sequence is reassembled using high resolution media for the final output, normally using an EDL as a reference. This means that only the footage used in the final output needs to be recaptured, thus saving on storage space.
  • Opticals
    Shots composited in an optical printer to be output to film. Used to add fades and titles to film releases.
  • Optical soundtrack
    An analogue soundtrack printed on film that takes the form of a varying sound wave. It is limited to stereo output only and is commonly used as a backup if the separate surround sound system fails.
  • Opacity
    An inverse measure of the level of transparency in an image, which is of importance when compositing. Opacity information is stored in an image's alpha channel.
  • Out point
    The timecode position at which a clip ends. See also In point.
  • Overwrite edit
    An editing method in which existing clips are overwritten when adding a new clip onto a timeline.

P

  • PAL
    Phase Alternating Line. A standard definition broadcast standard in Europe. Similar to NTSC but with a higher resolution and running at 25 fps instead of 29.97.
  • Pan
    A horizontal movement of the camera on a fixed axis.
  • Pan and Scan
    A method of converting widescreen images to a 4:3 aspect ratio. The video is cropped so that it fills the entire screen and is panned into position to show most essential parts of the scene.
  • Perf
    Short for perforation. Square holes in the side of a roll of film that are used to wind it through the camera or projector's mechanism. Standard 35mm has 4 perfs per frame but sometimes a 3-perf configuration is used. See also sprockets.
  • Performance capture
    Similar to motion capture but with an emphasis on capturing the intricacies of the actor's hand movements and facial expressions rather than simply their overall motion.
  • Phase shift
    The displacement of a sound wave in time. Severe shifting can cause dead spots.
  • Phantom Power
    A technology for powering microphones directly through the camera to save the microphones needing separate power supplies.
  • Pickups
    Shooting certain shots at a later date to augment footage already recorded.
  • Pillarbox
    The black bars displayed at the sides when a 4:3 image is shown in widescreen.
  • Picture in Picture (PIP)
    An effect where a small window of footage is superimposed over a larger window and the two play at the same time.
  • Pixel
    Picture element. The smallest unit of a digital image.
  • Pixel aspect ratio (PAR)
    The ratio of the width of a pixel to its height.
  • Pixelation
    The display of large, blocky pixels in an image caused by over-enlarging it.
  • Plate shot
    An empty shot of a background with no foreground elements, often for removing certain foreground elements from the scene such as light stands, wires and rigging in the visual effects stage.
  • Positive print
    A film print created from a negative that is suitable for projection.
  • Post Production
    The final stage of the filmmaking process, normally involving picture editing, sound design, visual effects and outputting the film to a format suitable for release.
  • Post Production Coordinator
    An assistant to the Post Production Supervisor who focuses on logistical aspects such as scheduling, budgeting and ensuring the smooth operation of the Post Production department.
  • Post Production Supervisor
    The person in charge of the entire Post Production department. They are in charge of seeing that the director's requirements are met on time and on budget, and liaise with vendors such as optical houses and sound facilities.
  • Practical light
    A light that appears in a scene.
  • Pre-Production
    The planning stage before shooting commences. This includes casting, location scouting and budgeting.
  • Preamplifier
    A device for boosting the strength of a weak signal.
  • Pre-blacked
    See black and code.
  • Pre-roll
    The amount of time needed to compensate for a VTR or camera to reach full speed, typically 3-5 seconds.
  • Principal photography
    The main period of filming in which shooting occurs with the main actors. This differs from visual effects photography and B-camera shooting.
  • Print
    A version of a film intended for projection.
  • Production
    The stage at which principal photography occurs.
  • Production sound
    Audio recorded on set. This is in contrast to ADR, foley and audio created by the Sound Designer.
  • Progressive
    Frame scanning technology that processes each frame as one complete image, as opposed to two separate fields like the interlacing process.

Q

  • QuickTime
    Cross-platform video compression software developed by Apple and used extensively on the Macintosh platform.

R

  • Rack
    A standardized storage area for computer servers and other equipment. They are 19" wide and heights are measured by a proprietary measurement called a "U". 1U is equal to 1.75" or 44.4mm in height.
  • Reaction shot
    A cut to a character as they react to the events of the scene.
  • Rear projection
    An alternative to green or blue screen photography, in which the actor stands in front of a screen and the background is projected onto the screen behind them.
  • Redhead
    An open-faced 1K light. Also known as a Mickey.
  • Reduction printing
    The process of transferring a film to a smaller gauge than the original (e.g. 35mm to 16mm).
  • Reel
    A strip of film wound upon a disc for attaching to a projector. Reels are generally 15-25 minutes in length.
  • Reference tone
    An audio tone of fixed frequency and amplitude that occurs at the beginning of a tape or reel, allowing the operator to set the correct audio level for playback.
  • Release
    The time taken for a sound to go from the sustain amplitude level to zero.
  • Render
    The process of calculating effects in an image for playback or final output.
  • Render farm
    An array of computers that each process small segments of a large task in order to speed it up. See also render.
  • Re-recording
    The process of mixing all audio in a production for mono, stereo or multichannel output.
  • Resolution
    The amount of data used to make up a digital video or audio file, specified as the number of pixels (for video) or the number of sample bits (for audio).
  • Reverberation
    A reflection of a sound from multiple surfaces. This is in contrast to an echo, where there is generally only one surface reflecting the sound and the echoed sound is much clearer.
  • Reversal film
    A film that produces a positive image after exposure.
  • Reverse angle
    A shot positioned approximately 180 degrees from the preceding one.
  • RGB
    The primary colors of light that are used to make images in monitors, cameras and digital projectors.
  • RGBA
    A file containing an RGB image plus an alpha channel for transparency information.
  • Rim light
    A hard backlight on the subject that is generally more intense than the key light.
  • Ripple edit
    An editing technique where adjusting the length of a clip causes clips further down the timeline to move to accomodate the change.
  • RMS
    Root-Mean-Square. A measurement of sound pressure.
  • Roll edit
    A method of shortening one clip and lengthening an adjacent one at the same time in order to maintain the original length of the sequence.
  • Room tone
    Background sound recorded on set for the purpose of enabling the seamless modification and removal of audio in post production. See also ambience.
  • Rotoscoping
    The process of tracing the outlines of live action elements frame by frame, normally used for matte effects.
  • Rough cut
    The first cut created by an editor.
  • Rushes
    Another name for dailies.

S

  • Scope
    A term used to describe a film that shot with anamorphic lenses.
  • Score
    The original-music composition for the film.
  • Scrim
    A metal filter that fits onto a light to decrease its intensity.
  • Scrub
    The ability of the editing software to play back audio samples as the playhead is dragged across the timeline.
  • Standard Definition (SD)
    Television broadcasting standard with a lower resolution than high definition. See also 480i.
  • Second Unit
    A second photographic team that films shots that do not require the principal cast members, such as stunts, establishing shots and B-roll.
  • Senior
    A 5K light.
  • Set dressing
    General decorative items in a scene that are not specifically referenced by the script.
  • Set up
    A discrete position of the camera. Also known as shots or angles.
  • Shoot and Protect
    A technique where widescreen footage is shot with the main action centered so as to provide easier center crop conversion to a 4:3 aspect ratio.
  • Shotgun mic
    A highly directional microphone commonly used to record production sound.
  • Shutter speed
    The amount of time it takes for the camera shutter to open and close. Faster speeds produce crisp motion and slower speeds produce motion-blur.
  • Sight line
    The line-of-sight between a subject and the object they are looking at.
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio
    The ratio between the desired signal and the undesired noise in a recording.
  • Silk
    A material used to diffuse or reflect light.
  • Single
    A shot with only one subject in the frame.
  • Slate
    A visual identifier placed in front of the camera before a take to communicate important details to the post production department. Can also include a clapper for audio synchronization or a timecode display.
  • Slow motion
    A shot in which action takes place at a slower than normal speed. It is achieved by speeding up the camera during recording and then playing back the frames at a slower frame rate.
  • Slug
    A strip of film or digital effect used to fill in black areas on the timeline.
  • SMPTE
    Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. A film and television standards group that, among other things, standardized the use of SMPTE timecode.
  • Sound Designer
    The person responsible for the overall sound of the film. Can also refer to a person responsible for creating unique sounds from scratch.
  • Sound Mixer
    A person responsible for recording and mixing production sound on set.
  • Specular
    Highly directional "hard" light.
  • Spill
    A term used to describe light falling where it is not wanted, such as green light being reflected from a green screen onto a subject.
  • Splice
    The process of physically attaching two pieces of film together using tape or cement.
  • Spline
    A curve in 3D space defined by control points. Used for interpolation and smoothing.
  • Split cut (L-cut or J-cut)
    An edit in which the audio starts before or after the picture cut. Can be used to ease the transition from one scene or shot to another.
  • Split screen
    Dividing the screen into two or more parts with different shots in each section.
  • Spool
    A roll on which film is wound.
  • Spotting
    The process of analyzing a picture-locked movie to map out the sound, music and visual effects work to be performed.
  • Sprocket
    Geared wheels that attach onto the perforations on the edge of a film roll and wind it through a mechanism into a camera or projector.
  • Stabilization
    Similar to matchmoving but the entire frame is moved so that the elements of the scene stay in the same place in order to eliminate unwanted frame movement caused by gate weave or camera shake. This causes moving black borders at the edges of the frame that must be removed by zooming in or recreating the missing areas.
  • Standards conversion
    The process of converting from one television standard to another, such as from NTSC to PAL. This normally requires frame rate and resolution conversions.
  • Stem
    A stem is a separate audio output for a group of tracks. In a DME separate outputs are created for dialogue, music and sound effects.
  • Step
    The act of moving forward or backward through video one frame at a time.
  • Stereo
    Two-channel audio combined into a single track with outputs for the left and right speakers.
  • Stinger
    An electrical extension cord.
  • Stock
    A term for unexposed motion picture film.
  • Stock numbers
    Edge numbers printed on film raw stock by the manufacturer.
  • Stop motion
    A form of animation in which static objects are physically animated and photographed frame by frame. See also go motion.
  • Strike
    The process of breaking down a camera position, location or set.
  • Striped stock
    See black and code.
  • Sustain
    The amplitude of a sound or musical note while it is being held. This occurs after the attack and decay phases.
  • Sweeten
    Enhancing the sound of a recording with equalization or another signal processing device.

T

  • T-stop
    A more accurate measurement of light passing through a lens than an F-stop because it takes into account light being absorbed by the lens.
  • Tail leader
    A leader used to indicate the end of a reel.
  • Tape grade
    Color correction performed from a master tape rather than from film.
  • Technical grade
    A telecine transfer which is adjusted to be as flat as possible so as not to lose any color information. A tape grade will be performed later on to achieve the desired look of the film.
  • Telecine
    The process of scanning film in real-time and outputting it to a tape-based format.
  • Thin raster
    An image that has been squeezed horizontally to preserve bandwidth and then unsqueezed before playback. Examples of thin raster image sizes include 1440x1080 (played back at 1920x1080) and 960x720 (played back at 1280x720). Thin raster video is lower quality than full raster.
  • TIFF
    Tagged Image File Format. A popular cross-platform still image file format.
  • Tilt
    A vertical movement of the camera on a fixed horizontal axis.
  • Timelapse
    A cinematography technique where the camera is set to capture one frame at a time with a relatively large interval between captures. When played back at normal speed, the event appears to be occurring much faster than it would in real life. This is useful for long-lasting events such as flowers growing or clouds moving across the sky.
  • Timecode
    An indexing system that provides a unique index for each frame of video, in the form hh:mm:ss:ff. This makes it easy to locate and reference a particular frame.
  • Timeline
    A visual representation of a movie over time, consisting of video clips laid horizontally across the screen. This is a common interface in non-linear video editing applications.
  • Title safe area
    A region of the screen where text is guaranteed to be visible. This is for compatibility with older CRT TVs that did not display the full area of the image.
  • Track
    A separate audio or video layer on a timeline.
  • Tracking
    The process of tracing the movement of a particular pixel or pattern on screen in order to determine how the camera or object is moving.
  • Transition
    A method of juxtaposing two scenes. Transitions can take many forms including cuts, dissolves and wipes.
  • Traveling matte
    An evolution of the matte process that allowed the matte to animate its shape and position from frame to frame.

U

V

  • Vari-speed
    Effect where the speed of the camera is changed mid-shot, normally to emphasise a certain action on-screen.
  • Vertical interval
    The time difference between between each video field in an analog broadcast. It can be used to contain extra information such as captioning, timecode and copy protection data. Also known as vertical blanking interval.
  • Vistavision
    A 35mm film format with a large surface area and low grain. Sometimes used for visual effects shots because its low grain and large surface area mean that there is very little noise when multiple shots are composited together.
  • Visual Effects Supervisor
    The head of the visual effects department who oversees all aspects of the visual effects process.
  • Voiceover
    A term used to describe off-camera narration that is not part of a scene (non-diegetic).
  • VTR
    Video tape recorder, also referred to as a 'deck'. These are used for duplicating video tapes and inputting and outputting from a computer.

W

  • Wet-gate
    Telecine process in which the film is immersed in fluid while being scanned. This removes any dust, dirt or hairs that may be on the film and can cover up scratches and marks. See also dry gate.
  • White balance
    The process of adjusting a digital camera so that it interprets the brightest areas of the image as pure white. This prevents unrealistic color casts.
  • Widescreen
    A format in which the width-to-height ratio of the frame is greater than 4:3, so that it is significantly wider than it is tall.
  • Wild line
    A non-sync line of dialogue recorded by an actor without picture.
  • Wild track
    A non-sync sound effect recorded without picture.
  • Wipe
    A transition in which one image is moved off screen to reveal another beneath it.
  • Workprint
    A duplicate film print intended for use in the editorial process.

X

  • XLR
    A microphone connection standard consisting of three or more connecting pins and an outer locking shell.

Y

Z

  • Zoom
    A shot where the image grows larger or smaller by adjusting the focal length of the lens instead of physically moving the camera.