Glossary Jargon De-mystified

This is a comprehensive glossary, and includes many terms that aren't directly related to using a telephone camera. But I hope it's readable. Definitions that are very important to using your Nokia phone are highlighted.


A & B Roll

Also called chequerboarding. Alternative shots in a film production go onto two separate reels - the first to roll A, the second to B, the third to A and so on. Makes the joins less obvious and makes effects like wipes and mixes easier.

Aerial Shot
A shot taken from a high building, crane, plane, or helicopter. Not necessarily a moving shot.

The noise that is in the background of the sounds you want to record. Americans call it 'Room Tone'.

Anamorphic lens
Squeezes wide screen shots onto normal geometry film. A similar lens in the projector expands the shot horizontally again.

Answer print
The first graded print from the cut negative of a film production.

The variable sized opening in the lens that controls the amount of light entering the camera.

Aperture priority ***
Shooting mode on a still camera. Allows the user to set the camera's aperture (f-stop), while the camera calculates the optimum shutter speed.

Art director
See Designer

Aspect Ratio
The ratio of width to height of a picture. Normal television is 4x3 and wide screen television is 16x9. The cinema uses all sorts of different formats, but the standard frame is 1.85x1.

Assistant director / First assistant
The person who directs additional action in shots, who runs rehearsals, and generally assists the director in the production process. Responsible for keeping communications flowing on the unit. Chief smoother of ruffled feathers.

Associate Producer
Someone who arranged for his brother-in-law to let the production borrow his holiday bungalow for a shoot. Allegedly…

Atmos Track
See Buzz Track

The process of assessing actors and actresses for certain parts in a production.

Automatic white balance (AWB) ***
System within a digital camera that corrects for different kinds of light. If you can, use manual white balance instead.

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Background music
Music which is added to the film and not recorded as the film is being shot. Intended to heighten the mood of the production.

Backlight ***
The light behind the subject, which separates it from the background and gives the shot depth.

Back-lit ***
The subject is illuminated from behind and will be underexposed unless you adjust the exposure manually (or use fill flash on a still camera).

Back Projection
A system whereby a fixed or moving image is projected onto a translucent screen behind the main action. Mostly superseded by the matte processes.

Barn Doors
Metal flaps attached to the front of a lamp that give the user much more control over the lighting.

Best Boy
Term used by the lighting gaffer and the senior grip for their number two. Originates from an apocryphal conversation between a cameraman and a gaffer. The cameraman wanted a very complicated set up. He said it was not a job for a junior person. "Right," says the gaffer, "I'll put my best boy onto it".

Big Close-up
Very close shot of the face, cutting off the top of the head.

Black edging
Outlining white or brightly coloured subtitle letters on screen to help legibility.

A cover that fits over the camera to muffle the whirring of the mechanism.


Smallish portable mains-powered lamp, about 2 kilowatts of power.

2.   Decorative accessory (often of pneumatic aspect) that accompanies a producer to demonstrate his importance.

Long pole used to mount microphones above people's heads and out of shot. The holder of the pole is the boom operator, sometimes also called boom.

Bounced Light
Light reflected off a wall or ceiling (or piece of card, or a shirt) before falling onto the subject. Gives a soft effect.

Bridging Shot
A shot used to cover a jump in time or place or other discontinuity. Common examples are falling leaves, changing calendar pages and newspaper headlines.

Broadcast Quality
A special technical term used to describe the output of a manufacturer's product no matter how bad the pictures look.

Very large bright light, usually carbon arc.

Buffer shot
A cheat shot put in to disguise a crossing line error. See Crossing the line.

Large frame used to mount a diffusion screen to control light. So you might well find a shot of the leading lady accomplished by shielding her from the (overhead) sun using a mesh diffuser, then a huge HMI lamp used to replicate the sun (but from a more flattering angle).

Buzz Track
Recording of silence! Actually a recording of the ambient sounds present at any location - distant traffic, bird sound, air conditioners, etc. Can be used to cover any gap, or to disguise a jump when dialogue has been recorded with two slightly different background levels.

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Camera Angle
The vertical angle at which the camera is pointed at the subject. The term is also used to describe the size of a shot and the (perhaps nominal) focal length of the lens.

Camera Original
The film (or tape) that went through the camera.

Cardioid Microphone
One with a directional pattern of sound pickup. A diagram of the acceptance pattern is heart-shaped or cardioid.

The people who actually play parts in a production.

CCD (charge coupled device) ***
Electronic device that captures light waves and converts them into electrical signals. The equivalent of film for a digital camera. See CMOS.

See Colour Separation Overlay.

The colour part of a video signal.

The person in charge of how the photographic end of how a film looks. He decides what stock to use, where lights go, what filters to use, etc. On large crews he might have six or more assistants as well as the electricians and grips. On small crews he does all of these jobs himself. He might also be called a Cameraman, a Lighting Cameraman, a Director of Photography, a Videographer and a number of similar terms.

Clapper board
A board marked with the shot number and take (plus other information about the production). It is usually recorded at the start of each shot, and helps the editor find the preferred shot, and synchronise separate sound and vision sources.

The part of an action or drama movie when tension comes to its highest point, usually near the end.

A shot in which a character's face and shoulders are the main image, or where a single object or parts of objects are the main image.

Abbreviation for cyan, magenta, yellow and black - the secondary colours from which any colour can be derived. CMYK is used to reproduce colours on the printed page. See RGB.

CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) ***
A light-sensitive chip used in some digital cameras. Has some advantages over CCDs – and some disadvantages.

Colour Balance ***
Generally you want to make sure that white looks white, not pale blue or yellow. Sunlight, fluorescent bulbs, tungsten bulbs, gas lamps give different kinds of light. The eye adapts automatically, but a camera has to be filtered and/or electrically adjusted to make white look white.

Colour Separation Overlay (CSO)
An electronic system for combining two images so that one appears to have the other as a background. At its simplest, a plain (usually blue) coloured background in the first shot operates an electronic. Where the switch sees blue, it puts in part of shot two; any other colour and it leaves in the original shot 1 On film it is called travelling matte or blue screen process. An alternative video term is Chroma-Key.

Colour Temperature
A measurement of the colour of light. Daylight is very blue, tungsten (ordinary household bulbs) is pinky-yellow, and most fluorescents are greenish. How blue they are is measured in degrees Kelvin, and filters can then be used to change the apparent colour. (See Colour Balance).

Combined magnetic film - sound is recorded on a magnetic stripe running next to the picture.

Spoken words by an invisible narrator. The words add information to the pictures. Found mostly in documentary films, but occasionally in dramatic, epic or docudrama.

Combined optical sound - sound is recorded on an optical stripe along one edge of the picture.

Component Video
A video signal in which the Luminance and Chrominance parts are kept separate. This requires a higher bandwidth, but gives a better quality picture.

Composite Video
The luminance and chrominance signals are combined.

Electronic device for increasing and decreasing the volume of a sound to bring it within a certain range.

Contrast Ratio ***
The difference in the amount of light in the brightest and darkest parts of a shot. The human eye can see detail in 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.

Control Track
A signal recorded on video tape to allow the tape to play back at a precise speed in any VTR and process information on the tape correctly. Analogous to the sprocket holes on film.

Making sure that all details of a scene or location are consistent from shot to shot.

Continuity cuts
These are cuts that take the viewer seamlessly and logically from one shot to another. This is an unobtrusive cut that serves to move the narrative along.

Cookie (Cucaloris)
A piece of thin metal or similar that can be placed in front of a light to give a broken, patterned or spotty shadow. This is called an ulcer in certain places!

Each scene is usually filmed from more than one angle, sometimes using more than one camera. This coverage gives the editor more than one option when putting the scene together.

A sideways movement of the camera. On film where railway lines are used, a crab is usually referred to as a track.

A camera platform that can be raised and lowered. Generally mounted on a rolling base.

A list of people involved in making a programme. The rules for who goes where in the list are enormously complex, but for a television programme at its simplest, the order is: Leading on-screen people, minor on-screen parts, minor off-screen, then major off-screen ending with the director. Film credits are the subject of very complex legal manoeuvring by agents and suchlike.

Crossing the line
Reversing the action (direction of travel or eyeline) in successive shots. This confuses the viewer's sense of direction.


Cutting between two different actions, either occurring simultaneously or at different times. These scenes are often referred to as parallel action. Crosscutting is used to build suspense, or to show the relationship between the different sets of action.

2.   Also used to refer to cutting between two people in one scene.

Cut ***
The joining of one shot to another. In its simplest form the cut imitates the way the eye switches between images.

A shot of something or someone related to, but not seen in, the main shot. It can help to shorten time, or to avoid a jump cut.

A large white(ish) curtain used to provide a general background in a studio.

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See Rushes.

Digital Audio Tape. Sound recording format that offers much better quality than quarter inch tape. In addition the recorders are smaller and the new format can handle time code.

Unit of measurement of the volume of sound.

See Props.

Deep focus
A technique in which objects very near the camera as well as those far away are in focus at the same time.

Depth of Field
Nearest to furthest parts of a shot that are in sharp focus.

The person who controls the look of the sets and locations to be used in the production.

Words spoken by performers.

Softening an image or light source.In emergency a pair of tights stretched over the lens can be used.

Digital Image ***
A picture made up of pixels as opposed to variations in density in layers of film.

Digital zoom ***
Process that simulates the effect of a zoom by cropping photos and enlarging the remaining image. Reduces image quality. See Optical Zoom.

Makes an artistic interpretation of the production. Decides how the movie should look and directs the actors and crew so as to achieve this.

Director of Photography or DOP or DP
See Cinematographer.

Dissolve / lap-dissolve / mix
These terms are used interchangeably to refer to a soft transition between 2 sequences or scenes. The first image gradually dissolves or fades out and is replaced by another which fades in over it. This type of transition can suggest the passage of time.

A film or programme that deals with a non-fictional subject (though sometimes in a fictional kind of way).

A set of wheels and a platform upon which the camera can be mounted to give it mobility. Often used on portable rails.

DPI (dots per inch) ***
Measurement of image resolution – how sharp the picture looks.

Double System
For most film work and for top-quality video productions the sound and picture are recorded on separate machines on separate media. This makes for more flexible editing as well as giving better quality.

Towards the camera.


Replacing the dialogue (spoken words) of a film. Can be done to translate the film into another language or to replace dialogue not recorded (deliberately or accidentally) during the shoot.

2.   Mixing together of a film's various sound tracks.
3.   Copying one (video-)tape to another.

Dutch Shot
The camera is tilted so that vertical and horizontal lines in the shot are at an angle. Can suggest an unsettled mood. The Third Man used the technique extensively – but only after the protagonist realised there was something funny going on.

Digital Video Effects. A device for juggling the video to create special effects. The picture can be inverted, twisted, spun, shrunk, slid sideways and so on.

Digital Betacam
Digital video tape format which records component video on half inch tape.

Converting analogue video to digital form. Usually also storing it on a hard disc.

Imperfection in a tape coating that shows as a black or white streak on a picture. Normally this is not seen because a dropout compensator covers it up by putting in a picture similar to the one that's missing. With newer video recording systems it might show up as momentary green squares on part of the picture.

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Edge Numbers
Numbers printed on the edge of motion picture film every twelve or so frames. This allows the editor, director, laboratory or computer to find a specific frame very easily.

Edit Decision List. A list of edit decisions made during a non-linear edit session.

The process by which the production is put together from bits that have been shot in different locations, studios and at different times, so that the result is the single story the viewer eventually watches.


Selects what he or she considers the best takes and pieces them together to produce a scene. Then he or she (in conjunction with the director) assembles the scenes to produce the finished programme.

2.   In television also the senior producer in charge of a (usually non-fiction) series or magazine programme.

Effective pixels ***
The number of pixels that make up the actual image.

Effects Track
Separate sound track that contains all the non-dialogue sounds. Can be recorded synchronously with the picture or recorded wild.

End Board
When the clapper board is put (upside down) on the end of a shot instead of at the start. Establishing Shot A shot, usually fairly wide, that establishes the layout of the location and action. Often used as the master shot for a scene.

Extreme long shot
A panoramic view of an exterior location photographed from a considerable distance, often as far as a quarter-mile away. May also serve as the establishing shot.

The direction in which a person is looking.

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Fade in
A punctuation device. The screen is black at the beginning; gradually the image appears, brightening to full strength.

Fade out
The opposite of a fade in!

One half of a complete video picture (frame), containing all the odd or even scanning lines of the picture.

Fill light
A soft light or lights that soften the shadows created by the key light.

Glass attachments put (usually) in front of the lens to modify the light entering the camera. They can change the colour of the light, or give a soft feel to the picture or make highlights look like stars. Also imaging software function that alters the appearance of an image after shooting.

Fine Cut
The final version of the edited production.

Very wide-angle lens. Usually gives quite a distorted picture.

Flag (French Flag)
Metal or cardboard sheet that can be clamped (or taped, or held) so as to block light falling where it's not wanted. The American term is teaser.

Bright white, or coloured blob or streak on the image caused by a light shining directly onto the lens.

Large device used for viewing film during the editing process.

To adjust a light so as to make its beam wider and less intense.

Floor Plan
Scale drawing of a studio or location showing the positions of sets, performers, cameras, lights, etc.

Focal length
The distance between the lens and the position of a sharply focused image when the lens is focused at infinity. The longer the focal length, the narrower the angle of view and the more that objects are magnified. A zoom lens obviously has a variable focal length.

Focus ***
The process of bringing one plane of the scene into sharp focus on the image sensor. Can be manual or by an automatic mechanism.

System for adding sound effects to a film and generally making the sound track more interesting.

Four Point Lighting
The basis of all film and television lighting. It uses a Key light to give shape, a Fill light to soften the shadows, a Back light to lift the subject away from the backing and (usually) a Background light to... er... light the background.

One complete video image, or 2 video fields. There are 25 frames in one second of PAL video. Also a single film image.

A sequence in which something is shown which took place before the time in which the film's story is set.

On the model of the flashback, scenes or shots of future time; the future tense of the film. Not often used, for obvious reasons.

The sharpness of the image.

Follow shot
A tracking shot or zoom which follows the subject as it moves.

Follow Focus
To adjust the focus while shooting so that a moving subject is kept in sharp focus.

The way in which subjects and objects are framed within a shot. Different shots and framing can convey different meanings to the viewer. A very long shot of a man walking on a beach can be used to indicate loneliness, for instance.

Fresnel Lens
Thin lens that gives precise control over a light's output.

A camera's aperture setting. A high f-stop number means the camera is using a small aperture. Maximum aperture is often used as a benchmark of a lens's ability to resolve a clear bright image in low light.

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Chief electrician. Works to the Director of Photography.

The part of the camera where the film is when it's being exposed.

Gelatine filters (not actually gelatine - just thin plastic) are often used when a large area is needed and glass ones would be too expensive.. A reddish gel can be taped or stapled over a window to convert the (blue) daylight to match that of the tungsten light inside the room.

The original film or videotape is said to be first generation; a copy (print from the negative, or edited tape) is second; any copy of that is third generation, etc. If the programme is copied more times than the format can handle, you will see noticeable degradation of the picture or sound. Digital beta can be edited (with the right equipment) hundreds of times and still be as good as new; second generation VHS is pretty bad.

Person (or people) in charge of moving camera dollies, tripods, etc.

Gun Microphone
See Rifle Mic.

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Hard light
Light that throws very distinct hard-edged shadows.

The front of a piece of film. A reel that's head out is ready to be viewed.

The screen space above a person's head.

High Angle
Shot taken with the camera unusually high (though not as high as an aerial shot).

High Key
Scene lit so that it contains few dark areas. Contrast is low and shadows are not very deep.

Lights that are the same colour as daylight. They give much more light than normal tungsten lamps (redheads, etc.), but require bulky ballast packs and time to warm up.

Hot Spot
Very bright reflection from a surface.

Humidity Sensor
A device in a video camera that prevents it working when there is too much moisture present. Taking the camera from air-conditioning to the outside (in a hot country) or outdoors in wintry conditions into a house (in a cold country) can trigger this off and cause a lot of waiting about. Use a sun gun or hair dryer to expedite things.

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Inky-Dink or Inkie

Small, very directional light with a fresnel lens. 50 to 100 watts.

Student working on a production to gain industry experience. Some get paid and learn a lot; others make coffee and sweep the floor and get nothing in return.

International Sound Track
See M & E.

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Popular file format for still pictures that reduces a digital image's file size at the expense of image quality.

Jump cut
Cut where there is no match between the 2 shots. Within a sequence, or more particularly a scene, jump cuts give the effect of bad editing. A jump cut ignores continuity of time, place and action. It makes the viewer jump and wonder where the narrative has got to.

2 kilowatt lamp with a fresnel lens.

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Key light

The main light on a subject. In drama it (usually) simulates natural light. It reveals the shape of people and things.

Small light used to pick out a detail. Often used as rim light for a face.

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Lavalier Microphone

Strictly speaking this is worn on a string around the neck, but the term is sometimes used to refer to a microphone that can be clipped to a lapel or tie.

The actor and/or actress, who play the main parts in a film's story.

Lead Room ***
The space in front of a moving person or car when the camera is panning with the subject. A good rule of thumb is two thirds of the screen space in front, one third behind.

Film or videotape at the beginning of the roll, often with countdown numbers for accurate cueing.

Optical device for forming an image by bending light rays.

Linear Editing
Older system of editing videotape whereby the first shot of the production is copied from the camera original to a new tape, then the second (the bit of it that's needed), the third, etc. The problem with this system is that once you've finished the edit you view it, and nearly always, decide you want shot three to be a little shorter. Then you have to start again from shot 4, all the way to 472 again. See Sequence editing.

Lip Sync
Relationship between the movements of a performer's mouth and the words you hear. If they occur simultaneously, the shot is said to be in sync.

Location shooting
Anything shot outside the studio. Can be a short insert or the whole programme. Documentaries are nearly always shot completely on location.

Short piece of magnetic tape joined end to end so as to provide constant sound when played. Used to provide background sound - e.g. crickets chirping or distant traffic.

Low Key
Scene lit so that the areas of darkness predominate. Contrast is high.

The black and white, or brightness, part of a component video signal.

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M & E
Full music and effects, without commentary. Might or might not contain sync dialogue.

Lens, or device on a lens, enabling very close shots.

Master shot
A long take of an entire scene, generally a relatively long shot that facilitates the assembly of component closer shots and details. The editor can always fall back on the master shot: consequently, it is also called a cover shot. A shot which tries to contain all (or at least the majority) of the action in that scene.

Match cut
A cut where there is a logical connection between the two shots. The new shot immediately makes sense to the viewer. For example, the first shot shows a man looking at something off-screen, the second shot shows what he sees. It is so natural that the viewer doesn't notice the cut.

A system for replacing a (usually blue or green) background of a scene with another picture. See CSO.

Matte box
A device that can be fixed in front of the camera lens to hold cut-out pieces of card or metal to simulate a keyhole or POV through binoculars, for instance.

Medium Close-up (MCU)
A 'head and shoulders' shot. Cuts the subject just below the armpits!

Megapixel (MP) ***
A million pixels.

Mid Shot
(Also called a medium shot) About half the person. Cuts off just below the elbows - somewhere around waist level.

Minimum Focusing Distance
The minimum distance (from camera to lens) at which a subject is in clear focus.

Term bandied about by film students who wish to impress.

See Dissolve.

Mixed light
Mixture of two differently coloured kinds of light, e.g. daylight and ordinary tungsten lights.

1. Simply, editing.
2.   An edited sequence of two or more shots that have no logical connection, but which, together, suggest something not specifically shown.

MultiMedia Card (MMC) ***
Type of storage medium used in some digital devices, including still cameras.

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See Commentary.

Narrative Film
A film that tells a story. As they all should.

Most film productions are shot on negative film - the actual stuff that goes through the camera is black where the scene was white and vice versa.

Non-Linear Editing
A system of editing that allows random access to any shot using a computer system. Basically, a computer keeps a list (see EDL) of how much to show of what shots in which order. If you see what I mean…

National Television Standards Committee. The television and video standard in use in the United States, Japan, and some other countries. 525 horizontal lines at a field rate of 60 fields per second. Some people say it stands for Never Twice the Same Colour.

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Off-Line Edit
A low resolution, edit process where creative editing decisions can be made at lower cost than in an fully equipped on-line suite. But computer editing systems are overtaking both off- and on-line edit suites.

Omnidirectional microphone
A microphone that is sensitive to sounds from all directions.

Optical Barrier ***
An imaginary line along the direction of travel or eyeline. If you take shots from both sides of the line, the cuts will jump.

Optical zoom
See Zoom Lens.

On-Line Edit
An editing process where the actual video master is created. An on-line suite will usually have an editing controller, vision mixer, sound mixer, a DVE, character generator, and several video tape machines.

Shooting film faster than the usual 24 or 25 frames a second in order to produce a slow motion effect.

Exposing the image sensor (or film) to more light than is needed to render the scene correctly. Results in a photograph that is usually pretty ugly.

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Phase Alternating Line. The television and video standard in use in most of Europe. 625 horizontal lines at 50 fields a second.

Movement of the camera from left to right or right to left around the imaginary vertical axis that runs through the camera.

Parallel Action
See Crosscutting.

Persistence of Vision
After an picture disappears, the eye continues to see the image for a short time. In cinemas and on television, the next picture is arranged to arrive just as the eye ceases to see the old shot. The brain therefore thinks the action is continuous and 'sees' moving pictures.

Pixel ***
Piny square of digital data. The basis of all digital images.

Effect when individual pixels can be seen. On a still camera, when a shot has been printed at a very large size; on still and movie, when the digital zoom has been used.

The sequence(s) of incidents, events and actions which make up the story.

Point of view shot (POV)
A shot which shows the scene from the specific point of view of one of the characters.

Polarising Filter
Filter that eliminates light reflected at a certain angle. Can help increase colour saturation, and reduce hot spots on water, car bodies, etc.

Prime Lens
A non-zoom lens. Generally gives better picture quality, and can enable the camera to shoot with less light than a zoom.

The person in charge of all the business aspects of a film or television programme. Usually initiates the creation of the production. On a feature film, he will find the script, hire a director, find financing and a studio to back the film, and market the film. In television, he or she performs a similar job, but usually works on a series of programmes. In non-fiction television programmes the producer is sometimes the director as well.

All the furniture, decorations, properties and other bits of stuff in the picture you see on screen.

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Radio microphone
A microphone that works with a receiver to enable the user great freedom of movement. He or she doesn't have to be connected to the camera by wire.

Raw Stock
Unexposed film.

Small portable mains light of about 800 watts.

1. Ensuring that the outputs of the red, green and blue imaging chips in a video camera coincide exactly.
2.   Steadiness of the image from a film camera. Some cameras have pins that hold the film in place while it is being exposed - some have a spring-loaded plate. Shaky registration may be unnoticeable on a small editing screen and awful in the cinema.

Reverse angle
A shot that complements a previous shot - in a drama, a shot of the second participant.

Red, Green, Blue.The primary colours that make up white light. Additive system of colour filtration. Uses various combinations of the three primary colours to render any hue. See also CMYK.

Rifle Microphone
Very directional device.

Rig or Rig In
Setting up lights, tripods, sound gear, etc., before production begins.

Rough Cut
The first edit - done very quickly with no frills - to enable the editor and director to get an idea of how a production will look in its final form.

The first quick print of a camera original film. Also, by extension, camera original videotape.

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The purity of a colour. Pastel colours are not very saturated.

A complete unit of film narration. A series of shots (or a single shot) that takes place in a single location and that deals with a single action. Sometimes used interchangeably with sequence.

Large softlight.

The complete written script of a film, including the dialogue and instructions for the director and cinematographer. In television, the equivalent is the teleplay.

A person whose business it is to write screenplays.

Wire mesh, gauze or fibreglass cloth placed in front of a light to soften and diffuse it.

The master document for any production. Can be a complete treatment (see Screenplay) or a simple list of ingredients (for a wildlife film, for instance).

SD-card ***
Type of storage medium used in some digital devices.

Sound carried on a physically separate tape or magnetised film from the picture.

Second Unit
Additional crew used when more than one camera is needed on a scene (e.g. a car crash) or to pick up additional shots in which the main cast doesn't appear (for instance an airliner landing).

Directional 5 kilowatt lamp using a Fresnel lens.

Sensor ***
A sensor captures the image by converting the amount of light on different areas of it into a series of electrical pulses. (Note: vast over-simplification!) There are two main types of sensor. See CCD and CMOS.

Part of a production, consisting of a series of shots which have been edited together to appear as a single unbroken event.

Sequence Editing
With a linear editing sequence it can be very time consuming to make alterations to a long production.Generally, therefore, sequences are edited separately, then combined on a third generation tape. If a change is needed to part of sequence 2, that sequence is edited again, then the sequences are re-edited onto tape 3. Laborious, but not as much so as re-editing the whole production.

A single view of the action or image.

Shooting Ratio
Ratio of amount of film or tape shot to that used in the final production.

The device that allows light onto a film for a short time, closes off the light while the film is moved to the next frame, then allows the light through again. Usually a spinning disc with a hole in it.

Shutter priority ***
Shooting mode on a still camera. The user sets the camera's shutter speed, and the camera calculates the aperture setting needed for correct exposure.

Shutter Speed ***
The length of time the shutter is open and light strikes the image sensor.

Situation comedy
Usually called a sit-com. A series of short comedy programmes following a formula and usually having the same cast and studio sets.

Short End
If you want to shoot a shot that's one minute long and the film left in the camera is only enough for forty seconds, that film is taken out and a new roll loaded. The old film (short end) is unloaded and put in a can for future use on a short shot. More likely it vanishes into somebody's goody bag.

Another name for the clapper board.

Snoot or Snood
Large black cone with the end cut off. The large end fits over a lamp and a very narrow beam of light comes out of the small end.

Light that casts indistinct shadows. Can be a light with a large open face or hard light that has been bounced off a white surface or filtered through a piece of paper or scrim.

The joining together of two pieces of film or tape.

1. Very directional light, usually operated during shot to follow a subject.
2.   To adjust a light to make the beam more narrow and concentrated.

A system which permits hand-held shooting with an image steadiness comparable to tracking shots on a dolly. It is basically a harness worn by the cameraman on which the camera is mounted on a head that allows it to 'float'.

Stock Shot
A pre-existing shot taken from a library.

A sequence of cartoon frames showing the basic shots for a scene of a film or television programme. It is drawn during the planning stage, and gives the director a chance to try out ideas without spending much money.

To de-rig a set.

Written words placed usually at the bottom of the screen, often in a different language from the original.

Sun Gun
Small handheld battery light.

Swish pan
See Whip pan.

Sync (Synchronisation)
Picture and sound exactly in time with each other.

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The end of a film. See head.

One version of a certain shot. A film-maker shoots one or more takes of each shot or set-up. The best of each appears in the final production.

Telephoto (lens) ***
Lens with a long focal distance - therefore a narrow angle of view. Magnifies distant objects.

The camera looks up or down, rotating around the axis that runs from left to right through the camera head.

Tracking shot
A shot when the camera is moved by means of wheels. The movement is normally quite steady and can be fast or slow.

Two K (and similar)
Powerful mains light.

See Flag.

A device that creates video from motion picture film. Basically a projector and a television camera.

Time Code
A time reference to identify each frame of film, videotape or sound tape.

To move the camera forwards or backwards. On film, also to move it sideways. See Dolly.

A shot with two people (or one Dolly Parton) in it.

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Shooting film slower than the usual 24 or 25 frames a second in order to make action in the finished shot appear faster.

Away from the camera.

Exposing the image sensor to less light than is needed to render the scene as the eye sees it. Results in a photograph that is dark – but can be improved to some extent by software filtering.

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Video Cassette Recorder.

Video Home System. Half inch video cassette recorder with low resolution.

Vertical Interval Time Code. Timecode stored in the vertical interval of the video signal.

The voice of an unseen narrator.

Vox Pop
Vox Populi. Technique of asking a number of people for their views on one subject. Also the result - a series of short shots showing the replies.

Video Tape Recorder.

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Walk Through
Rehearsal of a scene without trying for a performance. It's to let everyone see the action, positions, etc.

Clothes worn by performers in a film's action.

Whip pan
A fast pan in which the shot deteriorates to a blur.

Wide Angle
Lens with a short focal length, therefore a wide angle of view. Used close to a subject, it can distort the view.

Wild Track
Sound recorded on location independently from the picture.

An optical effect in which an image appears to wipe over or push aside the previous shot.

White balance
See Colour balance.

To put away the equipment at the end of the day, or (especially) the end of the final day of a shoot.

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A shot using a lens whose focal length is adjusted during the shot. Mimics a track, but is not the same.

Zoom lens ***
Variable focal length lens. Can be adjusted to get exact framing. Compare with Digital Zoom.

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