Film Term Glossary

"feel good" film (or movie) Usually a light-hearted, upbeat comedy or romance that ends with an audience-pleasing conclusion; sometimes used derogatively; compare to tearjerker.
"for your consideration" A phrase often used in special trade advertisements (in publications such as Variety) that are paid for by studios to promote "Oscar-worthy" films (and their actors) and createOscar buzz for Academy Award nominations, especially for borderline films and/or lesser known indie efforts and lesser-known performers that would probably be overlooked without the additional publicity, aka FYC.
"It" List Refers to the tendency in show business to prioritize individuals (stars, writers, would-be celebrities, or up-and comers) as 'hot' or 'watchable' - highlighting those who have suddenly 'burst onto the scene' and are either notable and bankable; those who had some transient success or 'brush with greatness, but then were demoted from the list are called forgotten, has-beens, shooting stars, or flashes in the pan (after "fifteen minutes of fame" - an Andy Warhol expression); aka "A" List.
(film) score The musical component of a movie's soundtrack, usually composed specifically for the film by a film composer; the background music in a film, usually specially composed for the film; may be orchestral, synthesized, or performed by a small group of musicians; also refers to the act of writing music for a film.
(the) Coast Slang meaning either Hollywood or Los Angeles, both entertainment centers.
180 degree rule A screen direction rule that camera operators must follow - an imaginary line on one side of the axis of action is made (e.g., between two principal actors in a scene), and the camera must not cross over that line - otherwise, there is a distressing visual discontinuity and disorientation; similar to the axis of action (an imaginary line that separates the camera from the action before it) that should not be crossed.
180-Degree Rule This is the rule which states that if two people are filmed in a sequence there is an invisible line between them and the camera should only be positioned anywhere within the 180 degrees on one side of the line. Crossing the line results in a certain particular jump, where is appears that the two people suddenly switched places. A simple way to keep from crossing the line If two people are talking to each other in a scene is that one person should always be looking left and the other looking right.
24 frames per second Refers to the standard frame rate or film speed - the number of frames or images that are projected or displayed per second; in the silent era before a standard was set, many films were projected at 16 or 18 frames per second, but that rate proved to be too slow when attempting to record optical film sound tracks; aka 24fps or 24p.
3,200K 3,200K is the color temperature of Tungsten.
3-D A film that has a three-dimensional, stereoscopic form or appearance, giving the life-like illusion of depth; often achieved by viewers donning special red/blue (or green) or polarized lens glasses; when 3-D images are made interactive so that users feel involved with the scene, the experience is called virtual reality; 3-D experienced a heyday in the early 1950s; aka 3D, three-D, Stereoscopic 3D, Natural Vision 3D, or three-dimensional.
5,400K is the color temperature of Daylight.
A Wrap or "It's a Wrap" What to say when you are done shooting, either for the day, at that particular set, or on the entire film. Usually if it's not the final shoot you would say you are just going to "wrap for the day."
A.D.R. Automated Dialogue Recording. This is dubbing, done as a substitution or in addition to Location Sound. The term A.D.R. obscures the fact that there was dubbing when it appears in the credits of a film.
A.S.A. The sensitivity to light of a certain type of film. A.S.A. is the number used to measure film speed. A.S.A. stands for American Standards Association, the organization that standardized the scale of measurement of film speed. It is the same as I.E. and I.S.O.
A'amp;B rolls Rolls of negatives of an edited film, cut to correspond to picture that are separated into two rolls, A and B. This allows for invisible splices, instant changes of the timing lights and fades and dissolves without the need for opticals. The A roll has the odd numbered shots, with black leader in place of the missing shots. The B roll has the even numbered shots; with black leader in place of the shots on the A roll. The negative is printed in three passes through the contact printer, one for each roll and another for the soundtrack.
above the line Usually refers to that part of a film's budget that covers the costs associated with major creative talent: the stars, the director, the producer(s) and the writer(s), although films with expensive special effects (and few stars) have more 'above the line' budget costs for technical aspects; the term's opposite is below the line.
abstract (form) A type of film that rejects traditional narrative in favor of using poetic form (color, motion, sound, irrational images, etc.) to convey its meaning or feeling; aka non-linear; see alsoavant garde.
absurd (absurdism) A stage, philosophical and literary term originally, adopted by film-makers, in which ordinary settings become bizarre, illogical, irrational, unrealistic, meaningless, and incoherent.
Academy aperture Sometimes called the Full Academy Aperture. This is the full frame (35 mm) exposed by the camera, with an aspect ratio of 1.33. When the film is projected there is a mask in the projector's gate to change the aspect ratio to 1.85 or 1.66, cropping the top and bottom of the image. Older films should be projected without a mask as they were not shot to be masked.
Academy Awards The name given to the prestigious film awards presented each year by AMPAS (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, or simply 'The Academy'), a professional honorary organization within the industry, since 1927. The annual awards show, in slang, is sometimes referred to as a kudo cast, see also Oscars.
Academy leader Sometimes also known as S.M.P.T.E. leader, this is a'nbsp; standard countdown leader, counting down 8 to 3 and then with one frame of 2, at which point there is a single frame beep on the sound track. It is used at the beginning of a film for the lab to line up sound (using the beep) and later for the projectionist to know when to turn on the lamp and hopefully not miss the opening of the film.
act A main division within the plot of a film; a film is often divided by 'plot points' (places of dramatic change) rather than acts; long films are divided mid-way with an intermission.
action (1) any movement or series of events (usually rehearsed) that take place before the camera and propel the story forward toward its conclusion; (2) the word called out (by a megaphone) at the start of the current take during filming to alert actors to begin performing; (3) also refers to the main component of action films - that often contain significant amounts of violence .
actor Refers either to a male performer, or to any male or female who plays a character role in an on-screen film; alternate gender-neutral terms: player, artist, or performer.
actress Refers to any female who portrays a role in a film.
ad lib A line of dialogue improvised by an actor during a performance; can be either unscripted or deliberate;improvisation consists of ad-libbed dialogue (and action) that is invented or created by the performer.
adaptation The presentation of one art form through another medium; a film based upon, derived from (or adapted from) a stage play (or from another medium such as a short story, book, article, history, novel, video game, comic strip/book, etc.) which basically preserves both the setting and dialogue of the original; can be in the form of a script (screenplay) or a proposal treatment.
ADR The process of re-recording lines after shooting to replace poor-quality sound or slightly alter line delivery. Often used to eliminate naughty swear words to gain that audience-friendly PG-13. Occasionally used to re-dub one actor' voice with another
aerial shot A camera shot filmed in an exterior location from far overhead (from a bird's eye view), as from a helicopter (most common), blimp, balloon, plane, or kite; a variation on thecrane shot; if the aerial shot is at the opening of a film, aka an establishing shot.
Aerial Shot An aerial shot is typically made from a helicopter or created with miniatures (today, digitally), showing a location from high overhead.
Aesthetics The specific �look� of the film. The film�s style. Consider the �sci-fi� look created by a blue/green colour palette & low key lighting in Joe Cornish�s Attack The Block, for example.
Alan Smithee film The pseudonym used by directors who refuse to put their name on a film and want to disassociate themselves, usually when they believe their control or vision has been co-opted by the studio (i.e., the film could have been recut, mutilated and altered against their wishes); aka Alan Smithee Jr., Allan Smithee, or Allen Smithee.
A-Level (or A-List) Usually refers to top-tier actors/actresses who are paid upwards of $20 million per feature film; can also refer to producers, directors and writers who can be guaranteed to have a film made and released.
allegory Mostly a literary term, but taken in film terms to mean a suggestive resemblance or correspondence between a visible event or character in a film with other more significant or abstract levels of meaning outside of the film; an extended metaphor.
allusion A direct or indirect reference - through an image or through dialogue - to the Bible, a classic, a person, a place, an external and/or real-life event, another film, or a well-known cultural idea.
alternate ending The shooting (or re-shooting) of a film's ending for its theatrical release, usually enforced by the studio for any number of reasons (because of test audience preview results, controversial or unpopular subject matter, to provide a 'happy' ending, etc.). See also director's cut.
ambiance The feeling or mood of a particular scene or setting.
ambient light The natural light (usually soft) or surrounding light around a subject in a scene; also see background lighting.
ambiguity A situation, story-line, scene, or character, etc. in which there are apparent contradictions; an event (and its outcome) is deliberately left unclear, and there may exist more than one meaning or interpretation; can be either intentional or unintentional, to deliberately provoke imaginative thinking or confusion.
anachronism An element or artifact in a film that belongs to another time or place; often anachronistic elements are called film flubs.
Analytical Paper In an analytical paper, you want to make sure to not just summarize the film, but to make an argument about what the author of the film was trying to communicate. A strong analytical paper focuses on both the visual and narrative components of a film. Some things to focus on within this style of paper are
anamorphic Related to different optical imaging effects; refers to a method of intentionally distorting and creating a wide screen image with standard film, using a conversion process or a special lens on the camera and projector to produce different magnifications in the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the picture; an anamorphic image usually appears "squished" horizontally, while retaining its full vertical resolution; see alsoaspect ratio and the trade name CinemaScope. Many studios produced anamorphic lenses, using other trade names such as Panavision, Technovision, and Technirama. On the right are examples of anamorphic imaging effects from the film Blade (1998) (with an aspect ratio of 2:35.1)..
Anamorphic This is a method of creating a wide screen image with standard film, using a special lens on the camera and projector that compresses the width of the image that is exposed on the film and then when projected, expands it .
ancillary rights Contractual agreement in which a percentage of the profits are received and derived from the sale of action figures, posters, CDs, books, T-shirts, etc..
angle Refers to the perspective from which a camera depicts its subject; see camera angle, and other specific shots (high, low, oblique, etc.).
animation (and animator, animated films) A form or process of filmmaking in which inanimate, static objects or individual drawings (hand-drawn or CGI) are filmed "frame by frame" or one frame at a time (opposed to being shot "live"), each one differing slightly from the previous frame, to create the illusion of motion in a sequence, as opposed to filming naturally-occurring action or live objects at a regular frame rate. Often used as a synonym for cartoons(or toons for short), although animation includes other media such as claymation, computer animation; see also CGI,claymation, stop-motion, time lapse..
anime A distinctive style of animated film that has its roots in Japanese comic books (known as manga), yet covers a wide range of genres, such as romance, action/adventure, drama, gothic, historical, horror, mystery, erotica (hentai), children's stories, although most notably sci-fi and fantasy themes; originally called 'Japanimation' but this term is not used anymore; anime is found in a wide variety of storylines and settings, but usually recognizable and often characterized by heavily-stylized backgrounds, colorful images and graphics, highly exaggerated facial expressions with limited facial movement, simulation of motion through varying the background behind a static character or other foreground.
Answer print The first corrected print made from the A'amp;B Rolls that is printed with the optical track. Often called a married print , it is the first time that picture and sound is blended together on the same'nbsp; print stock. It could also be called the First Answer Print, and when there are further corrections in timing the next print is known as the Second Answer Print, followed by the Third Answer Print, etc.
antagonist The main character, person, group, society, nature, force, spirit world, bad guy, or villain of a film or script who is in adversarial conflict with the film's hero, lead character orprotagonist; also sometimes termed the heavy..
anthology film A multi-part or multi-segmented film with a collection or series of various tales or short stories sometimes linked together by some theme or by a 'wrap-around' tale; often the stories are directed by different directors or scripted by various screenwriters, and are in the horror film genre; also known as an episode film or omnibus film; this term may also refer to a full-length, compilation-documentary film of excerpted segments or clips from other films (i.e., That's Entertainment (1974))..
anthropomorphism The tendency in animated films to give creatures or objects human qualities, abilities, and characteristics..
anti-climax Anything in a film, usually following the film's high point, zenith, apex, crescendo, or climax, in which there is an unsatisfying and disappointing let-down of emotion, or what is expected doesn't occur..
Anti-hero The principal protagonist of a film who lacks the attributes or characteristics of a typical hero archetype, but with whom the audience identifies. A central figure in a work that repels us by his or her actions or morality, yet who is not a villain. The Anti-hero accomplishes a useful purpose or even does heroic deeds. The character is often confused or conflicted with ambiguous morals, or character defects and eccentricities, and lacks courage, honesty, or grace. The anti hero can be tough yet sympathetic, or display vulnerable and weak traits. Specifically, the anti-hero often functions outside the mainstream and challenges it..Max of The Road Warrior and many Clint Eastwood characters epitomize the 1970-80s anit-hero. (example)
Aperture Refers to the measurement of the opening in a camera lens that regulates the amount of light passing through and contacting the film..
Apple box A wooden box that is often helpful on the set to raise up equipment. The cameraperson can stand on it if the tripod is up high. Sometimes people will use them as seats. There are also half apples and quarter apples which are not as thick.
arc shot A shot in which the subject(s) is photographed by an encircling or moving camera..
archetype A character, place, or thing, that is repeatedly presented in films with a particular style or characterization; an archetype usually applies to a specific genre or type classification..
Arm Attached to a C-Stand, this metal rod can be extended.
arret French word meaning 'halt' or 'stop'; refers to the in-camera trick technique of stopping the camera, then removing or inserting an object, then restarting the camera to have an object magically disappear or appear; one of the earliest techniques of silent film.
art director Refers to the individual responsible for the design, look, and feel of a film's set, including the number and type of props, furniture, windows, floors, ceilings dressings, and all other set materials; a member of the film's art department (responsible for set construction, interior design, and prop placement)..
arthouse A motion picture theater that shows foreign or non mainstream independent films, often considered high-brow or 'art' films..
art-house film Films, often low budget or 'art' films, that are acknowledged as having artistic merit or aesthetic pretensions, and are shown in an arthouse theatre; films shown usually include foreign language films, independent films, non-mainstream (sometimes anti-Hollywood) films, shorts, documentaries, explicitly-erotic films, and other under-appreciated cinema of low mass appeal; began to appear in the 1950s and provided a distinct contrast to commercial films..
aside Occurs when a character in a film breaks the 'fourth wall' and directly addresses the audience with a comment..
aspect ratio In general, a term for how the image appears on the screen based on how it was shot; refers to the ratio of width (horizontal or top) to height (vertical or side) of a film frame, image or screen; the most common or standard aspect ratio in early films to the 1950s was called Academy Aperture (or ratio), at a ratio of 1.33:1 (the same as 4:3 on a TV screen); normal 35mm films are shot at a ratio of 1.85:1; newwidescreen formats and aspect ratios were introduced in the 1950s, from 1.65:1 and higher; CinemaScope (a trade name for a widescreen movie format used in the US from 1953 to 1967) and other anamorphic systems (such as Panavision) have a 2.35:1 AR, while 70mm formats have an AR of 2.2:1;Cinerama had a 2.77:1 aspect ratio; letterboxed videos for widescreen TV's are frequently in 16:9 (or 1.77:1) AR..
assembly The first stage of editing, in which all the shots are arranged in script order..
asynchronous (sound) Refers to audio-track sounds that are mismatched or out of conjunction or unison with the images in the visual frame (or screen); sometimes accidental, but sometimes intentional; aka non-synchronized.
atmosphere Refers to any concrete or nebulous quality or feeling that contributes a dimensional tone to a film's action..
audience Refers to spectators, viewers, participants - those who serve as a measure of a film's success; although usually audiences are viewed in universal terms, they can also be segmented or categorized (e.g., 'art-film' audiences, 'chick film' audiences, etc.)..
audio Refers to the sound portion of a film. .
audio bridge Refers to an outgoing sound (either dialogue or sound effects) in one scene that continues over into a new image or shot - in.
audition The process whereby an actor-performer seeks a role by presenting to a director or casting director a prepared reading or by 'reading cold' from the film script, or performing a choreographed dance; after the initial audition, a performer may be called back for additional readings or run-throughs..
Auteur From the French �author�. A director who has control over the style of the film. Consider Richard Ayoade�s authorial stamp on Submarine and his homage to the French New Wave through nostalgic, hand held footage and a faded colour scheme.
auteur (or auteur theory) Literally the French word for "author"; in film criticism, used in the terms auteurism or auteur theory, denoting a critical theory (originally known as la politique des auteurs or "the policy of authors") popular in France in the late 1940s and early 1950s that was introduced by Francois Truffaut and the editors (including legendary film critic and theorist Andre Bazin) of the celebrated French film journal Cahiers du Cin�ma (literally 'cinema notebooks'), arguably the most influential film magazine in film history; their ideas were subsequently enlarged upon in the 1960s by American critic Andrew Sarris, among others; the theory ascribed overall responsibility for the creation of a film and its personal vision, identifiable style, thematic aspects and techniques to its film maker or director, rather than to the collaborative efforts of all involved (actors, producer, production designer, special effects supervisor, etc); the theory posited that directors should be considered the 'true' authors of film (rather than the screenwriters) because they exercise a great deal of control over all facets of film making and impart a distinctive, personal style to their films; simply stated, an auteur can refer to a director with a recognizable or signature style..
available light The naturally-existing light in an off-set location; a film's realism is enhanced by using available or natural light rather than having artificial light..
avant-garde Refers to an experimental, abstract, or highly independent, non-independent film that is often the forerunner of a new artistic genre or art form; avant-garde films self-consciously emphasize technique over substance; also loosely applies to a group of French and German filmmakers in the early 20th century and to some modern American experimental filmmakers (e.g., Andy Warhol), and their film movement that challenged conventional film-making; see also cinema verite,surrealism, and abstract form.
A-Wind and B-Wind The emulsion position of the film. There are two sides to a piece of film, and there are also two possibilities: camera original is B-Wind, while a print struck from it will be A-Wind: because film is printed emulsion against emulsion. In order to tell if a piece of film is A-Wind or B-Wind, one holds it up with the emulsion facing you. The image will read correctly if it is A-Wind, but if it is B-Wind it will appear as a mirror image. You can't mix A-Wind and B-Wind material, unless you want things to appear as a mirror image or soft in focus as a result of being printed base-to-emulsion.
back lot An area, on studio property, in an open-air, outdoor space away from the studio stages, where real-life situations with backgrounds are filmed; contrasted to on-location shoots that are more expensive; various studios in the Los Angeles area offer back lot tours..
back projection A photographic technique whereby live action is filmed in front of a transparent screen onto which background action is projected. Back projection was often used to provide the special effect of motion in vehicles during dialogue scenes, but has become outmoded and replaced by bluescreen (or greenscreen) processing and traveling mattes; also known as rear projection or process photography (or shot); contrast to matte shot..
Back projection An age-old technique where pre-recorded footage appears behind the actors being filmed, often used for driving scenes (think Airplane! or any classic 1950s movie). Nowadays, it' largely been replaced with greenscreen, but is occasionally used for nostalgia' sake in films like Kill Bill.
back story Refers to the events that directly happened prior to the beginning of the story, or lead to the story; composed of information that helps fill out the skeletal story of a screenplay or a character's background, often to help actors (or the audience) understand motivation..
backdrop Refers to a large photographic backing or painting for the background of a scene (e.g., a view seen outside a window, a landscape scene, mountains, etc.), usually painted on flats(composed of plywood or cloth); a large curved backdrop (often representing the sky) is known as a cyclorama; backdrops were more commonly used before the current trend toward on-location shooting and the use of bluescreens..
background music Refers to part of the score that accompanies a scene or action in a film, usually to establish a specific mood or enhance the emotion..
backlighting This phenomenon occurs when the lighting for the shot is directed at the camera from behind the subject(s), causing the figure(s) in the foreground to appear in semi-darkness or as silhouettes, or highlighted; with backlighting, the subject is separated from the background..
Backlighting When it is as if an aura is around the characters, often done in romantic scenes.
balance Within a film's visual frame, refers to the composition, aesthetic quality, or working together of the figures, light, sound, and movement..
banned The blocking of a film's release (in a theatre showing or on video) by either the government or an official movie classification board, for political, religious, sexual, or social reasons; see also censorship..
barn doors The black metal folding doors an all four sides of a light that can be bent back and forth on their hinges to control where the light is directed..
Barndoors Handy blinders on the sides of lights that can be used to keep light from going everywhere. They can also be used to clip on a lighting gel. They get very hot when a light is on, so it is best to wear work gloves when adjusting them.
Barney A quilted cozy that fits around a camera to reduce camera noise. Generally it is only effective on a camera that is pretty quiet to begin with. The term comes from barney blanket, a kind of horse blanket.
Base Film has two basic elements: The base is the clear, perforated strip, and the emulsion is the thin, light-sensitive layer that is glued onto it.
based on a true story Films that consist of a story line that has at least some basis in real historical events, and may actually contain only a few factual elements. These films, loosely based on various biographies, stories, or events, may/may not significantly alter the characters or situations for greater dramatic effect;inspired by a true story indicates the film is even looser with the factual basis of the events..
Bayonet A type of lens mount commonly used with heavier lenses, such as zoom lenses. In contrast to screw-mount lenses, bayonet lenses are attached to the camera with a locking mechanism. Bayonet lenses can typically be changed much faster than screw-mount lenses.
beat Refers to an actor's term for how long to wait before doing an action; a beat is usually about one second..
behind the scenes The off-camera events or circumstances during filmmaking..
below the line Opposite of above the line..
best boy The term for any technical assistant, apprentice or aide (regardless of sex) for the gaffer or the (key) grip on a set, responsible for the routing and coiling of power cables necessary to run the lights for a shot; a gender-neutral term that came from whaling..
Best Light Similar to a One Light, but by implication, the timer has gone through the film more thoroughly in selecting a timing light that will agree with the majority of the footage.
beta 1/2 inch videotape that was originally called Betamax..
B-Film (or B-Movie, B-Picture) An off-beat, low-budget, second-tier film, usually from an independent producer; they were predominant from the 1920s to the late 1940s; they were shot quickly with little-known, second rate actors, short run times, and low production values; often the second film (or the 'lower half') of a double feature, and paired with an A-feature; the vintage B-movie began to decrease in the 50s, or morphed into inferior TV series; sometimes B-films were exclusively shown in agrindhouse, especially in the 50s and 1960s; as code restrictions waned in the late 60s, B-films often becameexploitation films, which added sensational and catchy titles, campy acting, cheesy special effects, and gratuitous violence and sexuality (nudity); contrast to A pictures (first-class, big-budget films with high-level production values and star-power); not to be confused with cult films, although some B-films attained cult status.
billing The placement or display of names of actors, directors, and producers for a movie in publicity materials, opening (or closing) film credits, and on theatre marquees. A person's status is indicated by the size, relative position, and placement of their name. Generally, higher positions closer to the top with larger and more prominent letters designate higher importance and greater box-office draw, and precede people of lesser importance; the most prominent actor that appears first is said to have top billing, followed by second billing, and so forth..
Bin see Trim Bin.
bio-pic (or biographic) A biographical film of the life of a famous personality or historical figure, particularly popularized by Warner Bros. in the 1930s; a sub-genre of drama and epic films..
Bird's-eye View Most disorienting because it shows something from being filmed directly overhead. The subject matter becomes unrecognizable and abstract. The viewer becomes like an all-powerful god.
bit part (or bit player) A small acting role (usually only one scene, such as a waiter) with very few lines or acting; contrast to a cameo, extra, orwalk-on role..
biz In shorthand, refers to the "business", or "show business"..
black and white Simply means without color; before the invention of color film stock, all films were black and white; monochrome (literally meaning "one color") usually refers to a film shot in black and white, although it can refer to a film shot in shades of one color; grainy B&W is often used to convey authenticity; abbreviated asBW, B/W, and B&W; contrast to color..
Black Comedy a subgenre of humor that uses cruelty or terrible situations to make the reader or viewer laugh, sometimes uncomfortably. Horror comedies such as Zombieland exemplify black comedy in film.
Black Emulsion Leader Black leader is black, opaque film, often specifially called black emulsion leader. It is what the negative cutter uses when preparing A'amp;B rolls. It is very important that it be emulsion leader rather than plastic leader when used for A'amp;B rolls, since plastic leader cannot be cement spliced. It also must be very opaque, not any black piece of film will do.
black or dark comedy A type of comedy film, first popular during the late 1950s and early 1960s in which normally serious subjects, such as war, death, dismemberment, misery, suffering, or murder, are treated with macabre humor and satire through iconography, dialogue, and the characters; settings may include cemeteries, war rooms, funerals.
Black-and-White Film Black-and-white film contains an emulsion that, when processed, changes colors into various shades of gray.
Blacklist Once a source of shame for the movie industry, this originally referred to actors and directors shunned by Hollywood during the heights of McCarthyism in the 1950s for alleged ties to Communism. Now, however, it refers to the annual “blacklist”, an insider survey that compiles the year' (allegedly) best unproduced screenplays. It' resulted in The King' Speech, Argo, and… Cop Out.
blacklisting (and blacklist) Refers to late 40s and early 50s McCarthyism and the HUAC's (House UnAmerican Activities Committee) formal and informal discrimination and 'blacklisting' (effectively banning from employment) of various actors, artists and film-makers based upon their personal, political, social, or religious beliefs (i.e., "Communist sympathizers"); the blacklist was a roster of illegal artists who were not to be hired during the years 1947- 1951..
blaxploitation A combination of the terms "black" and "exploitation"; refers mainly to sensational, low-budget films in the 1970's featuring mostly African-American casts (and directors), that broke the mold of black characterization in feature films; usually emphasized fads of the time in hairstyles, music and costuming, and also brutality, sleazy sex, street-life, racist and militant attitudes, etc..
Blighty Used to refer to Britain.
Blimp A fiberglass housing used to encase a noisy camera to make it suitable for sync sound filming.
Blimped Camera or Self-Blimped Camera The term is used not to mean a camera in a blimp, but a camera that is designed with internal soundproofing without the need for an external blimp. For instance, with an Arri BL the "BL" stands for "blimped."
blockbuster Originally referred to a large bomb that would destroy an entire city block during World War II; now in common usage, an impactful movie that is a huge financial success - usually with box-office of more than $200 million (the new benchmark by the early 2000s, after the original mark was $100 million) upon release in North America; ticket lines for blockbusters literally go around the 'block'; also known as box-office hit; the term may also refer to a costly film that must be exceptionally popular in order to recoup its expenses and make a profit; the opposite of a blockbuster is a bomb, flop, or turkey. See All Time Box-Office Bombs/Flops..
Blocking The process of running through a scene prior to filming to decide where the actors will move and where lighting and cameras should be placed.
blocking a shot (or scene) The process of figuring out where the camera goes, how the lights will be arranged, and what the actors' positions and movements - moment by moment - are for each shot or take; often, the specific staging of a film's movements are worked out by the director, often with stand-ins and the lighting crew before actual shooting.
blooper An actual error or mistake (misplaced action, or mis-spoken dialogue by a performer), usually embarrassing or humorous, made by a performer during filming; also known as a goof, flawor flub; see also continuity.
Blow Down The actual term for the opposite of a blow up is a Reduction Print, but this term has been coined by Colorlab in Rockville, Maryland, for a reduction print made from super 16mm to regular 16mm, as an alternative to the much more expensive process of blowing up super 16mm to 35mm.
Blow Up An optical enlargement of a film from one gauge to another, such as 16mm up to 35mm. The opposite of a blow up is a Reduction Print.
blow-up An optical process - the enlargement of a photographic image or film frame; often used to create 70mm release prints from original 35mm films.
blue-screen or blue-screen shot A special-effects process whereby actors work in front of an evenly-lit, monochromatic (usually blue or green) background or screen. The background is then replaced (or matted) in post-production by chroma-keying or optical printer, allowing other footage or computer-generated images to form the image; since 1992, most films use a green-screen.
blurb Another name for a commercial or advertisement (usually for TV).
body double (or double) A performer who takes the place of an actor in scenes that require a close-up of body parts without the face visible, often for nude scenes requiring exposed close-ups (considered distasteful by some actors), or scenes requiring physical fitness; not to be confused with stunt double or stand-in.
Bolex One of the more widely used 16mm non-sync cameras, it is made in Switzerland by the Paillard Company. There are many varieties, non-reflex, reflex, springwound and electric motor driven. But when someone says "Bolex," typically they mean a reflex, springwound model, such as the Rex-4.'nbsp;'nbsp;'nbsp; 'nbsp;
Bollywood Refers to the burgeoning film industry of India, the world's biggest film industry, centered in Bombay (now Mumbai); the etymology of the word: from Bo(mbay) + (Ho)llywood; unlike Hollywood, however, Bollywood is a non-existent place..
bookends A term denoting scenes at the beginning and end of a film that complement each other and help tie a film together; aka framing device.
boom A traveling or moveable counter-balanced pole (also calledfishpole or fishing rod), arm, or telescoped extension device upon which a microphone, light or camera can be suspended overhead above a scene and outside the frame during filming (by a boom operator or boom man); for example, a microphone (mike) boom, a camera boom, or a light boom; the most common film mistake is the appearance of the boom mike (or its shadow) in the frame; a mechanical boom mike is known as a 'giraffe.'.
Boom The large fuzzy microphone on the end of a pole that looks a bit like an old dog. It floats above the actors, close enough to pick up dialogue but, ideally, far enough up or down that it doesn’t appear in the shot.
boom shot A continuous single shot made from a moving boom, assembled like a montage, and incorporating any number of camera levels and angles..
bootleg An illegally copied, unauthorized, and/or distributed version of a copyrighted film/video/DVD, often of second-rate quality; also termed pirated..
Bottom of the Frame Vulnerability and powerlessness, objects placed in this area are in danger of slipping out of the frame completely. (example)
Bounce Card A white or silver card used for soft indirect lighting of the subject by bouncing light off the card. Can also be used to provide a gentle brightening of shadow areas. Especially out-of-doors as it does not require power.
bowdlerize(d) Refers to purging anything considered disturbing, vulgar, or adult in content in order to make it sanitized for mass market consumption and appropriate for children; originally a literary term derived from the name of Englishman Thomas Bowdler who published a 'censored' Family Shakespeare version in the early 1800s..
box-office The measure of the total amount of money or box-office receiptspaid by movie-goers to view a movie; also referred to as B. O. orgross; usually divided into domestic grosses (unadjusted and adjusted for inflation), and worldwide grosses; films with great box-office results or a strong and outstanding performance are often termed 'boff', 'boffo', 'boffola', 'whammo', 'hotsy', or'socko'..
Bracketing The filming of several takes of the same shot at different f-stops to achieve the desired result. Usually this technique is applied to shooting titles much more than anything else. (It is a good idea to film a few frames of black in-between, since it is sometimes difficult to tell where the camera was stopped.)
bridging shot A transitional type of shot used to cover or 'bridge' a jump in time or place or other discontinuity; see also audio bridgeand match-cut.
buddy film A subgenre of film (comedies, westerns, dramas, action films, road films, etc.) in which two mismatched persons (usually males) are forced to work together, often a pair of police cops; situations are often contrived to present the pair with challenges or strains that both strengthen their bond and weaken it; buddy films are often action/comedy films with witty dialogue between the two characters and sometimes the inclusion of a love triangle; has been extended to include female buddies; compare to fish-out-of-water tale.
building a scene Using dramatic devices such as increased tempo, volume, and emphasis to bring a scene to a climax.
bumper Usually refers to the pre-film segment of pre-made film that contains studio trademark and logo or title identification; also refers to a period of positive financial growth (i.e., it was a 'bumper year' for films).
buzz Slang for the sense of excitement, expectancy, and hype that surrounds a film, an actor, or a director.
buzz track A soundtrack of natural, atmospheric, on-location background noise that is added to the re-recorded (or looped) track of actors' dialogue and other sound effects recordings to create a more realistic sound; aka referred to as room tone ormatching ambient sound; a wild track or sound refers to a soundtrack w/o any synchronized picture accompanying it (e.g., the sounds of a playground).
B-Wind see A-Wind.
C.R. Abbreviation for Camera Roll.
C.T.B. C.T.B. stands for Color Temperature Blue. This is an abbreviation for the color correction gels used in lighting to convert the color temperature from tungsten to daylight. They come in gradients: Quarter Blue, Half Blue, Full Blue.
C.T.O. C.T.O. stands for Color Temperature Orange. This is an abbreviation for the color correction gels used in lighting to convert the color temperature from daylight to tungsten. They come in gradients: Quarter Orange, Half Orange, Full Orange.
Cable Sync A somewhat archaic method of sync sound shooting, where a cable runs from a Pilottone generator in the camera to the tape recorder.
Call sheet A type of schedule given out periodically during a film's production to let every department know when they are supposed to arrive and where they are to report. A list, usually created by the first assistant director, of actors who will be required on set for each day' shooting, what scenes are scheduled and which locations will be used.
cameo Originally meaning "a small piece of artwork," refers to a bit part (usually a brief, non-speaking or walk-on role that is uncredited or unbilled) or special screen appearance by a famous actor, director, or prominent person who would ordinarily not take such a small part; contrast to a bit part; also refers to a type of camera shot in which the subject is filmed against a black or neutral background. See Directors' Cameos..
camera The basic machine involved in film-making, from a hand-held version to portables, to heavy studio cameras; some of the parts of a camera include the aperture, lens, film magazine (for storage), viewfinder, etc; the positioning of the camera by the camera operator is known as the setup.
Camera Angle The point of view (POV) or perspective (including relative height or direction) chosen from which to photograph a subject. Various camera angles, compositions, or positions include: front, behind, side, top, high (looking down), low (looking up), straight-on or eye-level (standard or neutral angle), tilted (canted or oblique), or subjective, etc.; see alsoframing .
Camera Core A 2 inch Core.
Camera Movement cameras can remain stationary and move side to side (a pan), up and down (a tilt). They can move along on a vehicle or set of tracks straight backward or forward (a track or tracking shot). The camera can be carried for a wobbly (but often powerful) handheld shot. Other shots (some with the camera remaining stationary) include:
Camera Noise The sound of the camera running. Even supposedly quiet cameras will make some noise.
camera operator The individual who is responsible for operating the camera, under the direction of the film's director and director of photography (or cinematography).
Camera Original A slightly more adamant way of saying Original.
Camera Reports A form of paperwork used to log shots and takes and put down any notes either to the lab or for future organization in the editing stage. There is generally one camera report per camera roll. Camera reports can be used to communicate specific timing requests to the lab (for instance, if a shot if lit with unusual color gels, this can be noted to let the timer know not to correct the color). Camera reports are extremely helpful to analyze any problem with the footage, since they provides a written record of the coverage (the least of which is that if the slate has the wrong information written on it, which happens now and then, a note can be made in the camera reports to keep the assistant editor from getting confused about which take is which).
Camera Roll Each roll that you shoot becomes a camera roll. It is often helpful to label them with a number in the order that they were shot. The usual way is with the abbreviation C.R. followed by a number. The lab will then assemble and print them in that order. This makes things less confusing when you first get back your footage.
Camera Stock This is film. It is also called camera stock to distinguish it from Print Stock.
Camera Tape Cloth tape specifically for use on film shoots, much like gaffer's tape. Camera tape is typically 1 inch wide and white so that it can be used together with a sharpie for labeling magazines with the emulsion type and camera roll number. It is valid to use the terms gaffer's tape and camera tape interchangeably (they are both really the same type of tape) depending on how the tape is being used. It is designed not to leave a sticky residue behind on the camera.
camp (or campy) A type of comedy parody wherein conventional (and especially overused or clich�d) situations and plot devices are intentionally exaggerated to the point of absurdity to produce humor.
can ("in the can") Refers to the round metal/plastic container that holds or stores film (reels) for transport or for long-term storage; a film that has been completed is known colloquially as "in the can";canned means pre-recorded; also see reel.
candlelight (lighting) Refers to lighting that is provided by candlelight, to provide a warm hue or tone, and connote intimacy, romance, and harmony.
Canted Angle see Dutch Tilt.
capsule review A short movie review.
caption The descriptive, printed line(s) of text that occasionally appears on the screen, usually at the bottom of the frame, to describe the time/place, or to translate a foreign word/phrase; different from closed-captioning (closed captions are all white uppercase (capital) letters encased in a black box that require a decoder or television with a decoder chip to be viewed) for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers; see also subtitles .
caricature A character appearing ridiculously out of proportion because of one physical, psychological or moral trait that has been grossly or broadly exaggerated; a caricature often portrays a character in an unrealistic, stereotypical fashion.
cartoon An animated film that is usually not of feature length; also seeanimation.
cash cow In movie terms, a definitely guaranteed, 'can't miss'blockbuster film that promises to generate disproportionately tremendous profits due to its lucrative franchise (sequels, merchandising, spin-offs, etc.). See Greatest Film Franchises of All-Time..
cast A collective term for all of the actors/performers (or talent) appearing in a particular film: usually broken down into two parts: the leads with speaking roles, and the seconds or supporting characters, background players or extras, and bit players.
cast against type An actor playing a role distinctly different from roles previously played.
cast of thousands An advertising claim, often used in big-screen historical epicsof the 1930s-60s, when literally 1,000s of extras were hired for crowd scenes, battle scenes, etc .
casting The process of selecting and hiring actors to play the roles and characters in a film production, and be brought under contract; the lead roles are typically cast or selected by the director or a producer, and the minor or supporting roles and bit parts by a casting director; type-casting refers to an actor playing only roles similar to those he/she has played before.
casting couch Refers to the illegal practice (mostly during the heyday of the studio system) when unknown young actors or actresses (starlets) exchanged sex (literally on an office couch) with acasting director or producer in order to acquire/land a role in a film.
catchphrase (film) Short phrases, expressions, or words that have become favored and/or popularized due to repeated use, often by film critics.
catharsis During a film's climax, the audience may experience a purging or cleansing of emotional tension, providing relief or therapeutic restoration.
cautionary tale A literary term, referring to a narrative with a moral message warning of the consequences of certain actions, ideologies, character flaws, technologies or institutions, often with a downbeat ending; many slasher horror films are semi cautionary tales about one of the consequences of sex or experimenting with the occult --- death; see also satire,morality tale and nihilism.
cel (or celluloid, animation cel) Refers to each of the thousands of hand-drawn sheets (of clear, transparent material, either celluloid or Mylar) representing a single animation frame to allow several layers of composition. Cels consist of character cels (containing only the foreground characters or objects - those things that move from frame to frame) and background cels, (static drawings of scenery that remain the same). The character cels are placed against the background cels and filmed or shot one frame (or picture) at a time to produce the effect of motion. Celluloid also refers to the thin strip of transparent plastic coating that forms the film's highly-flammable, light sensitive base layer (such as nitrate base or acetate base); also used as an adjective related to some aspect of cinema (e.g., "the celluloid hero"); the light-sensitive substance coating on one side of the film base is termed emulsion; celluloid is also a slang word for a movie.
Celluloid Cellulose nitrate was the original transparent material used as a base for film, which was then coated with light-sensitive emulsion.
Cement Splice A type of splice used primarily by negative cutters. In a cement splice the two pieces of film overlap each other and are fused together with film cement.
censorship The process of determining what can or can not be viewed by the public or depicted by the motion picture industry; also refers to changes required of a movie by some person or body (other than the studios or film-makers, such as a national or regional film classification board); see also rating systemsand banned. See Sex in Cinema and Most Controversial Films of All-Time..
CGI Or Computer-Generated Imagery (or Images), a term referring to the use of 3D computer graphics and technology (digital computers and specialized software) in film-making to create filmed images, special effects and the illusion of motion; often used to cut down on the cost of hiring extras. SeeVisual/Special Effects..
Champagne Roll Usually at 100 film rolls, or sometimes 100 hard-drive downloads on a digital shoot, into a shoot, the cast and crew get a celebratory glass of champagne. Hooray!
Change pages If a script is altered while filming is underway, any changes are handed out onset in the form of “change pages”. These are normally a different colour to the original script. A script with a lot of changes during filming can look like a beautiful rainbow.
change-over cue The small dot, oval or mark on the top-right corner of a film frame that signaled to the projectionist to change over from one projector (or film reel) to another (about every 15-20 minutes); nowadays, most film theatres have only one projector - the reels are spliced together into one giant roll and fed into a single projector from a horizontal revolving turntable called a platter.
Changing Bag A double chambered black bag with a zipper on one end and two elasticized arm holes on the other side, used for loading film into magazines.
character The fictitious or real individual in a story, performed by an actor; also called players..
character actor An actor who specializes in playing well-defined, stereotypical,archetypal, off-beat, humorous, or highly recognizable, fictional roles of a particular physical, emotional, or behavioral type, in a supporting role; see also typecasting..
character color coding Refers to identifying a film's character or persona with a particular color; changes in color often represent transformations, shifts, merges, or changes in persona.
character study A film that uses strong characterizations, interactions and the personalities of its characters to tell a story, with plot and narrative almost secondary to them.
Cheat When the camera is set up for a second shot at a different angle it is possible to move things around a little to improve the new composition, the difference in perspective and angle of the two shots hiding the fact that things are not exactly in the same place. Both actors and furniture on the set can be cheated. The term is often used as cheating something "into" a shot or "out of" a shot, as in telling an actor "We're going to cheat you in a little," and having them stand a little to one side so more of them is in the shot.
cheater cut The footage put into the beginning of a serial episode to show what happened at the end of the previous episode.
Check Print This is a print made from an internegative or an optical to verify the quality and success of an effect.
chemistry Referring to performances between actors who are uncommonly suited and perfectly complementary to each other; performances that lack screen chemistry can sometimes be disastrous for a film; see also buddy film.
Chiaroscuro Chiaroscuro refers to strong contrasts between light and dark.
chiaroscuro Literally, the combination of the two Italian words for "clear/bright" and "dark"; refers to a notable, contrasting use of light and shade in scenes; often achieved by using a spotlight; this lighting technique had its roots in German Expressionistic cinematography; aka high-contrast lightingor Rembrandt lighting; flat lighting or TV lighting (bright and flat lighting with no shadows) is its opposite.
'chick flicks' Refers to films popular with women, but also used in a derogatory sense to marginalize films with heavy, sappy emotion and numerous female characters; aka tearjerkers.
child actor Technically, any actor under the age of 18; aka moppet.
chopsocky Slang for a martial arts film.
choreographer A person who plans, designs, organizes, sequences, and directs dancing, fighting, or other physical actions or movements in a film or stage production; a dancer is known as a hoofer..
Cinch Marks Not to be confused with sync marks. Cinch marks are small vertical scratches on a roll of film that are caused when the end of the film is pulled to tighten the roll, causing any dust on the film to make a small scratch. Too much drag on the supply while rewinding is one common way that cinching can occur.
cineaste Refers to a film/movie enthusiast or devotee; also used in the name of a leading film magazine.
cinema verit� A French word that literally means "true cinema" or "cinema truth"; a method or style of documentary movie-making with long takes, no narration and little or no directorial or editing control exerted over the finished product; usually made without actors, and often with a minimum of film equipment, a small film crew (camera and sound), impromptu interview techniques, and a hand-held camera and portable sound equipment; sometimes used to loosely refer to adocumentary style film or minimalist cinema; popularized in the 1950s French New Wave movement; now widely used (often inappropriately) to refer to the popular, artsy trend of using hand-held camera techniques; also termed free cinema(UK) or direct cinema (UK).
CinemaScope The term commonly refers to widescreen processes oranamorphic techniques, that use different magnifications in the horizontal and the vertical to fill the screen; it is also the specific trademark name for 20th Century Fox's commercially successful widescreen process which uses an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (originally it could be as wide as 2:66:1 - to compete with Cinerama and 3-D processes in the 1950s..
cinematic Relating to or suggestive of motion pictures; having the qualities of a film..
cinematographer or DP Specifically refers to the art and technique of film photography, the capture of images, and lighting effects, or to the person expert in and responsible for capturing or recording-photographing images for a film, through the selection of visual recording devices, camera angles, film stock, lenses, framing, and arrangement of lighting; the chief cinematographer responsible for a movie is called the director of photography (or D.P.), or first cameraman; one of the earliest movie-picture machines, patented by the Lumiere brothers in 1895, was termed a Cinematographe..
Cinematography Derived from the French word cin�matographe, cinematography literally means "writing in movement" and is generally understood as the art and process of capturing visual images with a camera for cinema.Aspects of camera angles, distance and movement. Also a consideration of colour, lighting and texture of the footage. Consider the use of wide, sweeping, bleached-out landscape shots of the Australian bush in Rabbit Proof Fence, for example.
Cinerama A wide-screen filming process that first used three cameras and three projectors to achieve an encompassing view of the subject matter, and was projected on a curved screen of about 160 degrees; it was the first commercially-successful multiple-camera/multiple-screen process..Cinerama is a process of simultaneous filming by three cameras. The cameras are pointed at different angles and are then projected by three synchronized projectors and shown on a curved screen.
Circular Pan A circular pan is a shot in which the camera rotates 360 degrees around a fixed axis.
Clamp Light A type of lighting fixture designed to hold a screw-in light bulb, with a not-so-dependable spring clamp for mounting on the side of an open door, etc. Often includes an aluminum reflector dish as well.
Clap Board see The Slate.
clapboard (clapper (board) or slate) A small black or white board or slate with a hinged stick on top that displays identifying information for each shot in a movie, and is filmed at the beginning of a take. The board typically contains the working title of the movie, the names of the director, the editor, and the director of photography, the scene and take numbers, the date, and the time. On the top of the clapboard is a hinged wooden stick (called a clapstick or clapper) which is often clapped to provide audio/visual synchronization of the sound with the picture during.
Clapper A board displaying key information about the scene being filmed (scene number, take number, film name), filmed by the camera before each take. On top (or bottom) is a piece of wood on a hinge (traditionally painted in black and white stripes), which claps down to the board, allowing for audio-visual synchronisation. Also known as “clapboard”.
Clapper or Slate The Slate, or just the two sticks that are struck together to mark a sync sound take. Before each take, a clapboard appears in front of the camera, with the number of the take written on it.
claymation Refers to the animation of models constructed of clay, putty, plasticine, or other moldable materials, often through stop motion..
Clean speech A take in which there were no errors with dialogue recording.
click Slang denoting a 'hit' film.
cliffhanger A film characterized by scenes of great tension, danger, adventure, suspense, or high drama, often climaxing at the end of a film, or at the end of a multi-part serial episode, where the plot ending and the fate of the protagonist(s) are left unresolved; the name was derived from the movie serials of the 1930's where each week the hero (or heroine) was perilously left dangling from a cliff -- with a 'to be-continued' ending -- to increase interest for the next episode (sequel)..
climax The highest point of anxiety or tension in a story or film in which the central character/protagonist faces, confronts, and deals with the consequence(s) of all his/her actions, or faces the antagonistin a climactic battle or final engagement; a crisis often leads to a climax; also called the film's high point, zenith, apex, or crescendo; a climax may be followed by an anti-climax ordenouement.
clip See film clip.
Close-Up A close-up is a shot in which a person�s face fills most of the screen, although the term can also refer to any shot that appears to have been taken at close range (or through a telephoto lens), and in which an object appears relatively large and in detail.
close-up (CU) A shot taken from a close distance in which the scale of the object is magnified, appears relatively large and fills the entire frame to focus attention and emphasize its importance; i.e., a person's head from the shoulders or neck up is a commonly filmed close-up; a tight shot makes the subject fill almost the entire frame; also extreme close-up (ECU or XCU) is a shot of a part of a character (e.g., face, head, hands) to emphasize detail; also known as detail shot or close on; contrast to long shot (LS).
C-Mount A screw mount type of lens, commonly used on smaller 16mm cameras, like the Bolex.
Co-axial Magazine A type of magazine with two chambers side by side, with the supply and take up rolls rather like wheels mounted on either end of the same axle.
coda Literally, means "tail" in Italian, and usually refers to musical selections; in film, it refers to the epilogue, ending or last section of a film (often wordless), that provides closure, a conclusion, or a summary of the preceding storyline.
Code Numbers Inked-on edge numbers, usually added to a workprint and mag track after syncing, so that corresponding sound and picture can always be properly aligned during editing. They are also used for the general organization of the footage. Sometimes the term edge numbers are used, and although this is not incorrect, care should be taken that it is understood that you are talking about the inked-on numbers and not the Latent Edge Numbers.
coin A slang term for money or financing.
color (film) A phenomenon of light or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects caused by differing qualities of the light reflected or emitted; contrast to black and white..
Color Film Color film has been a possibility since the beginning of cinema. Technical problems and economic circumstances early on meant that it was not until the 1950s that color was viable in the film industry.
Color Temperature It is a measurement of the color of light, and important in that film is much more sensitive to color temperature than our eyes are. Is measured on scale that takes its name from the scientist Lord Kelvin
colorization The film-altering process whereby a black and white film is digitally changed to include color; popularized but controversial in the 1980s..
comedian (comedienne) An actor who specializes in genre films that are designed to elicit laughter from audiences; also known as a comic.
comedy (film) A film with elicits laughter or humor by celebrating or showing the eternal ironies of human existence; types include screwball,dark/black, farce, slapstick, dead pan, parody, romantic comedy, etc..
comic relief A humorous or farcical interlude in a dramatic film, usually provided by a buffoonish character, intended to relieve the dramatic, built-up tension or heighten the emotional impact by means of contrast.
coming-of-age (film) A film associated with difficult teen rites of passage (from adolescence to adulthood), the onset of puberty, the loss of naive innocence and childhood dreams, the experience of growing up, achieving sexual identity, etc.; aka teen films.
command performance A great performance in a film by an actor, sometimes referring to the one before his or her death; it originally referred to a special performance that was requested by a sovereign, royal, head of state, or other important person.
commentary An objective opinion or description of characters or events occurring in the film, presented from an omniscient point of view by a commentator; the commentator's voice comes from off-camera, and is presented on the soundtrack as a voice over; also refers to one of the added features on various DVDs in which a cast member, director, film critic, or film historian 'comments' on the film in some way.
compilation film A film made up of shots, scenes, or sequences from other films.
complication A plot event that complicates or tightens the tension of a film.
composer The musician who creates (writes or adapts) the film's musicalscore; contrast to a conductor (who directs the orchestra's performance of the score), or a lyricist (who writes a song's words).
composition Refers to the arrangement of different elements (i.e., colors, shapes, figures, lines, movement, and lighting) within a frame and in a scene.
concert film (rock or comedy) A film that records the live concert performance of musician(s), a band/group, or stand-up comic(s); concert films are often edited over the course of many performances and/or staged for the camera with multiple set-ups, and can be considered pseudo-documentaries; a rock concert is aka rockumentary.
Conformations Progressive versions of a film in the editing stage are known as conformations, often identified by date. Conformations are only of any significance on a large production where different editing departments should be sure to be working with the latest conformation.
Conforming The word to describe the negative cutter's matching of the original to the workprint.
Contact Printing The method used by the lab to copy film. A contact print is made on a machine called (sensibly enough) a Contact Printer, in which the original film and unexposed print stock are sandwiched together, emulsion against emulsion, and are run at a constant speed past a light which shines through the original, exposing the print stock with the same image. All workprints, answer prints and release prints are contact prints. The only other type of printing is Optical Printing, which is usually done to add an effect or to blow up or make a reduction print.
Context When, where, how, and why the film is set. The time, place and circumstances. Consider that Slumdog Millionaire was made in Mumbai, India in 2008 and shows a dichotomy of life in India � poor, begging children living alongside others in wealth and safety, enjoying the latest technologies due to rapid globalization.
Continuity The seamlessness of detail from one shot to another within a scene. Continuity refers particularly to the physical elements, rather than to the choices in coverage that can result in a lack of seamlessness. Elements of continuity include any actions of the actor, the placement of props, the lighting, the costumes, and so on.
continuity (editing or cutting) The system of editing that developed in the early 20th century to provide a continuous and clear movement of events/images in a film; refers to the final edited structure of a completed film, with the events or scenes/sequences arranged as if they had occurred continuously, when, in fact, they were shot out of sequence; continuity also refers to the degree to which a film is self-consistent without errors, jump cuts, or mis-matched shots and details; a continuity cut refers to a editing cut that takes the viewer seamlessly, unobtrusively, and logically from one sequence or scene to another, to propel the narrative along; a blooper orflub is a continuity error.
Continuity report A list specifying everything that happened when a scene was filmed, including weather conditions and camera settings. This is meant to prevent continuity errors creeping in between takes or during reshoots. Also known as the “continuity script”.
contract player An actor (both stars and bit players) who has a contractual commitment or agreement to a studio/producer/company.
contrast Refers to the difference between light and shadow, or between maximum and minimum amounts of light, in a particular film image; can be either high contrast (with a sharp delineation between the bright and dark areas) or its opposite low contrast; color can also be contrasted; see also chiaroscuro.
conventions The expected elements in a type of film, without question, thought, or judgment.
Coocoloris A fancier way of saying Gobo or Cookie.
Coogan's Law Refers to landmark legislation in the late 30s designed to protect a child actor's earnings, by depositing some of the minor's earnings in court-administered trust funds that the child receives when he/she reaches the age of majority; named after child actor Jackie Coogan.
Cookie A flat board, like a flag, but full of irregular holes used for creating a pattern of shadows when put in front of a light.
Core A plastic hub used to hold film without a reel. There are 2 inch cores (small cores) and 3 inch cores (large cores). 2 inch cores can also be called camera cores.
Corrected Print Same as a Timed Print.
Corrections Further changes in the timing of a print are known as corrections.
costume (or wardrobe) Refers to the garments or clothing worn by actors/performers in a film; a costume (or wardrobe) designer researches, designs, and selects the costumes to be appropriate to the film's time period, the characters, their location, and their occupations, whereas thecostumer (or stylist) is responsible for acquiring, selecting, manufacturing, and/or handling the clothing and accessories; acostume drama is a film set in a particular historical time period, often with elaborate costuming.
courtroom drama A drama and/or mystery story, in which the main protagonist is a lawyer, and a majority of the drama and dramatic action takes place in a courtroom setting; the plot revolves around the preparation of a trial and its result of guilt or innocence.
Coverage Coverage is used to describe the architecture of breaking down a script into the shots that will allow the scene to be cut together. Although coverage addresses the bare-bones question of getting shots that will cut together smoothly, it is important not to be too distracted from bigger aesthetic question of getting the right shots for the scene to work.
coverage Refers to all the shots, including closeups and reverse angles, that a director takes in addition to the master shot, to make up the final product; to have proper coverage means having all the proper scenes, angles, lightings, close-ups, and directions.
Craft service The catering unit. Typically serves apple crumble and chips with everything. A film with “clean” catering, like many Zack Snyder efforts, generally ditches the chocolate bars and has lots of dried fruit and nuts on offer instead.
crane shot A camera shot taken from a large camera dolly or electronic device (an apparatus, such as a crane), resembling a extendable mechanical arm (or boom), that can raise the camera up in the air above the ground 20 feet or more; the crane allows the camera to fluidly move in virtually any direction (with vertical and horizontal movement), providing shifts in levels and angles; crane shots usually provide some kind of overhead view of a scene.
Crane Shot A crane shot is achieved by a camera mounted on a platform, which is connected to a mechanical arm that can lift the platform up, bring it down, or move it laterally across space.
credits In general, this term refers to the text appearing on screen - composed of a list of technical personnel, cast, and production crew of a film; specifically, it refers to the list of names and functions of persons and corporations contributing and responsible for the artistic or intellectual content of a film, such as: "Story by...", "Screenplay by...", "Photography by...", etc.; sometimes distinguished from the cast (the performers in front of the camera); see also front (or opening) credits, end (or closing) credits, or(beginning or end) titles..
crew Refers to those involved in the technical production of a film who are not actual performers.
crisis The period of highest tension just before the climax of a film (there can be more than one); the point at which events reach their highest level of tension.
critic (or film critic) An individual who writes and/or publishes a review of a film from either an artistic or entertainment point of view. Film reviews often analyze and discuss a film's details, its content and characters, a critique of the performances, camera work, directing, editing, production, and script; film critics are usually more philosophical and theoretical than film reviewers or commentators; film criticism refers to the analysis of the narrative, historical and stylistic characteristics of film; 'critics' is sometimes abbreviated as crix..
Critical End! What to label your film can when turning it in at the lab when the roll ran out during a very important shot and you want to make sure you get every last frame possible.
Critique In a critique, you will not only be discussing the choices a particular actor, director, or cinematographer may have made in a film, but you will also be contributing your opinion to the piece. A critique often is less technical than some of the other writing assignments.
Cross Modulation Test Sometimes called "cross mod" for short. This is a test the Mixing House will do in conjunction with the lab you plan to use to make sure the optical track is exposed and developed for optimal sound quality.
Cross Processing A technique used much more by still photographers. Cross processing is the use of color reversal film stock to be developed as a negative. A positive print struck from that negative will have strange and rich colors, intense contrast and on overall yellowish hue.
cross-cutting The editing technique of alternating, interweaving, or interspersing one narrative action (scene, sequence, or event) with another - usually in different locations or places, thus combining the two; this editing method suggests parallel action (that takes place simultaneously); often used to dramatically build tension and suspense in chase scenes, or to compare two different scenes; also known as inter cutting or parallel editing..
cross-over and cross-over appeal A film or production that is made for one audience, but may easily 'cross-over' to another unexpected audience; also refers to a film, actor, or production that appeals to different demographic groups or age groups and can move between two or more distinct franchises; see also hybrid.
crowd shot A shot or image of a large group of people (often extras) in a film;CGI is now often used to film large crowd shots, to avoid huge costs associated with hiring extras.
Crystal Sync Specifically, a way of recording Sync Sound where the camera runs at correct speed with a quartz crystal-governed motor, and tape recorder records its pilottone using a built-in quartz crystal pilottone generator. The crystal is much like the kind used in a quartz watch. Unlike cable sync, the camera and tape recorder are not attached.
C-Stand A type of light stand with fixed legs that swing out, or together when not in use, usually equipped with an arm, and typically used to hold a flag.
cue A signal or sign for an actor to begin performing, from either another performer, from the director, or from within the script; a cue is often the last word of one character's line(s) of dialogue, when another performer is expected to 'pick up their cue' to speak..
cue cards A device (cards, scrolling screen, teleprompter, or other mechanism) printed with dialogue provided to help an actor recite his/her lines; an electronic cue card is called a (tele)- prompter; derogatively calledidiot cards or idiot sheets..
Cue Sheets A road map, of sorts, for the mixer to find the sounds on your tracks during the mix. It is laid out as a grid with each track forming a column and time moving ahead in rows measured in 35mm footage (even if your film is 16mm you must convert the footage to 35mm).
cult film Usually a non-mainstream film that attracts a small, but loyally-obsessed group of fans, and remains popular and worshipped over many years; cult films have limited but special appeal, and often have unusual or subversive elements or subject matter; they are often replayed for repeat viewings and audience participation (and group identification) as midnight movies; not to be confused withB-films (not all cult films are B-films).
Cut 1.: What the director says to end the filming of a shot. 2.: The cutting apart of 2 shots at the frameline, or the point where the shots have been cut apart. 3.: In the different stages, or at the completion of editing the edited film itself can be referred to as "the cut" or "the edit."
cutaway shot A brief shot that momentarily interrupts a continuously-filmed action, by briefly inserting another related action, object, or person (sometimes not part of the principal scene or main action), followed by a cutback to the original shot; often filmed from the POV of the character and used to break up a sequence and provide some visual relief, or to ease the transition from one shot to the next, or to provide additional information, or to hint at an impending change;reaction shots are usually cutaways; cross-cutting is a series of cutaways and cutbacks indicating concurrent action; a cutaway is different from an insert shot..
Cutting An abrupt or sudden change or jump in camera angle, location, placement, or time, from one shot to another; consists of a transition from one scene to another (a visual cut) or from one soundtrack to another (a sound cut); cutting refers to the selection, splicing and assembly by the film editor of the various shots or sequences for a reel of film, and the process of shortening a scene; also refers to the instructional word 'cut' said at the end of a take by the director to stop the action in front of the camera; cut to refers to the point at which one shot or scene is changed immediately to another; also refers to a complete edited version of a film (e.g., rough cut); also see director's cut; various types of cuts include invisible cut,smooth cut, jump cut (an abrupt cut from one scene or shot to the next), shock cut (the abrupt replacement of one image by another), etc..
cyberpunk A sub-genre of science fiction, derived from combining the termscybernetics and punk, and related to the digital or information technology society (referring to the proliferation of computers, the online world, cyberspace, and 'hacking'); this sub-genre also incorporates classic film-noirish characteristics into its style - traits include alienation, dehumanization, the presence of counter-cultural anti-heroes, darkness, dystopia, and corruption; heavily influenced by the novels of Raymond Chandler; also associated with the work of writer William Gibson and his 1984 novel Neuromancer.
cyclorama The curved backdrop used to represent the sky when outdoor scenes are shot in the studio.
dailies The immediately processed, rough cuts, exposed film, or first prints of a film (w/o special effects or edits) for the director (producer, cinematographer, or editor) to review, to see how the film came out after the day's (or previous day's) shooting; more commonly in the form of videotape or digital dailies nowadays; aka rushes (referring to the haste taken to make them available); used to determine ifcontinuity is correct, if props are missing or out of place, or if sound is poor, etc., to help decide whether to re-shoot.
Dailies The prints of footage shot the previous day, often viewed by the director and producers at the end of each day to monitor progress. Also known as “rushes”. Can cause side-effects ranging from nervous breakdowns to over-confidence back at the studio.
Dailies The workprint, before it has been edited, so called because the minority of labs will have it ready later the same day it was dropped off (if you are a client to whom they give some type of priority). Also known as Rushes.
dark horse In film terms, a little-known, unlikely movie (often a sleeper, a low-budget film, indie, or a foreign film) that is, surprisingly, nominated for a major award (i.e., Academy Award or Golden Globe).
Day for Night A cinematographic technique for using shots filmed during the day to appear as moonlit night shots on the screen, by using different lenses, filters, special lighting and underexposure; very common during the 50s and in the 60s, but rarely used in present-day films..Day for night refers to the creation of a night effect while shooting during the day, through the manipulation of filters, underexposure, or printing.
Daylight Balanced The color temperature of daylight which is 5,400K on the color temperature scale (it does vary during the day, being higher at noon and lower in the earlier and later parts of the day). Color film for outdoor shooting is balanced for daylight, otherwise the image would appear blue in hue. If daylight balanced film is used indoors without a correction filter the image will have a orange hue.
Daylight Spool An aluminum spool holding 100 feet of film with solid, opaque sides, painted black, which will protect the film from becoming completely exposed when loading a camera in daylight. The name daylight spool comes from the fact that the film may be loaded without total darkness. There are also 400 foot daylight spools, but these are very rarely used as they do not always work very well in a magazine.
deadpan A specific type of comedic device in which the performer assumes an expressionless (deadpan) quality to her/his face demonstrating absolutely no emotion or feeling..
decoupage A French term referring to the design of a film - the arrangement of its shots.
Deep Focus Deep focus is a style or technique of cinematography and staging with great depth of field, using relatively wide-angle lenses and small lens apertures to render in sharp focus near and distant planes simultaneously.
deep-focus shot A style or technique of cinematography and staging with great depth of field, preferred by realists, that uses lighting, relatively wide angle lenses and small lens apertures to simultaneously render in sharp focus both close and distant planes (including the three levels of foreground, middle ground, and extreme background objects) in the same shot; contrast to shallow focus (in which only one plane is in sharp focus).
Deep-focus Shot Is usually a long shot consisting of a number of focal distances and photographed in depth.
deleted scene Refers to a scene that was edited out of a film's final cut, for several possible reasons: the scene was poorly done, the scene was unnecessary, the film's running time needed truncation, the film was avoiding an R or NC-17 rating, the film's studio disapproved of it, etc. Deleted scenes are now commonly included on DVDs, either re-edited into a director's cut or as a separate feature.
denouement The point immediately following the climax when everything comes into place or is resolved; often the final scene in a motion picture; aka tag; see resolution.
Depth of Field Depth of field is the area, range of distance, or field (between the nearest and farthest planes) in which the elements captured in a camera image appear in sharp focus. The depth of composition of a shot, i.e., where there are severalplanes (vertical spaces in a frame): (1) a foreground, (2) a middle-ground, and (3) a background; depth of field specifically refers to the area, range of distance, or field (between the closest and farthest planes) in which the elements captured in a camera image appear in sharp or acceptable focus; as a rule of thumb, the area 1/3 in front of and 2/3 behind the subject is the actual distance in focus; depth of field is directly connected, but not to be confused withfocus. While a lens focuses on a single plane of depth, there is usually an additional area in focus behind and in front of that plane. This is depth of field. Depth of field increases as the iris is closed. There is more depth of field the wider the lens and less the longer the lens. There is a deeper area in focus the further away a lens is focused than there is when a lens is focused close. Depth of field does not spread out evenly; the entire area is about 1/3rd in front and 2/3rds behind the plane of focus. To factor together all these variables it is best to consult a depth of field table, such as the ones found in the American Cinematographer's Manual.
depth of focus Related to depth of field - refers to an adjustment made technically to insure that a camera shot retains its deep focus throughout all the various planes (fore, middle, and back).
deus ex machina Literally, the resolution of the plot by the device of a god ("deus") arriving onstage by means of a piece of equipment ("machina") and solving all the characters' problems; usually refers to an unlikely, improbable, contrived, illogical, or clumsy ending or suddenly-appearing plot device that alleviates a difficult situation or brings about a denouement - just in the nick of time; can sometimes refer to an unexpected, artificial, or improbable character.
Dialogue Dialogue is speech delivered by or between characters.Any spoken lines in a film by an actor/actress; may be consideredoverlapping if two or more characters speak simultaneously; in film-making, recording dialogue to match lip movements on previously-recorded film is called dubbing or looping.
Diegesis From the ancient Greek for �recounted story,� diegesis is a term used in film studies to refer to the story (or narrative) world of a film.
diegetic Simply means realistic or logically existing, such as the music that plays on a character's radio in a scene; more generally, it refers to the narrative elements of a film (such as spoken dialogue, other sounds, action) that appear in, are shown, or naturally originatewithin the content of the film frame; the opposite is non-diegeticelements, such as sounds (e.g., background music, the musical score, a voice-over, or other sounds) w/o an origin within the film frame itself; in an objective shot, the most common camera shot, it simply presents what is before the camera in the diegesis of the narrative.
Diegetic Non-diegetic sound Sound that is part of the film world (car horns beeping, birds singing, telephones ringing). Consider Justin Hurwitz�s score that is played by the musicians in Whiplash. Sound added in post-production to create a certain atmosphere (sound FX to increase fear, music to underscore emotion). Consider the choral music which helps us understand Tsotsi�s redemption, for example.
Diegetic Sound Diegetic sound is any sound that emanates from the story (or narrative) world of a film, which is referred to in film studies as diegesis.
Diffusion The reduction or softening of the harshness or intensity of light achieved by using a diffuser or translucent sheet (lace or silk) in front of the light to cut down shadows; materials include screen, glass, filters, gauze, wire mesh, or smoke; also see soft-focus..1.: A filter used on the camera to create a soft focus effect. 2.: A white or pearlecent sheet of material used on a movie light to soften the shadows.
digital production Refers to filming on digital video using digital high-resolution cameras, rather than on traditional 35mm film.
Diopter The diopter is part of the viewfinding system of a camera that can be adjusted to compensate for your own particular eyesight, allowing you to see the groundglass clearly.
direct sound The technique of recording sound simultaneously with the image.
directing the eye In cinematographic terms, using light and dark lighting and frame composition to emphasize what is important.
director (and directing) The creative artist responsible for complete artistic control of all phases of a film's production (such as making day-to-day determinations about sound, lighting, action, casting, even editing), for translating/interpreting a script into a film, for guiding the performances of the actors in a particular role and/or scene, and for supervising the cinematography and film crew. The director is usually the single person most responsible for the finished product, although he/she couldn't make a film without support from many other artists and technicians; often the director is called a helmer(at-the-helm); the assistant director is known as the a.d. ; the director of photography (or cinematographer), responsible for the mechanics of camera placement, movements, and lighting, is known as the d.p..
director's cut A rough cut (the first completely-edited version) of a film without studio interference as the director would like it to be viewed, before the final cut (the last version of the film that is released) is made by the studio..
discovery shot In a film scene, when the moving or panning camera unexpectedly comes upon or 'discovers' an object or person previously undisclosed to the viewer.
Disney-fication or Disney-fied Refers to the making of an adapted, sanitized, 'family-friendly' version of a book or play, by removing objectionable elements (such as crude language, sexuality, or violence) and modifying plot elements to make the tale more acceptable, entertaining, predictable and popular for mass consumption by audiences, as first exercised by the Disney studios in the 50s; now used as a derogatory term for how popular culture has been homogenized and cultural diversity has been minimized; see also bowdlerize(d).
Dissolve A dissolve is a transitional device in which one shot fades out while the next shot fades in, so it is briefly superimposed over the first and then replaces it altogether.
Dissolve A transition between two shots, where one shot fades away and simultaneously another shot fades in. Dissolves are done at the lab in the printing phase, but prepared by the negative cutter, who cuts in an overlap of the two shots into the A'amp;B rolls. Labs will only do dissolves in fixed amounts, such as 24 frames, 48 frames, etc.
dissolve (or lap dissolve) A transitional editing technique between two sequences, shots or scenes, in which the visible image of one shot or scene is gradually replaced, superimposed or blended (by an overlapping fade out orfade in and dissolve) with the image from another shot or scene; often used to suggest the passage of time and to transform one scene to the next; lap dissolve is shorthand for 'over'lap dissolve; also known as a soft transition or dissolve to.
documentary A non-fiction (factual), narrative film with real people (not performers or actors); typically, a documentary is a low budget, journalistic record of an event, person, or place; a documentary film-maker should be an unobtrusive observer - like a fly-on-the-wall, capturing reality as it happens; aka doc or docu; also called direct cinema; one type is termed docudrama; contrast with cinema verite andmockumentary.
Dogme 95 A collective of film directors founded in Denmark in 1995 led by Lars von Trier, with a distinctive democratizing philosophy and set of rules (termed "the vow of chastity") that rejected special effects and contrived lighting/staging and camera work, and espoused returning to more "truthful" and honest, "non-Hollywood" forms of cinema; the ten rules included shooting on location, use of hand-held cameras, natural lighting only, no props, use of digital-video (DV), lack of credits for the director, etc..
Dolby stereo A stereo-sound process for motion pictures created by Dolby Laboratories, Inc., used to improve sound quality; 35mm prints have two optical sound tracks (Dolby can decode and playback on four channels), while 70mm prints have six magnetic tracks for multi-channel playback; by the 1990s, Dolby Stereo was superceded by advanced digitally-recorded sound.
Dolly A small platform for the camera, designed to roll along special tracks. Although Steadicams have reduced their use, dollies have certain unique strengths. In particular, they’re still used for the so-called Vertigo shot, where the camera zooms in while the dolly moves backwards, severely altering the perspective.
Dolly (Dolly Shot) A dolly is a mobile platform on wheels with a camera, which can be driven or pushed by a dolly pusher or dolly grip.
dolly (shot) Refers to a moving shot in which the perspective of the subject and background is changed; the shot is taken from a camera that is mounted on a hydraulically-powered wheeled camera platform (sometimes referred to as a truck or dolly), pushed on rails (special tracks) and moved smoothly and noiselessly during filming while the camera is running; a pull-back shot(or dolly out) is the moving back ('tracking back') of the camera from a scene to reveal a character or object that was previously out of the frame, dolly in is when the camera moves closer ('tracking in') towards the subject, and dollying along with (or 'tracking within') refers to the camera moving beside the subject; also known as tracking shot, trucking shot, follow shot, or traveling shot; contrast with zoomshots..
Dolly Shot A dolly shot is one where the camera is placed on a dolly and is moved while filmming. Also known as a tracking shot.
Dope sheet A list of scenes that have already been filmed, usually compiled by the assistant cameraman.
doppelganger A German word literally meaning: "doublewalker," a reference to the fact that a shadow-self, duplicate, counterpart or double (spiritual, ghostly, or real) accompanies every individual.
double Refers to the person who temporarily takes the leading player's place for a dangerous or difficult stunt, or to photographically stand in for the actor (when the latter is not available or when the actor wants a body double for a nude scene, etc.).
Double (Multiple) Exposure Double exposure is the superimposition of two images, one over the other, which results from exposing the same film twice.
Double Exposure A double exposure occurs when (prior to development) an exposed piece of film is reshot with a second image on top of the first. Several exposures can be made, but it still valid to call it a "double" exposure rather than a "triple" or "quadruple" exposure. It is perfectly alright to say "five double exposures," as numerically incongruous as it may sound.
double exposure To expose a single frame twice so that elements of both images are visible in the finished product; produces an effect similar to superimposition and is often used to produce 'ghostly' effects.
Double Perf 16mm film with a row of perforations running along both edges. On the film can this will be indicated by 2R appearing on the label.
Double Reel In 35mm a double reel is 2 single reels joined together, the maximum size being 2,000 feet. Double reels are labeled 1 A/B, 2 A/B etc., to distinguish them from single reels.
Double System The term double system refers to sound and picture as two separate elements, recorded, edited or projected in sync. 16mm and 35mm use the double system format. A camera photographs the picture and a tape recorder records the sound. In the end, the final print is Single System, combining sound and picture onto the same piece of print stock.
Double System Projector A projector designed to project a workprint and play a mag track in sync.
double take A comedic convention that refers to the way in which an actor first looks at an object (subject, event, scene, etc.), then looks away, and then snaps his head back to the situation for a second look - with surprise, disgust, sexual longing, etc.; a variation is termed a spit-take (the double-take causes the character to spit out whatever he is drinking).
drive-in An outdoor movie theatre in which the patrons viewed a film from their automobile; films projected were often B-films or low-budget films; reached their peak in terms of popularity and numbers in the 1970s; also called a passion pit, ozoner; contrast with a hard top (or indoor movie theatre)..
dub (or dubbing) The act of putting a new soundtrack on a film or adding a soundtrack (of dialogue, sound effects, or music) after production, to match the action and/or lip movements of already-filmed shots; commonly used when films are shot on location in noisy environments; also refers to adding translated dialogue to a foreign-language film; as opposed todirect sound - which is sound recorded when filming a scene; contrast to looping..
dunning The process or technique of combining shots filmed in a studio with background footage shot elsewhere.
Dupe A dupe is a positive copy of a positive. A dupe can also be a negative copy of a negative. A dupe is a print made in the reversal process. It can sometimes be clearer to call something a dupe, because to simply say "positive print" you could just mean a positive copy of a negative, which would not be a dupe.
Dutch Angle (Canted Angle) A canted angle is when the camera is tilted, usually to suggest imbalance, transition, or instability.A composition with the camera viewing the scene at a diagonal. Same as a canted angle. Some nice examples can be seen in Carol Reed's "The Third Man."
dynamic frame A photographic technique used to mask the projected image size and shape to any ratio that seems appropriate for the scene (e.g., the image narrows as an actor passes through a narrow passageway, and then widens as he emerges).
dystopia An imaginary, wretched, dehumanized, dismal, fearful, bad, oppressive place or landscape, often initiated by a major world crisis (post-war destruction) coupled with, an oppressive government, crime, abnormal behavior, etc.; the opposite ofutopia (a state of ideal perfection); see also nihilism.
E.C.N. E.C.N. stands for Eastman Color Negative. It is simply your developed negative.
E.D.L. E.D.L. stands for Edit Decision List. It is used by the negative cutter when you have cut digitally, in order to conform the original without the usual workprint.
E.I. Abbreviation for Exposure Index.
E.S. Abbreviation for Editorial Sync.
Edge Fog Exposure along the edge of the film from raw light, in most cases from a lightleak, due to the camera door not being taped. Edge Fog can sometimes be visible in the frame or sometimes outside of the frame effecting the clarity of the latent edge numbers.
Edge Numbers 1.: The edge numbers are small numbers running along the edge of the film, in between the perf in 16mm, and just to the far side of them in 35mm. The are photographed onto the film in its manufacture, and are there to aid the negative cutter in lining up shots in the process of conforming the negative. They are sometimes called latent edge numbers to distinguish them from inked-on code numbers. 2.: Code Numbers are sometimes called edge numbers.
Edit 1.: The cutting and arranging of shots. 2.: In the different stages, or at the completion of editing the edited film itself can be referred to as "the cut" or "the edit."
Editing Editing is the process of putting a film together�the selection and arrangement of shots and scenes.
editing (editor) The process (performed by a film editor) of selecting, assembling, arranging, collating, trimming, structuring, and splicing-joining together many separate camera takes(includes sound also) of exposed footage (or daily rushes) into a complete, determined sequence or order of shots (or film) - that follows the script; digital editing refers to changing film frames by digitizing them and modifying them electronically; relational editing refers to editing shots to suggest a conceptual link between them; an editor works in acutting room; the choice of shots has a tremendous influence upon the film's final appearance..
Editing Bench A workbench with rewinds attached, and sometimes a built-in light table in the center.
Editing Bin see Trim Bin.
Editorial Sync A set of sync marks on picture and sound that line up at the same frame, as opposed to Printer's Sync, where the picture and sound are displaced. Sometimes it is usedful to label a sync mark E.S. to know that it is an Editorial Sync mark.
ellipsis The shortening of the plot duration of a film achieved by deliberately omitting intervals or sections of the narrative story or action; an ellipsis is marked by an editing transition (a fade,dissolve, wipe, jump cut, or change of scene) to omit a period or gap of time from the film's narrative..
emcee Another term for master of ceremonies.
Emulsion The thin layer of silver attached to the base which, when exposed and developed, creates the film image through the areas of silver, which block light, and the clear areas which allow light to pass through.
Emulsion Batch The emulsion batch is the series of numbers on the film can the come after the Emulsion Type. When the film is made, each batch is given a number so that you can shoot a single sequence with one particular batch. Just as a suit where the pants and jacket were cut from different bolts of fabric might be a little off, a sequence shot with different emulsion batches might also be a little off. From one sequence to the next, of course, this doesn't matter. (And the batches themselves have become more consistent in recent years, so mixing them is less of a sin nowadays.)
Emulsion Leader Unlike plastic leader, emulsion leader can be cement spliced.
Emulsion Type A film's emulsion type refers to the composition of its emulsion, whether it was manufactured to be fast, slow, grainy, fine-grained, colorful, pastel, black and white or color, daylight balanced, tungsten balanced, etc. The emulsion type is represented by a number. For Kodak it is a series of four numbers, such as 7248. The "72" always stands for 16mm camera stock, and the same emulsion type is found in 35mm as 5248, "52" being the designation of 35mm. Fuji uses a system where the film's emulsion type is a little more telling, such as 250D, which is daylight balanced film with an Exposure Index of 250. When picking out a stock to use the film speed, and in the case of color film, whether the film is daylight or tungsten, are the primary reasons for choosing a certain emulsion type. Allowances might also be made to achieve a certain look, as in using Kodak Vision, or Fuji film. Several different emulsion types are usually used on a project, fast for night scenes, slow for daylight scenes, etc. However, unless you are trying something novel, it is a good idea to shoot a single unbroken sequence with one emulsion type.
end credits Credits appearing at the end of a film; aka end titles.
enfant terrible Literally from the French, meaning "terrible baby" - referring to a brilliant, young, passionate but egotistical, brash director; characteristics of an enfant terrible director include being innovative and unorthodox.
ensemble (film) A film with a large cast without any true leading roles, and usually with multiple plotlines regarding the characters; it also literally means 'the group of actors (and sometimes directors and designers) who are involved in a film'..
epic A costly film made on an unusually large scale or scope of dramatic production, that often portrays a spectacle with historic, ancient world, or biblical significance..
epilogue A short, concluding scene in a film in which characters (sometimes older) reflect on the preceding events.
epiphany A moment of sudden spiritual insight for the protagonist of a film, usually occurs just before or after the climax.
episode A self-contained segment or part of an anthology film orserial; a number of separate and complete episodes make up an episode film.
episodic A film that is composed of a series of loosely-related segments, sections, or episodes, with the same character(s).
Establishing Shot An establishing shot is a long shot at the start of a scene (or sequence) that shows things from a distance.
establishing shot Usually a long (wide-angle or full) shot at the beginning of a scene (or a sequence) that is intended to show things from a distance (often an aerial shot), and to inform the audience with an overview in order to help identify and orient the locale or time for the scene and action that follows; this kind of shot is usually followed by a more detailed shot that brings characters, objects, or other figures closer; a re-establishing shot repeats an establishing shot near the end of a sequence..
Estar Base a brand name for Polyester Base.
Exciter Lamp A special lamp in the projector used for the playback of Optical Sound. The projector reads the track by passing it between the exciter lamp a light-sensitive photo-electric cell.
exec or exex Abbreviations for 'executive' or 'executives'.
executive producer The person who is responsible for a film's financing, or for arranging the film's production elements (stars, screenwriter, etc.).
exhibitor Term meaning 'movie theatre owner'; aka known as exhib(shortened term).
experimental film Refers to a film, usually a low-budget or indie film not oriented toward profit-making, that challenges conventional filmmaking by using camera techniques, imagery, sound, editing, and/or acting in unusual or never-before-seen ways; sometimes akaavante-garde, art films.
exploitation film A sensational, often trashy B-film aimed at a particular audience and designed to succeed commercially and profitably by appealing to specific psychological traits or needs in that audience without any fuller analysis or exposition; often refers to films with extremely violent or sexual scenes; not necessarily a derogatory term; various types include blaxploitation, sexploitation, splatter films..
exposition The conveyance (usually by dialogue or action) of important background information for the events of a story; or the set upof a film's story, including what's at stake for the characters, the initial problem, and other main problems..
Exposure Exposure is the act of making film available to light so that an image is formed in the emulsion.
Exposure Index This is the sensitivity to light of a particular type of film. It is the specific number used to measure Film Speed. Your film will list an E.I. number on the box or the film can as the film speed. It is the same as A.S.A. and I.S.O. on your light meter.
expressionism (and expressionist) Refers to the distortion of reality through lighting, editing, and costumes, to reflect the inner feelings and emotions of the characters and/or the filmmaker; a cinematic style of fantasy film common in post-WWI Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, characterized by dramatic lighting, dark visual images and shadows, grotesque and fantastic shots, distorted sets and angles, heavy makeup, highly stylized acting, and symbolic mime-like action and characters; opposed to realism..
Extension Tubes These are a handy way to turn any long lens into a macro lens for ultra-close shooting. They are hollow metal tubes that are mounted between the camera and the lens. Typically they come in a set of different lengths which can be combined. It is a good idea to open up the lens a little when using an extension tube, as a little light is lost. It should be noted that they do not work when used with wide lenses.
extra(s) A person who appears in a movie in a non-specific, non speaking, unnoticed, or unrecognized character role, such as part of a crowd or background, e.g., a patron in a restaurant, a soldier on a battlefield; usually without any screen credit; also termed atmosphere people; contrast with walk on and non-speaking role, bit players, or principals; also see cast of thousands.
Extreme Long Shot/ Establishing Shot Is a shot taken from a great distance, serves as reference for the location and is often shown at the beginning of a sequence.
Eye Line Eye line is the direction an actor should look off-screen to match a reverse angle or a P.O.V. shot. It is best to give the actor an actual thing or spot to look at rather than a blank spot on an empty wall or an empty space in mid air.
Eye-level Shots The normal angle in which camera shots are filmed.
Eye-Line Match Eye-line match is a method of continuity editing whereby a cut between two shots creates the illusion of the character (in the first shot) looking at an object (in the second shot). A cut between two shots that creates the illusion of the character (in the first shot) looking at an object (in the second shot)..
f/x Abbreviation for special (or visual) effects.
Fade A transitional device consisting of a gradual change in the intensity of an image or sound, such as from a normally-lit scene to darkness (fade out, fade-to-black) or vice versa, from complete black to full exposure (fade in), or from silence to sound or vice versa; a 'fade in' is often at the beginning of a sequence, and a 'fade out' at the end of a sequence..The fade is a means of gradually beginning or ending a scene, and is achieved in the camera by opening or closing the aperture; in an optical printer, this is achieved when the exposure light is increased or decreased.
farce Refers to a light-hearted, gleeful, often fast-paced, crudely humorous, contrived and 'over-the-top' comedy that broadly satirizes, pokes fun, exaggerates, or gleefully presents an unlikely or improbable stock situation (e.g., a tale of mistaken identity, cross-dressing, etc.) often characterized by slapstick, pratfalls, and other physical antics; types of farces include screwball comedy, bedroom/sex farce/comedy; contrast to parody and satire..
fast motion A camera device or effect to compress reality and highlight a scene or cause a dramatic effect, created by filming a scene with the film running at a rate less than the normal 24 frames per second and then projecting it back at standard speed, thereby creating the effect of moving faster than normal; generally used for comic effect; contrast to slow motion ortime-compression..
feature film A "full-length" motion picture, one greater than 60 minutes in length - but usually about 90-120 minutes on one particular topic; also known as a theatrical; contrast to shorts..
featurette A term often used before the 1970s to refer to a 20 to 45 minute film (longer than a short subject but shorter than afeature film), usually a "making of" or "behind the scenes" mini-documentary, or an extended trailer, which was usually displayed by theater owners to "sell" a film for exhibition in their movie house -- nowadays, featurettes are commonly run on premium cable stations, or offered as a 'bonus feature' as part of a DVD's extras; see also "Making of...".
festival An event at which films can often be premiered, exhibited, awarded, and engaged in distribution deals, such as Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, etc.; also known as fest.
fifteen minutes of fame' A cliched term popularized by pop artist/painter Andy Warhol in the late 60s, who predicted that everyone could be famous for 15 minutes and experience a moment of 'crowning glory'; aka one-hit wonders; due to today's increasing demands for pseudo-celebrities or 'personalities', headline-grabbers, and the widespread dissemination of information by cable TV, talk radio, and the WWW, it may be possible for everyone to 'bask in the limelight' for a fleeting moment (a flash in the pan)..
Filler, Fill or Sound Fill Filler is scrap film, most often used to keep a sound track running the same length as the picture, even though there is just silence. When used this way in can also be called sound fill. Filler is usually a print with the emulsion scraped off the center all the way along, perhaps to prevent bootlegging, but also useful in that a mark can be seen on both sides through this wide scratch.
film (1) as a verb, to record a scene or make (or lense) a motion picture; (2) as a noun, refers to a motion picture, or (3) the thin strip of material on the film negative (with a base and light-sensitive coating of emulsion) that is used to create images - through light exposure..
film aesthetics The examination or study of film as an art form.
film artifact Unwanted film damage that could be a defect or error - dust, hair, specks, emulsion scratches, splices, reel-change marks, a hiss, crackle or pop on the soundtrack, mottling of the image, scratches on the negative being printed positive, etc.; film preservation, restoration, and archival efforts help to keep older, decomposing, and endangered films from deteriorating and acquiring artifacts, through painstaking processes (oftendigital restoration).
Film Cement A liquid that is actually not a glue, but a chemical that melts and fuses two pieces of film together.
film clip A short section of film removed from a movie and often exhibited; a part of a film, and sometimes a complete scene or sequence, taken from a film; similar to an excerpt..
film d'art An early movement in French cinema to film more respectable stage productions.
film form Refers to various technical or logistical aspects which make up, compose, or produce a finished film, including Cinematography (Camera Movement), Sound and Editing, Lighting, Framing, Acting, and the Narrative itself.
film gauge Refers to the measurement of a width of a film strip (in millimeters) used in a camera; see 35mm, film stock, Cinerama, Cinemascope, etc.; see also digital video.
film grain The amount of light-sensitive material in the film's coating oremulsion; results can either be fine-grained (or sharp) - that.
film noir A French phrase literally meaning "black film" that developed in the early 40s; refers to a genre of mostly black/white films that blossomed in the post-war era in American cinema, with bleak subject matter and a somber, downbeat tone; the plot (often a quest), low-key lighting (harsh shadows andchiaroscuro) often in night scenes, camera angles (oftencanted or high angle shots), the setting (the gloomy underworld of crime and corruption), iconography (guns, urban settings), characters (disillusioned, jaded), and other elements (voice-overs and flashbacks) combined to present a dark atmosphere of pessimism, tension, cynicism, or oppression. Film noirs, often crime films, were usually set in grim and seedy cities, with characters including criminals, anti-heroes, private detectives, and duplicitous femme fatales; see alsotech-noir.
Film Plane The film plane is the plane of depth from the lens of the film, behind the gate, in the camera. It is also the point from where the distances on the focusing ring should be measured from, and is indicated on the outside of the camera with a little symbol that looks like the planet Saturn turned on its side.
film review An evaluative oral or written judgment about the quality of a movie, based upon various assumptions, facts, biases, etc; professional film reviewers are known as critics; a film review usually includes a brief synopsis (avoiding spoilers, usually), a balanced notation of both the film's plusses and minuses, quotable wording, and some judgments; more extensive, in depth film evaluations are called analytical essays..
Film Speed The sensitivity to light for proper exposure of a given film stock. This is primarily a result of the size of the silver halides in the emulsion, the larger the grain, the less light is needed for exposure. Film stocks are generally spoken of as being fast or slow, a fast film having large grains and needing less light, a slow film having smaller grain and needing more light.
film stock Refers to film size or gauge (8mm, 16mm, 35mm, 70mm, 105mm, for example), and film speed, among other things; also refers to raw unused, unexposed film; various kinds of film stock include tungsten (for use with artificial light, usually indoors) and daylight film stock (for use with natural light, usually outdoors).
film within a film A particular story-telling approach, literally, to have one film within another; in some cases, the characters are aware of the 'film-within-a-film,' and break the fourth wall and enter into or interact with it; aka subset film or picture within a picture.
film(ic) codes (or conventions) Many elements within a film (the use of music, audio, costuming, scripting, camera angles, framing, shot duration, a character's actions, etc.) speak a 'language,' 'grammar,' or code that when used by the filmmaker help the viewer to understand more about the plot and its characters.
filmmaker(s) A collective term used to refer to a person(s) who have a significant degree of control over the creation of a film:directors, producers, screenwriters, and editors..
filmography A comprehensive (often chronological by year) listing of films featuring the work of an actor/actress, director, or other crew member; may also be a list of films for a specific genre or topic; a filmographer is another term for a film-maker or a person who studies film.
Filter A tinted glass or small tinted plastic sheet placed in front of the lens or behind the lens in a filter holder, used to change the color rendition of the entire shot. Filters are used to convert tungsten balanced film for use in daylight or vice versa. The can also be used for aesthetic reasons, such as a red filter to darken the sky when filming in black and white.
filter Glass, plastic, or gelatinous substance placed before or behind a camera lens to change the effect and character of the lighting within the film's frame.
final cut The last edited version of a film as it will be released; see alsorough cut.
fish-eye (lens) An extreme type of super wide-angle lens with a very shortfocal point (and nearly infinite depth-of-field), that exaggerates and distorts the linear dimensions of the image, giving it a sense of curvature.
Fisheye Lens A fisheye lens is a wide-angle lens that takes in a nearly 180-degree field of view.
'fish-out-of-water' tale A film (usually humorous) in which the main character(s) faces 'culture shock' by being placed in unfamiliar or new surroundings or situations.
Fixed Focal Length Lens see Prime Lens.
Flag This has two meanings. 1.: It can be a large black cloth on a frame used on a shoot to keep light out of part of the composition. 2.: In the cutting room it is a small piece of tape attached to a shot in a roll and used exactly as you would use a bookmark. The flag sticks out the side of the roll, making it easy to find that shot again quickly.
Flare This has two meanings: 1.: When using film on a daylight spool, the erratic pattern of raw light that washes out the beginning and end of the roll are known as "the flares." 2.: A flare of the other kind is a Lens Flare. It is caused when light strikes the lens and either causes the entire image to be fogged in appearance, or for a little row of polygons (the silhouette of the iris) to appear from the light hitting the surfaces of the many elements in the lens. It is solved by flagging the lens.
Flash Frame 1.: A flash frame is a single frame that is completely clear between two shots. It occurs when the camera is stopped with the gate open, allowing for a very long exposure on that single frame. Rather than a problem, a flash frame can actually be a very helpful thing in the editing room, making it very easy to see where one shot ends and another begins. This type of flash frame usually does not occur with spring wound cameras, like the Bolex, except when the spring winds all the way down, but the second type is something with which to be more concerned. 2.: A flash frame is also used to describe the first few overexposed, brighter frames at the beginning or the end of a shot, due to the camera needing time to reach speed. These can often be hard to see while editing, but are much more noticeable in a final print.
flash frame (or shot) A single clear frame that is inserted between two shots that can barely be perceived, giving the appearance of a flash of white when viewed, and for the intention of producing a shock or sudden dramatic effect.
flash in the pan Transitory, impermanent success or recognition; derived from panning for gold experience; see fifteen minutes of fame.
flashback A filmic technique that alters the natural order of the narrative; a flashback may often be the entire film; it takes the story order back chronologically in time to a previous or past event, scene, or sequence that took place prior to the present time frame of the film; the flashbacked story that provides background on action and events is often called thebackstory; contrast to flash-forward.
flash-forward (or flash-ahead) Simply put, the opposite of flashback; a filmic technique that depicts a scene, event or shot taking place (or imagined) or expected that is projected into a future time beyond the present time of the film, or it can be a flashforward from the past to the present.
flat A section of a studio's set, consisting of a constructed wooden frame covered with materials (such as plywood that is treated or covered with fabric, metal, paint, wallpaper, etc.).
Flatbed An editing machine resembling a desk with a screen in the middle. The film sits flat on plates which are threaded through the center section that has transports for picture and sound.
Flex-Fill A round cloth bounce card mounted on a flexible ring that can be folded up when not in use.
flick The flickering image in early films gave rise to the generic termflicks when referring to the movies; often used in a.
flicker Refers to the unsteady, stroboscopic, fluctuating effect perceived by the viewer, often produced by an improperly photographed or projected film; similar to the old-time movie effect.
flood A lamp that provides general diffuse lighting on a studio set.
flop A film that is a failure at the box-office; also known asfloppola, bomb, turkey. See Greatest All-Time Film Flops..
Focal Length Simply put, how wide or narrow a view the lens will provide, smaller numbers being wider and larger numbers being narrower.
focus Refers to the degree of sharpness or distinctness of an image (or an element of an image such as a person, object, etc.); as a verb, it refers to the manipulation or adjustment of the lens to create a sharper image; terms related are deep focus,shallow focus (very common in close-ups), soft focus, andrack focusing.
Fog This is when stray raw light has found a chance to expose you film. Also a filter as in fog filter that diffuses the image.
foil An acting role that is used for personality comparison or contrast, usually with the protagonist or main character, as a means to show and highlight a character trait.
Foley Named after Jack Foley), this is the art of simulating certain noises in post-production to enhance particular moments. Foley artists might smack a piece of leather to get a good punching sound, or snap a carrot when a bone is broken. For scenes of disembowelment, the squelching of pasta is a favourite.
foley artist In the post-production and editing stage of a film's production, the foley artist (named after pioneer Jack Foley) creates or adds sound effects/noises (e.g., footsteps, gunshots, kisses, punches, storm noises, slamming doors, explosions, etc.) to the film as it is projected, often with props that mimic the action.
follow (or following shot) A shot with framing that shifts to follow and keep a moving figure or subject onscreen; also known as a type of tracking shot.
Follow Focus A shot where focus is changed while shooting to correspond with the moment of the subject (or the camera).
follow-up Refers to a cinematic work that comes after, regardless of whether it is a sequel or a prequel; contrast to a prequel,serial, series, sequel, spin-off or remake.
Foot Candle Measurement of light. One foot candle is the light of one candle, one foot away. Many light meters will use foot candles as a starting number, which then must be converted into an f-stop based on the sensitivity of the film you are using. (Because of the great variety of different film speeds it is sometimes ambiguous to talk too much about foot candles, since a given number of foot candles will not yield the same f-stop from one film speed to another.)
Footage Any length, portion or sequence of film (either shot or to be shot) measured in feet; also refers to a particular sequence of events depicted in a motion picture.1.: The amount of film one has shot. 2.: The whole of the exposed film itself.
foreground (abbreviated as f.g.) Objects or action closest to the camera; contrast tobackground (abbreviated as b.g.).
foreign film A feature-length motion picture produced outside the US with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.
foreshadow-ing To supply hints (in the form of symbols, images, motifs, repetition, dialogue or mood) within a film about the outcome of the plot, or about an upcoming action that will take place, in order to prepare the viewer for later events, revelations, or.
format The size or aspect ratio of a film frame.
fourth wall Refers to the imaginary, illusory invisible plane through which the film viewer or audience is thought to look through toward the action; the fourth wall that separates the audience from the characters is 'broken through' when the barrier between the fictional world of the film's story and the "real world" of the audience is shattered - when an actor speaks directly to the viewers by making an aside.
Frame Refers to a single image, the smallest compositional unit of a film's structure, captured by the camera on a strip of motion picture film - similar to an individual slide in still photography; a series of frames juxtaposed and shown in rapid succession make up a motion (or moving) picture; also refers to the rectangular area within which the film image is composed by the film-maker - in other words, a frame is what we see (within the screen); see fps and framing below..
Frame Handles Frame handles are extra frames at the beginning and the end of every shot, the exact number will vary from one application to the next, which are used primarily when preparing original material for optical printing, such as the Zero Cut method of blow up, or the creation of a superimposed title, etc. The purpose they serve, in the case of zero cut, is to make sure the registration pin of the printer is not grabbing a splice, which can cause the image to wobble. With opticals they are often used merely to avoid printed-in dirt, which is much more prevalent close to a splice where bits of film cement can flake off.
Frame Line The small sliver of space between frames. This is where two shots are cut apart and joined.
frames per second or fps Present-day films are usually run through a camera or projector at a frame rate (running speed or camera speed) of 24 fps (frames per second); older films, made at 18 fps, appear jerky and sped-up when played back at 24 fps - this technique is referred to as undercranking; overcrankingrefers to changing the frame rate (i.e., shooting at 48 or 96 fps), thereby producing slow-motion action when viewed at 24 fps..
Frames-per-Second Frames-per-second is the rate at which film is exposed in a camera.
framing (or framed shot) Refers to the way a shot is composed, and the manner in which subjects and objects are surrounded ('framed') by the boundaries or perimeter of the film image, or by the use of a rectangle or enclosing shape (such as a shadow, mirror, door or hallway) within the film image; also, camera angles such aslow-angle and high-angle shots contribute to the framing;reframing refers to short panning or tilting movements of the camera to adjust to the character's movements and keep them onscreen, centered, and in the frame..
Freeze-Frame An optical printing effect in which a single frame image is identically repeated, reprinted or replicated over several frames; when projected, a freeze frame gives the illusion of a still photograph in which the action has ceased; often used at the end of a film to indicate death or ambiguity, and to provide an iconic lasting image.
French Flag A small black metal flag attached to the camera with a positionable arm that is used to shade the lens from light in the case of a Flare (2).
front projection A film process developed in the 1950s in which actors and foreground objects were filmed in front of a projection screen, with a previously-filmed background projected onto it.
F-stop The scale used to measure the size of the opening of the iris on a lens. Opening the iris wider lets in more light, and closing it down, smaller, lets in less light. F-stops can be a little confusing, because the larger the number, the smaller the opening of the iris, and conversely the smaller the number, the larger the opening. The typical f-stop scale is 1.4-2-2.8-4-5.6-8-11-16-22. When the reading is between stops, this should be accounted for it setting the lens, however, it is much more clear, even if it sounds grammatically incorrect to the mathematically inclined, to say "One third above 5.6" rather than "5.8" because it is very hard to judge the distance in decimals between numbers like 5.6 and 8, whereas 1/3rd above 5.6 is perfectly clear.
Fullcoat Fullcoat is Mag Stock with a layer of oxide that completely covers one side, unlike Stripe. All 16mm mag is fullcoat. 35mm is available in both fullcoat and stripe. The difference in 35mm is that fullcoat can be used for recording several tracks, and it typically used for the Mix Master. Fullcoat is also more expensive than stripe.
Full-Front Position The most intimate, the character is looking in our direction, inviting out complicity. This allows the audience to be privileged and observe them with their defenses down, vulnerability exposed.
FYC Abbreviation for 'For Your Consideration' (see above).
gaffer The chief or head electrician or supervisory lighting technician in the film/photography crew on a movie set, responsible for the design and execution of a production's lighting on the set; the gaffer's right-hand assistant is known as the best boy;gaffer tape refers to multi-purpose, sticky and wide black cloth tape, used to mark studio floors, to hold things together, etc..
Gaffer's Tape Cloth tape specifically for use on film shoots, usually 2 inches wide in black or silver. The nice thing about gaffer's tape is that, unlike duct tape, it is designed not to leave a sticky residue behind.
gag-based comedies These are comedy films that are often non-sensical and literally filled with multiple gags (i.e., jokes, one-liners, pratfalls, slapstick, etc.), are designed to produce laughter in any way possible, and often with comic or spoofing references to other films.
Gate The opening on a camera or a projector just behind the lens, through which a single frame is exposed (in the camera) or projected (in the projector).
Gate When shooting on film, you’ll often hear the assistant director shout, “Cut! Check the gate!” This is to ensure that the camera and film is free of any impurities or blockages (a hair in the way, for instance) that would render what' been filmed unusable or call for another take. The phrase is sometimes still heard on a digital set, but only for auld lang syne since there' no film gate.
gate The aperture assembly of a camera, printer, or projector at which the film is exposed.
Gauge The size, specifically the width, of a film format: 16mm, 35mm, Super-8 are gauges.
Gel A large sheet of transparent tinted plastic used as a filter for a movie light, or to cover a window. There are two basic types: ones that will covert one color temperature to another (such as C.T.O. and C.T.B.), and others that come in a wide variety of colors.
gel A transparent, tinted colored sheet of plastic used as a filter for a movie light to create a colored glow over a scene, usually to evoke a desired mood. Black-and-white silent films would often physically tint film stock to achieve the same effect (see tint).
gender twist A role traditionally played by a male or female that is switched and played by a member of the opposite sex; see also non traditional casting.
gender-bending role Usually, a cross-dressing role in which a male or female plays a character of the opposite sex.
general release Refers to the widespread simultaneous exhibition of a film.
generation Usually refers to the number of times a videotape has been copied; third generation means three steps away from the original media master.
Generic conventions Methods, ingredients, things necessary for the style/category of film. Consider the use of spaceships, alien forms and communication devices in Spielberg�s E.T.
genre Originally a French word meaning "kind", "sort" or "type"; refers to a class or type of film (i.e., westerns, sci-fi, etc.) that shares common, predictable or distinctive artistic and thematic elements or iconography (e.g., bad guys in Westerns wear black hats), narrative content, plot, and subject matter, mood and milieu (or setting) or characters. Film genres are distinct from film styles (a recognizable group of conventions used by filmmakers to add visual appeal, meaning, or depth to their work) that can be applied to any genre; also see hybrid;anti-genre films present an apparent genre stereotype and then subvert or challenge it - see revisionistic films.
Genre The style or category of the film. Consider Invasion of the Body Snatchers as sci-fi, Grease as a musical but also newer genre categories like Me, Earl & The Dying Girl classified as a �dramedy�.
Gobo see Cookie.
golden-orange hue color; occurs for about 30 minutes around the time of sunset and sunrise; aka golden hour Heaven (1978); and Phil Alden Robinson'sField of Dreams (1989).
gothic A literary or film style characterized by dark and dreary influences, such as ghouls, the supernatural, the grotesque, deathly forces, and the mysterious. Settings include old mansions, castles, and a threatened heroine. Often used in reference to horror films with these characteristics, to increase the film's prestige.
Grand Guignol Literally meaning 'large puppet' in French; originally a reference to the famous classic shock Parisian theatre (during the 1900s) which specialized in gruesome melodramas with gory special effects; the term now refers to a play/film with sensational, macabre, horrifying, dramatic, and gothiccontent.
greenlight or "greenlighting" A term denoting the 'go-ahead' for a film to be made; contrasted to being redlighted; shouldn't be confused withgreen-screening.
Greenscreen A technique where actors perform in front of a stark, monochromatic background, usually bright green or blue. This is then replaced with a background image, often with CGI. Also known as “bluescreen” or “chromakeying”.
grindhouse film A grindhouse originally signified a burlesque, strip-tease theatre (for "bumps and grinds") in a red-light district, or a blue-collar downtown cinema-house that featured racy films, chopsocky films, or other marginal fare; as a film, it first referred to a cheap, low-budget, non-mainstream, sleazy, hard-core film that played in an 'adults-only' venue, scruffy downtown area or drive-in in the 60s or 70s; early topics included nudist pictures, kung-fu flicks, and cheesy/sexy potboilers, but then branched out to refer to any genre of film with little plot, but with lots of action, sex and nudity, violence, taboo drug-use, lewdness, atrocities, Hong Kong martial arts content, or just plain weirdness; see also B movies,exploitation or trash films, slasher films, blaxploitationfilms.
grip The crew member responsible for setting up dolly tracks and camera cranes, erecting scaffolding, moving props or scenery, or the adjustment or maintenance of any other production equipment on the set - a physically demanding job; the key grip is the head grip who coordinates all of the other grips in the crew, and receives direction from the gaffer or head lighting technician; the key grip's right-hand assistant is known as the best boy grip.
gross Refers to the box-office take - the total amount of money taken in during theatrical release, not including earnings from film rentals or sales, or the entire profit made by a film.
grotesque A term originally coined by Federico Fellini to describe the bizarre-looking or deformed background characters in his films; a grotesque is a live-action caricature with exaggerated features, but not necessarily to be viewed as frightening or sinister.
guerrilla film A low-budget film usually shot without seeking location permits, using non-SAG (Screen Actors Guild) actors, etc. .
Guillotine A type of tape splicer which uses unperforated splicing tape.
'guilty pleasure' films An escapist film that engenders low expectations (usually an awful B-movie or a critically-lambasted film) that the public enjoys despite or, more likely, because of its flaws; these are often quite personal film choices that are sometimes embarrassing to admit. Universally-loved 'guilty pleasure' films become cult films. See also flop and B-movie.
Halation Halation is the effect that occurs when the bright areas of an image appear to softly bleed around the edges of dark areas. This is caused by light going through the emulsion layer, bouncing off the base of the film and exposing the adjacent emulsion. Some film is manufactured with a black anti-halation coating on the base side.
Half Apple see Apple Box.
Halogen This is the gas contained in the lamp of a Quartz Light, which prolongs the life of the tungsten filament. Quartz Lights are sometimes called Halogen Lights for this reason.
Handheld Shooting without a tripod, but with the camera held by the cameraperson.
Handheld Shot A handheld shot is one in which the cameraman or -woman holds the camera and moves through space while filming.
handheld shot A shot taken with a handheld camera or deliberately made to appear unstable, shaky or wobbly; often used to suggest either documentary footage, 'realism,' news reporting,cinema verite, or amateur cinematography; contrast withSteadicam.
Hard-boiled a tone of writing for fiction and film often associated with American detective fiction by Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane, and Dashiell Hammett. Often film noir (example) (which has several specific themes and even recurring images, such as spiral staircases and femmes fatales) adopts a hard-boiled tone. Hard-boiled narrators are usually men, world-weary "tough guys" who speak like this "it was always dark on Skid Row, but it got darker the night that Joe Palooka took his final dive. He was a down-on-his-heels prize fighter with nothing left to lose but twenty-five bucks and his life. Some Fresno punk took both, when Joe went down with four .38 slugs in his back."
Hays Code Named after Will Hays, a series of rigid censorship restrictions imposed on films by the Motion Picture Production Code (MPPC) beginning in mid-1934, and enforced/administered by Joseph Breen (in the Breen Office); the code had existed since the late 1920s but wasn't vigorously enforced, and it basically lasted until the late 1960s; the Code explicitly prescribed what couldn't be shown in films, i.e., "nakedness and suggestive dances," "methods of crime," "alleged sex perversion," "illegal drug use," "scenes of passion," "excessive and lustful kissing...", "miscegenation," "pointed profanity," etc..
Head 1.: The beginning of a shot or a roll is called the head. 2.: A small round clamp, usually used in conjunction with an arm on a C-Stand. 3.: The Tripod Head
Head Room The space between the top of a subject's head and the top of the frame. Headroom must be carefully apportioned so that there is not too much or too little, especially if shooting for transfer to video or for blowup, where the frame will be cropped in a little on the top and sides.
head-on shot A shot in which the action moves or comes directly toward or at the camera, to enhance the audience's feelings of participation; works well with 3-D films; also may refer to ahead shot.
helicopter shot A moving shot, often breathtaking; an establishing shot from a bird's eye view or from overhead, usually taken from a helicopter - due to its maneuverability, the shot may pan, arc, or sweep through a landscape; many films open with a helicopter shot (often under the credits).
helm Terms used to refer to the director (aka helmer) of a film.
Hero Shot Often used in sports coverage. For instance the closeup of a person who just made a score in a basketball game is called a hero shot.
hero/heroine Refers to the major male and female protagonists in a film with whom the audience identifies and sympathizes. Character traits often include being young, virtuous, handsome, pretty, etc.; contrast with the antagonist or heavy(the villain or evil force)..
Hi Hat This is a square of plywood with a bracket attached, to which a tripod head may be added (or is sometimes permanently affixed) used for filming with the camera very low to the ground. Its name is a bit of a contradiction, to its use nowadays, but it used to be that a Hi Hat was for shooting from very high up, with the plywood board being mounted up high somewhere.
high concept (high concept one-liner): "A teenager is mistakenly sent into the past, where he must make sure his mother and father meet and fall in love; he then has to get back to the future." Back to the Future (1985).
High Contrast Light Often done for tragedies and melodramas with the harsh shafts of light and dramatic steaks of blackness.
High-Angle Shot A high-angle shot is one in which the camera is placed above eye level, creating a frame that looks down at the subject. Early examples of high-angle shots represent the point of view of a distant onlooker.
high-angle shot A shot in which the subject or scene is filmed from above and the camera points down on the action, often to make the subject(s) small, weak and vulnerable; contrast to low-angle shot.
High-angle Shots Less dramatic, reduces the height of the objects and the importance of the setting or environment is increased. A person seems harmless and insignificant when photographed from above; useful in conveying a character' self-contempt. (example)
'high-concept' Refers to the saleable or marketable elements of a film; a high concept (actually low-concept in practice) refers to a film's main premise expressed as a simple formula in just a few words (as a one-liner) that can be easily understood by all; this idea portrays a shallow, condescending attitude toward undiscriminating film audiences by Hollywood's marketers and often results in having film content controlled by what appeals to the lowest common denominator type market; see alsologline (also known as premise).
high-definition An on screen television image that will appear in a ratio of 16:9 compared to today's analog signal ratio of 4:3; the image will be 'high-def' due to increased lines of resolution (e.g., 1080 lines rather than the 525 of analog).
highlighting The use of thin beams of light to illuminate selected or limited parts of the subject (e.g., an actress' eyes).
hike Slang term for the following verbs, meaning "to increase", "to raise" or "to promote".
hitting a mark An actor's term for moving to the correct, predetermined position during rehearsals and during camera takes so that the camera can smoothly record the action; 'mark' refers to pieces of crossed tape on the floor to signify positions.
HMI This is a type of light. HMI stands for Halogen Metal Incandescence. HMIs are very bright, power efficient lights. They are balanced for the Color Temperature of Daylight, making them handy in mixed lighting situations. However, they are rather expensive, costing something in the few thousands of dollars, and are not very portable due to the large and heavy ballast that is attached. Also, and this is vitally important to keep in mind, they must be used with a Crystal Sync camera, otherwise they will flicker and throb.
hold over The term used by a director for an actor used for an extra day.
Homage a French term pronounced that way, this is "a nod of the head" in a film to a past director or actor. Directors watch lots of good and bad films, so many engage in this practice. Directors of mysteries or suspense films often include an homage to Alfred Hitchcock. Look for one of these moments in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, when Bruce Willis' character Butch sees Ving Rhames' character Marsellus crossing the street in front of Butch's car. This shot honors a famous shot from Hitchcock's Psycho.
homage Usually a respectful tribute to someone or something; this often occurs within one movie when a reference is made to another film's scene, image, etc..
hoofer A slang term denoting a dancer .
horror (films) A popular film genre designed to frighten and thrill with familiar elements (monsters, killers, vampires, zombies, aliens, mad scientists, the devil or demons, etc.), gothic qualities or settings (e.g., castles), psychological terror, etc.; initially influenced by German expressionism; subgenretypes include slasher films, occult films, and gore-fests; often combined with the sci-fi genre.
horse opera General slang for a western film, not for a "singing cowboy" film; also known as an oater (for the food that horses eat).
Hot Splicer A Cement splicer with an electric heater inside. The heat improves the bonding of the cement splice. Hot splicers are really not dangerously hot, just warm.
House Lights You can request "House Lights" for a print and the lab will not time your film, but print it without any exposure or color correction. House lights are typically at the middle of the printing scale: 25-25 -25.
hybrid (film) A film or production that combines or intersects two or more distinct genre types, and cannot be categorized by a single genre type; see also cross-over.
hype The abbreviation for hyperbole; refers to manufactured promotional buzz and excessive advertising/marketing for a film or project, including celebrity appearances, radio and TV spots or interviews, and other ploys; a similar word - hypo - means to increase or boost.
Hyperfocal Distance The hyperfocal distance is a distance set on the focusing ring of the lens that will most efficiently use the Depth of Field present. A depth of field chart will list possible distances and graph out the area of focus at different f-stops. There does not necessarily have to be a subject to focus on at that distance.
I.S.O. The equivalent of A.S.A. and I.E., just with another name, it is another way of saying the same thing. This is the least frequently used of the three, but is sometimes found on the light meter. Treat it just as if it was A.S.A. I.S.O. stands for International Standards Organization.
Iconography The images or symbols associated with a certain subject. Consider Gansel�s use of the wave action & how it mimics that of the Nazi party salute
iconography (or icon) The use of a well-known symbol or icon; a means to analyze the themes and various styles in a film.
image Generally refers to the picture that is the result of the photographic process.
IMAX A specialized, big-screen film format about ten times larger than the traditional cinema format (35mm) and three times larger than the standard 70 mm widescreen format; debuted in Osaka Japan at the 1970 Exposition; IMAX films, often short documentaries, 'educational,' travelogue or nature films, are shot and projected on 15 perforation/70mm gauge film -.
in the can A term for an entire film or a subset of shots that are all finished shooting; also denotes when a director has the takethat he wanted.
in-camera editing Refers to filming in the exact order required for the final product, thereby eliminating the post-production editing stage; a fast, albeit unprofessional way to produce a film, often employed by student or amateur film-makers; requires advanced planning to tell the desired story in order; aka in camera effects, such as double-exposures, split-screen shots, rear-screen and front-projection process shots, etc..
Incident Light Reading An incident light reading measures the amount of light hitting the subject. You take an incident reading with a light meter equipped with a white half-sphere which acts as a stand-in for the subject. The sphere is pointed at the camera, so that the same light hitting the subject is hitting the sphere. The other type of light reading is a Reflective Light Reading.
independents or indie films Small independent, low-budget companies, mini-majors, or entities for financing, producing, and distributing films (i.e., Miramax, New Line Cinema, Polygram) working outside of the system or a major Hollywood studio; however, an indie maylose its independent status when its grows large and powerful; also refers to a movie, director, distributor or producer (sometimes unconventional) not associated with or produced by a major Hollywood film studio; often with groundbreaking subject matter designed for sophisticated audiences, and not necessarily produced with commercial success as the goal, unlike mainstream films.
industry, the Another name for the film or entertainment industry; also referred to as the biz, show business, show-biz,Hollywood, or the town..
Infinity The furthest distance on the focusing ring of a lens.
ingenue A young, teenaged female actress often in an important or lead role in a film; usually portrays an innocent, sometimes naive, and attractive character; also refers to an actress sometimes known as a starlet; the male counterpart is known as a juvenile..
ink Slang term meaning to 'sign' a contract.
Insert Shot A shot that occurs in the middle of a larger scene or shot, usually a close-up of some detail or object, that draws audience attention, provides specific information, or simply breaks up the film sequence (e.g., a quivering hand above a gun holster in a Western, a wristwatch face, a letter, a doorbell button, a newspaper headline, a calendar, a clock face); an insert shot is filmed from a different angle and/or focal length from the master shot and is different from acutaway shot (that includes action not covered in the master shot); also known as cut-in..
inside joke In a film, an obscure, show-biz related joke that is understood (or realized) only by those who know the reference (outside the context of the film).
intercut shots Usually refers to a series of shots, consisting of two simultaneous events, that are alternated together to create suspense; intercutting can also consist of shots of two people involved in a telephone conversation.
Interlocked Two or more devices (most commonly dubbers in a mixing facility) with motors that run in sync are interlocked. It is not quite correct to say that a sync sound camera and tape recorder are interlocked, regardless of whether they use crystal of cable sync, since the tape recorder is recording pilottone and not really running with its motor interlocked with the camera motor.
interlude A brief, intervening film scene or sequence, not specifically tied to the plot, that appears within a film..
intermission A break in the middle of a film, normally in a feature-length film of three hours or more (although rare in current-day films); originally, intermissions served as a 'stretch-restroom' opportunity, or provided time for the projectionist to change reels; they often were accompanied by a medley of the film's score - or a song score for musicals; the strategy of film theaters nowadays is to show a film as many times as possible during the day.
Internegative An intermediate copy of a film, made on a very fine-grained stock, and used to make a greater number of prints than it is practical to make from the A'amp;B Rolls.
Interpositive An intermediate copy of a film, made on a very fine-grained stock, usually required as an intermediate step to making an internegative.
Intervalometer A device that attaches to the camera for filming single exposures, much like an animation motor, exept that an intervalometer is capable of exposing single frames automatically, as in the technique of Time Lapse photography.
Iris Like the iris of the eye, a valve within a lens to control the amount of light that passes through. Opening the iris permits more light to pass through the lens and closing the iris less. The degree to which the iris is open or closed is measured in F-Stops, and on some lenses supplemented by T-Stops.
iris (or irising) An earlier cinematographic technique or wipe effect, in the form of an expanding or diminishing circle, in which a part of the screen is blacked out so that only a portion of the image can be seen by the viewer; usually the lens aperture is circular or oval shaped and is often expanded or contracted as the film rolls, often from one scene to the next; known also asdiaphragm. The camera movment is often termed iris wipe,circle-in/circle-out, or iris-in/iris-out; also refers to the adjustable opening in the lens that allows light to pass through - the measurement for the iris opening is f-stop.
Iris Shot The iris shot is a shot masked in a circular form.
J-cut See L-cut (below); aka split edit.
jukebox musical A filmed musical (drama, or animation, etc.) that uses pre existing popular songs (usually from a variety of artistic sources) as its song score; the songs are often re-imagined with different song styles; aka karaoke musical.
Jump Cut An abrupt, disorienting transitional device in the middle of a continuous shot in which the action is noticeably advanced in time and/or cut between two similar scenes, either done accidentally (a technical flaw or the result of bad editing) or purposefully (to create discontinuity for artistic effect); also contrast with an ellipsis and match cut.
juvenile The role of a young, teenaged male character; the female counterpart is known as an ingenue..
juxtaposition In a film, the contiguous positioning of either two images, characters, objects, or two scenes in sequence, in order to compare and contrast them, or establish a relationship between them; see also sequence, symmetry, andcomposition..
K K has two different meanings, and both apply to movie lights, so one should be careful to differentiate one from the other. 1.: An abbreviation for Kilowatts. There are 1,000 Watts in 1 Kilowatt. It is used when talking about quartz lights or HMIs, as a way to measure their brightness based on their power consumption. A "1K" is a 1,000 Watt light, a "2K" a 2,000 Watt light, etc. 2.: An abbreviation for Kelvin, such as 3,200K for tungsten balance, 5,400K for daylight, etc.
Kelvin This is the Color Temperature scale that takes its name from the scientist Lord Kelvin.
key light The main or primary light on a subject, often angled and off center (or from above) that selectively illuminates various prominent features of the image to produce depth, shadows, etc.; high-key lighting (with everything evenly and brightly lit, with a minimum of shadows) is termed realistic (and often used in musicals and comedies), while low-key lighting (with less illumination, more shadows, and many grayish, dark areas) is termed expressionistic (and often used in film noir);three-point lighting uses: (1) a fill (or filler) light - an auxiliary light to soften shadows and areas not covered by the key light, (2) a back light behind to add depth to a subject, and (3) a bright key light.
Key lighting (high and low) Lighting design to create different light/dark ratios. High-key lighting is bright and produces little shadow, whereas low-key lighting is used to specifically create shadow and contrast. Consider the low-key lighting of Eli to create mystery in Let The Right One In.
kick-off A term denoting the start of production or principal photography.
Klieglight A type of powerful carbon-arc lamp that produces an intense light, often used in film-making; also used for promotional purposes at film premieres.
kudocast Another term for an awards show; see Academy Awards.
L.F.O.A. This stands for Last Frame of Action, and basically it is just what it sounds like: the last frame of image and sound on a reel. It is important to the people who mix your film (it should be written on the cue sheet), especially if you need to do Pull Ups.
Lab Roll A large roll (usually up to 1,000 feet) made up of camera rolls joined together by the lab for printing.
landmark film A revolutionary film, due to either its technical or performance artistry; those films recognized by the National Film Registry.
Latent Edge Numbers Precisely, the edge numbers, and not inked-on code numbers. see Edge Numbers.
Latitude The degree to which a certain film stock can tolerate under- or overexposure. Reversal film, for all practical purposes, has a very little latitude. Color negative has a higher latitude, and particular of its latitude it is tolerant of much more overexposure than underexposure.
lavalier (microphone) A miniature type of microphone, usually omni-directional and wireless, and small enough to be taped or clipped to an actor, to record dialogue; aka lav, lapel or lap microphones.
L-cut A digital film editing term, also known as a split edit, J cut ordelayed edit; it refers to a transitional edit in which the audio and video edit do not start at the same time; the audio starts before (or after) the picture cut.
lead role Refers to the most important, main character in a film, often distinguished by gender; usually there is at least one male and female lead role; also usually known as protagonist; contrasted to supporting roles or characters..
Left and Right Edges of the Frame Suggests insignificance because the characters are the farthest away from the center. Often are shot with darker light, suggesting the unknown.
'legs' A film that has 'legs' has strong and profitable box-office, stamina and audience drawing power far beyond the opening weekend; the term usually applies to films that last many months.
leitmotif An intentionally-repeated, recurring element or themeassociated with a particular person, idea, milieu, or action; the element presents itself as a repeated sound, shot, bit of dialogue, piece of music, etc., that helps unify a film by reminding the viewer of its earlier appearance; sometimes presented along with a film's tag line on a film poster..
lens A piece of glass in a camera through which light passes before hitting the film stock inside; various types include wide angle lens, telephoto lens, normal, etc.; to lense means to film a motion picture.
Lens Flare It is caused when light strikes the lens and either causes the entire image to be fogged in appearance, or for a little row of polygons (the silhouette of the iris) to appear from the light hitting the surfaces of the many elements in the lens. It is solved by flagging the lens.
letterboxing (or letterboxed) The technique of shrinking the film image just enough so that its entire width appears on TV screen, with black areas above and below the image; refers to the way that videos emulate the widescreen format on television screens; if a widescreen film is not in the letterbox format it is often in pan-and scanformat..
library shot A stock shot, often unimaginative or commonplace.
Lighting Lighting is responsible for the quality of a film�s images and often a film�s dramatic effect.
lighting Refers to the illumination of a scene, and the manipulation of light and shadows by the cinematographer..
Lightleak Stray light that penetrates into a camera giving the film little patches of fog. Also the term for the access point itself. Typically light leaks occur around the camera door or where the magazine is joined to the camera body. Often they can be easily prevented with camera tape around the door.
Lights see Timing Lights.
lines Refers to the spoken dialogue belonging to a single performer; also refers to the full complement of spoken words in a film or stage script; also known simply as dialogue..
Lip Sync Refers to synchronization between mouth movement and the words on the film's soundtrack.
Loading Booth A small darkroom sometimes found on a sound stage for loading film into magazines as a roomier alternative to a Changing Bag.
location (or on location) The properties or places (interior or exterior) used for filming away from the studio, set, or (back)lot, often to increase the authenticity and realism of the film's appearance; exteriors are abbreviated as ext., and interiors as int..
Location Sound Refers to recording background sound on location, to improve the film's realism; see also buzz track.
Locked Cut The so-called final cut of a film when there are to be no more changes to picture.
Locked Down Shot A shot taken with the pan and tilt releases on the tripod tightened so that the camera will not move. Often done for certain effects where camera movement would ruin the illusion, such as a cut that causes a character to magically disappear from a scene or for time lapse effects.
locked-down shot Refers to a camera shot in which the camera remains immobile, while something happens off-screen (e.g., an off screen death) - a technique to create suspense.
logline A short, introductory summary of a film, usually found on the first page of the screenplay, to be read by executives, judges, agents, producers and script-readers; all screenwriters use loglines to sell their scripts; also known as premise; see alsohigh concept hook.
Long Lens A lens with a focal length greater than 25mm in 16mm, or 50mm in 35mm, which, like binoculars, will provide a view that magnifies a small area.
Long Shot A long shot shows characters in their entirety, as well as some of the surrounding environment.
Long Take The long take is a shot of some duration.
long take (or lengthy take) A shot of lengthy duration; see also mise-en-scene.
long-shot (LS) A camera view of an object or character from a considerable distance so that it appears relatively small in the frame, e.g., a person standing in a crowd of people or a horse in a vast landscape; variations are the medium long-shot (or mid shot) (MS) and the extreme long-shot (ELS or XLS); also called a wide shot; a long shot often serves as anestablishing shot; contrast to close-up (CU); a full-shot is a type of long shot that includes a subject's entire body (head to feet)..
Loop 1.: Slack film above and below the gate to allow a transition from the constant motion of the supply and take up rollers to the intermittent motion that takes place at the gate. 2.: A small magnifier useful in the editing room. 3.: see Dubbing.
Looping Refers to the process in which dialogue is re-recorded by actors in the studio during post-production, matching the actor's voice to lip movements on screen; aka ADR(Automated Dialogue Replacement); contrast with dubbing;loop refers to a length of film joined from beginning to end for repeated continuous running.
Low Con Print A low contrast print specifically for transfer to video, which favors less contrast in the transfer process.
Low Key Mysteries and thrillers use shadows and pools of light.
Low-Angle Shot A shot in which the subject is filmed directly from below and the camera tilts up at the action or character, to make the subject appear larger than life, more formidable, taller and more menacing; contrast to a high-angle shot. Have the opposite effect as they increase height and thus suggest verticality. They also heighten the importance of a subject. The figure looms threateningly over the spectator who is made to feel insecure and dominated. A person photographed from below inspires fear and awe. (example)
M.O.S. A shot, a sequence, or a film that is shot without sound, which is added later. M.O.S. stands for "Mit Out Sound," and derives from an old Hollywood story about a German director asking for a shot to be filmed "mit out sound," and the camera assistant complying with this request by writing "M.O.S." on the slate.
MacGuffin Alfred Hitchcock coined this term; he meant plot device that makes the action happen without being important in and of itself. For instance, the act of two strangers sitting next to each other, and one finding and returning the other's car keys might lead to a murder or a love affair. The keys are the MacGuffin. The Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark and the briefcase in Pulp Fiction are famous MacGuffins.
Macro Lens A lens that can be used for extremely close to the subject. The focusing ring will keep going past the lowest setting (on the Switar lens a red ring will appear to let you know) all the way around again. When in macro the distances on the focusing ring no longer apply.
madcap comedy A fast-paced, wild, and reckless humorous work, usually with plenty of slapstick humor, goofy and farcical action, and crazy characters; also see screwball comedy.
made-fors Short for movies filmed or made-for-television, often mid-way in style between a short drama and a cinematic release.
Mag 1.: Short for Film Magazine. 2.: Short for Mag Track.
Mag Stock, Mag Track or Magnetic Film Mag track is a piece of film that is coated with an emulsion of magnetic oxide instead of silver halides. Basically, it is sound recording tape that is the same size as film, complete with perforations. For editing, all the sound, location sound and additional sound, is transferred to mag stock, where it is run on an editing machine in tandem with picture, one frame of picture equaling one frame of sound.
Magazine An attachment to a camera with one or two light-proof chambers that hold 400 or 1,000 feet of film. One camera will typically have two or three magazines which can be loaded ahead of time.
Magic hour The short time just before sunset when light levels change dramatically and very quickly, enabling golden shots that will look “very Terrence Malick”. See the opening shot of Hot Fuzz or virtually any Michael Bay movie.
magic hour The optimum time for filming romantic or magical scenes due to 'warm' and 'soft' lighting conditions, characterized by a.
mainstream A Hollywood-made film with major stars, big budgets, and bighype; compare to independents; its extreme opposite is termed counter-cinema (forms of alternative cinema, such asavant-garde, art films, Third World cinema, etc.).
Mainstream Popular, conventional, and/or part of a major film studio system. Consider Spielberg�s hugely successful work for Hollywood studio Universal Pictures' production and distribution companies.
majors Refers to the major Hollywood motion picture producer/distributor studios at the present time (i.e., DreamWorks SKG, MGM/UA, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sony (Columbia/TriStar), Warner Bros, Universal, and Disney); contrast to the smaller, mini majorproduction-distribution companies (i.e., Miramax, New Line Cinema, and Polygram) that compete directly with the bigger studios.
makeup Refers to the materials that are used to prepare the performer for his/her respective role(s) before the camera, anywhere from facial pancake to elaborate costuming, latex masks, and other ghastly transformations; the makeup department is headed by a makeup artist.
making of... A specialized documentary that focuses on the production of a specific film; most "making of..." documentaries are extended promotional advertisements before the release of the film, and almost all of them are shot while the film is in production; some specialized documentaries of classic films (called retrospectives), made years after the film was released, gather interviews and behind the scenes clips, etc..
M'amp;E M'amp;E stands for Music and Effects. After a mix a big production will have an M'amp;E track made, which is used when the film is dubbed into other languages so that all the Music and Effects do not also have to be redone. An M'amp;E track is only essential if you plan on dubbing your film into a different language.
mark (1) the name for the clapping of the sticks to sync up the sound and the picture; and (2) something on the ground (tape, a stick, chalk, etc.) that lets the talent know where they should be for the shot.
Mark 1.: The clapping of the clapstick to create a Sync Mark (1.) for the shot. 2.: A piece of tape on the floor that indicates where an actor should stand.
Mark it What to say to the person with the slate to get them to clap the sticks together.
mask (or blackout) Refers to covering up or blocking out a portion of the frame with blackness or opaqueness; most masks are black, but they could be white or some other color.
Master Shot A continuous shot or long take that shows the main action or setting of an entire scene (most scenes are shot with one or two master angles and then broken up into a series of smaller or tighter angles during editing (such as one-shots, two-shots, close-ups, and reaction shots)); a master refers to a positive print made especially for duplication purposes.
match cut A transitional technique, in which there's a cut between two shots (outgoing and incoming) that are joined, matched, or linked by visual, aural, or metaphorical parallelism or similarities; there can be audio matches, segues (a seguerefers to a smooth, uninterrupted transition), and visualmatch-cuts of various kinds; see also audio bridge andbridging shot .
Matte Box A square shade that goes in front of the lens, usually supported by a pair of rods that attach to the camera. A matte box often has filter holders for square glass filters. (Often helpful for doing a Matte Shot.)
Matte Shot A shooting technique where painted artwork (ordinarily on glass) is combined in-shot with live action, to create the illusion of a grand backdrop. It' old-fashioned, but still used by Peter Jackson and others for those invaluable epic visuals. A double exposure that does not meld two images on top of each other, but masks off part of the frame for one exposure and the opposite area for another exposure. This is also known as a split screen. Matte shots can also be done as Opticals. The end shot of the 1968 Planet of the Apes provides a perfect example. When Taylor falls to his knees in front of the Statue of Liberty, our actors were (I'm fairly certain) facing a blank background. A painted background was added--a matte painting--of the ruined statue.
McGuffin Alfred Hitchcock's term for the device or plot element (an item, object, goal, event, or piece of knowledge) that catches the viewer's attention or drives the logic or action of the plot and appears extremely important to the film characters, but often turns out to be insignificant or is to be ignored after it has served its purpose; its derivation is Scottish, meaning a "lion trap" for trapping lions in the lion-less Scottish Highlands (i.e., a trap that means nothing, since it is for an animal where there is no such animal)..
Medium Shot Refers to a conventional camera shot filmed from a medium distance; although it is difficult to precisely define, it usually refers to a human figure from the waist (or knees) up; between a close shot and a long shot; abbreviated as m.s.. A medium shot is one that can include several characters in a frame, usually showing a character from the waist up.Contains a figure from the knees or waist up.
megaplex (multiplex) Both refer to movie chains (i.e., Loews, AMC Theatres) with movie theatres that screen more than one film at a time, as opposed to single-screen theatres. A multiplex has from 2 up to 16 screens, a megaplex has 16 or more screens; plex is the abbreviation for a multiplex theatre..
melodrama Originally referred to "a drama accompanied by music"; a film characterized by expressive plots with strong and intensified emotion, often with elements of pathos, illness and hardship; called 'women's films' or 'weepies' (tearjerkers) during the 1940s; aka meller; sometimes used disparagingly to describe films that are manipulative and crudely appeal to emotions; see also 'chick flicks'.
metaphor A filmic device in which a scene, character, object, and/or action may be associated, identified, or interpreted as an implied representation of something else (that is unrelated).
method acting A style of acting first expounded by Konstantine Stanislavsky in the early 1900s, and popularized by Lee Strasberg (1899- 1982) in the US in his Actors Studio; refers to actors who gave realistic performances based upon and drawn from their own personal experiences and emotions; refers to not emoting in the traditional manner of stage conventions, but to speak and gesture in a manner used in private life..
midnight movies Offbeat, often independent (non-Hollywood) counter culturalcult films exhibited at theatres for late-night shows - sometimes involving audience participation; appealed to various small segments of niche audiences with different tastes; these films (originally sexual thrillers, slasher flicks, etc.) were often box-office bombs upon initial release, but then gained a faithful following; the phenomenon began in the early 70s, then mostly disappeared in the 80s, but has recently been revived..
mime (or pantomime) Acting without words, emphasizing facial expressions, body movements, and gestures; common during the silent film era..
miniatures Small-scale models photographed to give the illusion that they are full-scale objects; also known as model or miniature shots..
Mis en Scene unlike montage, this is physically what is in a shot or scene and does not involve editing. It can involve camera movement and focus, lighting, scenery, placement of people or objects, and other elements a director can make happen on the set rather than later on in the editing process. (examples)
miscast Refers to an actor/actress who is completely wrong, untalented, or unbelievable for the role he or she has been cast in..
mise en sc�ne A French term for "staging," or "putting into the scene or shot"; in film theory, it refers to all the elements placed (by the director) before the camera and within the frame of the film -- including their visual arrangement and composition; elements include settings, decor, props, actors, costumes, makeup, lighting, performances, and character movements and positioning; lengthy, un-cut, unedited and uninterrupted sequences shot in real-time are often cited as examples ofmise-en-scene; contrast to montage.
Mise-en-Sc�ne Mise-en-sc�ne originated in the theater and is used in film to refer to everything that goes into the composition of a shot--framing, movement of the camera and characters, lighting, set design and the visual environment, and sound.
Mise-en-sc�ne Literally, �what is in the frame�: setting, costume & props, colour, lighting, body language, positioning within the frame all come together to create meaning.
Mix This is the process of combining all your soundtracks into one, with all the sounds blended together at their correct volumes, together with any equalization, filtering, and effecting of the sound to give you the desired end result.
mix (mixing) The electrical combination of different sounds, dialogue, music, and sound effects from microphones, tape, and other sources onto the film's master soundtrack during post production; dubbing (or re-recording) refers to the mixing of all soundtracks into a single composite track; the soundtrack is blended by a mixer (chief sound recording technician).
Mix Master This is a copy of your sound mix on mag stock, or on DAT, which you sometimes have to request in addition to the optical track. It is always a good idea to get a copy of the mix on tape, which will be of much better quality than the optical track for transfer to video, or to save some mixing time in the event you have to remix.
Mixer 1.: A device for blending together sounds from multple sources with a volume control for each. 2.: The person who sits at the mixing console during the mix, who decides initially on how the sounds are to be combined (you are the one with final say), and operates the faders and other audio controls.
Mixing House A sound studio specifically for mixing sound for film.
mockumentary A fictional, farcical film that has the style, 'look and feel' of a documentary, with irreverent humor, parody, or slapstick, that is deliberately designed to 'mock' the documentary or subject that it features; related to docudrama (a film that depicts real people and actual events in their lives).
modern' (or modern-day) classic A popular, critically-acclaimed film in recent years destined (possibly?) to ultimately become an all-time classic.
mogul Refers to a domineering, autocratic head of a major film studio; most commonly used when the studio systemdominated film making; now popularly called a studio chief.
money shot Aka payoff shot; a term originally borrowed from the pornographic film industry; referring to a scene, image, revelation, or climactic moment that gives the audience "their money's worth," may have cost the most money to produce - and may be the key to the movie's success.
monitor Refers to a small television screen hooked up to the camera and/or recording device that allows crew other than the camera operator to check the quality of a scene as it is being shot or to check and see if it needs to be reshot.
monologue A scene or a portion of a script in which an actor gives a lengthy, unbroken speech without interruption by another character; see also soliloquy. See Best Film Speeches and Monologues.
Montage A French word literally meaning "editing", "putting together" or "assembling shots"; refers to a filming technique, editing style, or form of movie collage consisting of a series of short shots or images that are rapidly put together into a coherent sequence to create a composite picture, or to suggest meaning or a larger idea; in simple terms, the structure of editing within a film; a montage is usually not accompanied with dialogue; dissolves, cuts, fades, super-impositions, and wipes are often used to link the images in a montage sequence; an accelerated montage is composed of shots of increasingly-shorter lengths; contrast to mise-en-scene.
moppet The term for a child, or pre-teen child actor.
morality tale (or play) A literary term mostly, but used also to refer to a film (often heavy-handed and obvious in tone) that presents a judgment on the goodness/badness of human behavior and character, and emphasizes the struggle between good and evil.
morph The transformation of one digital image into another with computer animation..
Motif Refers to a recurrent thematic element in a film that is repeated in a significant way or pattern; examples of motifs - a symbol, stylistic device, image, object, word, spoken phrase, line, or sentence within a film that points to a theme..A dominant theme or recurring idea. Consider the recurring colour motif of a warm centre surrounded by cooler colours in Song Of The Sea echoing Ben�s childhood safety.
motion pictures (movies, pic(s), pix, or "moving pictures") A length of film (with or without sound) with a sequence of images that create an illusion of movement when projected; originally referred to the motion or movement (due to the principle of persistence of vision) perceived when a string of celluloid-recorded images were projected at a rate of 16 or more frames per second; an art form, and one of the most popular forms of entertainment, known archaically as aphotoplay during the silent era..
motivated and unmotivated lighting Refers to lighting (or a light source) that is naturally existing in the real world, i.e., from a lamp post, table lamp, sunlight shining through a window, etc., that appears in a scene; for the lighting to appear natural in a film scene, it should seem to be coming from light sources that are visible or implied within the scene; the opposite effect is unmotivated lighting.
Mouse (House) A slang term for the Walt Disney Co. or any division thereof -- refers to the company's most famous animated character: Mickey Mouse.
Moviola An Upright Moviola. Moviola is the company that makes this machine. They also make flatbeds, but when someone says "Moviola" the generally mean an upright. This is a film viewer, often used on an editing bench.
Moviscop Spelled Moviscop but pronounced "movie-scope." This is a small, 16mm table-top viewer, often used on an editing bench.
MPAA Acronym-initials meaning 'Motion Picture Association of America' - an organization that represents the interests of the major motion picture studios.
MTV style editing Refers to the style of filming and editing first found on the MTV cable channel in the 1980s and its music videos, consisting of rapidly-cut shots, fast-paced action, jump-cuts, fast-edits, numerous camera angles.
musical (film) A major film genre category denoting a film that emphasizes segments of song and dance interspersed within the action and dialogue; known for its distinctive artists, stars, singers, and dancers; two major types are 'backstage' musicals and 'music-integrated' musicals..
mute A print with only the picture image (minus the sound track).
narration The telling of a story, and the supplemental information given to the film audience by an off-screen voice; sometimes the narrator is a character in the film, who provides information in a flashback; see also voice-over..
narrative film A structured series of events, linked by cause and effect, that provide the plot of a film; a film that tells a chronological or linear story (with a beginning, middle, and end), as opposed to non-narrative films, such as poetic or abstractfilms..
naturalism (naturalistic) A stage, artistic, philosophical, or literary term as well as a film term, signifying an extreme form of realism in which life is depicted in a stoic, unbiased way; see also Neo-Realism..
Negative The original film that is used in the camera, from which a positive print is made for editing. The negative is assembled to match the edited workprint, and an answer print, for projection of the completed film, is struck from the negative.
Negative Cutter The person who cuts and assembles the original negative to match the edited workprint, which then goes to the lab for the answer print.
Negative Matcher same as Negative Cutter.
Neo-Realism An influential movement of the late 1940s and 1950s that originated in Italy; inaugurated by Jean Renoir, but associated with Italian post-war directors (Rossellini, Visconti, and De Sica); refers to films made outside the studio, with shooting on real locations, sometimes the absence of a script and/or non-professional casts and actors - all designed simultaneously to cut costs and increase the impression of spontaneity; neo-realistic films often deal with contemporary social and political issues; see alsonaturalism..
network TV Originally referred to the "Big Three" (ABC, NBC and CBS), but now with additional competitors, including Fox Channel, often known as 'free-TV'.
New Wave Also known as Nouvelle Vague; originally referred to a group of individualistic, innovative, and non-traditional French filmmakers, directors and producers in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer, and Alain Resnais, who began as critics on Cahiers du Cinema and espoused the principles of auteur theory; the New Wave film style was characterized by a cinema verite style with the use of the jump cut, the hand-held camera, non-linear storytelling, and loose, improvised direction; now used to generally refer to any new movement in a national cinema..
newsreel Refers to a filmed cinema news report.
nickelodeon The term for a makeshift motion picture theater, often a converted store, which proliferated all over the US, mostly in working-class areas of metropolitan centers, during the first decade of the 20th century. The name was derived from the 5 cents/nickel charged to patrons..
nihilistic (nihilism) A dark and brooding film that features a downbeat, depressing, dreary, cynical, gloomy or bleak tone; often doom-laden and concerned with the subjects of death, suffering, tragedy, unhappiness, and existential despair; the protagonist often meets with death or tragedy in a film's conclusion; see also dystopia..
nitrate film base A highly-flammable kind of film base, composed of cellulose nitrate, used up until the late 1940s when it was then supplanted by acetate base..
noir See film noir, tech-noir.
Non-Diegetic Sound Non-diegetic sound is sound whose origin is from outside the story world.
Non-Reflex A camera that does not have a "through the lens" viewfinding system, but gives you an image in the viewfinder through a seperate lens. Older Bolexes and Bell 'amp; Howell cameras are non-reflex.
non-speaking role A small role in a film, usually a brief appearance on screen, that has no dialogue but where the individual is clearly.
non-sync (non-synchronized) Refers to a scene shot without synchronized sound - and sounds must be added later during the editing stage; sync sound is its opposite; also refers to a mis-matched soundtrack; aka asynchronous.
non-traditional casting A movement, now officially headed by the Non-Traditional Casting Project (NTCP) to "promote inclusive hiring practices and standards, diversity in leadership and balanced portrayals of persons of color and persons with disabilities"; not to be confused with cast against type ormiscast.
Normal Lens In 16mm this is the 25mm lens. In 35mm it is the 50mm lens. It is the point between the widening of the image by the wide angle lens and the magnifiying of the image by the telephoto lens.
Nose Grease Just what it sounds like. Used in the old trick among camerapersons to lubricate the pressure plate by wiping it along the side of the nose. Nose grease has the scientific name of squalene which is also found in shark'#39;s liver oil.
Nose Room When a subject is in profile, nose room is the space between their face and the edge of the frame, similar to Head Room. In a profile shot, nose room is considered "good" when a little extra room in front of the person's face, rather than behind their head. The general rule is that the space around the subject should be apportioned to 2/3rds in front of the subject's head, and 1/3rd behind.
nostalgia film A film that wistfully looks back at an earlier past time, often depicting it as more innocent and uncomplicated than it actually was, historically; nostalgia films usually look back on the protagonist's or narrator's childhood. See alsocoming of age film..
novelization Refers to making a novel from a film or screenplay.
NTSC An abbreviation, refers specifically to National TelevisionSystem Committee that sets TV and video standards; also refers to the US and Japanese video systems that have 525 horizontal scan lines, 16 million different colors, and 30 frames per second (or 60 half-frames (interlaced) per second); competing systems in Europe and worldwide arePAL (Phase Alternating Line) and SECAM (Sequential Color with Memory).
nudie (or nudie flick) An old term for a pornographic movie, often used during the age of the Hayes Code when nudity was forbidden by censors in mainstream films on the silver screen; an era of nudie films was generated by filmmaker Russ Meyer in the late 50s; also see porn..
nut In the movie-theatre business, refers to operating expenses associated with a film (the exhibitor's calculation of what it takes to lease his theater, to staff and run it, etc.); akahouse nut.
O.C.N. O.C.N. stands for Original Color Negative. It is simply your developed negative.
obligatory scene A cliched and expected scene for a particular genre, e.g., a love scene in a romance or dramatic film, a shoot-out in a Western, the solving of a crime in a mystery, a rescue in an action film, etc..
Oblique Angle Lateral tilt of the camera, the horizon is skewed.
off or offstage (or off-camera) Refers to action or dialogue off the visible stage, or beyond the boundaries of the camera's field of vision or depicted frame; aka off-screen.
omniscient point-of-view (POV) A film in which the narrator knows (and sees) everything occurring in a story, including character thoughts, action, places, conversations, and events; contrast to subjective point-of-view.
on or onstage (or on-camera) On the visible stage, or within the boundaries of the camera's field of vision.
One Light The alternative to a Timed Print, a one light is a print that has not been corrected shot by shot, but shows what all the shots look like with the same printing lights in contrast to each other. Sometimes this can be helpful to know the range of fluctuation in exposure and color. (But it is curiously common for a lab to do some timing, even on a one light print, at the change of locations, at the change of rolls, or if one shot is so drastically off from the rest and it would be practically unseeable otherwise.)
one man (or woman) show A scripted or filmed narrative (or an avant garde or experimentalfilm) featuring a solo performance piece with only one actor or actress who sometimes plays multiple roles or characters; often presented by a stand-up comedian; contrast with concert film.
one-liner A term for a short, one-line joke (that contains its own punchline); also the term may refer to the 'high concept' description of a film - a few words used to describe a.
one-reeler Refers to a film 10-12 minutes long.
one-sheet Refers to the typical size of a movie poster.
opening credits or title (sequence) The presentation of the 'opening credits' (as an introduction to the audience about the film and including selected important members of the production) is known as the opening credits sequence; sometimes it is superimposed on the action, but often exists as static letters on a solid background; since the closing or end credits usually list the entire cast and production crew, the opening credits sequence is usually positioned to set the mood of the film, and sometimes even lacks any credits except the film's title; akafront credits or beginning titles.
Optical Printing Basically, rephotographying film frame by frame. this is a way to make a copy of a film with many more possibilities than contact printing, but, at least with 16mm, resulting in a little added contrast and a little loss of clarity.
Optical Sound Optical Sound is the system used by a projector to play back sound from a film print. The sound is exposed onto the film as a clear modulating line against black. It corresponds to the moduations of the sound. The projector reads the track by passing it between the exciter lamp a light-sensitive photo-electric cell which generates a voltage that is amplified and fed into a speaker.
Optical Track An intermediate step from going from your mix master to your final print is to have an optical track struck. An optical track is photographed onto a blank piece of special high contract stock by the facility where the mix is done, or by the lab. The optical track is a separate roll of film from the original negative and is combined with picture when a print is struck. (The track itself still remains a separate element from the A'amp;B Rolls, it is printed in a separate pass through the contract printer.)
optical(s) (or optical effects) In film-making, refers to a visual device, e.g., a fade, wipe,dissolve, superimposition, freeze-frame, split screen,composite (a train reflection in a car window), or another effect, some of which can be created in the camera, and others that have to be achieved in post-production by mixers or other specialized techniques.
Opticals Effects produced through Optical Printing, including transitions, superimposed titles, etc. Sometimes called Optical Effects. However, anything optically printed can be called an optical, so even blowing film up from 16mm to 35mm, though it does not involve an effect, is an optical.
Orange Stick An orange stick is found at the drug store for cleaning your nails. It is the preferable way to clean the gate.
Original Any film, negative or reversal, that was shot by a camera, as opposed to a print or intermediate copy. The term original can be used interchangeably with negative, but is as especially handy term when taking about reversal film, where it is the clearest way indicating whether something is a dupe or the original.
Oscar bait Often used in a derogatory way to describe studio-invented pre-release PR buzz that a film (usually an epic or serious biopic released late in the year) is worthy, meaningful, and deserving of Oscar awards; the term was reportedly first used by Hedda Hopper in a "Looking at Hollywood" column on June 1, 1948; the term either refers to (1) a self-proclaimed, "important", often over-produced film, undercut by its attempt to appeal to all demographics, or (2) a showy acting performance designed to draw attention to itself; these kinds of films and performances were the sort that used to guarantee an Oscar from Academy voters during the film.
Oscar(s) The name given to the awards of AMPAS (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) given each year to various performers and others in the film industry; officially known as the "Academy Award of Merit".
Outdated Stock Film is perishable. When it starts getting stale the dyes will shift color and the grain will build up, giving you a generally fogged, muddy and desaturated effect. It is only after about 2 or 3 years that this will start to happen, provided the film is refrigerated. Faster films tend to become outdated slightly faster than slow films. Likewise, color film will become outdated a little sooner than black and white. The flip-side is that outdated stock can be gotten quite cheaply, and often for free.
Outtakes The footage from your workprint that is not used in your edited version. Very small bits, a few frames or as little as one frame, are known as Trims.
out-takes Refers to camera shots that are not included (literally, they are 'taken out') in the final cut or print of a film, often retrieved from thecutting room floor, and shown during the closing credits; also seeblooper.
overacting Poor, overly-broad, or 'over-the-top' acting by a 'ham' actor; aka "hamming it up" or 'chewing up the scenery'; sometimes considered in a positive light as 'campy'; contrast with underacting.
Overcrank To run the camera faster, producing slow motion. The term has survived from the time when you would crank a camera.
overcrank To speed up a camera - to shoot at more than the normal 24 fps, so that the resulting image appears in slow-motion; this technique is often used to shoot miniatures; the term "cranking' refers to the old technique of having to turn or crank a camera by hand.
Overcranking The act of speeding up the frame rate on a film camera, so that more frames are captured. Enables the footage to be played in slow motion. Undercranking has the opposite effect. Dates back to when cameras were hand-cranked.
overexposed Refers to a film shot that has more light than normal, causing a blinding, washed-out, whitish, glaring effect; deliberately used for flashbacked or dream scenes; aka flared or bleached; the opposite of underexposed.
Overexposure Filming a scene with more light than the emulsion of the film can easily tollerate. The image will be too light and there will be less depth of field than if the lens had been set correctly. If compensated for in printing, the image will appear contrasty.
overlap The carry-over of dialogue, sounds, or music from one scene to another; occurs when the cut in the soundtrack is not at the same time as the cut in the image; can also refer to two or more characters speaking at the same time; aka overlap sound.
over-the-shoulder (OTS) shot A very commonly-used medium camera angle or view in a dialogue scene, mostly with alternating shot/reverse shot editing, in which the camera records the action from behind the shoulder and/or head of one of the characters, thus framing the image; the two characters are thus linked or connected to each other, and their positions are established.
overture In film terms, a pre-credits or opening credits musical selection that sets the mood and theme for the upcoming film.
ozoner Slang term for a drive-in movie theater; aka passion pit; see alsohard-top (indoor movie theater).
p.a. Abbreviation for 'personal appearance' - often required of major stars - to promote or provide PR (p.r.) or 'public relations' (marketing) for their films.
P.O.V. Shot Point of View Shot. A shot from the perspective of one of the characters, as if the audience were seeing the scene from their eyes. It is often important to get a Reaction Shot to establish that any given shot really is a P.O.V.
P.O.V. shot (or point-of-view shot) A subjective shot made from the perspective of one of the characters to show the audience the scene as it would look through the character's eyes; usually coupled (before and/or after) with areaction shot (or a three-shot sequence called a shot reverse shot) to establish the POV; also known as first person point-of-view shot or subjective camera (the use of the camera to suggest the POV of a particular character).
pace The speed/tempo of the dramatic action, which is usually enhanced by the soundtrack and the speed of the dialogue, the type of editing, etc..
package The marketing elements of a film project, such as script, signed film stars, director, locations, 'high-concept' hook, etc..
Pan A horizontal camera move on an axis, from right to left or left to right. In a pan the camera is turning on an axis rather than across space, as in a dolly shot. Not to be confused with Tilt, technically it is not correct to say "pan up" or "pan down," when you really mean tilt.
pan Verb meaning 'to express a totally negative opinion of' a film, normally in a critical film review; also known as 'trashing' a film.
pan (or panning shot, orpanoramic shot) Abbreviation for panorama shot; refers to the horizontal scan, movement, rotation or turning of the camera in one direction (to the right or left) around a fixed axis while filming; a variation is theswish pan (also known as flash pan, flick pan, zip pan, blur pan, or whip pan), in which the camera is purposely panned in either direction at a very fast pace, creating the impression of a fast-moving horizontal blurring of images across the screen; often confused with a dolly or tracking shot..
pan and scan A technique that avoids the 'letterboxing' of a widescreen film for a full-framed 4x3 home video or TV picture, by focusing on the elements of the picture that are most important to the plot and by adjusting or cropping the image; when an important part of the image drops out of the visible screen, the picture is mechanically panned to the side (left or right in a ping-pong effect) to show the missing part - hence, the term pan-and scan; approximately 43% of the visuals are sacrificed or cropped out in the pan-and-scan version, affecting the director's original intent and aesthetic sense.
Pan Shot A pan shot is achieved with a camera mounted on a swivel head so that the camera body can turn from a fixed position.
Paper Tape A skinny roll of tape used to tape down the ends of film when editing, called paper tape to distinguish it from splicing tape. (It should not be used for raw stock.)
parallel (editing, action) Editing that cuts between two sequences taking place at different locations and possibly different times; parallel action refers to a narrative device in which two scenes are observed in parallel by cross-cutting; parallel sound refers to sound that matches the accompanying image; aka cross cutting, inter-cutting.
Parallel Editing Parallel editing is a technique whereby cutting occurs between two or more related actions occurring at the same time in two separate locations or different points in time.
Parallel Editing The technique of intercutting between two simultaneous stories or scenes.
parody A comedy that imitates or makes fun of an existing work(s) in an absurd, non-sensical way, and exaggerates its characteristics.
payoff A dramatic scene that justifies everything that preceded it; the necessary result of a complication for which the audience has been prepared; contrast to punchline and money shot.
payola Refers to bribery or under-the-table payments.
Perf Perforations. The sprocket holes in a piece of film.
persona Literally, Latin for "mask"; related to the on-screen image or personality associated with a star.
Photo Flood A photo flood is a high power screw-in light bulb that is often used in with a clamp light fixture. Photo floods are usually anywhere from 250 watts to 500 watts.
pic(s) (also pix) Slang terms for motion picture(s).
Pick-ups Footage filmed after shooting wraps, usually of minor shots. In the case of something like The Lord Of The Rings, however, pick-ups were major and essential. Jackson even went so far as to film a few pick-ups for the extended edition of Return Of The King, after the film won eleven Oscars.
Picture The workprint, to distinguish it from the mag tracks.
picture within a picture A particular story-telling approach, literally, to have one film within another; in some cases, the characters are aware of the 'film-within-a-film,' and break the fourth wall and enter into or interact with it; aka subset film or film within a film.
Pigeon This is a heavy round disc with a lighting stud, used to position a light on the floor, much lower than a stand will go. Basically, it is a Hi Hat for lights.
Pilottone A 60 Hz reference signal recorded onto the audio tape to allow transfer to mag precisely at sound speed, used for Sync Sound filming. (In Europe in it is 50Hz.)
pin-up girl Refers to the most sexually-attractive star-actresses of an era, who would be popularized in seductive poses usually semi clad - in pictures, calendars, or mass-produced posters that were usually literally "pinned-up", usually with thumbtacks, on bedroom walls, the insides of lockers, and so forth; this practice started especially amongst GI servicemen away from home during military combat who pined for the 'girl-back home'; related terms are cover girl (for magazine covers), model or cheesecake.
Pitch This is the distance between perforations along a roll of film. Print Stock has a slightly longer pitch than camera stock.
pitch(es) Orally or written (sales) proposals for film projects usually made by screenwriters (to sell a screenplay idea), or independent producers for studio producers or executives to obtain financial backing; anything from a one-line description to a two- to three-pagetreatment of an idea (before becoming a script); also refers to short phrases that capture or succinctly sum up the script.
pivotal character Refers to the character that launches the action between theprotagonist and the antagonist; or the character who sets the main events of the plot in motion; films with a classic "love triangle" involve a woman who serves as the 'pivotal character' between two rival suitors.
Pix An abbreviation for Picture used on the leader.
pixillation An animation technique in which the illusion of continuous, real movement of three-dimensional objects, often people, is broken and/or made to move unevenly or jerky through the use of stop-action cinematography (single frame animation) or by printing only selected frames from the continuously exposed negative.
Plastic Leader This is leader for putting at the head and tail of a print. It is, as one would guess, made out of plastic, and is more durable than Emulsion Leader and much less expensive, and so it is the better choice for a print. However, it cannot be Cement Spliced, so it should not used for your negative.
Plot Different to story, plot is the narrative order that the story is told in.
plot and plot point Refers to a series of dramatic events or actions that make up a film'snarrative; a plot point is a key turning point or moment in a film's story that significantly advances the action; plot points either set the story further into motion, or disrupt and complicate the plot; also known as beat or A story; contrast to a subplot (aka B story or C story) - a secondary plot in a film; a plot plant is the technique of 'planting' an apparently trivial piece of information early in a story - that becomes more important later on.
plot developments; also, ominous music often foreshadows danger or builds suspense Spacey) was foreshadowed in his opening voice-over monologue inAmerican Beauty (1999).
Point of View With POV, the audience is, in effect, looking through the character�s eye.
point of view (POV) The perspective from which the film story is told; also refers to a shot that depicts the outlook or position of a character; also seeomniscient and subjective point of view, and P.O.V. shot.
Polyester Base Polyester base is a very durable type of film, that is virtually unrippable. Some people claim that it is harder to splice, but that is more a matter of getting used to the technique. Significantly, it cannot be Cement Spliced, making it impractical as original material (also, its durability could spell disaster for the delicate mechanism of a camera in the event of a jam). However, its durability makes it very advantageous for release prints.
porn (porno) Refers to a film that exploits sex; see also nudie.
post synchronization or ADR or looping Refers to the post-production process of recording the sound after the film has been shot, often adding dialogue spoken by actors as they watch the projected film.
post-credits sequence Either a throwaway scene or an epilogue that happens during or after the end credits; sometimes used as a bonus for theatergoers who remain to watch the credits, and partly to generate 'buzz' about the extra scene.
post-modern Refers to a return to tradition, in reaction to more 'modernist' styles.
post-production The final stage in a film's production after principal photography or shooting, involving editing, the addition of sound/visual effects, musical scoring, mixing, dubbing, distribution, etc.; in digital post-production, can also include changing facial expressions, removing flaws or obtrusive objects (microphone, boom, etc.), enhancing the visual image, etc.; aka post; contrast to pre-production.
potboiler A literary reference to the hard-edged, American detective/crime thrillers (also often called 'pulp fiction' or 'dime novels') rapidly written and filled with violence, crime, and sex - to literally 'boil the pot'; also known as hard-boiled.
Practical A practical is any photo flood-type of bulb, used within the shot, in a household lamp or otherwise visible. The term practical is sometimes used interchangeably with photo flood, even though it specifically refers to a light used in the shot.
pre-Code Refers to the four-five years (1930-1934) before the enforcement of the Hays Production Code in Hollywood, to rigidly sanitize and censor films. In film plots from mid-1935 and lasting about the next 30 years, adultery and promiscuity were prohibited (unless they ended in a miserable downfall), and all crimes (and their criminals) had to be punished..
premiere The first official public screening of a movie, marking the kick off, opening or opening night; a 'red carpet' premiere is one with greater publicity and hoopla (sensational promotion), ballyhoo, or hype; aka a bow, debut, or preem.
premise The main idea of a movie, usually explainable in a few sentences.
pre-production The planning stage in a film's production after the project is finallygreenlighted, and before principal photography or actual shooting commences, involving script treatment and editing/rewriting, scheduling, set design and construction, casting, budgeting and financial planning, and scouting/selection of locations; contrast topost-production.
prequel The second or third film in a series of films that presents characters and/or events that are chronologically set before the time frame of the original movie; contrast to sequel.
Preroll Preroll is extra time at the beginning of a sound take to accommodate the slow lock-up time of some production time code devices.
pre-screen To view/watch/see a movie before it is released for the public (at thepremiere).
Pressure Plate Part of the internal workings of a camera, the pressure plate is located on the other side of the film from the gate. It is a smooth, spring-loaded plate that holds the film on the film plane and acts as a brake, helping to hold the film steady while it is exposed.
preview A short film, usually with excerpts from a future film, intended as an advertisement; a sneak preview refers to an unadvertised, often surprise showing of an entire film before its general release or announced premiere, often to gauge audience reaction; aka trailer.
Prime Lens A prime lens is one with a single focal length, wide, normal or telephoto, as opposed to a Zoom Lens, which has a variable focal length. They often come in a set of different focal lengths. Prime lenses tend to be sharper, faster and will often focus closer than zoom lenses.
principal photography Refers to the filming of major and significant portions of a film production that involves the main/lead actors/actresses; contrast tosecond-unit photography.
principals Refers to the main characters in a play or film (usually those that have dialogue); contrasted to protagonists or antagonists, orextras..
Print 1.: A copy of another piece of film, typically made by Contact Printing. 2.: As a verb, to make a print.
Print Along with “Check the gate!”; “Print it!” is a fun but antiquated catchphrase on film sets. It means that the latest take of a scene was good, that everyone' happy they have the shot needed and that it should be developed.
print Refers to a positive copy of a film.
Print Stock Film used by the lab for making copies (prints). It is usually of a longer pitch than camera stock so as to be smoothly sandwiched against the camera stock on the printing machine. It is also much slower (with an A.S.A. of about 12) than camera stock, as light is less of a problem in printing than it is when it is being focused through a lens in a camera.
Printer's Sync This is the offsetting of sound 26 frames earlier than picture, corresponding to the distance between the sound reader and the gate of the projector. To be in sync on a projector all prints are lined up in printer's sync. Usually the lab lines up the sound and picture in printer's sync, putting the beep on the track 26 frames earlier than the "2" in the Academy Leader. This is known as pulling up the sound. If there was some reason for you to line up the sound yourself, it is very important to label the sync mark "printer's sync" so that the sound is not accidentally pulled up twice.
prison film A very popular sub-genre with the film's plot usually set within the walls of an institutional prison; themes involve imprisonment and/or escape, the effects on the characters involved and interactions between officers and inmates, and issues of justice/injustice; the prison flick sub-genre can be found in any major genre (animated, drama, comedy, musical, science fiction, sexploitation, etc.).
process (projection or shot) A technique that shoots live action in front of a screen on which the background view is projected; a process shot refers to a shot of live action in front of a process projection.
producer (film) The chief of a movie production in all logistical matters (i.e., scheduling, financing, budgeting) save the creative efforts of the director; raises funding and financing, acquires or develops a story, finalizes the script, hires key personnel for cast, crew, and director, and arranges for distributors of the film to theaters; serves as the liaison between the financiers and the film-makers, while managing the production from start to finish..
product placement Refers to how companies buy advertising space within a film for their products, as a way for a producer to fund some film production costs.
product; contrast to a prequel, follow up, serial, series,sequel or remake The character of the Scorpion King (Dwayne Johnson); or Alien vs. Predator (2004) - an obvious spin-off of previous hits; Laverne & Shirley was a spin-off of the TV show Happy Days.
production The general process of putting a film together, including casting, set construction, costuming, rehearsals, and shooting; also refers to themiddle stage of production which is preceded by pre-productionand followed by post-production.
production (value) Production refers to an entire movie project; pre production refers to the stage at which a film is prepared to go into production; post-production refers to the stage at which editing, scoring and effects are executed on a motion picture; production value refers to the overall quality of a film, based not on the script, acting, or director, but on criteria such as costumes, sets, design, etc..
production design Refers to a film's overall design, continuity, visual look and composition (colors, sets, costumes, scenery, props, locations, etc.) that are the responsibility of the production designer; the art department refers to the people in various roles (e.g., matte painters, set designers and decorators, illustrators, title designers, scenic artists, and storyboard artists) who work under the production designer's supervision; the art director is responsible for the film's physical settings (specifically refers to the interiors, landscapes, buildings, etc.).
Production Sound This is the sync sound, or any other sort of wild track or room tone that was recorded at the shoot. The term is used in sound editing to distinguish between added backgrounds and effects and those from the shoot.
Projection Sync Same as Printer's Sync.
projector The machine that rapidly puts ('projects') a succession of motion picture images (individual frames) up onto a screen, using the principle of illusion of motion.
prologue A speech, preface, introduction, or brief scene preceding the the main action or plot of a film; contrast to epilogue..
promo Slang term for sales promotion.
props (or property) Abbreviation for properties - refers to the furnishings, fixtures, hand-held objects, decorations, or any other moveable items that are seen or used on a film (or stage) set but that are not a structural part of the set; usually the responsibility of the prop man or property master..
Protagonist Central figure(s) in a text or film.
protagonist The lead or main character in a film; also known ashero/heroine; contrast to antagonist..
Pull Down A transfer of sound slowed down from film speed, 24 film frames per second, to video speed, 29.97 video frames per second, which is the equivalent of 23.98 film frames per second. This must be done to line it up with a video transfer of picture when transferring sync sound to video.
Pull Processing Pull processing is a special type of processing where the film is developed for a shorter time than normal, usually to make up for intended overexposure.
Pull Up This term can be a little confusing since it has three meanings that all apply to sound. 1.: The process of offsetting the sound 26 frames ahead of picture when making a print (see Printer's Sync). 2.: Pull Ups, as a noun, are transfers of the first 26 frames of sound from a reel that are spliced onto the outgoing sound of the previous reel so that sound is not lost when the film is printed with the sound pulled up, since 26 frames of sound are cut off when reels are joined. 3.: A transfer of the sound from a video, sped up from video speed, 29.97 video frames per second, which is the equivalent of 23.98 film frames per second, to film speed, 24 film frames per second. This must be done when the optical track is made after having mixed in video.
Pulldown Claw The pulldown claw is part of the camera movement, which advances the film from the exposed frame to the next unexposed frame while the camera's shutter is closed.
punchline A funny, witty line that culminates a story, joke or scene; contrast with payoff and one-liner.
Push Processing Push processing is a special type of processing where the film is developed for a longer time than normal, usually to make up for intended underexposure. It should be noted that only entire rolls can be pushed, not individual scenes. Pushing film will add some contrast and graininess.
Q rating Refers to an ad research rating that gauges how easily a celebrityis recognized -- and how well the celebrity is liked.
Quarter Apple see Apple Box.
Quarter Turn Most commonly occurs when characters are lost in their own thoughts.
Quartz Light Can also be called halogen light or tungsten light. A quartz light is a very bright type of light that uses a tungsten filament that is contained in a quartz envelope. The color temperature will be a fairly consistent 3,200K. They can get very hot when in use. It is also very important never to touch the bulb with your bare hands at any time. Oil from your hands will cause the bulb to blister and explode.
Quick Release A latching device for quickly mounting and removing the camera from the tripod.
Quick Release Shoe The part of the quick release that attaches to the camera is called the quick release shoe, and is inevitably worth double-checking, as they frequently stray away the tripod when left behind on the camera.
Rack Focus A shot where focus is changed while shooting. Unlike a Follow Focus shot, a rack focus shot is usually done not from the necessity of keeping someone in focus but to shift attention from one thing to another.
rack focusing Refers to an on-screen film technique of focus change that blurs the focal planes in sequence, forcing the viewer's eye to travel to those areas of an image that remain in sharp focus; the focus changes from an object in the foreground to an object in the background or vice versa, to direct, shift, and steer the attention of the viewer forcibly from one subject to another; also known asselective focusing or pull focus.
radio; most of the early film, radio and TV comedians found their start on the vaudeville circuit. Stage to screen. The Catskill Mountains in New York and the Poconos in Pennsylvania were holdovers from the vaudeville era late into the 70's.
Rank A respectable and commonly used brand of Telecine machines. The word is sometimes used interchangeably with telecine in much the same way as "Steenbeck" is used in place of "flatbed."
rating system(s) or ratings Also known as the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) film rating system, first officially instituted in late 1968; it refers to the ever-evolving classification system for films usually based upon age-appropriateness, and the judgment of a film's suitability for various audiences, in terms of sexual content, offensiveness, or violence; see also censorship.
Raw Stock Unexposed film.
Reaction Shot 1.: A shot of someone looking off screen. Used either to lead into a P.O.V. Shot (and let the viewer know that it is a P.O.V. shot), or to show a reaction right after a P.O.V. shot. 2.: A reaction shot can also be a shot of someone in a conversation where they are not given a line of dialogue but are just listening to the other person speak.
reaction shot A quick shot that records a character's or group's response to another character or some on-screen action or event; often accompanied with a POV shot; reaction shots are usuallycutaways..
real time Actual time it would take for an event to occur in reality, as contrasted to filmic time (time can be sped up or slowed down). Real and filmic time often coincide for long sequences within a film; also see running time..
realism Filming so that the reality outside the camera is shown in a neutral style with as little distortion and interference as possible; realism is attained by long, uninterrupted takes, deep focusshots, and other filmic techniques; contrast to expressionism; similar to the 'reality' of docudramas.
rear (screen) projection A special effects technique to create backgrounds, in which actors are filmed in front of a screen on which a background scene is projected; commonly used in early films to produce the effect of motion in a vehicle. Also see process shot, process photography, or back projection..
Rear Projection Rear projection involves the projection of either a still or a moving picture onto the back of a translucent screen.
Recans Leftover film that was loaded into a magazine but (unlike a Shortend) not even partially shot, and then loaded back in the film can. Basically, it is a roll a film that has been opened, but not used.
red carpet Literally, to "roll out" a welcoming 'red carpet', laid down for major ceremonies (film premieres, awards ceremonies) to signify an important, honorary event with dignitaries and esteemed guests attending; often the locale for live interviews and photo opportunities.
red herring An instance of foreshadowing that is deliberately planted to make viewers suspect an outcome--but the audience is to be deceived - the opposite happens and the false clue 'plant' is irrelevant; often done for humor, irony, or for other thematic reasons; contrast to McGuffin.
redlighted Refers to a film project that was in production, but lost its financial backing - resulting in a premature abandonment by the studio; aka a film in turnaround.
Reduction Print An optical reduction of a film from one gauge to another, such as 35mm to 16mm.
Reel 1.: A metal or plastic spool for holding film, either for projection or editing. 2.: In 35mm a reel is 1,000 feet of film (or usually a little less). Also known as a Single Reel.
reel Refers to a plastic or metal spool for winding film; also, earlier films were measured in reels (one reel = about 10 minutes of running time)..
re-enactment A film production that re-creates an actual event as closely as possible .
reference Refers to how one film in its storyline (through dialogue, images) alludes to, recalls, or refers to another film; similar to homage.
Reflective Light Reading A reflective light reading measures the amount of light bouncing off the subject. You take a reflective reading with a light meter equipped with a honey-comb or lensed grid. The meter is pointed at the subject, so as to read only the light bouncing off the subject. The other type of light reading is an Incident Light Reading.
Reflector Board or Reflector Card see Bounce Card.
Reflex A viewfinding system in a camera where the image you see in the viewfinder is viewed through the same lens that is used to photograph the image on film.
Registration The degree to which one frame lines up with the next is registration. A camera with poor registration will create an image that will gently bobble when projected. Projectors too can have good or poor registration (sometimes making it difficult to tell if it was the camera). Good registration is most important for certain types of special effects shots where images are layered and will call attention to themselves if they are gently bobbling out of sync with each other.
Registration Pin A registration pin is found in the movement certain cameras, such as the Arriflex and the Eclair, and acts to steady the image during exposure.
reissue Refers to a studio releasing a work subsequent to the original or initial release; similar to re-release.
release Refers to the first distribution and general public exhibition of a film to theatre audiences..
Release Print This is a print made after the answer print has been approved. It is not retimed, but struck using the same timing as the final answer print. Because it is not retimed it is generally much cheaper than an answer print. On a big production, these are the prints released to movie theaters, hence the name.
remake Refers to a later production (of a previous film), with different credits, script, and cast; a redone, second version of a film's narrative and subject matter; remakes have been common throughout all of film history..
rentals Refers to that portion of film grosses that goes to filmdistributors; also refers to videocassette (or DVD) rentals.
Representation The way that people, places and events are constructed.
re-release The revival or rebroadcast of a work by the original distributor, studio, releaser, or broadcaster..
reshoot contingency Refers to the funds kept or saved by a producer in casesupplementary shootings (reshoots) are required - often occurring after test screenings or decisions made by studio executives.
Re-shoots Footage filmed after shooting wraps, re-doing scenes from the film rather than adding additional scenes or minor reaction shots etc. The existence of re-shoots is often seen as evidence that a film is in trouble, so filmmakers will go out of their way to describe re-shoots as pick-ups.
resolution The outcome, or the "untying" of tension in the scenes after theclimax of a film; refers to how things turned out for all of the characters; some films abruptly end without a scene following the climax; aka denouement.
Resolver A device that governs the speed of a tape recorder during the transfer to mag, insuring the sound will be in sync with picture. The resolver uses the pilottone as a reference for adjusting the playback speed, hence something can only be resolved if it has been recorded with a properly equipped tape recorder. The Nagra IV has a built-in resolver.
retrospective Usually a tribute, exhibition, or 'looking back' at a film star's, artist's or director's work over a span of years with a comprehensive compilation or montage of film clips or excerpts; also known as a retro; also, in terms of a screenplay, a film in which nearly the entire story is looking back in time at events that have already taken place, usually accomplished byflashback.
Reversal A type of film and method of processing that yields a positive original. This is the movie-film equivalent of slide film and processing, in still photography.
reverse angle shot A basic camera angle composed of a shot photographed from the opposite side of a subject to provide a different perspective; in adialogue scene between characters, a shot of the second participant is commonly composed as an over the-shoulder shot; sometimes known as an 180 degree angle shot or change in perspective; the alternating pattern between two characters' points of view is known as shot/reverse shot.
reverse motion Refers to a trick camera effect, created by running film backwards in the camera or during optical printing; aka reverse action.
Reverse Shot A shot from the other side of the previous shot (though preferably on the same side of the 180'deg; Line), such as cutting between two characters talking, a person exiting and entering though a doorway, a reaction shot and P.O.V. shot, etc.
revisionistic Refers to films that present an apparent genre stereotype and then subvert, revise, or challenge it; aka deconstruction .
revival house Film or exhibition theatres that are dedicated to emphasizing or specializing in only one type of film - such as foreign films, older films, silent films, classics, rarely-screened films, etc..
Rewinds A simple device for winding film, consisting of a crank and a spindle for mounting one or more reels, typically found mounted on either side of an editing bench.
Rhubarb Background conversation by extras. So-called because extras were often asked to mutter the word “rhubarb” to produce the effect of genuine conversation, with their mouths moving convincingly. Also known as “walla”.
Rivas A type of tape splicer which uses perforated splicing tape. Two models exist: One for straight cuts used for picture, and one for slanted cuts used for sound.
roadshow Refers to exploitation films (such as "sex-hygeine" films) with controversial content (disguised as educational medical information) that were heavily promoted and shown on the road, and would be packed up quickly in case of the authorities; also refers to films that were released early and shown in prestigious theatres.
roman a clef A French term literally meaning 'novel with a key'; in film terms, refers to a film in which actual persons/events are disguised or masked as fictional characters - but with a 'key,' the true persons/events are revealed.
Room Tone A recording of the "silence" of a room or any location, to be used to fill in gaps when editing the sound. The silence of a location is really not very silent at all, and the room tone of one location is not a substitute for another, so a sync sound shoot will usually end with the sound recordist asking everyone to be quiet for the recording of 30 seconds of room tone.
rotation Refers to a camera rotation - which can be a vertical or horizontalpan; or it may refer to a camera move in which the camera is moved in a complete (or half) circle to produce a spinning, disorienting effect to the viewer; a partial rotation is termed a tilt.
Rotoscoping Little used nowadays, this was once an invaluable technique for producing high quality animation and was a favorite method in Soviet cartoons. It refers to the time-consuming process of shooting scenes with actors in live-action, and then tracing over those images to produce an animation. Used in a wide range of films, from Ralph Bakshi' Lord Of The Rings to Richard Linklater' A Scanner Darkly.
rough cut An early edited (or 'cut') version of a film - with all the pieces of the film assembled in continuous, sequential order, but without any fancy editing; also sometimes known as first cut; one of the stages toward the final cut; often used in a focus group screening..
Rough Cut The edited film, between the stages of being an assembly and a fine cut.
running time A measure of the duration or length of a film, usually about two hours for a feature film..
rush(es) The prints of takes (of the camera footage) from one day's shooting, usually without correction or editing, for examination by the director before the next day's shooting; aka daily-ies.
Rushes The workprint, when it is just back from the lab, unedited, called the rushes because of the rush to see that everything came out alright. Also known as Dailies, in honor of the minority of labs that will have it later that day.
S.M.P.T.E. Leader Another term for Academy Leader.
Safety An additional take, done after a successful one, as a backup.
Sandbag A cloth bag with two chambers filled with sand, used as a weight on the legs of a light stand for additional stability.
satire A mocking, ridiculing commentary on an economic, political, religious or social institution, ideology or belief, person (or group), policy, or human vice..
scenario (1) the outline for a screenplay, or (2) a complete screenplay.
Scene A scene is really just a single shot. But often scene is used to mean several shots, which is more to do with the word's origin in theater. It is sometimes clearer to say "sequence" for several shots, so as not to confuse the filmic and theatrical meanings of the word.
scene Usually a shot (or series of shots) that together comprise a single, complete and unified dramatic event, action, unit, or element of film narration, or block (segment) of storytelling within a film, much like a scene in a play; the end of a scene is often indicated by a change in time, action and/or location; see alsoshot and sequence..
scenery Refers to the outdoor background in a set (represented by either a backdrop or a natural view)..
scene-stealing Usually refers to a character (or group of characters), usually subsidiary, whose appearance, actions and/or dialogue draws more attention than other actors in the same scene; similar to the term 'chewing up the scenery.'.
schlock film From the Yiddish expression for 'inferior' - refers to a forgettable, cheaply-made, low-budget, luridly-advertised B film (or lower Z-film) with little or non-existent quality - often unintentionally hilarious; designed to take in profitable box office in opening week; usually films found in the horror, comedy and science-fiction genres of the 50s and 60s..
Scratch Damage to a film in the form of a long gouge of either the emulsion or the base. A scratch on the emulsion is pretty much unfixable, since part of the image itself is missing. A scratch on the base can be alleviated with Wet Gate printing. Scratches on your workprint don't really matter at all, since you will go back to the pristine camera original for your final print.
Scratch Mix A mix with little correction of the sound, that is usually done before the final mix in order to screen the film with all the sounds in place, to determine if there are any changes to be made. Typically this is not done on lower budget productions, as the added cost would be self-defeating.
Scratch Test A scratch test is done before shooting, by running either a foot or two of the beginning of a roll of film, or a dummy roll of film, and checking for scratches, to insure that neither the camera nor the magazines are scratching the film.
Scratch Track A sync recording made under conditions that make the sound useless, except for reference to the sound editor or to the actors for dubbing.
screen direction Refers to the direction that characters or objects are moving in a film's scene or visual frame; common screen directions include "camera left" (movement to the left) or "camera right" (movement to the right); a neutral shot is a head-on shot of a subject with no evident screen direction; a jump-cut often indicates a change in screen direction.
screen test Refers to a filmed audition in which an actor performs a particular role for a film production; casting often depends upon the photogenic (the projection of an attractive camera image) quality of the star..
screener The term for a promotional DVD (or video) version of a film that is sent to voters (and film critics) by the movie studios for their convenience during the awards season, before the movie is officially available to the public through video rental chains.
screening The exhibition or display of a movie, typically at a cinemahouse/theatre; to screen (or unspool) a film means to show or project a film; types of screenings include a critical screening (a pre-release viewing for film critics), a pre screening, or a focus-group screening (to test audience reactions to a film's rough cut); cinema is another term for a movie theatre..
Screening Report In a screening report, you are often demonstrating your understanding of a particular film or a director's technique. In a screening report, it helps to focus in on one scene or a few very related scenes that speak for the film overall. This style of writing is usually more successful when technically specific.
screenplay A script or text for a film production written by a scripter orscreenwriter(s) (or scribe), written (scribbled, scripted, orpenned) in the prescribed form as a series of master scenes, with all the dialogue provided and the essential actions and character movements described; screenplays are oftenadaptations of other works; known archaically as aphotoplay during the silent era. .
Screenplay Written by the screen writer, this document tells the story and will contain no camera direction.
screwball comedy A type of highly-verbal comedy prevalent in 1930's Hollywood, and typified by frenetic action, verbal wit and wisecracks (substituting or serving as a metaphoric euphemism for sex),.
script (also shooting script) Refers to the written text of a film - a blueprint for producing a film detailing the story, setting, dialogue, movements and gestures of actors, and the shape and sequence of all events in the film; in various forms, such as a screenplay, shooting script, breakdown script (a very detailed, day-to-day listing of all requirements for shooting, used mostly by crew), lined script, continuity script, or a spec script (written to studio specifications); a screenplay writer is known as ascreenwriter, scripter, scribbler, scribe or penner; a last minute script re-writer is known as a script doctor; ascenario is a script that includes camera and set direction as well as dialogue and cast direction; a shooting script is a detailed final version of the screenplay with the separate scenes arranged in proper sequence, and used by the cast..
second banana In general terms, an actor who plays a subordinate or secondary role; aka second fiddle; in comedies, it refers to a performer who acts as a sidekick, foil or stooge (straight man) to a lead comedian.
Second Sticks If the clapper on the slate was not visible when the shot was being marked the camera person might call out "second sticks" to tell the person with the slate to mark it a second time.
second-unit photography In larger film productions, this refers to the less important scenes (large crowd scenes, scenery, foreign location backgrounds, various inserts, etc.) that are filmed by a smaller, secondary or subordinate crew, usually headed by asecond-unit director; contrast to principal photography.
segment (or seg) A section or episode of a film; a series of sequences that comprise a major section of the plot; segmentation of a film often helps to further analysis.
Selects Sometimes it is useful to separate out all the shots you are going to use before beginning to edit. These are known as selects.
sell-through An industry term meaning prerecorded videocassettes or DVDs priced lower, to encourage their sale rather than rental.
sepia tone A black-and-white image that has been converted to a sepia tone or color (a brownish gray to a dark olive brown) in order to enhance the dramatic effect and/or create an "antique" appearance.
sequel A cinematic work that presents the continuation of characters, settings, and/or events of a story in a previously-made or preceding movie; contrast to a prequel, follow up, serial,series, spin-off or remake..
sequence A scene, or connected series of related scenes that are edited together and comprise a single, unified event, setting, or story within a film's narrative; also refers to scenes that structurally fit together in the plot; sequence usually refers to a longer segment of film than a scene; sequences are often grouped into acts (like a three-act play); a sequence shot refers to a long, normally complicated shot with complex camera movements and actions; see also shot and scene..
serial A multi-part, 'short-subject' film that was usually screened a chapter/episode per week at a film theatre; the predominant style of the serial was melodrama; often, each chapter or episode, continually presented in installments over several weeks, would conclude with an unresolved cliffhanger to ensure that audience would return the following week to discover the resolution; popular until the early 1950s; contrast with series and sequels..
series A string or sequence of films with shared situations, characters or themes and related titles, but with little other inter-dependence, especially with respect to plot or significant character development. Usually presented withoutcliffhangers; the term also applies to feature films with more than one sequel; contrast with serials and sequels..
set The environment (an exterior or interior locale) where the action takes place in a film; when used in contrast to location, it refers to an artificially-constructed time/place (a backdroppainting or a dusty Western street with a facade of storefronts); supervised by the film's art director; strikerefers to the act of taking apart a set once filming has ended..
set-piece Usually a self-contained, elaborate scene or sequence that stands on its own (i.e., a helicopter chase, a dance number, a memorable fight, etc.), and serves as a key moment in the film; in terms of production, it may also refer to a scene with a large set.
setting The time (time period) and place in which the film's story occurs, including all of the other additional factors, including climate (season), landscape, people, social structures and economic factors, customs, moral attitudes, and codes of behavior; aka locale..
set-up The place or position where the director and the director of photography put the camera (and lighting) when shooting a scene; a scene is usually shot with multiple setups and with multiple takes from each setup; aka angle..
set-up (screenplay) In screenplay terms, set-up refers to the first act in which the characters, situation, and the setting are established..
sex comedy A humorous, light-hearted film with an improbable plot about sexual relationships and extra-marital affairs, with various pairings between numerous characters, often characterized by slamming doors; aka sex farce or bedroom farce..
sexploitation Refers to non-pornographic, non-explicit, soft-core films that feature sexual themes or explicit sexual material and nudity often in an apparently crude, immature, leering way; these films exploited the concept of sex without violating long standing cultural and legal taboos against showing it all on the screen; often with lurid titles; aka skin flick.
Sharpie A permanent felt-tipped marker useful for labeling the cans of exposed rolls out on a shoot and in the editing room for labeling your leader. Sharpie is a brand-name of the most common of these markers.
shoot The process of filming or photographing any aspect of a motion picture with a camera; the plan for a shoot is termed ashooting schedule..
Shooting Ratio The ratio of how much film shot compared to running time of the finished film. For instance a 5 minute film for which you shot 30 minutes of footage would have a shooting ratio of 6 to 1.
Shooting script Written by the director & cinematographer (not the screen writer), this script focuses on planning the camera shots & other practical elements that will bring the screenplay to life.
short subject (shorts or short films) A film that is shorter than around 30 or 45 minutes; in the silent film era, most films were shorts, such as those shown in nickelodeons; then, during the early film era, the price of a movie ticket included not only the weekly feature but also "selected short subjects," as they were usually billed; contrast to features..
Shortends The unexposed remainder of a roll of film in a magazine that is clipped and placed back into a can for use later. Unlike recans a shotend is something less than 400 feet.
Shot A shot is the film exposed from the time the camera is started to the time it is stopped. Shot and Scene are interchangeable terms.
shot The basic building block or unit of film narrative; refers to a single, constant take made by a motion picture camera uninterrupted by editing, interruptions or cuts, in which a length of film is exposed by turning the camera on, recording, and then turning the camera off; it can also refer to a single film frame (such as a still image); a follow-shot is when the camera moves to follow the action; a pull-back shot refers to a tracking shot or zoom that moves back from the subject to reveal the context of the scene; see also scene andsequence; shot analysis refers to the examination of individual shots; a one-shot, a two-shot, and a three-shotrefers to common names for shooting just one, two, or three people in a shot.
Shot list A planned list of the scenes and angles to be shot that day, including details such as location, and which actors and departments are involved.
Shot vs. Scene a shot is part of a film presented without any editing, as seen from a single camera's perspective. A shot can include close-ups, panoramic shots, camera movement and other techniques. Put shots together and one has a scene, a series of connected shots that establish location and continuity. The scene ends by cutting (often using a visible transition) to another location, time, or person. A "car-chase scene" is a rather common example where several cameras follow the action from different perspectives. The footage later gets edited to make one long scene.
Shot, Scene, and Sequence A shot consists of a single take. A scene is composed of several shots. A sequence is composed of scenes.
shot, scene, and sequence A shot, scene, and sequence together make up the larger dramatic narrative of film; scenes are composed of shots, sequences are composed of scenes, and films are composed of sequences..
Shutter speed The length of time a frame of film is left exposed in the camera, or that the shutter is open on a digital camera. Varying this means that you vary the amount of light that enters the camera. If the speed is slower, this allows more light but also more motion blur.
sight gag Aka visual gag; an image that conveys humor visually, usually non-verbally; often used in silent film comedy, or in films with very little dialogue..
Silent Camera This term is often a little confusing because it does not mean a camera that is itself silent, and therefore usable for sync sound, but it means a noisy, unsilent camera, usable only for shooting silent, M.O.S. scenes.
silent film (or silents) The term for motion pictures without sound (spoken dialogue or synchronized soundtrack), although they were often accompanied by live commentary, piano-music, sound effects, and/or orchestration; the period from about 1895 to 1927 (when "talkies" were introduced); contrast with talkies..
Silent Speed 18 frames per second. A slightly archaic notion left over from the time when 16mm was used exclusively for home movies. It is not always that easy to find a projector that will project at 18 frames per second and so films shot at silent speed will often be speeded up slightly, whether the filmmaker intended this of not.
silver bullet Aka "magic bullet" - a solution that completely solves the complicated dramatic problem within a film; the term was derived from European folklore in which only a silver bullet could kill a werewolf..
Single Perf 16mm film with a row of perforations along one edge. On the film can this will be indicated by 1R appearing on the label.
Single Reel In 35mm a reel is 1,000 feet of film (or usually a little less).
Single System Single System refers to recording, editing or projecting sound and picture together on the same piece of film. Cameras used for tv news would record the sound on a magnetic stripe as well as photograph the picture. Also super-8 sound. Single system has some distinct editorial disadvantages, hence the more common use of Double System for shooting and editing.
size Refers to a film element, used by the film-maker to indicate a character's or object's relative strength compared to other things or persons.
skip frame The optical printing effect of skipping or cutting out certain frames of the original scene to speed up the action.
slapstick (comedy) A broad form of comedy in which the humor comes from physical acts or pantomime, frequently harmless violence and pratfalls intended to produce laughter. The name was derived from a device called a slapstick, two boards that slapped together with a loud crack when used to strike something or someone; prevalent during the silent era and in early talkies, with its primary motif being pie-throwing..
slasher film Usually a cheaply-made sub-genre film (usually in the horror genre) designed for the teenage audience (teen movie), deliberately made to contain gory, blood-splattering, explicit deaths without any build-up, style or suspense, often committed by an unstoppable serial killer, with a sharp bladed weapon; most slasher films are created to generate sequels and repetitive boredom; aka splatter films; see also trash film, grindhouse film, schlock film, B-film and Z-film.
slate (board) Refers to the digital board held in front of the camera that identifies shot number, director, camera-person, studio and title; the slate has the clap sticks on top and the scene number, take and production name or title usually written on it, and the person operating the slate will say "mark" and clap the sticks for picture and sound sync purposes; originally the data was written with chalk on a slate board; the footage of the slate at the beginning of each shot or take is used in the laboratory and editing room to identify the shot; see alsoclapboard.
sleeper A movie that is released with little publicity or pre-releasebuzz, often directed by and starring relatively unknown people, that eventually becomes popular (as a cult film) or financially successful beyond expectations, usually due to positive word of-mouth; the term is sometimes used incorrectly to describe unpopular movies that the critics love.
Slop Print An untimed black and white dupe print of your workprint, used for projection in a sound mix. A slop print is used because splices can jump and cause the film to go out of sync, and a slop print will have no splices.
Slow Motion Slow motion is typically achieved by shooting at a fast speed and then projecting at a normal speed.
slow-motion (or slo-motion) Refers to an effect resulting from running film through a camera at faster-than-normal speed (shooting faster than 24 frames per second), and then projecting it at standard speed; if a camera runs at 60 frames per second, and captures a one second-long event, a 24-frame playback will slow that event to two and a half seconds long; overcrank(ing) means to speed up the camera, thereby making the action appear slower when projected - the term dates back to the old days of physically hand-cranking film through a camera; this filmic technique is usually employed to fully capture a 'moment in time' or to produce a dramatic (or romantic feeling); contrast to fast-motion (or accelerated motion, achieved by undercranking) or time compression.
Slug A rather unattractive sounding name for Filler.
smash-cut (or shock cut) A cinematic term that refers to an abrupt, jarring and unexpected change in the scene or film's image (and the audio), in order to surprise the viewing audience; see alsotransition.
snub During nominations or awards proceedings, when a prominent, leading, or favored performer/director/crew member or film is inexplicably excluded or denied an award or nomination.
Soft Light A type of light with a built-in surface to act as a bounce card, providing soft, indirect light on the subject.
soft-focus A cinematographic effect in which a filter, vaseline or gauze like substance placed over the camera lens reduces the clarity or sharpness of focus, blurs the image, and produces a diffused, hazy light; often used to enhance romantic or dreamy scenes, or to remove wrinkle lines from an actor's face.
soliloquy A dramatic monologue delivered by a single actor with no one else onstage; sometimes expressed as a 'thinking aloud' dialogue of inner reflections; delivered by a character to him or herself, or directly to the audience; contrast to an aside..
Sound Sound is the audio portion of a film.
sound The audio portion of a film including dialogue, music, and effects; sound effects refers to all created sounds except dialogue or music.
Sound Blanket Basically just a quilted mover's blanket. Often it is thrown over the camera (and the camera operator) to cut down on camera noise, as a sort of improvised Barney.
Sound Fill see Filler.
Sound Reader A playback head for reading mag stock, mounted on a bracket that snaps onto a synchronizer. It is pugged into the squawk box.
Sound Slug see Filler.
Sound Speed 24 frames per second. The normal speed for filming and projecting.
soundstage (or stage) A large, soundproof area/room in a studio used in film production, where elaborate sets are constructed, to allow film-makers greater control over climate, lighting, and sound, security, and spectators..
Soundtrack Soundtrack refers to all the audio elements of a film�dialogue, music, sound effects, etc.
soundtrack Technically, this term refers to the audio component of a movie, including the dialogue, musical score, narration, and sound effects, that accompany the visual components. Popularly, it refers to a collection of songs heard during the movie, and often sold as an album..
Spacer A metal cylinder with a flat plate at one end and a hole through the center, used between reels on the spindle of a rewind to space out the reels the same distance as the gangs of a synchronizer. Although it is a little shorter, in a pinch you can use cores as spacers.
spaghetti western A western, low-budget B-movie filmed in Italy (or Spain) during the 60s, usually characterized by low production values, sparse dialogue..
special effects (or F/X, SFX, SPFX, or EFX) A broad, wide-ranging term used by the film industry meaning to create fantastic visual and audio illusions that cannot be accomplished by normal means, such as travel into space. Many visual (photographic) or mechanical (physical) filmic techniques or processes are used to produce special illusionary effects, such as optical and digital effects, CGI,in camera effects, the use of miniatures/models, mattes, rear camera projections, stop-motion animation,bluescreens, full scale mockups, pyrotechnics (squibs (miniature explosions, i.e. a gunshot)), stunt men,animatronics (electronic puppets), rain/snow/wind machines, etc.; F/X are coordinated by the visual effects and the special effects supervisors; known negatively as trick photography; see also visual effects - a sub-category of special effects. See this site's Milestones in Special/Visual Effects in Film History..
Specifics In sound editing, these are any effects that directly relate to the picture, where we see a thing happen and hear it too. Backgrounds, ambiance and speech are not specifics.
Spectator An individual member of the audience. Although we may view a film in the cinema together
Speed This is what the cameraperson or sound recordist will call out to acknowledge that they are rolling. It comes from the days when it took a few seconds for certain equipment to reach proper speed.
Spider Another, less commonly used, term for Spreader.
Spikes Spikes are a term that comes from theater. They are little pieces of tape placed around the legs of furniture, or the tripod legs, before they are moved, making it easy to return things to their original position.
spin-off Refers to a derivative work (film or TV), either a sequel or a prequel which includes characters from the previous original.
Splice A method of joining two peices of film so they can be projected as one continuous piece. There are three methods: the Tape Splice (usually used for editing), the Cement Splice (used for original material), and the far less common Ultra-Sonic Splice (used for Polyester Base film).
Splicing Tape A special type of clear tape, not interchangeable with scotch tape, used to splice film. It comes in perforated (for use with a Rivas) and unperforated (for use with a Guillotine). Transparent splicing tape is used for picture and white splicing tape for sound.
split edit An editing technique used to ease the transition from one scene to another, in which the audio starts before (or after) the picture cut; aka L-cut or J-cut.
Split Reel A very handy reel, the two halves of which may be unscrewed and film on a core placed between. Once screwed back together (but not too tight, or it will never open) your film on a core has quickly been converted into film on a reel.
Split Screen see Matte Shot. Typically a split screen is a matte shot divided down the center of the shot.
Split Screen Split screen is the combination of two or more scenes films separately which appear in the same frame.
split-reel In the silent era, refers to two different short-subject films (each too brief for a separate screening) that were joined together on one reel for movie-house exhibition.
split-screen The combination of two actions filmed separately by copying them onto the same negative and having them appear side by-side within a single frame (without overlapping); a slight variation on split-screen is termed multiple image (different images are set alongside each other within a single frame); split-screen is usually intended to signify simultaneous action; also see bluescreen and matte shot.
spoiler Information about the plot or ending of a film that may damage or impair the enjoyment of the film if known ahead of time; usually, critics or reviewers warn readers with a 'spoiler alert', or avoid revealing spoilers altogether. See Greatest Plot Twists and Spoilers.
spoof Usually a comedic film that pays tribute to an earlier film in a humorous way. .
Spool Down Winding an unexposed 400 foot roll down onto four 100 foot daylight spools for use in a camera that will only take 100 feet of film. Spooling down can only be done in complete darkness. 42 turns on a rewind per daylight spool will divide a 400 foot roll pretty evenly. Also, it is vitally important that the film be wound all the way through once and then spooled down, otherwise the edge numbers will be on the wrong side, and not printed onto the workprint.
Spot Meter A type of meter for taking a Reflective Light Reading with a short telescopic sight that enables you to take a very specific reflective reading of a small, well-defined area.
Spreader A piece of gear consisting of three arms on a central hub attached to the bottom of a tripod to keep the legs from collapsing outwards.
Spring Lock A round spring-loaded clamp that goes on the end of a rewind to allow several reels to turn together.
Sprocket The teeth on a roller designed to engage with the perforations in film. Sometimes sprocket holes are referred to as sprockets too.
Sprocket Holes The same as Perf.
Spun Spun glass diffusion material. see Diffusion.
Squawk Box A small amplified speaker used on an editing bench and receiving sound from the Sound Reader.
Squib A small explosive device that simulates a bullet hit or very small explosion. Used to memorably excessive effect to kill Sonny Corleone in The Godfather (above).
stand-in A substitute person who is physically similar (in size and appearance) to an actor and who takes the actor's place during often lengthy preparation of a scene (the taking of light meter readings, camera setup, light adjustment, etc.) but not during filming. Not to be confused with a stunt double or abody double..
star The name given to famous, talented, and popular actors or celebrities, often in lead character roles, who can draw an audience to a film with their photogenic appearance, inspirational acting, or some other quality. Historically, astarlet (or ingenue) was an attractive actress promoted by a film studio in a small role as an up-and-coming star during the 40s and the 50s; also used in the term star quality and star system.
star system Refers to the way in which studios "groomed" stars under contract, and sought star vehicles for them; studios served as protectorates for their stars.
star vehicle A film expressly made to show off the talents of a performer, with all other aspects almost secondary; compare with tour de force.
static shot An unmoving camera shot that is stationary, due to the use of a tripod.
Steadicam A specially designed harness attached to the camera operator, which stabilises the camera as they move it. Invented by Garrett Brown, the Steadicam eliminates the need for dolly tracks, and was used most famously to film The Shining.
Steadicam (shot) A hand-held camera technique using a stabilizing Steadicam (introduced in the late 70s), developed by inventor Garrett Brown, with a special, mechanical harness that allows the camera operator to take relatively smooth and steady shots, though hand-held, while moving along with the action; the resulting images are comparable to normal tracking shots on a wheeled dolly.
Steadicam Shot A Steadicam shot employs a kind of special hydraulic harness that smoothes out the bumps and jerkiness associated with the typical handheld style.
stealing a scene (or scene-stealing) Usually refers to a supporting actor/actress attracting attention from the lead actor or actress to whom the center of interest legitimately belongs; see also 'tour de force' performance.
Steenbeck A popular brand of flatbed. The word is sometimes used interchangeably with flatbed.
stereotyping The act of portraying a particular character (or group) with a formulaic, conforming, exaggerated, and oversimplified representation, usually offensive and distorted.
Sticks 1.: The tripod or the tripod legs. 2.: The clapper on the slate.
still Refers to a single, static image, either (1) a frame still (possibly enlarged) from a finished film, (2) a production still taken from an unfinished film, or (3) a publicity shot (of an actor or scene); aka photogram..
Stills photographer An official photographer who will snap on-set pics while scenes are being rehearsed or shot, for use in promoting the film.
Stinger an endearing term, used by electricians, for an extension cord. Not a very commonly used term on the whole.
stinger A surprising, last-minute bit of dialogue (or footage) that appears after the end (or closing) credits.
stock character A minor character whose actions are completely predictable, stereotypical, or standard for his/her job or profession; similarly, a stock situation is a basic, recognizable plot situation (e.g., a lover hiding in the closet, twins mistaken for each other, etc.)..
stock footage (or stock/library shot) Previously-shot footage or film of common elements or scenes, such as canyons or deserts in the American West, or travelogue shots (e.g., skylines, airplane takeoffs/landings, famous places, etc.) that are kept in a film archive or library and used to fill in portions of a movie in different film productions, thereby saving the time of reshooting similar scenes over and over; a stock shot refers to an unimaginative or commonplace shot that looks like it could be stock footage.
stop-motion (animation) A special-effects animation technique where objects, such as solid 3-D puppets, figures, or models are shot one frame at a time and moved or repositioned slightly between each frame, giving the illusion of lifelike motion. Stop-motion was one of the earliest special-effects techniques for science-fiction films, now replaced by CGI and animatronics; aka stop-frame motion.
story The events that appear in a film and what we can infer from these events; aka narrative or plot.
Story The ideas & events of the narrative whole.
storyboard A sequential series of illustrations, stills, rough sketches and/or captions (sometimes resembling a comic or cartoon strip) of events, as seen through the camera lens, that outline the various shots or provide a synopsis for a proposed filmstory (or for a complex scene) with its action and characters; the storyboards are displayed in sequence for the purpose of visually mapping out and crafting the various shot divisions and camera movements in an animated or live action film; a blank storyboard is a piece of paper with rectangles drawn on it to represent the camera frame (for each successive shot); a sophisticated type of preview storyboard (often shot and edited on video, with a soundtrack) is termed an animatic.
straight man An actor/actress who serves as a stooge for a comedian (orfunnyman), usually by adopting a serious stance or reaction to the comic partner; the straight man often feeds lines to the other irreverent comedian - who replies with witty comments; aka second banana or foil.
Streamer A grease pencil mark on the workprint indicating either a fade or a dissolve, called so because when projected it resembles a streamer trailing across the screen.
Stripe 35mm mag stock that contains a stripe of magnetic tape rather than the complete coating found on Fullcoat. Stripe mag will also have a balance stripe to prevent warping.
studio chief The head or chairperson of a film studio who has the final authority for each film project (gives the green light - or authorization go-ahead), and oversees the many departments (financial, legal, marketing, advertising, distribution, etc.); also called the topper; in Hollywood's Golden Age, the chief was called a mogul.
studio system Refers to the all-powerful control the monopolistic film studios had over all aspects of assembly-line filmmaking and film production from the 1920s until the late 1950s, when chiefs - moguls (Mayer, Selznick and Zukor) ruled; tactics included the ownership of property, control of publicity and marketing, and iron-clad contracts with star-actors, directors, composers, cameramen, costume designers, writers, and producers..
studio(s) (1) the for-profit companies that specialize in developing, financing and distributing most American commercial films; (2) also refers to the actual site for a film production, with physical sets, stages, offices, backlots (located on the outdoor grounds of a film studio and used for filming exteriors), etc; see also majors and independents, andmogul..
stunt double(s) A stunt performer(s) (aka stunts) that take the place of an actor when the scene calls for a dangerous or risky action (car crash, fight, window jump, etc.); doubles usually have the same build or appearance as the star; also called stunt performer, stuntman or stuntwoman; not to be confused with a stand-in or a body double; stunts are supervised, conducted and planned by a stunt coordinator.
stylize(d) A term that refers to the artificial exaggeration or elimination of details in order to deliberately create an effect - in other words, to make (or interpret) a person, a face, a tree, a figure, or something as 'grotesque,' 'disturbing,' or 'overbright' as opposed to realistic or naturalistic..
subjective point-of-view (POV) A film in which the narrator has a limited point-of-view regarding the characters, events, action, places, thoughts, conversations, etc.; a subjective camera is a style of filming that allows the viewer to look at events from the POV of either a character or the author, when the camera position is close to the line of sight of the character; contrast to omniscient point-of-view.
subplot A secondary, subordinate, or auxiliary plotline, often complementary but independent from the main plot (the A story), and often involving supporting characters; not the same as multiple plotlines; aka the B story or C story.
subtext The deeper and usually unexpressed "real" meanings of a character's spoken lines or actions - if the viewer can 'read between the lines'..
subtitles Refers to the printed line(s) of text superimposed and displayed at the bottom of the screen frame, often used to translate a foreign-language phrase, or to describe a time/place; also the text translating an entire foreign language film (that hasn't been dubbed); often termed caption.
Sundance Short for the influential Sundance Film Festival, known for the exhibition and screening of the best of independent films each year in Utah; also see (film) festival.
Super 16 A format using single perf 16mm film on which a wider image is exposed than is the case with regular 16mm, using the area that would normally have the soundtrack. Super 16mm was conceived specifically for blow up to 35mm, and is typically rather inconvenient for anything else.
Super Speed Just a fancy way for Zeiss to describe a fast prime lens, typically with a T-stop of 1.3.
superimpose (or superimposition) An optical printing process that places or 'exposes' one image on top of another on the same piece of filmstock, such as inserted credits and titles at the beginning of a film; sometimes composed as a double exposure.
Superimposition Superimposition is when two or more image are placed over each other in the frame.
Superimposition The same as Double Exposure, but often used expressly to describe a double exposure done through optical printing, as in superimposed titles, etc.
supporting roles or players Characters seen less frequently than the lead role characters, but still in important, secondary roles; often termed a featured player or feature player; well-known guest stars often play brief supporting roles in a film; character actors are usually in supporting roles.
surreal (surrealism) A term applied to a film, signifying a distorted or fantastic dream state, a nightmarish or hallucinogenic world, or a subconscious thought or death experience; often expressed by a random, non-sequential juxtaposition of images that go beyond realism.
suspenser Another term for a suspense/thriller film .
swashbuckler Usually refers to adventure films with an heroic, athletic, sword-wielding character.
Swish Pan A swish pan looks like a blur as one scene changes to another�the camera appears to be moving rapidly from right to left or left to right.
sword and sorcery A term for the class of fantasy movies characterized by the presence of wizards and warriors, magic and sword fighting.
sword-and-sandal epic A term for a movie, usually a Roman or Biblical epic, characterized by the weapons (swords) and footwear (sandals) of the period.
symbol An object in a film that stands for an idea, or that has a second level of meaning to it, e.g., a window or train=freedom, a rose=beauty, a cross-roads=a decision point, etc.; the more a symbol is repeated, the greater its significance.
symmetry Within a film when two or more distinct plotlines 'mirror' each other or develop variations on the film's theme or plot; akamirroring.
Sync The degree to which sound and picture are lined up, in-sync being lined up exactly, and out-of-sync not so exactly. It can be applied to any specific sound and picture relationship, not just voices and not just sync-sound, but any type of specific effect too.
Sync Mark 1.: The point at which the clapsticks come together at the beginning of a shot, and the accompanying sound on the sound track. 2.: An "X" mark on a single frame at the beginning of a reel of picture that lined up with a second sync mark on a roll of sound (May also be used anywhere where needed). Sync marks are also used at the beginning of A'amp;B rolls.
Sync Sound Sync sound is sound recorded while shooting picture. Usually it involves footage of people speaking, and is thus sometimes called lip sync. It must be recorded with either crystal or cable sync to line up and not drift out of sync.
Synchronizer A very helpful tool of the editing room, a synchronzier is a device with a center axle and several sprocketed wheels attached to it. The wheels are called gangs. Film may be clamped into the gang, so that it can be measured with a footage counter on the front of the synchronizer. One revolution of the synchronizer equals one foot of film. Several elements, such as film and sound, A'amp;B rolls, can be run in tandem can easily cut to the same length. It is used by the negative cutter for the assembly of A'amp;B rolls, as well as for logging, measuring footage, syncing, and checking sync in the editing room.
synchronous sound Refers to sound whose source can be seen in the image's frame, or whose source can be understood from the context of the image.
Syncing The actual lining up of sound and picture before editing a sync sound film. This also involves cutting the excess sound between takes, and adding filler, so that the picture and sound are now in sync for beginning to end.
Tachometer A gauge on a camera measuring the film speed when the camera is running.
tag line A clever phrase or short sentence to memorably characterize a film, and tease and attract potential viewers, or sell the movie; also creates a catchy 'soundbite' often repeated or presented in a trailer or on a film's poster, sometimes along with the film's leitmotif.
Tail The end of a shot or a roll is called the tail.
Tail Slate Sometimes it is necessary to mark a shot at the end rather than at the beginning. When this is done it is called a tail slate. It is customary to call "Tail Slate" just before clapping the slate, so that the person syncing the film does not get confused. To easily distinguish a tail slate, the slate is held upside down when marking the shot.
take A single continuously-recorded performance, shot or version of a scene with a particular camera setup; often, multiple takes are made of the same shot during filming, before the directorapproves the shot; in box-office terms, take also refers to the money a film's release has made.
Take A take is one run of the camera, recording a single shot
Take-Multiple versions of the same shot are called takes.
Take Up Reel An empty reel, used on a projector to gather up the film after it has passed through the movement.
Take Up Spool An empty spool in a camera used to gather up the film after it has passed through the movement.
talent A term applied to the actors, as a group, on a film set.
talkies The common term used for films with sound (beginning in 1927), although rarely used currently. The advent of talkies marked the dawning of the era of sound films, as opposed tosilent films.
talking head(s) A medium shot of people conversing; used as a criticism - denoting an uninteresting image.
tap A slang term, meaning to "pick", "select", "name", or "appoint".
Tape Splice A method of joining two pieces of film so they can be projected as one continuous piece. Tape splices are used in the editing stage. To cut the negative Cement Splices are used.
tearjerker(s) An excessively-sentimental or emotional film, usually with suffering female protagonists, tragic circumstances, manipulative scenes, and dramatic musical scoring; akamelodramas or weepies; derogatively known as a 'woman's film' or 'chick flick'; contrast to feel-good film.
Technicolor The trade name for the best known color film process; 3-strip color is often used as a synonymous term; also used generically as a term for rich, bright, vibrant, sometimes garish colors; Technicolor films were described as highlysaturated (with pure and vivid colors); Technicolor (a 3- color dye transfer system) was introduced in the Disney short cartoon, Flowers and Trees (1932).
tech-noir Modern day (or post-modern) expressionistic film noirs set in the future, with dark, decaying societies.
Telecine A machine for transferring film to video.
telefilm Refers to a feature-length motion picture made for television; also known as telepic or telepix; see also made-for TV movie.
Telephoto Used as an equivalent to Long Lens, but for those who wish to be overly exact, a telephoto lens is a long lens that is physically shorter than its focal length.
telephoto (lens) Refers to a camera lens with a very long focal length and narrow angle of view - the effect is to compress or condense depth in space, thereby bringing distant objects closer to the viewer (without moving the camera), but it also flattens the depth of the image; it has the opposite of the effect of a wide angle lens.
Tension often called "dramatic tension." In most texts and films we study, several tensions may exist. These are dramatic or even melodramatic elements of plot, setting, or character that serve to "move things along" well. Unlike a MacGuffin, however, the tension is significant. A love triangle might not be the subject of a film, for instance, but it would certainly be one of the tensions.
tentpole An industry slang or trendy buzzword term, meaning a film that is expected to serve as a primary support for a studio, i.e., to be a top-grossing blockbuster (usually during the summer season), to compensate for a studio's other flops; usually the film is the start of, or an installment in, afranchise.
The Call This is the sequence of directions that begin a take, typically: "Roll Sound" "Roll Camera" "Mark it" and "Action"
The Groundglass A flat surface of etched glass in the viewfinding system of a camera that is the same distance from the lens as the film plane.
the Lion (Leo) A slang term that refers to Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM)Studios -- with the legendary "Leo the Lion" logo.
The Movement The parts of a camera or projector that move the film intermittently: the pulldown claw, the rollers before and after the loops, and the gears connecting these parts form the movement. If there is a registration pin, this is also part of the movement. Sometimes the shutter can also be considered part of the movement.
The Slate A board with two hinged sticks attached. The slate is used to record a scene number and sync point (via the clapstick) at the beginning of a shot.
The Taking Lens On a turret, the lens that is actually in front of the gate, producing an image on the film.
theatre - theater (film) The place for screening, presenting, or viewing a film or motion picture; aka cinema.
theatrical A slang term referring to a feature-length motion picture.
theme (film) The central characteristic, idea, concern or motif in a film.
theme music The opening or closing music of a motion picture, often containing the film's 'signature' or leitmotif tune/phrase that is associated with a character or situation within the film.
this case, the soundtrack, not a visual image, connects the two shots or scenes; aka lightning mix The next scene of the spinning blades of an overhead fan.
Three-Quarter Turn Character seems unfriendly or anti-social, rejecting out interest.
three-shot Refers to a medium shot that contains three people; compare to two-shot.
tie-in Refers to any commercial venture connected to a film.
Tie-In Kit A device for bypassing the fuse box and electrical wiring of a location by tapping power directly from the mains.
Tight Wind A handy attachment sometimes found on an editing bench on the right rewind, used to wind film onto a core and giving it a very smooth edge. It can be quicker than opening and tightening split reels if you are just rewinding an entire roll.
Tight Wind Hub A tight wind is useless without it. This is the hub that holds a core on the spindle of a rewind.
Tilt A vertical camera move on an axis, up or down. Not to be used interchangeably with pan. It is not really correct to say "pan up" or "pan down," when you really mean tilt.
tilt shot (or oblique angle) A camera tilted up or down on a diagonal along a vertical axis; a vertical camera movement from a fixed position often used to suggest an imbalance, or strangeness, or to emphasize size, power or menace; also known as tilt pan, tilt up or tilt down (or reveal), or vertical pan, although not technically the same as "pan up" or "pan down", similar to a moving close up; a dutch angle is filmed at an extreme diagonal tilt.
time lapse A method of filming where frames are shot much slower than their normal rate, allowing action to take place between frames, and giving the appearance of the action taking place much faster in the finished product; often done for nature filming (the blooming of a flower, the movement of clouds, etc.), allowing the viewer to witness the event compressed from real time (hours or days) into a few seconds; (one frame shot every 30 seconds over 24 hours of real time would equal two minutes of film time); opposite of slow-motion .
Time Lapse Time lapse is when single frame shooting is used to dramatically speed up the action over the course of a long period of time. Typically it is a process where a single frame is shot after a consistent pause. It could be one frame every ten seconds, or one frame every hour, and such.
Timed Print Unlike a One Light Print, this is a print where the timer has gone through and timed every shot.
Timer The person at the lab who goes through your film, shot by shot and selects the printing lights.
Timing The lab's process of selecting printing lights to for the proper redition of exposure and color when making a print. The term is a little consuing, as it has nothing at all to do with "time" as in "running time" or such.
Timing Report A list of the timing lights and corresponding footages the lab used in making your print. The timing report can be very helpful for analyzing the footage and judging the possibilities of further corrections. Any serious problems with the footage (out of focus, scratches, edge fog, etc.) are usually also noted on the timing report
tint The use of color to physically tint film stock to achieve a desired mood, usually done selectively by hand; often used by silent black-and-white films before the widespread use of color film. See gel and sepia..
title role The lead part in a movie or other production for an actor or actress, that is named after the title of the film.
titles The words that appear on the film screen and convey information; categories of titles include: credit titles, main titles, end titles, insert titles, and subtitles; a creeper title, also known as a roll-up title, refers to a film title that appears to move solwly across the screen - vertically or horizontally; in silent film, "titles" (called title cards or intertitles) included the written commentary and full screens of textual dialogue spliced within the action; title design refers to the artistic manner in which the title of a film is displayed on screen; theworking title is the name by which a film is known while it is being made (e.g., during the filming of Psycho (1960), it was known as Production 9401); see Movie Title Screens; see also credits.
tix Abbreviation for tickets.
Tone 1.: A 1,000 Hz sine wave used at the beginning of a tape to provide consistent volume when transferring sound. 2.: Room Tone
tone The mood or atmosphere of a film scene, often revealed by the director in the way a film is directed, e.g., serious, humorous, satiric, amusing, etc..
toon Abbreviation for cartoon.
Top of the Frame Sometimes suggests ideas dealing with power, dominance, authority and aspiration.
topline To star; or to be billed above the title of a film; the topliner is the star of a particular film.
topper Refers to the head of a company or organization.
tour de force Literally "forceful turn" (French); usually refers to a lead actor's performance that was incredibly skillful, brilliant, notable, masterful, reflecting a very high standard, and perfectly displaying the actor's ability; compare to 'stealing a scene' - the equivalent for a supporting actor role.
Tracking (Trucking) Shot A tracking, or trucking, shot is one in which a camera is mounted on some kind of conveyance (car, ship, airplane, etc.) and films while moving through space.
Tracking Shot A tracking shot is one where the camera is placed on a dolly and is moved while filmming. Also known as a dolly shot
tracking shot (or truck) A smooth shot in which the camera moves alongside ('tracking within') the subject, usually mounted on a dolly, in a side-to-side motion (relative to the scene or the action); also known as following shot; sometimes used interchangeably withdolly shot, pull back (pull-out, push-out, widen-out orpush back) shot, track back (moving away) or track in (orpush-in) (moving forward), or zoom shot; see alsoSteadicam.
trademark Refers to a personal touch or embellishment of an actor, director, writer or producer within a film; aka signature,calling card..
trades Refers to the professional magazines and publications that report the daily or weekly entertainment news of the entertainment industry..
trailer A short publicity film, preview, or advertisement composed of short excerpts and scenes from a forthcoming film or coming attraction, usually two-three minutes in length; often presented at the showing of another film. Historically, these advertisements were placed at the end of a newsreel or supporting feature and so "trailed" them, hence the name; also commonly known as preview(s); also, another name for the tail - a length of blank leader (strip of film) at the end of a reel; a teaser is basically a very short trailer (of 15-30 seconds in length) that only provides a few hints about the film (a Web address, a few bars of music, a quick sequence of images, specially-shot footage, etc.)..
Transition the type of editing technique used to connect shots. Sometimes there is no transition, and others can be quick complicated. Fading to black is a popular transition, as are wipes and dissolves.
transition (or transitional technique ordevice) One of several ways of moving from one shot or scene to the next, including such transitional effects or shots as a cut,fade, dissolve, and wipe; a transition focus between two scenes means the current scene goes out of focus and the next scene comes into focus.
trash film Refers to second-run, low-budget films that are deliberately over-the-top, infantile, amateurish, sometimes excessively gory or raunchy which are intended to shock, disgust, and repel mainstream audiences, and appeal to non-traditional audiences. Sometimes described as a sub-category ofexploitation and cult films, or called a 'turkey' film. Compare with sexploitation, B-films, and Z-films..
travelogue A film made for the purpose of showing scenes from foreign, exotic places.
treatment A detailed literary summary or presentation of a film's story, with action and characters described in prose form, often used to market and/or sell a film project or script; a completed treatment is a late stage in the development of a screenplay after several story conferences have incorporated changes into the script; contrast to a synopsis (a brief summation of a film);.
trilogy A group of three films that together compose a larger narrative and are related in subject or theme.
Trim Bin or Editing Bin or Bin A trim bin is a bin on wheels lined with a fabric bag and topped off with a frame with a row pins on which to hang film while editing. Oddly enough, a trim bin is not used for trims, which are small, but for selects and outtakes. Not to be confused with a waste basket!
Trims Trims are outtakes of a few frames, usually a foot or less. To keep them from getting lost they are usually stored separately from longer outtakes, either in their own vault box or in a trim book
triple threat Refers to an actor or actress who can sing, dance and act skillfully and equally well on a consistent basis; usually applicable to performers in the musicals genre; it also could refer to a person who can act, direct, and screenwrite!.
Tripod Head The part of the tripod with the pan and tilt mechanism to which the camera is attached
T-Stop Similar to an F-Stop, some lenses, particularly zoom lenses, will have f-stops on one side of the aperture ring and t-stops on the other. To differentiate the two, the t-stops will be red and the f-stops white. T-stops are used in place of f-stops for setting exposure. Lenses with a lot of glass elements will often lose a little bit of light. The t-stops are calibrated to the actual amount of light that is hitting the film, rather than arrived at mathematically, as is the case with f-stops. However, the f-stops are still relevant, because while the t-stop should be used to set the exposure, the resulting f-stop will indicate how much Depth of Field you have
tubthump A term that denotes to promote or draw attention to; usually conducted by publicists, advertisers, and agents; from the ancient show business custom of actors wandering the streets banging on tubs and drums to draw an audience together.
Tungsten The color temperature of artificial light which is 3,200K on the color temperature scale. Quartz Lights use a tungsten filament, which burns at 3,200K, and gives us this term. Color film for indoor shooting is balanced for tungsten light, otherwise the image would appear orange in hue. If tungsten balanced film is used out-of-doors without a correction filter the image will have a washed-out blue hue
turnaround Refers to a film or project that has been abandoned by a studio and is no longer active (and now available for being shopped to another studio).
Turret A rotating lens mount allowing for the mounting of three or sometimes four lenses on a camera, allowing for the quick change from one lens to another. Only one is in use at any given time, and this is known as the taking lens
twist ending A film that is marketed as having a surprise ending that shouldn't be revealed (as a spoiler) to those who haven't seen the picture.
two-fer Slang for coupons that discount an film's admission price to "two for" the price of one.
two-hander Refers to a film with only two characters .
two-reeler In the silent era, this referred to a film lasting a little over 20 minutes.
two-shot A medium or close-up camera shot of two people (often in dialogue with each other), framed from the chest up; often used to provide a contrast between the two characters; compare to three-shot.
typecasting When an actor or actress is commonly (but unfairly) identified, associated with, or 'stereotyped' by a particular character role;casting against type is the reverse of typecasting; typagerefers to director Eisenstein's theory of casting that shunned professional actors in favor of 'types' or representative characters.
Types of Shots The entire camera can move or the focus of the lens can change.
Ultra-Sonic Cleaner A sophisticated cleaning machine found at labs to clean negatives prior to printing or transfer to video. It uses sound waves to shake loose dust.
Ultra-Sonic Splicer An expensive and sophisticated splicing machine used for splicing Polyester Base stock.
U-matic Refers to 3/4 inch magnetic tape, originally a professional cassette tape format now being supplanted by new digital formats; a competing tape format was the inferior 1/2" VHS orbeta.
unbilled role A 'supporting' role for a major (sometimes minor) star that is officially credited (usually in the end credits), but no mention (or billing) is made in the film's advertisements or the opening credits; contrast with cameo and uncredited role..
uncredited role A role that a major (or minor) star plays that is not credited in the credits or in the film's poster; contrast with cameo andunbilled role..
underacting Refers to an understated, neutral and muted acting performance; contrast with overacting.
Undercrank To run the camera slower, producing fast motion. The term has survived from the time when you would crank a camera.
undercranking Refers to the slowing down of a camera, by shooting at less than the standard 24 fps, so that the image, when normally projected, will appear in fast motion; often used to produce a comic effect.
underexposed Refers to a film shot that has less light than normal, causing an indistinct, dimly-lit, unclear image; the opposite ofoverexposed.
Underexposure Filming a scene with less light than the emulsion of the film needs for a correct exposure. The image will be too dark. If compensated for in printing, the image will appear grainy, and very muddy.
underground film A low-budget, non-commercial film, usually independently made, without the traditional sources of funding or distribution.
unions Organizations that represent professionals in the motion picture industry (e.g., directors, actors, writers, etc.), and help those individuals negotiate contracts, receive recognition, pursue rights, protect interests, etc.; aka guilds.
Unit publicist The poor soul who sets up press visits to a film set and handles all press matters relating to the film during shooting. It will be their job to, say, squelch reports of a developing affair between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor on Cleopatra, and hide it from the press, as well as getting out positive buzz about the film.
Unprofessional An insult hurled at someone during a crisis when they have broken some unwritten rule of professional conduct. Commonly the term is used with the most frequency by people to whom it would just as easily apply.
unreliable narrator A literary term meaning a protagonist or narrator whose perspective is skewed to their own perspective, producing a portrayal of events that may or may not be accurate or truthful; the lack of credibility may be deliberate or due to a lack of knowledge.
unspool A slang term meaning to screen or show a film.
Upper Part of the Composition It is heavier than the lower, therefore objects likes sky scrapers seem more top heavy, so if the sky dominates and looks more heavy, it can make the inhabitants seem overwhelmed from above.
Upright Moviola or Upright An editing machine with arms in back to hold the take up and supply reels. The film moves up and around to a screen on the front. Foot petals control motors for sound speed and variable speed viewing.
utopia(n) Refers to an imaginary, ideal (or mythical), perfect state or place (especially in its laws, government, social and moral conditions), often with magical healing, restorative properties; see also its opposite - dystopia.
vamp A femme fatale or woman with a bad reputation, usually seductive and scheming in nature or behavior..
Vari Speed A motor or the control for a motor which will run a camera or an editing machine at speed faster or slower than sound speed.
Variety A respected, oft-quoted show-biz periodical or trade paper (or one of the trades) that reports and provides coverage on the entertainment industry (including the film industry), and best known for its goofy, shorthand 'Varietyese' headlines, using made-up words, e.g. 'dee jay' (disc jockey), or 'B.O.' (box office or boffo).
vaudeville A stage variety entertainment show, featuring a series of short acts - songs, dancing, acrobatics, comedy skits, and animal acts; it was highly popular in America from the late 1880s to the 1920s, when it became overtaken by sound films and.
Vault Box A white, flat, square cardboard box designed to hold 1,000 feet of 35mm or two 1,000 foot rolls of 16mm.
VCR Literally, 'Video-Cassette Recorder'; aka VTR (video tape recorder); a consumer-level machine for home entertainment that plays-back and records images and sounds from TV on magnetized tape in a videotape cassette; VHS stands for 'Video Home System' or the 1/2 inch video cassette tape format; see also U-matic or beta.
video Literally, "to see," in other words, the visual or pictured image (either projected, taped, etc.), as opposed to the audio aspect of film; also refers to the visual component of television;digital video refers to a video signal represented by a series of binary numbers that are readable by computer - compare with analog video; aka vid (for short).
video nasty A British term from the 1980s that refers to a select group of ultra-violent videos (low-budget films produced in Italy and the US) that were considered highly objectionable and to be regulated.
vigilante film Usually a type of action film in which the protagonist takes the law into his/her own hands as a self-appointed doer of justice, revenge, and payback..
vignette A scene in a film that can stand on its own; also refers to a masking device, often with soft edges..
Virtual Camera Movement Virtual camera movement refers to the creation of the perceptual sense of movement through space by the manipulation of focal length or by more irregular techniques.
visual effects Considered a sub-category of special effects; refers to anything added to the final picture that was not in the original shot; visual effects can be accomplished in-camera (like stop motion, double exposures and rear/front projection) or via a number of different optical or digital post-production processes (CGI, for example), usually with a computer.
Voice-Over Voice-over is dialogue, usually narration, that comes from an unseen, offscreen voice, character, or narrator.
voice-over (or v.o.) Refers to recorded dialogue, usually narration, that comes from an unseen, off-screen voice, character or narrator (abbreviated as o.s. meaning beyond camera range), that can be heard by the audience but not by the film characters themselves; narration is a type of voice-over; v.o. often conveys the character's thoughts, either as a 'voice' heard within one's head, or as other narrative information and commentary to explain the action or plot; often a technique infilm noirs; the abbreviation is used as an annotation in a script.
vorkapich This film term was named after Serbian-American film director/editor Slavko Vorkapich; the term 'vorkapich' was popularized in screenplays of the 1930s and 1940s - it meant a montage sequence, that Vorkapich himself called "symphonies of visual movement".
walk-on A minor role consisting of a single, brief appearance on the screen, usually not appearing in the credits and without dialogue; contrast with extras, bit parts, and non-speaking roles..
walk-through The first rehearsal on the set, to figure out lighting, sound, camera positioning, etc..
walla walla Refers to the atmospheric, background sound effect for the indistinct murmurings and buzz of voices in a crowd; extras in crowd scenes, in older films (or in radio), would be asked to murmur a phrase ('walla walla,' 'rhubarb,' 'peas and carrots,' or 'watermelon,' etc.) to create the sound of the crowd and to pretend that they were talking; see also foley artist, dubbing, and non-synchronized sound.
wardrobe The general name for the costume department, or the costumes (and their accessories) themselves; see alsocostume.
weenie Refers to the object that motivates the main action in a serial(e.g., a lost city, buried treasure, or missing plans, etc).
Wet Gate A contact printing method, made on a specially equipped printing machine, where the film is in a liquid that temporarily fills in any scratches on the base, preventing them from refracting light and showing up in the print. Commonly, answer prints are printed with a wet gate. Labs often charge a little extra for wet gate printing.
Whip-pan When the camera pans particularly quickly, resulting in motion blur. This is often used to sneak in a hidden cut, as in the lengthy opening shot of Serenity. See
whistleman In early film production, an individual on a film set's sound stage who was employed to make sure all noises were "shushed" before filming. The whistleman would blow on a whistle just before the shooting of a take commenced, to make sure that the set was quiet and that extraneous noises near or outside the studio set were silenced..
white (or color) balance Refers to electronically setting or 'color-correcting' a camera's white balance - or the true color of white, since white doesn't appear 'white' with all lighting conditions.
whodunit Refers to a mystery/detective film.
whoop-whoops In sound effects, this refers to the extra noises added to a sound, e.g., bells, horns, or whistles to an explosion, to make it more interesting or exciting.
Wide Lens A lens with a focal length smaller than 25mm in 16mm, or 50mm in 35mm, which, like looking into the wrong end of a pair of binoculars, provides an extended view of a large area.
Wide-Angle Lens A wide-angle lens has a short focal length, which exaggerates the relative size of objects within field of view.
wide-angle shot A shot (often abbreviated WS) taken with a lens that is able to take in a wider field or range of view (to capture more of the scene's elements or objects) than a regular or normal lens; a wide-angle shot exaggerates the distance, depth or disparity between foreground and background planes, thereby creating greater depth-of-field and keeping all objects in focus and in perspective; an extreme or ultra-wide-angle lens giving a 180 degree view is called a 'fish-eye' lens.
Wide-Angle Shot A shot with a greater horizontal plane of action and greater depth of field is known as a wide-angle shot.
widescreen Refers to projection systems in which the aspect ratio is wider than the 1.33:1 ratio that dominated sound film before the 1950s; in the 1950s, many widescreen processes were introduced (to combat the growing popularity of television), such as CinemaScope (an anamorphic system),VistaVision (a non-anamorphic production technique in which the film is run horizontally through the camera instead of vertically), and Todd-AO and Super Panavision (that both used wider gauge film); also known as letterboxing.
wig-wag A red warning light located above each entrance-exit door on a film set sound stage, designed to flash (with a buzzer sound) to indicate when shooting commences or ends; also known as"red-eye".
Wild Not sync. A wild motor is one that runs close to 24 frames per second, but not close enough for sync sound. Also applies in a few other cases, such as, if you are filming a rear screen projection scene and the projector and camera are not Interlocked they can be said to be running wild.
Wild Sound Non-sync sound, recorded without the camera running, usually recorded to supplement the sync takes.
Winnebago The giant trailers that stars occupy when not required on set.
wipe A transitional technique or optical effect/device in which one shot appears to be "pushed off" or "wiped off" the screen by another shot replacing it and moving across the existing image; also called a push-over; a flip-over (or flip) wipe is when one scene rotates or flips-over to the new scene; wipes were very commonly used in the 30s .
Wipe Wipes allow one scene to effectively erase the previous scene and replace it.
word of mouth A term referring to the public discussion or buzz that a film can acquire, fueled by sneak previews and advance advertising; word of mouth is an important marketing element in a film's success or failure - positive word of mouth gives a film legs, while negative word of mouth may prematurely close it down.
Workprint A positive copy of the original negative that is cut during the editing process. At the end of editing the original negative is then cut by the negative cutter to match the workprint shot for shot, and an answer print struck from the cut negative. A workprint can also be made from reversal original.
Wrap End of shooting.
wrap Refers to the completion of film shooting (either for the day or for the entire production or project); in the early days of cinema, the cameraman would say after filming: "Wind, Reel, And Print' - abbreviated as WRAP; a entirely completed film is termed in the can.
writer Refers to the individual who authors the content of the piece from pre-existing material or uses an entirely new idea; usually there are many writers involved with re-writes, adaptations, character development, etc.; aka screenwriter.
Xenon A very bright, daylight balanced projection lamp, or a projector with a xenon lamp. A xenon lamp is not interchangeable with a tungsten lamp or arch lamp, but requires a different lamp housing on the projector. Because xenon lamps are daylight balanced it is sometimes advisable with color film to have the lab make a print that is balanced for xenon. This is sometimes called a 5,400K print, the color temperature of daylight.
Yaba Dabba Doo What Fred Flinstone says when he'#39;s happy. This was put in here to see if you were paying attention.
yawner A slang term, meaning a boring film.
Zero Cut A method of negative cutting specifically for blow up, where every shot is given Frame Handles so that the registration pin of the printer is never engaging with a splice, which can cause the image to wobble at the cut. It is most commonly used when you are blowing up from 16mm to 35mm. Zero cut should be done only if really necessary, because the lab can only print the film as an optical, which is far more expensive than a contact print. Zero cutting is a little more complicated than standard A'amp;B rolls, so the negative cutter also charges more for it.
Z-film or Z-movie Refers to a very low-budgeted, independently-made, non union, less than B-film grade movie, usually with first-time director and actors; often quickly-made for the teenaged youth market and amateurish-looking, but with campy appeal; with exploitational subject matter that includes surfing films, motorcycle flicks, cheap horror films, etc.; Z-films become prime candidates for cult film status.
Zoom Lens A variable focal length lens. A zoom lens will have a third ring, besides ones controlling focus and iris, that will allow you to change the focal length within a range of wide to long.
zoom shot A single shot taken with a lens that has a variable focal length, thereby permitting the cinematographer to change the distance between the camera and the object being filmed, and rapidly move from a wide-angle shot to a telephoto shot in one continuous movement; this camera technique makes an object in the frame appear larger; movement towards a subject to magnify it is known as zoom in or forward zoom, or reversed to reduce its size is known as zoom out/back orbackward zoom.
Zoom Shot A zoom shot is one that permits the cinematographer to change the distance between the camera and the object being filmed without actually moving the camera.
zoptic special effects A revolutionary special effects, 3-D process invented by cameraman Zorian Perisic, incorporating a camera system and a projector with synchronized zoom lenses, to create the illusion of movement in depth.
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