Federal Communications Commission. The U.S. Agency which governs radio and television broadcasting.
A video picture that gradually increases or decreases in
brightness usually to or from black. Sound can also fade to or from silence.
One-half of a television frame, containing all the odd or
even scanning lines of the picture. In NTSC 262.5 horizontal lines at 59.94 Hz. In PAL 312.5 lines at 50 Hz.
After the key light (primary light) is set, a fill light softens the shadows created by the key light.
Projectors, multiplexors and cameras, used to transfer film to
A measurement of the magnification of a lens indicated in
millimeters. A zoom lens has a variable focal length which allows the camera to film closer or farther from the subject without moving the camera or subject. A 9mm – 100mm lens can makes its widest shot at 9mm, its closest at 100mm.
Personal sound effects, like footsteps, breathing or punches used to heighten realism.
Describes the video equipment and tape used. Popular formats
listed in ascending order of cost and quality include VHS, SVHS, and Betacam.
A complete television picture made up of two fields, produced at the rate of 29.97 Hz (color NTSC), or 30 Hz (black & white NTSC).
A digital device designed to store and display a single frame of video as a freeze frame. (See also Still Store.)
Digital device which synchronizes two or more video signals. The frame synchronizer uses one of its inputs as a reference and genlocks the other video signals to the reference’s sync and color burst signals. By delaying the other signals so that each line and field starts at the same time, two or more video images can be blended, wiped and otherwise processed together. (A Time Base Corrector takes this a step further by synchronizing both signals to a stable reference, eliminating time base errors from both sources.)
The technician responsible for placing, rigging and adjusting
Similar to duct tape, but vastly superior. Used extensively in
film and video production.
Created when editing or copying one analog videotape to another
videotape. Most apparent in less expensive video formats. Theoretically absent from digital video editing.
Device which allows computer text and graphics to
be recorded or superimposed on video. Also includes a fader to
fade video or computer graphics.
A system whereby the internal sync generator in a device, such as a camera, locks on to and synchronizes itself with a separate incoming signal.
Crew member who carries, sets up and strikes equipment.
Film or video production assistant often sent to “Go for” coffee or other essentials.
One who produces an effective video on a shoestring budget.
Type of light that creates brilliant highlights and sharp shadows.
Trade name of a sophisticated digital effects system by Quantel. Includes Quantel’s Paintbox digital effects generator.
A video format technically similar to SVHS which uses smaller cassettes. The regular 8 video format is a home format which is inferior to Hi-8.
An electronic edit in which the existing control track is not
replaced during the editing process. The new segment is inserted onto a prerecorded black video tape. See also Assembly Edit.
A close-up shot used to hide an edit or to emphasize a detail.
The manner in which a television picture is composed
scanning alternate lines to produce one field, approximately every 1/60 of a second in NTSC. Two fields comprise one television frame resulting in the NTSC television frame rate of approximately 30 fps.
IN THE CAN
Same as “that’s a wrap” to indicate that the scene or program
which has been completed.
A jarring edit caused by the choice of shots rather than any
The primary light used to illuminate a subject.
Also called a “hair light.” Placed behind the subject to
create a glamorous halo effect on the hair or a rugged-looking highlight on the cheek. Helps separate the subject from the background.
Process of synchronizing a secondary time code generator with a
selected master time code, e.g., using the time code generated by one camera to insert the identical time code on a second camera.
Also called “Kine.” A method of making a film copy of a television program in the days before the existence of Video Recorders. A movie camera was aimed at a specially designed television monitor. Before video recorders were invented this was the only means of recording TV programs. Many kinescopes are now over 40 years old and have the potential to outlast videotapes that were created much later.
A small microphone that is clipped to a person’s clothing.
Any place filming occurs except a studio.
A paper listing of the time code addresses of shots, scenes
and takes. The log is an efficient way to find shots during editing.
Transferring the sweetened audio track back to the master video
tape. See SWEETENING.
LTC (Longitudinal Time Code)
Type of time code recorded on one of the audio channels of video tape. Requires tape movement to read. (See also VITC.)
The monochrome portion of a video signal.
Device for mixing television signals
to a single video recorder.
MATCH FRAME EDIT
An edit in which the source and record tapes pick up exactly
where they left off. Often used to extend or correct a previous edit. Also called a “frame cut.”
“Mit Out Sound” a slang term for silent shooting actually
from the German “mit out sprechen” (without talking).
A video display similar to a TV, but having superior visual quality and without a tuner. An audio monitor is a speaker.
N.T.S.C. National Television Standards Committee created this first international television system for use in the U.S. and other countries. It produces pictures by creating 525 alternating lines across the TV screen for each frame of video. Since PAL and SECAM, the other two world systems, were developed later, they took advantage of better technology. Insiders joke that NTSC means “Never The Same Color.”
One billionth of a second. An indication of the precision
required in the timing of video signals.
A type of SMPTE time code that continuously counts a full 30
frames per second. As a result, non-drop-fame time code does not exactly match real time. See also DROP FRAME.
The creative editing process which uses copies of the
camera tapes on a typically “cuts only” inexpensive editing system. All creative decisions and approvals are made during this process.
The final technical editing process which uses the original
camera tapes to repeat all decisions made in the offline editing process. Online editing uses a more sophisticated and expensive editing system capable of transitions like dissolves and wipes.
The magnetic coating on video and audio tapes that stores
picture and sound information. Iron oxide is created by combining iron and oxygen. The more primitive form is called rust.
P.A.L. Phase Alternation by Line. An international television standard. (see N.T.S.C.)
P.O.V. Point Of View.
A subjective shot from the actor’s point of view. The 1946 film, “The Lady In The Lake,” holds the dubious distinction of being the only feature film in which every shot is a point of view shot. The hero is seen only once in a mirror.
Movement of the camera on a horizontal axis. Also an unfavorable review.
A list of edits made entirely on paper by viewing Window Dub
copies of the original camera tapes.
The complete editing process.
Processing amplifier that changes the video chroma and luminance signals feed through it. Also provides stable horizontal and vertical synch pulses.
The vital phase of production in which the script, budget,
locations, actors and props are planned.
5 to 7 seconds of camera running time before a shot can be used. In editing, this refers to a similar amount of automatic backspacing the edit decks perform to insure a stable edit.
The actual filming and creation of the raw elements as required by the script.
A high quality copy of the master tape. Inexpensive insurance in the event that the master is lost or damaged.
Trade name of a computer graphics system manufactured by Quantel. Used to create two-dimensional graphics, transform objects and change colors. The computer graphics generator for Quantel’s Harry system.
Red, green & blue, the primary color components of the
additive color system used in color television.
A shot of a person reacting to dialogue or action.
Credit rolls consist of video text moving vertically up or down the screen, usually from bottom to top.
The area of a TV picture tube that is scanned by the electron
beam. Also the active area of visual display on a TV, monitor or any cathode ray tube (CRT).
Automatic updating of an Edit Decision List after making a change to the list. “Ripple the list.”
Super VHS. A video format developed by JVC which has largely
replaced the 3/4 inch format for low budget productions.
SAFE ACTION AREA
Electronic or physical markings on camera viewfinders and video monitors as the area that will be visible on most TV screens. Defined as 90% of the screen area measured from the center.
SAFE TITLE AREA
The area on a monitor defined as 80% of the screen area measured from the center. Keeping the title within this area insures that the complete title will be visible on ALL TV sets.
Also called a demo reel or tape. Contains samples of a person’s or company’s best video work for the purposes of marketing.
SECAM (Systeme Electronique Pour Colour Avec Memorie)
The color television system developed in France. Used there and in most of the former communist-block countries and a few other areas including parts of Africa.
A highly directional microphone that may be hand-held or mounted on a boom.
A board on which script information, such as scene and shot
numbers, is written. The slate is then filmed at the beginning of each shot to make the editor’s job easier.
Light which is diffused and creates very soft shadows.
Device which stores individual video frames, either in analog or digital form, allowing extremely fast access time.
A series of drawings to indicate different shots to be filmed. Used extensively in big-budget commercials and feature films.
Audio postproduction where audio is corrected and enhanced. Music, narration and sound effects are mixed with original sound elements.
Device with a series of video inputs that permits one or more
selected inputs to be combined, manipulated and sent
out on the program line or edit VCR.
T.B.C. (TIME BASE CORRECTOR)
A device to correct timing errors which can cause unstable edits. These errors are caused by the slight mechanical defects inherent in the playback of video tape machines. Essential for online editing and duplication. This device can “clean up” a consumer VHS video so that it meets F.C.C. “broadcast quality” standards.
An individual shot. When time and budgets permit, many takes may be filmed of the same shot.
The intended viewers. Successful business videos must define and address this audience.
Movement of the camera on its vertical axis.
A system of numbering each frame of video with a unique address
divided into hours, minutes, seconds and frames. There are 30 video still frames per second. See also DROP FRAME, NON-DROP FRAME, VITC, LTC.
Device for transferring motion picture film to video tape.
A camera move which films the subject from side to side.
SMPTE standard for 1-inch non-segmented helical video
Trade name for the 3/4 inch video format developed by Sony. 3/4
SP is an enhanced version. Formerly the standard for
broadcast-quality, still used at many cable TV stations.
Trade name of a high-quality special effects system
similar to a chromakey switcher. Electronic version of the blue screen technique used for motion picture special effects.
Special video monitor that can reduce the size of the video image so the four outer frame edges can be viewed in their entirety.
Portions of VITC and LTC (time code) reserved for recording
information of the user’s choosing, e.g., date, scene numbers.
Video Cassette Recorder.
Video Home System. The most popular consumer video format used in the majority of home VCRs.
V.I.T.C. (Vertical Interval Time Code pronounced vitSEE) This type of time code is recorded in the vertical blanking interval above the active picture area. Can be read from video tape in the “still mode.” See also LTC (Longitudinal Time Code).
Video Tape Recorder.
An oscilloscope designed to monitor and tweak the color portion
of the video signal. See, also, waveform monitor.
Indicates the vertical blanking period between each video field. Contains additional scan lines above the active picture area into which non-picture information (captioning, copy protection and other control signals) may be embedded.
Synchronizing pulses used to define the end of one television
field and the start of the next, occurring at a rate of approximately 59.94 Hz.
Software/hardware developed by NewTek for the Amiga Computer.
Made special effects affordable for the low budget producer.
A video photographer who specializes in events like weddings.
Oscilloscope designed for monitoring and adjusting luminance and all other parts of the composite video signal. See also vectorscope.
A color camera function which determines how much red, green and blue is required to produce a normal-looking white. Shots made with improper white balance will have an abnormal color tint.
Sound recorded after the visuals and edited into the master to enhance realism.
Also called a “burn in.” A copy of the original camera tape with time code numbers visually displayed. A window dub that is made in the VHS format can be viewed, logged and edited on paper with a home VCR to save editing expenses.
A visual transition between shots in which the first shot is
replaced with the next via a moving pattern.
A video signal in which the luminance (“Y”) and the chrominance (“C”) are separate and travel over 2 wires instead of one. In composite video, the luminance and chrominance are combined into one signal.
To vary the focal length from one size to another. Professionals most often use the zoom to set rather to make a shot.
One who indulges in the gratification of zooming in and out to the torment of viewers. Common in home movies.
Editor’s Note: We have tried to make this comprehensive and accurate. Please submit any corrections or additions by email to