Video Production Terms: Know the Lingo
Crossing the Line
In video production, the 180-degree rule keeps the camera angles on one side of a pretend line running through set. If the camera crosses this “line” confusing discontinuity may occur. An action axis is an imaginary line drawn between two subjects or along a line of motion in order to maintain continuity of screen direction. Crossing it from one shot to the next creates an error in continuity.
An apple box is a simple, wooden device used on the set of a movie to raise equipment. The apple box is also used by the cameraperson as a step to gain a higher perspective during filming.
An auteur is a heavily involved film or video director, exercising creative control to implement his or her own unique, personal style.
A backlight is used in video production to brighten from behind to form a sense of depth, separating foreground characters from the background.
Barndoors are light modifiers that direct and shape light during video production.
Call Sheets are sheets printed and handed out every day to the video crew. This sheet contains scenes to be shot the next day, call times for the actors and other staff, and other information needed for the shoot.
A close-up is a tightly framed camera shot where the main subject is viewed at close range, appearing large and dominant on screen.
A composite is a video image that is made from combining multiple pictures into a single plane to make one picture.
Composition is the visual make-up of a video picture including aesthetic considerations such as balance, framing, field of view and texture. These combined assets form an image that’s pleasant to view.
The crew of a video production includes personnel who generally operate equipment and are not typically seen by the camera. Pittsburgh is known to have some of the most professional video and film crews in the country.
Crop out is a postproduction technique used to tighten up a shot that has unwanted images in the borders of the frame.
A director is the key individual in charge of planning and organizing the video production.
Depth of field
Depth of field is the range in front of a camera’s lens in which objects seem in focus.
A dolly is a piece of video production equipment that lets the camera roll/move seamlessly across a scene.
Essential areas are borders within which contents of a television picture are certain to be seen. This area includes the inner 80 percent of the screen.
Establishing shot is the opening image of a scene. Typically, it is a wide and/or distant perspective that orients viewers to the overall setting and surroundings.
A fade in is the act of fading in audio to avoid the snap cut to music or effects.
A fade out is an audio cue in video production that eases out the sound of music or effects so that there is no abrupt cut off.
Follow focus is controlling the lens focus so that an image maintains sharpness and clarity despite camera or subject movement.
The frame rate is the amount of frames that are displayed per second. Having a higher frame rate allows the video to appear smoother.
Headroom is considered the space between the top of a subject or scene from a frame’s top. It’s important the cameraperson takes into account any cropping that may occur later on the top or sides of footage.
Interlaced video changes the pixels on the screen twice for every frame displayed. Scanlines are changed alternatively, evens changing first and odds second.
A long shot is a camera view of a subject or scene from a distance, showing a broad perspective with any character in his or her entirety.
A medium shot is any camera perspective between a long shot and a close-up, viewing the subjects from a medium distance. Typically the character in scene is shown from the waste up.
Meta Data is data that describes your video’s data. For instance, an example of this would be for videos on YouTube, the meta data is the title, description, and tags.
NTSC (National Television System Committee)
NTSC is the North American and South American video system, transmitting 30 frames per second and 525 scanlines per frame.
Over-crank (Slow Motion)
Over-cranking is when a film crew runs their camera at a faster rate to create a slow motion effect.
An-over-the-shoulder shot is a view of the main individual with the back of another person’s shoulder and head in the forefront.
PAL (Phase Alternating by Line)
PAL is the standard video system used by most countries overseas (ex: South Africa, India, Germany), transmitting 25 frames per second with 625 scanlines per frame.
Point-of-view shot (POV)
Point-of-view is a shot perspective whereby the video camera assumes a character’s view and therefore viewers see what the character sees.
Pre-production includes any activity that happens prior to the time the camera starts rolling.
Progressive video is when every pixel displayed on a monitor is refreshed in sequential order repeatedly, drawing one continuous image.
Rack focus can be described as the shifting focus between characters in the background and foreground of a scene so a viewer’s attention moves from character to character as the focus changes.
A remote is a video shoot that is executed on location, outside a controlled studio.
Resolution is the maximum number or pixels that a monitor is able to display.
It can be presented in the format of (number of horizontal pixels) x (number of vertical pixels). The higher the amount of pixels, the clearer your image will be.
A reverse shot is the act of capturing the same action at different angles to show a counter perspective.
Rule of thirds
In video production, rule of thirds is a composition theory based on separating the screen into thirds, both vertically and horizontally, with the placement of the main subject along those lines.
Soft Focus can be achieved by using a special lens to get a slightly blurred effect. This can also be done using a normal lens slightly out of focus.
Two-shot is a video production term that describes a camera view encompassing two characters.
TV Safe is considered the areas that are visible on your TV, without being cut off.
A voice over is the audio that’s put over an image or video from a character that is not usually present in the video itself.
A vignette is a special effect where viewers see images through a shaped (keyhole, heart shape, diamond, etc.).
A whip pan is extremely rapid camera movement that often blurs the video image.
In video production, zoom is the change of focal length from wide-angle to telephoto, or telephoto to wide-angle, in one continuous motion.