Filmmaking Terms Glossary

Like many careers, filmmakers and film crews have their own set of terms and jargon to define their various jobs, duties, materials, equipment, positions, organizations, and much more. Here is our list of the terms you may need to know in your filmmaking career.


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Filmmaking Glossary and Film Set Terminology


0-9

10-100 or 10-1: Over the walkie-talkie indicates a bathroom break.

180 Degree Rule: A basic guideline regarding the on-screen spatial relationship between a character and another character or object within a scene. By keeping the camera on one side of an imaginary axis between two characters, the first character is always framed right of the second character. Moving the camera over the axis is called jumping the line or crossing the line; breaking the 180-degree rule by shooting on all sides is known as shooting in the round.

180 Degree Rule

24 Frames Per Second: 24 frames per second (fps) is the standard frame rate for movies shot on film. It refers to the number of frames projected onto the screen per second. Most modern films come in at 24 frames per second, but in the past, they would be projected 16 or 18 fps.

30 Degree Rule: A basic film editing guideline that states the camera should move at least 30 degrees relative to the subject between successive shots of the same subject. If the camera moves less than 30 degrees, the transition between shots may look like a jump cut, which could jar the audience and take them out of the story by causing them to focus on the film technique rather than the narrative itself.

30 Degree Rule

3D Film: Motion pictures are made to give an illusion of three-dimensional solidity, usually with the help of special glasses worn by viewers. The 3D filmmaking process involves using a twin-lensed camera for filming, and images from both lenses are projected into the screens by two different projectors. 3D films work by delivering a different image to each eye, so your brain perceives the depth of the picture.

3D Glasses: 3D glasses are worn when viewing a 3D film. There are three types of 3D eyeglasses that correspond to the three ways stereo frames are separated for 3D effects– anaglyph, polarized and active.

3D Glasses

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A

Abby (Abby Singer/Abby Singer Shot): A term for the second-to-last shot of the day on a shoot.

Above The Line: A budgeting term used to describe professionals who influence the creative direction of a film, such the screenwriter, producer, director, and actors.

Above-the-Line Expenses: The major expenses committed to a project before production begins, including story/rights/continuity, salaries for producers, director, and cast, travel, living expenses, and production fees (if the project is bought from an earlier company). Everything else falls under below-the-line expenses.

Abstract Film: Non-narrative films that contain no acting and do not attempt to reference reality or concrete subjects. They rely on the unique qualities of motion, rhythm, light and composition inherent in the technical medium of cinema to create emotional experiences.

Absurd/Absurdism: Focuses on the experiences of characters in situations where they cannot find any inherent purpose in life, most often represented by ultimately meaningless actions and events that call into question the certainty of existential concepts such as truth or value.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS): A professional honorary organization with the stated goal of advancing the arts and sciences of motion pictures. The Academy’s corporate management and general policies are overseen by a board of governors, which includes representatives from each of the craft branches.

Academy Awards: An annual award given to a performer, director, technician, craftsperson, or musician of the motion picture industry for superior achievement in a specific category: judged by the voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and symbolized by the presentation of an Oscar.

Accelerated Montage: Process of shortening the video length or duration and increasing the speed, in order to transmit the idea of excitement and rhythm.

Accent Light: Focuses light on a particular area or object. It is often used to highlight art or other artifacts. Common types of accent lighting includes wall sconces, floodlights, recessed lights, torchière lamps, or track lighting.

Acousmatic: Sound that is heard without an originating cause being seen.

Acoustics: The science of sound wave transmission.

Act: A main division within the plot of a film.

Acting/Actor/Actress: Any person, male or female, who portrays a character in a performance.

Action: Called out at the beginning of a take to alert the cast and crew that the take has started and the performance should begin.

Action Cut: Refers to a cut that uses on-screen motion to cover the transition, making the action appear continuous and uninterrupted.

Action Film: A film genre in which the protagonist is thrust into a series of events that typically involve violence and physical feats. The genre tends to feature a mostly resourceful hero struggling against incredible odds, which include life-threatening situations, a dangerous villain, or a pursuit which usually concludes in victory for the hero.

Adaptation: The transfer of a creative work or story, fiction or nonfiction, whole or in part, to a motion picture format. For example, the reimagining or rewriting of an original non-film work with the specific intention of presenting it in the form of a film.

Additional Camera/ B Camera: An extra camera, is often needed for complicated action sequences, stunts, or to obtain coverage faster.

Additional Photography/ Reshoots/ Pickups: Focus group or studio reaction to some shots or scenes may be bad enough to convince the filmmakers to discard them or add additional or altered scenes. In some cases, actors are recalled and parts of the movie are filmed again.

Adjusted Gross Deal/ Adjusted Gross Participation/ Gross Deal: A distribution deal where producers receive an advance in addition to a portion of the net profits of a film.

Ad Lib: A line of dialogue improvised by an actor during a performance; can be either unscripted or deliberate.

ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement): The process of re-recording dialogue by the original actor (or a replacement actor) after the filming process to improve audio quality or make changes to the originally scripted dialogue.

Advance: The distance between a point on the soundtrack and the corresponding image.

Advance/Cash Advance: An amount given before receipt of services or expenditures.

Advance Screener/Screener: A film or television show available via DVD, Blu-ray, or streaming link sent to film critics and eligible awards voting members.

Aerial Perspective or Atmospheric Perspective: Refers to the effect the atmosphere has on the appearance of an object as viewed from a distance. As the distance between an object and a viewer increases, the contrast between the object and its background decreases, and the contrast of any markings or details within the object also decreases.

Aerial Shot: A bird’s eye view shot filmed in an exterior location in the air from far overhead via a helicopter, blimp, balloon, plane, drone or kite. It is a variation of the crane shot.

Aerial Shot

Against Type: Playing a character whose type is opposite or strikingly different from that which an actor has played previously and has become associated with by filmmakers and the audience.

Agency/ Talent Agency: Specialize by creating departments within the agency or developing entire agencies that primarily or wholly represent one specialty to get their clients to work. For example, there are film and television production agencies, modelling agencies, commercial talent agencies, literary agencies, voice-over agencies, broadcast journalist agencies, sports agencies, music agencies, and many more.

Agent/ Talent Agent: A person who pitches their clients for job interviews, finds them work, negotiates their contract, and is the go-between for production and the client. In addition, an agent defends, supports and promotes the interest of their clients. Talent agents represent actors, writers, broadcast journalists, directors, producers, and key creatives.

Alan Smithee: The only pseudonym permitted for use by directors who refuse to put their name on their film when they want to disassociate themselves from the film they directed.

A-List: Refers to top actors who are paid upwards of $20 million per film. This term can also refer to producers, directors and writers who can be guaranteed to be greenlit.

Allegory: An extended metaphor; 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.

Alliteration: The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words. For example: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Allusion: An implied direct or indirect reference to something or someone else- through an image or through dialogue.

Allusion

Alternate Ending: An ending of a story that was considered, or even written or produced, but ultimately discarded in favour of another resolution.

Ambiance: The feeling or mood of a particular scene or setting.

Ambient Light: The natural light or surrounding light around a subject in a scene; often soft light.

Ambiguity: The type of meaning in which a phrase, statement or resolution is not explicitly defined, making several interpretations plausible.

Ambiguous Space: In order to create the idea of depth, you usually have to relate it to something. Ambiguous space is the removal of those cues so the viewer doesn’t know what they’re looking at.

American Cinema Editors/ ACE: An honorary society of film editors that are voted in based on the qualities of professional achievements, their education of others, and their dedication to editing. Members use the post-nominal letters, ACE.

American Society of Cinematographers/ ASC: An American cultural, educational, and professional organization that is neither a labor union nor a guild. The society was organized to advance the science and art of cinematography and gather a wide range of cinematographers to discuss techniques and ideas and to advocate for motion pictures as an art form.

Anachronism: An element or artifact in a film that belongs to another time or place; often anachronistic elements are deemed as inconsistencies or mistakes.

Anamorphic/ Anamorphic Widescreen: 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.

Ancillary Rights: Film-related rights such as soundtrack rights, music publishing rights, novelization rights, stageplay rights, and merchandising rights. Merchandising, in turn, generally includes interactive games based on the film.

Angle: The perspective from which a camera depicts its subject.

Angle On: To direct, move the camera and focus on a particular subject.

Animatic: The process of animating a storyboard into a moving sequence.

Animation: The photographing and manipulating successive drawings or positions of puppets or models to create an illusion of movement when a movie is shown as a sequence.

Animatronics: Refers to mechatronic puppets. They are a modern variant of the automaton and are often used for the portrayal of characters in films and in theme park attractions.

Anime: A hand-drawn and computer-generated animation originating from Japan. Outside of Japan and in English, anime refers specifically to animation produced in Japan. However, in Japan and in Japanese, anime describes all animated works, regardless of style or origin.

Anime

Answer Print: The first version of a motion picture that is printed to film after colour correction on an interpositive. It is also the first version of the movie printed to film with the sound properly synced to the picture.

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 or protagonist. Sometimes termed ‘the heavy’.

Anthology Film: A single film consisting of several shorter films, each complete in itself and distinguished from the other, though frequently tied together by a single theme, premise, or author.

Anthropomorphism: The tendency in animated films to give creatures or objects human qualities, abilities, and characteristics.

Anthropomorphism

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.

Aperture: The size of a camera lens opening through which light passes. It is calibrated in f/stops and is generally written as numbers such as 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11 and 16.

Aperture

Apple Box: Wooden boxes or crates of varying sizes with holes on each end used chiefly in film production. These boxes are specialized pieces of equipment belonging to the grip department, and should not be confused with simple crates, other boxes, or boxes for apples. There are 4 sizes: full, half, quarter, and pancake.

Apple Boxes- Full, Half, Quarter, Pancake

Arc Shot: A shot in which the subject or subjects are photographed by an encircling or moving camera.

Arc Shot

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/ Grip Arm: A metal rod attached to a C-Stand.

Armourer: A member of the shooting crew who handles, maintains, and is responsible for real and prop weapon safety on set, including firearms, knives, swords, bows, and staff weapons.

A-Roll: Includes all types of footage that feature key plot actions, talking characters, or interview subjects. A-roll footage is more often known in the industry these days as main footage, primary footage, hero footage, or principal shots.

Arret: A French word meaning halt or stop, which refers to the in-camera trick of stopping the camera, then removing or inserting an object, then restarting the camera to have an object magically disappear or appear. This is one of the earliest techniques of silent film.

Art Department: The section of a production’s crew concerned with visual artistry. Working under the supervision of the production designer and/or art director, the art department is responsible for arranging the overall look of the film

Art Directors Guild (ADG, IATSE Local 800): A labour union and local of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (IATSE) representing over 3,000 motion picture and television professionals working in the United States. Members include production designers, art directors, set designers and modelmakers, illustrators and matte artists, scenic artists, and title and graphic artists.

Art House: A movie theatre that shows independent films, documentaries, experimental films, foreign films, low-budget films, local films, and or any film considered “high brow” or an “art film”.

Art House Film: Typically an independent film, aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience.

Articulation Artist: A person who takes an artist’s designs and builds them in a computer, so that animators can manipulate the figures to tell the story of the film.

Artifact: A visual defect on a film image caused by limitations or the malfunction of imaging equipment.

Artifact

Artificial Light: The two main categories of filmmaking light sources include artificial and natural light. Artificial lights can be either on-camera or off-camera, while natural light nearly always comes from an outside source such as the sun or a window.

Aside: Occurs when a character in a film breaks the ‘fourth wall’ and directly addresses the audience with a comment.

Aspect Ratio:  A term for how the image appears on the screen based on how it was shot; refers to the ratio of width to height of a film frame, image or screen.

Aspect Ratio

Assembly: The assembly edit is when the editor looks through all of the footage and creates a story outline. The first stage of editing, is when the editor looks through all of the footage and arranges the shots in script order.

Assistant Art Director: An assistant to the art director working in the art department. Assistant art director’s responsibilities differ widely depending on what they are hired for based on their skills and what is needed on a project.

Assistant Camera: A member of the camera crew who assists the camera operator. This person is responsible for the maintenance and care of the camera, as well as preparing dope sheets. In smaller camera crews, they may also perform the duties of clapper-loader and/or a focus puller.

Assistant Director: The role includes tracking daily progress against the filming production schedule, arranging logistics, preparing daily call sheets, checking cast and crew, and maintaining order on the set.

Assistant Film Editor: Aid the editor and director in collecting and organizing all the elements needed to edit the film. When editing is finished, they oversee the various lists and instructions necessary to put the film into its final form.

Assistant Production Manager: An assistant to the production manager in the production department.

Associate Producer: Someone who works closely with the producer and assists him or her in putting a TV show or film together. They serve as a producer’s right-hand and are therefore entrusted to complete a wide range of tasks.

Asynchronous: When sound doesn’t match a film’s visuals. Filmmakers use asynchronous sound to manipulate emotion and narrative.

Atmosphere: Refers to any concrete or nebulous feeling that contributes a dimensional tone to a film’s action.

Audio: All sound in a film including diegetic and non-diegetic sound. A strip of film carrying sound records in addition to the pictures.

Audio Bridge: When audio is carried over the visual transition to tie together two scenes.

Audition: A sample or test of a performance by an actor, singer, musician, dancer or other performer.

Auteur/ Auteur Theory: A critical theory that ascribes overall responsibility for the creation of a film and its personal vision, identifiable style, thematic aspects and techniques to its film director, rather than to the collaborative efforts of all involved; an auteur can refer to a director with a recognizable or signature style.

Autofocus (or AF): The feature of a camera that tries to ensure that your chosen subject is sharp within the photo. Sensors detect how far away the subject is from the camera, and this information is relayed to the lens, which then uses an electronic motor to adjusts the focal distance of the lens.

Autofocus

Avail/ Avails/ Availability: A production may ask actors, filmmakers, crew, or agents for their clients avails while casting or crewing. They are asking whether one is simply available during the dates specified for production before getting into any further conversation or consideration for the position. Actors often give their avail to a production as a courtesy. Avails hold no legal or contractual status in the hiring process.

Available Light: The use of naturally-existing light on location rather than creating artificial light.

Available Light

Avant-Garde: Experimental films or avant-garde cinema is a mode of filmmaking that rigorously re-evaluates cinematic conventions and explores non-narrative forms or alternatives to traditional narratives or methods of working.

AVID/ Avid Media Composer: A film and video editing software application or non-linear editing system (NLE) developed by Avid Technology.

Axial Cut: An axial cut is a type of jump cut, where the camera suddenly moves closer to or further away from its subject, along an invisible line drawn straight between the camera and the subject. While a plain jump cut typically involves a temporal discontinuity (an apparent jump in time), an axial cut is a way of maintaining the illusion of continuity. Axial cuts were fairly common in the cinema of the 1910s and 1920s.

Axis of Action: An imaginary or invisible line (or axis) that passes through two main subjects being filmed in a scene, who face each other (one is left, the other is right). Conventionally, the camera must not cross the axis of action and maintains that left-right relationship or orientation in order to avoid disorienting or distracting the viewer with a reverse angle shot.

Axis of Action

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B

Backdrop/ Backing: Refers to a large photographic backing or painting for the background of a scene. These large scale photos/paintings are printed/painted, hung, and lit to give the illusion of the outdoors on set or an extension to the set.

Back End: Profit participation in a film after distribution and/or production costs have been recouped.

Background: The area behind the middle ground and foreground in a shot that can often extend far into the distance.

Background Action: The Background actors start their action when this phrase is called.

Background Artist/ Background Stylist / Background Painter: One who is involved in the process of animation and establishes the colour, style, and mood of a scene drawn by an animation layout artist.

Background Lighting: Used to illuminate the background area of a set. The background light will also provide separation between the subject and the background.

Background Music: A film score may also be called a background score, background music, film soundtrack, film music, screen composition, screen music, or incidental music.

Background Performer: background actor or extra is a performer in a film, television show, stage, musical, opera, or ballet production who appears in a non-speaking or non-singing (silent) capacity, usually in the background. For example, an audience or a busy street scene.

Backlight: The process of illuminating the subject from the back. In other words, the lighting instrument and the viewer face each other, with the subject in between. This creates a glowing effect on the edges of the subject, while other areas are darker. The backlight can be a natural or artificial source of light. When artificial, the backlight is usually placed directly behind the subject in a 4-point lighting setup.

Back Lot/ Backlot: An undeveloped area on studio property, in an open-air, outdoor space away from the studio stages, where real-life situations with backgrounds can be filmed.

Back Projection/ Rear Projection: A photographic technique whereby live action is filmed in front of a transparent screen onto which background action is projected.

Backstory/ Background Story: A set of events invented for a plot, preceding and leading up to the plot– the history of characters and other elements that underlie the situation. It is a literary device of a narrative history chronologically earlier than the story being told. In acting, it is the history of the character before the drama begins and is created during the actor’s preparation.

Back to One/ Back to First Marks: After a take, the 1st Assistant Director will instruct actors, extras, and pertinent crew to go back to one, meaning, to go back to the original location they started from at the top (beginning) of the scene. Simply stated, it means to do it again from the top in the same spot at your first marks.

Balance: Within a film’s visual frame refers to the composition, aesthetic quality, or working together of the figures, light, sound, and movement.

Banned: For nearly the entire history of film, certain films have been banned by film censorship or review organizations for political or moral reasons or for controversial content. Censorship standards vary widely by country and can vary within an individual country over time due to political or moral change.

Barn doors: The black metal folding doors on all four sides of a light that can be bent back and forth on their hinges to control where the light is directed.

Barney: A blanket or other fabric placed over the camera to reduce the audible noise from a camera.

Based on a True Story: This means much of the actual story is based on events that happened in real life. The writer may make both minor or significant changes, sometimes taking artistic license, but the core of the story remains the same.

Beat: An indication of timing (e.g., one Mississippi) or a moment. A small amount of action resulting in a pause in dialogue. Beats usually involve physical gestures like a character walking to a window, removing their glasses, and rubbing their eyes. Short passages of internal monologue can also be considered a sort of internal beat.

Beat sheet: A document with all the events in a movie script to guide the writing of that script. The Beat Sheet lays out everything that will need to happen in each act.

Behind-the-Scenes: The off-camera goings-on associated with filmmaking. Featurettes, documentaries, and fictional depictions of the behind-the-scenes goings-on are also occasionally made and distributed, sometimes theatrically.

Below the Line: A budgeting term used for professionals who are involved in the production of the film but do not have a creative influence on the film but still influence aspects of the film through their departments. Travel expenses and craft services fall “below the line”.

Below-the-Line Expenses: All physical production costs not included in the above-the-line expenses, including material costs, music rights, publicity, trailer, and much more.

Best Boy: There are two kinds of best boys: Best Boy Electric and Best Boy Grip. They are assistants to their department heads, the Gaffer and the Key Grip (lighting and rigging), respectively. In short, the best boy acts as the foreman for the department. A woman who performs these duties may be called a best girl. New terminology for this position is currently being debated.

Billing: Refers to the order and other aspects of how credits are presented for plays, films, television, or other creative works. Information given in billing usually consists of the companies, actors, directors, producers, and other crew members. Billing is most often negotiated through your agent.

Bio: A short biography of actors, directors, producers, and key creatives for use in press releases and film promotion materials. A PR representative or other marketer for a film will ask for this from those involved in a project.

Biopic/ Biographical Film: A film that dramatizes the life of a non-fictional or historically-based person. They differ from docudrama films and historical drama films in that they attempt to comprehensively tell a single person’s life story or at least the most historically important years of their lives.

Bird’s Eye View Shot/ Overhead Shot/Elevated Shot: An elevated view of an object or location from a very steep viewing angle, creating a perspective as if the observer were a bird in flight looking downwards.

Bird’s Eye View or Overhead Shot

Bit Part: A role in which there is direct interaction with the principal actors and no more than five lines of dialogue, often referred to as a five-or-less or under-five in the United States, or under sixes in British television, or a walk-on part with no dialogue.

Black and White/ B&W/ BW/ Monochrome: A film without colour. Before the invention of colour film stock, all films were shot in Black and White, or what was also called Monochrome, which refers to a film shot in one colour. Black and White is often abbreviated to BW or B&W.

Black Comedy /Dark Comedy: A style of comedy that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo, particularly subjects that are normally considered serious or too painful to discuss. Writers and comedians often use it as a tool for exploring vulgar issues by provoking discomfort, serious thought, and amusement for their audience.

Blacklisting: The action of someone, a group, a member/s of production or a hiring authority compiling a blacklist of people to be avoided or distrusted as being deemed unacceptable for employment to those making the list. As a verb, to blacklist can mean to put an individual or company on such a list.

Blaxploitation: A portmanteau of the words Black and Exploitation. It is a subgenre of the exploitation film that emerged in the United States during the early 1970s. Blaxploitation films were originally aimed at a Black audience, but the genre’s audience appeal soon broadened across racial and ethnic lines. Hollywood soon realized the potential profit of expanding the audiences of blaxploitation films.

Blaxploitation

Blimp: A fibreglass encasement used to house a camera making an audible noise so that you can not hear the sound of the camera while recording sound on a production.

Blockbuster: A work of entertainment typically used to describe a feature film produced by a major film studio. The term has also come to refer to any large-budget production intended for blockbuster status, aimed at mass markets with associated merchandising, sometimes on a scale that means the financial viability of a film studio or a distributor hangs in the balance.

Blocking: The movements of an actor within a scene; the process of figuring out where the camera goes, how the lights will be arranged, and what the actors’ positions and movements will be when the shot happens ‘on the day’.

Block Shooting (episode): Shooting more than one episode per block/day.

Block Shooting (set-up): Using the same set-up for more than one scene before turning around and shooting the other side of the scenes.

Blooper: A short clip from a film or video production, usually an unused take, containing a mistake made by a member of the cast or crew. It also refers to an error made during a live radio, TV broadcast, or news report, usually in terms of misspoken words or technical errors.

Blow-Up: An optical process in which an image or film frame is enlarged. Often refers to the creation of a 70mm print blown up from a 35mm original print.

Blue Comedy: A comedy film that is off-colour, risqué, indecent or profane, largely about sex. It often contains profanity or sexual imagery that may shock and offend some audience members.

Bluescreen: A special effects process whereby actors work in front of an evenly-lit, monochromatic (usually blue or green) background, screen, or backdrop. The background is then replaced in post-production by chroma-keying or an optical printer, allowing other footage or computer-generated images (CGI) to form the background image; since 1992, most films have used a green screen.

B-Movie: A film which is produced quickly and cheaply and is often considered to have little artistic value. The term originally meant a supporting film for a double feature, often considered a genre film, in Hollywood during the 1940s and 50s.

Body Double/ Double:stand-in for an actor, often used during stunt or nude scenes.

Body Makeup: Makeup applied below the neck or above the wrists.

Bollywood/ Hindi Cinema: The Indian movie industry, based in Mumbai (Bombay) with motion pictures filmed in the Hindi language. Hindi Cinema was formerly known as Bombay Cinema.

Bomb/ Box Office Bomb: A movie which is a financial disaster.

Bookend: Refers to scenes at the beginning and end of a film that tie the whole film together by complimenting each other or finishing up a loose end created at the beginning of the film.

Boom Microphone: A long pole with a microphone on the end. The boom is extended out near the actors. Ideally, the microphone at the end should be placed in the camera’s safe area, above, below, or to the side’s of the frame.

Boom Operator: A member of the sound crew who operates the boom microphone.

Boom Shot/ Jib Shot/ Crane Shot: A high angle shot filmed on a mechanical arm like a crane or jib, sometimes with the camera moving.

Bootleg/ Pirated Film: An illegally made, copied, or sold version of a film or show sometimes recorded at a private showing, but more often illegally downloaded or copied from a legal copy of a production. A copy of a production is legal if purchased, rented, or otherwise obtained via the copyright owner.

Bottle Episode: In episodic television, a bottle episode is produced cheaply and restricted in scope to use as few regular cast members, effects and sets as possible. Bottle episodes are usually shot on sets built for other episodes, frequently the main interior sets for a series, and consist largely of dialogue and scenes for which no special preparations are needed. They are commonly used when one script has fallen through and another has to be written at short notice, or because of budgetary constraints. Bottle episodes have also been used for dramatic effect, with the limited setting and cast allowing for a slower pace and deeper exploration of character traits and motives.

Bounce/ Bounce Board: Refers to a device or board to reflect light during filming; the board is usually a large white surface made of foam or poster board.

Box Office/ Gross: Refers to the commercial success of a movie in terms of the audience size or earnings they command while the film is in theaters. Box office calculates the total earnings, separating film earning into two categories: domestic gross and worldwide gross. The opening weekend box office gross is the most important time of any film’s theatrical release as it will decide the success of the film and how many more screens a film can be seen.

Bracketing: The technique of shooting several takes of the same shot or scene using different camera settings- most often adjusting the F-stop. Bracketing is useful and often recommended in situations that make it difficult to obtain a satisfactory result with a single setting, especially when a small variation in exposure parameters has a comparatively large effect on the resulting shot.

Breakdown/ Script Breakdown: A detailed list of all items, people, props, equipment, etc required for a shoot on a day-by-day basis. Recording such lists aids in continuity and allows optimization of the time of actors and the crew.

Breakdown: Aging props, wardrobe, sets, set dressing.

Bridging Shot: A shot inserted in a film to indicate the passage of time between two scenes. For example, a series of newspaper headlines or calendar pages being torn off.

British Academy of Film and Television Arts/ BAFTA: An independent trade association and charity that supports, develops, and promotes the arts of film, television and video games in the United Kingdom.

British Film Institute/ BFI: A film and television charitable organisation which promotes and preserves filmmaking and television in the United Kingdom.

British Society of Cinematographers/ BSC: A British cultural, educational, and professional organization that is neither a labor union nor a guild. The society was organized to advance the science and art of cinematography in the United Kingdom.

B-Roll: Supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot.

Buddy Film: A subgenre of the adventure and comedy film genre in which two people are put together and are on an adventure, a quest, or a road trip. The two often contrast widely in personality, which creates a dynamic onscreen pairing.

Building/ Building a Scene/ Building to Climax: Using filmmaking techniques like increased tempo, speed, rhythm, or emphasis to build a crescendo until the scene hits its climax.

Berufsverband Kinematografie/ German Society of Cinematographers/ BVK: A non-profit professional association of German freelance cinematographers and directors of photography and their collaborators, founded in 1980.

Bumper/ Stinger: Refers to short pieces of music or motion graphics usually lasting no longer than fifteen seconds and are used during intros, outros, and transitions. For example, the short pre-film segment showing the studio’s logo before the film starts is a vanity card studio bumper.

Bumper

Butterfly/Butterflies: A large overhead frame with a sheet of fabric used to shape, control, and diffuse light. This includes flags, nets, and diffusions. In general, butterflies are used only for very large materials (6′ x 6′ or greater), while smaller sizes are usually sewn onto portable frames. Butterflies are often called for by their dimensions, which are standard: 6x 6, 8×8, 12×12, and 20×20.

Buzz: Refers to hype or excitement about a film, television show, director, actor, producer or other film creative.

Buzz Track: Helps to alleviate any unnatural silences in film. It is a soundtrack that contains low background noises. This term is not frequently used. It has largely been replaced by ambient sound or room tone.

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Call Sheet: A daily page usually sent out by the 2nd Assistant Director that states which scenes are happening that day and what time specific departments and talent need to be on set. It also lists other pertinent information needed to run each day smoothly, including specific needs for the day, the weather forecast, the nearest hospital, and the projected schedule for the next day.

Call Time: The time that each person is expected to start work on a film set, as seen on the call sheet.

Cameo/ Cameo Role/ Cameo Appearance: A small character part in a play or movie, played by a distinguished actor or a celebrity. These roles are generally small, mostly non-speaking ones, and are commonly either appearances in a work in which they hold some special significance (such as actors from an original movie appearing in its remake) or renowned people making uncredited appearances.

Camera: A device for recording images.

Camera Angle: The camera angle marks the specific location at which the movie camera or video camera is placed to take a shot. A scene may be shot from several camera angles simultaneously. This will give a different experience and sometimes emotion.

Camera Blocking: The movement of the camera within the scene.

Camera Crew: A group of people who are involved in the operation of a film camera. A camera crew captures the action.

Camera Movement: Alters the relationship between the subject and the camera frame, shaping the viewer’s perspective of space and time and controlling the delivery of narrative information. The camera height and angle, the distance to a subject, and the composition of a shot may change during camera movement, as the framing travels above, below, around, into, and out of space. Types of camera movement are distinguished by their direction and the equipment used to achieve motion.

Camera Operator: A professional operator of a film camera or video camera as part of a film crew. The DP may operate the camera themselves or enlist the aid of a camera operator or second cameraperson to operate it or set the controls.

Camera Right/Camera Left: These refer to the direction from the way the camera is facing. This means that if a prop needs to be moved “camera left” and you are facing the camera, you actually need to move the prop to the right.

Camp/ Campy: Absurdly exaggerated, artificial, or affected in a usually humorous way. Camp aesthetics disrupt many of modernism’s notions of what art and film can be and what can be classified as high art by inverting aesthetic attributes such as beauty, value, and taste through an invitation of a different kind of apprehension and consumption. Camp art is related to and often confused with kitsch, and things with camp appeal may be described as cheesy. John Waters is a good example of someone known for their campy films.

Can/ In the Can/ Reel: A dated term from when films were only/mostly shot of film stock carried on reels stored in round, metal or plastic film canisters. The colloquial term, In the Can, means the scene, shot, or film is completed, recorded, and canned.

Canadian Production Design Association: A non-profit Canadian trade organization that aims to advance the art and craft of production design in Canada.

Canadian Society of Cinematographers: A non-profit Canadian trade organization with over 500 members whose mission is to promote artistic creativity and required skills for cinematography.

Candlelight: Lighting that is provided by candlelight to provide a warm hue or tone and connote intimacy, romance, and harmony through its soft light.

Capsule Review: A capsule review or mini-review is a form of appraisal, often associated with film journalism, that offers a relatively short critique of a specified entertainment production.

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: A motion picture or television show using animation techniques to photograph a sequence of drawings rather than real people or objects.

Cash Cow: A film that makes a lot of money over a long period of time for the company that sells it, often money that is used to support the company’s other activities. Often, it’s a type of franchise that’s been popular for so long that they seem to be grandfathered into the industry and always turn huge profits, including those made from significant merchandising sales. For example, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Indiana Jones would be considered cash cows.

Cast: The group of actors who make up a film or television show, or other entertainment production.

Casting/ Casting Call: In the performing arts industry such as theatre, film, or television, casting, or a casting call, is a pre-production process for selecting a certain type of actor, dancer, singer, or extra for a particular role or part in a script, screenplay, or teleplay.

Casting Couch: The casting couch is a euphemism for the practice of soliciting sexual favours from a job applicant in exchange for employment in the entertainment industry, primarily in acting roles. The practice is illegal and is now most closely associated with the illicit activities of Harvey Weinstein, who is now serving time in prison for his behaviour.

Casting Director: Most films employ a casting director to find actors to match the roles in the film. The job of a casting director is to know a lot about a lot of actors so that they can advise and present to the director the best of the available talent. Casting directors are highly influential and are usually on the project because the director trusts their judgement; they are also the ones who decide who the director sees for the role.

Casting Society/ CSA: Founded in 1982 as a professional society of about 1,200 casting directors and associate casting directors for film, television, theatre, and commercials in Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa, and the United States. The nonprofit organization announced the name change from Casting Society of America to Casting Society in February 2022. Members use the post-nominal letters CSA when credited for their work.

Catchphrase: A phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance. Such phrases often originate in popular culture and in the arts which typically spread through word of mouth and a variety of mass media. Some become the trademark or signature of the person or character with whom they originated, and can be instrumental in the typecasting of a particular actor.

Caterer: A person or company who provides the main meals for cast and crew either on set or on location.

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 that follows the same structure as tales told in folklore to warn its listener of a danger. There are three essential parts to a cautionary tale, though they can be introduced in a large variety of ways. First, a taboo or prohibition is stated: some act, location, or thing is said to be dangerous. Then, the narrative itself is told: someone disregarded the warning and performed the forbidden act. Finally, the violator comes to an unpleasant fate, which is frequently related in expansive and grisly detail.

Cel/ Cel Animation: A transparent sheet on which objects are drawn or painted for traditional, hand-drawn animation. Actual celluloid (consisting of cellulose nitrate and camphor) was used during the first half of the 20th century, but since it was flammable and dimensionally unstable it was largely replaced by cellulose acetate. With the advent of computer-assisted animation production, the use of cels has been all but abandoned in major productions. Disney studios stopped using cels in 1990 when Computer Animation Production System (CAPS) replaced this element in their animation process, and in the next decade and a half, the other major animation studios phased cels out as well.

Celluloid: A class of materials produced by mixing nitrocellulose and camphor, often with added dyes and other agents. Once much more common for its use as photographic film in filmmaking before the advent of safer methods came to be.

Censorship: The process of determining what can or can not be viewed by the public. Film censorship is carried out by various countries to differing degrees, often by a ratings board, sometimes as a result of powerful or relentless lobbying by organizations or individuals. Films that are banned in a particular country change over time.

Certificates/ Ratings: Various countries or regions have film classification boards for reviewing movies and rating their content in terms of its suitability for particular audiences. For many countries, movies are required to be advertised as having a particular certificate or rating, forewarning audiences of possible objectionable content.

CGI: Computer Generated Imagery or Images; a term referring to the use of 3D computer graphics and technology to create filmed images, special effects and the illusion of motion.

Character: A person or other being in a narrative. The character may be entirely fictional or based on a real-life person, in which case the distinction of a fictional versus real character may be made.

Character Actor: Largely a supporting actor who plays unusual, interesting, or eccentric characters. The term, often contrasted with that of leading actor, is somewhat abstract and open to interpretation. In a literal sense, all actors can be considered character actors since they all play characters, but the term more commonly refers to an actor who frequently plays a distinctive and important supporting role. Character actors are generally well-known and recognizable by the audience, by appearance if not by name.

Character Colour-Coding/ Character Colour Motif: When a creator of a work introduces a large number of characters at once, such as at the beginning of a work, they have to find a way to distinguish them and make them memorable in the audience’s mind. Sometimes by giving each character a specific color motif, the audience can quickly associate one color with a character and tell the characters apart with only a glance.

Character Study: The analysis or portrayal of the traits of a character or an individual in a creative work where the plot and narrative come secondary to the character. Also referred to as a brief narrative or sketch devoted primarily to the underlying study of a character.

Checking the Card/Medium/Drive: Checking the playback to confirm the image was recorded.

Checking The Gate: Taking off the camera lens and examining the film plan for scratches; this happens after every camera set up and is usually done by the 1st AC.

Chemistry/ Screen Chemistry/ On-Screen Chemistry: A way of saying two actors show sparks of apparent attraction, or are perceived to be well paired by the audience. There is a certain extra thrill from watching such pairings on screen. For example, Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga were said to have great chemistry in the 2018 film A Star Is Born.

Chiaroscuro: 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.

Chick Flick: A slang term, sometimes used pejoratively, for the film genre catered specifically to women’s interests, and is marketed toward women demographics. They generally tend to appeal more to a younger female audience and deal mainly with love and romance. Although many types of films may be directed toward a female audience, the term “chick flick” is typically used only in reference to films that contain personal drama and emotion or themes that are relationship-based (although not necessarily romantic, as films may focus on parent-child or friend relationships). This term is often considered derogatory and is now used sparingly.

Child Actor: Generally applied to a child acting on stage or on-screen. An adult who began their acting career as a child may also be called a child actor, or a former child actor.

Chimera/ Softbox: The Chimera Softbox are designed to handle such large-scale lighting jobs as commercials and motion pictures. Their increased depth allows the full-flood beam of a large Fresnel fixture to fill the front diffusion screen of the Lightbank and deliver a beautiful, translucent quality of light.

Choreographer: A choreographer conceives, creates, and directs dance and movement in a wide range of performance contexts, including dance, theater, film, television, opera, and live events. The choreographic process may employ improvisation for the purpose of developing innovative movement ideas.

Choreography: The art or practice of designing sequences of movements of physical bodies (or their depictions) in which motion or form or both are specified. Aspects of dance choreography include the compositional use of organic unity, rhythmic or non-rhythmic articulation, theme and variation, and repetition. In general, choreography is used to design dances that are intended to be performed.

Chroma Key: A visual effects and post-production technique for compositing (layering) two images or video streams together based on colour hues (chroma range). The technique has been used in many fields to remove a background from the subject of a photo or video, particularly in the newscasting, motion picture, and video game industries. A colour range in the foreground footage is made transparent, allowing separately filmed background footage or a static image to be inserted into the scene.

Chyron: A text-based graphic that overlays video content, such as broadcast news, television shows, and movies. Chyron is the general name for any graphic that is superimposed over a video or live broadcast. While a chyron is usually placed at the bottom of a frame, it can appear anywhere within the frame.

Chyron

Cineaste: Refers to a film/movie enthusiast or devotee.

Cinema: A place where screenings occur. Also refers to film itself as an art form.

Cinema Audio Society: The Cinema Audio Society was formed in 1964 for the purpose of fostering community among mixers, educating and informing the general public and the motion picture and television industry about good and effective sound usage, and achieving deserved recognition for sound mixers as major contributors to the field of entertainment.

Cinema Verité: A method or style of documentary and narrative filmmaking with long takes, no narration, and little or no directorial or editing control exerted over the finished product; used to refer to a documentary-style film or minimalist cinema loosely; 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.

Cinematographer/ Director of Photography/ DOP:  The person responsible for the photographing or recording of a film, television production, music video or other live-action piece. The cinematographer is the head of the camera and lighting crew and would normally be responsible for making artistic and technical decisions related to the image and for selecting the camera, film stock, lenses, and filters. The study and practice of this field is referred to as cinematography.

Cinematography: The art of motion picture and television photography.

CinemaScope: A cinematographic process in which special lenses are used to compress a wide image into a standard frame and then expand it again during projection. It results in an image that is almost two and a half times as wide as it is high.

Cinematic: Relating to, suggestive of, or suitable for motion pictures or the filming of motion pictures.

Cinerama: A process in which three synchronized movie projectors each project one-third of the picture on a wide, curving screen. Many viewers believe that the screen, which thus annexes their entire field of vision, gives a sense of reality unmatched by the flat screen.

Clamps: A grip tool. A clamp is a brace, band, or clasp used for strengthening or holding things together. These are often called spring clips. They come in 4 sizes, #.5, #1, #2 and #3. They are an essential tool for everything a grip has to do.

Clapboard/ Clapperboard: A device used in filmmaking and video production to assist in synchronizing picture and sound.

Claymation: An animation technique using movable clay characters and stop-motion recording. It’s a film style often seen in children’s films and cartoons. It’s a meticulous process, with some feature-length films taking months – or even years – to shoot.

Clean Audio: Audio without noise or imperfections.

Clean Dialogue: Dialogue without noise and background imperfections.

Clear the Eyeline: Said usually by the 1st AD to keep the actor’s eyeline/line-of-sight clear of anything distracting.

Cliffhanger: A cliffhanger or cliffhanger ending is a plot device in fiction 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. A cliffhanger is hoped to incentivize the audience to return to see how the characters resolve the dilemma. Some serials end with the caveat, “To Be Continued” or “The End?” In serial films and television series, the following episode sometimes begins with a recap sequence.

Climax: The highest point of anxiety or tension in a story or film in which the central character or protagonist faces, confronts, and deals with the consequence(s) of all their actions or faces the antagonist in a climactic battle or final engagement; a crisis often leads to a climax; also called the film’s high point, zenith, apex, or crescendo; an anti-climax or denouement may follow a climax.

Clip/ 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.

Closed Captioned: Closed captions are a text version of the spoken part of a television, movie or computer presentation. Closed captioning was developed to aid deaf and hard of hearing people, but it’s useful for various situations.

Close-Up: A shot taken from a close distance in which the object’s scale is magnified, appears relatively large and fills the entire frame to focus attention and emphasize its importance. For example, a person’s head from the shoulders or neck up is a commonly filmed close-up.

Coda: Coda 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.

Cold Open: A cold open (also called a teaser sequence) is a narrative technique used in television and films. It is the practice of jumping directly into a story at the show’s beginning before the title sequence or opening credits are shown.

Colour Consultant: A film credit from yesteryear. At the beginning of filmmaking in colour, Technicolor had to maintain high standards through all stages of production and printing to offer a consistent and quality product. In addition to cameras, cameramen, and on-set technicians, the “Technicolor package” included a colour consultant to advise on appropriate colours for makeup, costumes, and set design.

Colour Film/ Colour Stock: Colour film is a type of photographic film that can capture images in colour. It’s made of a plastic base coated with layers of chemicals. These chemicals react when they’re exposed to light, recording the image you see through your camera lens.

Colour Temperature: Colour temperature is a system that uses numerical values to measure the colour characteristics of a light source on a spectrum ranging from warm colours to cool colours. The numerical values are referred to as degrees Kelvin (K). The two common standard colour temperatures for film and video lighting are “Tungsten” at 3200K and “Daylight” at 5600K.

Colour Timing: Colour timing is an analog laboratory process for manipulating colour in photochemical film workflows. This process changes the amounts of red, green, and blue light used to create a film positive (or print) from a film negative.

Colourization/ Colorization: The film-altering process whereby a black and white film is digitally changed to include colour; popularized but controversial in the 1980s.

Colourist/ Colorist: Colourists are involved in the very final phases of post-production. After a film’s edit is locked, the final cut is sent to the Colorist. A colourist usually starts work on a scene by correcting the issues with exposure and colour on a wide shot. They will then adjust the other clips within the scene to match the look of the first shot. At the end of this process, all of the shots within the scene will be correctly exposed with a neutral colour balance.

Comedian: An actor who sometimes specializes in genre films that are designed to elicit laughter from audiences; also known as a comic.

Comedy Film: A film which elicits laughter or humour by celebrating or showing the eternal ironies of human existence; types include screwball, dark/black comedies, farce, slapstick, deadpan, parody, and romantic comedy.

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 subgenre of 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, and achieving sexual identity.

Command Performance: A commanding performance generally refers to an amazing performance given by an actor. Most of the time, this performance has come right before the actor’s death.

Completion Bond: A Completion Bond is a Film Investor Insurance. Some call it a “Completion Guarantee” or “Bond”. In the Entertainment Industry, it protects a Film. The Insurance Product acts as a financial guarantee. This security benefits the providers of a film’s finances.

Composer: A Composer is the musician who creates a movie’s score. This is in contrast to a conductor, who directs the orchestra playing the score, and a lyricist, who writes the lyrics to a song.

Composite Print/ Synchronized Print: A composite print is a viewing print with sound and image. It is a positive film with both picture and corresponding sound on the same film, which may be in editorial or projection synchronism. A composite release print contains picture and sound records in projection synchronism on the same film.

Compositing: Compositing is the process or technique of combining visual elements from separate sources into single images, often to create the illusion that all those elements are parts of the same scene. Live-action shooting for compositing is variously called “chroma key”, “blue screen”, “green screen” and other names.

Composition: Refers to the arrangement of different elements (for example, colours, shapes, figures, lines, movement, and lighting) within a frame and in a scene.

Compositor: Compositors create the final image of a frame, shot or VFX sequence. They combine all the digital materials used (assets), such as computer-generated (CG) images, live-action footage and matte paintings, and combine them to appear as one cohesive image and shot. Compositors consider the visual aspects of a scene.

Computer Animation Production System/ CAPS: A proprietary collection of software, scanning camera systems, servers, networked computer workstations, and custom desks developed by Disney and Pixar in the late 1980s. Although outmoded by the mid-2000s, it succeeded in reducing labour costs for ink and paint and post-production processes of traditionally animated feature films. It also provided an entirely new palette of digital tools to the filmmakers. Today, most animations are made with computer-generated imagery (CGI).

Concert Film: A concert film is a movie that records a live musical performance of a band, singer, or stand-up comedian. It can take footage from a single performance or stitch together footage from multiple concerts.

Construction Coordinator: Construction Coordinators supervise the construction of sets and stages for film productions. They coordinate the entire process of set building, from initial planning through to the final coat of paint on the finished sets.

Contemporary Film: Contemporary films are modern and relate to the present time.

Continuity: Continuity is one of the responsibilities of the Script Supervisor to make sure elements are consistent from shot to shot and scene to scene. When there is a mistake, such as an actor wearing different clothing within the same scene, it is referred to as a ‘continuity error.’

Continuity Report: Continuity reports are detailed records of each day’s shoot, including camera settings, screen direction, weather, props, and any possible deviations from the script. Continuity reports are a great way to ensure that everything—even the sound quality—is consistent from shot to shot.

Contrast: Refers to the difference between light and shadow, or between maximum and minimum amounts of light, in a particular film image; it can be either high contrast(with a sharp delineation between the bright and dark areas) or its opposite low contrast.

Convention: The expected elements in a type of film, without question, thought, or judgment.

Coogan’s Law: Refers to landmark legislation in the late 1930s 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 they reach the age of majority; named after the child actor Jackie Coogan.

Co-Producer: A co-producer is someone who works alongside the producer to oversee and manage various aspects of the film production process. Key players in the producing process may be dubbed a co-producers when they are instrumental in either funding the production or providing other benefits like services or special equipment.

Copyright: A copyright is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the exclusive right to copy, distribute, adapt, display, and perform a creative work, usually for a limited time. The creative work may be in a literary, artistic, educational, or musical form. Copyright is intended to protect the original expression of an idea in the form of a creative work, but not the idea itself. Copyright is subject to limitations based on public interest considerations, such as the ‘fair use’ doctrine in the United States, and known as ‘fair dealing’ in Canada. Copyright has become a very muddy territory in the process of filmmaking and it is always best to consult your production lawyer when you have a question who may also give approvals to the production team on what is fair use and/or cleared for use.

Costume: Refers to the garments or clothing worn by actors/performers in a film.

Costume Designer: Researches, designs, and selects the costumes to be appropriate to the film’s time period, the characters, their location, and their occupations.

Costume Drama: A costume drama is a film set in a particular historical time period, often with elaborate costuming.

Costume Supervisor: Costume supervisors work with the costume designer to ensure costumes or outfits are of the standard they require, ready and prepared in time for fittings, rehearsals, recordings or live shows. During filming, they supervise the continuity of outfits, the cleaning, maintenance and any repairs or adjustments.

Costumer/Set Costumer: A Set Costumer is responsible for assembling the costume of the actor on set and making sure the Costume Designer’s vision is realized. Set Costumers will track clothing to ensure that they are loaded and unloaded safely and without causing damage or stains.

Coverage: The process of making sure that every scene has a variety of shots to make sure that the editor has enough film to be able to cut the scene together.

Cowboy Shot: In modern filmmaking, a “cowboy shot” refers to a shot that frames a character from the head to the hip or mid-thigh. Because this angle is perfect for showcasing a gun holstered to a cowboy’s hip, it quickly became a staple in classic Western films—hence the name.

Craft Services: Provides food and drinks to the crew on set, not to be confused with catering, which refers to the hot meals given to the crew.

Crane Shot: A camera shot taken from a large camera dolly or electronic device (an apparatus, such as a crane), resembling an 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.

Crawl: Refers to superimposed screen titles or text intended to move across, up, down, or diagonally on the screen.

Creative Consultant: A Creative consultant is a credit that is given to people who have consulted on a film or television screenplay. Those given this credit in the television field work closely with an executive producer and head writer/showrunner. They are involved in the writing process (proposing and editing story outlines/scripts).

Creator/Series Creator: The person who developed a significant part of a TV show’s format, concept, characters, and pilot script. They have sequel rights to the material as well usually. Often, the creator is also the showrunner or a producer. Sometimes it is a writer of the series bible or writers’ guidelines.

Credits: The text appearing before or after a film detailing the cast, production crew, and technical personnel who worked on a movie. Each person listed receives credit for the position they filled in the making of the film or show.

Crew/Crewmembers: Refers to those involved in the technical production of a film who are not actual performers.

Crew Has the Floor: The cast and director leave the set so the lighting, set, dressing and camera departments can work. Stand-ins are used.

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: 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.

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-Fade: Refers to a fading technique that occurs in two stages: (1) fade to black, and then (2) fade to the next scene; a cross-fade always involves a black or blank screen, whereas a dissolve does not.

Crossing: A warning or courtesy said by anyone who must cross in front of a camera during set up. It alerts the camera operator.

Cross-Over: 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.

Crowd Shot: A shot or image of a large group of people (often extras) in a film; CGI is often used to film large crowd shots to avoid huge costs associated with hiring extras.

C-Stand: A C-stand is a sturdy light stand that has three different legs that can be adjusted to accommodate steps, a long metal “arm,” and a round clamping head called a gobo.

Cucoloris: A Cucoloris is a type of flag with shapes cut into it that creates the look of tree branches, window shades, etc.

Cue: A cue is the signal for an actor to start performing. Typically, a cue will be one actor’s last line of dialogue, signalling to the other person in the scene to start. However, a cue can also come from the director or from within the script.

Cue Card: A device (cards, scrolling screen, teleprompter, or other mechanism) with dialogue provided to help talent recite their lines; an electronic cue card is called a teleprompter.

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 with B-films.

Cut: 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 completely edited version of a film (e.g., rough cut).

Cut: Stop rolling (camera and/or sound) when this is called on set during a take.

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.

Cyberpunk: A sub-genre of science fiction derived from combining the terms cybernetics 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-noir characteristics into its style including alienation, dehumanization, the presence of counter-cultural anti-heroes, darkness, dystopia, and corruption.

Cyclorama/ Cyc: The curved, seamless, floor-to-ceiling backdrop or background used in studio sets.

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D

Dailies/Rushes: The immediately processed, rough cuts, digital files or exposed film, without edits for the director, producer, or key crew to review to see how the film came out after the day’s (or the previous day’s) shooting; more commonly in the form of digital dailies; aka rushes used to determine whether there is a need to re-shoot.

Dark Horse: A little-known movie that becomes a massive hit either financially or on the awards circuit. Moonlight was the dark horse winner for the Best Picture Oscar over La La Land.

Day-for-Night: A 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.

Day Player: An actor or crew labour position who is in for one day only.

Deadpan: A comedic device in which a performer assumes an expressionless demeanour to deliver comedic lines or performances. Leslie Neilsen and Buster Keaton had famous deadpan deliveries.

Deep Focus Shot: A cinematography technique portraying great depth of field. Wide-angle lenses are used with small lens apertures to create a sharp focus in both distant and nearby planes within the same shot.

Deep Space/Deep Staging: A cinematic style in which several significant elements of an image are positioned at various points both near to and distant from the camera. This means that the characters in the shot have a large spatial scope, so that they sometimes even seem to disappear within the wide area. Deep space can be achieved by establishing a very long z-axis that opens the available stage. More often than not, deep space is combined with deep focus, which requires that elements placed along very different depth planes of the image (i.e. foreground, middle ground and background) be in focus at the same time. However, for deep staging, these objects do not necessarily have to be in focus. Staging in deep space is the opposite of staging in flat space.

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.

Denouement: The point in a film that immediately follows the climax when everything in the plot has been resolved. It’s typically the final scene in a movie and is also known as the resolution.

Depth of Field: The depth of a shot’s focus in relation to the foreground, middle-ground and background. Shallow depth of field might keep only one of those planes in focus, while deep depth of field would keep all of them in focus.

Depth of Focus: Depth of Focus is directly related to depth of field. It refers to making an adjustment so that a camera shot keeps its deep focus throughout all of the various planes.

Desaturation: Refers to colours of less luminosity and vividness. Desaturated colours have a reduced amount of their initial colour (hue) due to the addition of their complementary colour. Complementary colours are colours that face each other on the colour wheel. When mixed with each other, two complementaries reduce each other’s saturation towards grey; in other words, they desaturate each other.

Development: The process of working on fleshing out a script in hopes that it will be greenlit for production.

Deus Ex Machina: The resolution of a plot by what is basically a force from God. It usually refers to a clumsy, contrived, or illogical intervention that alleviates the tension through something other than a character’s actions. The bacteria in War of the Worlds could be considered a deus ex machina, one of many cliches to avoid.

Dialect Coach: A person who helps train an actor in diction and/or using accents to suit the character an actor is playing.

Dialogue: Any spoken lines in a film by an actor, usually based upon a script, may be considered overlapping if two or more characters speak simultaneously.

Dialogue Editor: A sound editor who specializes in editing dialogue.

Diegetic Sound: 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, and action) that appear in, are shown, or naturally originate within the content of the film frame.

Diffuser: A special effect camera filter or lens that softens the appearance of subjects and generates a kind of dreamy haze.

Diffusion: The softening or reduction of a light’s intensity. This is achieved through a translucent sheet made from silk or lace or through a diffuser before the light source to cut down on shadows.

Digital Imaging Technician/DIT: A person who provides on-set quality control, image manipulation & colour correction, production continuity, troubleshooting and consultation to assist in fulfilling the requirements and vision of the cinematographer.

Directing the Eye: In cinematographic terms, using light and dark lighting and composition to emphasize what is important within the frame.

Directionality/Screen Direction: The direction in which characters and objects move in the scene in relation to the frame. In describing screen direction.

Director: The principal creative artist on a movie set. A director is usually (but not always) the driving artistic source behind the filming process and communicates to actors how they would like a particular scene played. A director’s duties might also include casting, script editing, shot selection, shot composition, and editing. Typically, a director has complete artistic control over all aspects of the movie, but it is not uncommon for the director to be bound by agreements with either a producer or a studio. In some large productions, a director will delegate less important scenes to a second unit.

Director of Photography/Cinematographer: The person responsible for the photographing or recording of a film, television production, music video or other live-action piece. The cinematographer is the head of the camera and lighting crew and would normally be responsible for making artistic and technical decisions related to the image and for selecting the camera, film stock, lenses, and filters. The study and practice of this field is referred to as cinematography.

Director’s Cut: A version of a movie a director is able to make without any studio interference. This is the version the director would like audiences to see. Arguably, the most famous director’s cut is that of Blade Runner, which audiences and critics alike seemed to agree was superior to the theatrical version.

Director’s Guild of America/DGA: A labour organization representing the creative and economic rights of directors and members of the directorial team working in film, television, commercials, documentaries, news, sports and new media.

Director’s Guild of Canada/DGC: A national labour organization that represents over 6,000 key creative and logistical personnel in the screen-based industry covering all areas of direction, production design, accounting, production and editing.

Direct Sound: The technique of recording sound simultaneously with the recording of the image.

Disney-fication: 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 minimized.

Dissolve: A transitional edit between two scenes, shots, or sequences in which the image of one shot is slowly replaced, blended, or superimposed with a different image. It’s usually done to suggest a passage of time.

Distributor: The organization responsible for coordinating the distribution of the finished movie to exhibitors, streamers, and other media versions of movies.

Documentary: A non-fiction narrative without actors. Typically, a documentary is a journalistic record of an event, person, or place.

Dogme 95: The filmmaker collective founded by Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg in 1995 established a clear set of rules and philosophy that rejected contrived camera work and special effects in lieu of “honest” and “truthful” storytelling. Some of the other rules included shooting on location and using hand-held cameras.

Dolby Stereo: The stereo-sound process for movies developed by Dolby Laboratories, Inc. to enhance sound quality. 35mm prints of films have dual optical soundtracks, while 70mm films have six magnetic tracks and multi-channel playback.

Dolly/Dolly Shot: A piece of equipment on wheels or a track that creates fluid camera movements. A dolly could be anything as low-tech as a wheelchair or as high-tech as a studio dolly using hydraulics. Usually, the camera operator and assistant ride on the dolly; the crew member who operates it is called a dolly grip.

Dolly Grip: Builds and maintains all of the equipment on which cameras are mounted on a film set. They must work with a camera dolly, which holds the camera on a track, for moving or tracking shots.

Dolly Track: A set of tracks upon which a camera can be moved.

Dolly Zoom: An in-camera effect where you dolly towards or away from a subject while zooming in the opposite direction. This shot creates a sense of unease in the viewer, simulates a spatial warp, and can either shrink or extend distances based on the choice of direction.

Dope Sheet: A list of scenes from the script that have already been filmed or a list of the contents of an exposed reel of film stock. An accurate dope sheet is the responsibility of the assistant cameraperson.

Double/Body Double: An actor who stands in for another actor in certain scenes, some of which may involve dangerous circumstances or require special skills (e.g. a stunt double). Sometimes, body doubles are used in scenes that call for nudity or intimacy.

Double Exposure: The process of exposing one frame twice so that elements of the two images are visible within the final product. It results in an effect similar to superimposition. It is commonly used to create a “ghostly” effect.

Dovetail Plate: A dovetail plate, or a sliding plate, is the basis of most camera support systems used in feature film productions. It is a metal (usually aluminum) plate with a specific, finely machined profile upon which various accessories can be attached or supported.

Dramaturgy: Dramatic narrative and its representation on the screen.

Draughtsman/Draftsman/Set Designer: A person who creates the renderings and construction plans for set construction.

Dub/Dubbing: A dub is the process of inserting a new soundtrack into a movie or adding a new soundtrack of music, sound effects, or dialogue following production. A dub will match the lip movements and actions of the filmed shots to make it seem natural. This contrasts direct sound, where sound is recorded on the scene and synched with the shot.

Dutch Angle/Dutch Tilt: A shot with the camera tilted to one side, along the horizontal axis, producing a diagonal angle. It is typically done to create a sense of unease within the viewer.

Duvetyne: Fire-retardant black duvetyne is commonly used for curtains, for scenery, and to control light spills. Many commercial lighting flags are made from duvetyne.

Dynamic Frame: A photographic technique meant to mask the projected image shape and size to any ratio that is seen as appropriate for the scene. An example of this would be the aspect ratio narrowing when an actor walks through a narrow passageway.

Dystopia/Dystopian: 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, and unusual behaviour.

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E

Easter Egg: A reference to a movie, person, or event that is intended to be too subtle to be noticed on the initial viewing.

Easy Rig: A camera rig system developed for handheld work. It suspends the camera from a centralized arm that is mounted to a waist belt for support.

Editing: The process (performed by a film editor) of selecting, assembling, arranging, collating, trimming, structuring, and splicing/joining together many separate camera takes (including the sound) of exposed footage (or daily rushes) into a complete, determined sequence or order of shots that follow the script. The choice of shots has a tremendous influence on the film’s final appearance.

Electric: The person or grip in charge of and familiar with the electrical equipment on the set.

Elliptical Cut: The shortening of the plot duration of a film achieved by deliberately omitting intervals or sections of the narrative story or action in the edit; 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.

End Credits/Closing Credits: Credits appearing at the end of a film, aka end titles.

Enfant Terrible: A French word meaning “terrible baby.” It refers to a young director who is brash or egotistical. This is often a director who is innovative but uses unorthodox techniques.

Ensemble: 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, designers, and crew) who are involved in a film.

Epic: A film with a large dramatic scope or requiring immense production.

Epilogue: The short scene at the end of a movie that concludes the film. Often, the main characters will be older, reflecting on the events just witnessed. The Notebook ends with such an epilogue.

Epiphany: A moment of sudden spiritual insight for the protagonist of a film, usually occurring just before or after the climax.

Establishing Shot: A long shot that shows the location from a distance. It is often an aerial shot, informing the audience of the time and locale of the setting. It helps orient the viewer so that they know where the next scene takes place.

EVF/Electronic Viewfinder: An electronic viewfinder attaches to your digital camera so that you can see the frame.

Executive Producer: The individual/s responsible for overseeing a movie’s financing. The Executive Producer/s may also help arrange various elements of a film’s production, such as a writer and actors.

Exhibitor: A term meaning a movie theatre owner.

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.

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.

Exposition: The conveyance of vital background information, either through actions or dialogue, to further the events of a story. It could also set up a movie’s story. It can include information about the main problem or what’s at stake for the characters. Writing exposition is particularly tricky when weaved into the script organically.

Expressionism: The movie technique that involves reality distortion through sets, costumes, editing, and lighting. It’s meant to reflect the inner emotions of the characters or the filmmaker. It was popularized in Germany in the 1920s and ’30s, often characterized by dramatic lighting, grotesque shots and dark visual images.

Exterior/EXT.: Used in a slug line as EXT., it indicates that the scene occurs outdoors.

Extra/Background Performer: An actor who appears in a movie in a non-speaking, unnoticed role, such as part of a crowd or a patron in a restaurant. Extras generally do not receive a screen credit and are now called Background Performers.

Extreme Close-Up: A close-up shot that films the subject incredibly closely. In many cases, the outer portions of the subject will be cut out of the frame. Extreme close-ups are typically done on actors to showcase their eyes, mouth, or another singular part of the body.

Extreme Long Shot: This may serve as an establishing shot and is taken from quite some distance.  This can create a voyeuristic feel like someone is watching, spying, or observing.

Eye Level Shot: A shot that portrays a subject’s view of another subject or object in the film, taken at the subject’s eye level.

Eyeline: Anything within the sight of an actor. Where the actor will be looking during a scene.

Eyeline Match: An eyeline match is a cut in filmmaking between two shots that shows an illusion that the character, presented in the first shot, is looking at an object, presented in the second shot.

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F

Fade: A transitional tool that consists of a slow change in the intensity of a sound or image. A normally-lit scene will transition to black or vice versa. This also applies to sound and how it fades in and out of a scene.

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 often characterized by slapstick, pratfalls, and other physical antics.

Fast-Cutting: A movie editing technique consisting of multiple fast consecutive shots. These are known as staccato shots that only last for a brief duration of time, each to create a fast-paced effect.

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.

Favour On: When the camera focuses or highlights a certain subject or action within a shot.

Featured Background: A term used to describe the performers who are placed in prominent positions in the background of the major action of a scene.

Feature Film: A “full-length” motion picture, one greater than 60 minutes in length, but usually about 90-120 minutes.

Featurette: A term often used before the 1970s to refer to a 20 to 45-minute film, usually a “making of” or “behind the scenes” mini-documentary or an extended trailer, which was usually displayed by theatre owners to “sell” a film for exhibition in their cinemas. In the 1990s and early 2000s, these featurettes were exclusively released on DVDs. Now, these special featurettes are largely released on YouTube as promotion for a film on its way to streaming platforms and VOD.

Feel Good Film: Usually, a light-hearted, upbeat comedy or romance that ends with an audience-pleasing conclusion. Sometimes, this term is used in a derogative manner.

Femme Fatale: A term used to describe a character in a movie, literally translated from French to “deadly lady.”

Film Conventions: Many elements within a film (the use of music, audio, sets, costuming, scripting, camera angles, framing, shot duration, a character’s actions, etc.) speak a ‘language,’ ‘grammar,’ or code that, when used by the filmmaker helps the viewer understand more about the plot and its characters.

Film Gauge: Refers to the measurement of the width of a film strip (in millimetres) used in a camera.

Film Grain: A light-sensitive material that exists in a film’s emulsion or coating. It results in a fine-grained aesthetic, which requires more light to film, or a coarse aesthetic, which is preferable for low-light scenes.

Filmmaker: 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, DOPs, production designers, and editors.

Film Noir: A French word meaning “black film.” It was a popular genre in the 1940s with dark subject matter, downbeat tones, and low-key lighting. Often, the protagonist was an anti-hero or private detective. The Maltese Falcon is an example of a film noir.

Filmography: A comprehensive (often chronological by year) listing of films featuring the work of actors, directors, or other crew members; it may also be a list of films for a specific genre or topic.

Film Stock: Refers to a film’s gauge or size and the film speed. It can also refer to the unused, unexposed film where photographic images will later be stored. The different types of film stock include tungsten and daylight.

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 a subset film or picture within a picture.

Filter: A plastic, glass, or gelatinous substance placed behind or before a camera lens. This changes the character and effect of the lighting within the frame of the film.

Final Cut: The last edited version of a film as it will be released.

Finals/Final Touches/Last Look: Make-up, Hair and Wardrobe departments touch up the actors right before rolling the camera.

First Assistant Camera/Focus Puller: A member of the camera crew who adjusts the camera’s focus during filming.

First Marks/ First Positions: Each person and camera goes back to where they started for the take.

First Team: The cast.

Fish-Eye Lens: An extreme type of lens that films subjects at super wide angles. It also has an incredibly short focal point, in addition to a practically infinite depth of field, that distorts the linear dimensions of the image. This results in a more curved image.

Fish-Out-of-Water Story: A film (usually humourous) in which the main character faces ‘culture shock’ by being placed in unfamiliar or new surroundings or situations.

Flag: A black, light-absorbing cloth (duvetyne) stretched on a metal frame and used to block out areas of light in all different sizes.

Flashback: A technique used in filmmaking where the natural order of the narrative is interrupted to show what happened in the past. Many times, this flashback has occurred prior to the first frame in the film. It provides a backstory on the events and actions presently taking place.

Flash-Forward: The opposite of a flashback. It interrupts the natural order of the story to show what will happen in the future. A flash-forward can also go from the past to the present.

Flash Frame: A quick or brief shot (or image), sometimes as short as a single frame, that is inserted between two other shots that can barely be perceived or are subliminal, with the intention of producing a shock or sudden dramatic effect.

Flashing: A warning or courtesy given when using a flashing camera on set.

Flash in the Pan/ Fifteen Minutes of Fame: Transitory, impermanent success or recognition derived from panning for gold experience. Pop artist/painter Andy Warhol, in the late 1960s, predicted that everyone could be famous for 15 minutes and experience a moment of ‘crowning glory.’

Flat: A section of a studio’s set consisting of a constructed wooden frame covered with materials that plywood is treated or covered with fabric, metal, paint, or wallpaper, etc.

Flood Light: A lamp that provides general diffuse lighting on a set.

Flop/Bomb: A film that fails at the box office.

Focus: The degree of distinctness or sharpness in an image. As a verb, it relates to the adjustment or manipulation of a lens to create a far sharper image. You can have shallow, deep, or soft focus.

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: The art of recreating incidental sound effects (such as footsteps) in synchronization with the visual component of a movie. Named after early practitioner Jack Foley, foley artists sometimes use bizarre objects and methods to achieve sound effects, for example, snapping celery to mimic bones being broken. The sounds are often exaggerated for extra effect. Loud foley-added thuds and slaps almost always accompany fight sequences.

Foley Artist: An individual who works during the editing and post-production phase of a movie’s production. This person adds or creates incident sounds and noises, such as gunshots, footsteps, and punches, to synchronize with the finished product.

Foley Mixer: A sound mixer who works with a Foley Artist to record sound effects.

Following Shot/Tracking Shot: A shot with framing that shifts to follow and keeps a moving figure or subject onscreen.

Follow-up: Refers to a cinematic work that comes after, regardless of whether it is a sequel or a prequel.

Footage: Any sequence, portion, or length of the film, either shot or soon-to-be shot, that is measured in feet. It also refers to a specific sequence of events depicted in the movie.

Forced Perspective: A technique used to create a sense of great distance or to make a space seem much bigger than it is, forced perspective is created by using objects that vary in size and placing them at specific distances from one another to create the effect of objects fading into the distance.

Foreground: The opposite of a background. Any action or object closest to the camera.

Foreign Film/International Film: A feature-length motion picture with a predominantly non-English language dialogue track.

Foreshadowing: A literary device that is utilized to give a hint or indication of a future event in the story. It can be a very effective tool for developing curiosity, suspense, and even narrative harmony at the end of a film or novel.

Format: The size or aspect ratio of a film frame.

For Your Consideration/FYC: A phrase often used in special trade advertisements that studios pay for to promote “Oscar-worthy” films (and their actors and filmmakers) to create Oscar 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.

Fourth Wall: The illusory, imaginary plane through which the audience is able to watch the film. It is possible for characters or the narrative to break the fourth wall, letting the audience know they are, indeed, watching a movie.

Frame: A frame is a single image. It is the smallest compositional unit you can have in a film’s structure. A series of frames will be shown rapidly to make up the moving picture.

Frame Rate: The rate at which film stock passes through the camera. Most modern films run at 24 frames per second. Older films ran at 18 fps, while some films made today crank at 48 or 96 fps.

Framing: 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. Camera angles such as low-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, centred, 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.

Fresnel: A hard-lensed light that comes in different sizes. Each size of fresnel has a different nickname.

Front Projection: A film process developed in the 1950s in which actors and foreground objects were filmed before a projection screen, with a previously filmed background projected onto it.

F-Stop: The scale measurement of the size of the opening of the iris (the opening that lets light in) on a lens; common f-stops are 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, and 22; the smaller the number, the larger the opening, and the more light that is allowed.

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G

Gaffer: The head electrician in the film crew on a movie set. This individual is responsible for the design and final execution of the production’s lighting on the set.

Gaffer Tape: A strong fabric-backed tape that is easily removed when no longer needed. Used for all kinds of things on set.

Gag-Based Comedies: These are comedy films that are often non-sensical and literally filled with multiple gags and are designed to produce laughter in any way possible, often with comic or spoof references to other films.

Gauge: Refers to the measurement of the width of a film strip (in millimetres) used in a camera.

Gate: A mechanism inside a camera or projector that holds the film steady as it passes by the lens. “Checking the gate” is a phrase used when someone on the camera crew makes sure no dust or particles obstruct the exposure of the film.

Gaze Shot: A shot showing a character staring at something or someone that is typically outside of the frame offscreen. Gaze shots are often used in combination with a following point-of-view shot, which has the effect of putting the viewer into the position of a character for a short moment.

Gel: A material sheet that is heat resistant and translucent and intended to be placed in front of a light source to either alter its colour, quantity or quality of light.

Gel Holders: These are wire or metal frames that hold the gel in place so that it does not touch the hot surface of the globe or the lens.

General Release: The widespread distribution and simultaneous exhibition of a movie. This contrasts with a limited release, where a movie only plays at select theatres for its initial run.

Generator: A mechanical engine which produces electricity from fuel. Frequently used for location shooting, either due to the unavailability or insufficient quantities of electricity locally available.

Genre: A French word meaning “type” or “kind.” It refers to a specific film class, such as science fiction or musical. All films in a given genre share common, distinctive thematic or artistic elements.

Gimbal: This is a remote head that can be operated in handheld mode or mounted to a dolly or crane. It stabilizes the image, keeps the perfect horizon and enables the camera to move in ways never really achieved before. The most common Gimbals are the MoVi Pro and the Ronin 2.

Gold Mount: An Anton/Bauer proprietary mount that enables the battery to be mounted to the camera with three mounting posts. This is the industry standard in the United States.

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.

Greenlight: A term used when a film has received the go-ahead to go into production. This contrasts with a red light, where a film remains stuck on a shelf, not to enter production.

Greensman: A crew member who procures, places, and maintains any vegetation on a set.

Grindhouse: A Grindhouse was originally a burlesque theatre, often in a red-light district, showing exploitation and B-films. They became popular in the 1960s and ’70s, and Grindhouse films today are those that carry on that aesthetic.

Grip: A crew member who sets up dolly tracks, moving props, camera cranes, and other pieces of equipment. The key grip is the head grip, which coordinates all of the duties with the other grips in the crew. The head grip receives direction from the gaffer.

Grip Clips/Grip Clamps: A grip tool. A clamp is a brace, band, or clasp used for strengthening or holding things together. These are often called spring clips. They come in 4 sizes, #.5, #1, #2 and #3. They are an essential tool for everything a grip has to do.

Green-screen: A special effects process whereby actors work in front of an evenly-lit, monochromatic (usually blue or green) background, screen, or backdrop. The background is then replaced in post-production by chroma-keying or optical printer, allowing other footage or computer-generated images (CGI) to form the background image.

Gross: The total box office take. The total amount of money a movie brings in during its theatrical release. It does not include earnings from DVD/Blu-Ray sales, or VOD rentals.

Grotesque: A term originally coined by Federico Fellini to describe the bizarre-looking or deformed background characters in his films; 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 made without acquiring filmmaking permits and often using non-SAG actors. Escape From Tomorrow is a guerrilla film shot without permission in Disneyland.

Guilty Pleasure Films: An escapist film that engenders low expectations that the public enjoys despite or, more likely, because of its flaws are often quite personal film choices that are sometimes embarrassing to admit. Universally-loved ‘guilty pleasure’ films become cult films.

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H

Hairstylist: A person responsible for maintaining actors’ hairstyles during filming.

Handheld Shot: A shot is captured through a handheld camera deliberately designed to look wobbly, shaky, or unstable. It’s often used in documentary films or cinéma vérité works.

Hard Light: The term “hard” refers to the quality of the light. A hard light quality creates harsh borders (as if drawn with a ruler) between lit and shady areas. Overall, it produces a bright illumination and thus reveals many details.

Hardtop: Slang term for a normal indoor theatre.

Hays Code: The Hays Code is a series of censorship restrictions imposed in the 1920s and enforced until the late 1960s. The code stated what could and couldn’t be shown in films, such as nakedness, methods of crime, illegal drug use, alleged sexual perversion, and other taboo subjects at the time. Named after Will Hays, chairman of the MPPDA, the organization in charge of regulating censorship in Hollywood.

Head-On Shot: A shot is where the action comes directly to the camera. It works to increase the audience’s feeling of participating in the film. It works particularly well for 3D movies.

Head Room: The room between the top of the frame and the top of the subject.

Helicopter Shot: A helicopter shot is a moving shot, often used as an establishing shot taken from a bird’s eye view. It is generally taken from a helicopter, allowing it to weave through a landscape.

Helm: Another word to refer to the director of a film. For example, “The film was helmed by —.”

Hero/Heroine: Refers to the major protagonists in a film with whom the audience identifies and sympathizes. Character traits often include being young, virtuous, handsome, or pretty.

Hidden Cut: This is a cut that is intended to be imperceptible. At the end of the first shot, the camera moves closer or zooms in on a plain, typically dark-coloured object that fills the whole frame, thus providing the chance to implement an unobtrusive cut. The following shot shows the camera zooming out or moving away from the previous or another similarly-coloured object. Instead of using camera movement or zoom, this kind of cut can also be affected by a moving subject or object that temporarily covers the whole frame. In a sense, a hidden cut is a special form of a fade-out, fade-in transition in which the fading is simply part of the shot.

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.

High Concept: Refers to the saleable or marketable elements of a film. A high concept refers to the need for a film’s main premise to be expressed as a simple formula in just a few words that all can easily understand. 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 market.

High Contrast: In photography and cinematography, the term “contrast” refers to the difference in brightness between the lit and shady areas of an image. In this respect, an image in high contrast has many alternating deep dark shadows and very brightly lit areas, giving an uneasy impression.

High Definition: An image with a resolution with a minimum of 480 scan lines, with the average being 720 and 1080 scan lines.

High-Key Lighting: One of the main lighting styles used in filmmaking and often associated with the bright overall lighting of sitcoms and ballroom scenes. A small ratio between the key light and the fill light characterizes high-key lighting. Normally, it is used in combination with soft light to create a pleasant atmosphere, which produces low contrasts between lit and shady areas.

Hitchcock’s Rule: The “Hitchcock’s Rule” is a cinematographic principle which was coined by Alfred Hitchcock in his famous discussions with François Truffaut. The rule states that the size of an object in the frame should equal its importance in the story at that moment.

Hitting a Mark: Hitting a mark is for actors moving to the correct position during rehearsals and while the camera rolls. Sometimes, a mark will be set with a physical piece of crossed tape on the floor to help the actor stand in the right spot.

HMI/HMI Fresnel Light: An HMI is a powerful hard light that can be used in place of sunlight. This is a daylight-balanced fixture. The French developed the Fresnel lens to project light for long distances. This lens delivers beautiful hard shadows; it delivers a very even spread while in flood and spot. This light gives great shafts of light, awesome for bounces and projecting through diffusion frames.

HOD: An abbreviation for “Head of Department”.

Holding the Roll: Before the slate. The set is locked; the sound may be rolling, but there is a need for a short delay that does not require the set to be unlocked or the roll stopped.

Hold Over: The term for an actor used for an extra day.

Homage: A respectful tribute to something or someone. In film, this generally occurs when one movie is referenced in a different film. Many Star Wars films pay homage to classic samurai movies.

Honeywagon: Usually a trailer or truck and trailer combination outfitted for and used as the dressing room for actors when on location shoots away from permanent soundstages. Big trucks containing washrooms, AD office, and small dressing rooms.

Horizon Line: A straight line is drawn across one or two vanishing points that mark the height at which the camera is positioned. Depending on the camera angle, the horizon line moves up or down within the frame, which is why it can be used to help deduce the type of camera angle. If the horizon line slopes to one side, the camera is in a canted angle position. Changing positions of the horizon line and optical distortions, depending on different camera angles and heights.

Horror: A genre of storytelling intended to scare, shock, and thrill its audience. Horror can be interpreted in many different ways, but there is often a central villain, monster, or threat that is often a reflection of the fears being experienced by society at the time.

Hot Set: A location or studio used for filming – even if the camera isn’t rolling. You shouldn’t lounge around or touch anything on a hot set because it may disrupt continuity. A set that is not finished being used. Not to be touched.

Hybrid: A movie that combines elements of two distinct genre types. As a result, it can’t be defined by a single genre. Little Shop of Horrors is a hybrid of a horror film and a musical.

Hype: 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.

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I

IATSE/International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts: IATSE is a union that represents professional entertainment industry workers. They include more than 168,000 workers in virtually all arts, media, and entertainment crafts, with a mission to improve all entertainment workers’ lives both inside and outside the workplace.

Iconography: The use of a famous icon or symbol. It is designed to analyze the themes and various styles present within a film. The rose in Beauty and the Beast has become an icon.

Image: Generally refers to the picture that is the result of the photographic process.

IMAX: A large-screen film format roughly 10 times larger than the traditional cinema format (35mm). It debuted in 1970, and initially, it was used to showcase nature films or short documentaries. It produces amazing high-definition sharpness on movies projected onto screens eight stories high.

Imbalance: An aspect of the mise en scène which describes a state of compositional unevenness or disproportion. Imbalance can be achieved in various forms, for example, via the asymmetrical presence of subjects/objects, colour, light, and form.

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 filmmakers; requires advanced planning to tell the desired story in order.

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 take that they wanted.

Independent Film/Indie Film: Small independent, low-budget companies, mini-majors, or entities for financing, producing, and distributing films working outside of the system of a major Hollywood studio. An indie may lose its independent status when it grows large and powerful. Also refers to a movie, director, distributor or producer 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: Another name for the film or entertainment industry; also referred to as the show business, show-biz, or Hollywood.

Ingenue: A young, teenage 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: A word used when people sign a contract to work on a film. It is often phrased as someone “inked a deal.”

Insert Shot: A shot occurring in the middle of a larger shot, typically a close-up of another object or some otherwise minor detail. It draws the audience’s attention to the item, providing more information. It is filmed at a different focal length or angle from the rest of the scene.

Inside Joke: An inside joke is an obscure, generally show business-related joke that is only understood by a few in the audience. You have to understand the reference to get it. For example, the great white shark in Finding Nemo is named Bruce, the name of the mechanical shark used for Jaws.

Intercut Shots/Intercutting: Usually refers to a series of shots consisting of two simultaneous events alternating to create suspense; intercutting can also consist of shots of two people involved in a telephone conversation.

Interior: Used in a slug line as ‘INT.’, indicates that the scene occurs indoors.

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 North America these days); originally, intermissions served as a ‘stretch-restroom’ opportunity, or provide 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.

Internegative: A copy of the film made for the purpose of making a large number of prints.

Intertitles: A title card appearing intercut with a scene. Commonly used in silent films.

Into Frame: Refers to a person or object that moves into the picture frame without the camera moving; in live-action stage plays, this refers to a character entering the stage.

Iris: An opening in the lens that controls the amount of light passing through, similar to the aperture.

Iris Shot: An earlier cinematographic technique or wipe effect, in the form of an expanding or diminishing circle (known as iris-out or iris-in), 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 as a transition from one scene to the next; this particular type of camera movement is also known as iris wipe, or circle-in/circle-out, similar to the opening or closing of the human eye’s iris; also refers to the adjustable opening (or diaphragm) in the lens that allows light to pass through – the measurement for the iris opening is f-stop.

ISO: Film’s sensitivity to light, and is also a number used to measure the speed of the film.

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J

J-Cut: See L-cut (below); aka split edit.

Jib: The arm of a mechanical crane.

Judder: An instability is introduced when images sampled at one frame rate are converted to a different frame rate for viewing. This effect is most noticeable when frames are repeated or deleted in order to obtain slow motion or fast motion. See also motion artifact.

Jukebox Musical: A filmed musical (drama, 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: A jump cut is an abrupt transitional device that breaks up a continuous shot. When the shot returns, time jumps between the two scenes. This can be done to create an artistic effect showcasing discontinuity.

Juvenile: The role of a young, teenage male character; the female counterpart is known as an ingenue.

Juxtaposition: The contiguous positions of two scenes, objects, characters, or images in a sequence to contrast and compare them. It can also establish a relationship between two disparate ideas.

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K

Kelvin/K: The kelvin, symbol K, is a unit of measurement for temperature. The Kelvin scale is an absolute scale, which is defined such that 0 K is absolute zero, and a change of thermodynamic temperature T by 1 kelvin corresponds to a change of thermal energy. Colour temperature is a way to describe the light appearance provided by a light bulb. It is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K) on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000. Typically, Kelvin temperatures for commercial and residential lighting applications fall somewhere on a scale from 2000K to 6500K.

Key: A general adjective denoting importance. Heads of departments are referred to as a “Key” or “Keys” on a film crew.

Key Grip: The key grip works closely with the director of photography and the gaffer to sculpt the desired look of a film by diffusing and cutting the light. The key grip is also in charge of camera movement whether on a dolly, camera crane or mounted on the hood or bumper of a vehicle.

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 backlight behind to add depth to a subject, and (3) a bright key light.

Kino Flo: A Kino Flo is a bank of fluorescent bulbs used for soft light.

Klieglight: A Klieglight is a powerful type of carbon-arc lamp that creates an intense light. It is sometimes used in filmmaking, but it can also be used for promotional purposes at movie premieres.

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L

Landmark Film: A movie deemed revolutionary. This can either be due to its artistic merits or its technological prowess. Jaws was a landmark film because it introduced the concept of the modern blockbuster.

Lap Dissolve: A certain kind of transition between two scenes. The first scene ends with a fade, while the beginning of the next scene comes onto the screen through a fade-in.

Lavalier: A small microphone that is clipped or taped to an actor to record dialogue. It is generally wireless and omnidirectional, as well as small enough not to be seen in the shot.

L-Cut/J-Cut/Delayed Edit/Split Edit: It is an edit used in digital films that refers to a transitional edit in which the video and audio do not begin simultaneously. The audio may begin before or after the picture is cut.

Leitmotif: A recurring, intentionally repeated theme or element in a movie. This motif can be a person, sound, action, or idea. It helps unify the film by reminding the audience of its earlier appearance.

Lens: An optical glass placed in a camera through which light can pass through. The image is focused before it makes contact with the film stock. There are numerous types of lenses out there, including normal, telephoto, and wide-angle.

Letterboxing: The process of shrinking a film image to appear on a television screen with black spaces below and above the image. This emulates the widescreen format typically used on older, box-shaped TV screens.

Library Shot/Stock Shot: A term used to describe a stock shot. It can also refer to a commonplace or unimaginative shot. A shot of the New York skyline would be a library shot for any movie set in New York.

Lighting: The illumination present within a scene. It also refers to the manipulation of said illumination by way of the cinematographer trying to alter shadows and brightness.

Line Producer: The movie producer who works on location. They are responsible for the budget of a given film shoot and the daily operations. The line producer manages the everyday aspects involving film expenses and all the people on the crew.

Lip Sync: The process of synchronizing the movement of the mouth with the words on the soundtrack.

Location: The places or properties used to film. A location can either be exterior or interior, and it can take place in a real location or on a studio lot.

Location Sound/Buzz Track/Room Tone: Referred to as a buzz track. It refers to the recording of background sound while the crew is on location. Acquiring ambient noises helps improve the movie’s sense of realism.

Lock It Up/Picture’s Up: Stop what you’re doing and be quiet; the camera is about to roll.

Lockup: An area being cordoned off and controlled by crew members to prevent either unwanted sound or pedestrians from ruining the take.

Logline: A 1-2 sentence summary of the movie focusing on the main character, the conflict and an emotional hook.

Long Shot: A camera view of a character or object from a vast distance away. This makes the subject appear small in the frame. You can also have a medium or extreme long shot.

Looping/ADR: The process in which an actor re-records dialogue during post-production. This helps match the dialogue with the actor’s lip movements on screen. It is also known as Automated Dialogue Replacement (or ADR).

Low Angle Shot: When the subject is filmed from below. The camera tilts up to capture the character or action, making the subject seem larger than life or more formidable.

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M

MacGuffin: A movie term coined by Alfred Hitchcock for a plot element or device that drives the action or logic of the plot. It is extremely important for the characters, but it is often ignored once it serves its purpose. The sled in Citizen Kane is a MacGuffin.

Magic Hour/Golden Hour: The optimal time of day for filming magical or romantic scenes with the soft and warm lighting conditions naturally present. Also known as Golden Hour, it is characterized by golden-orange hues and soft shadows, which take place 30 minutes around sunset and 30 minutes around sunrise.

Main Unit: The main crew of the film set.

Marking: Putting tape down where actors stop in the scene.

Martini Shot: The last shot of the last scene of the day.

Mask: The act of blocking out or covering up part of the camera frame with darkness or opaqueness. Most masks will be black. A mask would be necessary when portraying a character looking through binoculars.

Master/Master Shot: A long take or continuous shot that shows the setting or main action of a whole scene. Many scenes will have one or two master shots, with the rest of the scene comprised of smaller, tighter angles. A wide shot that shows the whole scene.

Match Cut: A transitional technique for cutting between two unrelated shots that are deliberately linked or matched by a physical, aural, visual, or metaphorical parallelism.

Matte Shot: The process of optically combining or compositing separate shots into one print. This is achieved through double exposure that masks off part of the frame area for one exposure and the opposite area for the other.

Medium Shot: A conventional camera shot filmed from a medium-length distance. It typically captures the actor from the waist up, while a medium close-up is from the chest up.

Melodrama: A film with an expressive plot where the characters have intensely strong emotions. It was originally a drama accompanied by music and typically contains elements of hardship, illness, and pathos.

Metaphor: A figure of speech in which a word or phrase denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or an analogy between them.

Method Acting: An acting style designed by Stanislavsky in the early 1900s. It refers to actors who draw on personal emotions and experiences to create a more realistic performance. Daniel Day-Lewis and Jared Leto often utilize method acting to create their performances- each with varying degrees of success.

Miniature: A small-scale model photographed in a certain way to give off the illusion they are larger than what they actually are. This specific shot is known as a miniature shot.

Mise en Scène: “Putting in the scene” in French refers to the composition and arrangement of visual elements within the film frame, including costume, set décor, lighting, and character positioning.

Mixing: A process of combining different sounds, music, dialogue, and sound effects from all sources into a movie’s master soundtrack. This is part of the post-production process. A mixer ultimately blends together the soundtrack.

Mockumentary: A fictional movie that has the style of a documentary but with irreverent humour that’s designed to mock the subject of features. Waiting for Guffman is a mockumentary.

Money Shot: Any climactic moment, revelation, or image that gives the audience “their money’s worth,” even if it costs more money to create.

Montage: A French term meaning “assembling shots” or “putting together.” It’s a film technique for compiling a series of short shots that create a composite picture. The montage in Rocky of the titular character shows us how hard he’s worked to compete in the final match.

MOS: A universal abbreviation for “Mit Out Sound,” which means there will be no audio on a take. Shot without recording sound.

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.

Moving On: Phrase said by 1st AD when going on to the next shot/set-up.

MPAA: An acronym meaning “Motion Picture Association of America.” It is an organization that represents the interests of the primary motion picture studios, including film ratings.

Mumblecore: An independent film movement that originated in the early 2000s. It’s often characterized by naturalistic acting that’s occasionally improvised. The plots generally focus on a group of people in their 20s or 30s dealing with terrible jobs or bad relationships.

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N

Narration: The telling of a story by providing supplemental information given to the audience by a voice offscreen. The narrator can either be a character in the movie or an omniscient presence.

Narrative Film: A structured series of events, linked by cause and effect, that provides 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 abstract films.

Naturalism: A film term signifying a hyperform of realism. With naturalism, life is depicted in an unbiased, stoic way. On the Waterfront is a naturalistic movie.

Neo-Realism: An innovative movement in the late 1940s and ’50s with roots in Italy. It refers to movies made outside the studio system. They are shot in real locations, sometimes feature no professional actors, and often do not require a script.

Network Television: Originally referred to as the “Big Three” (ABC, NBC and CBS), but now with additional competitors, including Fox, it is often called ‘Free-TV’.

New Wave/French New Wave: Originally referred to a collective of non-traditional, innovative French filmmakers, such as Alain Resnais, Eric Rohmer, and Jean-Luc Godard. They espoused principles of auteur theory. French New Wave movies are characterized by non-linear storytelling, improvised direction, and jump cuts.

New Hollywood: A film movement that took place in the United States from roughly 1967 to 1976. The movement was led by a group of film students, such as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese, with a passion for filmmaking and the desire to challenge the stagnant status quo.

Nickelodeon: A business that might be described as a “movie arcade.” Patrons would pay a nickel to watch short films on individual machines like a Kinetoscope or a Mutoscope. Not to be confused with the television network.

Nitrate Film Base: A type of film base that was highly flammable. It was comprised of cellulose nitrate and was commonly in use until the late 1940s. At that point, it was replaced with an acetate base.

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O

Off Book: Refers to a performer who has completely learned his or her lines. At this point, there is no need for the performer to hold a script because everything has been memorized.

O.S/O.C: Off-screen/Off-camera.

Offstage/Off-Camera/Off-Screen: Refers to action or dialogue off the visible stage or beyond the boundaries of the camera’s field of vision or depicted frame.

Omniscient Point of View: When the narrator knows everything going on. The narrator understands all of the thoughts, feelings, and events transpiring between the characters.

One Line Schedule/ One-Liner: An abridged version of the shooting schedule. Also known as a “one-liner,” scenes are listed and arranged in shooting order and broken up by shooting days. This is the most commonly distributed schedule as it only contains the essential scene information.

On the Move: A phrase used when changing set-ups or moving to a different location.

On Your Marks: Positioning of the cast.

Overcranking: A technique when a camera’s frame rate exceeds 24 frames per second. As a result, the image on the screen appears to be in slow motion. This is a common technique for shooting miniatures.

Overexposed: An adjective describing a shot with more light than recommended, resulting in a washed-out, blinding effect. It is typically used for dream or flashback sequences.

Overhead Shot: When the camera is placed over the actors. It tends to be set at about a 90-degree angle from where the performers are located. It is also known as a bird’s eye view shot.

Over-the-Shoulder Shot: A medium camera angle commonly used in dialogue scenes. The camera records the action and dialogue from behind the actors’ shoulders. The two individuals are then linked to each other, and the audience understands their positions.

Overture: The opening credits or pre-credits in a film. This is often a musical selection that helps set up the theme and mood for the rest of the movie.

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P

Pace: The tempo or speed of the dramatic action in a movie. The pacing can be enhanced by the speed of the dialogue, the soundtrack, and the style of editing used.

Pan: An abbreviation for a panorama shot, referring to the rotation, scan, or horizontal movement of the camera in one direction. In film criticism, pan means to express a negative opinion of a movie.

Pan and Scan: A technique for avoiding letterboxing of a widescreen movie. Instead, it focuses on elements of the picture that are more relevant to the plot and adjusted accordingly. The picture will then mechanically pan to the side to show whatever is missing.

Paradox: A statement, proposition, or situation that seems illogical, absurd or self-contradictory but which, upon further scrutiny, may be logical or true — or at least contain an element of truth.

Parallelism/Parallel Structure: A grammar style that ensures linguistic clarity.

Parenthetical: A term for screenplay directions, shown in parentheses, to express how the actor should deliver his or her lines. A parenthetical may read (angrily) or (calmly) before the dialogue.

Persistence of Vision: The optical phenomenon where the illusion of motion is created because the brain interprets multiple still images as one. When multiple images appear in fast enough succession, the brain blends them into a single, persistent, moving image.

Pick-up: Reshooting part of the scene, not starting at the beginning.

Picture Vehicle: Any vehicle that is on screen in a movie.

Pilot/Television Pilot: A standalone episode of a television series that is used to sell a show to a television network or other distributor. A pilot is created to be a testing ground to gauge whether a series will be successful.

Pipeline: refers to a film project currently in the system that is under development. It is scheduled for a future release. Some synonyms include “in process,” “in the queue,” or “in the works.”

Pixilation: A technique where the illusion of continuous movement in three-dimensional subjects, typically people, is broken up and made to look jerky or uneven. This is achieved by only printing selected frames from the continuously-exposed negative. This technique is commonly used in stop-motion animation.

Point of View Shot/POV Shot: A shot taken from the perspective of one character to show what the scene would look like through his or her eyes. It is generally coupled with a reaction shot to establish the point of view.

Post Credits Sequence: An epilogue or throwaway scene that occurs during or after the end credits. It can help generate buzz for an additional scene. Iron Man ends with a post-credits scene of Nick Fury informing Tony Stark about the Avengers Initiative.

Postmodern: A description of all art that rebukes more modernist themes. Postmodern films work to subvert expectations of classic narratives and film structure.

P.O.V.: Point of view.

Plato’s Allegory: A concept devised by the philosopher to ruminate on the nature of belief versus knowledge.

Pre-Code: The time period between 1930 and 1934 before the Hays Code was enforced in Hollywood. For 30 years afterward, promiscuity, adultery, and other themes were prohibited. However, pre-code films had no such restrictions.

Pre-Production: The planning stage of a production after a movie has been greenlighted. This occurs before principal photography begins. Pre-production usually involves script treatment, scheduling, casting, production design, and financial planning.

Prequel: A later film in a franchise that presents events and/or characters that are set chronologically before the time of the original movie. It is the opposite of a sequel.

Pre-Screening: A showing of a movie before it is released to the public. Studios will often pre-screen movies so that they can receive feedback from audiences to know what to alter before it is officially released.

Principal Photography: The main shooting dates of a film with the lead actors present creating the film. This is outside of second-unit photography, reshoots, or VFX shots.

Principals: A way to describe the main characters in a movie. It is usually those who have dialogue. The principals are different from the protagonists and have greater roles than extras.

Producer: A chief of a film’s production. The producer is in charge of raising funds, acquiring a story, hiring key personnel, finalizing the script, and arranging for distribution. The producer often serves as the liaison between the filmmakers and the financiers.

Production Design: A movie’s overall visual look and design. Gives the viewer a sense of the time period, the plot location, and the character’s actions and feelings.

Production Designer: The individual responsible for the overall aesthetic of the story.

Production Value: Refers to the overall quality of a movie. This value is based on criteria like set design and costumes. It is not based on criteria like the directing, acting, and script.

Prologue: Typically a brief scene, preface, or speech preceding the main plot of the movie. It often provides information that will help the audience better understand the plot and is the opposite of an epilogue.

Protagonist: A character who pushes a story forward. They are the central force of the story.

Pull Back: A camera shot where the camera physically moves away from the subject. It helps provide the full context of the scene. It is the opposite of a push in.

Push In: A camera shot where the camera physically moves toward the subject. It provides a closer look to see more details. It is the opposite of a pull back.

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Q

Q Rating/Q Score: Refers to an ad research rating that gauges how easily a celebrity is recognized — and how well the celebrity is liked. This system is no longer as widely used.

Quarter: A quarter of a year; three months. Used by production accountants and publicity departments for financial issues.

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R

Rate: A fixed price paid or charged for your goods or services.

Recce: A slang word for reconnaissance, meaning an inspection or exploration of an area to gather information. (Mostly used in the European Film/TV industry)

Rehearsal: Play out the scene without rolling cameras.

Rolling/Roll Sound: Start of the process that leads to recording the scene.

Room Tone: The ambient noise of the set, lights, fans, rain, traffic, etc.

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S

Safety (Shot): After you’ve recorded an ideal take, you might record an additional take for safety in case the ideal take is later discovered to be unusable.

Second Team: Stand-Ins

Second Unit: A smaller or “skeleton” crew of filmmakers who film any shots without the main actors; this can include aerial shots, scenery, or crowd shots.

Sides: A small portion of a script that only contains the pages that will be filmed that specific day, plus the call sheet.

Speed: Sound departments call this out once they are recording so the crew knows.

Squib: A small device that replicates a bullet wound, usually by squishing a capsule of fake blood.

Steadicam: A mount that is worn by the camera operator that allows for the camera movement to be separate from the operator’s movement, meaning a smooth shot can be created even while the operator is running and the camera movement is not held to the limitations of a dolly or tripod. It is important to know when a Steadicam is being used on set because, most of the time, that means that most of the set will be shown. Body rig used to stabilize the camera while it is in a virtual hand-held position.

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T

Tagline: A short sentence or clever phrase that memorably summarizes the film to a general audience. It’s supposed to tease what the film will be about. In Alien, the tagline is “In space, no one can hear you scream.”

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 director approves the shot; in box-office terms, take also refers to the money a film’s release has made.

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. The advent of talkies marked the dawning of the era of sound films, as opposed to silent films.

Talking Heads: A medium shot of people conversing; used as a criticism – denoting an uninteresting image.

Tap: A slang term meaning “pick,” “select,” “name,” or “appoint.”

Tearjerker: An excessively sentimental or emotional film, usually with suffering female protagonists, tragic circumstances, manipulative scenes, and dramatic musical scoring, aka melodramas, sometimes derogatorily referred to as a ‘chick flick’.

Teaser Trailer: A short trailer that is generally released many months before a movie is actually released to give a brief peek at what the movie will be like and to build audience anticipation. Teaser trailers are usually much shorter than the final trailer, which reveals more of the film’s storyline.

Technical Advisor: A person with expertise in a particular field who provides advice for the production.

Technicolour: The best-known colour film process. These films were highly saturated with vivid colours and a three-colour dye transfer system. It is also known as a three-strip colour.

Telefilm: Refers to a feature-length motion picture made for television, also known as a made-for-TV movie.

Telephoto Lens: A camera lens with an incredibly long focal length and a narrow-angle of view. The purpose of this lens is to condense and compress depth within a space. It brings faraway objects closer to the viewer without moving the camera.

Television Movie: A feature-length movie funded by a TV network, intended to be premiered on television.

Television Pilot: A standalone episode of a television series that is used to sell a show to a television network or other distributor. A pilot is created to be a testing ground to gauge whether a series will be successful.

Television Special: A television production of a singular event (such as an awards show or concert) instead of a regularly scheduled series.

Television Spot: A brief advertisement or public service announcement between TV programs.

Tentpole: An industry term meaning a film that is expected to serve as primary support for a studio, 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, a franchise.

Theme: The central characteristic, idea, concern or motif in a film. A theme is the inferred stance taken on the central topic or message of a story.

Three Shot: A medium shot consisting of three individuals in the frame. This contrasts to a “single” or “two shot.”

THX: A subdivision of Lucasfilm, Ltd dedicated to improving picture and sound for the cinema and the home. THX is a suite of high-fidelity audiovisual reproduction standards for movie theatres, screening rooms, home theatres, computer speakers, video game consoles, car audio systems, and video games.

Tie-In: Refers to any commercial venture connected to a film.

Tight On: A cinematographic term that relates to a close-up shot of the subject. A director often says “tight on” when they want an extreme close-up or tight framing on the subject.

Tilt Shot: When a camera tilts down or up along a vertical axis. It is often used to suggest a sense of imbalance or to emphasize a character’s menace or power.

Timecode: Electronic guide track added to film, video or audio material to provide a time reference for editing and synchronization.

Time Lapse: A technique where frames are shot much slower than a normal rate (e.g., 24 frames per minute instead of per second). This allows the action to progress much faster than in reality. This is typical for nature documentaries to capture clouds moving or plants growing.

Tint: A tint uses colour to make film stock appear in a different shading to attain a desired mood. The method behind this is generally done by hand, and it was often used in black-and-white movies before the widespread use of filming in colour.

Title Role: The lead part in a movie or other production for an actor that is named after the title of the film.

Titles/Title Design: 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. Title design refers to the artistic manner in which the title of a film is displayed on the screen.

Title Designer/Titleist: The person who designs how a film’s title appears on the screen. The manner in which the title of a movie is displayed on the screen is widely considered an art form. Saul Bass is considered a master title designer.

Tone: The mood or atmosphere of a film scene, often revealed by the director in how a film is directed and expressed to the audience.

Topline: To star or to be billed above the title of a film. The topliner is the star of a particular film.

Tour de Force: Literally meaning “forceful turn” in French. It 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.

Track: A single component or channel of a soundtrack.

Tracking Shot: A smooth shot in which the camera moves alongside (‘tracking within’) or follows the subject through space, usually with the camera mounted on a dolly (on a dolly track); often seen as a side-to-side motion (relative to the scene or the action); also known as following shot; sometimes used interchangeably with dolly shot, pull back shot (pull-out, push-out, widen-out or push-back), trackback (moving away) or track in (or push-in) (moving forward), or zoom shot.

Trademark: Refers to a personal touch or embellishment by an actor, director, writer, producer, or head of department within a film that becomes their signature or calling card.

Trades: Refers to the professional magazines and publications that report the daily or weekly entertainment news of the entertainment industry.

Trailer/Official Trailer/Film Trailer: A short publicity film, preview, or advertisement composed of short excerpts and scenes from a forthcoming film or coming attraction, usually two to three minutes long, often presented at the showing of another film.

Trainer: Someone who conditions animals to perform various behaviours on cue.

Transition: One of several ways of moving from (or joining together) one shot or scene to the next one, 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.

Transportation Captain/Transportation Coordinator/Transportation Manager: The person responsible for managing drivers and coordinating the transportation of a production’s cast, crew, and equipment from the various locations and sets used for filming.

Travelling Matte Shot: A shot in which foreground action is superimposed on a separately filmed background by optical printing or digital compositing.

Travelogue: A film made for the purpose of showing scenes from foreign, unfamiliar, or alluring places.

Treatment: A detailed literary summary or presentation of a film’s story (and each major scene), with action and characters described in prose form, and sometimes including bits of dialogue; often used to market and/or sell a film project or script; usually it is an abridged script longer than a synopsis (a brief summation of a film); a completed treatment is the late stage in the development of a screenplay after several story conferences have incorporated changes into the script.

Trilogy: A group of three films that together compose a larger narrative and are related in subject or theme.

Triple Threat: Refers to talent who can sing, dance and act skillfully 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 write.

Turnaround: Refers to a film or project that has been abandoned by a studio and is no longer active (and is now available for being shopped to another studio).

Turnaround: Also refers to the time between the wrap of talent or crew and the start of the next shoot day. For example, “the union requires 12-hour turnaround.”

Turnaround/Reverse: Shooting the reverse angle.

Twist/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 Hander: Refers to a film with only two characters.

Two Shot: A medium or close-up camera shot of two people (often in dialogue with each other), often framed from the chest up, often used to contrast the two characters.

Typecasting: When an actor is commonly (but unfairly) identified, associated with, or ‘stereotyped’ by a particular character role; casting against type is the reverse of typecasting.

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U

U-matic: A ¾-inch magnetic tape, which would originally be found on a professional cassette tape format. In recent years, it has been supplanted by new digital formats. It was a competing yet inferior tape format to both beta and VHS.

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.

Uncredited role: A role that a major (or minor) star plays that is not credited in the credits or in the film’s poster.

Underacting: Refers to an understated, neutral and muted acting performance.

Undercranking: The process of slowing down a camera’s frame rate. This is achieved by shooting at a slower speed than the usual 24 frames per second. This results in the captured images appearing in fast motion.

Underexposure: When an image is photographed with less light than what would be considered proper exposure. This results in a dimly lit, indistinct image that lacks contrast and is the opposite of an overexposed shot.

Underground Film: A low-budget, non-commercial film, usually independently made, without the traditional sources of funding or distribution.

Union: An organization that represents the best interests of a certain segment of professionals in the motion picture industry. There are unions for writers, actors, directors, and most film crews. Unions negotiate contracts, pursue rights, and receive recognition. Therefore, there are rules and regulations when working with unions.

Unit Production Manager: A unit production manager (UPM) is a member of a film production crew who plays an administrative role in the production process. The UPM reports to the line producer on the film, who oversees production and helps decide costs related to the daily production. As a UPM, you execute the line producer’s plans.

Unit Publicist: Member of the publicity department who works on location during the production of a movie. Duties include setting up press visits and electronic press kit interviews. In addition, the unit publicist assembles the biographical materials and notes about the making of the movie that are later turned into the movie press kit. Unit publicists are itinerant — they move from production to production and are on the production payroll.

Unreliable Narrator: A character whose perspective we follow in the story but lacks a certain degree of credibility. These narrators may lack all the information necessary to translate the story to the audience adequately, or they have a clear bias.

Utopia/Utopian: Refers to an imaginary, ideal (or mythical), perfect state or place (especially in its laws, government, social and moral conditions), often with magical healing and restorative properties.

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V

Vanishing Point: Parallel lines in a picture which are not parallel to the visual plane of the picture appear to converge in one or more vanishing points inside or outside the borders of the image. It is useful to analyze a motion still image regarding its vanishing points because they can help to determine the height of the camera and the camera angle. If a motion still has only one vanishing point, it is possible to draw a horizontal line across it and get the so-called “horizon line,” which marks the camera’s height when the frame is taken. If there is more than one vanishing point, it is necessary to find two opposite vanishing points, which are mostly located offscreen, and draw a line from one vanishing point to the other to get the horizon line.

Vamp: A femme fatale character with a bad reputation, usually seductive and scheming in nature or behaviour.

Variac/Variable AC: A Variac (short for “variable AC”) is a type of electrical transformer that can be used to adjust the voltage output of an AC power source. It is commonly used in industrial and commercial applications where a variable voltage is needed for testing or for controlling the speed of motors. Variac is the trademark name of a variable autotransformer. This instrument limits the voltage that goes to tungsten lights and dims them. They come in 1K, 2K & 5K versions.

Vaudeville: A variety entertainment show from the stage 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 radio; most of the early film, radio and TV comedians found their start on the vaudeville circuit.

VCR/Video Cassette Recorder: A common household appliance for recording and/or playing prerecorded video tapes. See VHS, NTSC and PAL.

Vector: Directional forces that lead our eyes from one point to another in a picture or a shot. Basically, there are three main different types of vectors: Index vectors are the most obvious type, as they take the form of something in the shot that is clearly pointing somewhere, such as a one-way sign. Motion vectors are created by elements in the shot that are moving in a certain direction, such as a bus driving left to right across the shot. Graphic vectors take the form of aspects in a scene with a directional element, such as skyscrapers in a city or a sidewalk cutting through the shot.

Vertigo Effect: A camera technique achieved by tracking backwards while simultaneously zooming toward the subject, or vice versa. This keeps the subject at the center of the image while the surroundings stretch or contract behind them. Also known as a dolly zoom, this effect was named after Hitchcock’s prominent use in Vertigo.

Video: A video is a film or television programme recorded digitally (or, in the past, on tape) for people to watch on a television set.

Video Assist: Camera Assistants take the images generated by the film or digital cameras and display them live on video monitors so the director and other crew members can see exactly what’s being shot and can also see footage being played back for review.

Video Village: Tent/area where the monitors are set up for the director/s, producer/s, and script supervisor.

Videographer: A person who works in the video medium — recording moving images and sound onto linear analog or digital tape, non-linear digital disc, or any other digital recording media, such as memory cards.

VHS/Video Home System: A popular format for VCR systems worldwide in the 1990s.

Vigilante/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 movie that can stand on its own. For example, the orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally is often viewed and referenced on its own, separated from the rest of the film. A vignette can also refer to a masking device, often with soft edges.

Visual Effects: Anything added to a movie that was not in the original shot under the subcategory of special effects. They can either be achieved through CGI or through special techniques, such as rear projection and double exposures.

Visual Effects Rigger: The person that prepares the miniature models, creature puppets, or whatever the camera subject is, to perform whatever the object is supposed to do during the shot. Riggers create digital skeletons for 3D computer-generated (CG) characters. These skeletons, or rigs, are like puppets that define the movements of a character or creature, such as how a big cat runs, how a person’s face and mouth move when they sing, or how someone raises an eyebrow.

Visual Effects Supervisor/VFX Supervisor: The head of a production’s visual effects crew. VFX supervisors are in charge of the whole VFX project. They manage the VFX pipeline, including all of the VFX artists that work in this process. They have ultimate responsibility for all of the VFX elements produced for a project by their company or studio.

Voice-over/V.O.: Recorded dialogue that comes from off-screen or is unseen in the frame. It is often done to convey a character’s thoughts or from a narrator. In a script, a voice-over is abbreviated as “V.O.”

Voice-Over Artist: The unseen person who does the speaking necessary to create a voice-over.

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W

Walkie Check/Radio Check: Initial check when you first turn on your walkie talkie to make sure it’s working. Someone should reply with “Good Check” if they can hear you clearly.

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: A walk-through is the first rehearsal done on a film’s set. It is necessary for the director to figure out camera positioning, sound, and lighting. This is done before the cameras start to roll.

Walla: A murmur sound effect, used to establish a crowd of people on location.

Wardrobe: The general term used to talk about the costume department. It can also refer to an individual costume and all of the accessories associated with it.

Wardrobe Department: The section of a production’s crew concerned with costumes. Individual job titles include costume designer, costumer, and costume supervisor.

Wardrobe Supervisor: The head of the wardrobe department working under the Costume Designer. Also referred to as Costume Supervisor.

Watch Your Back/Points: A phrase spoken when someone is coming through or around set with an object that could potentially hit someone.

Waveform Monitor: An oscilloscope used to measure and monitor video or audio levels.

Weapons Master/Armourer: One who specialises in weapons, armours, and firearms.

Wedges: Wood wedges used for levelling and stabilizing.

Western: A movie often set in the “Wild West” of the late 19th-century United States, Western Canada, or Northern Mexico.

Western Dolly: A plywood dolly used as a dolly for smooth surfaces.

Whip Pan: An extremely fast pan, incorporating much motion blur. The term refers to the “whipping” action that the camera operator uses to move the camera.

White Balance/Colour Balance: A camera setting that establishes the true colour of white. This produces a baseline from which all other colours are measured. White may not appear “white” under all lighting conditions, so this helps correct it.

White Noise: A random signal with a consistent amount of energy per hertz.

Whodunit: A story or play about a murder in which the identity of the murderer is not revealed until the end. It often refers to a mystery or detective film. The lead character in a whodunit is a crime-solving detective, such as in the Sherlock Holmes series of films.

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 Lens: A lens with a focal length smaller than that of a normal lens, they capture a wider shot of the scene. 16mm, 25mm, 35mm, and 50mm lenses can be considered wide.

Widescreen: A rectangular aspect ratio, wider than the standard 1:33:1 used before the 1950s. After that time, widescreen processes such as VistaVision and CinemaScope came into the mainstream and became the industry standard.

Wild Lines/Wild Sound/Wild Track/: Wild track, also known as wild sound and wild lines, is an audio recording intended to be synchronized with film or video but recorded separately. It is a non-sync sound, recorded without the camera running, usually recorded to supplement the sync takes.

Wilhelm Scream: A distinctive scream archived by Warner Brothers and used repeatedly on countless films including Star Wars and Kill Bill.

Wipe: An optical effect or transitional technique where one shot seems to be “wiped off” the screen by another shot that replaces it. It is also known as a flip-over or push-over.

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 mark a film dead on arrival.

Working Title: The name by which a movie is known while it is being made. This is sometimes different from the title with which it is released.

Workprint: A positive duplicate of the original negative.

Workstation: Any audio/video recording and editing system.

Wrangler/Animal Handler: A person or animal trainer responsible for the care and handling of all non-humans on set.

Wrap: To finish shooting, either for the day or the entire production.

Writer: A general term for someone who creates a written work, be it a novel, script, screenplay, or teleplay.

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X

Xenon Light: A light that was developed by Dick Hall for the film Blade Runner.  Jordan Cronenweth’s inspiration for Blade Runner was moving lights that were tracked in every interior space. It has a flood and spot function that gives you a beautiful circle of light, but when you flood it out, it gives you a donut shape pattern because the globe is in the center of the parabolic mirror reflector.

Xerography: The technique using an electrostatic process to copy or transfer an image, commonly found in office copiers and used in cartoon production.

XD Cards: A small memory card format used in older digital cameras.

Xenon: A very bright, daylight balanced lamp.

XLR Connector: A standard sound connector used in professional audio.

XXX: An informal voluntary certificate for a pornographic film, indicating large amounts of explicit sex. Contrast with NC-17.

X-Y Pattern: A stereo-mic structure that uses two microphones placed and aimed in crossed directions which feed two channels for stereo pickup.

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Y

Yarn: Slang for a fabricated story.

Yawner: A slang term, meaning a boring film.

YUV: A colour space used in NTSC and PAL broadcast video systems.

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Z

Zero Cut: A method of cutting negative for blow-up. Also refers to a method of preparing A and B rolls for print.

Z-Film/Z-Movie: Refers to a very low-budget, independently-made, non-union, less than B-film grade movie, usually with a first-time director and actors. These films are often quickly made for the teen youth market and look amateurish but with campy appeal. They can include exploitative subject matter plus surfing films, motorcycle flicks, and cheap horror films. Z-films become prime candidates for cult film status.

Zoom Lens: A variable focal length lens.

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 magnify and appear larger; the movement towards a subject to magnify it is known as zoom in or forward zoom, or reversed or decreased to reduce its size is known as zoom out/back or backward zoom.

Zoopraxis: An early movie process for creating animated projections.

Zoptic Special Effects: A revolutionary special effects 3D 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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