Below is a growing list of items in our Film and Video Production Glossary. This isn’t exactly comprehensive but over time we hope that it will grow.

Action Cam: A class of cameras used to photography POV shots and action sequences. Best know by the brand name GoPro.

Abbey Singer: Film director famous for endlessly proclaiming “just one more shot after this.” Therefore, the second to last shot of a production day is the Abbey Singer.

Apple Box: A wooden box that resembles a box that apples were shipped in historically. Also referred to by size as 1/8 Apple, 1/4 Apple, 1/2 Apple and whole apple.

AVCHD: Common codec use by cameras, mainly camcorder type cameras and prosumer  cameras.

Baby: 1) Light:Usually a 1K light of standard size. 2) Stud: 5/8 stud used by light stands and c-stands for grip equipment and lights under a designated weight.

Blond/blondie: A 2K open faced light. Refereed to by Mole Richardson as Mighty.

Boom Operator: The boom operator is a member of the sound department who makes sure the boom is always in the proper place to achieve the best possible sound for the shot. They must negotiate with the other departments to make sure they don’t get the mic in the shot or cast a shadow on the actors.

Hi-Hat: A tripod head mount usually used for a camera to get it low to the ground or in spaces where a tripod might not work.

C-47 Ordinary standard clothes pen.

C-Stand: A stand for hold various grip items. Short for century stand.

Camcorder: Litterly means camera that records video. Usually used to refer to lower end cameras where cinema cameras refer to high-end movie cameras.

Candy Gels: Neon colored lighting gels placed in front of lights used for bold lighting effects in production.

CD: Creative Director, usually employed by the agency or studio. AKA “the client.”

Cinema Cameras: The term refers to high-end movie cameras usually made by Arriflex, Panavision, Sony, and RED. These are usually not practical cameras for run and gun type shoots and often require more than one person to opperate.

Codec: A codec is a device or computer software which encodes or decodes data streams. An example would be Quicktime ProRes 442. 

Color Balance: Refers to balance of yellow to blue in the image. Similar to color temperature and different then tint.

Cyc/Cyclorama A specially built curved wall that reflects light evenly and will appear to have no edges when photographed.

Dailies: Originally described the first positive prints of negatives for the directors viewing. Now means un-edited footage for viewing directly after day’s shooting. Sound will be synced and simple color correction applied.

Dolly: A device used to move the camera on wheels when shooting.

EDL/Edit Decision List: A computer file that determines the precise location of cuts and effects within an edited film. Often given by editor to different departments so that they may do the sound, computer graphics or color correction to a work in progress.

Edison: Refers to plugs, receptacles and lightbulbs using standard household configurations, originally designed by Thomas Edison.

Fresnel: A light which uses the same type of found in light houses called fresnel lens, developed by Physicist Augustine Jean Fresnel. The light from these fixtures is both efficient and pleasing but not often used for a key light in modern cinema. Now use frequently for backlight, kicker and background. Frequently used in old Hollywood movies and noir.

Gaffer: The head of the electrical department on motion picture and television production.

Grip: A film and video professional who assist the camera and lighting departments with rigging their equipment.

HD: High definition video. Video signal or file most commonly described 1920×180 pixels.

High Boy: A reinforced stand with a junior pen receiver designed to raise lighting and grip rigging over 10 feet. These stands are often equipped with wheels and cranks to move and raise heavy rigging and lights.

Iris: Also referred to at the aperture in photography and cinematography, is the leaf shutter in the center of the lens that allows a measured amount light to pass.

Junior: 1 1/8 inch pen for mounting lighting instruments and grip rigging.

JPEG: Photography compression standard developed by the Joint Photographic Experts Group.

Kelvin: The unit of measurement of the earth and coolness of lightwaves. Not to be confused with tint.

LED: Light emitting diod. A technology for producing images on monitors and producing light from lighting fixtures.

Letterbox: The practice of blacking out the bottom and top portion of the television picture to achieve a different aspect ratio of the image.

Low Boy: A junior stand with limited height often used for rigging rather than lighting.

Martini: Last shoot of the day on production.

Mattebox: Rigging that attaches to the front of a camera on rails or by affixing to the lens which holds filters and optical effects.

MIDI: Musical Instruments Digital Interface. Protocol by which audio devices including electronic instruments and microphones can interface with computers.

Mixer: A device which accepts audio signals for processing. Also mixer often refers to the head of the sound department on a production.

Offline: Antiquated term used to describe a edit of low-resolution footage not intended for the finished product.

Online: Term used to describe an edit intended to use as the finished product.

Production Assistant: Entry level job on a production job. P.A. can assist in all departments but are often assigned to gofer like tests of fetching fresh batteries and coffee for the producer before they prove their selves worthy of training.

Quicktime: A file wrapper developed by Apple for video files. Often used to refer to media files coded in the Apple ProRes Codec, an industry standard in post-production workflow. 

Red Head: A small tungsten open face  lighting fixture in the 800 watt range. Teenie in the Mole Richardson family.

RGB: Red, Green and Blue. These refer to the three channels of video signal used by modern cameras and viewing monitors.

Room Tone: The sound mixer will often record 30 seconds of room to for use by the post production team to create an even background tone in the final mix.

Sedicam: Brand name for a gyroscopic camera mount worn by a Sedicam Operator. Highly skilled job.

Silk: Refers to a sheet of ripstop nylon mounted to use as diffusion of the sun or a lighting instrument.

Sound Mixer: Head of the sound department on set. They’re responsible for recording clean audio and managing their team.

Sound Utility: The sound mixer’s right hand. They’re responsible for rigging lavalier microphones for actors and other tasks as determined by the mixer.

Tap: A device that allows the viewing of the film plane on a film camera much like an external monitor of a video camera.

UHF: Ultra High Frequency radio waves often used for sending television signals and often used for public and emergency services for government. Much of this spectrum in has been auctioned by the FCC to cellphone carriers. Sound Mixers and camera operators also use these frequencies for wireless transmission of sound and video.

UV: Ultra violet light. UV is often responsible for light pollution which can affect image quality when shooting outdoors. UV filters are often put in front of lenses to stop this from happening.

VHF: The lower frequency television stations. Also sometimes used for wireless transmission on set. More affordable than, UHF it also can provide longer reach but can also be more subject to interference.

VTR: Video Tape Recorder. A machine that records onto video tape. Similar to a VCR, video cassette recorder but manufactured for a professional environment.

XLR: A type of cabling with locking connectors for passing balanced current. 3 pin variety is commonly used to pass sound. The 4 pin is often used to pass DC current.

Watt/Wattage: A measurement of electrical current.

Waveform Monitor: A waveform monitor can give a director of photography and a colorist information about the captured image not available when looking at the picture on the monitor. These are also important in broadcast situations where information outside of standards will not pass through the pipeline.

Y: Shorthand for luminance.

Zoom: A type of lenses which can change focal length. Broadcast lenses must also be par focal, meaning they don’t change focus when zooming.

Got some items you’d like to see us add to the list? Send them our way on our contact page.

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