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A-B Roll

Two video sources played simultaneously, to be mixed or cut between.

A/B Roll Editing

Editing from two source VCRs to a third recording VCR. A switcher or mixer is used to provide effects such as dissolves.

Action Axis

Imaginary line drawn between two subjects or along a line of motion as an aid in maintaining continuity of screen direction. Sometimes referred to as the “180-degree rule.”


Unrehearsed, spontaneous act of speaking, performing, or otherwise improvising on-camera activity without preparation.

Administration metadata

This includes digital rights, encryption, user access, air date scheduling, and other business administration.

ADO (Ampex Digital Optics)

Trade name for digital effects system manufactured by Ampex.


Adaptive Pulse Code Modulation is a compression scheme used by CD-I and CD-ROM XA formats. Used to interleave audio with data.


See audio frequency modulation.

AGC (Automatic Gain Control)

Circuitry used to ensure that output signals are maintained at constant levels in the face of widely varying input signal levels. AGC is typically used to maintain a constant video luminance level by boosting weak (low light) picture signals electronically. Some equipment include gain controls which are switchable between automatic and manual control.


Undesirable video display effects caused by excessive high frequency video information. Three examples are: Jaggies or Stair-stepping – Stepped or jagged edges of angled lines, especially at the slanted edges of letters. Raster scan aliasing – e.g., twinkling or strobing effects on sharp horizontal lines Temporal aliasing – e.g., rotating wagon wheel spokes apparently reversing direction.

AM (Amplitude Modulation)

Amplitude modulation is a process used for some radio (AM broadcast) and television video transmission. A low frequency (program) signal modulates (changes) the amplitude of a high frequency RF carrier signal causing it to deviate from its nominal base amplitude). The original program signal is recovered (demodulated) at the receiver. This system is extensively used in broadcast radio transmission because it is less prone to signal interference and retains most of the original signal quality. See Frequency Modulation.


The video computer that created the desktop video revolution.

Ambient Sound

(ambience) Natural background audio representative of a given recording environment. On-camera dialog might be primary sound; traffic noise and refrigerator hum would be ambient.


An electrical signal using continuously varying electrical voltages. Analog video that is copied or edited several generations suffers from generation loss and is subject to degradation due to noise and distortion.The term analogue simply means like or similar. Traditional recording media have been analogue (magnetic recording tape and vinyl records). In analogue, the positive and negative aspects of a soundwave are converted via a transducer (microphone), to an A.C voltage.


Simple animation consisting of art work designed to be used as a video tape storyboard. Most commonly used for test commercials.


Visual special effect whereby still progressive images displayed in rapid succession creates the illusion of movement.


American National Standards Institute.


See iris.


The process of electronically reducing aliasing, especially letters and genlocked graphic elements.


An adjustable opening in a lens which, like the iris in the human eye, controls the amount of light entering a camera. The size of the aperture is controlled by the iris adjustment and is measured in f-stops. A smaller f-stop number corresponds to a larger opening which passes more light. F-stop examples are F2, F2.8, F4, F5.6, F8, F11. F-stops are logarithmic. Each stop admits 100% more light than the previous one.

Artificial Light

Man-made illumination not limited to “indoor” variety: fluorescent bulbs, jack-o’-lanterns, a car’s headlights. Has lower color temperature than natural light, and thus more reddish qualities. [See color temperature, natural light.]

Aspect Ratio

Proportional height and width of picture on screen. Current standard for conventional receiver or monitor is three by four (3:4); 3:5 for HDTV.


Th relationship and position of I3 and I11 can be expressed in terms of asymmetry. This represents the ratio of pit to land length and can indicate the size of the pits on a Compact Disc. Positive asymmetry indicates the pits are longer than the lands. Red Book specifies and asymmetry of negative 20% to positive 20%.

See also Red Book

Assembly Edit

An edit wherein all existing signals on a tape, if any, are replaced with new signals. Assembly edits cannot be used for editing because since they erase the control track portion of the video tape. (See also Insert Edit)


(amateur television) Specialized domain of ham radio, transmits standard TV signals on UHF radio bands.

Auto Assembly

Process of assembling an edited video tape on a computerized editing system using an edit decision list.

Audio Bandwidth

The range of audio* frequencies which directly influence the fidelity of a sound. The higher the audio bandwidth, the better the sound fidelity. The highest practical frequency which the human ear can normally hear is 20 kHz. An audio amplifier which processes all frequencies

Audio Dub

Result of recording over prerecorded videotape soundtrack, or a portion, without affecting prerecorded images.

Audio Frequency Modulation

(AFM) Method of recording hi-fi audio on videotape along with video signals.


During video recording, the video signal is usually accompanied by an audio signal. Sometimes, during video editing*, it is often necessary to separate the audio from the video signal. Audio-follow-video mixers allow accompanying audio to “follow” the video when switching video sources or not. The Digital Video Mixer provides either function.

Audio Mixer

Device with user-adjustable controls to blend multiple sound inputs into desired composite output. [See mix.]

Automatic Exposure

Circuitry that monitors light levels and adjusts camcorder iris accordingly, compensating for changing light conditions.

Automatic Gain Control

(AGC) Camcorder circuitry that adjusts incoming signal levels automatically, alleviating excessive image brightness and distortion of loud sound.


Amount of illumination normally present in a particular environment: natural light, artificial, or a combination.

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Cutaway shots which are used to cover the visual part of an interview or narration. The term is often used in TV news.

Back Light

Illumination from behind, creates sense of depth by separating foreground subject from background area. Applied erroneously, causes severe silhouetting. [See fill light, key light, three-point lighting.]


Accessory for video lights, two- or four-leaf folding flaps that control light distribution.


The most common broadcast quality video format. Also Betacam SP, the enhanced version.


The obsolete home video format. Lost the format battle to VHS even though it was slightly superior. The cassette size, however, went on to become BETACAM.


Microphone pickup pattern whereby sound is absorbed equally from two sides only. [See omnidirectional, unidirectional.]

Binary Numbers

Binary numbers are a BASE TWO SYSTEM. In this system, any decimal number can be stored as a series of ones and zeros.


A measurement of the stresses within the polycarbonate substrate of a Compact Disc. These stresses are introduced during moulding process. Philip’s Red Book states the maximum allowable birefringence is + 100nm. (nanometers).

See also Red Book


An abbreviation of BINARY DIGIT. The elementary unit for digital storage. A BIT can be either a 1 (one) or a 0 (zero).

See also byte

Black a Tape

The process of recording a black burst* signal across the entire length of a tape. Often done before recording edited footage on the tape to give the tape clean, continuous video and sync and to insure there is no video already on the tape.

Black Box

Generic term for wide variety of video image manipulation devices with perceived mysterious or “magical” capabilities, including proc amps, enhancers, SEGs, and TBCs.

Black Burst

A composite color video signal comprised of sync, color burst and black video. Used to synchronize (genlock) other video sources to the same sync and color information. Black burst generators are used in editing systems “lock” the entire facility to a common signal (“house sync” or “house black”).

Black Level

Voltage in a video signal which corresponds to black

Blanking Level

Also known as the pedestal, it is the voltage level produced at the end of each horizontal picture line which separates the portion of the video signal containing the picture information from the portion containing the synchronizing information. This voltage makes the electron beam “invisible” as it moves to draw the next visible line.

Blanking Interval (Horizontal & Vertical)

The horizontal blanking interval is the time between the end of one scan line and the beginning of the next. The vertical blanking interval is the time between the end of one video field and the beginning of the next. Blanking occurs when a monitor’s electron beam is positioned to start a new line or a new field. The blanking interval is used to instantly reduce the beam’s amplitude so that the return trace is invisible. The screen goes blank for a fraction of second. (See VERTICAL INTERVAL SWITCHING)


Video image imperfection characterized by blurring of color borders; colors spill over defined boundaries, “run” into neighboring areas.

See also trap


A unit of data comprising of 588 BITS. There are 7350 BLOCKS in each second of information on a Compact Disc.

See also BIT


Bits per Inch, usually referring to magnetic tape recording density.


(bayonet fitting connector) Durable “professional” cable connector, attaches to VCRs for transfer of high-frequency composite video in/out signals. Connects with a push and a twist.


An overhead pole device used to position a microphone close to the actors, but out of the shot. A FISHPOLE is the portable version.


Camera move above or below subject with aid of a balanced “boom arm,” creating sense of floating into or out of a scene. Can combine effects of panning, tilting, and pedding in one fluid movement.

Burst Error

Consecutive Block Errors. Burst Errors are usually the result of fingerprints, contamination, scratches, or voids, etc. The maximum value of any single burst error must not exceed 5.

Buy Out

Music or music libraries in which a one-time fee enables the buyer to legally use the music in many productions without paying additional licensing or “needle drop” fees.


A unit of digital data comprising eight BITS.

See also BIT

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Cable/Community Access

Channel(s) of a local cable television system dedicated to community-based programming. Access centers provide free or low-cost training and use of video production equipment and facilities.

Cameo Lighting

Foreground subjects illuminated by highly directional light, appearing before a completely black background.


See XLR.


The most common type of unidirectional microphone; pickup pattern resembles a heart-shaped figure.

Catalogue Number

A number used to identify compact discs in production.


Acronym for cable TV, derived from the older term, community antenna television.

CCTV (Closed Circuit TV)

A video system used in commercial internal installations for security, medical and educational.


(Charge Coupled Device) Light-sensitive computer chip in video cameras that converts images into electrical flows. Less prone to image irregularities — burn-in, lag, streaking — than are older image sensors. [See pickup.]

C.G. (Character Generator)

An electronic typewriter that creates titles for video.

Character Generator

Device which electronically produces letters, numbers, symbols, and other graphic displays for on-screen video titling.


The color information in a video signal, consisting of hue (phase angle) and saturation (amplitude) of the color subcarrier signal.

Chroma Corrector

A device used to correct problems related to the chroma of the video signal, as well as color balance and color noise.

Chroma Noise

Noise which manifests itself in a video picture as colored snow.

Chroma Key

The process of overlaying one video signal over another by replacing a range of colors with the second signal. Typically, the first (foreground) picture is photographed with a person or object against a special, single-color background (the key-color). The second picture is inserted in place of the key-color. The most common example is in broadcast weather segments where pictures of weather maps are inserted “behind” the talent.

Chrominance & Chrominance Level

The color portion of a video signal separate from the luminance component, representing the saturation and tint at a particular point of the image. Black, gray and white have no chrominance, but any colored signal has both chrominance and luminance. The higher the chrominance level, the stronger the color (e.g., a strong signal produces red, and a weak signal, pink). Color saturation level can be changed using a proc amp.


Electronically matting or inserting an image from one camera into the picture produced by another. Also called “keying.” The subject to be inserted is shot against a solid primary color background. Signals from the two sources are merged through a special effects generator.


The color portion of a video signal.


Characteristics of color a videotape absorbs with recorded signal, divided into two categories: AM (amplitude modulation) indicates color intensity; PM (phase modulation) indicates color purity.

Chroma Key

Method of electronically inserting the image from one video source into the picture of another. Wherever a selected “key color” appears in the foreground shot, background image replaces. Frequently used on news programs to display graphics behind talent.


Portion of video signal that carries color information (hue and saturation, but not brightness); frequently abbreviated as “C.” [See luminance.]


Identification slate with hinged, striped top that smacks together for on-camera scene initiation. Originally used to synchronize movie sound with picture. [See lip-sync.]


The electronic process of cutting off the peaks of either the white or black excursions of a video signal to limit the signal. Sometimes, clipping is performed prior to modulation, and sometimes to limit the signal, so it does not exceed the limits of the composite video signal (7.5 and 100 IRE units).


Tightly framed camera shot in which principal subject is viewed at close range, appearing relatively large and dominant on screen. Extent of view may be designated “medium closeup” or “extreme closeup.” [See long shot, medium shot.]

Coaxial Cable

A standard cable consisting of a central inner conductor and a cylindrical outer conductor. Used for many video connections, especially the cable TV wire that comes into your home.

Color Bars

A standard video test pattern which includes samples of primary and secondary colors. Used to conform the colors in video monitors and other equipment.

Color Burst

The portion of a color video signal which contains a short sample of the color subcarrier used to add color to a signal. It is used as a color synchronization signal to establish a reference for the color information following it and is used by a color monitor to decode the color portion of a video signal. The color burst acts as both amplitude and phase reference for color hue and intensity. The color oscillator of a color television receiver is phase locked to the color burst.

Color Correction

A process in which the coloring in a television image is altered or corrected by electronic means. (See CHROMA CORRECTOR)

Color Decoder

A device which divides a video signal into its basic color components. In TV and video, color decoding is used to derive signals required by a video monitor from the composite or Y/C signals.

Color Phase

The phase of the chroma signal as compared to the color burst, is one of the factors that determines a video signal’s color balance.

Color Temperature

A method for measuring the overall color of a light source, measured in degrees Kelvin (deg.K). Higher numbers indicate bluer light, lower numbers indicate a warmer light. The color temperature of the lighting must match the color temperature of the camera. In video this is accomplished by setting the white balance of the camera. Sunny Daylight is approximately 5500 deg.K. Overcast daylight is higher. Fluorescent Lights are approx. 4100 deg.K. Indoor incandescent lights are 2800 deg.K and professional Movie Lights are 3200 Deg. K

Color Subcarrier

The carrier frequency (3.58 MHz in NTSC and 4.43 MHz in PAL) on which the color information is impressed. Color TV sets use special circuits which decode the color component for accurate display.

Color Bars

Standard test signal containing samples of primary and secondary colors, used as reference in aligning color video equipment. Generated electronically by a “color bar generator,” often viewed on broadcast television in off-air hours. [See test pattern.]

Color Corrector

Electronic device that dissects the colors of a video signal, allowing them to be adjusted individually.

Color Temperature

Relative amount of “white” light’s reddish or bluish qualities, measured in “degrees Kelvin.” Desirable readings for quality videomaking are 3200 — K indoors, 5600 — K outdoors. [See artificial, natural light.]

Comet Tailing

Smear of light resulting from inability of camera’s pickup to process bright objects — especially in darker settings. Object or camera in motion creates appearance of flying fireball. [See lag.]

Communication Protocol

A software language for linking computers, VCRs or edit controllers to allow bi-directional “conversation” between the units.

Compact Disc Standards

Green Book : Philip’s introduced the Green Book in 1987 to describe the CD-I standard. It goes a little further than Red and Yellow Book in that it also describes the Real Time Operating System (RTOS) that controls the CD-I system.

Orange Book : First defined in 1990, the Orange Book describes the standard for recording CD-M.O (Compact Disc Magneto Optical) discs and CD-WO (Compact Disc Write Once), or CD recordable discs. These are known as Part I and Part II respectively.

Red Book : Started in 1990 by Philip’s and Sony, Red Book is the CD Audio standard describing audio compact discs. All subsequent books are based on Red Book.

White Book : Written by Philip’s in conjunction with JVC, it describes the Video Compact Disc Format.

Yellow Book : Released in 1984 by Philip’s and Sony, Yellow Book is the standard which describes CD-ROM.

Component Video

Video signal in which luminance and synch information are recorded separately from the color information. Formats such as Betacam, SVHS and Hi-8 use component signals to achieve maximum quality. Component video comes in several flavors: RGB (red, green, blue), YUV (luminance, sync, and red/blue) and Y/C (luminance and chrominance). Y/C is also called S-Video used in the S-VHS and Hi-8 formats.

Composite Video

A video signal in which the luminance and chrominance elements have been combined in formats such as VHS.

Composite Sync

A signal consisting of horizontal sync pulses, vertical sync pulses and equalizing pulses only.


The process of electronically processing video signals so that it requires less storage on a computer hard drive. A 5:1 compression requires more storage space, but yields better quality than a 10:1 compression.

Component Video

Signal transmission system, resembling S-video concept, employed with professional videotape formats. Separates luminance and two chrominance channels to avoid quality loss from NTSC or PAL encoding.

Composite Video

Signal combining luminance and chrominance signals through an encoding process, including image’s separate RGB (red, green, blue) elements and sync information.


Superimposing multiple layers of video. Each layer may move independently.


Reducing the digital data in a video frame, typically from nearly one megabyte to 50 kilobytes or less, by throwing away information the eye can’t see. Compression makes it possible to store reasonably large amounts of video on a hard disk. JPEG, Motion-JPEG, MPEG, DVI, Indeo, Fractals and Wavelets are all compression schemes.


Visual makeup of a video picture, including such variables as balance, framing, field of view, texture — all aesthetic considerations. Combined qualities form image that’s pleasing to view, and effectively communicates.


Microphone with built-in amplifier, the type installed on camcorders. Also called capacitor or electret condenser, requires battery or external power source. [See electret condenser.]


Online editing to create the final edit master. The offline edit master is used as a guide.


[1:visual] Logical succession of recorded or edited events, necessitating consistent placement of props, positioning of characters, and progression of time. [2:directional] Consistency in camera-subject relationships, to avoid confusing a viewer’s perspective.


The degree to which luminance values contain very dark and very light values. A high-contrast picture has more black and white values with fewer values in between. A low contrast picture has more middle tones without very dark or very light areas.


Sony’s editing control protocol, also called LANC (Local Application Control), which allows two-way communication between a camcorder or VCR and an edit controller.


Panasonic 5-pin edit control protocol. Similar to Control-L, but not compatible.


Sony transport control protocol which duplicates a consumer VCR’s infra-red remote transport control. Unlike Control-L, Control-S does not allow the controller to read tape counter information.

Control Track

Type of video editing that controls the in and out points of edits by counting pulses on a control track portion of the videotape. The pulses are counted by the edit controller to perform fairly accurate editing. Edit controllers which read time code make more accurate edits.


See cucalorus.


Text or graphics — usually special announcements — that move across screen horizontally, typically from bottom right to left. Produced with character generator. [See roll.]


The audio equivalent of the video picture dissolve. The first sound track gradually fades out while the second sound track simultaneously replaces it.


The interference between two audio or two video signals. In audio crosstalk this signal leakage may occur between the left and right channels. It can be caused by poor grounding connections or improperly shielded cables. In video, crosstalk between channels can be luminance/sync crosstalk or chroma crosstalk. Video crosstalk can cause ghost images from one source appear over the other.


Close-up shot.


(cookie) Lighting accessory consisting of random pattern of cutouts that forms shadows when light passes through it. Used to imitate shadows of natural lighting.


Signal to begin, end, or otherwise influence on-camera activity while recording. [2] Presetting specific starting points of audio or video material so it’s available for immediate and precise playback when required.

Cue Card

A card with the actor’s lines written on it to enable the actor to read or remember his lines.


Instantaneous change from one shot to another. [2] Director’s command to immediately terminate on-camera action and recording.


Shot of other than principal action (but peripherally related), frequently used as transitional footage or to avoid a jump cut.

Cuts-Only Editing

Editing limited to immediate shifts from one scene to another, without smoother image transition capabilities such as dissolving or wiping. [See cut, edit.]


A background where all corners and intersections are rounded.

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Professional digital video formats. The D1 system uses component video. The D2 and D3 systems use composite video. There is no D4 format. Digital formats do not suffer from the generation loss inherent in analog formats.

DAT (Digital Audio Tape)

An audio recording and playback format developed by Sony, with a signal quality capability surpassing that of the CD.

dB (Decibel)

A logarithmic unit which expresses the ratio between two amounts of electric or acoustic signal power. Used for measuring the strength of audio and video signals.


Used mostly by CD-ROM application developers and CD mastering facilities Disc Description Protocol is a standard way of specifying what data is supplied, what processing is required, and exactly where the data is to be placed on the CD.

Digital Data Storage

A tape format for recording digital data on 3.81mm wide magnetic tape.


Measure of audio signal strength based on a logarithmic scale. Also the unit of measure for sound pressure level (loudness).


To separate a composite video signal into its component elements.

Delay Correction

When an electronic signal travels through electronic circuitry or long cable runs, delay problems may occur. This causes a displaced image. Special circuits are used to correct the delay.

Depth of Field

Area in which all objects, located at different distances from the camera, appear in focus. Varies with subject-to-camera distance, focal length of camera lens, and camera’s aperture setting.

Desktop Video

(DTV) Fusion of personal computers and home video components for elaborate videomaking capabilities rivaling those of well-financed broadcast facilities.


An electronic circuit which separates the audio and video signals from the RF carrier frequency.

Depth of Field

The range of objects in front of a camera lens which are in focus. Smaller f-stops provide greater depth of field, i.e., more of the scene, near to far, will be in focus.

Diffused light

Illuminates relatively large area indistinctly; often created with floodlights, produces soft shadows. [See directional light.]


Gauzy or translucent material that alters the quality of light passing through it to produce less intense, flatter lighting with weaker, less noticeable shadows.

Diffusion filter

Mounted at front of camcorder lens, gives videotaped images a foggy, fuzzy, dreamy look. [See filter.]


A system whereby a variable analog signal is broken down and encoded into discrete binary bits of ones and zeros. These numbers represent a mathematical model of the original signal. When copied, they do not degrade as an analog signal does. An analog-to-digital (A/D) converter chip takes samples of the signal at a fixed time interval known as sampling frequency. This digital stream is can be recorded onto magnetic media. Upon playback, a digital-to-analog (D/A) converter chip reads the binary data and reconstructs the original analog signal. Theoretically, this process should eliminate generation loss since every copy is an exact duplicate of the original. In reality, digital systems are not perfect and can introduce their own problems in maintaining the original signal. Digital signals are virtually immune to noise, distortion, crosstalk, and other quality problems.

Digital audio

Sounds that have been converted to digital information.

Digital video effects

(DVE) Electronic analog-to-digital picture modification yielding specialty image patterns and maneuvers: tumbling, strobing, page turning, mosaic, posterization, solarization, etc.


The process of converting a continuous analog video or audio signal to digital data (ones and zeros) for computer storage.


Device that captures and imports video image into a computer by converting it into digital information.

DIN (Deutsche Industrie Norme)

An international connector standard. DIN connectors carry both audio and video signals and are common on equipment in Europe.

Directional Light

Illuminates relatively small area with distinct light beam; usually created with spotlight, yields harsh, defined shadows. [See diffused light.]


Image transition effect of one picture gradually disappearing as another appears. Analogous to audio and lighting cross-fade. [See cross-fade.]

Distribution Amplifier

A device which splits and amplifies an audio and/or video source tape or signal to several audio/video outputs. Used to duplicate one videotape to any number of VCRs with minimal loss of signal strength.

Dolby ™

A compression/expansion (companding) noise reduction system developed by Ray Dolby, widely used in consumer, professional and broadcast audio applications. Signal-to-noise ratio improvement is accomplished by processing a signal before recording and reverse-processing the signal upon playback.


Camera support mounted on wheels enabling smooth movement in any direction.


Camera movement toward or away from a subject. Effect may appear same as zooming, which reduces and magnifies the image, but dollying in or out maintains perspective while changing picture size.

Downstream Keying

Electronically superimposing text or graphics over a scene (luminance key) or of placing one video image into another (chroma key). The Downstream Key signal must be genlocked to the other signals.


Director of Photography


A defect on the videotape which causes a brief flash of a horizontal black line on the screen. Commonly found at the beginning and end of tapes. The quality of videotape is graded by the number of dropouts and priced accordingly. Videotape signal voids, viewed as fleeting white specks or streaks. Usually result of minute “bare spots” on a tape’s magnetic particle coating, or tape debris covering particles and blocking signals.

Drop Frame

A type of SMPTE time code designed to exactly match the real time of common clocks. To accomplish this, two frames of time code are dropped every minute, on the minute, except every tenth minute. This corrects for the fact that video frames occur at a rate of 29.97 per second, rather than an exact 30 frames per second (see Non-Drop Frame). This time code system is used in television to insure that broadcast times coincide with real time.


See desktop video.


Process or result of duplicating a videotape in its entirety. [2] Editing technique whereby new audio or video replaces portion(s) of existing recording. Also called a dupe.


Digital Video Effects. A shot can bend, twist and fold into various shapes. Before the advent of the VIDEO TOASTER, this was an expensive post-production special effect. Also, the trade name for a video system manufactured by NEC.

D.V.I. (Digital Video Interface)

Multimedia standard for computer generated text and graphics which cab be transferred to video.


Microphone type, also called “moving coil.” Works much like a loudspeaker in reverse, employing a simple magnet and wire coil to convert sound waves into an electrical signal.

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Extreme close-up shot.

ED Beta

(Extended Definition Beta) Improved version of the original half-inch Betamax video format, yielding sharper pictures with 500-line resolution. [See Betamax.]


Process or result of selectively recording video and/or audio on finished videotape. Typically involves reviewing raw footage and transferring desired segments from master tape(s) onto new tape in a predetermined sequence. [See assemble edit, in-camera editing, insert edit.]

Edit controller

Electronic programmer used in conjunction with VCRs/camcorders to facilitate automated videotape editing with speed, precision, and convenience.

Edit control protocols

Types of signals designed to communicate between computers and tape decks–record, pause, rewind and so on.

Edit decision list

(EDL) Handwritten or computer-generated compilation of all post-production edits to be executed in a video work.

Edited master

See master.

E.D.L. (Edit Decision List)

A complete list of time code numbers for each shot and sound used in the offline edit master. These time code numbers are used to create the final online


(electronic field production) Film-style production approach using a single camera to record on location. Typically shot for post-production application, non-live feed.


Compact videocassette format, popularized by camcorders, employing 8-millimeter-wide videotape. [See Hi8.]

Electret condenser

Microphone type incorporating a precharged element, eliminating need for bulky power sources. [See condenser.]


The timing specification standard for NTSC broadcast video equipment.


The photo sensitive layer on a piece of film or paper.


The process of combining analog or digital video signals, e.g., red, green and blue, into a composite signal.


“Combiner” device that translates a video signal into a different format — RGB to composite. Horizontal and vertical sync information joins individual red/green/blue components.


(electronic news gathering) Use of portable video cameras, lighting and sound equipment to record news events in the field quickly, conveniently, and efficiently.


See image enhancer.


(extended play) Slowest tape speed of a VHS VCR, accommodating six-hour recordings. [See LP, SP.]


Emphasizing specific audio or video frequencies and eliminating others as signal control measure, usually to produce particular sonic qualities. Achieved with equalizer.

Essence Data or Essence Media

All program content consists of two parts, essence and metadata. Essence data is the actual video/visual media. This data can be one or more of a variety of essence data types: Video Data: This can be uncompressed video, RGB, HDTV, 2,000 X 2,000 pixel moving images, proprietary video file architectures, or one of the common compressed video formats such as MPEG-2, QuickTime, .AVI, DV, etc. Audio Data: This could include any digital audio source (audio clip from a single track on an NLE, .AIFF, .WAV, Audio CD, DAT, etc.).

Essential area

Boundaries within which contents of a television picture are sure to be seen, regardless of size differences in receiver displays. Also called “critical area” and “safe title area,” encompasses 80 percent of total screen.

Establishing shot

Opening picture of a program or scene. Usually a wide and/or distant perspective, orients viewer to overall setting and surroundings. [See long shot.]


Accessory talent not essential to a production, assuming some peripheral on-camera role. In movie work, performers with fewer than five lines are called “under fives.”

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Gradual diminishing or heightening of visual and/or audio intensity. “Fade out” or “fade to black,” “fade in” or “up from black” are common terms.


Federal Communications Commission. The U.S. Agency which governs radio and television broadcasting.


Act or result of transmitting a video signal from one point to another.


[1:video] Infinite loop of visual patterns from signal output being fed back as input; achieved by aiming live camera at receiving monitor. [2:audio] Echo effect at low levels, howl or piercing squeal at extremes, from audio signal being fed back to itself; achieved by aiming live microphone at receiving speaker.


One-half of a television frame, containing all the odd or even scanning lines of the picture. In NTSC 262.5 horizontal lines at 59.94 Hz. In PAL 312.5 lines at 50 Hz.

Field of view

Extent of a shot that’s visible through a particular lens; its vista.

Fill light

Supplementary illumination, usually from a floodlight positioned midway between camera and subject, which lightens or eliminates shadows created by key light. [See back light, key light, three-point lighting.]

Film Chain

Projectors, multiplexors and cameras, used to transfer film to video.


Out-of-sequence shooting approach, to be edited in appropriate order at post-production stage. Advantageous for concentrating on and completing recording at one location at a time, continuity and convenience assured.


Transparent material, typically glass accessory, mounted at front of camcorder lens to regulate light passing through. Manipulates colors and image patterns, often for special effect purposes.


Bright flashes and/or extreme contrast reduction evident in picture, caused by excessive light beaming into a camera’s lens and reflecting off its internal glass elements.

Flat Lighting

Illumination characterized by even, diffused light without shadows, highlights, or contrast. May impede viewer’s sense of depth, dimension, drama.


Radiates a diffused, scattered blanket of light with soft, indistinct shadows. Best used to spread illumination on broad areas, whereas spotlights focus on individual subjects.

Fluid head

Tripod mount type containing viscous fluid which lubricates moving parts, dampens friction. Design facilitates smooth camera moves, alleviates jerkiness. [See friction head.]

Flying Erase Head

Accessory video head mounted on spinning headwheel, incorporated in newer camcorders and VCRs to eliminate glitches and rainbow noise between scenes recorded or edited. [See head.]

Focal Length

A measurement of the magnification of a lens indicated in millimeters. A zoom lens has a variable focal length which allows the camera to film closer or farther from the subject without moving the camera or subject. A 9mm – 100mm lens can makes its widest shot at 9mm, its closest at 100mm.


Personal sound effects, like footsteps, breathing or punches used to heighten realism.

Follow Focus

Controlling lens focus so that an image maintains sharpness and clarity despite camera and/or subject movement.


Videotape and video equipment design differences — physical and technical — dictating compatibility and quality. In most basic sense, refers to standardized tape widths, videocassette sizes. [See Betamax, D1/D2, 8mm, three-quarter-inch, VHS.]


The smallest increment of a complete television picture, equal to one-thirtieth of a second.


A digital device designed to store and display a single frame of video as a freeze frame. (See also Still Store.)

Frame Synchronizer

Digital device which synchronizes two or more video signals. The frame synchronizer uses one of its inputs as a reference and genlocks the other video signals to the reference’s sync and color burst signals. By delaying the other signals so that each line and field starts at the same time, two or more video images can be blended, wiped and otherwise processed together. (A Time Base Corrector takes this a step further by synchronizing both signals to a stable reference, eliminating time base errors from both sources.)


High-speed digitizer capable of capturing frames at rate necessary to create real-time motion.


Act of composing a shot in the camcorder’s viewfinder for desired content, angle, and field of view — overall composition.

Freeze frame

Single frame paused and displayed for an extended period during video playback; suspended motion perceived as still snapshot.


Number of vibrations produced by a signal or sound, usually expressed as cycles per second, or hertz (Hz).

Frequency Response

Measure of the range of frequencies a medium can respond to and reproduce. Good video response maintains picture detail; good audio response accommodates the broadest range, most exacting sound.

Friction Head

Tripod mount type with strong spring that counterbalances camera weight, relying on friction to hold its position. More appropriate for still photography than movement-oriented videomaking. [See fluid head.]


Numbers corresponding to variable size of camera’s iris opening, and thus amount of light passing through lens. The higher the number, the less light enters. [See iris.]

Full-motion video

A standard for video playback on a computer; refers to smooth-flowing, full-color video, similar to a VCR or television. Also known as full-screen, full- or true-color, or full-motion video.


See special effects.

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Production crew technician responsible for placement and rigging of all lighting instruments.

Gaffer’s Tape

Similar to duct tape, but vastly superior. Used extensively in film and video production.


Video amplification, signal strength. “Riding gain” means varying controls to achieve desired contrast levels.


Colored material placed in front of a light source to alter its hue. Useful for correcting mismatches in lighting, as in scenes lit by both daylight and artificial light.


Relationship between a master video recording and a given copy of that master. A copy of a copy of the original master constitutes a second-generation duplication.

Generation Loss

Created when editing or copying one analog videotape to another videotape. Most apparent in less expensive video formats. Theoretically absent from digital video editing.


Device which allows computer text and graphics to be recorded or superimposed on video. Also includes a fader to fade video or computer graphics.


A system whereby the internal sync generator in a device, such as a camera, locks on to and synchronizes itself with a separate incoming signal.


Undesirable faint double screen image caused by signal reflection or improperly balanced video circuitry. “Ringing” appears as repeated image edges.


Momentary picture disturbance.


Blanketed signal noise viewed as fuzziness, unsmooth images — attributable to luminance inadequacies.

Graphic/CG/ Animation

This can be one of the many graphic, animation or text formats (.tif, .tga, .jpg, .pix, etc.) plus you could have a proprietary or user defined essence and a physical essence source such as videotape.

Green Book

See compact disc standards


Production crew stagehand responsible for handling equipment, props, and scenery before, during, and after production.


Film or video production assistant often sent to “Go for” coffee or other essentials.

Guerrilla Producer

One who produces an effective video on a shoestring budget.

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Hard Disks

Common digital storage component in a computer. For video use, hard disks need: 1) an access time of less than 10 milliseconds; 2) a sustained throughput (data transfer rate) of 3 Megabytes per second; and 3) a maximum time for housekeeping of 33 milliseconds (one video frame).

Hard Light

Type of light that creates brilliant highlights and sharp shadows.


Trade name of a sophisticated digital effects system by Quantel. Includes Quantel’s Paintbox digital effects generator.


(high-definition television) “In the works” television system standard affording greater resolution for sharper pictures and wide-screen viewing via specially-designed TV equipment.


[1] Electromagnetic components within camcorders and VCRs that record, receive, and erase video and audio signals on magnetic tape. [2] Tripod’s camera mount. [See fluid head, friction head.]


Space remaining between the top of a subject’s head and a monitor’s upper screen edge. Composition consideration.


(high-band 8mm) Improved version of 8mm videotape format characterized by higher luminance resolution for a sharper picture. Compact “conceptual equivalent” of Super-VHS. [See 8mm.]


(high fidelity) Generalized term defining audio quality approaching the limits of human hearing, pertinent to high-quality sound reproduction systems.


Primary background signal interference in audio recording, result of circuit noise from a playback recorder’s amplifiers or from a tape’s residual magnetism.

Horizontal Resolution

Specification denoting amount of discernable detail across a screen’s width. Measured in lines, the higher the number the better the picture quality. [See resolution.]

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The signal generated by the smallest (3Bit) pits on a Compact Disc. The Red Book specification for I3 is 0.3 to 0.7 millivolts. As a means of ensuring compatibility with all types of domestic and commercial players. See Red Book


The signal generated by the largest (11 Bit) pits on a Compact Disc. The Red Book specification for I11 is = or > 0.6 millivolts.

See Red Book

Identification and location metadata: 

Anything that can identify a bit of essence media (ie, file source type, location of a videotape, etc.)

Image Enhancer

Video signal processor that compensates for picture detail losses and distortion occurring in recording and playback. Exaggerates transitions between light and dark areas by enhancing high frequency region of video spectrum.

Image Sensor

See pickup.image sensor


The drawn indication of the components of a job placed in their final position required for printing.

In-camera editing

Assembling finished program “on the fly” as you videotape simply by activating and pausing camcorder’s record function. Reduces or eliminates post-production work, but allows less control over finished program and usually imposes quality concessions. [See edit.]

Incident Light

That which emanates directly from a light source, measured from the object it strikes to the source. [See reflected light.]


Ability of some VCRs to electronically mark specific points on videotape for future access, either during the recording process (VISS: VHS index search system) or as scenes are played back (VASS: VHS address search system).

Insert Edit

An electronic edit in which the existing control track is not replaced during the editing process. The new segment is inserted onto a prerecorded black video tape. See also Assembly Edit.

Insert Shot

A close-up shot used to hide an edit or to emphasize a detail.


The manner in which a television picture is composed scanning alternate lines to produce one field, approximately every 1/60 of a second in NTSC. Two fields comprise one television frame resulting in the NTSC television frame rate of approximately 30 fps.

Interpretive Metadata:

This can be language descriptions, scene/take, character, camera angle, artists/creators, organizations, etc. Imagine all dialog automatically translated (speech-to-text) and associated and linked to the spoken word.

In The Can

Same as “that’s a wrap” to indicate that the scene or program which has been completed.


Camcorder’s diaphragm lens opening or aperture, regulates amount of light entering camera. Size measured in f-stops. [See f-stop.]


International Standards Organization.

ISO 9660

An international standard file system devised for CD-ROM discs to enable them to be read on as many computer operating systems as possible.

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Any female socket or receptacle, usually on the backside of video and audio equipment; accepts plug for circuit connection.

Jam Sync

Process of synchronizing a secondary time code generator with a selected master time code, e.g., using the time code generated by one camera to insert the identical time code on a second camera.


Video image aberration seen as slight, fast vertical or horizontal shifting of a picture or portion of one.


Manual control on sophisticated VCRs, facilitates viewing and editing precision and convenience. Jog ring moves tape short distances to show a frame at a time; shuttle dial transports tape forward or reverse more rapidly for faster scanning.

Jump cut

Unnatural, abrupt switch from and to shots identical in subject but slightly different in screen location. Awkward progression makes subject appear to jump from one screen location to another. Remedied with cutaway. A jarring edit caused by the choice of shots rather than any technical imperfection.

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Temperature scale used to define the color of a light source; abbreviated as “K.” [See color temperature.]

Key light

Principal illumination source on a subject or scene, normally positioned slightly off center and angled to provide shadow detail. [See back light, fill light, three-point lighting.]


Perspective distortion from a flat object being shot by a camera at other than a perpendicular angle. Nearer portion of object appears larger than farther part.


Also called a “hair light.” Placed behind the subject to create a glamorous halo effect on the hair or a rugged-looking highlight on the cheek. Helps separate the subject from the background.


Also called “Kine.” A method of making a film copy of a television program in the days before the existence of Video Recorders. A movie camera was aimed at a specially designed television monitor. Before video recorders were invented this was the only means of recording TV programs. Many kinescopes are now over 40 years old and have the potential to outlast videotapes that were created much later.

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Camera pickup’s retention of an image after the camera has been moved, most common under low light levels. Comet tailing is a form of lag.


The area between the PITS on a Compact Disc.



An acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.


Small, easily concealed, unobtrusive, and aesthetically pleasing microphone, typically attached to clothing or worn around the neck for interview settings.


Transferring the sweetened audio track back to the master video tape. See SWEETENING.


The area of a Compact Disc between 23mm – 25mm containing the Table of Contents (TOC) data.

See also TOC


The area of a Compact Disc that follows the program area.

Linear editing

Analog, tape-based editing. Called linear because scenes are laid in a line along the tape. Has many disadvantages, such as the need to rewind and fast forward and the inability to insert footage without re-recording everything that follows. Compare with nonlinear editing.

Lip sync

Proper synchronization of video with audio — lip movement with audible speech. Better known as technique widely practiced with music video recordings, whereby “vocalists” mime to playback of prerecorded music. [See synchronous sound.]


Any place filming occurs except a studio.


A paper listing of the time code addresses of shots, scenes and takes. The log is an efficient way to find shots during editing.

Long shot

Camera view of a subject or scene, usually from a distance, showing a broad perspective. [See closeup, establishing shot, medium shot.]


(long play) Middle tape speed of a VHS VCR, accommodating four-hour recordings. [See EP, SP.]


(longitudinal time code) Frame identification numbers encoded as an audio signal and recorded lengthwise on the edge of a tape. (See time code, VITC).


Black-and-white portion of video signal, carries brightness information representing picture contrast, light and dark qualities; frequently abbreviated as “Y.” [See chrominance.]


Amount of lumens in a square meter. Means of measuring a camcorder’s low-light sensitivity — minimum amount of illumination required to record an “acceptable” image. Lower the lux reading the greater the sensitivity.

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Lens capable of extreme closeup focusing, useful for intimate views of small subjects.


Original recorded videotape footage; “edited master” implies original copy of tape in its edited form. Duplications constitute generational differences.

Match Frame Edit

An edit in which the source and record tapes pick up exactly where they left off. Often used to extend or correct a previous edit. Also called a “frame cut.”

Matched Dissolve

Dissolve from one image to another that’s similar in appearance or shot size. [See dissolve.]

Medium Shot

Defines any camera perspective between long shot and closeup, whereby subjects are viewed from medium distance. [See closeup, long shot.]

Memory Effect

Power-loss phenomenon alleged of NiCad — camcorder batteries, attributed to precisely repetitive partial discharge followed by complete recharge, or long-term overcharge. Considered misnomer for “voltage depression” and “cell imbalance.”


Metadata is pretty much all the data that cannot be seen or heard. EDLs, timecode, and sync/blanking information is metadata.


“Mike,” short for “microphone.”


(musical instrument digital interface) System of communication between digital electronic instruments allowing synchronization and distribution of musical information.


[1:audio] Combining two or more sound sources, with various channels controlled to achieve desired balance of single audio signal output. Executed with audio mixer. [2:video] Combining video signals from two or more sources.

Model Release

Agreement to be signed by anyone appearing in a video work, protecting videomaker from right of privacy lawsuit. Specifies event, date, compensation provisions, and rights being waived.


A video display similar to a TV, but having superior visual quality and without a tuner. An audio monitor is a speaker. N.T.S.C. National Television Standards Committee created this first international television system for use in the U.S. and other countries. It produces pictures by creating 525 alternating lines across the TV screen for each frame of video. Since PAL and SECAM, the other two world systems, were developed later, they took advantage of better technology. Insiders joke that NTSC means “Never The Same Color.”


One-legged camera support. [See tripod.]


Rapid sequence of video shots assembled to communicate a particular image or mood. Juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated material can conjure new idea or message.


“Mit Out Sound” a slang term for silent shooting actually from the German “mit out sprechen” (without talking).


Electronic special effect whereby individual pixels comprising an image are blown up into larger blocks — a kind of checkerboard effect. [See DVE.]


Refers to a standard method of compressing audio and video data down to 1/50th of their original size. This standard was developed by the Motion Pictures Experts Group.


Device for mixing television signals to a single video recorder.

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Nanosecond (nsc)

One billionth of a second. An indication of the precision required in the timing of video signals.

Natural Light

Planetary illumination — from sun, moon, stars — be it indoors or out. Has higher color temperature than artificial light, and thus more bluish qualities. [See artificial light, color temperature.]

Neutral-density filter

(ND) Mounted at front of camcorder lens, reduces light intensity without affecting its color qualities. [See filter.]


(nickel cadmium) Abbreviation coined and popularized by SAFT America for lightweight camcorder battery type designed to maintain power longer than traditional lead-acid batteries.


Undesirable video or audio signal interference; typically seen as snow, heard as hiss.

Noninterlaced video

Process of scanning complete frames in one pass, painting every line on the screen, yielding higher picture quality than that of interlaced video. Most computers produce a noninterlaced video signal; NTSC is interlaced. [See interlaced.]

Non-Drop Frame

A type of SMPTE time code that continuously counts a full 30 frames per second. As a result, non-drop-fame time code does not exactly match real time. See also DROP FRAME.

Nonlinear editing

Digital “cut and paste” editing that uses a hard drive instead of tape to store images. Random access allows easy arrangement of scenes in any order. Also eliminates the need for rewinding and allows for multiple dubs without generational loss.

Nonsynchronous sound

Audio without precisely matching visuals. Usually recorded separately, includes wild sound, sound effects, or music incorporated in post-production. [See synchronous sound.]


(National Television Standards Committee) Group formed by Federal Communications Commission to regulate U.S. television broadcasting specifications. NTSC refers to all video systems conforming to this 525-line 30-frame-per-second signal standard. [See PAL, SECAM.]

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The creative editing process which uses copies of the camera tapes on a typically “cuts only” inexpensive editing system. All creative decisions and approvals are made during this process.


Microphone pickup pattern whereby sound is absorbed equally from all directions. [See bidirectional, unidirectional.]


The final technical editing process which uses the original camera tapes to repeat all decisions made in the offline editing process. Online editing uses a more sophisticated and expensive editing system capable of transitions like dissolves and wipes.


Footage not to be included in final production.

Over-the-shoulder shot

View of primary camera subject framed by another subject’s shoulder and back of head in foreground. Common in interview situations, perspective affords sense of depth.


The magnetic coating on video and audio tapes that stores picture and sound information. Iron oxide is created by combining iron and oxygen. The more primitive form is called rust. P.A.L. Phase Alternation by Line. An international television standard. (see N.T.S.C.)

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(phase alternate line) 625-line 25-frame-per-second television signal standard, incompatible with NTSC, used in Europe. [See NTSC, SECAM.]


Horizontal camera pivot, right to left or left to right, from a stationary position. Follows a subject, redirects viewer’s attention from one subject to another, shows relationships between subjects, and scans subjects too large to fit into one shot.

Paper Edit

A list of edits made entirely on paper by viewing Window Dub copies of the original camera tapes.

Parameters Metadata

This could be signal coding, storage type, streaming parameters, etc.


Vertical camera movement, rising or lowering, with camera levelness maintained. Approaching closer to either floor or ceiling, the up/down equivalent of dollying.

Phone plug

Sturdy male connector compatible with audio accessories, particularly for insertion of microphone and headphone cables. Not to be confused with phono plug.

Phono plug

Also called “RCA” or “RCA phono,” popular cable connector for home audio as well as video components. Standard connection for direct audio/video inputs/outputs. Not to be confused with phone plug.


[1] A video camera’s image sensing element, either CCD (charge coupled device) or MOS (metal oxide semiconductor); converts light to electrical energy. [See CCD.] [2] A microphone’s sound reception.

Pickup pattern

Defines a microphone’s response to sounds arriving from various directions or angles. [See bidirectional, omnidirectional, unidirectional.]


(picture in picture, p-in-p, pix in pix) Image from a second video source inset on a screen’s main picture, the big and small pictures usually being interchangeable.


A misnomer for the moulded bumps (as viewed by the laser of a CD player), on a replicated Compact Disc. A PIT will be read as a number of zeroes dependant upon it’s length, (as will a LAND), and the change in profile from a PIT to a LAND will be read as a one.

See land


Videotaped material viewed and heard as recorded, facilitated by camcorder or VCR.

Playback VCR

Playback source of raw video footage (master or workprint) in basic player/recorder editing setup. [See recording VCR.]

Point of view

(POV) Shot perspective whereby the camera assumes subject’s view, and thus viewers see what the subject sees as if through his/her/its eyes.

Polarizing filter

Mounted at front of camcorder lens, thwarts undesirable glare and reflections. [See filter.]


The area immediately following a CD-ROM track, and either precedes an audio track or lead out.

Post production

(post) Any video production activity following initial recording. Typically involves editing, addition of background music, voiceover, sound effects, titles, and/or various electronic visual effects. Results in completed production.


Electronic special effect transforming a normal video image into a collage of flattened single-colored areas, without graduations of color and brightness. [See DVE.]

P.O.V. Point Of View.

A subjective shot from the actor’s point of view. The 1946 film, “The Lady In The Lake,” holds the dubious distinction of being the only feature film in which every shot is a point of view shot. The hero is seen only once in a mirror.


More accurately known as Pregap 1 or Pregap 2. Pregap is the area before a CD-ROM track.


The vital phase of production in which the script, budget, locations, actors and props are planned.


[1] Slight backing-up function of camcorders and VCRs when preparing for tape recording; ensures smooth, uninterrupted transitions between scenes. [2] Usually for on-air applications, starting tape playback earlier than necessary to ensure full operating speed and stabilization.

Proc amp

(processing amplifier) Video image processor that boosts video signal’s luminance, chroma, and sync components to correct such problems as low light, weak color, or wrong tint.

Process Metadata

This how the essence media is assembled (how the media is composited or edited). This data may be used to automatically assemble a new essence media.


The actual filming and creation of the raw elements as required by the script.


Short for “properties,” objects used either in decorating a set (set props) or by talent (hand props).

Protection Master

A high quality copy of the master tape. Inexpensive insurance in the event that the master is lost or damaged.


Pulse Code Modulation




(pressure zone microphone) Small, sensitive condenser mike, usually attached to a 5-inch-square metal backing plate. Senses air pressure changes in tiny gap between mike element and plate. [See condenser.]

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Rack focus

Shifting focus during a shot in progress, typically between background and foreground subjects. Respective clarity and blurriness — or vice versa — switches.

Radial tracking

Radial Tracking (RT) is an indication of how accurately the laser pick-up of a CD player can locate and follow the track on a particular disc. The RT value is inversely proportional to the depth of the pits.

See push pull


The area of a TV picture tube that is scanned by the electron beam. Also the active area of visual display on a TV, monitor or any cathode ray tube (CRT).

Raw footage

Pre-edited recordings, usually direct from camera. [See edit, master.]

RCA plug

See phono plug.

Reaction shot

Cutaway view showing someone’s or something’s response to primary action/subject. [See cutaway.]

Real time

The actual time during which video recording occurs, distinguished from the tampering of time via editing.

Real-time counter

Tallying device that accounts for videotape playing/recording by measure of hours, minutes, and seconds.


Television set that includes a tuner as well as an audio amplifier and speaker. Accommodates broadcast RF signals, whereas a monitor accepts composite video signals only. [See monitor.]

Recording VCR

Recipient of raw video feed (master or workprint) and recorder of edited videotape in basic player/recorder editing setup. [See playback VCR.]

Red Book

See compact disc standards

Reflected light

That which bounces off the illuminated subject. [See incident light.]


Lighting accessory helpful for spreading light as well as filling in shadows. Often made of lightweight reflective metal or poster board covered with metallic material.

Relational Metadata

This includes the links, synchronization or relationships between essence media objects.


[1] Videomaking performed “on location,” outside controlled studio environment. [2] Equipment allowing from-a-distance control, usually without physical connections.

Rendering time

The time it takes a DTV computer to compute a wipe or DVE from two video sources, typically 30 seconds to “render” a 30-frame effect. Analog SEGs do this in real time.


Amount of picture detail reproduced by a video system, influenced by a camera’s pickup, lens, internal optics, recording medium, and playback monitor. The more detail, the sharper and better defined the picture. [See horizontal resolution.]

Rewritable Consumer

(RC) Time code sent through Control-L interface permitting extremely accurate edits. Each frame is assigned a unique address expressed in hours:minutes:seconds:frames.


(Radio Frequency) Combination of audio and video signals coded as a channel number, necessary for television broadcasts as well as some closed-circuit distribution.

RF converter

Device that converts audio and video signals into a combined RF signal suitable for reception by a standard TV.


(red, green, blue) Video signal transmission system that differentiates and processes all color information in separate red, green, and blue components — primary colors of light — for optimum image quality. Also defines type of color monitor.


See ghosting.


Automatic updating of an Edit Decision List after making a change to the list. “Ripple the list.”


Text or graphics — usually credits — that move up or down the screen, typically from bottom to top. Produced with character generator. [See crawl.]

Rough cut

Raw, tentative edit of footage in the approximate sequence, length, and content of finished program. Gives preliminary indication of eventual actual work. [See edit.]

Rule of thirds

Composition consideration suggesting that a picture appeals most with its primary point of interest appearing off-center. With screen divided into thirds vertically and horizontally, important elements should be targeted wherever imaginary lines cross.

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Safe Action Area

Electronic or physical markings on camera viewfinders and video monitors as the area that will be visible on most TV screens. Defined as 90% of the screen area measured from the center.

Safe Title Area

The area on a monitor defined as 80% of the screen area measured from the center. Keeping the title within this area insures that the complete title will be visible on ALL TV sets.

Sampling rate

The sampling rate for all Compact Disc recordings is 44.1KHz. This means that every second of information is comprised of 44,100 individual samples.

Sample Reel

Also called a demo reel or tape. Contains samples of a person’s or company’s best video work for the purposes of marketing.

Scan Converter

Device that changes scan rate of a video signal, possibly converting it from noninterlaced to interlaced mode. Allows computer graphics to be displayed on a standard video screen, for example.

Scan Line

Result of television’s swift scanning process which sweeps out a series of horizontal lines from left to right, then down a bit and left to right again. Complete NTSC picture consists of 525 scan lines per frame.

Scan rate

Number of times a screen is “redrawn” per second. Computer displays operate at different scan rates than standard video.


In the language of moving images, a sequence of related shots usually constituting action in one particular location. [See shot.]


Lighting accessory made of wire mesh, lessens intensity of light source without softening it. Half scrims and graduated scrims reduce illumination in more specific areas.


Text specifying content of a production or performance, used as a guide. May include character and setting profiles, production directives (audio, lighting, scenery, camera moves), as well as dialogue to be recited by talent. [See storyboard.]


(sequential color and memory) 625-line 25-frame-per-second television signal standard used in France, former communist-block countries and a few other areas including parts of Africa. Incompatible with NTSC; PAL and SECAM are partially compatible. [See NTSC, PAL.]


See special effects generator.

Selective focus

Adjusting camera focus to emphasize desired subject(s) in a shot. Selected area maintains clarity, image sharpness while remainder of image blurs. Useful for directing viewer’s attention.


Brassy “antique” look characteristic of old photographs. For video images, tone achieved with a special lens filter or electronically with an SEG.

Shooting ratio

Amount of raw footage recorded relative to the amount used in edited, finished program.


All pictorial material recorded by a camera. More strictly speaking, shots are intentional, isolated camera views which collectively comprise a scene. [See scene.]


Highly directional microphone with long “barrel,” designed to pick up sound from extreme subject-to-mike distances.

Signal-to-noise ratio

(S/N) Relationship between signal strength and a medium’s inherent noise. Video S/N indicates how grainy or snowy a picture will be, plus color accuracy; audio S/N specifies amount of background tape hiss present with low- or no-volume recordings. Higher the S/N the cleaner the playback.


(1A) or haze (UV) filter Mounted at front of camcorder lens, virtually clear glass absorbs ultraviolet light. Also excellent as constant lens protector. [See filter.]


A board on which script information, such as scene and shot numbers, is written. The slate is then filmed at the beginning of each shot to make the editor’s job easier.


Time code standard for film, video, and audio named for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, which sanctions standards for recording systems in North America. [See time code.]


See signal-to-noise ratio.


Open-ended cylindrical funnel mounted on a light source to project a narrow, concentrated circle of illumination.


Electronic picture interference; resembles scattered snow on the television screen. Synonymous with chroma and luma noise.

Soft Light

Light which is diffused and creates very soft shadows.


Electronic special effect distorting a video image’s original colors, emphasizing some and de-emphasizing others for a “paint brush” effect. [See DVE.]

Sound bite

Any recorded video or audio-only segment salvageable for use in edited program — usually a highlight phrase or event. Common component of broadcast news.

Sound effects

Contrived audio, usually prerecorded, incorporated with a video soundtrack to resemble the real thing. Blowing on a microphone, for example, might simulate wind to accompany hurricane images.


The audio portion of a video recording, often multifaceted with voiceover, background music, sound effects, etc. In film industry, refers more strictly to musical score.


(standard play) Fastest tape speed of a VHS VCR, accommodating two-hour recordings. [See EP, LP.]

Spatial and Temporal Metadata

This could be creation dates, ingestion date, modification dates, durations, event times, delays, screen position of objects, layer of object, etc.

Special effects

(FX) Tricks and illusions — electronic or on camera — employed in film and video to define, distort, or defy reality.

Special Effects Generator

(SEG) Video signal processor with vast, but varying, image manipulation capabilities involving patterns and placement as well as color and texture: mixing, multiplying, shrinking, strobing, wiping, dissolving, flipping, colorizing, etc. [See DVE, switcher.]


Radiates a well-defined directional beam of light, casting hard, distinct shadows. Best used to focus illumination on individual subjects, whereas floodlights blanket broader areas.


Video signal processor used primarily for tape dubbing to eliminate picture jump and jitter, maintain stability.

Stacking ring

A circular ridge used to separate the discs during the processing to stop them sticking.

Star filter

Mounted at front of camcorder lens, gives videotaped light sources a starburst effect. Generally available in four-, six-, and eight-point patterns. [See filter.]


Sound emanating from two isolated sources, intended to simulate pattern of natural human hearing.

Still Store

Device which stores individual video frames, either in analog or digital form, allowing extremely fast access time.

Stock shot

Common footage — city traffic, a rainbow — conveniently accessed as needed. Similar to a “photo file” in the photography profession.


Series of cartoon-like sketches illustrating key visual stages (shots, scenes) of planned production, accompanied by corresponding audio information. [See script.]


Digital variation of fixed-speed slow motion, with image action broken down into a series of still frames updated and replaced by new ones at rapid speed. [See DVE.]


(super) Non-inherent titles or graphics appearing over an existing video picture, partially or completely hiding areas they cover. A picture superimposed on another can appear transparent.


(S-VHS, S-VHS-C) Improved version of VHS and VHS-C videotape formats, characterized by separate carriers of chrominance and luminance information, yielding a sharper picture. A video format developed by JVC which has largely replaced the 3/4 inch format for low budget productions. [See VHS, VHS-C.]


Also known as Y/C video, signal type employed with Hi8 and S-VHS video formats. Transmits chrominance and luminance portions separately via multiple wires, thereby avoiding the NTSC encoding process and its inevitable picture quality degradation.


Audio postproduction where audio is corrected and enhanced. Music, narration and sound effects are mixed with original sound elements.

Swish pan

See whip pan.


Simplified SEG, permits video signal mixing from two or more sources — cameras, time base correctors, character generators — for dissolves, wipes, and other clean transition effects.


(synchronization) Horizontal and vertical timing signals or electronic pulses — component of composite signal, supplied separately in RGB systems. Aligns video origination (live camera, videotape) and reproduction (monitor or receiver) sources.

Synchronous sound

Audio recorded with images. When the mouth moves, the words come out. [See lip sync, nonsynchronous sound.]

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Generic term for the people or creatures assuming primary on-screen roles in a videotaping.

Tally light

Automatic indicators on camera front and within viewfinder that signal recording in progress — seen by both camera subject(s) and operator.


An individual shot. When time and budgets permit, many takes may be filmed of the same shot.

Target Audience

The intended viewers. Successful business videos must define and address this audience.


See time base corrector.

Telecine Converter

Imaging device used in conjunction with a movie projector and camcorder to transfer film images to videotape.


Camera lens with long focal length, narrow horizontal field of view. Opposite of wide-angle, captures magnified, closeup images from considerable distance.


(prompter) Mechanical device that projects and advances text on mirror directly in front of camera’s lens, allowing talent to read their lines while appearing to maintain eye contact with viewers.

Test pattern

Any of various combinations of converging lines, alignment marks, and gray scales appearing on screen to aid in video equipment adjustment for picture alignment, registration, and contrast. Often viewed on broadcast television in off-air hours. [See color bars.]

Three-point lighting

Basic lighting approach employing key, back, and fill lights to illuminate subject with sense of depth and texture. Strategic placement imitates natural outdoor lighting environment, avoids flat lighting. [See back light, fill light, key light.]


(U-matic) Most popular professional/industrial video format employing larger cassettes and three-quarter-inch tape, as opposed to the half-inch width of VHS and Beta “consumer” formats. Related equipment is generally larger and sturdier, format’s recording considered superior. U-MATIC – Trade name for the 3/4 inch video format developed by Sony. ¾ SP is an enhanced version. Formerly the standard for broadcast-quality, still used at many cable TV stations.


Camera view including three subjects, generally applicable to interview situations.


Camera “pan” move in a vertical direction, down or up, from a stationary position. Follows movement, contrasts differences in size between two subjects, or gives viewer point-of-view sense of a subject’s height.


A device to correct timing errors which can cause unstable edits. These errors are caused by the slight mechanical defects inherent in the playback of video tape machines. Essential for online editing and duplication. This device can “clean up” a consumer VHS video so that it meets F.C.C. “broadcast quality” standards.


Movement of the camera on its vertical axis.

Time Code

A system of numbering each frame of video with a unique address divided into hours, minutes, seconds and frames. There are 30 video still frames per second. See also DROP FRAME, NON-DROP FRAME, VITC, LTC.

Time-lapse recording

Periodically videotaping a minimal number of frames over long durations of actual time. Upon playback, slow processes such as a flower blooming may be viewed in rapid motion.

Time Line Editing

A computer-based method of editing in which video and audio clips are represented on a computer screen by bars proportional to the length of the clip. These bars can be moved and resized along a grid whose horizontal axis relates to the time of the program. Compare EDL.


Process or result of incorporating on-screen text as credits, captions, or any other alphanumeric communication to video viewers. [See character generator.]


Table of Contents. Located in the area of the disc before track 1 called the lead-in, the TOC contains information such as the number of tracks, the location of each track, the length of each track, etc. on the CD.

See lead-in


[1] Lateral camera movement aligned with moving subject; background appears to move. Camera should maintain regulated distance from subject. [2] Positioning of video and/or audio heads over a videotape’s recorded signals. [See head.]


See bleeding


Three-legged camera mount offering stability and camera placement/movement consistency. Most are lightweight, used for remote recording. [See monopod.]

Trucking Shot

A camera move which films the subject from side to side.


Television and VCR component that receives RF signals from an antenna or other RF sources and decodes into separate audio and video signals.


Camera view including two subjects, generally applicable to interview situations.

Type C

SMPTE standard for 1-inch non-segmented helical video recording format.

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See three-quarter-inch.


Trade name of a high-quality special effects system similar to a chromakey switcher. Electronic version of the blue screen technique used for motion picture special effects.


Special video monitor that can reduce the size of the video image so the four outer frame edges can be viewed in their entirety.


What the name implies, lighting accessory available in various sizes usually made of textured gold or silver fabric. Facilitates soft, shadowless illumination by reflecting light onto a scene.


Highly selective microphone pickup pattern, rejects sound coming from behind while absorbing that from in front. [See bidirectional, omnidirectional.]

User Bits

Portions of VITC and LTC (time code) reserved for recording information of the user’s choosing, e.g., date, scene numbers.

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See videocassette recorder.


Electronic testing device that measures a video signal’s chrominance performance, plotting qualities in a compass-like graphic display.

Vertical Interval

Indicates the vertical blanking period between each video field. Contains additional scan lines above the active picture area into which non-picture information (captioning, copy protection and other control signals) may be embedded.

Vertical Sync

Synchronizing pulses used to define the end of one television field and the start of the next, occurring at a rate of approximately 59.94 Hz.


(Vertical Interval Time Code pronounced vitSEE) This type of time code is recorded in the vertical blanking interval above the active picture area. Can be read from video tape in the “still mode.” See also LTC (Longitudinal Time Code).


(video home system) Predominant half-inch videotape format developed by Matsushita and licensed by JVC. [See Super-VHS.]


(VHS compact) Scaled-down version of VHS using miniature cassettes compatible with full-size VHS equipment through use of adapter. [See Super-VHS.]

Videocassette recorder

(VCR) Multifunction machine intended primarily for recording and playback of videotape stored in cassettes.

Video Toaster

Software/hardware developed by NewTek for the Amiga Computer. Made special effects affordable for the low budget producer.


A video photographer who specializes in events like weddings.

Video Prompter

A mechanical device that projects and advances text on a mirror directly in front of a camera lens, allowing talent to read lines while appearing to maintain eye contact with viewers.


Visual special effect whereby viewers see images through a perceived keyhole, heart shape, diamond — whatever. In low-budget form, achieved by aiming camera through cutout of desired vignette.


Undesirable darkening at the corners of a picture, as if viewer’s peering through a telescope, due to improper matching of lens to camera — pickup’s scope exceeds lens size.


See vertical interval time code.


Narration accompanying picture, heard above background sound or music, without narrator seen on camera. Talk’s typically applied to edited visual during post-production.


Video Tape Recorder.

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Waveform Monitor

Specialized oscilloscope testing device providing a graphic display of a video signal’s strength. Plus, like a sophisticated light meter, aids in precise setting of picture’s maximum brightness level for optimum contrast.

Whip Pan

(swish pan) Extremely rapid camera movement from left to right or right to left, appearing as image blur. Two such pans in the same direction — one moving from, the other moving to a stationary shot — edited together can effectively convey passage of time.

White Balance

A color camera function which determines how much red, green and blue is required to produce a normal-looking white. Shots made with improper white balance will have an abnormal color tint.

White Book

See compact disc standards


Camera lens with short focal length and broad horizontal field of view. Opposite of telephoto, supports viewer perspective and tends to reinforce perception of depth.

Wild sound

Nonsynchronous audio recorded independent of picture — rain on roof, 5 o’clock whistle — often captured with separate audio recorder. Sound recorded after the visuals and edited into the master to enhance realism. [See nonsynchronous sound.]

Window Dub

Also called a “burn in.” A copy of the original camera tape with time code numbers visually displayed. A window dub that is made in the VHS format can be viewed, logged and edited on paper with a home VCR to save editing expenses.


Sponge-like microphone shield, thwarts undesirable noise from wind and rapid mike movement.


Picture transition from one scene to another wherein the new scene is revealed by a moving line or pattern. In simplest form, simulates a window shade being drawn. More sophisticated variations include colorized wipes, quivering wipes, triangle wipes, and Venetian blind wipes.

Wireless Microphone

Consisting of radio transmitter and receiver, utilizes low-power radio signal for cable-free operation.


Copy of a master videotape used for edit planning and rough cut without excessively wearing or otherwise jeopardizing safekeeping of original material. Also called “working master.”

Wow and Flutter

Sound distortions consisting of a slow rise and fall of pitch, caused by speed variations in audio/video playback system.

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Three-pin plug for three-conductor “balanced” audio cable, employed with high-quality microphones, mixers, and other audio equipment. Also called “Cannon.”


Symbol for luminance, or brightness, portion of a video signal; the complete color video signal consists of R,G,B and Y.

Y/C video

See S-video.

Yellow Book

See compact disc standards.


Variance of focal length, bringing subject into and out of closeup range. Lens capability permits change from wide-angle to telephoto, or vice versa, in one continuous move. “Zoom in” and “zoom out” are common terms.

Zoom Happy

One who indulges in the gratification of zooming in and out to the torment of viewers. Common in home movies.

Zoom ratio

Range of a lens’ focal length, from most “zoomed in” field of view to most “zoomed out.” Expressed as ratio: 6:1, for example, implies same lens from same distance can make same image appear six-times closer. [See focal length, zoom.]