Film & Video’s ultimate A-Z glossary of video production terms. Go ahead, dive in and give it a share…
2D: Two dimensional. In animation, refers to the images sitting flat on the screen.
2.5D: A combination of two and three-dimensional images in an animation.
3D: Three dimensional. When images are created using the Z axis as well as X and Y – giving the illusion of depth.
360: 360-degree video. Video that can be viewed from all angles rather than a fixed 16:9 frame. Great for the travel sector. Can be viewed with or without a VR headset.
4K: Ultra high-definition resolution that includes 4,000 horizontal pixels and 2,000 vertical pixels. We like to shoot 4K whenever possible.
8K: Ultra high-definition resolution that includes 8,000 horizontal pixels and 4,000 vertical pixels.
Adobe CC: A software package for creating media.
Aerial filming: Filming from the sky using drones or helicopters, to get dramatic high, low and sweeping angles. Always increases production values, which reflect well on your brand.
Amends: Changes to a video. Might include changing the music, removing a frame, or restructuring the entire thing. Amends are included in our packages.
Animatic: A short, basic animation, used as a test to make sure everyone is happy with the direction it is going. So you know what you’re getting.
Animation: A video made of designs or drawings rather than real life footage. Could be hand-drawn or computer-generated, 2D, 2.5D or 3D. Great for explainers.
Audio levels: Audio levels refer to the volume of the audio. The levels can change depending on the video. These will duck to make room for dialogue.
Audio mix: Ensuring all the levels are balanced so the music does not compete with voices or sound effects. Done at the end of the project.
After Effects: Software used for animation or visual effects.
Assembly: An extremely early version of the video, before the rough cut. Barely more than putting the shots in the right order, but it is where we start to build the story.
Assets: Anything included in a physical video, from video rushes and images to music and audio files.
Assistant: A member of the film crew who supports a key member of staff. Could be assisting sound, camera or the producer. Useful person for our clients too.
B-Cam: A second camera, used in addition to the main camera. It gives the editor a different angle to cut to when editing a video.
Branded content: Brand-funded original video content that focuses on being useful, engaging and entertaining rather than a traditional ‘hard-sell’. Audiences are receptive to it, and brands see increase in reach, engagement and conversion. We were early pioneers of this sector, now a multi-billion dollar industry.
Breathing: Leaving pauses between sections of a film structure to aid punctuation and the wider narrative; “needs room to breathe”. Related to pacing. Might also be referred to as adding (non-musical) ‘beats’.
Call Sheet: A document that provides all of the consolidated shoot information for the cast and crew. It includes locations, times, equipment, contact details, locations of the nearest hospitals, emergency information, risk assessments, and any other information the crew might need.
Camera Operator: The member of crew responsible for using the camera and capturing the footage on a shoot. A skilled member of the team, adept at using cameras from DSLRs all the way through to professional Sony FS7, F55, Arri Alexas, REDs and more.
Captions: Could refer to exact subtitles for the hard of hearing, or supporting text for platforms where videos are autoplayed mute, like Facebook.
Clearcast: UK agency that must review all advertising content before it is broadcast on TV. Uses very specific criteria to pass or fail content prior to transmission.
Da Vinci: Software used to manipulate the colours of a video to create a specific effect or visual tone.
Delivery: When the production company gives the client the final file(s). The delivery file types vary depending on what the client will use the video for.
Depth of Field: The visual effect that separates the foreground from the background in a video image, by blurring the background. The depth of field changes based on the aperture of the camera lens.
Development: The process in which a client and the producer develops and then settles on a story, theme and type of video before making it. We like to do this with mood boards, brainstorm sessions, reference videos and getting embedded with your brand and its ethos.
DIT: Digital Imaging Technician. The member of crew on set in charge of ingesting footage from the cameras into the hard drives for safe storage. The footage is then taken to the editor to begin post-production.
DoP: Also, DP: Director of Photography. Frequently a camera operator too. Works alongside the director. In charge of the look, lighting and composition of the film using various complex physical and technical skills. We use different DoPs depending on the vibe and genre of production.
Edit: A version of the film. A film might have several different edits. We can provide different edits for different platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, broadcast, events, regional versions with translations and more.
Editor: The person who edits the film. Works with the director to choose the best shots, form the overall narrative and assemble your film. The editor may also add logos, music and a basic colour grade. Although we always suggest using dedicated people for these additional tasks for even higher production quality.
Executive Producer: The senior person in charge of the entire project. We recommend assigning an Executive Producer whenever possible. Usually part of bigger projects. Often the company owner too.
Export: When the film has been edited it exists as an exported video file such as ProRes or H264. We will provide you with a high-res master and a smaller file type.
Eye Direct: A mirrored device that attaches to the camera, allowing the person being interviewed to see the interviewer while looking straight at the camera lens. This makes the interview more direct and engaging than an off-camera format.
Frame rate: Refers to the number of the frames in one second. A high frame rate can give a video a very smooth look, or be used to slow video down to slow motion.
Gaffer: The member of crew in charge of lighting. Works closely with the DP to rig lights and reflectors to convey a certain mood or tone. Usually in charge of a team of sparks.
Gimbal: A gimbal is a device used to mount a camera on. The gimbal will smooth out any bumps normally visible when shooting handheld.
Grade: When video content is recorded, the colours are flat and raw. The colour will vary from location to location, indoors or out. We colour grade it at the end of the process to bring it to life. Type of grade depends on the sensibilities of the film. We might do this in Premiere or in Da Vinci.
Graphic: Graphics in a video refers to a static graphic element. Moving graphics are referred to as animations or motion graphics.
Graphic Match: An editing technique where an object passes frame, and using that object to transition to a different shot.
Grip: A lighting and rigging technician. He or she works closely with the camera crew and DoP on set. Invaluable on bigger shoots.
Handheld: Handheld is when the camera operator is using the camera in his own hands, instead of on a tripod or a gimbal.
HD: High Definition. Content with 1080 horizontal lines of resolution. Standard for all modern screens. We often shoot in 4K – nearly 4 times the resolution of ‘standard 4k’. This future-proofs your content. UHD – ultra high definition and 8k has also now been developed. Some scenes of the London 2012 Olympics were test filmed in 8k.
HDD: Hard Disk Drive. A hard drive used for storage, either built into a camera or a portable desktop drive used on shoots.
HDR: High dynamic range. The expansion of not only the range of colour, but also the amount of information displayed for the whitest white and the blackest black. Newer cameras shoot in HDR which gives the image a lot more detail. Requires a TV capable of outputting HDR to watch it.
J Cut: An editing technique wherein the audio from the second shot starts before the first video cuts. Named after the shape of the clips as they appear in the editing software.
L Cut: An editing technique wherein the video cuts to the second shot while the audio of the first shot is still playing. Named after the shape of the clips as they appear in the editing software.
Lens: The lens is the part that delivers the light to the sensor. The lens can have different apertures and focal lengths. These influence how the final image will look.
Location: The place where the filming takes place. Could be interior or exterior. From luxury penthouse apartments to empty factories and airports. We use a library of locations to match your requirement.
Lower Thirds: Lower thirds refers to any graphic or animation in the lower third of the video frame. Usually this would be a name and occupation card.
Match Cut: An editing technique wherein one shot cuts to another with a similar composition or theme – for example cutting from the wheel of a car to a round frying pan.
Morph Cut: An editing effect in Adobe Premiere which blends frames, allowing an editor to mask a cut between two shots of the same composition. Very effective in hiding cuts in static single takes, like interviews, but less effective when there’s a lot going on in the shot.
Motion Control: A specialised camera rig wherein the camera is mounted on a robotic arm. The movement is pre-programmed, allowing for stylish, precise camera moves that would not be possible by hand.
Motion Graphics: Computer generated graphics. Could be moving titles, logos, annotations, characters or an entire film made of computer animated images.
Native advertising: Content such as an article or video that is designed to advertise a product but matches the form and function of its platform. Very closely related to branded content – arguably the same.
Out of home: Video advertising that appears on billboards and other public screens.
Overlay: An overlay in a video can refer to any graphics, titles, or other layers above the video.
Pacing: Variations of speed and timing within a finished video. Relates to a combination of script, video, voiceover and music. Sometimes a video might seem too fast, or too slow – adjusted throughout the post production process. See ‘breathing’. You’re always invited to comment on the pacing of your film.
Post-production: Once a video has been filmed, post-production is when it is edited, graded, sound mixed, and finished to become the final film.
Pre-production: Before filming, pre-production is the process of developing the concept, writing a treatment and/or script, storyboarding and generally planning the production of the video. We take care of the whole process for you.
Premiere: A software used for editing video projects.
Prime lenses: Camera lenses with a fixed focal length, as opposed to zoom lenses. Prime lenses can add richer production values that reflect well on brands.
Production: The process where the actual video is filmed with a camera crew, or the animation is created by the artists, illustrators and motion graphics designers. The main bulk of the video production process.
ProRes: A high quality video format used in editing and exporting. Masters are often delivered in ProRes (422, 444 etc).
Proxies: Lower resolution versions of the original video files, to make editing easier.
Recce: Short for ‘reconnaissance.’ A couple of members of crew – usually the Producer and the DP – will head to the location before the shoot to figure out logistics of lighting, power, access, parking etc. This isn’t always needed but it does speed up the shoot.
Render: Similar to an export. When a motion graphics project is exported, the file is known as a render. Some editing software requires a ‘render’ (without export) for smooth playback. You’ll hear us referring to renders and rendering a lot.
Rough cut: The first version of the unfinished video. Often includes a sample voiceover and music, placeholder graphics, and indicative of the direction of travel. Should resemble the agreed approach. Not usually for public viewing. Still malleable. This is the moment to consolidate any feedback for the edit to proceed into the next pass. Our producer will guide you through this.
Rushes: The raw, unedited video files that come straight from the camera.
SD: Standard definition (less than 720p). Not much use anymore unless it’s for artistic purposes.
Sequence: A short section of a video that follows a chain of events – maybe a character or an action. Generally a video consists of a series of sequences.
Sequence: A timeline in Adobe Premiere Pro. When editing, the sequence has its own settings such as resolution, frame rate etc. These relate to the export preferences and ingested material.
Sensor: The sensor is the part of the camera which actually captures the light coming through the lens. The quality and size of the sensor can both influence the quality of the image.
SFX: Sound effects or ‘foley’. Sound added in to the video during the edit to support the visuals. Sound is often overlooked (pardon the pun), but vital. Foley is sound that has been recorded after the shoot to sound like the image seen on screen.
Showreel: Sometimes also referred to a Sizzle-reel. A short video to showcase a person’s or agencies work. Like this.
Shutter: The shutter determines the “Look” of the shot. For action scenes, for example, a higher shutter speed is used to give the scene a more urgent look.
Slow TV: A video that is paced very slowly, usually of nature, intended to have on in the background.
Sparks: Electricians who work with the gaffer and the DP. They do a lot of heavy lifting and cable wrangling to get the lights in place.
Steadicam: A balanced camera rig that lets the Camera Operator capture smooth tracking shots without any of the shake and wobble that comes with handheld filming.
Stream/Live Stream: A video that is not recorded, but broadcast directly to the viewing platform.
Storage: Video files are huge, and projects can be hundreds of gigabytes. Production companies store them on hard drives and servers.
Storyboard: A series of still images to help you imagine what the film will look like.
Style frame: A still image – usually a mockup of one frame of an animated film – to help you decide on the final style. Similar to a mood-board.
Subtitles: On-screen text of what a person in a video is saying, usually for hearing-impaired audiences or translations.
Sound design: The use of bespoke sound effects to help bring a film to life during post-production. Good sound design is often subliminal. It adds an extra dimension to your film. Vital in animation and motion graphics.
Thumbnail: An image used to show what the video is about, before it has started playing.
Timeline: A visual representation of the film in editing software. Video clips, titles, logos, music all appear as coloured blocks which are rearranged on the timeline. See ‘Sequence’
Titles: On-screen text or moving images that help illustrate points in the video. Opening titles may be used in TV.
Title safe: A border around the screen that ensures titles will not disappear off the screen if the monitor is not set up correctly. Particularly important in broadcast.
TVC: Television commercial. A short advertisement played during a break on a commercial TV channel.
UHD: See – 4K & 8K – We shoot 4k where possible to future proof client content.
Video frame: A single frame (still image) taken from the video. Traditionally one second of footage is made of 25 frames. Incredibly, researchers have developed a camera that can shoot at 4.4 trillion frames per second. That’s fast.
Voiceover: A spoken narration and commentary to accompany the video. Recorded in a sound studio. We use a range of artists, male and female.
VR: Virtual Reality – the use of a headset to immerse yourself in a digital world. Usually interactive, always impressive. Contact us for VR / 360 services.