Glossary for Filmmaking Terms
Numbers printed on the edge of a print to allow easy identification of frames.
Edit Decision List (EDL)
Complete list of time code numbers for each shot and sound used in the off-line edit master. These time code numbers are used to create the final on-line edit master.
Reconstructing the sequence of events in a movie.
Individual who performs editing (in consultation with the director) on a movie.
Section of a production's crew responsible for lighting and other electrical matters during filming.
Grip that specializes in the equipment of the electrical department.
Thin layer of silver attached to base of a film strip. The silver reacts with the light when exposed which creates a film image.
Refers to the composition of a film's emulsion and how it was manufactured. (Example: fast/slow, daylight/tungsten, etc.) The emulsion type is represented by a number which varies from one company to another.
Process of combining analog or digital video signals, e.g., red, green and blue, into a composite signal.
Film with large dramatic scope or that required an immense production.
Wide shot showing much of the location.
Producer who is not involved in any technical aspects of the filmmaking process, but who is still responsible for the overall production usually handling business and legal issues.
AKA "E.I." or "ASA." It is the specific number used to measure film speed.
Exposure Index (E.I.)
Number which is used to measure a film's speed based upon the film stock's sensitivity to light. Similar to A.S.A. and I.S.O.
Used in a slug line, indicates that the scene occurs outdoors.
Individual who appears in a movie where a non-specific, non-speaking character is required, usually as part of a crowd or in the background of a scene.
Extreme Close-up (ECU)
Shot in which the subject is much larger than the frame. Provides more detail than a close-up.
Extreme Long Shot
Camera cue in direction used to describe a shot taken by a long distance from the subject
Direction an actor should be focused on, off-screen, so as to match a reverse angle or point-of-view shot.
A scale that measures the size of the opening of an iris. The traditional scale runs: 1.4, 2, 2.8, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22. The smaller the number, the larger the opening of the iris, allowing more light. Conversely - the larger the number, the smaller the iris, allowing less light.
Smooth, gradual transition from a normal image to complete blackness (fade out), or vice versa (fade in).
First words typed in a script. Literally means "to begin."
Last words in a script which means "the end."
Shot which in which time appears to move more quickly than normal. The process is commonly achieved by either deleting select frames (called "skip frames") or by undercranking.
Movie at least 60 minutes long intended for theatrical release or script at least 90 pages long.
Event at which films can often premiere
One-half of a television frame, containing all the odd or even scanning lines of the picture.
After the key light (primary light) is set, a fill light softens the shadows created by the key light.
Process whereby images recorded on film stock are transferred to a negative print.
Reel of film stock ready for use in a camera.
Describes a genre of film which typically features dark, brooding characters, corruption, detectives, and the seedy side of the big city.
The plane of depth from the lens of the film (behind the gate) in the camera.
Process of transferring images from a negative print to a print.
Film stock has a variety of speeds which is created by the size of the silver halides in the emulsion. The smaller the grain, the slower the film which in turn requires more light to achieve the correct exposure.
The physical medium on which images are recorded.
Collective term used to refer to people who have a significant degree of control over the creation of a movie: directors, producers, screenwriters, and editors.
A device, usually a piece of glass or plastic, that is positioned in front of a lens to create an effect or change the color temp of an image.
As set forth in the Writers Guild of America Minimum Basic Agreement, a first complete draft of any script in continuity form, including dialogue.
Aperatus consisting of a black cloth on a frame that blocks part of a light source.
Pattern of light that washes out a film roll at the start and end of the roll. Another type of flare is a "lens flare" which occurs when light hits the lens and and causes the image to be foggy.
A single frame between two shots that is completely blank or clear.
Scene that breaks the chronological continuity of the main narrative by depicting events which happened in the past.
Scene that breaks the chronological continuity of the main narrative by depicting events which happen in the future.
An editing table that has a screen in the center with several editing plates lying flat.
A measurement of the magnification of a lens indicated in millimeters.
Sharpness of an image, or the adjustments made on a camera necessary to achieve this.
Group of approximately 10/12 members of the public that represent the target audience for a film who attend a sneak preview and then offer feedback to producers before further editing.
Member of the camera crew who adjusts the focus of the camera during filming.
Art of recreating incidental sound effects (such as footsteps) in synchronization with the visual component of a movie.
Individual who creates (or edits) the foley sound effects.
Shot in which the camera focus is changed to compensate for the movement of the action or the camera itself.
Simply, a measurement of light. The formula is "the light of one candle, one foot away."
Amount of film that has been shot or the entirety of exposed film.
Objects or action which is closest to the camera.
Describes the equipment and film or tape used. Examples for film: (8mm, Super 8, 16mm, 35mm). For video: (VHS, HI-8, Beta).
Individual picture image which eventually appears on a print OR in video: A complete television picture made up of two fields, produced at the rate of 29.97 Hz (color NTSC), or 30 Hz (black & white NTSC).
Movies are created by taking a rapid sequence of pictures (frames) of action and by displaying these frames at the same rate at which they were recorded, the illusion of motion can be created. Film=24 frames per second and Video=30fps (in Europe using P.A.L.=25 fps).
Optical printing effect whereby a single frame is repeated to give the illusion that all action has stopped.
Mag stock with a layer of oxide that covers one side. 16mm is fullcoat, but 35mm can be either fullcoat or stripe.
Head of the electrical department.
Cloth tape that looks similar to electrical duct tape without the sticky residue.
AKA "film gate." Opening on a camera (or projector) behind the lens through which a single frame is exposed (or projected).
Tinted piece of transparent plastic which covers a light source.
A "look-see" type of meeting in which a writer meets with a producer, production executive, studio executive, and so forth, as a form of introduction. Generally, in this meeting the producer, production executive, studio executive, and so forth, does not have a specific project in mind for which the writer will be hired.
Created when editing or copying one analog videotape to another videotape.
Form of animation similar to stop motion, but which incorporates motion blur.
Film or video production assistant often sent to "Go for" coffee or other essentials.
To give a film project the studio backing and financing to begin principal photography.
Individual responsible for the adjustment and maintenance of production equipment on the set.
Also known as "first dollar gross," this form of compensation entitles an individual to a percentage of every dollar of gross receipts.
One who produces an effective video on a shoestring budget.
Gas contained in the lamp of a quartz light.
Shooting without the use of a tripod.
Type of light that creates brilliant highlights and sharp shadows.
Space between the top of a subject's head and the top of the frame.
Video format technically similar to SVHS which uses smaller cassettes.
Phrase connected with scripts which have a premise or storyline which is easily reduced to a simple and appealing one line.
Image consists primarily of light tones, without dark shadows. A photograph or painting so composed features a diminished tonal range of primarily whites and light greys.
Agent/agency's practice in which an individual(s) is represented by the agent/agency on a single project only, with no agreement that the agency or agent will continue to represent the individual once the project or interest in the project has ended.
Powerful and bright (but heavy and rather expensive) light that is balanced for daylight. Stands for "Halogen Metal Incandescence."
Set on which a scene is in the process of being shot; labeled thus to indicate that it should not be changed or disturbed.
Distance set on the focusing ring which will best use the depth of field for a particular shot.
Abbreviation for "International Standards Organization." It is the same thing as I.E. or A.S.A., though used less.
In The Can
Same as "that's a wrap" to indicate that the scene or program which has been shot.
Incident Light Reading
The amount of light measured that hits the camera's subject. The reading is taken with a light meter in which the globe or sphere of the meter is held up against the subject, pointing towards the camera, so that the same amount of lighting that strikes the subject is also striking the meter.
Independent Film /Indie
Movie not produced by a major studio.
Close-up shot of an object, often produced by the second unit.
An electronic edit in which the existing control track is not replaced during the editing process.
Used in a slug line, indicates that the scene occurs indoors.
Middle grade copy of a film that is used to make additional prints.
Copy of a film on extremely fine grained stock used to make an internegative.
Title card appearing intercut with a scene.
Opening in the lens which controls the amount of light that passes through the camera to expose the film. Measured in "f-stops."
A system that is used to measure the sensitivity of digital imaging systems.
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.
Cut involving an interruption to the continuity of time.
(1) Abbreviation for "Kelvin" (scale used for color temp) or (2) an abbreviation for "Kilowatts" (measurement of brightness).
Color temperature scale created by Lord Kelvin.
Chief of a group of grips, often doubling for a construction coordinator and a backup for the camera crew.
The primary light used to illuminate a subject.
Light placed behind the subject to create a glamorous halo effect on the hair or a rugged-looking highlight on the cheek which helps separate the subject from the background.