Glossary for Filmmaking Terms
AKA "tungsten" or "halogen" light. Hot/bright light (3200K) which uses a tungsten filament in a quartz container. This type of light can be quite "explosive" so take care never to touch bulb with bare hands. Always use gloves or some type of rag/cloth.
Device that assists in the quick mount/dismount of a camera from its tripod.
Changing (racking) the focus on the focus ring while shooting.
Exposed film that has yet to see any type of editing.
Film stock that is unexposed.
Member of the sound crew responsible for mixing the final sound elements (dialogue, music, sound effects and foley).
Shot of a person reacting to dialogue or action.
Individual who reads scripts and writes down synopsis of the plotline, offering positive or negative comments (the process is called "providing coverage"), which assist studio execs or interested parties if script is worthwhile.
Period after a writer has been hired to write an assignment that a hiring body will review. This body will give suggestions and decide whether to pick up the option to have the writer produce further work.
Leftover (unexposed) film in a magazine that is still good to use.
Gross funds from a film that are required to pay off negative costs, overhead, ongoing distribution fees, interest, financing and distribution costs, and, in appropriate cases, payment of gross participations.
(1) Sample of filmmaker's projects (much like a resume). (2) Metallic (or plastic) spool which is used for holding film during editing (or projection).
Reflective Light Reading
Another type of light reading that differs from "Incident LR." This type of reading is the measurement of light that is bouncing off the subject.
Viewfinding system in which the view finder uses the same lens that is used to shoot the image.
Statement signed by an individual that generally frees the creator of the document from any kind of liability.
Print made after the "answer print" has been agreed upon. This is the copy of the film that is distributed to theatrical houses for public presentation.
Type of film and film processing which generates a positive original print.
Shot from the opposite side of the prior shot. (Example: a conversation between two actors).
More than a polish, this is considered the writing of significant changes in plot, story line, or interrelationship of characters in a screenplay.
Provision of the Artists/Managers Basic Agreement of the Writers Guild of America in which the contract between WGA members and signatory agencies has been pre-negotiated.
Automatic updating of an Edit Decision List after making a change to the list.
Notion of dramatic rhythm in which events in a story build upon one another with increasing momentum.
Credit rolls consist of video text moving vertically up or down the screen, usually from bottom to top.
A recording of the natural ambient "silence" in a set/location for the sound editor, who will use it as a reference point, or for when silence is required.
Animation technique in which images of live action are traced, either manually or automatically.
Edited film between an assembly cut and a fine cut.
AKA "Dailies." This is the unedited workprint, direct from the lab, that is scrutinized to see how the shoot came out.
Area beyond the "live area" of a camera's viewfinder that the camera operator might direct the boom operator to place the boom microphone.
A "back-up" take done after a successful one has been shot.
Contains samples of a person's or company's best video work for the purposes of marketing; a.k.a. demo reel.
Script a writer has created on his own initiative and used to attain meetings for the writer in order to expose him to the entertainment industry.
Writing for payment on the minimum rates set forth in the Writers Guild of America Minimum Basic Agreement. Basic rate is scale plus 10 percent in order to include the commission that the writer's agent will receive.
Continuous block of storytelling either set in a single location or following a particular character.
Method used by some writers to outline their script by describing each scene on an index card, then arranging and rearranging them to work out the story structure.
The musical component of a movie's soundtrack.
Sync recording which is created for a reference for the sound editor (or the actors who must re-record dialogue).
Screen Actors Guild (SAG)
Union guild for screen and television talent.
Credit given to a writer who has written a screenplay based on another writer's work but has used the other writer's work only as a springboard, a characterization, an incident, or some equally limited contribution, creating a story that is substantially new and different from the other writer's work.
Form of audition in which an actor performs a particular role on camera, not necessarily with the correct make-up or on the set.
Exhibition of a movie, typically at a cinema.
A script written to be produced as a movie. Normally between 90-120 pp.
A writer who either adapts an existing work for production as a movie, or creates a new screenplay.
A written work detailing story, setting, and dialogue. A script may take the form of a screenplay, shooting script, lined script, continuity script, or a spec script.
Process whereby a script is reviewed and changed, based on input from various sources such as the director or producer.
Individual who tracks which parts have been filmed, how the filmed scenes deviated from the script; they also make continuity notes, creating a lined script.
SECAM (Systeme Electronique Pour Colour Avec Memorie)
The color television system developed/used in France as well as in other parts of eastern Europe & Africa.
Second Assistant Camera
An assistant to the assistant cameraman.
Second Assistant Director
Assistant to the assistant director whose duties include overseeing the movements of the cast, and preparing call sheets.
Second Second Assistant Director
Assistant to the second assistant director; responsible for (among other things) directing the movements of extras.
Small, subordinate crew responsible for filming shots of less importance, such as inserts, crowds, scenery, etc.
The "selected" shots that are going to be used in editing which are separated from the remaining footage.
Seperation of Rights
Rights given to the creator of an original written material. Includes: publication, audio, live stage, live dramatic tape, live television, radio, and writer sequels and remakes.
Movie that presents the continuation of characters and/or events of a previously filmed movie.
A multi-part film that usually screened a chapter each week at a cinema.
Sequence of films with continuing characters or themes, but with little other interdependence, especially with respect to plot or significant character development.
Contract that a writer-client signs with an agency for representation in order to receive writing assignments.
An artificial environment which is constructed to make filming easier but still appear natural when viewed from the camera angle
Individual responsible for translating a production designer's vision of the movie's environment into a set which can be used for filming.
Set piece (film), an elaborate sequence which sees a chase, fight, or other action taking place in an original and memorable way. (Wikipedia)
Term describing both the function of the first act in posing of the problem which the story will try to resolve, and in a more general way, the process of laying the groundwork for a dramatic or comic situation which will later be complicated, and then resolved or paid off.
Ratio of the film shot compared to the actual running time. (Example: Ten hours of footage for a 1 hour film would have a 10:1 shooting ratio).
Production schedule for shooting a film with the scenes from a script grouped together and ordered with production considerations in mind.
Script from which a movie is made which contains that includes scene numbers, camera angles, inserts, and certain directors/cinematographers input.
Short Subject/ Short
Movie that is shorter than 60 minutes.
Continuous block of unedited footage from a single point of view.
Arrangement of key elements within the frame.
Highly directional microphone that may be hand-held or mounted on a boom.
Length of time that a single frame is exposed for.
Film that has no synchronized soundtrack and no spoken dialogue.
Rate for silent films is 18fps.
Film stock that has only one row of perforations along its edge.
Comedy in which humor is derived from people being placed in uncomfortable, embarrassing, or unfamiliar situations.
Small blackboard (chalkboard) used to record the scene number of a specific shoot. Usually has a clapstick attached at the top which is "clapped" to create a sync mark.
Shot which in which time appears to move more slowly than normal.
A header appearing in a script before each scene or shot detailing the location, date, and time that the following action is intended to occur in.
Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE)
Technical society devoted to advancing the theory and application of motion-imaging technology including film, television, video, computer imaging, and telecommunications.
Light which is diffused and creates very soft shadows .
Group of crew members directly involved with creating of a movie's soundtrack: sound designer, sound editor, sound effects, sound mixer, sound recordist, boom operator, re-recording mixer, music supervisor, and foley artist.
The conceptual chief of a movie's soundtrack, responsible for designing and creating the audio component of a movie.
Member of the sound crew who performs editing on the soundtrack. See also dialog editor.
Sounds added during post-production by the sound crew.
Process of re-recording multiple reels of track to produce one final soundtrack, which includes all dialogue, "looped" dialogue (ADR), music, sound effects and foley, and narration (if any), for each reel of picture.
Member of the sound crew responsible for operating the audio recording equipment on a set.
Large studio area where elaborate sets may be constructed.
The audio component of a movie.
A role is one in which the character speaks scripted dialogue in contrast to a "non-speaking role" where the character is specifically mentioned in the script but who doesn't have any lines of dialogue in the finished film.
Script written before any agreement has been entered into ("on spec" or speculation), in hopes of selling the script to the highest bidder once it has been completed.
Special Effects (SFX)
Artificial effect used to create an illusion in a movie.
Special Effects Supervisor
Chief of a production's special effects crew.
Term shouted out during the beginning of a shot by the cameraman or sound recordist to let crew know that the camera is rolling.
Optical system which in which the magnifications in the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the picture are the same.
Editing technique of joining two separate pieces of film together (using tape or cement) to create a continuous piece.
Matte shot that is divided down the center creating two (or more) images at the same time.
Small explosive device, which when detonated ,will simulate the effect of a bullet/puncture wound or small explosion.
Individual who has the same physical properties of a particular actor, and takes their place during the lengthy setup of a scene.
Camera attached to a camera operator via a mechanical harness which reduces or eliminates the unsteadiness of the operator's motion.
Method used by some writers to outline their story by numbering the major scenes and the order in which they occur.
Individual who photographs the action (often alongside the camera) to be used in publicizing the movie.
Footage from other films that are used in a production.
Form of animation in which objects are filmed frame-by-frame and altered slightly in between each frame.
Sequence of pictures created by a production illustrator to communicate the desired general visual appearance on camera of a scene or movie.
Individual who arranges and plans stunts.
Stunt performer who specifically takes the part of another actor for a stunt.
Also called the "B Story," the subplot is used in various ways, weaving in and out of the main action.
Words which are superimposed over a film which mirror the dialog that is heard at the time.
16mm film on which a wider image is exposed. Used mainly when planning to blow up the film to 35mm.
Sound system which creates the illusion of multi-directional sound through speaker placement and signal processing.
Video format developed by JVC which has largely replaced the 3/4 inch format for low budget productions.
Audio post-production where audio is corrected and enhanced.
Group within the art department that construct and take down a set.
Device with a series of video inputs that permits one or more selected inputs to be combined, manipulated and sent out on the program line or edit VCR.
The degree in which a picture and accompanying sound are lined up together.
The sound (usually dialogue) that is actually recorded via a crystal or cable sync during filming. Not to be confused with room tone, sound effects, or other non-diagetic sound.
Process of which the film and sound are lined up before editing them together.
Summary of a story told in present tense.