Y Z FilmLand


The Dictionary is an extensive on-line reference of film, video and audio terminology as applicable to production and post production. While we have endeavored to create as complete a resource as possible, the usage of some terms will vary depending on the country and region in which it is used. Most usages are easily understood, while others tend to be somewhat cryptic.

Whenever there is a term which you can not find here, you might be dealing with new film, video, or audio production slang. For the moment, you should query the Webmaster with any questions about words not appearing herein. We also welcome the submission of additional terms for inclusion here.


A/B Printing:

Printing from original film stock which has been conformed into two rolls with alternating shots and black opaque leader. This methodology will eliminate any potential splice marks from showing up on prints and permits the incorporation of optical effects and titles. (Film Editing)

A/B Rolls:

Two or more rolls of film having alternate scenes intercut with opaque leaders in such a way that the 'A' roll presents its picture at the same time that the 'B' roll presents opaque leader, and vice versa. (Film Editing)

Above the Line:

Refers to the creative elements of a production such as the writer, producer, director and actors. Literally, these are the elements which appeared above a bold line which divided standard production budget sheets. (Production)


Alternating Current. An electric current with periodically changing polarity (i.e. 60 times a second for 60Hz power). (Electricity)

Accent Light:

A light unit that emphasizes one subject. This might be a key light, a kicker, or a backlight. (Lighting)

Acetate Base:

The tranparent cellulose acetate plastic film which for years served as the backing for magnetic recording tape. (Sound Recording)


An organic liquid chemical used in the manufacture of some types of film cement. Also used to clean film splicing equipment. (Film Editing)


The science of the transmission of sound waves. Generally refers to the characteristics of auditoriums, theatres and studios with respect to their design.

Action Cutting:

The cutting of film from one shot to another in a way yielding the impression that action is continuous and uninterrupted. (Film Editing)


Analog-to-Digital Converter. An electronic device used at the input of digital audio equipment to convert analog electrical signals to digital values whose numbers represent the level and frequency information contained in the original analog signal. (Sound)


Automatic Dialog Replacement. Also known as "looping." A process of re-recording dialog in the studio in synchronization with the picture.

Address Track:

A control/timing track on the edge of videotape which contains control data for quick and accurate location of program material.

Aerial Shot:

An extremely high angle view of a subject usually taken from a crane or a high stationary camera position, but may also refer to a shot taken from an actual airplane or helicopter. (Production).


An undesirable distortion component that can arise in any digitally encoded information (sound or picture).

Ambient Light:

General, nondirectional, room light. (Lighting)

Ambient noise:

The total sound in a given are which is peculiar to that space (room tone). (Post Production)


The strength of an electronic signal as measure by its waveform height. (Sound)

Amplitude Distortion:

The nonlinear relation of input and output induced harmonics which is a function of voltage fluctuations or power consumption. (Acoustics)


An electrical signal that continuously varies in strength as related to some form of input.

Analog Recording:

A means of recording audio or video whereby the recorded signal is a physical representation of the waveform of the original signal.


An optical system having different magnifications in the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the image.

Angle of View:

This is the size of the field covered by a lens, measured in degrees. However, because of the aperture masks in film, the angle of view for a given lens is generally described in terms of the height and width of a lens. (Cinematography).

Answer Print:

The first print combining picture and sound which is submitted by the laboratory for the customer's approval. (Laboratory)


Filtering of erroneous frequencies that are created during the analog to digital conversion process. (Sound/Picture)


A variable opening inside a lens that regulates the amount of light reaching the image plane. Also known as an iris. (Camera/Lighting)

Apple Box:

A box build of a strong wood or plywood which is capable of supporting weight. These may be of various sizes, the smallest of which is also known as a 'pancake' because it is nearly flat. (Lighting/Grip)


A lighting unit that generates illumination from an electrical arc between two carbon electrodes. (Lighting)

Aspect Ratio:

The proportion of picture width to height (1.33:1, 1.66:1, 1.85:1 or 2.35:1).

Asperity Noise:

(Hiss) Noise that is caused by minute imperfections in the surface of a recording medium (tape). (Sound)


The exposure index or speed rating of a film which denotes the film's sensitivity.


The work of organizing and joining the shots of a film in the sequence in which they will appear in the finished print. (Film Editing)

Associate Producer:

This is normally the person who acts as the liason between a production company and the various personnel involved in the post production process.

Associational Editing:

The juxtaposition of shots in order to present contrast, comparisons or ideas. (Film Editing)

Asynchronous Sound:

Sound which is indigenous to the action but not precisely synchronized with the action.


Extras who are staged and photographed to portray normal human traffic needed to add detail in various script situations. (Production)


To reduce a signal's strength.

Audible Spectrum:

When wave motion in the atmosphere has a frequency that lies between 20 and 15,000 Hz it produces a sound which is apparent to the average human. (Acoustics)

Automatic Slating:

A camera attachment which records the film shot and take numbers and a visible sync mark which corresponds to a tone fed to an audio recorder.


An indication of the emulsion position on a roll of film. An 'A' wind is a roll with the emulsion facing the center of the roll. (Film Editing)



Usually a reference to a 1K light unit. It is also used to describe any light unit which is smaller than a standard size unit of comparable intensity (i.e. baby 1K, baby 2K, baby 5K, etc.). For grips, it refers to anything with a 5/8 inch stud (i.e. baby plate). (Grip/Lighting)

Baby Legs:

A short tripod. (Camera)

Baby Plate:

A steel plate with a baby pin (5/8 inch pin) welded on to it. These plates are used for mounting lights or grip heads on a wall, box, or other surface. (Grip/Lighting)


This is a term with a broad range of meanings, depending upon the context. In production, it has the same connotation as 'atmosphere', meaning extras who are staged to supply detail in the form of normal human traffic in a scene. In sound, it can mean the same as 'ambience' or it may refer to relative volume.

Backing Track:

Prerecorded accompaniment for a singer or voiceover actor who then listens through headphones to a replay as he/she performs. Generally, the two signals are ultimately mixed to produce the final recording. (Post Production)


A light which is generally mounted behind a subject to light the subject's hair and shoulders without illuminating a subject's front. (Lighting)


An audio circuit with 3 wires, two which carry signal, and a third which is contected to a ground (grounded). (Sound)

Balance Stripe:

On magnetic-striped film, a narrow band of magnetic coating applied to the edge opposite the magnetic sound track which serves to make the film lie flat when it goes over magnetic sound heads.

Bar Sheets - Lead Sheets:

A chart showing words of dialogue which have been recorded, and the number of motion picture frames of duration for each syllable.


Folding doors which are mounted on to the front of a light unit in order to control illumination. (Lighting)

Base-to-Base Splice:

A splice made with the base side of the end of one piece of film overlapping the base side of the piece to which it is being attached. (Film Editing)


Similar to a 2K stand, but without support legs. It has a junior hole at one end and a junior stud at the other, and it usually has a sliding riser. (Grip/Lighting)


A periodic variation of amplitude resulting from the addition of two slightly different frequencies. (Sound)

Beaver Board:

A 2K pigeon on an apple box. (Lighting/Grip)


Background music used underneath a narrator or foreground dialog. Primarily applied to commercial radio or television spots.


The output of a light. (Lighting)

Beefy Baby:

A heavy duty 2K stand without wheels. (Lighting/Grip)


A short duration sound track tone aligned to a point on the film for precise reference in synchronization in the editing and printing processes.

Below the Line:

Refers to the technical elements of the production staff. Literally, these are the budget elements that appeared below a bold line on a standard production budget form. (Production)

Best Boy:

The assistant chief lighting technician or the assistant to the key grip. (Grip/Lighting)


A reference to a storage container lined with a cloth bag, into which cut film or sound stock may be arranged and hung. In digital audio and video terms, this can be related to a film and/or directory from which stored shots or sound segments are selected for use.


A minor acting role in which an actor may only speak a few lines.

Black Leader:

Opaque film leader used in conforming original film for A and B roll printing. (Film Editing)

Black Wrap:

Black Aluminum foil which is used for wrapping lights, to control light spill, and for making small flags. (Grip/Lighting)

Blip Tone:

A sync pop. This is usually done by placing a piece of 'toned' tape on a particular frame of film to establish a 'synch' point. (Film Editing)


Plotting actor, camera and microphone placement and movement in a production or scene. (Production)


An open face 2K lighting unit, also known as a 'mighty'. (Lighting)


The sound produced in an energized amplifier and speaker system when a film splice passes the photo cell to which the amplifier is connected.


Any method of silencing unwanted noise produced by the passage of a splice through a sound reproducer. Traditionally, a small opaque tape is fixed over a splice. (Post Production)

Blooping Tape:

Tape used to cover unwanted portions of sound tracks.


A film enlargement from a smaller gauge of film to a larger gauge (i.e. 16mm to 35mm).


Black mesh cloth which is used for grip scrims. It also is available in rolls for darkening windows. (Grip/Lighting)


A telescoping arm for a camera or microphone which might be available in a variety of sizes from the very small handheld types to the very large, which might be transported as an integral part of a motor vehicle. (Production)

Bottom Chop:

A flag or cutter which is used to keep light off of the floor or the lower part of a scene. (Grip/Lighting)

Box Rental:

A fee or allowance paid to a crewmember for providing his/her own equipment or other specialized apparatus for use in a production. (Production)

Branch Holder:

A pipe-like unit with a locking nut which is used to hold branches, wooden poles, or other items. (Grip/Lighting)


The separation of a roll of camera original negative (or in some cases a workprint) into its individual takes or scenes. (Film Editing) Also a very common term which refers to a preproduction function where discrete elements of a script are isolated and noted. (PreProduction)

Breast Line:

A guide line attached to anything being hauled up on a crane or by a pulley. (Grip/Lighting)


A rectangular open-faced light which is used for general fill or for cyc illumination. (Lighting)


A brute arc light, usually 225 amps DC powered.

Bulk Eraser:

A device which magnetically aligns all of the iron oxide molecules on a magnetic tape or film, thus eliminating any 'sound' on them.

Burn-in Time Code:

A videotape in which a "window" displaying the time code count on the tape is superimposed over part of lhe picture.


A mixing network that combines the output of two or more channels. (Electronics)

Butt Splice:

A film splice in which the film ends come together without overlapping. (Film Editing)

Butt-Weld Splice:

A film splice made by joining the two pieces of film, without an overlapping portion, usually by applying both heat and pressure. (Film Editing)

Butterfly (Butterfly Kit):

Assorted nets, silks, solids, and grifflons which are used for light control; usually 5' x 5', or 6' x 6' frame size. Commonly a 12' x 12' or 20' x 20' is called a butterfly kit, however, it they should be called an overhead kit. (Grip)


A producer who thinks he knows more about a film technicians job than the tech himself knows. (Film) Someone who changes lanes without looking. (General)


An indication of the emulsion position on a roll of film. A 'B' Wind indicates that the emulsion is facing out, or away, from the center or core of the film roll. (Film Editing)



Ordinary wooden clothespins which are used to secure gels to barndoors. They are also known as a #1 wood clamp. (Grip/Lighting)

C Stand:

A general purpose grip stand. (Grip/Lighting)

California Scrim Set:

A scrim set with two doubles. (Lighting/Grip)

Call Sheet:

A form which refers to all of the scenes to be filmed and all of the personnel and equipment required for shooting on a particular day. (Production)

Camera Angle:

The view point chosen from which to photograph a subject. (Cinematography)

Camera Blocking:

The process of notating the changing position of the camera, lens size, and focus during a particular scene. (Production)

Camera Log:

A record sheet giving details of the scenes or shots photographed on a particular roll of negative.

Camera Wedges:

Small wooden wedges, usually 4 inches long by 1/2 wide at the thickest end. (Camera)


A feeder cable connector which is similar to a Tweco, but with a more positive locking mechanism which is easier to disconnect. (Grip/Lighting)


A unit of light intensity, a standard candle. (Lighting)

Canted Frame:

Often described as a 'Dutch Angle' or 'Dutching'. This is a device or process whereby the camera is angled so that the horizontal frame line is not parallel to the horizon. (Production)


An electrical component's ability to store electrical charges. (Post Production)

CC Filters:

Color compensating filters made in precise density values of the primary and secondary colors. (Cinematography)


The phenomenon where an input signal exceeds the capability of electronic or digital equipment to reproduce the signal. This results in an audible distortion (analog) or an incomprehensible noise (digital). (Sound)

CD (Compact Disc):

A digitally encoded disc capable of containing more than one hour of music at a sampling frequency of 44.1 khz. The data is read by a laser beam. (Sound)


A type of cookie which is made from wire mesh coated with plastic. (Grip/Lighting)

Center Track:

A standard position for the placement of the audio signal on magnetic film. The placement is in a narrow band centered between the two edges of the film. (Sound)

Century Stand (C-Stand):

A multipurpose grip stand. (Grip/Lighting)

Chain Vise Grip:

A vise grip with a chain that is used for its clamping capability. (Grip)

Changeover Cue:

A mark at the end of a release print reel to indicate the moment at which to switch over to the next reel on the second projector. (Film)

Checkerboard Cutting:

A technique of splicing A/B rolls in order to eliminate the image of the film splice from the duplicates or to allow for rapid readjustments of optical printer settings from shot to shot. (Film Editing)

Cinch Marks:

These are marks which may result if the center of a roll of film is rigidly held while the outside end is moved. (Film Editing)


A trade name for a system of anamorphic widescreen projection.(Cinematography)

Cinex Strip:

A short test print in which each frame has been printed at a different exposure level. (Film/Laboratory)

Click Track:

A prerecorded track of electronic metronomic clicks used to ensure proper timing of music to be recorded. Essential in music scoring sessions. (Music)

Coded Edge Numbers:

A system of marking films with a series of sequential numbers for the purpose of maintaining an established synchronous relationship. (Film Editing)

Combo Box:

A six pocket stage box that can be converted from three-phase four-wire to single phase three-wire operation. (Lighting)

Combo Stand:

A heavy duty 2K stand without wheels. It is called a combo because it can be used for both reflectors and lights. (Grip/Lighting)


Refers to a device that compresses an input signal and expands the output signal in order to reduce noise. (Sound)

Completion Bond:

An insurance guarantee that principal photography on a given film will be completed. It indemnifies a production against the unforeseen costs of any type, whether or not they result from problems which are covered by other types of insurance.

Composite Print:

A motion picture print with both picture and sound on the same strip of film. (Laboratory)


The reduction of a span of amplitudes done for the purpose of limiting the reproduction of those amplitudes. (Post Production)

Condenser Microphone:

The simplest type of microphone in which the capacitance (electrical charge) is varied by sound, causing movement in one plate (diaphragm) in relation to a fixed backplate. (Sound)


A designated amount of a budget which is added in anticipation of potential cost overruns.

Continuous Printing:

A method of printing in which both the original and the raw stock move continuously past the point of exposure. (Laboratory)

Control Track:

A recorded track used to adjust or manipulate a recording or playback device. Generally, these are used to maintain consistent playback speed of video and/or sound recorders consistent with the recorded speed. (Post Production)


A perforated material which is used to break up light or create a shadow pattern. Also known as a cucoloris. (Grip/Lighting)


A plastic cylinder on which film is wound for transport or storage.


A chemical incorporated into the emulsion of color film stocks which produces a dye image associated with the developed silver image.


A device for measuring lengths of film by counting the number of frames.


An indeterminate number of more detailed shots which are intended to be intercut with a master shot or scene. (Production)

Cover Set:

A location which is kept in reserve to serve as an alternate shooting site in case the chosen shooting site is unusable. It is most commonly used in the context of shooting planned for an out of doors location. (Production)

CP Filters:

Color printing filters made in precise density values for the colors; yellow, cyan, and magenta. (Cinematography)


Color Reversal Intermediate. This is a duplicate color negative which is made by the reversal process. (Laboratory)


Short pieces of lumber which are used for various grip purposes. (Grip/Lighting)


The gradual mix of sound sources accomplished by the simultaneous manipulation of two or more mix console faders. (Post Production)

Crossmodulation Tests:

Tests which are used to determine the correct negative and print densities for a variable area optical sound track. (Sound)


The frequency at which a signal is split in order to feed separate parts of a loudspeaker system. (Sound)


In stereo, this is the breakthrough between channels measured as separation (in decibels) between the wanted sounds of the desired channel and the unwanted sounds from the second channel. (Sound)


A perforate material used to break up light or create a shadow pattern. Also known as a cookie. (Grip/Lighting)


A term with a broad range of meanings depending on the particular context. For Voice-Over Narration or Dialogue Replacement: The marking of the cue point in a way which will permit a signal to be given to the 'talent' to begin each element of work at the appropriate time. In General: Any system used by a second person to signal 'talent' that recording should begin.

Cue Patch:

A piece of self adhesive magnetic or metallic material placed on the edge of film as a means of actuating a printer light change or an automatic stop on a projector. (Film Editing)

Cup Blocks:

Wooden blocks with a dish or indentation in the center which are used to keep the wheels of light stands from moving. (Grip/Lighting)


A single shot inserted into a sequence of shots that momentarily interrupts the flow of action, usually introducing a pertinent detail. (Production/Editing)


The selection and assembly of the various shots or sequences for a reel of film.


A blue-green color which is the complementary color to red.

Cyc Lights:

Row lights for evenly illuminating a cyclorama or other background. (Lighting)


Permanent background built in a studio which is nearly always coved or curved at the floor line to create a shadowless, unending backdrop. (Grip/Lighting)



The first positive prints made by the laboratory from the negative photographed on the previous day. It also now refers to video which is transferred from that original negative. (Laboratory)

Dance Floor:

A floor built of 3/4 inch plywood which is usually covered with masonite to provide a smooth surface for free-form dollying. (Grip)

DAT (Digital Audio Tape):

Two-channel digital audio has become increasingly common as a professional master reference and for use in field recording. (Sound)

DAW (Digital Audio Workstation):

A computer-based recording and editing machine used for manipulating sounds. (Sound)

Day Out of Days:

A form designating the workdays for various cast or crewmembers of a given production.

Deal Memo:

A form which lists the pertinent details of salary, guaranteed conditions, and other essentials of a work agreement negotiated between a member of the cast or crew and a production company.


The device which reads the enclosed signal or pulse and turns it into some form of usable information.

Deep Focus:

A style of cinematography and staging that uses relatively wide angle lenses and small lens apertures by maintaining objects in the extreme background and foreground simultaneously focused. (Cinematography)

Dead spot:

A place in which a sound waves are canceled by reflections arriving out of phase with the wanted signal thus creating an area of silence or poor audibility. (Acoustics)

Dead Sync:

An editorial term meaning that sound and picture elements are perfectly aligned. (Film Editing)


A device used to erase recordings on magnetic tapes and films or to demagnetize magnetic recording heads.


A factor which indicates the light-stopping power of a photographic image.

Depth of Field:

The amount of space within lens view which will maintain acceptable focus at given settings (i.e. camera speed, film speed, lens aperture). (Cinematography)


The chemical process which converts a photographic exposure into a visible image. (Laboratory)


A 2K fresnel lighting unit. (Lighting)


Director's Guild of America. A union which represents directors, assistant directors, production managers, and various video personnel.

Dialogue track:

A sound track which carries lip sync speech. (Sound)

Differential Rewind:

A device designed to permit simultaneous winding of film on more than one reel at a time even though the diameters of the rolls are unequal. (Film Editing)


A reference to a system whereby a continuously variable analog signal is reduced and encoded into discrete binary bits that establish a mathematical model of an original signal or other information.

Digital Recording:

A method of recording in which samples of the original analog signal are encoded on tape or disk as binary information for storage or processing. The signal can then be copied repeatedly with no degradation. (Sound)


A device for varying power to the lights. (Lighting)


Branches which are placed in front of a light as a cookie would to cut the light and provide a shadow pattern. (Grip/Lighting)


A transition between two scenes where the first merges imperceptibly into the second. (Film/Video)


A modification of the original signal appearing in the output of audio equipment which had not been present in the input. (Audio)

Directional Characteristic:

The variation in response or perception for different angles of sound incidence. (Acoustics)

Dolby Digital:

This is a 5.1 channel digital film format that if optically recorded on to a film release print in the blocks of space located between the film's sprocket holes. (Sound)

Dolby SR:

Spectral Recording. An encoding/decoding noise reduction system developed by Dolby Laboratories and used increasingly in film sound.

Dolly Shot:

Any shot made from a moving dolly. These may also be called tracking or traveling shots. (Production)

Doorway Dolly:

A plywood dolly with four soft tires which is narrow enough to fit through a doorway. It is used to carry a camera on a tripod or for transporting other heavy items. (Grip)


Small nets and flags used to control light. (Grip/Lighting)

Double-System Sound:

Sound and picture on separate transports. This refers to the normal methodology of recording the picture on a camera while recording sound of a separate magnetic tape recorder. (Film)


Flutter which occurs at random rates. (Acoustics)


The process of inserting recorded audio by playing up to a chosen point and switching from playback to record mode. (Video/Audio)

Drop Frame:

American system of time code generation that adjusts the generated data every minute to compensate for the spread of the NTSC television system running at 29.97 frames per second.

Drop Out:

Loss of a portion of a signal, usually due to a loss of a tape's oxide coating or due to dirt or grease covering a portion of a tape.


This is a film sound system which utilizes a CD-ROM disc which is sychronized to film by means of timecode which is optically encoded into the exhibition film print. (Sound)


To make a taped copy of any progam source record, CD, tape. Also, the copy itself. Sometimes used to refer to the ADR process. (Audio/Video)

Dub Stage:

Term generally used in California but to refer to the room where the final audio mix is made for a program or film. It might also be known as a mix stage.


A high quality sound reproducer which is mixed with outputs from other dubbers that are generally loaded with sprocketed magnetic film. (Post Production)


An actor's voice synchronization with lip movements which are not the originally recorded sound. This is used to replace unusable dialogue or recordings, and also used to prepare foreign films for new markets. (Post Production)


A copy of a negative. Short for duplicate negative.

Dutch Angle:

This is the process where a camera is angled so that the horizontal frame line is not parallel to the horizon. (Production)


A heavy black cloth, treated with fire proofing material, which is used for blacking out windows, making teasers, hiding cables, and hundreds of other uses. (Grip)

Dynamic Distortion:

Alteration of volume range of a sound when it is transmitted. (Acoustics)

Dynamic Range:

The difference in decibels between the loudest and quietest portions of audio. (Sound)



To put a flag up on the side of a lighting unit to block light. Better known as a 'sider'. (Grip/Lighting)


European Broadcast Union. This generally identifies a 25 FPS time code standard.


A sound wave that has been reflected and returned with sufficient magnitude and delay to be perceived as a wave distinct from that which was initially transmitted.

Edge Numbers:

Coded numbers printed along the edged of a strip of film for identification purposes.

Edge track:

A standard position for the placement of the audio on a single perforation magnetic film.

Edison Plug:

An ordinary household plug with two flat blades and a ground pin. (Lighting)

Edit Decision List (EDL):

The list of SMPTE codes, in footage and frames, and including instructions for fades, dissolves and other special effects which corresponds to all the segments that the editor of a film or videotape production has decided to use in the final cut.

Edit Master:

Video industry term for the tape containing the finished (edited) program.

Edit Points:

Also known as "edit in" and "edit out." The beginning and end points of an edit when a video program or soundtrack is being assembled.

Effective Output Level:

The microphone sensitivity rating defined as the ratio in dB of the power available relative to sound pressure. (Acoustics)


The gelatine layer of photo-sensitive material in which the image is formed on film. (Film)


The shape of the graph as amplitude is plotted against time. A sound's envelope includes its attack, decay, sustain and release (ADSR). (Sound)

Environmental Sound:

General low level sound coming from the action of a film, which can either synchronous or nonsynchronous.


The alteration of sound frequencies for a specific purpose, such as to remove 'noise' frequencies or to improve speech clarity.

Equivalent Noise:

A microphone in a completely silent room still generates some residual noise. This noise can be measured and can be computed. That computation is the 'Equivalent Noise'. (Acoustics)

Establishing Shot:

Usually a long shot at the beginning of a scene which is intended to inform the audience about a changed locale or time for the scene which follows. (Production)

Exciter Lamp:

An incandescent lamp used to supply nonvarying luminous energy to a photoresponsive cell. Used in film projectors to illuminate the optical sound track.


5.1 Channel Digital Sound:

The film digital sound exhibition standard which utilizes five output speaker channels (left, center, right, right surround, left surround, and subwoofer). (Sound)


An optical effect in which the image of a scene is gradually replaced by a uniform dark area or vice versa.


The camera assistant's motto. Everything he/she must do before each shot (Focus, Aperture, Shutter, Tach). (Camera)


A 650 watt PAR light with daylight balance dichroic fliter. (Lighting)


Moving a 'flag' closer to or further away from a light source that it is in front of will feather (soften/harden) the shadow on the surface upon which the light falls. (Grip/Lighting)

Feed Lines:

Lines of dialogue which are read outside camera range for the benefit of an 'on camera' or 'on microphone' actor or voice over artist.

Fill Leader:

Film leader used to fill in the blanks in picture workprint. (Film Editing)

Film Base:

The flexible, usually transparent support on which photographic emulsions and magnetic coatings are carried. (Film Editing)

Film Cement:

A common term for the welding solvent used in splicing film. (Film Editing)

Film Notcher:

A device used to punch out a small portion of the edge of a piece of film in order to permit electrical contacts on a printer to come together and thus activate light changes. (Film Editing)


A transparent material having the ability to absorb certain wavelengths of light and transmit others.


Small flags used to control light. (Grip/Lighting)


The removal of unexposed silver halides from the film during processing.


Usually an agreement to perform work or provide a service for a fixed fee or wage which will not be affected by overtime restrictions of unexpected costs. Also used in terms of sets and set construction elements which are generally used to create walls.


A modern film or sound editing system where reels are laid horizontally on "plates" on a mechanized table with sound and picture heads.


The alternation of light and dark which can be visually perceived.


Periodic vertical movement of the image which occurs as a result of mechanical faults in the camera, printer, or projector.


The widest beam spread on a lensed light. (Lighting)


An optical effect in which the picture is shown reversed from left to right.


The rapid period variation of frequency caused by unsteadiness of the film or tape drive. (Sound)


An amount of light which is present as measured in lumens.


Polystyrene which is sandwiched between paper. It is used to relectors, soft boxes, and other items because it is stable and easily cut. (Grip/Lighting)

Focus Pull:

The refocusing of a lens during a shot to keep a moving subject in focus or to change the person or object of attention. (Cinematography)

Fog Level:

The minimum density of the unexposed area of processed film.


Creating sound effects by watching picture and mimicking the action, often with props that do not exactly match the action.


The size or aspect ratio of a motion picture frame.


The individual picture image on a strip of motion picture film. Also, one complete screen on videotape.

Frame Rate:

The frequency at which film or video frames run (i.e. 24 fps; 29.97 Hz in NTSC; 25 Hz in PAL European format).

Freeze Frame:

An optical printing effect in which a single frame image is repeated so as to appead stationary when it is projected.


The number of times a signal vibrates each second as expressed in cycles per second (cps) or Hertz (Hz). (Sound)

Frequency Discrimination:

Exaggeration or diminution of particular frequencies in relation to others. (Acoustics)

Frequency Response:

This represents the sensitivity of a given sound, video, or other recording/playback system.


A stepped convex lens. It is most commonly used to descripe tungsten-incandescent lamps. (Lighting)


Film which is coated with an iron oxide compound on which sound is recorded and from which sound is reproduced.



The chief lighting technician for a production who is in charge of the electrical department.


The ratio of the signal level at the output of an audio device to the signal level at its input. Expressed in decibels (db).


The degree of contrast in a negative or print.

Gang Synchronizer:

A synchronizing device having more than One sprocketted wheel which is used to set up synchronized relationships between film and sound tracks which have been recorded to magnetic film. (Film Editing)


The aperture assembly at which the film is exposed in a camera, printer, or projector.

Gigabyte (GH):

A unit for measuring computer memory capacity, equivalent to 1,000 megabytes (MB).


A grip head or "C" stand head used as a clamping device for holding other equipment. (Grip)


The process of selecting the printing values for color and density fo successive scenes in a complete film to produce the desire visual effects. (Laboratory)

Grifflon (Griff):

A durable material made of three ply high density rubber. The material is attached within a frame and used as either a soft reflector of sunlight or cut or soften direct sun. It generally comes in three sizes: 6' X 6', 12' x 12', and 20' x 20'. (Grip/Lighting)

Grip Tape:

This is Duct tape style tape, also known as gaffer's tape or cloth tape. (Grip)

Guillotine Splicer:

A device used for butt splicing film with splicing film. (Film Editing)



An extra number of frames attached to the head and tail of an optical print as a safety precaution. (Laboratory)

Hard Disk:

A data storage and retrieval device consisting of a disk drive and one or more permanently installed disks. Increasingly common for storing sound effects and archiving for future use.

Harmonic Distortion:

Acoustic distortion characterized by unwanted changes between input and output at a given frequency. (Acoustics)


A machine which a color time at a lab or optical house uses to determine how to 'time' a film print for the proper amounts of red, blue, and green light. Also called a color analyzer. (Laboratory)

Hertz (Hz):

Unit for measuring frequency of d signal; formerly called "cycles per second."


Generally a high contrast film print which provides the maximum contrast between the light and dark elements. (Laboratory)


A heavy-duty rolling stand, usually with a combo head, that has a junior receiver and a large grip head. Also called Overhead Stands. (Grip/Lighting)


An overall brightly lit scene with realtively few shadows. (Lighting)

High-Pass Filter:

An electronic filter used in various audio circuits to attenuate all frequencies below a chosen frequency.


Asperity Noise. Noise caused by minute imperfections in the recording medium (tape). (Sound)


An enclosed, AC mercury arc lamp. (Lighting)

Hollywood Box:

A stage plug-type box without fuses. (Lighting)

House Sync:

An internal timing reference used to synchronize all transports within a facility.


A support for one or more rolls of film used on a cutting table.

Hot Splicer:

A film splicing machine of precision construction in which portions of a film are overlapped, cemented, then warmed and dried by a heating unit. (Film Editing)


Incoming Scene:

The second scene to appear in a dissolve or wipe effect.


The resistance of a coil of wire to rapidly fluctuating currents which increases with frequency. (Acoustics)


A small (250 watt) fresnel type light. (Lighting)

Insert Editing:

Used in videotape or digital audio editing to describe the process of replacing a segment located between two specific and previously dubbed segments.


An editing method whereby related shots are inserted into a series of other shots for the purpose of contrast or for some other effect. (Film Editing)


A term that generically refers to two or more machines running in sychronization; often shortened to "locked."

Interlock Projector:

A projector used to reproduce the picture while synchronized sound is played back on an accompanying machine or other linked sound device. (Film Editing)


A general term for color masters or duplicates.

Intermodulation Distortion:

An amplitude change in which sum and difference tones (harmonics) are present in the recorded signal. (Acoustics)


A color negative duplicate made from a color positive. Internegatives are used for release printing in order to protect the original negative from damage.


Any positive duplicate of a film which is used for further printing.

Invisible Cut:

A cut made during the movement of a performer which is achieved by overlapping the action or by using two cameras, then matching the action during editing. (Film Editing)


The process of making a new negative of a film by striking an interpositive and then, from that, striking a new negative (internegative). (Laboratory)


A variable aperture that controls exposure or the amount of light which is released from a lighting unit. (Camera/Lighting)

Iris Wipe:

A wipe effect in the form of an expanding or diminishing circle.



A transparent tape which is used to splice jels together. (Grip/Lighting)

Jam Sync:

A process of locking a time code generator to an existing coded tape in order to extend or replace the code, used when code is of poor quality.

Japanese Lantern:

A paper-covered wire frame globe into which a socket and bulb may be placed. (Lighting)

Jib Arm:

A mechanical are which is supported on a dolly, tripod, or other device, which is counterweighted to hold a camera for an increased range of motion. (Production)


An electrician.


An editorial device where the action is noticeably advanced in time, either accidentally or for the purpose of creating an effect on the viewer. (Film Editing)


A 2K fresnel light unit. It may also mean any 1 1/8 inch spud or mounting pin or any 1 1/8 inch female receiver. (Grip)



Kelvin, the unit of measurement used for absolute temperatures and color temperatures.


A brand name for a common 'flatbed' film editing machine. (Film Editing)

Key Grip:

The chief grip who works directly with the gaffer in creating shadow effects for set lighting and who supervises camera cranes, dollies and other platforms or supporting structures according to the requirements of the director of photography. (Production)

Key Light:

The main light on a subject. (Lighting)

Key Numbers:

Numbers placed on the edge of the film stock by the manufacturer as a unique identification point (35mm - every 16 frames: 16mm - every 20 frames). (Film Editing)


An object with a shine or reflection on it from another object. (Grip/Lighting)


A light that gently brushes a subject. (Lighting)


L-C-R-S (Left, Center, Right, Surround):

The four playback channels used in 35mm motion pictures, now available on home hi-fi systems. L, C and R speakers are located behind the screen. The S channel surrounds the audience and may be mono or encoded stereo.


A reference to the bulb inside a lighting unit, but may sometimes be used to refer to the entire lighting unit. (Lighting)


The range between overexposure and underexposure in which a film will still produce usable images. (Camera)

Lavalier Mic:

A small microphone that can be easily hidden on a piece of clothing so as not to be seen by the camera.


Transfer of the finished audio mix back onto the video edit master.


Transfer of audio and time code from the video edit master to an audio tape.


Transfer of audio onto multitrack tape or hard disk. Also referred to as "layup."


A plastic sheeting material, available in varying widths, that is optically clear and used to protect camera personnel from explosions or the results of other action. (Grip/Camera)


A length of nonimage film which is used for threading, identification, or fill-in purposes. (Film Editing)


An ellipsoidal reflector spot light. Usually used for theatrical purposes. (Lighting)


The ratio of an acoustic quantity to a reference quantity. A measurement of amplitude in decibels. (Acoustics)

Library Shot:

Stock footage shot or other footage which is germane to a given visual presentation but which was not generated for that specific film or television presentation. (Film Editing)

Light-Struck Leader:

Film which was fully exposed to light which is then used as leader. (Film Editing)

Light Value:

A reference to a fast acting, variable opening shutter to control the light intensity in printing film. (Laboratory)


The relationship of sound ad picture that exists when the movements of speech are perceived to coincide with the sounds of speech.

Liquid Gate:

A printing system in which the original is immersed in a liquid at the moment of exposure. This is done in order to reduce the adverse effects of surface scratches and abrasions.


A continuous sound track that runs repeatedly in playback as a guide for re recording. (Post Production)

Low Contrast Original:

An original reversal film which is designed to yield prints having good projection contrast.


A heavy duty rolling stand, usually with a combo head, but without the height of a 'highboy'. (Grip/Lighting)


A high contrast lighting style with lost of shadows and large areas of darkness. (Lighting)

Lowpass Filter:

A filter that attenuates frequencies above a specified frequency and allows those below that point to pass.


Machine Leader:

Strong leader threaded through a film processing machine which is used to pull film through the machine during its operation. (Laboratory)


A small adjustable clamp with a baby stud which can be interchanged with a variety of accessories. (Grip)


A red-purple color which is the complementary color of green.

Magnetic Film (mag film):

Film which is coated with an iron oxide compound on which sound is recorded and from which sound is reproduced.


A phenomenon whereby one or more sound "trick" the ear into not hearing other, weaker, sound that are also present. (Audio)

Master (print master):

A positive print made specifically for duplicating purposes. (Laboratory)

Match Cut (match-action cut):

A cut made on action or movement between two shots in which the action has been overlapped either by repetition of the action or by the use of more than one camera. (Film Editing)

Match Dissolve:

A dissolve linking images which have similar content. (Film Editing)

Match-Image Cut:

A cut from one shot to another shot having an image of the same general shape as the one in the prior shot. (Film Editing)


Arranging for the impedances presented by a load to be equal to the internal impedance of the generator. This is essential to avoid loss of power. In microphones, the loss results in poorer signal-to-noise ratio. Matching is done by means of a transformer. (Acoustics)

Matching Action:

The process of aligning or overlapping the shots of a film sequence in order to achieve a smooth transition from the action in one shot to the action of the succeeding shot. (Film Editing)


A 9 light unit with (9) 1000 watt PAR 64 lights. (Lighting)


The acronym for megabytes which is a measure of computer storage capability; the equivalent of 1,000 bytes.

ME Track:

This refers to the music and effects tracks which are combined into one (or a stereo pair) for use with foreign language re recording of a film or video program.

Meat Axe:

An grip arm-like accessory which is designed to clamp onto the hand rail of a studio overhead catwalk, or other suitable surface, and has a gobo head at the end of the arm. (Grip)

Mercer Clip:

A trade name for a small plastic clip which is used to hold film ends together during film assembly. (Film Editing)


An open faced 1K lighting unit. Also known as a 'Redhead'. (Lighting)

Microphone Impedance:

The nominal load impedance for a microphone indicates the optimum matching load which utilizes the mike's characteristics to the fullest extent. Impedance is a combination of dc resistance, inductance and capacitance, which act as resistances in ac circuits. An inductive impedance increases with frequency; a capacitative impedance decreases with frequency. Either type introduces change in phase. (Acoustics)


Musical Instrument Digital Interface. A machine protocol that allows synthesizers, computers, drum machines and other processors to communicate with and/or control one another. (Sound)


Electrically combining the signals from microphones, tape, and/or reproducers and other sources. (Post Production)

Mix Cue Sheet (cue sheet):

A sheet having several columns for notations of footage, fades. volume levels, and equalizations which are used in mixing sound tracks where each column usually represents one track.


The assembly of shots and the portrayal of action or ideas through the use of many short shots. (Film Editing)


Silent filming. Traditionally explained as Motion Omit Sound.

Motivated Lighting:

A lighting style in which the light sources imitate existing sources, such as lamps or windows. (Lighting)


A trade name for an upright film editing machine.


(Mid-Side). A stereo microphone technique where two microphones are incorporated into a special configuration for recording. (Audio)


In film, used to refer to a final mix that includes more than stereo information (i.e., LCRS or six-channel surround formats).


An audio tape recorder capable of handling more than two tracks of information separately.

Musco Lights:

An array of permanently crane mounted HMI lights. (Lighting)



( 1) For a black-and-white image those tonal values which are the opposite of those in the original subject. (2) For a color image, those color values which are the complement of those in the original subject. (Film Editing)


A bobbinet on a frame used to cut lighting intensity by either a half stop or full stop. (Grip/Lighting)

Neutral Density (ND):

Colorless filters that reduce the amount of light in controlled degrees. (Camera/Lighting)


Usually refers to the classic black and white film noir style used in detective mysteries, typically employing hard lighting and dark, low key lighting. (Camera/Lighting)


In audio systems, noise is the electrical interference or other unwanted sound introduced into the system (i.e. hiss, hum, rumble, crosstalk, etc). (Sound)


A recess on the edge of a piece of film which automatically triggers a mechanism effecting some modification of the duplication process, commonly a change of exposure light intensity. (Film Editing)


National Television Standards Committee. The organization that sets the American broadcast and videotape format standards for the FCC. Color television is currently set at 525 lines per frame, 29.97 frames per second.



An eyelight mounted on the camera. (Lighting)


The interval between two sounds having a basic frequency ratio of 2 to 1. (Sound)


The videotape editing process whereby the final edit list is compiled, usually in a more inexpensive edit room, in preparation for the on-line edit. (Video)


Outside the range of the standard light values of a printer. (Laboratory)

One-Light Print:

A print made with a single printer light setting for all shots in the film being printed. A common method to produce a 'daily' color print. (Laboratory)


The videotape editing process that creates the final video edit master, including effects, from the offline edit list. (Video)


The ratio of the amount of light falling on a surface to the amount of light which is transmitted. (Lighting)

Opaque Leader:

Any strip of flexible, optically opaque material used to space picture in A/B roll film cutting and editing. (Film Editing)

Optical Effects:

A laboratory or print procedure in which shots are modified by use of an optical printer. These are most commonly seen as fades and dissolves, however, it can include a wide range of special effects procedures. (Laboratory)

Optical Printer:

A printer in which an image of the original is transferred to raw film stock by means of light and a lens system. (Laboratory)

Optical Sound:

A sound track in which the recording uses variation of a photographic image.

Optical Stereo:

A film recording system replayed by scanning the stereo tracks by means of a photo cell lamp.

Outgoing Scene:

The first scene of a dissolve or wipe effect which changes into the second, or incoming scene.


A take of a scene which is not used for printing or for the final assembly of a film.

Overlapping and Matching Action:

Repeating part of the action in one shot at the beginning of the next shot, or covering the action with two or more cameras, then matching the overlaps on the editing table for the purpose of making a smooth cut on action. (Film Editing)



A combination of several creative elements such as a script, actor/s, and director which is used to attract interest in a production for the purposes of obtaining financing or distribution.

PAL (Phase Alternating Line):

The European color television standard that specifies a 25Hz frame rate and 625 lines per frame.


A horizontal movement of a camera on a fixed axis.


Temporary Scaffolding, used as a platform for the camera, lighting, or other rigging. (Grip/Lighting)

Pay or Play:

A contract provision which commits the production company to compensate a cast or crew member for a project whether or not that project ever goes into production.

Phase Distortion:

This is a shifting of output voltage relative to input by an amount which is disproportional to frequency. This will not detectable until it an amplifier. (Acoustics)

Phase shift:

The displacement of a waveform in time. Some electrical components introduce phase shift into a signal. When various frequencies are displaced differently, distortion occurs. Electrical cancellation may occur when two equal signals are out of phase by 1~3(). However, this may also be used are a encoding method where the shift is removed on playback (similar to the method in which a Dolby Surround sound track is encoded and played back. (Post Production)

Phantom Power:

A method of remotely powering the preamplifier or impedance converter which is buitlt into many microphones by sending a voltage along the audio cable. (Audio)


The timing relationship between two signals. (Audio/Electronics)

Pick-up Shot:

Reshooting a portion of a scene, the rest of which was acceptably filmed in a previous take.

Pilot Tone:

A sine wave signal, recorded by various field audio recorders at a known frequency, which is used to resolve the tape speed on playback to retain sync with film camera footage.


A component of a camera or printer mechanism which engages with a perforation hole to move and locate film for exposure.

Pink noise:

A sound signal that has an equal amount of energy per octave or fraction of an octave. (Sound)


The distance between two successive perforations along a strip of film.(Film) The frequency of audible sound (Sound).


A background for any type of process shot. (Laboratory)


A technique of filming music action first, the playing the music through loudspeakers while performers dance, sing, etc.

Positive Scratch:

The black image on a print of a scratch on the positive from which the print was made. (Film Editing)


The period in a project's development that takes place after the picture is delivered, or "after the production." This term might also be applied to video/film editing or refer to audio post-production.


Any light that appears in the scene. (Lighting)


An electronic device that boosts extremely weak signal voltages, such as those from microphones or mag heads, to a level that is usable by power amplifiers. (Electronics)


A video tape which has already had a control track, usually with SMPTE encoded time code, but without any picture or sound. This is done to facilitate the video editing or assembly process.


Recording of music or other sound prior to the shooting of the picture which is to accompany it. The most common usage is in animated film. (Sound)

Principal Photography:

The main photography of a film and the time period during which it takes place. (Production)

Printing Sync:

The relation between the picture and sound components in which they are printed to give the necessary displacement for projection as a composite print. (Laboratory)

Prism Shutter:

A device used on many film viewers, editing machines, and some high-speed cameras, consisting of a rotating prism of four or more sides through which the viewer light passes as film is pulled continuously through it. (Film Editing)

Process Shot:

A shot that will be composited from two other shots. The background part of this process is called a 'plate'. (Laboratory)

Production Dupe:

A duplicate negative prepared in the final form for release printing. (Laboratory)

Production Sound:

Recording and/or mixing sound on location during the film or video shoot. Typically this has been recorded to an analog Nagra reel-to-reel machine, though DAT recorders and other digital formats are now making significant inroads.

Projection-Contrast Original:

An original reversal film which is designed to have normal contrast when projected. (Film Editing)

Projection Leader:

A short length of film having standard markings on it, used to enable projectionists to make instant changeovers from one projector to another. (Film Editing)


A device for punching a hole in film leader to locate a starting point for editorial or printing synchronization. (Film Editing). Also refers to specular light. (Lighting)


Quarter Inch:

A reference to the standard width magnetic audio tape which is used to record film production sound. (Sound)


Tungsten-Halogen lights or lighting units. The name is derived from the material which encloses the lighting element. (Lighting)



A frame carrying film in a processing machine. Ofter used to refer to frame edit alignment in which the projected film remains properly framed on the screen (in rack). (Laboratory)


A shortened term which refers to a "Rank-Cintel Flying Spot Scanner". This is a telecine device which transfers a film image into electronic signals which are then recorded on to video tape.

Reaction Shot:

A shot of a player listening while another player's voice continues on the sound track. (Production)


An open faced 1K lighting unit. Also known as a 'Mickey'. (Lighting)

Reduction Printing:

The production of a copy of a film which is of a smaller size or gauge than the original (i.e. 35mm to 16mm). This is done of an optical printer. (Laboratory)

Relational Editing:

Editing of shots for the purposes of comparison or for the contrast of content. (Film Editing)


The general distribution of a film for public exhibition.

Release negative:

A duplicate negative from which release prints are made. (Film Editing)


The process of mixing all edited music, effects and dialog tracks of a film or video production to mono, stereo, multichannel or whatever audio format is desired for the final print master.


The process of regulating tape speed by comparing a reference signal on the tape with an external reference and adjusting the speed so that they match.


The presence or persistence of sound due to repeated reflections.

Reversal film:

A film that is manufactured and processed in such a way as to produce a positive image after exposure. (Film Editing)

Reversal Intermediate:

A second generation duplicate which is reversed to make it the same type, negative or positive, as the original. It is used for printing in order to protect the original. (Film Editing)

Reversal Original:

A reversal film designed to be exposed in a camera. (Film Editing)

Reverse Action:

An optical effect in which the action appears backwards from its chronological sequence. (Laboratory)

Reverse Angle:

A shot that is turned approximately 180 degrees in relation to the preceding shot. (Cinematography)


A hard backlight, is generally on the same level as the subject, that casts more light than the key light. (Lighting)


(1) A cylindrical metal device placed betwen the dolly head and the camera base to raise the camera. (2) A prebuilt platform used to raise the set, camera, or lights. (Grip/Lighting)

RMS (root-mean-square):

Effective sound pressure. (Acoustics)

Room Tone:

The "noise" of a room, set or location where dialog is recorded during Production. Used by film and dialog editors as a "bed" to form a continuous tone through a particular scene. This is often confused with ambience, which might be sound effects and/or reverberation added when the dialog is mixed.

Rough cut:

A preliminary trial stage in the process of editing a film. Shots are laid out in approximate relationship to an end product without detailed attention to the individual cutting points. (Film Editing)

Run of the Picture:

A cast member whose work may be required any of the days scheduled for principal photography without incurring liability for additional compensation.


This refers to daily prints of a film used for evaluation purposes. (Laboratory)



The original-music composition for a motion picture or television production which is generally recorded after the picture has been edited.


A metal 'window screen' that can be placed in front of a lighting unit to decrease the lighting intensity by a predetermined amount. (Grip/Lighting)


Moving a piece of tape or magnetic film back and forth over a sound head to locate a specific cue or word.

Scrub Wheel:

A mechanical control for scrubbing film or magnetic tape.


Sony Dynamic Digital Sound System. A film sound format which encodes eight tracks of digital audio outside of the sprocket holes on both edges of a film print. (Sound)

Second Unit:

A photographic team that shoots scenes which do not involve the principal cast, such as stunts, car chases, or establishing shots.


A 5K fresnel lighting unit. (Lighting)

Senior Stand:

A braced junior stand sufficiently rugged for large lights such as a 5K, 10K, or 'Big Eye'. (Grip/Lighting)


An indication of recording or playback efficiency as might be measure of a microphone or audio tape recorder.


The hardware or software based brain of a MIDI studio. It receives, stores and plays back MIDI information in a desired sequence.

Set Dressing:

Items of decoration which are not designated in the script or by the director as part of specific action. (Production)

Set Up:

Each discrete position of the camera, excluding those in which a dolly or crane is used to move the camera during filming. (Production)

Shiny Boards:

A grip reflector used for reaiming sunlight to provide a key or fill light. (Grip/Lighting)

Shotgun Mic:

A highly directional microphone, usually with a long, tubular body; used by the production sound mixer on location or on the set for film and television productions.


A white artists' cardboard which is used as a reflector or for making other special rigs. It is easily cut and formed. (Grip/Lighting)


A splitter that divides a power line into two parts. (Grip/Lighting)


An exaggerated hissing in voice patterns. (Post Production)


A device which cuts the light from the side of a lighting unit, usually a flag or a cutter. (Grip/Lighting)

Sight Line:

An imaginary line that is drawn between a subject and the object that he/she is looking at.


A lighting diffusion or reflective material, formerly real silk. (Grip/Lighting)


A shot with only one subject in the frame. (Production)


The form of variation with time of a wave whereby information is conveyed in some form whether it is acoustic or electronic.

Signal to Noise Ratio:

This is the ratio of the desired signal to the unwanted noise in an audio or video record/playback system.


Magnetic film that contains a single audio track, which is coated with oxide.

Single System:

A method of recording sound and picture on the same medium, most typically used in news gathering.

Skip Frame:

An optical printing effect which eliminates selected frames of the original scene to speed up the action. (Laboratory)


The identifier placed in front of the camera at beginning of a take.


An audio tape or videotape transport, projector or mag film dubber whose movements follow the movement of a single master transport. Accomplished electronically by using SMPTE time code numbers or mechanically by motor linkage of sprocketed machines.


A strip of blank leader or image-bearing film used as leader. (Film Editing)


Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.

SMPTE Time Code:

Also known as Longitudinal Time Code. A high frequency signal that allows the accurate "locking" of film audio and video equipment. Locator information is displayed as numbers.


A multi-channel audio cable intended for use with microphone level signals and/or line level signals. (Audio/Video/Electronics)

Sound Designer:

A film sound specialist responsible for the development and augmentation of all soundtrack material, or a significant portion thereof, and is ultimately in charge of the entire sound production. Occasionally, it is used to refer to a person who is responsible for creating unique sounds or sound elements which are incorporated into a sound track. (Sound)

Sound Effect:

A recorded or electronically produced sound that matches the visual action taking place onscreen.

Sound Master Positive:

A sound print on made from the sound negative for producing duplicate negatives of the sound record track for release printing.

Sound Mixer:

The person responsible for capturing sound as it plays out live, determining microphone types and placement. (Sound)

Sound Negative:

A negative sound image on film which is obtained by exposure through a positive sound image.


A method in which previously recorded sound on one track is rerecorded onto another track while new material is added.

Sound Print:

Any positive sound track print which is obtained by printing from a sound negative, or direct positive recording. or by the reversal process from another negative.


Generically refers to the music contained in a film, though it literally means the entire audio portion of a film, video or television production, including effects and dialog.


A hub placed between reels on rewinders to keep the reels in the proper position to feed into, or take up from, a synchronizer. (Film Editing)


A term used to describe highly directional, focused light. This is often perceived as a very 'hard' light. (Lighting)

Speed of sound:

The velocity of sound in air is 770 mi/hr. This speed however, is influenced by temperature and air pressure. (Acoustics)


Light that is escaping from the sides of a lighting unit, or any light that is falling where it is not wanted. (Grip/Lighting)


The act of joining two pieces of film by any of several methods. (Film Editing)

Split Screen:

An optical or special effects shot in which two separate images are combined on each frame.


A flanged roll on which film is wound for general handling or projection.


On a lensed light, the smallest beam spread. (Lighting)


Used in scoring and sound effects editing to identify the specific scenes or points where music cues or effects cues will take place. Usually, this will include information on length and style.


A toothed driving wheel used to move film through various machines by engaging with the perforated holes in film stock.

Stage Box:

A distribution box with six pockets for stage plug connectors.

Standing waves:

A deep sound in a small room or booth from low frequency caused by long waves with short reflection patterns. (Post Production)

Step Printer:

A printer in which each frame of the negative and raw stock is stationary at the time of exposure. (Laboratory)


A single extension cord. Most often referred to a single 'hot' extension that is left lying around for occassional use. (Grip/Lighting)


A general term for motion picture film, particularly before it is exposed.

Stock Numbers:

Edge numbers provided on film raw stock by the manufacturer.

Stop Frame:

An optical printing effect in which a single frame image is repeated in order to appear stationary when it is projected. This may also refer to a camera technique in which only one frame at a time is exposed.


The breakdown process of a camera position, location, or set.


A term for a distribution wiring connector with male plugs at both ends, (Grip/Lighting)

Surround Sound:

Sound that is reproduced through speakers above or behind the audience.


Enhancing the sound of a recording or a particular sound effect with equalization or some other signal processing device.

Sync Beep (sync tone):

In double system shooting with certain cameras, a tone feed into a magnetic tape recorder at the same time that a light in the camera exposes a few frames of film. The fogged section is later aligned with the beep tone to achieve synchronization of the sound to the picture.

Synching Dailies:

Assembling, for synchronous interlock, the picture and sound workprints of a day's shooting. (Film Editing)


T Stop:

A true f/stop as opposed to one dereived mathematically. It is the actual light transmission of a lens as measured on an optical bench. (Camera)

Tail Leader:

Leader used at the finish end of a strip of film. (Film Editing)

Take Down:

Reducing the light on an object by means of nets, scrims, dimmers or wasting light. (Grip/Lighting)


A machine that transfers film to a video signal. This also generically refers to the process of film-to-tape transfers.

Temp Dub:

A preliminary mixing of dialogue, music, and sound effects, usually so that a first cut may be viewed with all of these elements incorporated. (Post Production)


A standard studio 10K lighting unit, as opposed to a baby 10 or a Big Eye, which are also 10K lighting units. (Lighting)


A theatrical film exhibition sound system which maintains a consistent sound standard from theatre to theatre. Generally, this system uses Dolby Stereo Surround as the basis of the exhibition standard, although a number of other systems have also now qualified. (Sound)

Tie In:

A power feed obtained by temporarily clipping on to the main service of a location. This methodology is illegal in many areas. (Lighting)

Time Base Signal:

A signal recorded on the edge of film in a camera to match a signal recorded on a magnetic recording which is used as a fast means of synchronizing film and sound workprints.

Time Code:

Also known as Longitudinal Time Code. A high frequency signal that allows the accurate "locking" of film audio and video equipment.


The process of selecting the printing values for color and density of successive scenes in a complete film in order to produce a desired visual effect. (Laboratory)


A short publicty film which advertises a film or forthcoming presentations.

Traveling Matte:

A process shot in which foreground action is superimposed on a separately photographed background by an optical printer. (Laboratory)


Portions of a scene left over after the selected section has been used in final cutting.


A tubular, extending device which is generally used for suspending lights from set walls. (Grip/Lighting)


A flat, on the floor mount, for large lights with a junior receiver. (Grip/Lighting)

TV Safe:

The area of a filmed image which will normally appear on a home television set after a film has been transferred in a telecine and then transmitted.


A device similar to a slip pin connector, which is used on a feeder cable, and which has a positive twist connection. (Lighting)


Ultrasonic Cleaner:

A device used to clean film without pressure or abrasion. (Laboratory)


Music that provides emotional or atmospheric background to the primary dialog or narration onscreen.

Unsqueezed Print:

A print in which the distorted image of an anamorphic negative has been corrected for normal projection.



A simmer that reduces the voltage. It stands for VARIable AC. (Lighting)


Increasing or decreasing tape speed to match the musical pitch of tape playback.

Veeder Counter:

A trade name for a mechanical counter which is actuated using a rotary shaft movement which can be calibrated to any system of measurement such as feet or frames. (Film Editing)

Video Assist:

The process of simultaneously recording filmed picture onto video tape by means of the same lens system in order to immediately evaluate a take as soon as it is completed. (Production)

Virgin Stock:

Magnetic tape onto which nothing has yet been recorded.


Vertical Interval Time Code. A time code signal that is written in the vertical interval by the rotating video heads, allowing it to be read when the tape is not moving. Requires special equipment to read and write.


Narration or non-synchronous dialog taking place over the action onscreen.

VU Meter:

A meter designed to measure audio level in volume units which generally correspond to perceived loudness. (Audio)



Background ambience or noises added to create the illusion of sound taking place outside of the main action in a picture.


Shining a light on an object, then slowing turning the light away so that some of the light will miss or fall off the object. (Lighting)


A regular variation in electrical signal level or sound pressure level. (Sound/Electronics)


Wood wedges cut from 2x4 lumber which is used for leveling and stablizing. (Grip)

Western Dolly:

A plywood dolly, with four large soft tires, which is used as a camera dolly on smooth floors or on plywood. It is also used to transport other equipment. (Camera/Grip)


A section of feeder cable siamesed off the main line to a secondary location. (Grip/Lighting)

White noise:

A signal having an equal amount of energy per hertz.


A general term for film presentation in which a film is shown in an aspect ratio of greater than 1.33 to 1. In today's terms, this now means in an aspect ratio of greater than 1.85 to 1.

Wild Line:

A line of dialoge, recorded either on set or at a looping stage, without any picture running.

Wild Track:

Audio elements that are not recorded synchronously with the picture.


An optical transition effect in which one image is replaced by another with a boundry edge that moves in a selected pattern across the frame. (Laboratory)


Any positive duplicate picture, sound track print, or magnetic duplicate which is intended for use in the editing process. (Film Editing)


This term generally refers to a disk-based audio recording and editing system.


Repetitive but slow variations in recording or playback tape speed.

Wow and Flutter:

The deviation of frequency resulting from irregular motion in the recording or from deformation of the recording medium. (Acoustics)


The span of the tape path along which the tape and head are in contact. (Audio/Video) More often, this refers to securing equipment at the end of the day or when work is completed at a particular set or location.



A high intensity light, with a polished parabolic reflector. (Lighting)


One of several varieties of sound connectors having three or more conductors plus an outer shell which shields the connectors and locks the connectors into place. (Sound)

X-Y Pattern:

A pair of cardioid microphones or elements aimed in crossed directions which feed two channels for stereo pickup. (Sound)


Y M C Numbers:

The 'timing lights' that the negative is printed at, representing the numerical value of the red, blue and green lights used in the printing process. These printing lights are referred to by their complements: yellow, magenta, and cyan.


Zero Cut:

A method of preparing A and B rolls for printing in which the original shots overlap several frames or more. The change from one roll to another to match the edited workprint is done automatically by the printer. (Film Editing)


An optical effect in which the image rapidly grows larger or smaller as though the camera is moving closer or away from its subject.

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