There are many industry terms used by film and video experts that are used throughout film and video production while planning, shooting and making ready the final film/video for release. Many may be unfamiliar to you, so we have put together an A-Z of glossary of filmmaking words and jargon terms you need to know.
Adobe After Effects: A digital visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing application developed by Adobe Systems and used in the post-production process of film making and video production.
Adobe Premiere Pro: A video editing software application developed by Adobe Systems and used for editing video footage, audio, and images.
Aperture: The opening in a camera lens that controls the amount of light that enters the camera. It is measured in f-stops.
Aspect Ratio: The proportion of the width of a video or image to its height. Common aspect ratios for video include 16:9 and 4:3.
Backlights: Lights used to illuminate the background of a scene in a video or photograph.
Bokeh: The aesthetic quality of the blur in the out-of-focus areas of a photograph or video.
Bitrate: The amount of data used to represent a unit of video or audio. It is measured in bits per second (bps).
Bokeh Image: A photograph or video that has a shallow depth of field and features prominent bokeh in the out-of-focus areas.
B-roll: Additional or alternate footage used to supplement the main footage in a video or film.
Bounce: The practice of redirecting light from a surface to soften or spread the light.
Camera Slider: A device used to create smooth and controlled linear camera movements.
Close-up: A shot that is tightly framed on a subject, typically showing only a part of the subject.
Codec: A software or device that compresses and decompresses digital video and audio data.
Colour Correction: The process of adjusting the colour balance and exposure of a video or image to match a desired look or to fix errors.
Colour Grading: The process of adjusting the overall colour, contrast and brightness of a video or image to create a specific visual style or mood.
Colour Temperature: The measure of the colour of light, measured in Kelvins (K).
Compositing: The process of combining multiple video or image elements together to create a single final image or video. Used in visual effects.
Compression: The process of reducing the amount of data needed to represent a video or audio file.
Crane: A type of camera mount that allows for smooth, vertical and horizontal camera movements.
Crop Factor: A value that represents how much smaller a camera sensor is compared to a full-frame sensor.
C-stand: A type of stand used to support lights, flags, and other equipment on a film or video set.
Cut-in: A type of shot transition in which the camera moves from one shot to another quickly, usually used to indicate a change in time or location.
DaVinci Resolve: A professional video editing and colour correction software developed by Blackmagic Design.
Depth of field: The distance between the closest and farthest objects in a scene that appear in focus in a photograph or video.
Diegetic sound: Sound that is part of the story and can be heard by the characters in a scene.
Diffusion: The process of scattering light to soften its intensity and reduce harsh shadows.
Digital Zoom: A feature in cameras that uses software to magnify a portion of the image, rather than using the camera lens.
Digital Light Projection (DLP): A technology used to project digital images using a digital micromirror device.
Director: The person in charge of the creative and artistic aspects of a film or video production.
Dolly: A camera mount on wheels used to create smooth tracking shots.
Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR): A type of digital camera that uses a mirror system to direct light through the lens and onto the image sensor.
DVI: A type of digital video interface used to transfer video and audio data.
Dynamic range: The range of brightness and darkness that can be captured in a photograph or video.
Export: The process of converting and saving a video or image file for distribution or use in another application.
Exposure: The amount of light that reaches the image sensor in a camera.
Exposure Latitude: The amount of over or under exposure that a camera can handle without losing image quality.
Exposure Triangle: A concept that refers to the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO in determining the exposure of a photograph or video.
Fade: A transition in which a shot gradually becomes darker or lighter.
Fill Lights: Lights used to add light to a scene, typically used to reduce shadows and add dimension to the subject.
Final Cut Pro: A professional video editing software developed by Apple.
Five-by-five (5×5): A term used to describe a 5-foot by 5-foot area on a set, typically used for lighting and camera equipment.
Fluorescent lights: A type of lighting that uses a gas-discharge lamp and a phosphor coating to produce light.
Focal length: The distance between the lens and the image sensor in a camera, measured in millimetres (mm).
Foley: The process of adding sound effects to a film or video during post-production.
Follow focus: A device used to help the camera operator maintain focus on a specific subject while moving the camera.
F-stop: A measurement of the aperture of a camera lens, represented by a ratio of the lens’s focal length to the aperture diameter.
Frame rate: The number of frames or images displayed per second in a video or animation.
Fresnel: A type of light that uses a Fresnel lens to produce a soft, even light.
Full frame camera: A digital camera with a sensor that is the same size as a 35mm film frame, typically used by professional photographers and videographers.
High-definition media interface (HDMI): A digital interface used to transfer video and audio data from a source device to a display device.
High dynamic range (HDR): A method of capturing or displaying more detail in the highlights, midtones, and shadows of a photograph or video.
Hydrargyrum medium-arc Iodide (HMI) lights: A type of lighting that uses a gas-discharge lamp and mercury vapor to produce light.
Hot shoe: A mounting point on a camera for attaching external flash units or other accessories.
Image sensor: The device in a digital camera that captures light and converts it into an electronic signal.
Importing: The process of bringing a video, image or audio file into an editing software.
ISO: A measure of a camera’s sensitivity to light, typically represented as a numerical value.
J-cut: A type of shot transition in which the audio from the next shot is heard before the visual cut.
Jump Cut: A type of shot transition in which the camera abruptly changes its position or angle without a smooth transition.
Key lights: The main light used to illuminate a subject in a video or photograph.
Lavaliere Microphone: A small microphone that is typically attached to a person’s clothing to capture audio.
Lighting Gels: Coloured sheets of plastic or gel that are placed in front of a light to change its color.
Liquid crystal display (LCD): A type of display technology used in cameras and other electronic devices.
L-cut: A type of shot transition in which the audio from the previous shot continues to be heard after the visual cut.
Macro Lens: A lens that is designed for close-up photography and allows for high magnification of small subjects.
Matte box: A device that attaches to the front of a camera lens to control the amount of light and to add filters.
Memory card: A small, portable storage device used to save video and image files in a camera or other electronic device.
Monopod: A one-legged support for a camera, typically used to steady the camera while shooting video or still images.
Neutral density filter: A filter that reduces the amount of light that enters a camera lens, allowing for slower shutter speeds or wider apertures in bright conditions.
Optical zoom: A zoom feature that uses the camera’s lens to change the focal length and magnify the subject.
Pan Shot: A type of shot in which the camera moves horizontally to follow a subject or to show a panoramic view.
Pixel Aspect Ratio: The ratio of the width of a pixel to its height in an image or video.
Polarizing filter: A filter that reduces glare and reflections in a photograph or video.
Post-Production: The process of editing and finishing a film or video after it has been shot.
Point of View: The perspective from which a scene is filmed or the perspective of a character in a scene.
Practical Lighting: The use of lights that are part of the scene, such as lamps or other light fixtures, rather than lights that are brought in specifically for the shoot.
Prime lens: A lens that has a fixed focal length, rather than a zoom lens.
Producer: The person responsible for managing the budget, schedule, and logistics of a film or video production.
Room tone: The background noise or ambient sound of a location.
Resolution: The number of pixels in an image or video, typically measured in width x height.
Rule of Thirds: A composition guideline that suggests placing the main subject of a photograph or video along one of the lines of an imaginary grid that divides the frame into thirds.
Script: A written document that outlines the dialogue, actions, and visuals of a film or video.
Shot list: A list of the shots that need to be filmed for a specific scene or project.
Shoulder rig: A camera support system that attaches to the camera and sits on the operator’s shoulder for stability while shooting.
Shutter speed: The amount of time that the camera’s shutter is open to expose the image sensor to light.
Snorricam: A camera mount that attaches to the operator’s body and allows for a first-person perspective in a film or video.
Split screen: A technique in which two or more images are shown on the screen at the same time, often used to show different perspectives or actions happening simultaneously.
Steadicam: A camera stabilizer that allows for smooth, steady shots while the operator is moving.
Synchronization: The process of matching audio and video recordings so that they play back in perfect harmony.
Telephoto: A lens that has a long focal length, allowing for a narrow field of view and magnification of distant subjects.
Three-point lighting: A lighting technique that uses three lights, a key light, a fill light, and a backlight, to illuminate a subject in a photograph or video.
Tilt Shot: A shot in which the camera moves vertically, typically to follow a subject or to show a change in height.
Timelapse: A technique in which a series of photographs are taken at set intervals and played back at a faster speed to show the passage of time.
Tracking: A shot in which the camera moves along with a subject, typically to follow the subject’s movement.
Viewfinder: The device on a camera that allows the operator to compose and focus a shot.
Wide angle: A lens that has a short focal length, allowing for a wide field of view and a larger area to be captured in a photograph or video.
White balance: The process of adjusting the colours in a photograph or video to neutralize colour cast and make the whites appear white.
Zoom lens: A lens that allows for a variable focal length, allowing the operator to zoom in or out on a subject.
Zoom shot: A shot in which the camera moves closer or farther away from a subject, typically to change the framing or emphasis of the subject.
Check out our A-Z YouTube glossary of terms and terminology here.