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The second-to-last shot of the day. Named after production manager Abby Singer, who would frequently call "last shot of the day" or "this shot, and just one more," only to have the director ask for more takes. See also martini shot.
The major expenses committed to before production begins, including story/rights/continuity (writing); salaries for producers, director, and cast; travel and living; and production fees (if the project is bought from an earlier company). Everything else falls under below-the-line expenses.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
AKA: AMPAS, The Academy
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards
AKA: Oscars, Academy Awards
The term "Oscar" was coined by an anonymous person who remarked that the statue looked like their Uncle Oscar.
Academy of Motion Picture Sound
A UK-based organization whose aims are to promote and encourage the science, technology and creative application of all aspects of motion picture sound recording and reproduction, and to promote and enhance the status and recognition of the contribution of those therein engaged.
"Action" is called during filming to indicate the start of the current take. See also cut, speed, lock it down.
A person who plays the role of a character. Historically, the term "Actor" referred exclusively to males, but in modern times the term is used for both genders.
AKA: B Camera
An extra camera operator, often needed for complicated action sequences or stunts. Contrast with additional photography.
AKA: Additional Photographer
Reshoots, Reshooting, Pickups Focus group or studio reaction to some shots or scenes may be bad enough to convince the filmmakers to discard them. In some cases, actors are recalled and parts of the movie are refilmed. This is referred to as "Additional Photography", "Reshoots", or "Pickups". Contrast with additional camera, pickups.
Of a composite print: the distance between a point on the soundtrack and the corresponding image. Of payment: an amount given before receipt of services.
A person responsible for the professional business dealings of an actor, director, or other artist. An agent typically negotiates the contracts on behalf of the actor or director, and often has some part in selecting or recommending roles for their client.
The sole pseudonym that the Directors Guild of America allows directors to use when they wish to remove their name from a film.
American Cinema Editors
Honorary society of film editors founded in 1950 by Jack Ogilvie, Warren Low and others.
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
An association with jurisdiction over some works that can be recorded by picture or by sound. See also the Screen Actors Guild.
American Society of Cinematographers
An organization founded in 1919 and dedicated to advancing the art of cinematography through artistry and technological progress, to exchange ideas and to cement a closer relationship among cinematographers. Membership is international and by invitation based on an individual's body of narrative film work. Use of the abbreviation ASC, e.g. for on-screen credits, indicates membership in the society. The society publishes "American Cinematographer" magazine.
An optical system which has different magnifications in the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the picture. See also aspect ratio, contrast with spherical. Cinemascope is a trade name of an anamorphic technique.
Anamorphic Widescreen DVD mastering process whereby a film source with an aspect ratio greater than 4:3 (usually also greater than or equal to 16:9) is transferred to the DVD video master in such a way that the picture is vertically stretched by a factor of about 1.33 (e.g. if the picture had an aspect ratio of 16:9, it now has one of 4:3). The idea is to use as much resolution of the video master as possible so widescreen pictures use the 4:3 frame optimally, gaining another 33% of vertical resolution and looking markedly sharper. When playing a DVD with anamorphic widescreen the display (16:9 capable TV or projector and screen) has to vertically squeeze the picture by a factor of 0.75 so a circle is still a circle. If the display cannot do this the DVD player will do the squeezing and add black bars on the top and bottom of the picture. In that case the additional 33% resolution is not available.
AKA: Animated, Animator
The process of creating the illusion of motion by creating individual frames, as opposed to filming naturally-occurring action at a regular frame rate. See also computer generated animation, claymation, time lapse. Contrast with motion capture, rotoscoping.
A style of animated movie which had its roots in the comic books of Japan. Animation enjoys an immense variety of subject matter and audiences in Japan. Outside of Japan, "Anime" is often used to describe only the adult oriented science fiction and fantasy entries in the field.
The first graded print of a film that combines sound and picture, which is created for the client to view and approve before printing the rest of the copies of the film.
AKA: F/Number, F-Stop, Effect Aperture, Relative Aperture
A measure of the width of the opening allowing light to enter a camera. The apparent diameter of a lens viewed from the position of the object against a diffusely illuminated background is called the "effect aperture". The ratio of focal length of a lens to its "effective aperture" for an object located at infinity is called the "relative aperture", or "f/number". Larger apertures allow more light to enter a camera, hence darker scenes can be recorded. Conversely, smaller apertures allow less light to enter, but have the advantage of creating a large depth of field. See also shutter speed.
A person who is responsible for weapons on the set of a movie or television show. Duties include providing the correct weapons to suit the era and style of the film, advising the director on use of weapons, choosing the correct blanks, creating a safe set for the use of said weapons, teaching actors about handling and using weapons, making sure use of all weapons is properly licensed, and ensuring the safety of everyone on the set while weapons are in use.
The section of a production's crew concerned with visual artistry. Working under the supervision of the production designer and/or art director, the art department is responsible for arranging the overall "look" of the film (i.e. modern/high-tech, rustic, futuristic, etc.) as desired by the director. Individual positions within in this department include: production designer, production buyer, special effects supervisor, draftsman, art director, assistant art director, set decorator, set dresser, property master, lead man, swing gang, and property assistant.
The person who oversees the artists and craftspeople who build the sets. See also production designer, set designer, set director, lead man, and swing gang.
A visual defect in an image caused by limitations or the malfunction of imaging equipment. See also motion artifact, contrast with cinch marks.
A person who takes an artist's designs and builds them in a computer, so that animators can manipulate the figures to tell the story of the film.
AKA: Aspect, Academy Ratio
A measure of the relative sizes of the horizontal and vertical components of an image. "Academy Ratio" is 1.33:1. See also anamorphic.
Assistant Art Director
An assistant to the art director.
AKA: Assistant Camera Operator, First Assistant Cameraman, 1st Assistant Cameraman, 1st Assistant Camera, Assistant Cameraman, Camera Assistant
A member of the camera crew who assists the camera operator. This person is responsible for the maintenance and care of the camera, as well as preparing dope sheets. In smaller camera crews, they may also perform the duties of clapper-loader and/or a focus puller. See also additional camera.
AKA: AD, First Assistant Director, 1st Assistant Director
An assistant director's duties include tracking the progress of filming versus the production schedule, and preparing call sheets.
Assistant Film Editor
AKA: Assistant Picture Editor, Assistant Sound Editor, Assistant Editor, First Assistant Editor, Second Assistant Editor, Apprentice Editor
Editing room crewmember responsible for providing any and all required logistical assistance to the editor(s). Duties vary, depending on whether the assistant is working with a picture or sound editor and whether the show is being edited on film or on a non-linear editing system. On a film-edited show, assistant picture editors will, during production: liase with the film lab and sound transfer facility regarding the processing of dailies; leader, sync and edge code the dailies rolls; coordinate and take notes during dailies screenings; organize and maintain camera reports, sound reports, script notes, and lined script pages from the set, as well as lab reports and sound transfer reports; log all dailies footage; and reorganize footage for editing, if necessary. Ongoing, and during post-production, they will: reconstitute trims; locate and pull trims requested by the editor; check sync, clean, measure, re-splice, and add change-over marks to cut reels; coordinate screenings of cut work; take notes during screenings. Once the sound department begins work, the assistants produce change sheets detailing each day's changes to the work print and production track and send them, along with any necessary duplicate trims, to the sound department. Assistants may be permitted by the editor to do some creative work, such as commenting on the editor's work; cutting temporary ("temp") sound effects and music into the track; and sometimes even editing scenes. After picture lock, the assistant: oversees the creation of optical effects such as fades, dissolves, etc. and cuts them into the work print; continues to work with the sound department as necessary; and in some cases oversees the final stages of post-production, all the way through sound mix, negative conforming, and the production of final prints. The assistant editor chain of command consists of the First Assistant Editor(s), who bears the most responsibility for the smooth performance of the assistant team; the Second Assistant Editor(s); and the Apprentice Editor(s).
Assistant Production Manager
AKA: Assistant Production Coordinator
An assistant to the production coordinator. See also production secretary.
An individual who performs a limited number of producing functions delegated to her/him by a producer, under the direct supervision and control of that producer. The term may also refer to a person who would qualify as an executive producer of a project, but for the fact that (s)he acts on behalf of a production company which is subordinate to another one on that project. See also co-producer and line producer.
Association Internationale du Film d'Animation
International Animation Association ASIFA was founded in 1960 in France, chartered under UNESCO, as a membership organization devoted to the encouragement and dissemination of film animation as an art and communication form.
Association of Film Commissioners International
A non-profit educational organization founded in 1975 to serve the needs of on-location film, television and commercial production. Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers A membership organization serving local and international film and video makers from documentarians and experimental artists to makers of narrative features
Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers
Australian Screen Editors
A cultural, professional and educational organization, dedicated to the pursuit and recognition of excellence in the arts, sciences and technology of motion picture film and television post-production. It aims to promote, improve and protect the role of editor as an essential and significant contributor to all screen productions.
Australian Screen Directors Association
The Australian Screen Directors Association (ASDA) is an industry association representing the interests of film and television directors, documentary filmmakers, animators and independent producers throughout Australia.
Australian Society of Cinematographers
Use of the abbreviation after a name indicates that the person is a member of the ACS.
A filmmaker, generally a director, who creates a body of work with a unified sensibility that reveals, through the interplay of themes and styles, a personal worldview. The term originated with François Truffaut, whose 1954 essay "Une certaine tendence du cinéma français" put forth the idea that the most interesting films were those that functioned as a medium of personal expression--and therefore bore the distinctive imprint of their "author." American critic Andrew Sarris later translated and expanded this idea into an "auteur theory," which proposed an evaluation of films based on their context within the filmmaker's oeuvre, rather than for their technical proficiency or greater historical significance. The term "auteur" later came to refer to any filmmaker who performed or was intimately involved in all aspects of the moviemaking process (writing, directing, producing, editing, etc.).
Automated Dialogue Replacement
AKA: Automatic Dialogue Replacement, ADR, Dialogue Looping, Dialog Looping, Looping
The re-recording of dialogue by actors in a sound studio during post-production, usually performed to playback of edited picture in order to match lip movements on screen. ADR is frequently used to replace production track of poor quality (e.g., due to high levels of background noise) or to change the delivery or inflection of a line. ADR can also be used to insert new lines of dialogue which are conceived during editing, although such lines can only be placed against picture in which the face of the actor speaking is not visible.
Automated Dialogue Replacement Editing
AKA: Automatic Dialogue Replacement Editing, ADR Editing
The process of editing sound during Automatic Dialogue Replacement.
Automated Dialogue Replacement Editor
AKA: Automatic Dialogue Replacement Editor, ADR Editor
The person who performs ADR Editing.
Automated Dialogue Replacement Mixer
AKA: Automatic Dialogue Replacement Mixer, ADR Mixer
The person who mixes the sound during Automated Dialogue Replacement.
Manufacturer of a popular non-linear editing system. Often used to refer to the system itself, as "AVID editor". Competitors include Lightworks.
A low-budget, second tier movie, frequently the 2nd movie in a double-feature billing. B-films were cheaper for studios because they did not involve the most highly paid actors or costly sets, and were popular with theater owners because they were less expensive to bring into their theaters while still able to draw revenue.
AKA: Rear Projection
A photographic technique whereby live action is filmed in front of a screen which the background action is projected on. Originally used for scenes occurring in vehicles. Contrast this with a matte shot.
AKA: Scenic Artist, Backgrounds
A person responsible for designing or constructing the art placed at the rear of a set. See also matte artist.
AKA: Back lot
A large, undeveloped area on studio property used for constructing large open-air sets or for filming wilderness scenes.
Many countries have either government or official movie classification boards who are responsible for determining the suitability of a movie for release in their country or region. These boards occasionally block the release of a movie either in theaters or on video. Often, a banned movie will find its way around a ban by means of bootleg distribution. See also censorship.
Behind the Scenes
The off-camera goings on associated with filmmaking.
All physical production costs not included in the above-the-line expenses, including material costs, music rights, publicity, trailer, etc.
AKA: Assistant Chief Lighting Technician, Best Boy Grip, Best Boy Electric
The chief assistant, usually of the gaffer or key grip. In charge of the men and equipment, scheduling the required quantities for each day's work. The term originates from promoting the crew's 'best boy' to supervising, allowing the gaffer and key grip to stay on set and carry out the cameraman's lighting needs. The origin of the term is from "pre-union" filming days when the line between Grip and Electric departments was less rigid. When the head of either department needed another body temporarily, he'd go to the head of the other department and ask him to "lend me your BEST boy". By default the 2nd in charge of either department came to be known as best-boy. This term may also have been borrowed from early sailing and whaling crews, as sailors were often employed to set up and work rigging in theatres. There are no "best girls" per se; female chief assistants are also called "Best Boys".
AKA: Top Billing, Diagonal Billing, Equal Billing
A great deal of importance is placed on the relative sizes, positions, and order of names and the movie's title in printed publicity material as well as the opening credits. Generally, higher positions designate higher importance. Additionally, there is significant given to names which appear before or above the actual title of the movie. The person whose name is shown first in the credits or whose name is at the top of an advertisement is said to have received "top billing". If more than one name appears at the same time or at the same height, they are said to have "equal billing", with the importance of the people concerned decreasing from left to right. In some movies with a large number of stars, the publicity department must go to great lengths to satisfy the demands of various parties. "Diagonal billing" is where a different name appears first, depending on whether the material is read from top to bottom, or from left to right. In some extreme cases, multiple stars in the same movie have each demanded top billing, in which case an equal number of differently-billed advertisement have been created.
A filmed story of a person's life story.
A small unimportant role, usually lasting only one scene.
Black and White
AKA: BW, B/W, B&W
Indicates that the images have no color. The first movies were black and white (as color film stock hadn't been invented), but in more recent times many films have been shot in black and white either for artistic reasons or because it is cheaper. Some films are shot using color film stock with the final print in black and white.
A comedy in which the humour is derived from subjects which are typically considered "serious", or for which humour is usually considered as unsuitable. Common examples are death, war, suffering, and murder.
The make up technique of making an actor, usually white, to resemble an African American or at least a caricature thereof such as in the final scene of The Jazz Singer (1927). There were also equivalents for Asians (Yellow face) and Native Americans (Red face). It was a standard practice in the early 20th century for the casting of actors in non-white roles and abandoned when it was recognized to be an insult to minorities which also cheated them of casting opportunities.
A list of filmmakers or actors who have either been formally or informally discriminated against, due to their personal, political, social, or religious beliefs. In 1950s America, McCarthyism resulted in numerous filmmakers being blacklisted.
A movie which is a huge financial success. In common usage a "blockbuster" is a movie that has a box-office of more than $100 million upon release in North America.
A process during which the director and actors determine where on the set the actors will move and stand, so that lighting and camera placements may be set.
A process whereby actors work in front of an evenly lit, monochromatic (usually blue or green) background. The background is then replaced in post production by chroma keying, allowing other footage or computer-generated images to form the background imagery. See also greenscreen.
AKA: Photo Double
For some shots, a director may consider that a particular actor's body may not be suitable for the impression desired. In these situations, the actor is "doubled" (replaced) by a person whose body is more suitable. Typically, body doubles are used for shots requiring nudity or depictions of physical fitness. Contrast with stunt double and stand-in.
Makeup applied below the neck or above the wrists.
A movie which is a financial disaster. Exception: in the United Kingdom, when used with "down" (e.g. "went down a bomb"), the term means a rousing success.
AKA: Boom Mike, Boom, Fish pole, Giraffe
A long pole with a microphone on the end. The boom is extended out near the actors. Ideally, the microphone at the end should be placed in the camera's safe area.
A member of the sound crew who operates the boom microphone. See also sound recordist.
An unofficial and illegally copied or distributed version of a movie, often of a substandard quality. Bootleg videos are often available for movies that have yet to be released in a particular country, or have been banned.
A large white card made of foam or poster board used to reflect soft light and for the soft key and fill.
AKA: Gross, B.O., BO
A measure of the total amount of money paid by cinema-goers to view a movie.
A detailed list of all items, people, props, equipment, etc required for a shoot on a day-by-day basis. Recording such lists aids in continuity and allows optimization of the time of actors and the crew.
British Association of Film and Television Arts
British Film Commission
The British Film Commission (BFC) is a government-funded organization established in 1991, as an initial point of contact to assist in the making of international and domestic film and television throughout every stage of production in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
British Film Institute
The BFI exists to promote greater understanding and appreciation of, and access to, film and moving image culture in the UK.
British Society of Cinematographers
Slang for the US Dollar.
Bundesverband Kamera (German Society of Cinematographers)
A listing of which actors will be required for which scenes, and when they will be required. Call sheets are created by assistant directors and others.
A bit part played by a famous actor who would ordinarily not take such a small part. Originally meaning "a small piece of artwork", the term was borrowed by director Michael Anderson when attempting to attract famous actors to play bit parts in Around the World in 80 Days.
A device for recording images.
The group of crewmembers directly involved with operation of the camera. Individual job titles include: clapper-loader, camera operator, assistant cameraman, director of photography, focus puller, grip, key grip, dolly grip, additional camera.
AKA: Clapper-Loader, Clapper Loader
The person who operates the clapboard at the beginning of a shot, also responsible for loading film stock into film magazines. The action of slapping the clapper was invented as a way of synchronizing the visual and audio components of a shot. Recent innovations in audio-visual synchronization have made this unnecessary, but it still occurs extensively. See also assistant cameraman.
The person who operates the camera to the specifications dictated by the director of photography. A director or a director of photography sometimes assumes this role. (Luc Besson always operates the camera on films he directs.) See also Society of Operating Cameramen, Steadicam operator.
A form of comedic parody where the clichéd conventions of a dramatic form like adventure are deliberately exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness. Often unfairly used to describe superhero films and shows as Batman is a prime example of this form of comedy.
Canadian Society of Cinematographers
Use of the abbreviation after a name indicates that the person is a member of the CSC.
A collective term for the actors appearing in a particular movie.
The process of hiring actors to play the characters in a script, typically done by a casting director, but with some input from a director, producer, or studio. See also CSA.
During the so-called "Golden Age" of Hollywood, it was not uncommon for would-be-stars to grant sexual favors to directors and/or producers in return for a role in films. These favors were usually rumored to be on a couch in the filmmaker's office. The phrase "Casting Couch" has been popularized, and although the practice has diminished, the term remains in use.
AKA: Extras Casting, Casting Assistant, Casting Associate
The person who auditions and helps to select all of the speaking role actors in film, television shows or plays. The CD must possess a vast knowledge of the actor pool and be able to match a variety of actors with just the right role. Directors and producers rely on the Casting Director to assist them with assembling the perfect cast for their production. Casting Directors are also responsible for serving as the liaison between the director, and the actors and their agents. CDs negotiate the deals with agents once the actors have been cast and are also responsible for the contracts and SAG of each actor.
Casting Society of America
The Casting Society of America is a professional organization of Casting Directors working in theatre, film, and television. The C.S.A. is not a union or a guild, therefore every Casting Director working in these mediums is not necessarily a member of this organization.
A person or company who provides the main meals for cast and crew either on set or on location. See also craft service.
A hand drawn sheet representing a single animation frame, usually made of a clear material like cellulose or Mylar to allow several layers of composition.
A form of animation where hand drawn pictures are transposed on to plastic sheets, each with a different element such as characters and background, and layered on top of each other to create a complete scene. The composition is then photographed and incorporated in the finished film. It was the predominate of form of animation until the rise of computer generated animation in the mid 1990's.
AKA: Censoring, Censor
Changes required of a movie by some person or body other than the studio or the filmmakers, usually a national or regional film classification board. See also certificate.
Centre International du Film pour l'Enfance et la Jeunesse
AKA: C.I.F.E.J., CIFEJ,
International Centre of Films for Children and Young People A 40-year-old international non-governmental organization whose goal is to promote quality films, television programs and videos for children and young people around the world.
AKA: Certificate, Ratings
Various countries or regions have film classification boards for reviewing movies and rating their content in terms of its suitability for particular audiences. For many countries, movies are required to be advertised as having a particular "certificate" or "rating", forewarning audiences of possible "objectionable content". The nature of this "objectionable content" is determined mainly by contemporary national, social, religious, and political standards. The usual criteria which determine a film's certificate are violence and sexuality, with "mature" (adult) situations and especially blasphemy and political issues often being considered more important outside the Western world. This is by no means a hard and fast rule; see the Hays Production Code for an example. In some cases, a film classification board exhibits censorship by demanding changes be made to a movie in order to receive a certain rating. As many movies are targetted at a particular age group, studios must balance the content of their films against the demands of the classification board. Negotiations are common; studios agree to make certain changes to films in order to receive the required rating. The IMDb uses the term "Certificate" as opposed to "Rating" to avoid confusion with "ratings" meaning the opinions of critics. See also: Banned, NC-17, PG, G, XXX.
AKA: Computer Generated Imagery
The use of computer graphics to create or enhance special effects.
When a script is being edited during production, changes are distributed to actors and the filmmakers on "change pages", which are usually a different color to the pages of the script.
AKA: Change-Over, Reel Change, Reel Change Marks, Cigarette Burns
Most completed movies consist of more than one reel, and thus for an uninterrupted screening, at least two projectors must be used. Towards the end of a reel, one or more frames may include a small circle in one of the corners. These are signals to the projectionist that the current reel is approaching the end, and he or she should be ready to start the next projector, which should have the next reel prepared for projection. Also, many theaters have switched to a platter system which allows the entire film to be spliced together and put on a large platter. The film is fed through the center of the reel (unwinding from the inside out), then into the projector, and then back onto another platter. This process allows the film to be show back-to-back without having to rewind it.
An actor who specializes in playing a particular style of character, often stereotypical, offbeat, or humorous.
Children's Film Foundation
Training scheme in the UK to give schoolchildren experience of all aspects of film making. Now replaced by the Children's Film and Television Foundation
A person who plans and directs dance sequences within a movie.
An electronic/computerized technique that allows for specific color elements (chroma) to be replaced with different picture elements. See also bluescreen and greenscreen.
Slang term for experienced parachutists that either perform or assist with stunts involving parachutes.
Text graphics which appear at the bottom of a screen used to describe time, place, or name of person on screen; can also describe the technology used to add the text to the bottom of the screen.
Scratches on a print running parallel to the edge of the strip of film. Typically caused by improper reel winding which allows one coil of the print to slide against another.
A place where screenings occur. Cinemas can be hardtops or ozoners.
Cinema Audio Society
A philanthropic, non-profit organization formed in 1964 for the purpose of sharing information with sound professionals in the motion picture and television industry. Use of the abbreviation after a name indicates that the person is a member of the CAS.
Literally: Cinema Truth. A documentary style in which no directorial control is exerted. The term is frequently misused to describe new-wave "handheld" camera techniques.
AKA: Cinematography, Cin
A person with expertise in the art of capturing images either electronically or on film stock through the application of visual recording devices and the selection and arrangement of lighting. The chief cinematographer for a movie is called the director of photography.
AKA: Clapper, Slate
A small board which holds information identifying a shot. It typically contains the working title of the movie, the names of the director and director of photography, the scene and take numbers, the date, and the time. It is filmed at the beginning of a take. On the top of the clapboard is a hinged stick which is often "clapped" to provide audio/visual synchronization. See also clapper-loader, continuity report.
See camera loader.
Classification and Ratings Administration
The division of the MPAA which is responsible for administering certificates.
Animation of models constructed from clay or plasticine.
A take in which all dialogue was performed without error.
A moment of high drama, frequently used at the end of serials. Named for the (now clichéd) practice of leaving a hero or heroine hanging onto the edge of a cliff.
AKA: Close-Captioned, CC
A system which displays the current dialog on screen for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers. Contrast with subtitles, intertitles.
A shot in which the subject is larger than the frame, revealing much detail. The abbreviation is often used in a slug line.
An image artist who, during post-production of a movie or television show, utilizes computer-based alteration/correction programs to go through the movie/show frame by frame to insure color and light continuity. The colorist may also tweak colors to stylistically heighten them (think Sin City or Kill Bill I).
A producer who performs a substantial portion of a creative producing function, or who is primarily responsible for one or more managerial producing functions. A co-producer has less responsibility than a producer for the completion of a project. Note that if a project has more than one producer, it doesn't mean that these individuals are "co-producers" in the technical sense of that term. See also executive producer, associate producer, line producer.
A technical advisor with expertise in film stock and film developing, who provides advice for cinematographers and color timers.
Term that describes the color of light sources; literally, the temperature at which a blackbody emits enough radiant energy to evoke a color equivalent to that coming from a given light source. A high color temperature corresponds to bluer light, a low color temperature to yellow light. The color temperature of daylight is around 5500K.
AKA: Color Correction, Color Timer, Color Corrected
A process which adjusts the final print so that colors match from shot to shot, regardless of the film stock and camera used to shoot the scene. So named because one aspect is adjusting the exposure time of each shot. Performed by a color timer. See also color consultant.
A film alteration process where an operator digitally alters a black and white image to include color. It is a controversial practice because many filmmakers and viewers believe it fundamentally alters an artistic creation. Early attempts at colorization in the 1980's were relatively crude in their shading range. Examples of this kind of alteration are versions of Casablanca and It's a Wonderful Life. Citizen Kane is notable in that Orson Welles was able to legally prevent its alteration.
A musician whose music appears in a movie's score. Most movies have at least some original music written for the score, usually after the relevant parts of the movie have been filmed. See also lyrics.
AKA: Synchronized Print
A print with a images and sound on the same strip of film. The sound component may be either a magnetic soundtrack or an optical soundtrack. See also advance.
AKA: Musical Conductor, Orchestra Conductor
A person who directs the orchestra's performance of the score, often the composer.
Confédération Internationale des Cinémas d'Art et Essai
AKA: C.I.C.A.E., CICAE, Internationaler Verband der Filmkunsttheater
AKA: Construction Foreman, Construction Manager
Financial responsibilities include budgeting, tracking costs, generating reports, etc. Through drawings, a construction coordinator is directed artistically by the Production Designer and Art Director to produce their "vision" in three dimensions. Also responsible for the physical integrity of the structures built by the construction department.
AKA: Continuity Error
The degree to which a movie is self-consistent. For example, a scene where an actor is wearing a hat when seen from one camera angle and not from another would lack continuity. A person is often employed to check that continuity is maintained since reshooting embarrassing lapses in continuity can be prohibitively expensive. See also continuity report. In modern times, some continuity errors can be corrected through digital compositing. See the Terminator 2: Judgment Day trivia entry for an example.
AKA: Continuity Script
A detailed list of the events that occurred during the filming of a scene. Typically recorded are production and crew identification, camera settings, environmental conditions, the status of each take, and exact details of the action that occurs. By recording all possible sources of variation, the report helps cut down continuity error between shots or even during reshooting.
The clothes worn by actors when being filmed.
A person who designs the costumes for a movie.
The person in charge of costumes, usually preparing them for use and making sure they are accurate and faithful to the designs. Other responsibilities include consulting with the designers and training, supervising, and scheduling the costume staff.
AKA: Wardrobe, Assistant Wardrobe, Wardrobe Assistant
A person responsible for handling the costumes worn by actors. Costumes The person or department responsible for obtaining wardrobe items specified by the costume designer. Most items are borrowed from the studio's costume stock or rented from outside companies; others may be created specifically for the production.
A shot framed from mid-thigh up. Got its name during the filming of many westerns, when this was a common framing used.
AKA: Crafts Service
The person (or people) available to assist the other crafts which include camera, sound, electricians, grips, props, art director, set decorator, hair and makeup, service the other crafts during the actual shooting of a motion picture, with tasks including providing snacks and cleaning the set.
A shot taken by a camera on a crane; often used to show the actors/action from above. Cranes usually carry both the camera and a camera operator, but some can be operated by remote control.
A multi-faceted individual that works primarily for the director of a feature, who helps with the creative process of a film in more than one field (e.g. script, special effects, photography sound design, music, etc.) In many cases, creative consultants go unaccredited, like ghost writers, for various reasons.
The writer or other primary creative force behind a movie, series, or group of characters.
A collective term for anyone involved with the production of a movie who does not appear in the movie. This term is usually used to refer to the more subordinate members of a production team (contrast with filmmakers.)
A person who publishes a review of a movie from either an artistic or entertainment point of view.
The technique of interweaving pieces of two or more scenes, usually in order to show simultaneous actions or illuminate themes.
A change in either camera angle or placement, location, or time. "Cut" is called during filming to indicate that the current take is over. See also shot, action. A "cut" of a movie is also a complete edited version.
A subgenre of science fiction that typically has elements which include a futuristic tone, massive urban areas in decay and poverty, partial environmental collapse, extremely powerful business corporations, random street gang violence with the overall presence of extremely powerful computer, robotic and information technology. Blade Runner is considered the definitive cyberpunk movie.
The first positive prints made from the negatives photographed on the previous day. During filming, the director and some actors may view these dailies as an indication of how the filming and the actors' performances are progressing.
A shoot done during that day, that simulates night time, using filters, underexposure, and other techniques to create a feeling of darkness.
Deep focus Shot
A shot in which both the foreground and the background are in focus. In other words, a shot with exceptional depth of field.
The concluding scenes of a movie where the story elements are finished and the characters' status after the climax is shown.
Depth of Field
A measure of the range along a camera's line of site in which objects will be in focus. See also aperture, shutter speed.
Someone who creates plans for visual aspects of a production (e.g. costume designer).
A person who helps train an actor in diction and/or the use of accents to suit the character an actor is playing.
A sound editor who specializes in editing dialogue.
AKA: Dialogue Director
A person who helps train an actor in diction and/or the use of inflections, so that his or her speech fits the character and situation.
AKA: Actual sound
A sound that is created by something or someone visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film.
A technique whereby separately filmed components are combined through digital editing. Contrast with optical printing.
Editing a portion of a movie by digitizing one or more frames and altering them electronically or combining them with other digitized images, and then printing the modified frame.
Digital Imaging Technician
A person who provides on-set quality control, image manipulation & color correction, production continuity, trouble shooting and consultation to assist in fulfilling the requirements and vision of the cinematographer in film-style digital production.
Digital Theatre Systems
A company which has produced a digital soundtrack standard. Competitors include Dolby Digital and SDDS.
Digital Versatile Disc
AKA: Digital Video Disc, DVD
Digital Versatile Discs resemble audio CDs in appearance, but have a much higher storage capacity. Hence, they can store rich digital media such as video in addition to audio and computer software. DVD was once called "Digital Video Disc" but the name change reflects its wider uses. As a video medium, DVD offers full length feature films to be stored with exceptional picture quality accompanied by high end digital sound, such as Dolby Digital and DTS. Thanks to the huge capacity of discs, DVD movies are often sold with extra features such as the option to view the movie in widescreen or full screen, or the option to listen to the movie or director commentaries.
The animator responsible for creating the key poses or key frames of an animation.
AKA: Dir, Helmer
The principal creative artist on a movie set. A director is usually (but not always) the driving artistic source behind the filming process, and communicates to actors the way that he/she would like a particular scene played. A director's duties might also include casting, script editing, shot selection, shot composition, and editing. Typically, a director has complete artistic control over all aspects of the movie, but it is not uncommon for the director to be bound by agreements with either a producer or a studio. In some large productions, a director will delegate less important scenes to a second unit.
Director of Photography
AKA: DP, DoP
A cinematographer who is ultimately responsible for the process of recording a scene in the manner desired by the director. The Director of Photography has a number of possible duties: selection of film stock, cameras, and lenses; designing and selecting lighting, directing the gaffer's placement of lighting; shot composition (in consultation with the director); film developing and film printing.
Contracts under the terms of the Hollywood Director's Guild usually allow 6 weeks for a director to assemble a cut of the movie without studio interference as he or she would like it to be seen. This director's cut is fully edited and has a synchronized soundtrack. This cut is usually not color corrected or density corrected and may not even have the final music and effects tracks. In more recent times the term Director's Cut has taken on a popular meaning that implies a polished final cut of the movie that the director has complete artistic control over.
Director's Guild of America
AKA: DGA Directors Guild-Producer Training Plan AKA: Director's Guild of America Trainee, DGA Trainee
The Director's Guild of America has various training programs whereby successful applicants are placed in various productions and can gain experience working in the film or television industry.
AKA: Lap Dissolve
An editing technique whereby the images of one shot is gradually replaced by the images of another.
Distribution The organization responsible for coordinating the distribution of the finished movie to exhibitors, as well as the sale of videos, laserdiscs, and other media versions of movies.
A non-fiction narrative without actors. Typically a documentary is a journalistic record of an event, person, or place. See also: cinema verité.
A filmmaking movement launched in 1995 by Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, among others. The Dogme 95 Manifesto renounces special effects and other forms of "gimmickry" in favor of stripped-down techniques. In order to qualify for Dogme status, filmmakers must abide by the following ten rules (known as the "Vow of Chastity"):
1. Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).
2. The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is being shot).
3. The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. (The film must not take place where the camera is standing; shooting must take place where the film takes place).
4. The film must be in color. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).
5. Optical work and filters are forbidden.
6. The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.)
7. Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)
8. Genre movies are not acceptable.
9. The film format must be Academy 35mm.
10. The director must not be credited.
Dolby Noise Reduction
AKA: Dolby, Dolby Labs, Dolby Digital, Dolby SR, Dolby 70mm, Dolby Stereo
Dolby Laboratories, Inc has produced a number of noise reduction and sound enhancement processes. Competitors include DTS and SDDS.
AKA: Dolly Shot, Dolly Up, Dolly In, Dolly Back, Pull back
A dolly is a small truck which rolls along dolly tracks carrying the camera, some of the camera crew and occasionally the director. "Dolly" is also the action of moving the camera towards (dolly up/in) or away from (dolly/pull back) the object that it is pointing at. The term often appears in screenplays. There is a subtle difference between the results of a zoom shot and a dolly shot. In a zoom, the relative positions and sizes of all objects in the frame remains the same, whereas in a dolly shot this will change as the camera moves. Alfred Hitchcock's much-imitated shot in Vertigo used a combination zoom-in and dolly back, resulting in a dramatic change in perspective.
A grip that moves a dolly.
A set of tracks upon which a camera can be moved. See also dolly.
AKA: Camera Report
A list of scenes from the script that have already been filmed, or a list of the contents of an exposed reel of film stock. An accurate dope sheet is the responsibility of the assistant cameraman. See also clapboard, continuity report.
An actor who stands in for another actor in certain scenes, some of which may involve dangerous circumstances or require special skills (e.g. a stunt double). Sometimes body doubles are used in scenes that call for nudity or intimacy. Contrast with stand-in.
Two movies shown consecutively, typically for a discounted single admission price. Often the movies are sequels or are otherwise related (by genre, eg). See also feature presentation, supporting feature, and trailer.
A person who creates the plans for set construction. See also swing gang, production designer, and art director.
A wardrobe assistant who helps actors with their costumes.
AKA: Transportation Captain
A person who drives either equipment or passenger trucks, typically between location shootings, sets, and the studio. The chief driver is called the transportation captain. See also transportation coordinator.
AKA: Dubs, Dubbed
The technique of combining multiple sound components into one. The term is also used to refer to automatic dialog replacement of a new language.
A shot composed with the horizon not parallel with the bottom of the frame. Used extensively in Batman, and frequently by Orson Welles.
Numbers printed on the edge of a print to allow easy identification of frames.
AKA: Visual Editing, Film Editing
Reconstructing the sequence of events in a movie. See also AVID, editor.
A person who performs editing (in consultation with the director) on a movie. This term usually refers to someone who does visual editing. See also Motion Picture Editors Guild.
Special film stock that is typically used by the second unit to generate computerized composites. Effects stock usually has finer film grain, and is usually rated several stops lower than standard stock.
The department in charge of all electrical matters (primarily lighting) for productions.
The person or grip in charge of and familiar with the electrical equipment on the set.
A film with large dramatic scope or that required an immense production.
The first shot of a new scene, that introduces the audience to the space in which the forthcoming scene will take place.
AKA: British Actors Equity Association, BAEA, Actors Equity
A trade union for actors. In the UK, an actor must belong to Equity before being allowed to perform in any "legitimate" theater or film. Similar organizations exist in other countries but because other organizations often exist membership isn't as essential.
AKA: Executive in Charge of Production
A producer who is not involved in any technical aspects of the filmmaking process, but who is still responsible for the overall production. Typically an executive producer handles business and legal issues. See also associate producer, co-producer, line producer.
An organization which represents cinemas.
Background information necessary to the advancement of the storyline or to augment richness or detail.
Used in a slug line, indicates that the scene occurs outdoors.
A person who appears in a movie where a non-specific, non-speaking character is required, usually as part of a crowd or in the background of a scene. Extras are often recruited from wherever they are available. Contrast with non-speaking role.
A shot in which the subject is much larger than the frame. Provides more detail than a close-up. The abbreviation is often used in a slug line.
A technique used in visual effects to make sure an actor is looking at the "face" of the character/creature to be inserted later. One approach, used on Stuart Little (1999), is to sync a laser to the camera so that it is on only when the shutter is closed, and makes a dot where the creature's eyes would be. More commonly, a grip holds a target on a pole.
AKA: Fade To Black, Fade In, Fade Out
A smooth, gradual transition from a normal image to complete blackness (fade out), or vice versa (fade in).
Anyone appearing on screen whose face is not seen (either because of heavy makeup or camera angles) and who has no lines; can include stand-ins and extras. The term originated with Sam Raimi and his colleagues, who borrowed it from Hollywood lore about a stand-in used to finish Three Stooges films after Shemp Howard's death.
AKA: Skip Frame
A shot in which time appears to move more quickly than normal. The process is commonly achieved by either deleting select frames (called "skip frames") or by under cranking. See also motion artifact, freeze frame, frame rate, judder.
A movie at least 40-45 minutes (2 reels) long intended for theatrical release. Contrast with short subject.
AKA: Main Attraction
The main or advertised movie during a screening. See also: double bill, trailer, supporting feature.
Literally: "Deadly Lady"; a slang term used to describe a character in a movie.
An event at which films can often premiere. Festivals can be used as by studios to show their wares and sell rights to distributors, or to officially mark a movie's release so as to make it eligible for award ceremonies with hard deadlines that can't be met if they waited for a general release. Some festivals are competitive, giving awards from a jury or selected by the audiences..
A person who arranges to purchase films from an distributor on behalf of an exhibitor.
A process whereby images recorded on film stock are transferred to a negative print. See also color timing.
AKA: Grain, Graininess, Grainy
The tiny particles of light-sensitive material on film stock that record images. Finer grains give higher image quality, but coarser grains allow a faster shutter speed. Graininess is an artifact which results from the use of coarse grains, and gives images a slight mosaic appearance.
A reel of film stock ready for use in a camera. The clapper-loader is responsible for inserting these into a camera.
Literally: "Black Film"; describes a genre of film which typically features dark, brooding characters, corruption, detectives, and the seedy side of the big city.
The process of transferring images from a negative print to a print.
The physical medium on which photographic images are recorded. See also film grain.
A collective term used to refer to people who have a significant degree of control over the creation of a movie: directors, producers, screenwriters, and editors.
First Assistant Camera
See focus puller.
A scene that breaks the chronological continuity of the main narrative by depicting events which happened in the past. Contrast with flashforward.
A scene that breaks the chronological continuity of the main narrative by depicting events which happen in the future. Contrast with flashback.
AKA: Foam Runner
A person responsible for creating foam latex prosthetic appliances from a sculpture created by a makeup artist.
The sharpness of an image, or the adjustments made on a camera necessary to achieve this. See also focus puller.
A group of approximately ten to twelve members of the public unrelated to a movie's production who attend a sneak preview. A single focus group is usually composed of a selection of people within the boundaries of a movie's intended audience. The group is extensively questioned by the filmmakers following the screening, and their opinions are incorporated into any further editing that may occur before the premiere.
AKA: B Cameraman
A member of the camera crew who adjusts the focus of the camera during filming. See also assistant cameraman.
The art of recreating incidental sound effects (such as footsteps) in synchronization with the visual component of a movie. Named after early practitioner Jack Foley, Foley artists sometimes use bizarre objects and methods to achieve sound effects, e.g. snapping celery to mimic bones being broken. The sounds are often exaggerated for extra effect - fight sequences are almost always accompanied by loud Foley added thuds and slaps.
AKA: Foley Operator
A person who creates Foley sound effects; named after early practitioner Jack Foley.
Edits the sounds created by a Foley artist.
A sound mixer who works with a Foley artist to record sound effects.
A technique used to create a sense of great distance or to make a space seem much bigger than it is, forced perspective is created by using objects that are vary in size, and placing them specific distances from one another, to create the effect of objects fading into the distance.
An individual picture image which eventually appears on a print.
AKA: Frames Per Second, FPS
Movies are created by taking a rapid sequence of pictures (frames) of action. By displaying these frames at the same rate at which they were recorded, the illusion of motion can be created. "Frame Rate" is the number of frames captured or projected per second. The human optical system is only capable of capturing about 20 images per second; hence to give a realistic illusion of motion a frame rate greater than this is required. Most modern motion pictures are filmed and displayed at 24 fps. Earlier films used lower frame rates, and hence when played back on modern equipment, fast motion occurs due to under cranking. See also: slow motion, fast motion, under cranking, over cranking, judder, motion artifact.
An optical printing effect whereby a single frame is repeated to give the illusion that all action has stopped. Often used by Martin Scorsese. Contrast with stop motion.
Fullscreen is a term used to describe the shape of the picture a movie is displayed in order for it to fill a regular (as of 1998) TV screen. At the time of writing, most TVs are squarer than the newer widescreen TVs on the market. With these older sets, for every 4 inches/cm of horizontal screen size there are 3 inches/cm of vertical size, hence a 4:3 aspect ratio. Widescreen TVs have 5 and 1/3 inches/cm horizontal size for each 3 of vertical. Rather than write that as 5.333:3, we use 16:9. So fullscreen=4:3, widescreen=16:9. When a movie is played in fullscreen format for a 4:3 TV, the movie is almost always adjusted to fit. You may be familiar with the phrase "this movie has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit your TV." What that almost always means is that much of the original picture has been thrown away, i.e. the pan and scan procedure has been used to pick the most appropriate pieces of the picture to keep because the old TV screen is the wrong shape to show the whole picture. In terms of home cinema, fullscreen is inferior to widescreen and is often considered to be an unacceptable format. The 4:3 shape TV is expected to become obsolete over the next decade as TV moves to digital and HDTV formats, which are widescreen based. DVDs often offer both fullscreen and widescreen formats, however many are already only available in widescreen and anamorphic format, so as to cater for the growing audience of home cinema enthusiasts who have already abandoned fullscreen.
Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique
AKA: FIPRESCI, International Federation of Film Critics, Internationaler Verband der Filmkritiker, Federación Internacional de la Prensa Cinematográfica
Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Film
AKA: FIAPF, International Federation of Film Producers Association, Internationaler Verband der Filmproduzenten, Federazione internazionale associazioni produttori di film
Fédération Internationale des Ciné-Clubs
AKA: FICC, International Federation of Film Societies
A certificate issued by the MPAA indicating that a film is suitable for all ages. See also PG.
AKA: Chief Lighting Technician
The head of the electrical department, responsible for the design and execution of the lighting plan for a production. Early films used mostly natural light, which stagehands controlled with large tent cloths using long poles called gaffs (stagehands were often beached sailors or longshoremen, and a gaff is a type of boom on a sailing ship). In 16th Century English, the term "gaffer" denoted a man who was the head of any organized group of laborers.
AKA: Genny, Genny Operator
A mechanical engine which produces electricity from fuel (usually diesel). Frequently used for location shooting, either due to the unavailability or insufficient quantities of electricity locally available.
A mechanically extendable and manipulated boom microphone.
A form of animation similar to stop motion, but which incorporates motion blur. Ordinary stop motion cannot produce motion blur as motion only occurs between frames. Robotic models that are moved during the exposure of each frame produce motion blur, and thus are more realistic. Pioneered by Industrial Light and Magic for Dragonslayer.
A newer technique similar to bluescreen, however utilizing a key green background. Research showed that substantially better results could be gained by filming on green instead of blue, as effects stock was more sensitive to separating key green from other (foreground) colors. See also chroma keying.
A member of the crew who procures, places, and maintains any vegetation on a set.
A term used to describe movie theaters common in the U.S. from the 1950s onward, that specialized in showing, or "grinding out" as many B movies as they could fit into their schedules. The term is also used to describe the type of B movies -- commonly violent, exploitative, or just plain racy -- that were shown in such theaters.
In the USA, a grip is a skilled person responsible for the set up, adjustment and maintenance of production equipment on the set. Their typical duties involve camera movement, lighting refinement, and mechanical rigging. In the UK, grips work exclusively with equipment that the camera is mounted on. Contrast with swing gang, see also key grip.
AKA: Hairstyles, Hair stylist, Hairdresser, Hair dresser, Hair Styles
Person responsible for maintaining actors' hairstyles during filming.
Slang for a normal indoor theatre. See also ozoner.
Hays Production Code
AKA: Hays Code, Hays Production Office, Hays Office
In the 1920s, the American public became alarmed at the increasingly frequent portrayal of violence, sex, and lawlessness on movie screens. Wishing to avoid government regulation, the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America created their own regulatory body and appointed Postmaster General Will H. Hays as head. His influence became so great that this body became known as the "Hays Office". The Hays Production Code for Motion Pictures was introduced in 1934, and by today's standards was extremely strict. It was mainly concerned with violence and sex, but had references to crime in general. After WWII, the growing popularity of television provided the public with more viewing choice. The Hays Office came under increasing fire for restricting the creativity of filmmakers, as it had defined specific requirements for depicting certain events. For example, under the Hays Code a filmmaker could not present revenge in modern times as being justified, nor could they depict details of how crimes were committed, or show a criminal profiting from crime. Following the Supreme Court's Miracle decision in the 1950s, films were recognized as protected under the First Amendment, and as such the Hays Office's demands were not legally enforceable. Films such as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Blowup inspired MPAA president Jack Valenti to abolish the Hays Code as his first step in overhauling the certificates system in 1967. See also blacklisting.
Describes a film that includes and/or exploits certain elements (e.g. fast action, big-name stars) in order to attract a large audience.
An abbreviation for "Head of Department". Sometimes known in US as coordinators.
A word used on a continuity report to indicate that a particular take should be kept, but not developed. See also print.
Usually a trailer, or truck and trailer combination outfitted for and used as the dressing room for actors when on location shoots away from permanent soundstages.
The short segments of TV show where the host of the program talks or discusses topics; common in reality TV, where a host summarizes what has happened before the show returns to the action.
A set where set dressers and prop persons have finalized placing furniture and props for filming a scene and on which a scene is in the process of being shot; labeled thus to indicate that it should not be changed or disturbed.
Overzealous praise or advertising.
A movie not produced by a major studio.
A young actress. Also, a type of role played by a young actress, generally implying a young, fresh-faced, naive character. studio.
Verb: to sign a contract. Noun: press coverage.
A period of time.
A close-up shot of an object, often produced by the second unit. The term probably came about to reflect the fact that this shot will be "inserted" into the final version of the movie during editing.
Used in a slug line, indicates that the scene occurs indoors.
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts
AKA: I.A.T.S.E., IATSE
A title card appearing intercut with a scene. Contrast with subtitles. Commonly used with silent films.
The arm of a mechanical crane.
An instability introduced when images sampled at one frame rate are converted to a different frame rate for viewing. This effect is most noticeable when frames are repeated or deleted in order to obtain slow motion or fast motion. See also motion artifact.
A cut involving an interruption to the continuity of time, where the image in a shot closely matches the image of the previous shot.
A general adjective denoting importance.
The chief of a group of grips, often doubling for a construction coordinator and a backup for the camera crew, that also moves a dolly. Key grips work closely with the gaffer.
The start of production or principal photography.
A person responsible for working out the action before filming begins, including where the characters should be, and the camera angles.
AKA: Lead, Female Lead, Male Lead
The most important character in a movie, often distinguished by gender.
AKA: Lead man, Lead person
Member of the art department who is in charge of swing gangs and/or set dressers and reports to the set decorator.
Of a movie: continuing to return large box-office figures.
An optical device used by a camera to focus an image onto film stock.
AKA: Letterboxed, Letterbox
As the aspect ratio of movies are rarely the same as the aspect ratio of a television screen, when showing movies on TV it is necessary to make sacrifices. "Letterboxing" is a video mastering process whereby a film source with an aspect ratio greater than that of the video master (4:3 for NTSC/PAL and 16:9 for HDTV) is transferred to the video master in such a way that no film image is cut off to the left or the right, requiring the addition of (usually) black bars at the top and at the bottom of the image so that it entirely fills the screen--in other words, the technique of shrinking the image just enough so that its entire width appears on screen, with black areas above and below the image. The advantage of this technique is that the film images are shown as originally intended by the film's creators, not interfering with their shot composition and artistic intentions. The disadvantage is that the entire image must be shrunk, which makes viewing on smaller TVs more difficult. Contrast with pan and scan (for DVD, also anamorphic widescreen).
Most productions use artificial lighting when filming for various technical and artistic reasons, both on location or on a set. Lighting is designed by the director of photography in consultation with the director, and is the responsibility of the electrical department.
AKA: Lighting technician, Lighting technicians
A group of technicians who install, operate, and maintain lighting.
The section of a production's crew responsible for lighting and other electrical matters during filming. Individual positions within in this department include: Gaffer, Best Boy, Lighting Board Operator, Lamp Operator, Rigging Gaffer, Riggers and Genny operator.
Lighting Board Operator
A member of the electrical department who runs a console that controls the level or intensity of the lights, creating a look for the show. This can be simple or complex, involving intensity matching for shot continuity, on-screen effects, moving light control and synchronized work with other departments, like special effects and visual effects.
A member of the electrical department that is responsible for operating lights and lighting equipment on a set.
A producer who is responsible for managing every person and issue during the making of a film. Line producers only work on one film at a time. See also: unit production manager, associate producer, co-producer, executive producer.
A copy of the shooting script which is prepared by the script supervisor during production to indicate, via notations and vertical lines drawn directly onto the script pages, exactly what coverage has been shot. A given vertical line indicates, via the line's start and end point, what script material is covered in a particular shot, and whether given dialog or action is on-screen or off-screen in the shot, indicated by the line changing between straight and wavy respectively. Different colored lines usually represent certain types of shots: close-up, insert, Steadicam, etc. Each vertical line is also notated with the slate of the shot (e.g. "3C"), the printed takes (e.g. "1, 3, and 4"), and a brief shot description (e.g. "M2S Rolf & Liza"). The lined script also frequently incorporates the script supervisor's script notes on the facing pages for a given scene. The lined script is used by the film editor as a reference to what coverage was shot and to changes made to the script during production. Lined scripts give editors a quick view of all available coverage at a glance, so that he or she can make quick editing decisions without having to sort through all the footage repeatedly.
A camera's viewfinder actually shows (and records on film stock) a greater area of the scene than will appear in the final product. Markings are etched in the viewfinder to indicate to the camera operator the extents of the "viewable" film (called the live area). An area beyond that (called the safe area) is also marked; it is in this area that the camera operator might direct the boom operator to place the boom microphone.
AKA: Location, On Location, Location Shooting
Filming which occurs at a place not constructed specifically for the production. Typically this is either outdoors, a well-known location, or a real place which suffices.
AKA: Assistant Location Manager A person who manages various aspects of filming on location, such as arranging with authorities for permission to shoot in specific places.
A sound mixer responsible for mixing sounds recorded on location.
A person who looks for suitable locations for filming.
Lock it down
AKA: Lock it up, a lock up
A direction given by the assistant director for everyone on the set to be quiet, move out of frame, and to secure the set against anything or one interrupting the shot as it is happening. It is called just prior to speed.
A camera shot from a great distance, usually showing the characters as very small in comparison to their surroundings.
Look development lead
A person who works in a Digital/CG department and is responsible for wrangling the information from departments upstream like Modeling, Textures, Concept Art, Shaders and Effects and coming up with the final visual design on the look of characters, props, fx and sets that will eventually be used by lighters downstream on final shots. Usually referred to as lookdev.
See Automatic Dialogue Replacement.
A writer of song lyrics.
The words sung in a song; also refers to their writer.
A term used by Alfred Hitchcock to refer to an item, event, or piece of knowledge that the characters in a film consider extremely important, but which the audience either doesn't know of or doesn't care about. Examples: the engine plans in The 39 Steps, the statue with the microfilms in North by Northwest, and the contents of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.
The minutes just around sunset and sunrise, where light levels change drastically and quickly, lending a warm orange glow to earlier shots, and a clearer blue in later minutes that allows a crew to shoot night scenes while light still remains.
AKA: Magnetic Print
A composite print in which the soundtrack is recorded on the attached strip of magnetic tape. Largely obsolete due to high cost and maintenance difficulties.
A person responsible for general maintenance and repair.
The major Hollywood movie producer/distributor studios (MGM/UA, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Universal, and Disney).
AKA: Make up, Make-up, Makeup Artist, Makeup Supervisor
The decorations placed directly on the skin or hair of an actor for cosmetic or artistic effect. Practitioners are called artists or supervisors. See also body makeup, special makeup effects, prosthetic appliances.
AKA: Martial Arts, Chop-Socky, Chopsocky
A film which features hand to hand combat, usually using various Asian combat systems like Karate and the Chinese fighting styles popularly known in the west as Kung Fu. "Chop-socky" is a slang and scornful term for martial-arts movies.
The last shot of the day's shoot... because the next "shot" is in a Martini glass. See also Abby Singer.
A person who creates artwork (usually for the background of a shot) which is included in the movie either via a matte shot or optical printing.
A photographic technique whereby artwork - usually on glass - from a matte artist is combined with live action. Contrast this with back projection or a travelling matte.
A style of acting formalized by Konstantin Stanislavsky which is believed by some to create more realistic performances. Essentially, the theory requires actors to draw experiences from their own personal lives that correlate to the character they are playing - an extremely demanding process emotionally. In some cases, "method" actors take the theory even further by arranging events in their private lives to resemble the lives of their characters. See the trivia entries for Down and Out in Beverly Hills and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for examples, and the trivia entry for Marathon Man for an amusing anecdote.
A camera shot from a medium distance, usually showing the characters from the waist up, that allows the audience to see body language, but not as much facial expression.
AKA: Mike, Mic
A device which converts sound into electrical impulses, usually for recording or amplification.
AKA: Mini Majors
Studios which are large but not as large as the majors: Embassy, Gramercy, etc.
A television series with a set number of episodes which tell a complete story, usually filmed at the same time. Contrast with serial.
Literally translated as "what's put into the scene", this is the sum total of all factors affecting the artistic "look" or "feel" of a shot or scene. These can include shot selection, shot composition, production design and set decoration, as well as technical camera properties such as shutter speed, aperture, frame rate, and depth of field. Mise-en-scene is often contrasted with montage, where the artistic "look" of a scene is constructed through visual editing.
An artistic device for creating the artistic "look" or "feel" of a scene, through the use of visual editing. Often contrasted with mise-en-scene.
AKA: Mit Out Sound, Minus Optical Stripe, Motor Only Sync
A take that is filmed without recording sound at the same time. MOS stands for "mit out sound"--it is purported that director Erich Von Stroheim couldn't pronounce "without sound" correctly due to his accent.
AKA: Strobing, Nyquist Limit
The visual interference patterns between a shot's frame rate and a filmed object's periodic motion or change. If a shot is filmed with a frame rate R, any images of periodic events of a frequency greater than R/2 (the "Nyquist Limit") will be misrepresented on film. A commonly-occurring example of this artifact is the illusion of spoked wheels appearing to turn in the wrong direction or at the wrong rate. Incorrect frame rates and synchronization can also cause strobing during shots of projected movies or of television screens. See also artifact, judder.
Shots of objects that quickly move in the camera's frame, and/or shots with a slow shutter speed are likely to produce a "smearing" effect, since the object is in a range of positions during a single exposure.
An animation technique in which the actions of an animated object are derived automatically from the motion of a real-world actor or object. See also rotoscoping.
A camera setup which records the motion of a camera during a shot so that visual effects can be easily synchronized with the photographed scene.
AKA: Movie, Film, Flick, Picture
Motion Picture Association
AKA: Motion Picture Export Association of America, MPA, MPEAA
The Motion Picture Association of America and its international counterpart, the Motion Picture Association serve as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries, domestically through the MPAA and internationally through the MPA. Before 1994, the MPA was known as the Motion Picture Export Association of America.
Motion Picture Association of America
The Motion Picture Association of America and its international counterpart, the Motion Picture Association serve as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries, domestically through the MPAA and internationally through the MPA. Through the Classifications and Ratings Administration (CARA), the MPAA issues certificates.
Motion Picture Editors Guild
A professional union for picture and sound editors, which now also includes re-recording mixers, projectionists, recordists, mic boom operators, engineers, and story analysts.
Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America
Motion Picture Sound Editors
Motion Picture Stills Photographers Association
The use of computer programs to combine and synthesize real footage with CGI effects.
Someone who adapts a musical composition for voices, instruments, and/or performance styles other than those for which the music was originally written.
A person who, in collaboration with the music supervisor and composer, performs editing on the score, live vocals, songs and source music of a movie. Music Preparation Person who prepares printed parts from the composer's score for the musicians to play from at the score recording sessions.
AKA: Musical Director, Musical Direction, Music Director, Music Direction
A person who coordinates the work of the composer, the editor, and sound mixers. Alternately, a person who researches, obtains rights to, and supplies songs for a production.
A movie whose dramatic story structure includes unrealistic episodes of musical performance and/or dancing.
National Film Theatre
Main showcase cinema in the UK. Located in London, England.
National Organization of Theatre Owners
NC-17: NO ONE 17 AND UNDER ADMITTED
AKA: NC-17, X-Rated, X Rated, X
A certificate issued by the MPAA indicating that no person aged 17 or under will be allowed to attend a screening of the movie. This category was formerly called "X", but many people's mistaken association of "X" films with XXX films caused the MPAA to change this on September 27, 1990.
The cost of a movie through the production of a finished negative, not including the costs of prints, advertising, or distribution.
A person who matches the negative of a movie and conforms (matches) it to the final version of the film as decided by the filmmakers. From this negative the prints are made.
An agreement where a distributor acquires a finished negative and agrees to pay P&A and distribution costs. As opposed to deals where the distributor is involved during production.
AKA: Negative, Neg
A reverse light image capture. See also positive print.
AKA: No good
An abbreviation of the phrase "no good", which can be used to describe various aspects of filmmaking, i.e. "a ng take".
Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema
The computer-assisted editing of a movie without the need to assemble it in linear sequence. The visual equivalent of word processing.
The standard for TV/video display in the US and Canada, as set by the National Television Standards Committee, which delivers 525 lines of resolution at 60 half-frames per second. See also PAL and SECAM.
Operating expenses to be recovered, often deductible in an exhibitor's contract with distributors.
When an actor has completely memorized their lines and cues, they are described as being off-book -- no longer in need of their script.
The process of preliminary editing done in a lower-cost editing facility, to prepare a list of edits for on-line.
A person who performs the off-line work, completing preliminary editing done in a lower-cost editing facility, to prepare a list of edits for the final, or on-line editor.
The process of final editing and preparation for distribution of film, with edits often from a list of changes created during off-line.
A person who performs the on-line work, who completes the final editing and preparation for distribution of film, with edits often from a list of changes created by the off-line editor.
An artist who colors in the individual cells of an animated film.
AAKA: Opens, Opened, Opening
The time at which a movie is first released in theatres. Movies will often open at different times in different countries/regions.
When a movie is first released in each country, its success is often measured in terms of its gross for the first weekend it opened. A disproportionate number of people usually see a movie on its opening weekend so box-office numbers are a good guide as to whether the movie will be a hit or not.
AKA: Optical Printing
A laboratory machine for combining the images of one or more reels of film through photographic techniques. Contrast with digital compositing.
A composite print in which the soundtrack is recorded via the varying width of a transparent track which runs beside the sequence of frames on a print. See also advance.
AKA: Optioning a Script
To buy the exclusive rights to a script, within a specified time at a set price, effectively guaranteeing that during the indicated time period, the writer will not share the idea with anyone else.
AKA: Arrangements, Orchestrations, Orchestration
An adaptation of the score for all instruments in an orchestra.
A person who writes orchestral arrangements.
Organisation Catholique Internationale du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel
AKA: OCIC, International Catholic Organization for Cinema and Audiovisual, La Oficina Católica Internacional del Cine
Since 1935 OCIC has been officially recognized by the Holy See as the official organization of the Catholic Church in the field of cinema.
AKA: Oscars, Academy Awards, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards
The term "Oscar" was coined by an anonymous person who remarked that the statue looked like their Uncle Oscar.
AKA: Out take, Outtake, Outtakes
A take of a scene not used in a movie. In some movies, out-takes are shown under the closing credits.
The process of speeding the frame rate of a camera up, so that when the captured pictures are played at the normal frame rate the action appears to be in slow motion. Historically, cameras were operated by turning a crank at a constant, required speed; hence "overcranking" refers to turning the crank too quickly. See also undercranking, frames per second, judder.
Over the Shoulder shot
A camera shot over the first character's shoulder capturing the second character opposite them; commonly used to show a conversation from the first character's perspective.
Slang for a drive-in theatre. See also hardtop.
Prints and advertising, the major costs of film distribution.
AKA: Phase Alternating Line
A standard for TV/video display, dominant in Europe and Australia, which delivers 625 lines of resolution at 50 half-frames per second. See also NTSC and SECAM.
The action of rotating a camera about its vertical axis. See also tilt.
Pan and Scan
AKA: Panned and Scanned
As the aspect ratio of movies are rarely the same as the aspect ratio of a television screen, when showing movies on TV it is necessary to make sacrifices. "Pan and Scan" refers to the technique of chopping off strips from one or both sides of the picture when displaying. The areas chopped off are typically changed on a shot-by-shot basis, depending on scene composition. The main advantage of this technique is that it allows detail to be seen, the disadvantage is that shot composition is sometimes destroyed. Contrast with letterboxing.
To write, especially a script.
AKA: PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
A certificate issued by the MPAA indicating that a film's content is suitable for viewing by children, but recommends parental guidance. See also PG-13.
A certificate introduced by the MPAA on July 1, 1984 to indicate that a movie's content is rated as slightly stronger than a PG certificate. See also R.
AKA: Picked up
Movies made by one studio that have been acquired by another. Alternately, any footage shot after production wraps. See also additional photography.
A vehicle shown in a movie.
A schedule of movie projects in production.
A variant of stop-motion animation where actors are the objects being filmed. The key example is Neighbors.
Point of View
A camera angle in which the camera views what would be visible from a particular object's position. The abbreviation is often used in a slug line.