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MOTION PICTURE TERMS

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WHETHER YOU ARE THE NEXT SPIELBERG OR JUST WANT TO PLAY WITH THE  BIG BOYS YOU NEED TO NO THE TERMS.

Pornographic Film
AKA: Porno, Skin flick
A film in which sex is graphically depicted to a large degree. See also XXX.

Positive Print
An original light image captured on film. See also negative print.

Post-Production
AKA: Postproduction, Post
Work performed on a movie after the end of principal photography. Usually involves editing and visual effects. See also production.

Post-Production Coordinator
A production assistant working for the post-production supervisor.

Post-Production Supervisor
A person overseeing the entire post-production of a project. They report directly to the producer and/or the studio in charge of the feature. Working side by side with the director and editor, the supervisor has the responsibility of finishing the film on time and on budget while satisfying the wants of the director. Post-production supervisors have authority over post-production coordinators. Typical duties include: Controlling all activities with vendors such as optical houses, sound facilities, inserts, ADR, reshooting, CGI, score, delivery requirements to domestic and international distributors, legal clearances, preview screenings, color timing, video mastering and budgeting the movie through the completion and delivery.

Pre-Production
AKA: Preproduction
Pre Arrangements made before the start of filming. This can include script editing, set construction, location scouting, and casting. See also production.

Premiere
AKA: Bow, Debut
The first official public screening of a movie, marking the opening. The affair is often a gala event attended by the filmmakers, stars, and other celebrities.

Prequel
A movie that presents the characters and/or events chronologically before the setting of a previously filmed movie. See also series, serial, contrast with sequel.

Presenter
AKA: Presents
A presenter is person (often famous or well respected) who introduces a movie or show on screen or via voice-over. Some films include a credit "Presented by", or "presents", which indicates the person is an executive producer as opposed to someone who appears in the film.

Previsualization Artist
A designer who uses low resolution proxy models, quick OpenGL hardware renderings, and other 3D FX systems to completely conceptualize a sequence that requires either visual FX or character animation with the goal of to producing usable data that will help streamline the production process.

Principal Photography
AKA: Principal Filming, Principal, Shoot
The filming of major or significant components of a movie which involve lead actors.

Print
A projectable version of a movie, usually consisting of one or more reels. When referring to a particular take on a continuity report, "print" indicates that the take should be developed. See also hold.

Producer
AKA: Prod
The chief of staff of a movie production in all matters save the creative efforts of the director, who is head of the line. A producer is responsible for raising funding, hiring key personnel, and arranging for distributors. See also associate producer, co-producer, executive producer, line producer, Producer's Guild of America.

Producer's Guild of America
AKA: PGA

Product Placement
A business arrangement whereby the filmmakers agree to show the products or logo of a particular company, usually in return for payment or other consideration.

Production
AKA: In Production, Production Date
In the movie industry, this term refers to the phase of movie making during which principal photography occurs. Popularly, however, "production" means the entire movie project. See also pre-production and post-production.

Production Accountant
AKA: Accountant
The person responsible for managing finances during the production.

Production Assistant
AKA: Set Production Assistant, PA, Gopher, Personal Assistant, Assistant To, Assistant To Producer
A person responsible for various odd jobs, which could include such separate tasks as running errands, stopping traffic, acting as couriers, fetching items from craft service, etc. Tasks and levels of responsibility can vary greatly, depending on the film, the needs of the rest of the team, and the skills of the individuals PA themselves. Production Assistants are often attached to individual actors or filmmakers.

Production Buyer
A person who purchases supplies, equipment, and property necessary for a production.

Production Code
Please see Hays Production Code.

Production Company
A general term for a company that is associated with the making of a movie.

Production Coordinator
The person responsible for overseeing practical matters such as ordering equipment, getting near-location accommodations for the cast and crew, etc.

Production Designer
AKA: Production Design
An artist responsible for designing the overall visual appearance of a movie.

Production Illustrator
AKA: Storyboard Artist, Illustrator
A person responsible for drawing the storyboards and anything else that needs to be drawn during the production of the movie.

Production Manager
AKA: PM
Reporting to the film's producer, this person supervises the budget, hires the crew, approves purchase orders & time cards, and generally makes sure all departments are doing their respective jobs within the parameters of the budget.

Production Report
A daily report of actual progress versus the production schedule. Includes dope sheets, continuity reports, and call sheets, as well as extensive notes regarding on-set happenings, activities of the cast and crew, and explanations of unexpected events. See also lined script.

Production Schedule
A detailed plan of the timing of activities associated with the making of a movie, of particular interest to production managers. See also production report.

Production Secretary
Secretary to the production manager.

Production Sound Mixer
The head of the sound department on the set. They are responsible for the process of recording all sync dialog and sync sound effects in a scene. The Production Sound Mixer has a number of duties: selection and operation of the microphones, and recording equipment used on the set, directing the boom operator, combining the sound of multiple microphones used to capture dialog and effects on a set, recording sound ambiance and room tone for all scenes, and wild track that will aid the editor and sound mixer in matching the different sound takes in a scene for smooth sound transitions.

Projectionist
A studio or cinema employee that operates a projector.

Projector
A device for displaying a reel of a movie on a screen, either for a screening or a back projection.

Prompter
AKA: Prompt
A person who supplies actors with the correct lines from the script if they forget.

Prop
Anything an actor touches or uses on the set; e.g. phones, guns, cutlery, etc. Movie animals and all food styling (food seen or eaten on set/screen) also fall into this domain. See also property assistant and set dresser.

Property Assistant
AKA: Prop
Assistant Responsible for the placement and maintenance of props on a set.

Property Master
AKA: Prop Master, Props, Property, Assistant Property Master
The person responsible for buying, acquiring, and/or manufacturing any props needed for a production. The property master is responsible for all aspects of prop use on the set and, in conjunction with the script supervisor, for maintaining set continuity. Contrast with set dresser.

Prosthetic Appliances
AKA: Prosthetic
 Makeup, Prosthetics Makeup that requires gluing additions (prosthetic appliances) made of a material such as latex or gelatin to an actors skin. May be applied by someone other than the designer. See also squib.

Publicity Assistant
Assistant to the publicity director.

Publicity Department
AKA: Advertising
The section of a production's crew responsible for promoting a movie. Individual positions within in this department include: unit publicist, publicity assistant, and stills photographer.

Publicity Director
AKA: Publicity
Executive Person employed by a studio to conceive and oversee the publicity campaign that opens a movie. In many cases, this person never even appears on the set -- especially if the movie is a pickup and didn't have a releasing studio at the time it was produced. In other cases, this person is frequently on the set and directly supervises the efforts of the unit publicist.

Puppeteer
Someone who operates puppets; these may be either physically controlled (e.g., worn), cable operated, or radio controlled. This may also refer to remote-controlled portions of a costume.

Pyrotechnician
A member of the crew with expertise in fire or explosions.

Quarter
A quarter of a year; three months. Used by production accountants and publicity departments for financial issues.

Quid
Slang for a pound sterling (UK).

Quota Quickies
 Low budget, short subjects made in the UK in the 1930s. The Cinematographic Films Bill, passed in April 1927 stipulated that all UK cinemas would have to include a proportion of British films in their programs. The percentage varied, rising to 20% at one time. The "Quota Quickies" were generally of a quite low quality but there are some gems hidden in their midst, notably those by Michael Powell.

R
AKA: Restricted
A certificate issued by the MPAA indicating that persons under the age of 16 would only be admitted when accompanied by an adult. The age was later raised to under 17 years old, and varies in some jurisdictions. See also NC-17, PG-13.

Railroad Coordinator
A person who advises a production on railroad history, architecture, business practices, economics, equipment, locations, and strategies to attain maximum on-screen production/artistic values, and then locates/scouts/evaluates railroad equipment and locations; coordinates railroad equipment assembly/dispersal at a filming location; plans and executes for camera railroad operations; exercises overall set safety management (in accordance with US Federal Railroad, Transport Canada, and Ferrocarill de Mexico regulations); is responsible for equipment and railroad operations budget development and management.

Railroad Consultant
A person who advises a production on railroad history, architecture, business practices, economics, equipment, locations, and strategies to attain maximum on-screen production/artistic values.

Re-recording Mixer
AKA: Sound re-recording mixer
A member of the sound crew responsible for mixing the final sound elements (dialogue, music, sound effects and Foley). In most feature films and some television shows there is a crew of three re-recording mixers (one for dialog, one for sound effects and Foley and one for music.) Sometimes in television the music mixer mixes the Foley for expediency. There are also two-person crews in which the dialog mixer (generally considered the lead mixer) mixes music as well, with the other person mixing sound effects and Foley.

Reel
A strip of film wound on a metal wheel. Typical reels hold 15-25 minutes of film.

Release
AKA: Released
When a movie is shipped to exhibitors by the distributor, it is deemed to have been released for public viewing - there are no longer any studio restrictions on who can see the movie.

Reverse Shot
AKA: Reverse Angle, Hollywood Reverse
A shot taken at a 120-180 degree angle from the preceding shot. When used in dialogue scenes, reverse-shot editing usually alternates between over-the-shoulder shots that show each character speaking. See also shot/reverse shot.

Rigger
Workers responsible for the setting, hanging and focusing of lighting instruments and constructing scaffolding used in making film sets.

Room Tone
Different sets and locations have different audio characteristics. A sound recordist will typically make a recording of the natural ambient "silence" in a set/location for the sound editor, who will use it as a reference point, or for when silence is required.

Rotoscoping
AKA: Rotoscope
An animation technique in which images of live action are traced, either manually or automatically. See also motion capture.

Rushes
See dailies.

Sabre Artist
A member of the production team utilizing a combination of software programs to create special effects.

Safe Area
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 production sound mixer might direct the boom operator to place the boom microphone.

Scene
A continuous block of storytelling either set in a single location or following a particular character. The end of a scene is typically marked by a change in location, style, or time.

Scene Chewing
AKA: Chewing the Scenery
An extreme, over-the-top performance that dominates the screen. "Chewing the scenery" suggests that actors are so engaged in their histrionic portrayals that furniture pieces and backdrops are left with big dental impressions.

Scenic Artist
A member of the crew responsible for work which includes the preparation, painting and/or coloration of all textures, plastering, appliquéing on scenery, sets, and properties; the application of all decorative wall or surface coverings; all lettering and sign work (including signs and murals; miniature sets and/or models and properties and the painting and aging in the (construction) studio or on the set of costumes and costume accessories as specified by the costume designer.

Science Fiction
AKA: Sci-Fi, SF

Score
The musical component of a movie's soundtrack. Many scores are written specifically for movies by composers.

Screen Actors Guild
AKA: SAG
An association with jurisdiction over some works that can be recorded by picture or by sound. See also AFTRA.

Screen Extras Guild
AKA: SEG

Screen Test
A form of audition in which an actor performs a particular role on camera, not necessarily with the correct makeup or on the set.

Screening
An exhibition of a movie, typically at a cinema. See also feature presentation, supporting feature, double bill, trailer.

Screenplay
A script written to be produced as a movie. Screenwriter A writer who either adapts an existing work for production as a movie, or creates a new screenplay.

Script
AKA: Against
A general term for a written work detailing story, setting, and dialogue. A script may take the form of a screenplay, shooting script, lined script, continuity script, or a spec script. A script is often sold for a particular price, which is increased to a second price if the script is produced as a movie. For example, a sale may be described as "$100,000 against $250,000". In this case, the writer is paid $100,000 up front, and another $150,000 when the movie is produced. See also advance.

Script Department
The section of a production's crew responsible for the script of a movie. Consists of writers, script editors, and prompters.

Script Editing
AKA: Script Editor, Script Doctor
A process whereby a script is reviewed and changed, based on input from various sources such as the director or producer. Writers who specialize in script editing are called "script doctors", and are frequently uncredited.

Script Supervisor
A person who tracks which parts have been filmed, how the filmed scenes deviated from the script; they also make continuity notes, creating a lined script.

Seamstress
A person who makes the costumes.

SECAM
AKA: Sequential Couleur avec Mémoire, Système Electronique Couleur avec
The standard for TV/video display in France, the Middle East, much of Eastern Europe, and some African countries. Delivers 625 lines (formerly 819 lines) of resolution at 50 half-frames per second. See also NTSC and PAL.

Second Assistant Camera
AKA: 2nd Assistant Camera, 2nd Assistant Cameraman, Second Assistant Cameraman
An assistant to the assistant cameraman.

Second Assistant Director
AKA: 2nd Assistant Director
An assistant to the assistant director. Duties include overseeing the movements of the cast, and preparing call sheets.

Second Second Assistant Director
AKA: 2nd 2nd Assistant Director, Third Assistant Director, 3rd Assistant Director
An assistant to the second assistant director; responsible for (among other things) directing the movements of extras.

Second Unit
AKA: 2nd Unit
A small, subordinate crew responsible for filming shots of less importance, such as inserts, crowds, scenery, etc.

Second Unit Director
AKA: 2nd Unit Director
The director of the second unit.

Sequel
A movie that presents the continuation of characters and/or events of a previously filmed movie. See also series, serial, contrast with prequel.

Serial
A multipart film that usually screened a chapter each week at a cinema. The story structure usually has each chapter ending with a cliffhanger to ensure the audience would like to watch following chapter at its release. Contrast with series.

Series
AKA: Franchise
A sequence of films with continuing characters or themes, but with little other interdependence, especially with respect to plot or significant character development. Until the advent of television series, there were various film series such as The Thin Man and Blondie that were started with the intention of making more than one. In subsequent years, the term would apply to features such as Star Trek: The Motion Picture or Dr. No that made more than one sequel. In modern times, the term ``franchise'' has been used (perhaps cynically) to describe to the practice of creating a movie and product-marketing package which is contingent on commercial success. Batman and its sequels are typically used as an example of a franchise. Contrast with serial.

Set
An environment used for filming. When used in contrast to location, it refers to one artificially constructed. A set typically is not a complete or accurate replica of the environment as defined by the script, but is carefully constructed to make filming easier but still appear natural when viewed from the camera angle.

Set Decorator
AKA: Set Decoration
A person who has total charge of decorating the set with all furnishings, drapery, interior plants, and anything seen on indoor or outdoor sets. The set decorator has authority over a leadsman. See also set dresser.

Set Designer
The person responsible for translating a production designer's vision of the movie's environment into a set which can be used for filming. The set designer reports to the art director.

Set Dresser
A person who maintains the set per the Set Decorator's requirements, placing elements such as curtains and paintings, and moves and resets the set decoration to accommodate camera, grip and lighting setups. Contrast with set decorator, property master. Responsible for set continuity with script supervisor and property master.

Set Medic
The set medic provides for the medical needs and emergency medical logistics of the entire cast and crew and is the safety liaison between production/construction and various agencies. This person may be an emergency medical technician, paramedic, nurse, or physician. Most often the set medic is involved in the production from the beginning of preproduction or construction through filming or production through striking the set or post-production.

Shooting Script
The script from which a movie is made. Usually contains numbered scenes and technical notes. See also lined script.

Short Subject
AKA: Short
A movie that is shorter than 45 minutes. Contrast with feature.

Shot
A continuous block of unedited footage from a single point of view. See also scene, take, frame rate.

Shot Composition
The arrangement of key elements within the frame. See also shot selection.

Shot list
A list given to the film production crew which indicates the sequence of scenes being shot for the day. This list may include the scene number, the location of where the scene is being shot, a description of the scene, the length of a scene (listed by number of pages from the script), a list of actors who will be involved in the scene, and, special notes to all departments of what will be needed or required for a particular scene being shot.

Shot Selection
AKA: Camera Angle
The location of the camera, and what can be seen with it. See also shot composition, POV, mise-en-scene.

Shot/Reverse Shot
A sequence of three shots: 1) a person's face; 2) what that person is looking at; and 3) the person again, giving the audience a chance to process the person's reaction to what (or who) s/he is seeing. See also reverse shot.

Shutter Speed
The length of time that a single frame is exposed for. Slower shutter speeds allow more light to enter the camera, but allow more motion blur. See also aperture, depth of field, go motion.

Sign writer
The person in charge of writing and making signs shown in a production; possibly part of the set designer's team.

Silent Film
AKA: Silent
A film that has no synchronized soundtrack and no spoken dialogue. It was a form predominate in film until the late 1920's when practical synchronized soundtrack technology was developed and its use became popular. See also Intertitles.

Silk
A large section of translucent white cloth used to filter and soften a hard-light source.

Singer
A featured vocalist; often the person who sings a film's theme song.

Singing Voice
Someone who performs an actor's vocal parts. Marni Nixon was the singing voice for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady (1964); during post-production, Nixon's voice was dubbed over Hepburn's for the musical numbers.

Situation Comedy
AKA: Sitcom
A comedy in which humor is derived from people being placed in uncomfortable, embarrassing, or unfamiliar situations.

Sketch
A short scene that typically lasts less than 15 minutes that is typically shown as part of a TV series' content. It is typically used in comedies that feature these productions such as "Saturday Night Live" (1975) and "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (1969).

Slapstick Comedy
AKA: Slapstick
A comedy in which the humor is derived from physical interactions, often involving exaggerated but ultimately harmless violence directed towards individuals. Named after a device used by circus clowns - two boards which slap together loudly when swatted on someone's backside.

Slate
The recorded identification of scene and take numbers, usually done with a clapboard. Most takes are identified at the beginning; a "tail slate" marks the end instead.

Sleeper
AKA: Sleeper Hit
An unpromising or unpublicized movie that suddenly attains prominence and success.

Slow Motion
AKA: Slow Mo, Slow-Mo
A shot in which time appears to move more slowly than normal. The process is commonly achieved by either repeating frames (see also freeze frame), or by Overcranking. See also motion artifact, judder, frame rate, contrast with stop motion.

Slug Line
AKA: slug
A header appearing in a script before each scene or shot detailing the location, date, and time that the following action is intended to occur in.

Sneak Preview
AKA: Preview
An unannounced screening of a movie before the premiere, often used to gauge audience reaction and feedback for final editing. See also focus group.

Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
AKA: SMPTE
An international technical society devoted to advancing the theory and application of motion-imaging technology including film, television, video, computer imaging, and telecommunications. The abbreviation also refers to various measurements and standards defined by the organization.

Society of Operating Cameramen
AKA: SOC
An honorary organization composed of several hundred men and women internationally, of outstanding and dedicated talent, who make their living operating film and/or video cameras in the cinematic media. Use of the abbreviation after a name indicates membership in the society.

Sony Dynamic Digital Sound
AKA: SDDS
Sony has produced a noise reduction and sound enhancement process. Competitors include Dolby Digital and DTS.

Sound Crew
AKA: Sound, Sound Engineer, Sound Assistant
The group of crewmembers directly involved with creating of a movie's soundtrack. Individual job titles include: sound designer, sound editor, sound effects, sound mixer, sound recordist, boom operator, re-recording mixer, music supervisor, and Foley artist. See also MPSE.

Sound Designer
The conceptual chief of a movie's soundtrack, responsible for designing and creating the audio component of a movie.

Sound Editor
A member of the sound crew who performs editing on the soundtrack. See also dialog editor.

Sound Effects
Sounds added during post-production by the sound crew. Also used as a job title.

Sound Effects Editor
A sound editor who specializes in editing sound effects.

Sound Mix
AKA: Mix
The process of recording the production sound on the set at the time of shooting.

Sound Mixer
An audio engineer who works with a boom operator to record the production sound on the set at the time of shooting.

Sound Recordist
See tape recorder operator.

Soundstage
A large area (usually in a studio) where elaborate sets may be constructed. Soundstages allow filmmakers greater control over factors such as sound, lighting, temperature, spectators, and security.

Soundtrack
Technically, this term refers to the audio component of a movie. Popularly, it refers to a collection of songs which are heard during the movie, often sold as an album.

Source music
Music that originates from a source (e.g. an orchestra, a band, a radio) within the film scene. If there's a scene where a character turns on the radio and listens to music, that's source music. Also known as 'Foreground music' (as opposed to 'background music', i.e. the film's score).

Spaghetti Western
A western filmed in Italy, many times with American leading actors. This term appeared following the appearance of Clint Eastwood in a number of Sergio Leone movies.

Speaking Role
AKA: Non-speaking Role
A speaking role is one in which the character speaks scripted dialogue. A non-speaking role is a character specifically mentioned in the script but who doesn't have any lines of dialogue in the finished film. Speaking roles typically pay much more than non-speaking roles. While extras may or may not be heard to speak in a film, they are not included as either speaking or non-speaking roles.

Spec Script
A script written before any agreement has been entered into ("on spec" or speculation), in hopes of selling the script to the highest bidder once it has been completed.

Special Effects
AKA: SFX, Special Effects Assistant, Special Effects Technician
An artificial effect used to create an illusion in a movie. Refers to effects produced on the set, as opposed to those created in post-production.

Special Effects Supervisor
AKA: Special Effects Coordinator
The chief of a production's special effects crew.

Special Makeup Effects
An artist who combines knowledge of makeup and hair work, with technologies of mold- making and synthetic skin materials (such as foam latex, gelatin and silicone). Many have an art or sculpture background and familiarity with puppeteering, animatronics and CGI.

Speed
An announcement made by either the director of photography or camera operator indicating to the director that the camera is operating at the correct speed. Called just after lock it down, and just before action.

Spherical
AKA: Spherical Print
An optical system in which the magnifications of the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the picture are the same. See also aspect ratio, contrast with anamorphic.

Sprockets
A series of tiny, square holes (sprocket holes) on both edges of a piece of film fit onto notches on wheels (sprockets) similar to gears within a film projector, used to pull the film through the projector from one reel to the other.

Squib
A small explosive device, which - when detonated - will simulate the effect of a bullet/puncture wound or small explosion. When worn by actors, they typically include a container of blood which bursts upon detonation. See also special makeup effects.  

Stand-In
AKA: Stand In
A person who has the same physical properties of a particular actor, and takes their place during the lengthy setup of a scene. This allows the actor to prepare for the filming itself. Contrast with stunt double and body double.

Standby Painter
A scenic artist available during filming for last minute changes.

Star
A famous actor.

Steadicam
A camera attached to a camera operator via a mechanical harness which reduces or eliminates the unsteadiness of the operator's motion.

Steadicam Operator
A camera operator who operates a Steadicam. See also Steadicam Operators Association.

Steadicam Operators Association
AKA: SOA
An organization which represents Steadicam operators around the world, providing referrals across the entire film and video industry. Additional services include organizing and conducting workshops, and providing Steadicam equipment rentals.

Still Photographer
AKA: Stills Photographer
A person who photographs the action (often alongside the camera) to be used in publicizing the movie.

Stock Footage
For reasons of simplicity, time, or budget, some shots in a film may duplicated from other films or a film library. Such shots are called stock footage.

Stop Motion
AKA: Stop-Motion
A form of animation in which objects are filmed frame-by-frame and altered slightly in between each frame. See also go motion.

Storyboard
A sequence of pictures created by a production illustrator to communicate the desired general visual appearance on camera of a scene or movie.

Storyliner
Commonly working on television series, storyliners create the plot twists for a given story line, keeping in mind the past storylines for a given character or pairing, and the work with the writers to bring those new plot elements to life.

Story Producer
AKA: Story Editor
Non-standardized reality television term for a writer/producer who may be involved (at any level of pre to post production) in producing/editing source footage to create and nuance story. Other duties may include writing host dialogue, VO and dialogue/action pickups. During the post-production process, most either work directly with editors or provide detailed paper edits for editors to work from.

Studio
A company that makes movies. Larger studios (such as the majors) have extensive in-house soundstages (also called "studio's") where filming can be done.

Stunt
AKA: Gag
A non-trivial and often dangerous piece of physical action. Often performed by a stunt performer.

Stunt Coordinator
A person who arranges and plans stunts.

Stunt Double
A stunt performer who specifically takes the part of another actor for a stunt. Stunt doubles rarely (if ever) speak, are typically chosen to resemble the actor that they are replacing as much as possible. Contrast with body double and stand-in.

Stunt Performer
AKA: Stunt Player, Stunts
A specialist actor who performs stunts.

Subtitles
Words which are superimposed over a film which mirror the dialog that is heard at the time. Most often subtitles are in a different language than that which is being spoken, but this is not always the case: Trainspotting uses subtitles for humorous effect. Contrast with dubbing, Intertitles, close-captioned.

Supervising Sound Editor
A chief sound editor.

Supporting Feature
AKA: Supporting Attraction
A feature film which appears (typically in a double-bill) with a feature presentation.

Surround Sound
AKA: Surround
A sound system which creates the illusion of multi-directional sound through speaker placement and signal processing. See also Dolby, SDDS, DTS, THX.

Swing Gang
AKA: Carpenter
A group within the art department that construct and take down a set. The head of the swing gang is a leadman. Contrast with grips.

Sword and Sandal Epic
A colloquialism for an epic film with biblical or fantasy elements; named for the weapons and costumes that the characters typically wear.

Sword and Sorcery
A colloquialism for a genre of film, usually set in days of old with magic as well as sword fighting

Syndication
A package of off network programs sold or bartered to individual television stations in a local market, either strip (daily) or weekly episodic (series). A package of titles may require cash purchase, bartered or sponsored programming. Most packaged syndicated contracts offer exclusivity to a market for limited number of airings. Contracts are generally designed for one to two full season runs.

Synopsis
A summary of the major plot points and characters of a script, generally in a page or two. Contrast with treatment.

Take
A single continuous recorded performance of a scene. A director typically orders takes to continue until he or she is satisfied that all of his or her requirements for the scene have been made, be they technical or artistic. For interesting exceptions, see the trivia entries for Stagecoach, The Gold Rush, , Rope, Shi di chu ma, Some Like It Hot, and The Usual Suspects. A continuity report stores the status of each take. Of the ones that don't contain obvious errors, the director will order some to be printed. See also out-take, hold.

Talent
A general, informal term for actors (and possibly extras).

Talkie
An early term for a film with sound and especially recorded spoken dialogue. It is typically used today to make a distinction between silent and sound films made in the late 1920's and early 1930's when sound films establishing their marketplace dominance.

Tape Recorder Operator
AKA: Sound Recordist
A member of the sound crew responsible for operating the audio recording equipment on a set. See also boom operator.

Teaser Trailer
A short trailer that is generally released many months before a movie is actually released, to give a brief peek at what the movie will be like, and to build audience anticipation. Teaser trailers are usually much shorter than the final trailer, which reveals more of the storyline of the film. See also trailer

Technical Advisor
AKA: Consultant
A person with expertise in a particular field who provides advice for the production.

Telecine
The process of transferring moving images from film to a video signal, including frame rate and color corrections. Also the equipment or facility used to do it.

Teleplay
A script written to be produced for television.

Television Movie
AKA: TV Movie, Telepic
A feature-length movie funded by a TV network, intended to be premiered on television.

Television Special
AKA: Special
A television production of a singular event (such as an awards show or concert) as opposed to a regularly scheduled series. Contrast with series and television movie.

Telewriter
A writer who either adapts an existing work for production on television, or creates a new teleplay.

Terra-Flite
A cross between a Steadicam and a louma crane, used to steady images of running horses or cars driving over gravel.

THX
AKA: THX Division
A subdivision of Lucasfilm, Ltd dedicated to improving picture and sound for the cinema and the home.

Tilt
The action of rotating the camera either up or down. See also Dutch tilt, pan.

Time Lapse Photography
AKA: Time Lapse
A form of animation in which numerous single frames are filmed spaced at a given interval to show a process that would take a very long time to occur. i.e. a flower blooming, or the motion of the stars.

Time code
Electronic guide track added to film, video or audio material to provide a time reference for editing, synchronization, etc.

Title Design
AKA: Title Designer, Title Sequence, Titles
The manner in which title of a movie is displayed on screen is widely considered an art form. Saul Bass is considered a master title designer.

Track
A single component or channel of a soundtrack. See also sound mix.

Tracking Shot
AKA: Tracking, Trucking
The action of moving a camera along a path parallel to the path of the object being filmed. See also dolly tracks.

Trailer
An advertisement for a movie which contains scenes from the film. Historically, these advertisements were attached to the end of a newsreel or supporting-feature, hence the name. Doing this reduced the number of reel changes that a projectionist would have to make. See also teaser trailer.

Trainer
Someone who conditions animals to perform various behaviors on cue.

Transportation Coordinator
AKA: Transportation Manager
The person responsible for managing drivers and coordinating the transportation of a production's cast, crew, and equipment from the various locations and sets used for filming.

Travelling Matte Shot
AKA: Travelling Matte, Bluescreen, Blue screen
A shot in which foreground action is superimposed on a separately filmed background by optical printing or digital compositing.
 
Treatment
An abridged script; longer than a synopsis. It consists of a summary of each major scene of a proposed movie and descriptions of the significant characters and may even include snippets of dialogue. While a complete script is around 100 pages, a treatment is closer to 10.

Trilogy
A series of three movies that are closely connected by plot. Often, a storyline from the first film of a trilogy is altered, twisted or modified by the second or third part of the series.

Turnaround
A state of limbo that a movie enters after a studio decides to drop it. In turnaround, the producers have a chance to set the project up with another studio or with different talent. In union contracts, the time between when someone leaves work and when they start work the next day, or when someone is receiving compensation for not being given the contractual amount of time, it is sometimes said that they are in turnaround.

TV Series Pilot
A TV series episode for a proposed television series which is produced for the benefit of the production company, TV network executives and/or syndication customers. The purpose behind is to show the prospective customers how a series' premise and characters would typically be presented to an audience.

Two-Shot
A medium close-up shot of two subjects, usually framed from the chest up.

Undercranking
The process of slowing the frame rate of a camera down, so that when the captured pictures are played at the normal frame rate the action appears to be in fast motion. Historically, cameras were operated by turning a crank at a constant speed; hence "undercranking" refers to turning the crank too slowly. See also Overcranking, frames per second, judder.

Unit Production Manager
AKA: Unit Manager, UPM
An executive who is responsible to a senior producer for the administration of a particular movie. Unit Production Managers only work on one film at a time. Only DGA members can be called Unit Production Managers. See also line producer.

Unit Publicist
Member of the publicity department who works on location during the production of a movie. Duties includes working with the residents of the location where the film is being made, as well as setting up press visits and electronic press kit interviews. In addition, the unit publicist assembles the biographical materials and notes about the making of the movie that are later turned into the movie press kit. Unit publicists are itinerant -- they move from production to production and are on the production payroll. They report to the filmmakers and, if the film has a releasing studio, they also report to the publicity directors. Once principal photography is over, the unit publicist moves on to another job.

Utility Person
The person responsible for various manual tasks, running errands, or performing whatever jobs other members of their crew assign them.

Vertigo effect
A camera technique created by Alfred Hitchcock during his film Vertigo that involves tracking backwards while simultaneously zooming in, making the person or object in the center of the image seem stationary while their surroundings change.

Video Assist
Motion picture cameras often include a video camera that allows instant review of a scene to monitor framing, focus, and performance. Both this system and the person operating it are referred to as video assist.

Video Cassette Recorder
AKA: VCR
A common household appliance for recording and/or playing prerecorded video tapes. See VHS, NTSC and PAL.

Video Home System
AKA: VHS
Video Home System is a popular format for VCR systems worldwide. See also DVD.

Visual Effects
Alterations to a film's images during post-production. Contrast with special effects (except in UK television, where visual effects and special effects are sometimes the same).

Visual Effects Supervisor
AKA: Visual Effects Director
The chief of a production's visual effects crew.

Voice-Over
AKA: Voice Over, VO
Indicates that dialogue will be heard on a movie's soundtrack, but the speaker will not be shown. The abbreviation is often used as an annotation in a script.

Voice-Over Artist
The unseen person who does the speaking necessary to create a voice-over.

Walk-On
A minor role, usually without speaking lines.

Walla
AKA: Rhubarb
Background conversation. Historically, when a script called for "crowd unrest" or "murmuring", the extras would be required to mumble the word "rhubarb", as this produced the required effect.

Wardrobe Department
The section of a production's crew concerned with costumes. Individual job titles include: costume designer, costumer, and costume supervisor.

Wardrobe Supervisor
The head of the wardrobe department.

Western
AKA: Oater, Oat Opera, Horse Opera
A movie set in the "Wild West" of the late 19th-century United States.

Whip Pan
AKA: Whip-pan
An extremely fast pan, incorporating much motion blur. The term refers to the "whipping" action that the camera operator uses to move the camera.

Widescreen
A movie which has an aspect ratio which is greater than academy ratio when projected.

Wild Sound
AKA: Wild Track, Wild Sound, MOS, Mit Out
Sound Scenes that are filmed without the sound being recorded at the same time. Dialog and/or sound effects may be dubbed in later.

Wilhelm Scream
Originally recorded as a sound effect for the film Distant Drums in 1951 and named after the character who yelped it out, this distinctive scream was archived in the Warner Brothers sound effects library, and was subsequently used in countless films, first simply as a generic stock scream, and later because sound supervisors and directors used it in their films (including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Toy Story and Pirates of the Caribbean) as a sort of touchstone or homage to earlier films. Though no specific documentation lists the identity of the screamer, sound designer Ben Burtt's research of Warner Brother's recording logs indicates that singer/actor Sheb Wooley is likely the source, as he was one of the bit actors contracted to record sound effects for Distant Drums, and had been known to specialize in yells, laughs, and screams.

Wipe
An editing technique in which images from one shot are fully replaced by the images of another, delimited by a definite border that moves across or around the frame.

Word-of-mouth
Moviegoers can't help warning their friends to avoid or not miss the movie they saw recently. After an opening weekend there's often enough feedback circulating from such warnings that it has a significant effect on how many more people go to see the movie. Negative word-of-mouth is often attributed to highly publicized movies doing poorly after the opening weekend, while positive word-of-mouth can provide a poor opener with legs.

Working Title
The name by which a movie is known while it is being made. This is sometimes different from the title with which it is released.

Wrangler
AKA: Animal handler, vehicle wrangler
A person who is responsible for the care and control of entities used on a set that can't be spoken with. This person is typically a professional, certainly with expertise in handling the item, often with expertise in handling the item on a movie set.

Wrap
AKA: Windup, Wind
To finish shooting, either for the day or the entire production.

Writer
A general term for someone who creates a written work, be it a novel, script, screenplay, or teleplay. See also Writers Guild of America.

Writers Guild of America
AKA: WGA
The Writers Guild of America is the sole collective bargaining representative for writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, interactive and new media industries. It has numerous affiliation agreements with other U.S. and international writing organizations and is in the forefront of the debates concerning economic and creative rights for writers.

Xerography
The technique using an electrostatic process to copy or transfer an image, commonly found in office copiers and used in cartoon production.

XXX
An informal voluntary certificate for a pornographic film, indicating large amounts of explicit sex. Contrast with NC-17.

Yarn
Slang for an apocryphal story.

Zoom Shot
AKA: Zoom, Zoom In, Zooming, Zoom Back, Zoom Out
A shot in which the magnification of the objects by the camera's lenses is increased (zoom in) or decreased (zoom out/back). 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.

Zoopraxis
AKA: Zoopraxis-scope
An early movie process developed by Eadweard Muybridge in the 1870's, which involves a disc that includes serial pictures being rotated in front of a light source, to create a sense that the objects projected were moving.


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