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Film Production Terms & Jargon

When working with producers to create a video for your business, you may hear them use some unfamiliar terminology. The video production industry has an abundance of jargon, so here is a quick guide to some common terms that might get thrown around! Having a basic understanding of production vocabulary can help you communicate clearly with your producer and avoid miscommunications in your production process.



Technical terms

These are some terms that refer to different specifications that provide information on digital video files.


Color codec: color profile refers to the method used to store a digital video’s color information. H.264 is the most common color codec, used across social media and the internet. It provides the best quality while keeping files small. However, if file size is not an issue, many codecs provide better color quality.


Color depth: color depth refers to how much data a color codec stores. A higher color depth means that gradients from one color to another with appear smoother and less blocky. Also referred to as bit depth. The most common is 8-bit; however, professional video is filmed at 10-bit or higher.


Data rate: data rate refers to how much data a video uses per second. Color depth, Resolution, and Frame rate all affect the overall data rate. Videos with high data rate may be more difficult to record or play back, but will be higher quality.


Frame rate or FPS (frames per second): Video is actually composed of still images played in sequence at such a speed as to create the illusion of motion. Frame rate, measured in frames per second (FPS) measures how many still images the video is composed of per second. You can read more about frame rate here.


Resolution: resolution refers to how large or small a video is, measured in pixels. Higher resolution videos are usually sharper, with more visible details. 1080p or High definition (HD) is the minimum most video professionals would consider using. 4K, which is a higher resolution than 1080p, has become increasingly common. At Silver Glass Productions, we also offer resolutions up to 6K!


Preproduction terms


“Preproduction” refers to the tasks in the productions process that need to be completed before actual filming occurs. This includes hiring and preparing cast & crew, and preparing the script, locations, and other element.


Cast: cast refers to actors or anyone who will appear in the video. It is important to ensure you have permission from all of the cast members to use their image.


Crew: crew refers to the “behind the scenes” people: anyone who helps produce the video and does not appear in the video. This includes camera operators, lighting technicians, etc.


Script: script refers to the written plan for the video, particularly the lines for the cast. It’s important to have a script drawn up in the proper script format, which can help your producer to give an accurate estimate on the final video runtime.


Shot list: shot list refers to a list of particular people, actions, objects or locations that need to be filmed, ideally including information how the shot needs to look as well.


Storyboard: a storyboard is a comic-like illustration that depicts the planned shots and their sequence to help visualize the final product


Filming


2nd: also known as “2nd shooter” or “B camera operator” this is an additional camera operator to either help the main camera operator get more coverage or provide additional angles


A camera: the A camera is the main camera, responsible for capturing the central subject matter and most important shots


"Action!": when the director calls “Action!” this indicates that the cast should begin speaking or performing. This is different from when a camera or boom operator calls “rolling”


B camera: this camera is there to support the main camera and capture an additional angle


B-roll: B-roll is video shots that are used to cutaway from the main subject matter. If a film focuses on an interview, and includes shots of what the interviewee is describing, this would be b-roll. B-roll can also be used generally to mean any shots in which there is not speaking or acting.


Clipping: this refers to when video or audio information is to extreme, and exceeds the ability of a camera or audio recorder, resulting in a loss of data. When a source of light is too bright or over-exposed, the video will “clip” and result in a patch of white with no color information recorded. When a sound is too loud, an audio file will “clip” and result in a rough crackling sound in the audio.

Coverage: coverage refers to the things that need to be filmed or “covered,” and the number of shots needed for each thing


Exposure: exposure refers to how bright or dark the video is based on the camera settings. A video that is over-exposed is too bright, and a video that is under-exposed is too dark.


“Fast” lens: lens speed refers to how much light it can let it. “Fast” lenses let in more light than others.


Gimbal: a gimbal is a piece of camera rigging that uses electronic motors to stabilize the camera’s movement


Lav mic: also known as a lapel mic or a lavalier mic, this is a small microphone with a long wire that can easily be clipped to a collar or lapel near to a speakers mouth.


Pan: panning is the movement of the camera in a slow spinning movement along the horizon. Each kind of camera movement has a different technical name, so it is best to describe the desired motion to your producer rather than use the work “pan” unless it is to describe a panning movement.


"Rolling!": this is called out be a camera or audio operator to indicate that the camera or audio recorder is recording. This is NOT a call for actors to begin speaking or performing. They should wait for the Action! call.


Room tone: room tone is a recording of the ambient sound of a location. This can be used in the audio editing to avoid harsh changes in sound. During the recording of a room tone, it is important for everyone to be as quiet as possible.


Sticks: sticks refers to a tripod or shooting on a tripod


Take: a take is a single iteration of a shot. Some shot require multiple takes to get a good result.


Tight: tight refers to a shot that close-up


Wide: wide refers to a shot that is far back from its subject or captures a large area



Post-production


Post-production refers to all the parts of the production process that occur after the filming is done. This includes processing, editing, color grading, etc.


ADR (automated dialogue replacement): ADR is a process in which lines are rerecorded by the original actors in a studio setting to capture a higher level of audio quality than was achieved during filming.


Assets: assets are different elements that are needed for inclusion in the final video. These include company logos, additional shots, motion graphics, music, etc.


Audio mixing: audio mixing refers to the process of editing the volume of speech, SFX, and music to create a balanced and audible blend.


Color correction: color correction is fixing mistakes in the video color and exposure


Color grading: color grading is refining the colors of the videos using precise tools to create the best looking colors or a specific custom look.


Compression: compression refers to how much the data rate is reduced. More compression means smaller video file size, but lower quality.


Deliverable: a deliverable is the final product a producer sends to their client

Detail: detail is how well small features can be seen in the video. In a video with low detail, small elements like freckles or blades of grass may not be visible or may look oddly think and blurred together. While many amateur cameras such as phone cameras are able to achieve good levels of sharpness, only professional cameras provide a good level of detail.


Export: exporting is the act of creating a video file from the assets and footage combined in the editing software


Motion graphics: motion graphics are simple VFX in which preexisting still images are animated. This is distinct from animation, in which the entire video is drawn by an animator.


Proof: a proof is a rough draft of a video that the producer sends to his or her client for approval


Raw footage: raw footage is referred to the video files captured during filming without any editing done to them


RAW: RAW is a video format with high color depth and very little compression. RAW video is the highest quality of digital video and gives an editor more control over the colors and exposure in color grading. It can only be filmed by high-end professional video cameras.


SFX: SFX stand for “sound effects” and refers to extra sounds that are added in the editing process. It can refer to sounds that are substituted for sounds that happen in the video, or sounds that are not produced by anything onscreen.


Sharpness: sharpness refers to how crisp and distinct the edges of objects and areas or high contrast are. Video in which the edges of objects are blurry or soft is less sharp. Having a high resolution often results in a sharper image.


Subtitles/closed captions: both subtitles and closed captions refer to text that transcribes what a speaker is saying. Subtitles are text that is a permanent part of the video. Close captions are separate from the video file, and can be turned on or off.


VFX: VFX stand for “visual effects” and refers to animated or CGI elements that are combined with video footage.


These are some of the most common terms you might hear your producer use. However, this is not an exhaustive list! Video production is highly technical process, and if you ever hear your producer use jargon you don’t understand, you should always ask for an explanation!


Interested in producing a video for your company? We can help! Reach out here for a free consultation: https://www.silverglassky.com/quote





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