101 video production terms you should know

//101 video production terms you should know

101 video production terms you should know

depth of field Range in front of a camera’s lens in which objects appear in focus. Depth of field varies with subject-to-camera distance, focal length of a camera lens and a camera’s aperture setting.

essential area Boundaries within which contents of a television picture are sure to be seen, regardless of masking differences in receiver displays. Also called the “critical area” or “safe action area,” it encompasses the inner 80 percent of the screen.

establishing shot Opening image of a program or scene. Usually, it’s a wide and/or distant perspective that orients viewers to the overall setting and surroundings.

follow focus Controlling lens focus so that an image maintains sharpness and clarity despite camcorder and/or subject movement.

framing Act of composing a shot in a camcorder’s viewfinder for desired content, angle and field of view.

headroom Space between the top of a subject’s head and a monitor’s upper-screen edge. Too much headroom makes the subject appear to fall out of the frame.

long shot (LS) Camera view of a subject or scene from a distance, showing a broad perspective.

medium shot (MS) Defines any camera perspective between long shot and closeup, viewing the subjects from a medium distance.

nose room The distance between the subject and the edge of the frame in the direction the subject is looking. Also called “look room.”

over-the-shoulder shot View of the primary subject with the back of another person’s shoulder and head in the foreground. Often used in interview situations.

pan Horizontal camera pivot, right to left or left to right, from a stationary position.

4K- UHD- Refers to a display device or content having horizontal resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels. 4096 x 2160 is the actual pixel size compared to 1920×1080 for HD.

point-of-view shot (POV) Shot perspective whereby the video camera assumes a subject’s view and thus viewers see what the subject sees.

rack focus Shifting focus between subjects in the background and foreground so a viewer’s attention moves from subject to subject as the focus shifts.

rule of thirds Composition theory based on dividing the screen into thirds vertically and horizontally and the placement of the main subject along those lines.

scene In the language of moving images, a sequence of related shots usually constituting action in one particular location.

[See shot]

shot Intentional, isolated camera views, which collectively comprise a particular scene. [See scene]

two-shot A camera view including two subjects, most generally applicable to interview situations.

tilt Vertical camcorder rotation (up and down) from a single axis, as on a tripod.

tracking Lateral camcorder movement that travels with a moving subject. The camcorder should maintain a regulated distance from the subject.

whip pan (swish pan) Extremely rapid camera movement from left to right or right to left, appearing as an image blur. Two such pans in the same direction, edited together one moving from, the other moving to a stationary shot can effectively convey the passage of time or a change of location.

Zoom Variance of focal length from wide-angle to telephoto, or vice versa, in one continuous move. “Zoom in” and “zoom out” are common terms.

Casting Director – This person works closely with the director during the audition process. While the director or producer usually has the final say on selecting the leading roles, the casting director is primarily responsible for selecting, hiring and contracting all of the other major characters with speaking roles.

Art Director – The art director works with the production designer and is responsible for the design and construction of a movie set. They are essentially assistants to the production designer and help construct the “look” and “feel” of the movie.

Production Designer – The production designer works with the director and is primarily responsible for the design and overall visual “look” and “feel” of a movie. This includes the use of costumes, landscapes, props and other visual scenery that could reflect the movie script.

1st Assistant Camera– The 1st AC is the chief assistant to the camera operator. The 1st assistant camera person is in charge of measuring and pulling focus during filming. The 1st AC also threads the film through the camera when a new magazine is loaded. This person also helps setup and build the camera, as well as maintain and clean the camera and lenses.

Director of Photography – Video – The video director of photography (D.P.) is in charge of the overall visual look of the video, as seen through the camera. They recommend which cameras and lenses to use for the production. They design the shot’s framing, and the camera movements in conjunction with the director. They are also in charge of the camera crew, lighting design and collaborating with the gaffer.

DIT – Digital Imaging Technician – This is another new job position that was created in response to the popular use of high-end digital video formats. The digital imaging technician uses various image manipulation methods to achieve the highest possible image quality during the production. This person usually manages the transferring and storage of the image data as well.

Steadicam Operator – The steadicam is a camera mounting device that utilizes a mechanical arm attached to a body harness to provide extremely smooth hand-held shots. The steadicam operator is responsible for setting up and operating the steadicam during production. Most steadicam operators are very physically fit due to the amount of strength and endurance needed to operate the steadicam.

Director – The director is the leading creative artist on a movie set. The director works directly with the actors on their performances and has final creative control on almost every aspect of the the film. The director plays a large role in casting, script revisions, shot composing and even editing. Usually, the director is hired by the producer of the film.

1st Assistant Director – The 1st assistant director works with both the production manager and the director to make the shooting schedule efficient as possible. The 1st A.D. breaks the script down into a shooting schedule and also helps manage the scheduling of talent, crew and equipment needed for each shooting day. This person sometimes helps direct the background extras in a scene.

Food Stylist – The food stylist will prepare and arrange food in an appealing way to be used in photographs, commercials or movies. This person usually has an extensive background in cooking, recipe development, and the ability to achieve creative solutions for making the food look its most attractive.

Grip – Grips essentially “shape the light” that is provided by the electricians. This includes creating pattern and shadow effects, coloring light, diffusing light or blocking light. While electricians set up the lights and cabling, grips provide everything else that is built around the lights to create the quality of light that the gaffer desires. They also provide a variety of special rigging, securing and safety measures on set.

Gaffer – The gaffer is also known as the chief lighting technician. This person is primarily responsible for developing a lighting plan according to the desires of the Director of Photography. The gaffer informs the best boy and key grip on where and which lights are to be placed. The gaffer is in charge of creating the best possible lighting scenario according to the camera framing.

Locations Manager – This person is in charge of attaining all the legal permits and other clearances needed to gain proper permission for filming in a particular location. The location manager also takes care of attaining and processing any other location permit fees as well. On some smaller shoots, the location manager assists in coordinating the parking of vehicles.

Makeup Artist – The makeup artist’s main task is to apply and create a variety of looks on the actors and actresses skin surfaces with makeup, from current trends to classic or period pieces. The makeup artist creates a look according to the director’s desires, often inspired by the characterizations in a story.

Producer – A producer is one of the top positions on a film crew. This is because the producer is responsible for gathering funds for a movie, hiring the director and keeping track of finances throughout the production of a film. The producer also helps to hire other key crew positions and often assists in creating a final distribution plan for the movie.

Production Assistant – Many individuals start their careers in the film industry as a production assistant. A production assistant usually does any general duty or minor task that the production heads may need. Basic duties may include dispersing walkie-talkies, setting up pop-up tents and tables, running basic errands as needed or attaining any other last-minute item that the production might need. It is essential that the P.A. has their own transportation to perform these various errands.

Production Coordinator – A production coordinator is responsible for coordinating the “behind the scenes” logistics, which can include renting equipment, hiring crew members, and coordinating talent. In addition, this crew member may handle the paperwork needed to organize the production. For this reason, the production coordinator is an important crew member in ensuring a production’s goals are on budget and on time.

Script Supervisor – The script supervisor works closely with the director by taking detailed notes concerning what has been shot, needs to be shot, and also notes any deviations from take to take. He/she also makes sure that the dialogue corresponds with the script. The script supervisor also takes logging notes that are essential in the post production editing process, such as locating shots and finding the best takes. Many times the script supervisor assumes the role of continuity, ensuring the consistency between scenes and shots.

Script Writer – Script writers assists clients who have ideas, but need help putting them down on paper. Script writers work in a variety of formats including screenplays, TV or radio spots, promotional & educational videos, documentaries and much more. Script writers can also adapt books or stories into screenplays, which is essentially the map for making the movie. A screenplay involves screen direction, character dialogue, and prop descriptions while telling the story.

Teleprompter – The teleprompter is a device that mounts to the front of the camera and contains a scrolling text for the actor to read while looking into the lens. This technique is also used by newscasters. The teleprompter operator helps set up the teleprompter on the camera as well as the computer that provides the scrolling text program. This person is usually given the script ahead of time so that they can enter it into their computer before arriving on set.

Boom Operator – This person is responsible for properly positioning the microphone boom pole during the actual filming. The boom operator is the assistant to the sound mixer. Many times the boom operator is required to hold the boom pole for several minutes at a time, which can be physically demanding. The boom operator must also be able to follow the actors movements while staying clear of the camera and lights. This makes it a challenging job for achieving the best possible audio.

Sound Mixer – Film – The sound mixer for film is head of the sound department and is responsible for leveling, monitoring and recording of audio during production. The sound mixer decides which microphones to use as well as placements of the mics. This person can also mix the various sound tracks and audio signals in real time. A film sound mixer supervises the boom operator and/or sound utility person.

Costume Designer – The costume designer makes decisions on which wardrobes and costumes actors will wear based on the script requirements and character portrayals. Costume designers create or choose various clothing patterns, designs, colors, sizes and accessories for each wardrobe used during production. On larger movies, the costume designer has several assistants helping to organize, disperse and maintain all the costumes used by the cast.

Animator: Animation is the art of making images that appear to come to life on screen. It features in all kinds of media, from feature films to commercials, pop videos, computer games and websites.

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

Videographer – ENG: A Videographer is a person who works in the video medium recording moving images and sound onto linear analog or digital tape, non-linear digital disc, or any other digital recording media, such as memory cards.

Executive Producer: The role of the Executive Producer is to oversee the work of the producer on behalf of the studio, the financiers or the distributors.

Line Producer: The Line Producer is one of the first people to be employed on a film’s production by the producer and executive producers.

Runner: Production Runners assist wherever they are needed on productions and their duties vary depending on where they are assigned.

Sound Engineer: Sound Engineers operate consoles and other equipment to control, replay, and mix sound from various sources in live concert performances and in the production of records, tapes, and films.

Voiceover Artist: The Voiceover Artist is the unseen person who does the speaking necessary to create a voiceover.

Distributor: A Distributor is responsible for coordinating the distribution of the finished movie to exhibitors, as well as the sale of video, DVD, Blu Ray and other media on which the movie will be made available.

Colorist: A Colorist is one who is recognized as skilled in their ability to integrate color by hand or digitally with uncolored images.

Composer: A Composer will need to write music to suit the mood and action in a TV, film drama or documentary. They will need to compose, perform, arrange, and then work with producers to rearrange, and rearrange as they change and finalize the film.

Editor: Film Editors assemble footage of feature films, television shows, documentaries, and industrials into a seamless end product.





By | 2017-11-27T01:06:32+00:00 October 14th, 2014|Video Production tips|Comments Off on 101 video production terms you should know

About the Author:

Saj Adibs is the founder, filmmaker and creative director at New Slate Films, a Chicago based video production company. He has been creating films, commercial and corporate videos for the last decade.