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Film / Audio / Video Glossary

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abrasion marks
scratches on film caused by dirt, emulsion pile ups, improper handling, and other film damage.

Alternating Current. Electrical current that changes polarity regularly and continually.

academy aperture
Projection aperture screen image aspect ration of approximately 1:37:1.

academy leader
Identification and timing countdown film leader designed to specifications of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science, and placed at the head end of a print reel. The countdown cuing information is related to feet before the first picture start.

acetate base film
Cellulose triacetate film is the material used for making film today.

active picture area
The part of a TV picture that contains actual image information as opposed to sync or other data. Vertically the active picture area is 486 lines for NTSC and 576 lines for PAL. The inactive area is called blanking.

afm recording
Audio Frequency Modulation recording. An audio signal is frequency-modulated and recorded on the video track together with a video signal, enabling multi-channel audio recording and better reproduction.

Automatic Gain Control. Electronic circuit designed to keep signals at an acceptable level by amplifying signals that are too low or reducing signals that are too high.

Agitation is necessary to achieve even and uniformity in various chemical developing solutions.

Unit of electrical measure equal to one volt sent through a resistance of one ohm. Also one watt divided by one volt.

Any electronic device used to increase the level or power of signals applied to it.

A signal that varies continuously over a range of amplitudes. A digital signal by contrast has only two values, representing 1 or 0.

anamorphic lens
A camera lens that produces a squeezed image on the film. When the film is projected using the proper lens reverses the effect and the image spreads out horizontally to create a wide-screen picture.

anamorphic release print
Print where the image is compressed horizontally. This print is designed to be viewed on a wide screen projection.

American Standards Institute.

answer print
The first print made from a negative. This is a timed print that has been designed to determine whether other color changes are needed before making release prints.

Adjustable iris that determines the amount of light passing through.

The opening in a lens, controlling the amount of light that passes through the lens.

Exposure index or speed rating measures the film speed sensitivity to light.

aspect ratio
Proportion of picture height and width.



back focus
The distance from the rear element of a lens to the image plane on the camera.

Coating applied to the base side of original negative film base. This coating is designed to absorb any light from passing through the emulsion during exposure.

The amount of audio or radio spectrum required or used by a signal or waveform.

barn door
A metal flap or group of metal flaps attached to the front of a lamp housing to prevent light from spilling outside a desired area.

The transparent flexible cellulose acetate support that holds the emulsion coating.

Mount used on most cameras to secure the lens on the body by using a lens fixing ring. Could also be an electrical connerctor.

A component broadcast system using half-inch tape and cases similar to those for the Beta format.

bidirectional microphone
A microphone designed to pick up sound on two sides of the microphone along the same axis, but reject sound from any other direction.

black balance adjustment
Is done in order to assure that black has no color. The camera balances the black levels of the R, G and B channels.

black set
A reference level for black balance adjustment.

blow-up printing
Optical printing resulting usually in a larger print image size from the original negative.

blue screen
A color screen (sometimes green screen) used in post production for filming or video taping an object where the background will be replaced with another element.

bnc connector
A connector with a bayonet lock used with coaxial video cable.

boom microphone
Any microphone, but usually a unidirectional or shotgun microphone, attached to a pole or boom to keep the microphone near an audio source but outside of the field of view.

brightness control
A control used to adjust the illumination of viewfinders, monitors, and receivers, but not affecting signal levels from cameras or other picture sources.

broadcast quality
A nebulous term used to describe the output of a manufacturers product . Usually at least means that the technical specifications meet the FCC rules for broadcasting.

Part of a pickup tubes that has a depletion of charge evidence by a negative image of the picture source causing the depletion. This condition is temporary unless the tube is turned off and allowed to cool before the problem is corrected.



c-mount lens
A lens with a standard one-inch threaded mount assembly that is screwed into the camera body, as opposed to a bayonet or “m” mount.

The electrical cords used to interconnect pieces of audio and video equipment.

camera cap
A cap screwed or mounted onto the front of a camera in place of the lens to protect the camera pickup tube from light or dirt when the lens is not in place.

camera log
A record sheet that catalogs details of a scenes photographed on the original film.

A three-pin connector used with balanced audio lines for line and mic level audio signals. Also known as an XL or XLR connector.

An electrical device which stores energy as an electrostatic charge. Often used as a component in filter circuits.

(Charge-coupled device). It replaced the pickup tube, a CCD is a solid state imager which converts input light levels into electrical charges, which are once stored and then output in the form of voltage variations.

Camera control unit.

cement splice
Film splice made using a film solvent cement to make the splice virtually seamless.

center marker
A cross that indicates the center of the image on the viewfinder screen.

Character Generator. A small computer used to generate titles and other text electronically without the use of a camera.

characterisitc curve
A film exposure plot that shows the relationship between the photographic exposure and the image density produced after the film has been processed.

The characteristic of a color which refers to its saturation or intensity. Also the color pattern of the television signal.

chroma key
A key based on the chroma saturation and hue of portions of a picture, rather than on the luminance, or brightness. A specific hue is replaced by one picture source, while the rest of the picture is replaced by another picture source. A chroma key is an external key.

The color portion of the television signal.

chrominance signal
Or chroma signal is a video signal containing color information.

A trade mark system of wide screen presentation. The 35mm film image is compressed horizontally by 50% in the negative stage and when the film is printed and projected, the 35mm print image is expanded horizontally by the same amount using an anamorphic projection lens. The screen image has an aspect ratio of 2:35:1.

Mechanism used is most cameras to advance the film.

coaxial cable
A cable having a center conductor surrounded by insulation and a grounded shield.

color analyzer
Equipment used to color correct a negative and to determine the correct printing lights.

color bar signal
Is a test signal which can be displayed as vertical bars of different colors on a color video monitor. It is used to check chrominance functions of color television and camera’s.

color conversion filter
Is an optical filter used with video cameras to convert the color temperature of a light source.

color correction
The altering of color balance.

color seperation negative
Black and white negative made from red, green or blue light from an original or positive color film.

color temperature
Color quality expressed in degrees Kelvin (K). The higher the color temperature the bluer the light, the lower temperature, the redder the light. Color temperature Is measured in Kelvins (K). Each light source has it’s own color temperature.

component video signal
A signal that consists of a luminance signal (Y) and two chrominance (color difference) signals (R-Y, B-Y).

composite print
A print that contains both the picture and sound.

composite video signal
A signal that consists of video (luminance and color subcarrier), sync (horizontal and vertical), and color burst signals.

Process of combining separate images into a single new image.

the act of condensing or consolidating material for playback, usually means to change it's digital format to allow playback for Transmission on non standard or consumer equipment.

is moisture condensation usualy on the head drum, which cases the tape to stick to the drum, resulting in damaging the tape and posible malfunction of the recorder.

condenser microphone
A microphone using a power supply (usually a battery) to maintain a charge across two plates which modulate a voltage when the distance between them changes.

Match the original element to the final edited version.

contact print
Print made where the original negative comes in direct contact with the print film emulsion to emulsion.

The difference in illumination between the brightest and darkest parts of a scene or picture.

contrast control
A control used to change the amplitude of the video signal in viewfinders receivers, and monitors, but not affecting the output of cameras or other video sources.

control strip
A short piece of film containing a series of film exposures used for checking film processing.

control track
A reference signal recorded on videotape and used to control the path of the video heads across the tape on playback.

A fold or crack in a piece of film.

Listings of all those involved in making a program, usually appearing at the end of a television program or film.

cross abrasions
Short scratches occurring across the film width. Usually caused during film shipment.

crt cathode-ray tube
Video camera viewfinders are equipped with a CR1 image display, so you can monitor what you are shooting.

Compressed Time Division Multiplex. A method of processing chrominance signals for recording. When component video signals are recorded, both of the two chrominance signals (R-Y, B-Y) are timecompressed to half, multiplexed, and recorded on a single track one after the other.

Control signal in the form of regular pulses recorded along a longitudinal track on the videotape. By counting these pulses, it is possible to determine the number of frames, and hence the tape’s running time. Used mainly to adjust the tracking position of video heads, and to achieve time code continuity in continuous recording.

Curl across the width of the film.

Non-uniform densities running lengthwise of the image.

The characteristic curve represents the reproduction accuracy in the full tonal scale of the original film. Also know as the H&D Curve developed by Hurter and Driffield.

cynch marks
Short scratches on the surface of the film running parallel to its length. These scratches are caused by film debris or other abrasive particles between film wraps or loose winding.



Digital video tape format using the CCIR 601 standard to record 4:2:2 component video on 19mm tape. Currently the highest quality video tape format generally available. The first digital video tape format, hence D1.

Digital video tape format using the 4fsc method to record composite digital video. Uses 19mm tape and a cassette similar to D1. The second digital video tape format, hence D2.

Digital video tape format using 4fsc composite signals like D2, but recorded on 12.5 mm (1/2-inch) tape. The third digital video tape format...

Doesn't exist. The number 4 is considered unlucky in Japan.

Digital video tape format using CCIR 601, 4:2:2 video. Uses the same cassette as D3.

Film dailies are the first one light work print made from an original negative usually printed immediately after processing negative so that action, lighting and rough color can be checked before the next days shoot begins. Same applies to video dailies.

Decibel. A unit used to compare the relative levels of electrical signals on a logarithmic scale.

Dynamic Contrast Control. Restores lost detail when shooting against bright backgrounds

Digital Disk Recorder A digital video recording device based on high speed computer disk drives. Commonly used as a means to get video into and out from computers and for editing.

(db) Unit of loudness measured on logarithmic scale used to measure audio levels.

Instrument used to measure the optical density on film.

Chemical solution used to turn the latent image into a visible image on exposed film.

A form in which everything is defined by a series of numbers, usually ones and zeros (binary).

digital betacam
Digital video tape format using the CCIR 601 standard to record 4:2:2 component video in compressed form on 12.5mm (1/2-inch) tape.

digital recording
Process in which sound waves are recorded as digital bits. Digital recording produces high quality true sound that doesn't contain noise.

digital video tape
Video tape format that stores image on tape as a binary code, allowing it to be moved through various digital devices with minimum loss of quality.

The act of taking analog video and/or audio and converting it to digital form. In 8 bit digital video there are 256 possible steps between maximum white and minimum black.

Effect where one scene gradually fades out as a second scene fades in.

The gradual change from one picture to another, allowing the pictures to be superimposed during the transition.

Any undesirable alteration in an audio or video signal.

dolby system
Trade name for an audio noise reduction system.

A wheeled device attached to a tripod to allow smooth movement of a camera. Also a camera movement toward or away from the subject (dolly forward, dolly back).

double system recording
Synchronous sound recording separate from the camera. Typically magnetic with sync pulse.

drop frame mode
SMPTE time code runs at 30 frames/second, while the NTSC color television system runs at about 29.97 frames/second. This results in that a length of 1 hour as indicated by time code is longer than the actual clock time of 1 hour by 108 frames, or about 3.6 seconds. Drop frame mode adjusts the running of time code to eliminate this discrepancy, by dropping two frames from time code account at the beginning of each minute except every tenth minute. On the other hand, non-drop frame mode does not adjust the discrepancy between time code value and actual time.

drop frame time code
A type of time code designed to match a clock time exactly. Two frames of code are dropped every minute, on the minute, except every tenth minute, to correct for the fact that color frames occur at a rate of 29.97 per second, rather than 30 fps.

To copy by playing back on one machine and recording on another.

duct tape
A shiny adhesive tape designed for holding metal heating and cooling ducts, but also commonly used as a substitute for gaffers tape, a general purpose tape used in television and film.

dupe negative
A duplicate negative made from a master positive.

Digital Video Cassette. A digital tape recording format using approximately 5:1 compression to produce near-Betacam quality on a very small cassette. Originated as a consumer product, but being used professionally as exemplified by Panasonic’s variation, DVC-Pro, and Sony’s variation DVCam.

Digital Video Disk (or Digital Versatile Disk). A new format for putting full length movies on a 5” CD using MPEG-2 compression for “much better than VHS” quality.

Digital Video Effects. A “black box” which digitally manipulates the video to create special effects, for example, the ADO (Ampex Digital Optics) system. Common DVE effects include inverting the picture, shrinking it, moving it around within the frame of another picture, spinning it, and a great many more.

dynamic microphone
A microphone which uses a magnet moving in a coil of wire to generate an electrical signal.



European Broadcasting Union. Established by broadcasting and related organizations in Europe.

edge damage
Physical damage to the edge of the film or perforation.

edge number
Sequential numbers printed along the edge of the film by the manufacturer.

(Edit Decision List) List of edits prepared during the off-line edit.

Electronic Field Production. Production of a television program or program segment by using portable video cameras, VTRs, and sound equipment outside the studios. EFP is characterized by generally higher production quality than ENG.

Light sensitive photographic material consisting of gelatin, silver halides and any additional coating or filter layer added by the manufacturer.

emulsion side
The side of the film coated with the emulsion.

Electronic news gathering. The use of portable video cameras, VTRs, and sound equipment for the production of daily news stories and short documentaries.

estar base
Trade mark name applied to the polyethylene terephthalate film base manufactured by Eastman Kodak.

Future Proofing, refers to keeping your material current in technology

exposure index
Number assigned to a film stock representing its relative sensitivity to light. This exposure index is based on a determined film exposure speed and specific processing solutions.

exposure latitude
Degree in which film can be underexposed or overexposed without damaging the image.



The size of the aperture in a lens, given in f-numbers. The lower the f-number, the more light passes through the lens. It is the ratio of the lens focal length to the actual diameter of the aperture opening. The opening and closing of a lens determines the amount of light the lens will transmit. See T-stop.

Used in reference of having a high photographic film speed.

Mottled emulsion caused by improper film drying or condensation on a roll of film.

One scan from the top to the bottom of the television frame, tracing alternate horizontal lines and taking one sixtieth of a second to complete.

film gate
Components that make up the pressure and aperture plates in a camera, printer or projection.

film indentification code
Numbers and letters, which appear on the edge of the film put in by the film manufacturer.

film to tape transfer
The process of putting the photographed image on to videotape.

film weave
An irregular movement of the film as it passes through the telecine or projector gate.

A flat piece of glass or gelatin transparent material with no optical properties other than to control the color or intensity of light. A filter is used over the lens or printer to change the color or density of an image. (2)An electrical device used to reduce the transmission of signals in some frequency ranges and allow transmission of signals in other frequency ranges.

A metal flap used near a lens to keep lights from shining directly into the lens and causing lens flare.

Emulsion particles from the edge of the film that tend to deposit in the image area of the film. Flaking is caused by improper film path in the camera, rewinds or other equipment misalignment.

Discs used to guide film for printers, rewinds and projection.

Dark or colored flashes caused by signal overload through extreme light reflections of polished objects or very bright lights.

Uniform density exposure to the film prior to processing to lower the stock contrast.

Repeated change of brightness on the screen.

focal length
The distance from the optical center of a lens to the focal plane.

focal plane
The plane perpendicular to the lens axis at which parallel rays striking the lens are converged to a point.

To cause a sharp image from a lens to be projected onto the focal plane (in the case of a camera) or onto a screen (in the case of a projector). Also to adjust the electron beam converging circuits in a television monitor for maximum sharpness as they strike the surface of the picture tube.

Darkening or discoloring of a negative or print. Causes include accidental exposure to light or x-rays, overdevelopment, outdated film and storing film in hot and humid place.

footage numbers
Also refereed as to edge numbers. Sequential numbers which are pre-exposed or printed in ink at regular intervals on the edge of the film outside or in between the perforation.

force processing
Develop film for longer than the normal time to compensate for underexposure. Also referred to as Push Process.

The size or aspect ratio of a motion picture frame.

Feet Per Minute, expressing the speed of film moving through a mechanism.

Frames Per Second, indicating the number or images exposed per second.

A complete individual television picture image on a strip of motion picture film consisting of two interlaced fields of video, produced at the rate of approximately 29l97 Hz (color), or 30 Hz (black & white). The frame rate for PAL system is 24 frames per second and for the NTSC system is thirty frames per second.

frame line
The separation between adjacent image frames on motion picture film.

freeze frame
The continuous repetition of a single frame of video.

The rate of repetition of an electrical or audio signal, expressed in Hertz (cycles per second).

A special light-weight lens used in focusing beams of light. Originally used in lighthouses, now also used in high-quality studio and theatrical lights.

A device designed to interrupt an electrical circuit in the event of an overload of that circuit.



gaffer’s tape
A strong adhesive tape used in film and television production.

Degree of amplification. The difference between the signal level at the input of a device and the level at the output, usually expressed in dB.

Measurement of the contrast of an image, representing the slope of the straight-line portion of the characteristic curve.

The aperture assembly at which the film is exposed in a camera, printer or projector.

gelatin filter
A light filter consisting of a gelatin sheet in which light-absorbing pigment or dye is incorporated.

To reference a signal generator to a signal normally external to and separate from the system controlled by the signal generator. The purpose is to bring a system, such as a studio, into proper timing with an external source, such as a live remote camera, so that special effects as wipes, keys, and dissolves can be done using the external source in combination with internal sources.

The character of a photographic image when, under normal viewing conditions, it appears to be made up of distinguishable particles, or grains. This is due to the grouping together or clumping of the individual silver grains, which are by themselves far too small to be perceived under normal viewing conditions.

Non-uniformity in a photographic image that can be measured with a densitometer.

gray card
A card that reflects 18 percent of the light hitting it. Visually it appears neutral, or a middle gray halfway between black and white.

The crew member principally responsible for the transportation, maintenance and mounting of the camera.

guide rollers
Any roller with flanges that is used to guide or restrict the position of motion picture film as it moves through a camera, projector, or printer.

guillotine splicer
Device used for butt-splicing film with splicing tape.



h&d curve
The graph made by plotting the density of a film sample against the log of the exposure that made that density. Named after Messrs. Hurter and Driffield who created the science of sensitometry.

Hole-Accumulated Diode. A CCD sensor structure designed to suppress certain types of noise inherent to CCDs. See also CCD.

High definition television, a new video format with a resolution approximately twice as standard TV.

High Definition Television. A TV format capable of displaying on a wider screen (16x9 as opposed to the conventional 4x3) and at higher resolution.

The uppermost portion of a tripod or pedestal which provides for the ability to pan and tilt the camera.

Cycle per second.

The brightest area of an image. In the negative image the area of greatest density; in positive image, the area of least density.

The background noise generated in an audio system which is internally generated by microphones, amplifiers, and tape.

hmi lights
Mercury arc lamps with metal halide additives to adjust the color balance. Usually rated at 5400K.

horizontal resolution
The capability of a video camera or a display unit to resolve detail in the horizontal direction. Usually expressed as the number of vertical lines which can be distinguished in the reproduced image of a test chart.

horizontal sync
That portion of the sync signal that controls the horizontal timing (and therefore horizontal location) of each line of picture.

Usually referred to too much light in a single area.

Unwanted low frequency audio noise caused by improperly shielded or improperly grounded audio cables and circuits.

hypo (fixer)
Chemical used in film processing.



i signal
One of the two color signals, containing reddish orange and bluish green components to which the human eye is sensitive.

The manner in which television picture is composed, scanning alternate lines to produce one field.

Film used for making duplicate negative.

internal sync
Synchronizing signals generated by a camera, recorder, or other picture source without reference to or need of external synchronizing signals.

A negative made from a positive image such as reversal film. Typically used for making prints.

A Master positive print.

ire scale
The scale to determine video signal amplitudes devised by the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE), an American organization now called the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). The IRE scale includes a total of 140 units, with 100 up and 40 down from zero.

A circular mechanical device built into a camera lens, to permit control of the amount of light passing through the lens by varying the diameter of its central aperture.



A video special effect in which the level of a video signal is used as a switch which allows selective substitution of picture information from one source with picture information from a different source. Luminance keyers use the amplitude of the monochrome portion of the signal, while chroma keyers use the amplitude of a specific color or hue. Most printed material is inserted into video using luminance keys, while picture information is inserted using chroma keys.

keykode numbers
Kodak's 10 digit number pre-printed on the edge of negative film used for editing and negative conforming.

The effect of projecting an image onto a surface that is not perpendicular to the axis of the projecting lens. Parallel lines tend to converge in the direction where the surface is closer to the lens.



The tendency in some camera pickup tubes to retain an image after it is no longer presented to the tube. This effect is most evident when a relatively bright image is replaced by a darker field of view and is aggravated when a bright image is stationary in the field of view for an extended period of time before it is replaced.

latent image
The image retained by a pickup tube after the source of that image is removed. If a latent image is present on a pickup tube when a camera is turned off, the image may be permanently fixed on the tube.

The range of exposure that a film has where a good reproduction can be obtained.

A microphone worn on the body and held in place either with a lanyard worn around the neck or a clip fastened to clothing. The frequency response of a lavalier microphone is skewed toward the higher frequencies to compensate for the low frequency sound transmitted directly to the microphone by contact with the body.

Any film material used at the head and tail of a roll for threading a negative when transferring or a print film for projection.

lens hood
Also lens shade. A cone fastened to the front end of a lens to keep incident light from striking the lens elements and causing lens flare.

light meter
A meter for measuring light intensity.

An amplifier designed to limit or compress signals over a desired level, thus reducing the chances of distortion and keeping the range of signal levels within the range that can be recorded. Unlike an automatic gain control, a limiter does not augment or boost low levels.

liquid gate
A printing system where the original film is immersed in a chemical at the moment of exposure, commonly used for reducing the effect of surface scratches.

recording Longitudinal recording. To record audio signals on tape along its longitudinal tracks.

Longitudinal Time Code; time code recorded usually on channel 3 of the videotape that records tape length.

Longitudinal Time Code. A time code recorded along the tape in the forward direction of tape run. A VTR cannot reproduce LTC when tape run stops to output a still picture. The output level of LTC is very low when tape runs slowly. So an LTC read error is likely to occur while the VTR is playing back in slow motion. See also Time code and VITC.

Measure value of brightness.

luminance signal
A signal that determines the brightness of the picture. Also called Y signal.



machine speed
Rate at which film moves through the processor.

magnetic sound
Audio signal recorded on a magnetic oxide tape.

The final negative or intermediate film from which subsequent prints are made.

master positive
Timed print made from an original and from which a duplicate negative is made.

match frame edit
Edit in which the source and record tapes pick up exactly where they left off.

maximum density
(D-Max) Portion of the shoulder of the characteristic curve where further increases in exposure on a negative will not produce any further density increase.

metal tape
Magnetic tape coated with fine metallic particles, noted for its high recording density.

minimum density
(D-Min) Density area in the toe of the characteristic curve where less exposure on negative film will produce no further reduction in density.

An electronic device for combining the outputs of several sound sources, with separate control over the volume or quality of each.



nd filter
Neutral Density filter. ND filters reduce the amount of incident light equally across the entire visible wavelength range without affecting color.

nitrate film
A highly flammable motion picture film manufactured before 1950. This film must be handle carefully to prevent spontaneous combustion.

Any unwanted signal interfering with the clarity and intelligibility of desired signals. The background of static inherent in any recording or amplifying device, generally forty to sixty db below the peak output level of the device.

non-drop frame
A type of time code that continuously counts a full 30 frames per second.

non-linear editor
An editing system based on storage of video and audio on computer disk, where the order or lengths of scenes can be changed without the necessity of re-assembling or copying the program.

(National Television Standards Commitee) Video format using 525 scan lines, tape running at about 30 frames per second. This format is mainly used in North America.

A type of video pickup tube used in inexpensive color television cameras.



off line editing
Creative assembling of elements of production to communicate the proper message, story.

off-line editor
A low resolution, usually computer and disk based edit system in which the creative editing decisions can be made at lower cost and often with greater flexibility than in an expensive fully equipped online suite. See also Non-Linear Editor

omnidirectional microphone
A microphone which picks up sound equally well from all directions.

on line editing
Final edit assembling using the edit decisions made during the off line edit process.

on-line editor
An editing system where the actual video master is created. An on-line bay usually consists of an editing computer, video switcher, audio mixer, 1 or more channels of DVE, character generator, and several video tape machines.

optical printer
Film printer used to blow up the image size of a neg. Also used for effects, zooms and mattes.

optical track
Sound track in which the sound record takes the form of density variations in a photographic image. Optical tracks are located on the edge of the print film.

optical viewfinder
A camera viewfinder which has no electronics and therefore cannot reflect the actual picture being transmitted from the camera. Optical viewfinders for inexpensive television cameras are rangefinder viewfinders which are separate from the camera lens system and show a picture slightly different from that seen by the camera. The difference is most troublesome for subjects close to the camera where the angle of difference, or parallax, is greatest.

Sections of the negative that are not used for the final edit and are therefore removed from the final assembly.

oxide tape
Magnetic tape coated with fine particles of manganese oxide.



Phase Alternate Line. The television and video standard in use in most of Europe. Consists of 625 horizontal lines at a field rate of 50 fields per second. (Two fields equals one complete Frame). (Phase Alternating Line) Video Standard, 625 scan lines (Only 576 of these lines are used for picture. The rest are used for sync or extra information such as VITC and Closed Captioning), tape runs at 25 frames per second Pixel Short for Picture Element. The basic unit from which a video or computer picture is made. Essentially a dot with a given color and brightness value. The more pixels the higher the resolution of the picture.

Camera move in which the camera appears to move horizontally or vertically usually following the action of the shot.

panavision 35
A 35mm process using 35mm negative film and photographed through an anamorphic lens with a compression of 2x.

A parabolic dish used to reflect sound waves, concentrating them on a microphone, allowing sound to be picked up from greater distances than with even a normal unidirectional or shotgun microphone.

The difference in view caused by looking at a scene from two slightly different locations.

patch bay
Patch panel. A control panel where all the video and audio lines used in a studio are brought together and terminated in connectors allowing any combination of lines to be wired together as desired by patching in short lengths of cable.

A camera support generally restricted to studio use having a single elevator column mounted on a tricycle base.

pedestal level
A black level which is the absolute black level of a video signal. Normally, a video signal refers to the setup level (about 0% to 5% of video amplitude above the blanking level) as the black level.

Regularly spaced and accurately shaped holes on the edge of all films.

pickup tube
A light-sensitive electron tube which is scanned by an electron beam to convert an image focused on the face of the tube into an electronic signal.

A mechanism that engages with a perforation to secure the film at the time of exposure, or to advance the film to the next exposure.

(Estar base) Polyethylene terephthalate developed by Dupont. A film base material that doesn't tear commonly used for making positive raw stock films.

Microphone distortion caused by speaking certain consonants (especially “p”) into a microphone placed too close to the mouth.

positive film
Motion picture film designed for the making of release prints.

printer lights
On an additive printer, incremental steps to increase or decrease the amount of light exposure to the film at the printing stage.

printer points
An increment of light intensity change when printing.

printing tape
A perforated strip of tape which provides information concerning the necessary changes of the printing light levels.

Procedure during which exposed film is developed to produce either a negative or positive image.

The administrative head of the film, usually responsible for budget, staff, legal contracts, distribution, scheduling, etc.

General term used to describe the process involved in making all the original material that is the basis of the finished motion picture.

production supervisor
An assistant to the producer, in charge of the routine administrative duties.

projection speed
Rate at which the film moves through the projector; 24 fps is the standard for all sound films.

protective leader
Film attached to the beginning and the end of the film reel.

protective master
(also referred to as I/P or Mater Positive) A master positive from which a dupe negative can be made if the original is damaged.

push processing
A means of increasing the exposure index of film.



q signal
One of the two color signals, containing yellow and violet components to which the human eye is relatively insensitive.

The light of choice in color television, designed to maintain correct color temperature and uniform output throughout its life. Provides much higher output than conventional tungsten light of the same power consumption and has a life up to one hundred times that of common tungsten photographic lights. These lamps are sensitive to shock and handling and should never be touched with bare hands.



r-v signal
R (red) signal minus Y (luminance) signal; one of the color difference signals.

radio mic
Transmitter mic or wireless mic. A microphone connected to a small radio transmitter, used in situations where cables would be cumbersome or impossible to use. FCC regulations are stringent in the use of transmitter microphones.

raw stock
Unexposed and unprocessed motion picture film.

real time
The instantaneous response of a computer or device to instructions: the normal viewing time of any film or videotape format.

Any device capable of demodulating an RF signal, such as a radio, tuner, or television set.

Any device that converts an electronic signal to a magnetic pattern in the oxide coating of a magnetic tape.

reference video signal
A video signal which contains a sync signal or sync and burst signals, used as a reference for synchronization of video equipment.

A process offered by some laboratories whereby a damaged and dirty print can be rendered usable for further projection.

release negative
Duplicate negative or color reversal intermediate from which release prints are made.

rem-jet backing
Antihalation backing used on certain films. Rem jet is softened and removed at the start of processing.

The simulation of light on three-dimensional objects; determining an object's surface characteristics, such as color and texture.

The capacity of a medium to capture and playback distinctly fine details. Film is considered a high-resolution storage medium; videotape formats are considered lower resolution mediums. (2)The degree to which fine detail can be recorded or displayed. In film, measured in pairs of light and dark lines per millimeter. In television, measured in lines per scan. Thus, the horizontal resolution of a television camera would be measured by the number of discernible vertical lines that could be displayed across the width of the screen.

The formation of a coarse, crackled surface on the emulsion coating of a film during improper processing.

reversal film
Film that processes to a positive mage after exposure in a camera.

reversal imtermediate
First generation duplicate that is reversed to produce the same kind of image (negative or positive) as the original; used for printing.

(Radio Frequency) That part of the frequency spectrum in which it is possible to radiate (transmit) electromagnetic waves. Any part of the broadcast band, including radio and television.

Red, Green and Blue are the primary color components of the additive color system used in color television.

Red, Green, Blue. The primary colors of light. Computers and some analog component devices use separate red, green, and blue color channels to keep the full bandwidth and therefore the highest quality picture.

The gradual reduction of frequencies above or below a certain point. Filters which roll off the bass frequencies are often included in unidirectional microphones to compensate for proximity effect.

Continuous sprocket tooth indentation along the length of the film; caused by a bad splice or other damage that forces the film to ride off the sprocket.

A device that projects live-action film one frame at a time, onto a small screen from the rear.



Signal-to-Noise ratio. The relation of the strength of the desired signal to the accompanying electronic interference, the noise. If S/N is high, sounds are reproduced with less noise and pictures are reproduced clearly without snow.

safe area
In television graphics or film shot for television, the area which is almost certain to be displayed on any television set. About 80% of the scanned area.

safe base
Film base that is fire-resistant or slow burning. Acetate base film and polyester base film meet safety film standards.

A television pickup tube used mostly in industrial television and electronic news gathering.

A term used to describe the brilliance or purity of a color.

A device for scanning images and converting them into an electronic signal in a standard video format.

Non-photographic blemishes on the film emulsion or base.

(Systèm Electronique pour Couleur avec Mémoire) Video Format at 625 scan lines, tape runs at 25 frames per second.

Special Effects Generator. The device in television used to switch between and combine various picture sources. Also called a switcher.

Degree of responsiveness of a film to light. (2)The ability of a device, such as a camera or microphone, to sense intelligible information and convert it into a usable electronic signal.

An instrument with which a photographic emulsion is given a graduated series of exposures to light of controlled spectral quality, intensity and duration.

sensitometric curve
See characteristic curve.

Study of the response of photographic emulsions to light.

seperation masters
Three separate black and white master positives made from one color negative; one contains the red record, another the green record and the third the blue record.

An electronic circuit used to control the speed of a motor which drives a videotape recorder head assembly drum, which must be controlled with great precision.

servo lock
In a VTR, to lock (or synchronize) the operation of the servomechanisms to a reference sync signal.

shock mount
A support for a microphone which used rubber of foam supports to isolate the mic from vibrations which can appear as low frequency rumble in the audio.

short pitch
The perforation pitch of a negative stock, which is somewhat shorter than the pitch of positive stock to avoid slippage in contact printing.

shotgun microphone
A unidirectional microphone with a narrow pickup pattern.

High density portion of a characteristic curve in which the slope changes with constant changes in exposure. For negative films, slope decreases and further changes in exposure (log H) finally produce no increase in density because maximum density has been reached. For reversal films, slope increases.

Reduction in the dimensions of motion picture film caused by loss of moisture, support plasticizers, and solvents, as well as heat, use and age.

shutter speed
The length of time for which the shutter stays open. The higher the shutter speed is, the more clearly a moving object can be shot.

Excessive amount of vocal hiss when consonants such as "s" are spoken.

silver halides
Light sensitive compound used in film emulsions.

silver recovery
Reclaiming the silver from processing solutions. Primarily from the Fix.

single perforation film
Film with perforation along one edge only.

Fine thread like particles found in the vicinity of the projector gate; caused by physical abrasion against a sharp burr or nick on a film path component or any roller that might come in contact with the edge of the film.

Acronym for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, a professional association established in the U.S.A. mainly for the purpose of setting forth motion picture and television engineering standards.

Printed in dirt that causes white dirt in the projected image.

Inherent sensitivity of an emulsion to light. Represented by a number derived from a films characteristic curve or lens opening.

The joining together of two or more pieces of film.

A toothed wheel used to transport perforated motion picture film.

straight line region
Portion of characteristic curve where slope does not change because the rate of density for a given log exposure change is constant or linear.

stripe, magnetic
Narrow band (s) of magnetic oxide usually coated toward the edges of the base side of motion picture film for accepting audio signal recordings in the form of magnetic impulses.

subtracting color
The formation of colors by the removal of selected portions of the white light spectrum by transparent filters or dye images.

subtractive process
Photographic process that uses one or more subtractive primary cyan magenta, and yellow to control red, green and blue light.

super panavision
Similar to Panavision 35, but photographed flat in 65mm. The 70mm prints produce and aspect ratio of 2.25:1 with 4-channel sound and a ration of 2:1 with 6 channel sound.

The adding or mixing of two video signals to produce and image with two or more pictures visible simultaneously. Used when a keyer is not available to add graphics to video. Sometimes used to refer to a key.

A 35mm anamorphic release print system adopted by RKO Radio Pictures that produced a screen image with an aspect ration of2:1 or 2.35:1 when projected with a normal anamorphic lens. The original camera negative was photographed flat, but special printing produced the anamorphic print.

Audio post production, at which time audio problems are corrected.

The increase in motion picture film dimensions caused by the absorption of moisture during storage and use under high humidity conditions. Extreme humidity conditions and subsequent swelling of the film aggravates the abrasion susceptibility of the film surface.

Any of the signals used to generate and control a television picture, but, specifically, the portion of the composite video signal from zero to minus forty IRE units consisting of vertical and horizontal timing pulses and equalizing signals to maintain the proper relationship of the two fields of video making up each frame.



t-grain emulsion
Emulsion made up of tablet like crystals rather than conventional silver halides crystals; produces high speed films with fine grain.

A lens marking which indicates the true light transmission of the lens at a given aperture instead of the approximate light transmission indicated by the conventional f-stop marking.

tail end
The end of a film roll. Film must be rewound before projection if it is tails out.

takeup reel
The reel onto which the already projected film is wound up in a projector.

tape splice
Film splice made with special splicing tape applied to both sides of the film.

Time base corrector. A highly specialized device with the primary function of making the unstable video output of a videotape recorder conform to the rigid timing of a signal generator, allowing videotape to be used as a picture source in combination with other sources driven by the signal generator.

The trade name of a three color process used to make release prints; no longer used in this country or Europe, but still being used commercially in China.

A device for scanning motion picture film images and converting them to standard videotape.

Terminology used to described a photographic image having a low density.

tight wind
Relating to film wound tightly on a core or reel to form a firm roll that can be handled and shipped safely without danger of cinch marks or other damage to the film.

time base corrector (tbc)
An electronic device with memory and clocking circuits used to correct video signal instability during the playback of videotape material.

time code
An absolute time reference (clock) recorded on the videotape, which allows every frame of picture and audio to be individually identified. Time code information is primarily used for editing purposes. (2)A digitally encoded signal that is recorded on videotape to identify each frame of video by hour, minute, second and frame number. SMPTE time code is applied to NTSC system, and EBU time code to PAL and SECAM systems. There are two kinds of recorded signal: longitudinal time code (LTC) and vertical interval time code (VITC). See also LTC and VITC.

time code lock
To synchronize the built-in time code generator of video equipment such as a VTR to an external time code.

Laboratory process that involves balancing the color of a film to achieve consistency from scene to scene. Also includes adjusting exposure settings in duplication.

Graphic information appearing at the beginning of a program, generally including the title, author, producer, writer, director, and major personalities.

Bottom portion of the characteristic curve, where slope increases gradually with constant changes in exposure.

tracking control
The control used to maintain alignment of the video head with the tracks of video information on a tape.

Manual printer controls used for overall color correction. Also, unused portions of shots taken for a film; usually kept until the production is complete.

The demodulator section of a radio, television set, or videotape recorder.

tungsten light
Light produced by an electrically heated filament, having a continuous spectral distribution.

An effect that is produced in new prints by loose winding of the film, emulsion side in, under dry air conditions. If the film is wound emulsion side out under the same conditions, the undulation do not alternate from one edge to the other but are directly opposite one another. See 'Edgeweave'.



The standard format for 3/4 inch videocassette recorders. This format has a maximum record/play time of one hour and two discrete audio channels.

Ultra High Frequency. Radio frequencies from 300 to 3,000 megahertz.

ultrasonic cleaner
Device that transfers ultrasonic sound waves to a cleaning liquid or solvent that dislodges some embedded dirt.

ultraviolet radiation
Radiation at the short wavelength end of the spectrum, not visible to the eye. It produces florescence in some materials.

A condition in which too little light reaches the film, producing a thin negative or a dark reversal or print.

Reducing the height and width of the picture on a video monitor so that the edges, and thus portions of the blanking, can be observed.

universal leader
A film projection leader, designed according to ANSI for the projection rate of 24fps (1 1/2 feet per second), and recommended for use on all release prints.

user bits
Portions of the scan lines in the vertical interval, above the active picture area, reserved for recording information of the user's choosing such as keykode numbers, time code, etc. (2)A total of 32 bits are provided in time code which you can use to record such information as date, scene number, or reel number on videotape.



A special type of oscilloscope designed to display the saturation and hue of chroma signals in a polar pattern. This device is essential in the evaluation of color signals when aligning color picture sources or matching and timing color sources in a television system.

vertical interval
Indicates the vertical blanking period between each video field. Contains scan lines above the active picture areas into which non-picture information user bits can be recorded.

vertical sync
The synchronizing pulses used to define the end of one television field and the start of the next occurring at a rate of approximately 59.94Hz (color), and 60Hz (black & white).

Very high frequency. Radio frequencies from 30 to 300 megahertz.

A half inch videocassette format using the “M” wrap tape path. Not compatible with the BETA format.

video gain
Amount of amplification for video signals, expressed in decibels (dB).

A container holding both the feed and take-up reels which is inserted into a videotape recorder and threaded automatically.

A video monitor attached directly to a video camera.

The partial masking, or blocking or peripheral light rays either by intent, or by accident. In theatrical projection, the blockage of peripheral light rays in a projection lens due to a lens barrel that is too long, or to a lamphouse optical system that is not correctly matched to the limiting aperture of the projection lens.

visual density
Spectral Sensitivity of the receptor which approximates that of the human eye.

Vertical Interval Time Code. A time code recorded on videotape in two horizontal lines during each vertical blanking period of a video signal. Unlike LTC, VITC is recorded in the same tracks as the video information, so they can be read even while the tape is not moving. See also Time code and LTC.

The standard unit for measuring the difference of potential between two points in an electronic circuit.

Videotape recorder.



Unit of electrical power equal to one volt across a resistance of one ohm, or one volt at a current of one ampere.

waveform monitor
A specialized oscilloscope designed to display the video waveform with great stability and high resolution. Essential in determining and setting correct levels for the luminance (monochrome) and sync portions of the composite video signal and useful in evaluating critical timing relationships.

Periodic sideways movement of the image as a result of mechanical faults in camera, printer or projector.

wet-gate printer
Printer in which the film passes through fluid-filled pads just before exposure. Released fluid temporarily fills certain type of film scratches with a solution that has the same refractive index as the film base, thereby eliminating scratch refraction.

white balance adjustment
In the light of a particular color temperature, to adjust the white levels of the R, G, and B channels of a color video camera so that any white object shot in that light is reproduced as a truly white image.See also Color temperature.

white shading
When shooting a white object, the upper and lower portions of the screen may appear magenta or green while the central portion appears white, depending on the performance of the camera lens. This is called white shading.

General term for a film presentation in which the picture shown has as aspect ration greater than 1.33:1.

Picture or sound shot without synchronous relationship to the other.

wind screen
A thin soft foam cover for microphones which reduces the noise made by wind striking the microphone.

Designation of the relationship of perforation and emulsion position for film as it leaves a spool of core.

window dub
A "burned-in window", usually on a videotape showing time code, keykode or audio time code numbers. Other windows can be added.

Optical transition effect in which one image is replaced by another at a boundary edge moving in a selected pattern across the frame. (2)The transition between television picture sources in which each picture source is displayed on only a portion of the screen, that portion being determined by an electronically generated pattern which can be sized and positioned using a special effects generator.

Any picture or soundtrack print, usually a positive, intended for use in the editing process to establish through a series of trail cuttings the finished version of a film. The purpose is to preserve the original intact until the cutting points have been established.



Or Cannon A three-pin audio connector used with balanced lines in microphone and line level audio applications.



zebra pattern
In a video camera, striped patterns which appear in the viewfinder screen to indicate areas of the image where the video level is higher than a certain value.

zero-frame reference mark
Dot which identifies the frame directly below as the zero frame specified by both the human readable key number and the machine readable bar code.

To gradually change the field of view of a camera lens from wide to narrow angle (zoom in) or narrow to wide angle (zoom out).

zoom lens
A lens with a variable focal length.

zoom ratio
The ratio of the longest focal length to the shortest focal length of a zoom lens.


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