Film and Electronic Media Terms
24 bit color Computer display where each pixel can have 256 levels of red, green, and blue resulting in 16+ million colors (256x256x256).
3/4-Umatic Videotape format that uses 3/4-inch cassette tape.
3-D modeling Graphics software based on drawing a wireframe outline of an object which can be rendered into a fully-formed, three-dimensional object. The appearance of the object can be rotated in space, artificially lit in various ways rendered with a variety of surface characteristics.
3-to-1 rule Rule designed to eliminate phase cancellation that stipulates that a mic used by a speaker should be at least 1/3rd the distance of the next nearest mic.
8 bit color Color display limited to 256 colors.
8mm film, 8mm video. Video for film format that is 8mm wide.
A and B rolls Refers to use of two videotapes in recording a single-camera segment. During editing the audio and/or video from the B roll (generally consisting of cutaways and insert shots) is inserted over the primary A-roll footage.
A/B switch Mechanical switch that can select one of two signals to route to a specific destination.
above-the-line Costs for creative and performing personnel (producer, writer, director, musicians, actors, etc.).
aberration Any optical or electronic distortion of an image.
AC adapter Converts power from standard AC electrical outlet to low voltage direct current for use with battery operated audio or video equipment.
AC Alternating Current. Standard 120-volt, 60-Hz (cycle) household electricity. Also called line voltage.
ATSC Advanced Television Systems. Committee formed to establish technical standards HDTV and other U.S. ditigal television systems.
acceleration editing Condensing or expanding time through editing. In a dramatic production several hours of activity can be condensed into a few short scenes. Conversely, some directors will "drag out" an event beyond its actual time in order to heighten dramatic impact.
access In the context of newsgathering, the legal right a news reporter to go onto private property to obtain information or videotape footage.
access channel Cable TV channel reserved for local community programming.
access time Delay between time information or action is requested from equipment and the desired response.
acoustics Characteristics added to basic sound resulting from reflective interactions within a room or studio.
acquisition format Typically, footage shot on S-VHS or Hi8 intended to be transferred to a higher quality format in order to retain quality during subsequent editing and copying.
action cutting Using editing to cut from one shot and camera angle to another during an action scene, giving the impression that multiple cameras are being used. During single-camera production action is repeated for a single camera positioned at different angles and distances and footage is cut together in editing giving the impression that there is uninterrupted action covered from a variety of camera angles.
action still A still-frame captured during a production by an electronic still-store device. Sometimes used at the end of a production to key credits over.
active lines The total number of visible scanning lines in a video frame, or the total number of lines, minus the lines devoted to vertical blanking.
actual malice Broadcasting or publishing something with is either known to be false or with reckless disregard for its truth or accuracy.
actuality Tape or film of a non-studio event done as it is happening.
acutance The measure of sharpness of a clearly defined object in a scene as reproduced by a lens.
AD Associate or assistant director. Individual who performs numerous functions assigned by director, including scheduling, supervising crews, conducting rehearsals, etc.
adaptation A film or video script written from a book, play, or story.
adapter shell A holder for the VHS-C cassettes which allows their cassettes to fit into a standard VHS and 8mm players.
ADC Analog-to-Digital Converter. Circuit designed to convert analog video or audio to a digital signal.
additive color Process used in color television in which colored light is combined in various proportions to create a full spectrum of colors. See additive primaries.
additive primaries Red, green and blue. Colors added together in different combinations to create white and all other colors. address code SMPTE/EBU time code. Digitized eight-digit coded information recorded on a videotape which identifies each video field or frame.
address track An approach to recording SMPTE/EBU time code within the basic video signal.
addressable Cable or satellite decoder with a unique identity that can be used to deliver unscramble programming intended for a particular TV/subscriber.
adjacent channel interference When two images from different analog TV stations simultaneously appear on a TV screen. Normally, the station you're viewing is overpowered by another station one channel number higher or lower than the one you are viewing.
ADSL Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, a high-speed data connection using standard telephone lines.
advanced television Television that will have higher resolution than standard NTSC system.
affiliate A broadcast station with a contract with one or more networks to carry their programming.
AFM Audio Frequency Modulation, a technique used in VHS, SVHS, 8mm and Hi 8 VCRs to record high quality sound within the video information.
AFM; American Federation of Musicians Musicians' union.
AFT; automatic fine tuning An electronic circuit in a receiver that "locks onto" a station and (within limits) doesn't allow it to drift off frequency.
AFTRA; American Federation of Television and Radio Artists The union to which broadcast artists belong.
AGC; automatic gain control Circuit that automatically maintains a pre-set audio or video level. Although convenient, the use of AGC circuits does not achieve the best results in some situations.
agents People who find work for actors, writers, and others engaged in creative aspects of the media.
air check A recording of an on-air segment done by or for a particular announcer to evaluate diction, voice quality and general effectiveness.
air date Day on which specific program is to be broadcast.
air monitor TV set that shows what is being transmitted or recorded, or, in audio, the speaker that allows an operator to hear being transmitted or recorded.
air quality Program material that meets technical (generally FCC) standards for quality.
ALC Automatic Level Control Same as AGC.
aliasing Distortions occurring in the analog-to-digital conversion resulting from the creation of false signal components during the sampling process. Can be eliminated with filters.
alignment tape An audio or videotape containing picture and sound reference signals. Used for aligning a tape machine.
alpha channel A signal generated from an image in video graphics (often a CG) that is used to cut out an area in a background image into which information (often text) will be inserted.
alpha wrap Tape configuration around the video and audio heads associated with helical scan videotape machines.
alphanumeric : Referring to both numbers and letters.
ambient light Base light. Existing or created light that partially fills in shadows.
ambient sound Prevailing background sound at a specific location.
amortization Dividing the cost of an expensive item over a specific number of years, generally for income tax write off purposes.
amp / ampere A measure of electrical current volume. Fuses are rated in terms of the maximum amps they are designed to carry.
amplifier Circuit that increases the amplitude or level of an electronic signal.
amplitude The strength of a video or audio signal.
analog As opposed to a digital signal, a signal that varies smoothly between certain ranges. An analog signal bears an exact, continuous relationship to the original information.
analog to digital conversion (ADC) The process of converting an analog signal to digital data.
analog editor Linear editor. An editing approach that requires you to make edits in a set progression like adding links on a chain, as opposed to non-linear, digital editing which is based on digitized information that can be accessed in a random order.
anamorphic A lens used for wide-screen processses that has different magnifications in the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the image
angle of acceptance Vertical and horizontal angle of view of a lens.
angle of view See angle of acceptance.
angle on Script direction indicating another camera angle is to be taken of previous shot.
animation Process of taking series of still frames of slightly different drawings or objects which, when presented at normal speed, give the illusion of motion. Typically, two or three frames of the drawing or object are exposed before changes are made and the next frames are exposed.
animation stand Adjustable structure that holds and controls camera and drawings (or objects) for creating animation.
ANNCR Script abbreviation for announcer.
announce booth A small, soundproofed room or enclosure with a microphone where voice recordings or on-air announcements are made.
answer print The first film print combining picture and sound submitted by the laboratory for the customers' approval.
anthology A collection of short segments or stories assembled into a single production.
antenna Device which either receives or radiates an radio frequency signal.
anti-aliasing Smoothing jagged effect around curved and diagonal lines in electronic graphics through the use of filters.
aperture (aperture setting) F-stop. Lens opening based on a ratio between focal length and the diameter of the lens opening that determines how much light will pass through the lens.
approximate color consistency The human ability to visually correct for changes in color temperature. For example, a white piece of paper will appear white under both daylight and incandescent light even though the actual color will vary more than 2,000oK.
arc light Intense light produced by electricity passing between (arcing across) two electrodes.
arc The movement of a camera on its dolly along a curved path.
archive Long-term, off-line electronic storage, generally on some form of disc or magnetic tape.
art director Person in charge of designing and developing production elements that relate to graphics and sets.
artifacts Any type of visible or aural defect resulting from aberrations in the television processes.
artist permission Authorization from a recording artist to use their copyrighted works in a production.
ASA Film speed. Denotes the level film sensitivity, defined by the American National Standards Institution. For example, ASA 400 film is twice the speed of ASA 200 film. ASA has largely replaced by ISO index, which is roughly the same thing.
ASCAP; American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers A trade guild that protects the publication and performance rights of composers, authors and publishers.
ASCII; American Standard Code for Information Interchange Refers to a computer code that provides compatibility between computers and programs (pronounced "ask-key").
aspect ratio The numerical ratio of picture width to height. The standard broadcast aspect ratio is 4X3.
assemble editing In contrast to insert editing, an editing process whereby a new video or audio sequence is consecutively added to a previously edited scene, complete with the associated control track.
assignment editor The individual in a broadcast news room who has the responsibility of assigning news and ENG stories to specific reporters.
assistant cameraman Person who aids the camera operator or director of photography by doing such things as setting up the camera, loading tape, and shifting focus as needed during taping.
assistant director See associate director below.
associate director An individual who assists the director during a production with such things as keeping track of time, seeing that camera shots and tape and film inserts are ready when needed, etc.
associate producer An individual delegated certain producing responsibilities by the producer or executive producer.
asymmetrical balance Composition arrangement in which a significant object placed close to the center of the picture is balanced by a smaller object some distance from the center.
asynchronous sound Sound that is part of and is appropriate to scene but not necessarily synchronized with visible action. It is commonly added in postproduction to add atmosphere and feeling. The sound of waves at a beach, birds in a forest, or crickets in a night scene are examples.
ATF Automatic Track Finding. An electromechanical process that eliminates the need for a manual tracking adjustment on a VCR. Also referred to as AST, or automatic scan tracking.
atmosphere Aspects added to scene to enhance mood or feeling. Rain, lightening, or asynchronous sounds commonly add a dimension of realism to a scene.
atmosphere introduction Beginning a video segment with a scene or series of scenes intended to establish the conditions, habitat, environment, spirit, or climate of the central subject matter.
attenuate To decrease the level or loudness of a signal.
audio board; audio console A basic desktop control center used to switch, mix and control audio levels for a variety of audio sources.
audio booth An area--often a separate room--in a production facility where audio signals are controlled and mixed.
audio channel A single audio circuit, generally consisting of an amplifier and one of more audio controls.
audio compressor Audio-processing circuit that reduces dynamic range by simultaneously raising low audio levels and lowering high levels so that a higher average level is achieved.
audio console An electronic mixing and switching device that controls audio sources during a production.
audio control booth Small room where all audio is controlled and mixed.
audio dub Making a copy of an audio tape. In television, the recording of sound only, without disturbing the picture.
audio expander An electrical circuit which increases the dynamic range of an audio signal.
audio-follow-video A switch that silmultaneously switches both video and audio.
audio limiter An electronic device intended to restrict the maximum amplitude of a signal.
audio mix Audio track created through combining multiple sound sources.
audio mixer A device that allows the simultaneous combining and blending of several sound inputs into one or two outputs.
audio monitor An audio amplifier and speaker system used to check and listen to audio during a production.
audio slate Voice track information recorded at the start of a tape identifying the production. This might include the series title and episode number, the director, the production date and the planned air date. Generally a video slate is also included with essentially the same information.
audio speaker A electro-mechanical device for reproducing audio which changes electrical energy into sound.
audio sweetening A postproduction process designed to correct problems in audio as well as to enhance and supplement audio tracks.
audio technician A person who is in charge of some phase of audio. Generally, a person who operates an audio board.
audio track The portion of the audio videotape that records sound.
audio-follow-video A switcher that automatically switches audio with its corresponding video.
audition channel An audio monitor circuit enabling a technician to listen to, preview, and cue audio sources before sending them through the audio console.
autofocus Electronic system in some cameras that attempts with varying degrees of success to automatically focus subject matter.
auto iris System that automatically adjusts a lens aperture to compensate for the brightness of a scene. (See automatic exposure control.)
auto key tracking Chroma key tracking. Ability of a video effects system to retain the appropriate size of a keyed-in image when the camera supplying the background video is zoomed in or out.
auto-assemble Automatic editing of videotape to conform to previously-generated edit-decision list (EDL).
auto-focus lens Any one of several electro-mechanical methods of automatically focusing a camera lens.
auto key A type of key effect in which one video source is used to establish the external shape of the key.
automatic exposure control System that responds to varying light conditions by adjusting a camera's iris in an effort to automatically attain optimum overall exposure.
automatic gain control Circuit for audio or video that automatically increases or decreases (as needed) the strength of the incoming sound or picture to maintain optimum signal strength.
automatic iris control Electronic device that automatically alters the lens diaphragm in response to the level of light.
automatic transition A feature on many switchers that automatically executes dissolves, wipes, and other transitions without the use of the fader levers.
aux / auxiliary An output or input channel on mixers that allows a signal to be sent to, received from, or manipulated by an external device.
auxiliary send Audio feed that goes to earphone worn by a performer in the studio so that he or she can hear the program signal.
available light The naturally-existing light which illuminates a scene.
avant garde A new, experimental, or strikingly different production approach.
axis of action ("the line") An imaginary line on one side of subjects. If one camera is on one side of the line and another is on the other side, cutting from one camera to another will make objects appear to reverse direction.
azimuth Refers to the left-right or east-west adjustment in tracking satellites.
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