Often it seems like people in the world of professional video speak a totally different language that relies heavily on slang for technical and creative concepts. Guilty as charged! As media professionals we do in fact have a unique vocabulary to what we do. A basic understanding of video terms helps business owners be informed consumers when contracting video services and be informed collaborators on a custom video project.
Non-linear editing (NLE): In digital video editing, this is a non-destructive form of editing that allows you to edit any frame in a digital video clip regardless of sequence in the clip. You can cut-and-paste any frame in any order. Common NLE software includes iMovie, FinalCut Pro, and Adobe Premiere.
Overscan: The outer edges of a video image that are typically cut off by TV sets in order to ensure that the image fills the entire display. Typically content for TV has a “safe area” around it – see below.
Pan, Panoramic: Refers to the horizontal scan, movement, rotation or turning of the camera in one direction (to the right or left) around a fixed axis while filming.
Producer: Person responsible for all logistical matters of a production, and is there to support the vision of the Director, preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. Involved with scheduling, budgeting, acquires or develops a story, finalizes the script, hires key personnel, and arranges for distribution of the film or video. Generally manages the production from start to finish. The title Producer has many forms (Executive Producer, Line Producer, Film Producer) and many have different responsibilities depending on the project.
Pixels: The individual picture elements, or “dots” of color, that are arranged in a two-dimensional array to define a digital image or video frame. It is the smallest controllable element of a picture represented on the screen. LCD (liquid crystal display) pixels are manufactured in a two-dimensional grid, and are often represented using dots or squares.
QuickTime: Apple program that is most commonly used to play movies. Uses the .MOV file extension.
Royalty free music: Any number of music tracks that are stock or ‘library music’ licensed for a single fee, without the need to pay any subsequent royalties.
Rough cut: A quick assembly of raw clips to approximate the desired final program. As a first step in editing, arranging a collection of clips in the desired order as a storyboard of the production.
Safe area: Also known as the safe zone. Margins left around the edge of the image. Used when working with material intended for display on television. Safe margins keep titles from bleeding off the screen. See “overscan” above.
Storyboard: A sequential series of illustrations, stills, rough sketches and/or captions (sometimes resembling a comic or cartoon strip) of events, as seen through the camera lens, that outline the various shots or provide a synopsis for a proposed film story with its action and characters. The storyboards are displayed in sequence for the purpose of visually mapping out and crafting the various shot divisions and camera movements in a video.
Soundtrack: The sound that accompanies a video. Can be composed of dialogue, sound effect and music.
Shot list: A list of all the shots that will be required to create your final video. The shot list is generally created after the script is developed.