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.
Take–a single continuously-recorded performance, shot or version of a scene with a particular camera setup; often, multiple takes are made of the same shot during filming, before the director approves the shot; in box-office terms, take also refers to the money a film’s release has made
Talking Head — A clip that shows just the head and shoulders of a person who is talking. This tight focus is often used in interview situations where the background is not as important as the talking subject. It is also convenient in a movie destined for the Web because the small amount of movement in a talking-head shot compresses well for the Internet.
Teleprompter –A magical piece of equipment that lets a person look directly at the camera lens (and thus at the video’s viewers) while they read a script. The advantage of a teleprompter is that it lets you script what you’ll say. If you have several short videos to make, a teleprompter is essential. There are no “ums”, no “ahs”, no losing your thought because you’re nervous. Teleprompters make for very smooth video, especially if the person using it has had a chance to practice so he or she doesn’t appear to be reading.
TV Spot— broadcast time slot set aside to be filled by either a commercial advertisement or a public service message
Transcode— To convert from one compression format to another (that is, from DV video from a camcorder to MPEG-2 for DVD). Preferably done intelligently to minimize loss of quality from repeated compression, and not requiring fully decompressing the input and then recompressing to the output.
Underscore— Music that provides emotional or atmospheric background to the primary dialog or narration onscreen.
Wide Angle— a lens that uses a grouping of glass to enable a shorter focal length than the physical body of the lens would normally permit. In doing so, the wide angle lens can capture more of a subject from an equal distance when compared to a normal lens of the same size.
White Balance is the process of capturing the correct colors for the type of available light. Think of it as making sure the color white is always white, and doesn’t have blue or red tints. Many cameras come with a white balance menu, as well as an auto white balance feature.
- Zebra Stripes-– These are the vibrating diagonal stripes that are superimposed on the overexposed parts of the image on a view finder or LCD screen to help filmmakers judge exposure.
- Zoom— An optical effect in which the image rapidly grows larger or smaller as though the camera is moving closer or away from its subject. Optical zoom relies on the camera’s lens to bring the subject closer in the recorded video. Digital zoom does not use the lens, but rather enlarges a portion of the image digitally. While digital zoom can be more powerful than most optical zoom features, digital zoom may cause grainy images.