Film, Audio and Video Terms.

In discussing Elvis' movie and recording career, we often come across terms not readily understood by the layman. For the next few weeks we will be learning just what some of those words mean.

ACADEMY AWARD: Louis B. Mayer of MGM formed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1926. His art director Cedric Gibbons designed the award - a golden figure plunging a sword into the center of a reel of film. The reel contained 5 slots for the 5 original branches: producers, directors, writers, actors, and technicians. It was originally named the “Academy Award of Merit”. By 1933 it became known as the “Oscar”. Several people lay claim to coining the nickname but it was more than likely Academy librarian Margaret Herrick who in 1931 said the statue looked like her Uncle Oscar.

ACETATE: Safety base that replaced nitrate stock in 1950's as it is much slower to burn.

ACTION: Word used to start filming of a take.

ADR: Automatic Dialog Replacement. Also known as “looping”. A process of re-recording dialog in the studio in synchronization with the picture.

ART DIRECTOR: Person who oversees the artists and craftspeople who build sets.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Assistant to the director, concerned with details of administration rather than creation.

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: This is normally the person who acts as the liaison between a production company and the various personnel involved in the post production process.

ATMOSPHERE: Extras who are staged and photographed to portray normal human traffic needed to add detail in various script situations.

AUTHENTICATOR: Studio researcher responsible for establishing accuracy of all script details.

BACK LOT: Area of a studio used to build large sets such as streets of cities.

BACK PROJECTION: A method of producing “location” sequences in the studio; the players act in front of a translucent screen on which the scenic background is projected. {A good example of this technique is in the movie “Fun In Acapulco” as Elvis and Raoul ride the bike through the city.}

BACKING TRACK: Prerecorded accompaniment for a singer or voice-over actor who then listens through headphones to a replay as he/she performs. Generally, the two signals are ultimately mixed to produce the final recording.

BAR SHEETS, LEAD SHEETS: A chart showing words of dialogue which have been recorded, and the number of motion picture frames of duration for each syllable.

BEST BOY: The assistant chief lighting technician or the assistant to the key grip. (See “Key Grip” in an upcoming newsletter when we get to the “K” listings.)

BLOCKBUSTER: A movie which is a huge financial success. In common usage a movie that has a box-office of more than $100 million.

BLOCKING: Plotting actor, camera and microphone placement and movement in a production or scene.

BURN-IN TIME CODE: A videotape in which a “window” displaying the time code count on the tape is superimposed over part of the picture.

BUS: A mixing network that combines the output of two or more channels.

CALL SHEET: A form which refers to all of the scenes to be filmed and all of the personnel and equipment required for shooting on a particular day.

CAMERA ANGLE: The view point chosen from which to photograph a subject.

CAMERA BLOCKING: The process of notating the changing position of the camera, lens size, and focus during a particular scene.

CASTING DIRECTOR: Auditions and hires actors for films.

CATERER: Provides main meals for the cast and crew.

CD (Compact Disc): A digitally encoded disc capable of containing more than one hour of music. The data is read by a laser beam.

CHANGEOVER CUE: A mark at the end of a release print reel to indicate the moment at which to switch over to the next reel on the second projector.

CINEMASCOPE: A trade name for a system of anamorphic widescreen projection.

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Chief photographer.

CLAPBOARD/SLATE: A slate recorded at the beginning of a take with details such as title, date, scene number and take number written on it. Often has a hinged stick that is “clapped” for use in synchronizing audio and video.

CLICK TRACK: A prerecorded track of electronic metronomic clicks used to ensure proper timing of music to be recorded. Essential in music scoring sessions.

CONTINUITY: A person is usually hired to keep detailed reports of each scene in order to prevent errors in following scenes.

COOKIE: A perforated material which is used to break up light or create a shadow pattern. Also known as a cucoloris.

COSTUME DESIGNER: Designs the costumes used in the film.

COWBOY SHOT: A shot framed from mid-thigh up.

CRAFT SERVICE: Responsible for maintaining a table of snacks between meals to feed the crew or extras.

CUT: A change in either camera angle or placement.

DAILIES: Also known as rushes. The first positive prints made by the laboratory from the negative photographed on the previous day. It also now refers to video which is transferred from that original negative.

DAT (Digital Audio Tape): Two-channel digital audio has become increasingly common as a professional master reference and for use in field recording.

DIALOGUE TRACK: A sound track which carries lip sync speech.

DIGITAL RECORDING: A method of recording in which samples of the original analog signal are encoded on tape or disk as binary information for storage or processing. The signal can then be copied repeatedly with no degradation.

DIRECTOR: Principal creative artist on a movie set. Communicates to the actors the way he/she would like a particular scene played.

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: A cinematographer who is ultimately responsible for the choice of film stock, camera, and lenses so to record the scene.

DISTRIBUTOR: For a fee or percentage, the company that rents the film to exhibitors on behalf of the production company.

DRESSER: A wardrobe assistant who helps the actors with their costumes.

DUB: To make a taped copy of any program source record, CD, tape. Also, the copy itself. Sometimes used to refer to the ADR process.

DUBBING: An actor's voice synchronization with lip movements which are not the originally recorded sound. This is used to replace unusable dialogue or recordings, and also used to prepare foreign films for new markets.

EMMY AWARD: The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences was formed in 1948. Louis McManus, an engineer, won a contest to design the award, which became a winged figure holding a stylized globe. Originally named the “Ike”, short for iconoscope tube, the award became the Emmy, short for image orthicon camera tube.

EMULSION: The gelatin layer of photo-sensitive material in which the image is formed on film.

ESTABLISHING SHOT: Usually a long shot at the beginning of a scene which is intended to inform the audience about a changed locale or time for the scene which follows.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Is responsible for the overall production handling the business and legal issues but not involved in the technical aspects of the film process.

EXHIBITOR: Represents the cinemas.

EXTRA: A non-speaking part usually in the background or in a crowd.

FAST: The camera assistant's motto. Everything he/she must do before each shot - focus, aperture, shutter, tach.

FOLEY: Creating sound effects by watching picture and mimicking the action, often with props that do not exactly match the action. Named after an early practitioner, the sounds are usually exaggerated and sometimes produced by odd objects and methods. A Foley artist is one who creates the sounds.

GAFFER: The chief lighting technician for a production who is in charge of the electrical department and responsible for the design and execution of the lighting plan for the production. Name comes from an early time when stagehands were often sailors or longshoremen stuck on shore. A gaff is a type of boom on sailing ships. Also a gaffer is the head of any organized group of laborers.

GRAMMY AWARD: The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences was formed in the back room of the Brown Derby restaurant in 1957 by a group of conservative record executives in an attempt to “save” American music from rock and roll. The awards were for quality rather than chart performance and did not originally have rock as a category. Marvin Schwartz, then art director for Capitol Records, designed the award as a miniature gramophone. A contest was held to name the awards. Mrs. Jay Dana of New Orleans won 25 albums for her idea of “Grammy” short for gramophone. GRIP: Person responsible for the adjustment and maintenance of production equipment on the set.

HAIRSTYLIST: Maintains the actor's hair throughout filming.

HONEYWAGON: Trailer used as a dressing room on location shooting.

KEY GRIP: The chief grip who works directly with the gaffer in creating shadow effects for set lighting and who supervises camera cranes, dollies and other platforms or supporting structures according to the requirements of the director of photography.

KISS: A light that gently brushes a subject.

LAVALIER MIC: A small microphone that can be easily hidden on a piece of clothing so as not to be seen by the camera.

LOCATION FILMING: An area not constructed for the movie. Usually outdoors or a real place. Location scouts are responsible for finding suitable locations for filming.

MAGNETIC FILM: Film which is coated with an iron oxide compound on which sound is recorded and from which sound is reproduced.

MARTINI SHOT: The last shot of the day. (Presumably followed by a martini.)

MASKING: A phenomenon whereby one or more sounds “trick” the ear into not hearing other, weaker sounds that are also present.

METHOD ACTING: A style by Stanislovsky which draws on the actor's own personal experiences. Or an actor arranges his personal life to resemble that of the character he/she is playing.

MIX: Electrically combining signals from microphones, tape, and /or reproducers and other sources.

MIX CUE SHEET: A sheet having several columns for notations of footage, fades, volume levels, and equalizations which are used in mixing sound tracks where each column represents one track.

MONTAGE: The assembly of shots and the portrayal of action or ideas through the use of many short shots.

NOIR: Usually refers to the classic black and white film noir style used in detective mysteries, typically employing hard lighting and dark, low key lighting.

OUT-TAKE: A take of a scene which is not used for printing or for the final assembly of a film.

PAL (Phase Alternating Line): The European color television standard that specifies a 25Hz frame rate and 625 lines per frame.

PAY OR PLAY: A contract provision which commits the production company to compensate a cast or crew member for a project whether or not that project ever goes into production.

PICK-UP SHOT: Reshooting a portion of a scene, the rest of which was acceptably filmed in a previous take.

POST-PRODUCTION: The period in a project's development that takes place after the picture is delivered, or “after production”. This term might also be applied to video/film editing or refer to audio post-production.

PRINCIPLE PHOTOGRAPHY: The main photography of a film and time period during which it takes place.

PROP: Anything used or touched by the actors on a set.

PROPERTY MASTER: Person responsible for buying, acquiring or making props.

RELEASE: The general distribution of a film for public exhibition.

RE-RECORDING: The process of mixing all edited music, effects and dialog tracks of a film or video production to mono, stereo, multi-channel or whatever audio format is desired for the final print master.

ROUGH CUT: A preliminary trial stage in the process of editing a film. Shots are laid out in approximate relationship to an end product without detailed attention to the individual cutting points.

RUN OF THE PICTURE: A cast member whose work may be required any of the days scheduled for principal photography without incurring liability for additional compensation.

SCORE: The original music composition for a motion picture or television production which is generally recorded after the picture has been edited.

SECOND UNIT: A small film crew used to shoot less important parts of the script, usually crowds or scenery.

SET: An area constructed for filming replicating a room or location.

SET DRESSING: Items of decoration which are not designated in the script or by the director as part of specific action.

SET UP: Each discrete position of the camera, excluding those in which a dolly or crane is used to move the camera during filming.

SOUND DESIGNER: A film sound specialist responsible for the development and augmentation of all soundtrack material, or a significant portion thereof, and is ultimately in charge of the entire sound production. Occasionally, it is used to refer to a person who is responsible for creating unique sound elements which are incorporated into a sound track.

SOUND EFFECT: A recorded or electronically produced sound that matches the visual action taking place on screen.

SOUND MIXER: The person responsible for capturing sound as it plays out live, determining microphone types and placement.

SOUNDSTAGE: An indoor set where sound, lighting, temperature and security can be controlled.

SOUNDTRACK: Generically refers to the music contained in a film, though it literally means the entire audio portion of a film, video or television production, including effects and dialog.

SPEAKING ROLE: A speaking role is one in which the character speaks scripted dialogue. A non-speaking role is a character specifically mentioned in the script but doesn't have any lines of dialogue.

STAND-IN: A person about the same size as the actor used during the setup of a scene.

STUNT DOUBLE: Replaces AN actor for dangerous circumstances in a scene that requires skills and training to accomplish without injury.

SURROUND SOUND: Sound that is reproduced through speakers above or behind the audience.

SWEETEN / SWEETENING: Enhancing the sound of a recording or a particular sound effect with equalization or some other signal processing device.

TAKE: Continuous recorded performance of a scene.

TIME CODE: Also known as Longitudinal Time Code. A high frequency signal that allows the accurate “locking” of film audio and video equipment.

TRAILER: A short publicity film which advertises a film or forthcoming presentations.

VOICE-OVER: Narration or non-synchronous dialog taking place over the action on screen.

WRAP: The span of tape path along which the tape and head are in contact. More often this refers to securing equipment at the end of the day or when work is completed at a particular set or location. (Elvis and his manager Col. Parker often gave “wrap” parties for the cast and crew at the end of the shooting of a movie.) And that's a wrap on our three-part series on entertainment industry terminology.

wiki/filmterms.txt · Last modified: 2018/07/11 14:29 (external edit)
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