Glossary of Video Terms
Arc – camera rotation around an object that maintains the same distance from it for the duration of the movement.
CCD – charge-coupled device. The light-sensing chip(s) inside a digital video camera.
Close-up – a tight shot of a person’s bust, from the top of their head to their neck, shoulders, or upper chest. Also used to show an object, so that it fills the frame in its entirety.
DAW – digital audio workstation.
Depth of Field – the portion of a shot that is in focus.
DEW – digital editing workstation.
Dolly – actual movement of the camera past or alongside an object. The camera moves forward while facing sideways, essentially.
Extreme Close-up – a very tight framing method that shows only a tiny part of the subject in great detail. On a person, usually this is the face or the eyes, and on an object this tends to be a small portion showing an element or piece of it.
Establishing Shot – a wide shot that depicts the environment in which the scene takes place. Normally used as the opening shot in a scene, it establishes the greater area around the action happening in that scene.
Flash Pan – a very quick pan, where the camera moves so quickly the area between the starting and ending points of the pan are blurred by the motion.
Focal Length – a measurement of the depth in which objects in the frame are in focus (sharp and non-blurred). A lens set to a wide angle has a greater focal length, meaning that objects both closer and farther away from the lens stay in focus. As the lens moves out and the telephoto value increases, the focal length decreases, causing an increasingly narrower band of the field to stay in focus while the rest begins to blur.
Focus – a measure of image quality wherein an on-camera object is clearly depicted without blurring.
Indie Film – technically, a film project on a budget of less than $4 million.
Medium Shot – framing a person from just above the top of the head to around their navel or midsection.
NLE – Non-linear editing or Non-linear editor.
Pan – Keeping the camera in place while turning from side to side along the horizontal axis of the frame.
Pedestal – lifting or lowering the camera’s height while keeping its viewable area level.
Rack Focus – a camera technique used with a narrow depth of field; the camera changes focus from a near object to a far one, or vice versa.
Telephoto – the distancing of a camera’s lenses from one another that takes place when the zoom level is increased.
Three Point Lighting – the standard portrait and single-subject lighting technique used to most effectively illuminate an onscreen object or person.
Tilt – the camera pivots vertically, along an imaginary line on its x axis, to “face” upwards or downwards.
Truck – physical movement of the camera toward or away from the subject.
Wide Angle – the furthest, most zoomed-out position at which a camera’s lens can be set.
Wide Shot – framing of a shot from a distance so that a larger amount of the action taking place can be seen in the frame.
Zoom – A camera function where the camera stays in place while the lens moves in or out. This changes the viewable area and alters the perceived distance of the subject. This also has the effect of changing the focal length of the lens.
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