A

    ABBY SINGER

    The second-to-last shot of the day. Named after production manager Abby Singer, who would frequently call “last shot of the day.” Also called the martini shot.

    ABOVE THE LINE

    Part of a film’s budget reserved for major players in the production such as the director, producer, writer, main actors, etc. So called because these names used to appear above an actual line on old budget formats, separating them from the other filmmakers on the project.

    AERIAL SHOT

    Filming a shot from above through use of plane or helicopter. Should be used only when necessary due to the costs involved.

    ALAN SMITHEE FILM

    Directors who want to disassociate themselves with a film will use the pseudonym “Alan Smithee” (alternatively Alan Smithee Jr., Allan Smithee, or Allen Smithee).

    ANCILLARY RIGHTS

    The agreement that dictates what percentage of merchandise profits is allocated to individuals. This may include books, action figures, posters, etc.

    ANGLE

    Also known as Camera angle. The viewpoint from which the subject of the shot is depicted

    ANGLE ON

    Directing the camera to move and focus onto a specific subject.

    APERTURE

    A measure of the width of the opening allowing light to enter a camera.

    ARC SHOT

    Filming the subject through a moving, encircling camera.

    ART DIRECTOR

    The person responsible for the look and feel of the film’s set; responsible for set construction, design and props (number, type and placement).

    ART-HOUSE FILM

    Non-mainstream films that are still thought to hold artistic value. These films are often low-budget, foreign, and/or independent. Since these films do not have mass-appeal, they usually do not play in mainstream theatres. However, they can be found playing in niche art-house theatres.

    ASIDE

    When a film character breaks the imaginary “fourth wall” and speaks directly to the film viewers.

    ASPECT RATIO

    ASPECT RATIO A measure of the relative sizes of the horizontal and vertical components of an image.

    ASSEMBLY

    Arranging all the shots in accordance with the order of the script. This is the first step of editing.

    AVAILABLE LIGHT

    At an off-set location, this is the light that is naturally available. Shots are more realistic when natural light is used rather than artificial light.

    AXIS OF ACTION

    Also called the “180° line “is an imaginary line that passes through the two main actors of a scene, defining the spatial relations of all the elements of the scene as being to the right or left.

B

    B-MOVIE

    A low-budget, second-tier movie, often the second movie in a double-feature billing. B-films were cheaper for studios because they did not involve the most highly paid actors or costly sets.

    BACKGROUND ARTIST

    Also known as a matte artist; the person responsible for designing a visual backdrop to fill in the background of a film scene. Historically created using traditional paints, backdrops today are mostly created digitally.

    BACKLIGHTING

    Lighting for a shot emitting from behind the subject, causing the subject to appear as a silhouette or in semi-darkness.

    BACKLOT

    A large, undeveloped area on studio property used for constructing large open-air sets.

    BALANCE

    How elements such as light, sound, and movement work together within a film’s visual frame.

    BARN DOORS

    Metal folding doors on all four sides of a lighting fixture. These can be moved on their hinges in order direct light for the shot.

    BARNEY

    A sound-minimizing blanket placed over a camera to reduce the noise emitting from its moving mechanisms.

    BELOW-THE-LINE EXPENSES

    All physical production costs not included in the above-the-line expenses, including material costs, music rights, publicity, trailer, etc.

    BEST BOY

    Also called the Assistant Chief Lighting usually of the gaffer or key grip. In charge of the people and equipment, scheduling the required quantities for each day’s work. The term originates from promoting the crew’s ‘best boy’ to supervising.

    BIRD'S EYE VIEW

    A shot in which the camera photographs a scene from directly overhead.

    BLIMP

    A housing for the camera intended to prevent sound equipment from picking up any extra sounds emitting from the camera.

    BLOCKING

    Deciding where actors will move and stand so that lighting and camera placement can be set.

    BLUE SCREEN

    Also known as green screen. This is a blue or green backdrop that actors are filmed in front of. Later the blank screen can be filled with digitally generated images to complete the background.

    BOOM MICROPHONE

    A long pole with a microphone on the end. Controlled by the “Boom Operator.”

    BORDER

    Flown scenic piece designed to conceal the upper part of the stage and its machinery or equipment

    BOUNCE BOARD

    A large white card made of foam or poster board used to reflect soft light.

    BOX SET

    Setting which encloses the acting area on three sides. Conventionally in imitation of a room in which the fourth wall has been removed

    BRACE

    Portable support for Flats

    BRACKETING

    Shooting the same scene with several different F-stops.

    BRIDGE

    Walkway above the stage used to reach stage equipment

C

    CALL (1)

    Warning given at intervals to technicians and actors that they are needed on stage.

D

    DEEP FOCUS

    A technique of photography which permits all distance planes to remain clearly in focus, from close-up range to infinity.

E

    EDITING

    The joining of one shot (strip of film) with another. The shots can picture events and objects in different places at different times. Editing is also called montage.

F

    FISH-EYE LENS

    An extreme wide angle lens, which distorts the image so radically that the edges seem wrapped into a sphere.

G

    GAFFER

    Chief lighting technician who is responsible for designing and creating lighting plan.

H

I

    IMPEDANCE

    A term for the electrical resistance found in a/c circuits, thus affecting the ability of a cable to transmit sound as electrical pulses, Measured in ohms

J

    K

      KEY LIGHT

      The primary light source illuminating the subject.

    L

      LONG LENS

      A lens which acts as a telescope, magnifying the size of objects at a great distance. A significant side effect is tendency to flatten perspective.

      LONG SHOT

      Includes an amount of picture within the frame which roughly corresponds to the audience's view of the area within the proscenium arch of the legitimate theater.

    M

      MASTER SHOT

      A single uninterrupted shot, usually taken from a long or full shot range, which contains an entire scene. Later, the closer shots are photographed, and an edited sequence, composed of a variety of different shots, is subsequently constructed on the editor's bench.

    N

      O

        OBLIQUE ANGLE

        A shot, which is photographed by a tilted camera. When the image is projected on the screen, the subject itself seems to be tilted on its side.

      P

        POINT-OF-VIEW SHOT

        Any shot which is taken from the vantage point of a character in the film. Also known as the first person camera.

      R

        RACK FOCUSING

        The blurring of focal planes in sequence, forcing the viewer's eye to "travel" with those areas of an image that remain in sharp focus.

      S

        SELECTIVE FOCUSING

        The blurring of focal planes in sequence, forcing the viewer's eye to "travel" with those areas of an image that remain in sharp focus.

        SHORT LENS

        A lens which permits the camera to photograph a wider area than a normal lens. A significant side effect is its tendency to exaggerate perspective. Also used for deep-focus photography.

      T

        TELEPHOTO LENS

        A lens which acts as a telescope, magnifying the size of objects at a great distance. A significant side effect is tendency to flatten perspective.

      U

        UNDERCRANKING

        The process of slowing the frame rate of a camera down, so that when the captured pictures are played at the normal frame rate the action appears to be in fast motion.

      V

        VERTIGO EFFECT

        Also known as “contra zoom.” A camera technique created by Alfred Hitchcock during his film Vertigo that involves tracking backwards while simultaneously zooming in, making the person or object in the center of the image seem stationary while their surroundings change.

      W

        WIDE ANGLE LENS

        A lens which permits the camera to photograph a wider area than a normal lens. A significant side effect is its tendency to exaggerate perspective. Also used for deep-focus photography.

      X

        Y

          Z

            ZOOM LENS

            A lens of variable focal length which permits the cameraman to change from wide angle to telephoto shots (and vice versa) in one continuous movement.