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In analog editing, two reels of source footage (the A and B roll) are used to provide material for editing. The B-roll may be part or whole copy of the A roll. The two sources are then used to create video effects and transitions. In non-linear , digital editing these terms are not generally used, since digitized clips of the original footage can be duplicated, cut, trimmed, overlapped an unlimited number of times.

Action axis
Imaginary line drawn between two subjects or along a line of motion as an aid in maintaining continuity of screen direction. Sometimes referred to as the “180-degree rule”.

A compressed audio format developed by Microsoft. PCM stands for Pulse Code Modulation.

Digital audio transmission standards developed by Audio Engineering Society and the European Broadcast Union. It specifies transmission of data in a stream that encodes stereo audio signals along with optional information.

Aliasing is any unwanted result caused by a sampling rate lower than twice the maximum frequency of the material being sampled. Because the object is not sampled enough, it cannot be reproduced properly. Lines, which are not filtered properly, and look jagged rather than smooth, are an example of aliasing.

Alpha Channel
The alpha channel is an 8-bit channel of information in certain image files such as 32 - bit. tga files, which stores opacity and transparency values as grayscale values on a scale of white (fully opaque) to black (fully transparent). The alpha channel is vital in superimposing aspects of images, compositing, creating mattes, and color keying.

Ambient sound
Natural background sounds, representative of a given recording environment. If on-camera dialog is considered primary sound, traffic noise or a refrigerator hum would be ambient sound.

Analog Signal
Storage or encoding of a signal through the use of continuously varying voltages. Electric current that fluctuates smoothly in value(voltage amplitude) over time.
See Digital Signal.

Anti-aliasing removes or avoids the effects of aliasing by filtering more effectively. Anti-aliasing smoothes rough edges and in sound removes artificial high frequency “beats”. This is particularly useful when your audio is being output to different specifications than the original source files. In audio, antialiasing is also known as over sampling.

The opening in a lens that allows light to enter. The aperture is usually an iris, but could also be a fixed size opening (as in pin hole camera). [See iris]

Perceived degradation of an image through processing.

Aspect Ratio
The ratio of height in picture. Normal TV has an aspect ratio of 4 by 3
(or 1.33 to 1), widescreen TV-HDTV and widescreen PAL – (16 by 9) is 1.77 to 1.
Theater screens generally have an aspect ratio of 1.85 to 1.

Assemble Edit
Recording video/audio in sequence immediately following previous material. Consecutive edits from a complete program. [See edit, insert edit]

Audio Dub
The result of recording over all or part of a prerecorded videotape soundtrack, without affecting the prerecorded images.

Audio Levels
Measured in the VU meter, these show peak and average sound levels. Levels need to be kept below 0dB to avoid over saturation of audio.

Audio Quality
Quality is based on sampling rate, bit depth, and the analog portions of sound card and system. 16-bit, 44.1kHz is CD level quality and the standard quality for digital audio editing.

Automatic Exposure
Circuitry that monitors light levels, and adjusts a camcorder’s aperture and  shutter accordingly to compensate for changing light conditions.

Automatic gain control. Camcorder circuitry that adjusts incoming audio levels automatically, alleviating excessive image brightness and distortion of loud sound.

A/V Drive
Hard drive that avoids thermal recalibration and thus avoids interrupting the flow of information. This is sometimes referred to as “embedded servo”. This is useful in digital video, in which large amounts of image and audio information must past through the computer in realtime. Most new hard drives satisfy this requirement.

Axis (x,y,z)
In digital video effects, horizontal (x), vertical (y) and depth (z) axes.

Back Light
Illumination from behind, above and usually to one side of the subject. Creates a sense of depth by lighting that hair and shoulders, separating the subject from the background area. Applied erroneously (such as directly behind the subject), causes severe silhouetting. [See fill light, key light, three-point lighting]

Amount of information that can be passed in a given time. Large bandwidth is needed to show sharp picture detail-and is factor in the quality of recorded or transmitted images.

Barn Doors
Accessory for video lights, two-or four-leaf folding flaps that controls light distribution.

Basic input/output system. Set of instructions in read only memory that control low level PC operations such as booting.

Binary digit. Basic unit of information in binary code. Bits are represented as 1 (on) or 0 (off). Digital video signal consists of information about light intensity and color, as represented by the numbers encoded in bits.

Black Box
Generic term for variety of video image manipulation devices with perceived mysterious or “magical” capabilities, including proc amps and enhancers.

Video image imperfection characterized by blurring of color borders; colors spill over defined boundaries and “smear” into neighboring areas.

“Black” Videotape
Formatting Videotape with timecode…

Extension arm used to suspend a microphone or camera over subject(s) being recorded. Objective is to keep production gear out of a camera’s view.

Burned-in Timcode
See Timecode

Bit Rate (Data Rate)
See Data Transfer Rate.

8 bit. The combination of 8 bits into 1 byte allows each byte to represent 256 possible values, or levels of gray between white and black. See Megabyte, Gigabyte, Terabyte.

Burned in Timecode
Timecode numbers that are superimposed on the picture, used for logging and selecting material.

Special, faster area of memory that improves performance by storing contents of frequently accessed memory locations and their locations. A cache can speed up operations in a computer with a slow RAM access compared to its processor speed.

Lighting foreground subjects illuminated by highly directional light, appearing before a completely black background.

CCD (charge coupled device)
Light-sensitive computer chip in video cameras that converts images into electrical flows. Less prone to image irregularities such as burning, lag and streaking when compared with older image sensors. [See pickup]

CCIR 601
The standard for digitizing component video. Also sometimes called D1 after the VTR format that first used this signal. See ITU-R 601.

Character Generator
Editing device that generates text.

Chroma Key
Process of overlaying one video signal over another by replacing a range of colors with the second signal. Typically, the first picture is shot with a person or object against a special, signal color background (key color) The second picture is inserted in place of the key color.

The color part of a video signal, but not its brightness or luminance. Thus black and white images have no chrominance.

Clap Board
Also called clap stick. Identification slate with hinged, striped top that smacks together for on-camera scene initiation. Clap boards were originally used to synchronize a movie’s sound with its picture. [See lip-synch]

Tightly framed camera shot in which the principal subject is viewed at close rage, appearing relatively large and dominant on screen. Variations of the close-up may be designated as “medium close-up” or “extreme close-up”. [See long shot, medium shot]

Compression decompression schemes. Used to compress video to manageable size. See compression.

4:1:1 Color
Moderately compressed video color subsampling in which the luminance channel is not subsampled, but the chrominance channel has one quarter the resolution. Most of the DV formats, including mini DV, use 4:1:1 color.

4:2:0 Color
Moderately compressed video color subsampling that is very similar to 4:1:1. Standard color for MPEG.

4:2:2 Color
Mildly compressed video color subsampling in which the luminance channel is not subsampled, but the chrominance channel has half the resolution. Commonly used in professional video formats, such as BetaCam SP.

4:4:4 Color
Uncompressed video color, which has no subsampling.

Color depth, which allows 256 colors to be displayed simultaneously. The colors that will be displayed at a given time are specified in the “Palette”. Many older computers only have 8-bit displays. Also called “256 Colors” on the MacOS.

Color depth, which allows millions of colors to be displayed simultaneously; 24-bit image can be truly photographic in quality. Also called “true color” on Windows, and “Millions of Colors” on MacOS.

Color Bars
Video pattern consisting of eight equal width colors, used to establish a proper color reference before recording and playback, and for adjustment purposes.

Color Corrector
Electronic device that dissects the colors of a video signal, allowing them to be individually manipulated.

Color Space
Color range of specified coordinates, such as RGB, Y, R-Y, B-Y and Hue, Saturation, Luminance (HSL).

Recording signal for D1 quality video enhances quality over composite recording by allowing two chrominance channels, R-Y (Red minus luminance) and B-Y (Blue minus luminance), along with signal brightness (Y). Green is represented from these three signals. D1, MII, Betacam SP, and Betacam use component.
RGB is also a component signal. See Composite.

Encoding or recording of video information through one signal, combining luminance and chrominance portions. Bandwidth is restricted, quality is not as high as component.

Visual makeup of a video picture, including such variables as balance, framing, field of view and texture. These combined qualities from an image that’s pleasing to view, and effectively communicate its meaning.

The layering of multiple pictures on top of each other to create the moving picture equivalent to a collage, and often resulting in surreal combinations. Typically used in movie and television special effects, this can be done in a variety of ways: painting, retouching, rotoscoping, keying, matting digital effects, etc. A cutout or matte holds black the background and allows the foreground picture to appear to be in the original picture.

Compression (video)
The process of reducing the size of digital information, usually by removing redundant information, “lossy compression,” or rearranges it through algorithms “lossless” compression. Uncompressed video takes up about 21 MB per second, about 1.2 GB per minute. (D1 quality can be maintained with a compression of around 21 MB per second-based on the conversion from RGB color to YUV (4:2:2) which is 4 parts luminance (brightness) per 2 chrominance (color) parts. See Codec, Data Transfer Rate RGB: 720 by 480 (NTSC: screen size in pixels by 3 (bytes per pixel) by 30 (frames per second) = 31 MB per second.
YUV: 720 by 480 (screen pixels) by 4 (bytes) by 2 (pixels) = 21 MB per second.
DV (4:1:1) = 15 MB/sec uncompressed “lossless” quality.

[1:visual] Logical succession of recorded or edited events, necessitating consistent placement of props, positioning of characters, and progression of time. [2:directional] Consistency in camera subject relationships, to avoid confusing a viewer’s perspective.

Degree of difference between dark and light in an image.

Control - L
A two-way communication system used to coordinate tape transport commands for automated editing. Primarily found in 8mm camcorders and VCRs.

Control - S
A one –way communication system that treats a VCR or camcorder as a slave unite, with edit commands emanating from an external edit controller or compatible deck. Primarily fond on 8mm VCRs and camcorders.

Control Track
An area on a videotape containing information to synchronize playback and videotape editing operations.

Cross – Fade
Simultaneous fade-in of one audio source or lighting effect as another fades out; may overlap temporarily. Transition similar to a video dissolve. [See dissolve, fade]

Cucalorus (cookie)
Lighting accessory consisting of random pattern of cutouts that forms shadows when light passes through it. A cucalorus is sed to imitate the shadows usually found with natural lighting conditions.

Signal to begin, end or otherwise influence on-camera activity while recording. Presetting specific starting points of audio or video material making it is easily available for immediate and precise playback when required.

Instantaneous change from one shot to another. Director’s command to immediately terminate on-camera action and recording.

Shot other than the principal action (but peripherally related), frequently used as transitional footage or to avoid a jump cut.

Cuts-only editing
Editing that is limited to immediate changes from one scene to another, without smoother image transitions such as fades, dissolves or wipes.

Digital video tape format using the ITU-R 601 standard to record 4:2:2 component video on 19mm tape. Currently the highest quality video tape format generally available, uses component recording signal. The first digital video tape format, hence D1.

Digital video tape format using the 4fsc method to record composite digital video. Uses 19mm tape and a cassette similar to D1, uses composite recording signal. The second digital videotape format, hence D2.

Data Transfer Rate
The amount of data transported in a given amount of time. Data rate is one means used to define the amount of compression used on a video signal.
Uncompressed D1 has a bit rate of 21 MB per second. A regular 2GB hard drive has a data transfer rate of 3-6 MB per second. MPEG 1 has a bit rate to 150K per second equal to that of a CD ROM drive speed.

Decibel (dB)
A unit for expressing the ratio between two amounts of electric or acoustic signal power, used for measuring audio signals. Equal to 20 times the common logarithm of the voltage or current ratio.

Depth of field
Area in which all objects located at different distances from the camera appears in focus. The area between the nearest in focus and the furthest object in focus, when viewed through a lens. The depth of field varies with subject-to-camera distance, focal length of the camera lens and the camera’s aperture setting.

Diffused light
Illuminates relatively large area indistinctly, which produces soft shadows. Diffused light is often created with floodlights combined with a diffuser.

Gauzy or translucent material that alters the quality of light passing through it. A diffuser produces flatter, less intense lighting with weaker, less noticeable shadows.

Digital Signal
A signal having only 2 logical values (0 or 1, off or on). See Analog Signal

 Security device that comes with software that you attach to computers printer port. Protecting software from illegal copying.

Drop Frame and Non-Drop Frame Timecode
See Timecode.

Digital Video. New mini digital tape format. DV has 500 lines horizontal resolution. 54dB signal to noise ratio.

Digital video effects. Electronic digital picture modification yielding specialty image patterns and maneuvers: tumble, strobe, page turn, mosaic, posterization, solarization, etc.

Directional light
Light that illuminates a relatively small area with distinct light beam; usually created with spotlight, yields harsh, defined shadows.


Image transition effect of one picture gradually disappearing as another appears. Similar to an audio and lighting cross-fade.

Camera support mounted on wheels to enable smooth movement in any direction.

Videotape signal voids, viewed as fleeting white specks or streaks. Usually the result of tiny “bare spots” on a tape’s magnetic particle coating caused by dirt or tape debris blocking the video information signals.

[1] Process or result of duplicating videotape in its entirety. [2] Editing technique whereby new audio or video replaces portion(s) of existing recording.

Process or result of selectively recording video and /or audio on finished videotape. Typically involves reviewing raw footage and transferring desired segments from master tape(s) onto new tape in a predetermined sequence.

Edit controller
Electronic control device used in conjunctions with VCRs/camcorders to perform videotape edits, with speed, precision and convenience.

EDL (edit decision list)
Handwritten or computer-generated compilation of all post-production edits to be executed in a video work.

Compact videocassette format, popularized by consumer camcorders.

Device that combines or translates a video signal into a different format, for example RGB to composite or NTSC to VGA.

Essential area
Boundaries within which contents of a television picture are sure to be seen, regardless of size differences in receiver displays. Also called “critical area” and “safe title area,” encompasses 80 percent of total screen.

Establishing shot
Opening picture of a program or scene. Usually a wide and/or distant perspective orients viewer to overall setting and surroundings.

Accessory talent not essential to a production, assuming some peripheral on-camera role, usually with no lines or dialogue.

Gradual diminishing or heightening of visual and/or audio intensity. “Fade out” or “fade to black,” “fade in or “up from black” are common terms.

[1:video] Infinite loop of visual patterns from signal output being fed back as input; achieved by aiming live camera at receiving monitor.[2:audio] Echo effect at low levels, howl or piercing squeal at high levels.

Field of view
Extent of a shot that’s visible through a particular lens.

Fill light
Supplementary illumination, usually from a floodlight positioned midway between camera and subject, which lightens or eliminates shadows created by key light.

Transparent material, typically glass accessory, mounted at front of camcorder lens to regulate light passing through. Manipulates colors and image patterns, often for special effect purposes.

Bright flashes and/or extreme contrast reduction evident in picture, caused by excessive light beaming into a camera’s lens and reflecting off its internal glass elements.

Flat lighting
Illumination characterized by even, diffused light without shadows, highlights or contrast. May impede viewer’s sense of depth, dimension and drama.

Radiates a diffused, scattered blanket of light with soft, indistinct shadows. Best used to spread illumination on broad areas, whereas spotlights focus on individual subjects.

Flying erase head
Accessory video head mounted on spinning head drum, incorporated in newer camcorders and VCRs to eliminate glitches and rainbow noise between scenes recorded or edited.

Focal length

Distance from a camera’s lens to a focused image with the lens focused on infinity. Short focal lengths offer a broad field of view (wide-angle); long focal lengths offer a narrow field of view (telephoto). Zoom lenses have a variable focal length.

Follow focus
Controlling lens focus so that an image maintains sharpness and clarity despite camera and/or subject movement.

The smallest increment of a complete television picture, equal to one-thir-tieth of a second.

Frame grabber
Digitizer capable of capturing video images one frame at a time. Used for capturing still frames.

Act of properly composing a shot in the camcorder’s viewfinder for desired visual content.

Number of vibrations produced by a signal or sound, usually expresses as cycles per second, or Hertz (Hz)

Frequency response
Measure of the range of frequencies a medium can respond to and reproduce. A broad video response maintains the highest picture detail; a wide audio response accommodates the broadcast range of sound.

Numbers corresponding to variable size of camera’s iris opening, and thus, the amount of light passing through lens. The higher the number, the less light enters.


Video or audio amplification, signal strength. “Riding gain” means varying controls to achieve desired video or audio levels.

Colored material placed in front of a light source to alter its hue. Useful for correcting mismatches in lighting, as in scenes lit by both daylight and artificial light.

Relationship between the quality of the information on master video recording and a given copy constitutes a second-generation duplication, and will be lower in quality than a first generation copy.

Generation loss
Degradation in picture and sound quality resulting from duplication of the original master video recording. Successive duplication compounds generational loss.

Genlock (generator locking device)
Synchronizes two video sources, allowing part or all of their signal to be displayed together. Necessary for overlaying computer graphics with video.

Blanketed signal noise viewed as fuzziness, poor quality images, attributable to luminance inadequacies.

Production crew stagehand responsible for handling equipment, props, and scenery before, during, and after production.

Hard disk
Common digital storage component in a computer.

[1] Electromagnetic component within camcorders and VCRs that records, plays back and erases video and audio signals on magnetic tape.[2] Tripod’s camera mount.

Space remaining between the top of a subject’s head and a monitor’s upper screen edge.

Hi8 (high-band 8mm)
Improved version of 8mm videotape format characterized by higher luminance resolution for a sharper picture. Compact  “conceptual equivalent” of Super-VHS.

Hi-Fi (high-fidelity)
Generalized term defining audio quality approaching the limits of human hearing; refers to high-quality sound reproduction systems.

Horizontal resolution
Specification denoting amount of discernable detail across a screen’s width. Measured in lines. The higher the number the better the picture quality.

Image enhancer
Video signal processor that compensates for picture detail losses and distortion occurring in recording and playback. Exaggerates transitions between light and dark areas by enhancing the high frequency region of video spectrum.

Image stabilization
Electronic or optical stabilization of video image to cure minor camera shaking.

In-camera editing
Assembling finished program “on the fly” as you videotape. Achieved simply by activating and pausing camcorder’s record function. Reduces or eliminates post-production work, but allows less control over finished program and usually imposes quality concessions.

Insert edits
Recording video and/audio segment(s) within /between existing footage without disturbing what precedes and follows. Must replace recording of same length.

The mechanism for an adjustable lens opening. It operates similar to and is named after the iris of the human eye. Size measured in f-stop.

ITU-R 601 (CCIR601)
ITU-R 601 (formerly CCIR601) is a standard, which defines broadcast quality video and specifies how digital television should be encoded. The standard defines encoding for both 625 and 525 line systems. It usually refers to color difference component digital video, not RGB, although it could encompass RGB. This standard sets out 4:2:2 sampling at 13.5 MHz with 720 luminance samples per active line. Digitizing ca take place in 8 or 10 bits. 13.5 MHz was selected because it works equally well for the 625 and 525 line standards.

Video image aberration seen as slight, fast vertical or horizontal shifting of a picture or portion of a picture.

Jump cut
Unnatural, abrupt switch between shots that are identical in subject but slightly different in screen location. Awkward progression makes subject appear to jump from one screen location to another. Remedied with cutaway.

In video editing, tool for viewing work to get exact frame location for editing.

Joint photographic Experts Group. A standard for compressing still image files. Uses a “lossy compression” method that results in some loss of original data.

Key light
Principal illumination source on a subject or scene normally positioned slightly off center and angled to provide shadow detail.

Small, easily concealed, unobtrusive and aesthetically pleasing microphone that is usually hidden in clothing.

Placing a wide screen image on a conventional TV by placing black bands at the top and bottom of the screen.

Linear editing
Analog, tape-based editing . Called linear because once the program is edited scene lengths can not be changed without re-editing all scenes which follow it. Compare with nonlinear editing.

Lip sync
Proper synchronization of video with audio, lip movement with audible speech.
Better known as the technique widely practiced with music video recordings, whereby “vocalists” mime to match lips to a playback of prerecorded music.

Long shot
Camera view of a subject or scene, usually from a distance, showing a broad perspective.

LP (long play)
Middle tape speed of most VHS VCR, accommodating four-hour recording.

LTC Timecode
Linear timecode is designed to be recorded on standard audiotape. When recorded to video, LTC is placed on one of the linear audio tracks of the videotape. An advantage of LTC is that it can be easily played back over a wide speed range by a stationary head. However, it cannot be replayed when the tape is stopped or moving very slowly. Another limitation is that is occupies an audio track, which might otherwise be used as part of a project’s soundtrack. LTC is the original SMPTE timecode standard; older videotapes, if they contain timecode at will, are striped with LTC. In audio only productions LTC is normally used.

The black and white, or brightness, of an image. A video signal is comprised of luminance Y, chrominance (color information) C and sync.

Metric unit of illumination. Means of measuring a camcorder’s low-light sensitivity. The lower the lux reading, the greater the sensitivity.

Lens capable of extreme close-up focusing, useful for views of small subjects. Some camcorders have a macro setting.

Original recorded videotape footage; “edited master” implies original copy of tape in its edited form. Duplications constitute generational differences.

Point inserted on the timeline ruler that indicate instance to the editor, such as significant cuts, scene changes, etc.

A matte is an image file, often created as a grayscale .bmp file, whose grayscale values are used to combine two separate images for compositing.

Medium shot
Defines any camera perspective between long shot and close-up, whereby subjects are viewed from medium distance.

(MB) One megabyte is equal to 1,024 kilobytes.

Megahertz. A unit of frequency equals to 1 million cycles per second.

MIDI (musical instrument digital interface)
System of communication between digital electronic instruments and equipment allowing synchronization and distribution of digital musical information.

[1:audio] Combining two or more sound sources, with various channels controlled to achieve desired balance of single audio signal output. Executed with audio mixer.[2:video] combining video signals from two or more sources.

Model release
Agreement to be signed by anyone appearing in a video work, protecting videomaker from right of privacy lawsuit. Specifies event, date, compensation provisions, and rights being waived.

One-legged camera support.

Rapid sequence of video shots assembled to communicate a particular image or mood. Juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated material can conjure new idea or message.

Motion JPEG
Video that is a sequence of jpeg images.

Moving Picture Experts Group. A standard for compressing moving pictures. MPEG 1 uses a data rate of 1.2 Mbps (Mega Bits per Second), the speed of CD-ROM. MPEG2 supports much higher quality with a data rate (also called bit rate) of from 2 to 10 Mbps. MPEG 2 is the format most favored for video on demand and DVD.

Ability to combine audio, video and other information with graphics, control, storage and other features of computer-based systems. Applications include presentation, editing, interactive learning, games and conferencing.

ND (neutral-density filter
Mounted at the front of camcorder lens. Reduces the light intensity without affecting its color qualities.

NiCd (nickel cadmium)
Abbreviation for lightweight camcorder battery type, designed to maintain power longer than traditional lead-acid batteries.

Undesirable video or audio signal interference; typically seen as snow.

Non-destructive Editing
In digital video editing, “clips” that appear on screen are icons. While trimming, cutting, and deleting clips from the Composition window, the original clip information is never destroyed.

Non-drop frame timecode
See timecode

Non-linear Editing
Non-linear refers to random access capabilities for searching, recording and playing back digital video sequences stored on the hard drive. Non-linear editing is more efficient due to the elimination of search time associated with accessing video clips from videotape. Allows you to reorganize clips or make changes to sections without having to redo the entire production.

NTSC (National Television Standards Committee)
Group formed by FCC to regulate U.S. television broadcasting specifications. NTSC refers to all video systems conforming to this 525-line 30-frame-per-second signal standard.

Off-line and On-line Editing
Off-line editing is the process of producing a rough-cut or EDL that will be passed on to another editing suite for final edit. On-line editing is the process of creating the final high quality edits master tape. While cost may differ between the two processes, what really distinguishes off-line and on-line editing processes is the editing intent.

Out point
The end point of trimmed clip.

Over the shoulder shot
View of primary camera’s subject framed by another subject’s shoulder and back of head in foreground. Common in interview situations.

Phase alternating Line. The television and video standard in use in most of Europe. Consists of 625 horizontal lines at a field rate of 50 fields per second. (Two fields equals one complete Frame). Only 576 of these lines are used for picture. Broadcast: 720 by 576 pixels. The rest are used for sync or extra information such as VITC and Closed Captioning. 

A wide screen (16 by 9) television standard in use in Europe that is compatible with existing 4 by 3 TV sets. Non-16 by 9 TVs show the picture in a letterboxed form. While its aspect ratio is the same as HDTV it does not offer the same level of quality as HDTV.

In audio, moving sound from one speaker to another. Pan can be set between left and right speakers.

Pulse cod modulation. Uncompressed audio format used to encode an analog signal into digital data. Takes 8-bit sample at 4kHz 80000 times per second, which provides 16K of data per second.

Vertical camera movement, up or down, with camera remaining horizontal level.

Phono plug
Also called “RCA” or “RCA phono,” popular cable connector for home audio as well as video components. Standard connection for direct audio/video inputs/outputs.

A video camera’s image sensing element, either CCD (charge coupled device) or MOS (metal oxide semiconductor) that converts light to electrical energy.

Short for Picture Element. The basic unit from which a video or computer picture is made. Essentially a dot with a given color and brightness value. D1 images are 720 pixels wide by 486 high. NTSC images are 640 by 480 pixels.

3:2 Pulldown
Conversion of film frame rate material (24fps) to NTSC video (29.97fps) which results in the addition of approximately 6 frames are created per second. Pulldown frames are created by blending frames from the original source in a specific pattern, and is very undesirable in compressed movies. Pulldown is introduced with a system called a “Telecine”, and may be removed with Media Cleaner’s “Intelecine” feature.

Playback VCR
Playback source of video footage in basic player/recorder editing setup.  

POV (point of view)
Shot perspective whereby the camera assumes the subject’s view, and thus viewer’s see what the subject sees as if through his/her/its eyes.

Polarizing filter
A filter mounted at the front of a camcorder lens; blocks undesirable glare and reflections.

Post-production (post)
Any video production activity following the initial recording. Typically involves editing, addition of background music, voiceover, sound effects, titles, and/or various electronic visual effects. Results in completed production.

 [1] Slight backing-up function of camcorders and VCRs when preparing for tape recording; ensures smooth, uninterrupted transitions between scenes at edit points. [2] Usually for on-air applications. To start tape playback earlier
than necessary to ensure full operating speed and stabilization.

Project is a video production that contains: 1) Saved versions, or work files, of your work. This includes pointers for the arrangement of items on the Composition window timeline and in the Library party plug-ins or other files associated with your project.

Q Factor
“Quantization Factor.” The Q factor measures how much video is compressed. For most capture cards, the higher the Q factor, the better the quality of the captured image. However, a higher Q factor allows for less file compression and requires more disk space to store video.

Redundant Array of Independent Disks. A group of hard drives combine with a RAID controller, which causes them to act as one storage bin. A RAID may work as a protective agent in the event one of the hard drives fails. The different RAID
levels on your system and requirements. For video, levels 0 or 5 are the most likely.

Random access memory, used for the operating system, application program, and processing data.

Raw footage
Recorded tape direct from camera.

Reaction shot
Cutaway view showing someone’s or something’s response to primary action/subject.

Real-time counter
Device that counts control-track pulses to account for videotape playing/recording time. Measured in hours, minutes, seconds and sometimes, frames.

An electronic device used to receive a broadcast RF signals, whereas a monitor accepts composite video signals only.

Recording VCR
Recipient of raw video feed (master or workprint) and recorder of edited videotape in basic player/recorder editing setup.

Reflected light
That light which bounces off an illuminated subject.

Lighting accessory helpful for spreading light as well as filling in shadows. Often made of lightweight reflective metal or poster board covered with metallic material.

The computing of an effect. Process in which the computer pulls up two frames of source material to be used in creating the effect or transition.

Result Time code
Result Time code (also called “Project” timecode) refers to a video clip’s position on the composition window timeline. The Result In and Out points indicate a clip’s start and end points on the timeline.

The amount of detail in an image. Higher resolution equals detail. Also used to describe the size of an image, usually in pixels. In video, generally referred to as horizontal resolution and evaluated by establishing number of horizontal lines clearly discernible on a test pattern.

RF (radio frequency)
[1] Any audio, video or data signal or signals that are modulated and transmitted.[2] A combination of audio and video signals coded as a channel number, necessary for TV broadcasts as well as closed-circuit distribution.

Red, Green, Blue. The primary colors of light. Computers and some analog component devices use separate red, green, and blue color channels to keep the full bandwidth and therefore the highest quality picture. RGB is a type of video signal that provides separate channels for output for paint systems and computers. An extremely high quality signal, but for recording, is transformed into component or composite signal.

Raw, tentative edit of footage in the approximate sequence, length and content of fished program. Gives preliminary indication of eventual actual work.

Serial data transmission standard used with VTRs.

Rule of thirds
Composition consideration suggesting that a picture appeals most with its primary point of interest appearing off-center. With the screen divided into thirds, vertically and horizontally, important visual elements should be targeted at wherever imaginary lines cross.

Scan converter
Device that changes scan rate of a video signal, possibly converting it from a noninterlaced mode. For example, a scan counter allows computer graphics to be displayed on a standard video screen.

Scan line
Result of television’s swift scanning process which sweeps out a series of horizontal lines from left to right, then down a bit and left to right again. Complete NTSC picture consists of 525 scan lines per frame.

Scan rate

Number of times a screen is “redrawn” per second. Computer displays operate at different scan rates than most TVs.


In the language of moving images, a sequence of related shots usually constituting action in one particular location.

Lighting accessory made of translucent material (wire mesh, gauze, silk) used to lessen or defuse the intensity of light.

Replay of video or audio tracks at various speeds or by “manually” dragging the jog/shuttle bar in Composition or Item Information windows.

Small Computer System Interface. High speed (up to 40MB per second) parallel interface that can connect up to 15 devices at a time. Often used to connect hard disks, tape drives, CD-ROM drives, and other mass storage media.


French Video Sequential Couleur Avec Memoir. 625 lines/25 frames per second.

Selective focus

Adjusting camera focus to emphasize desired subject(s) in a shot. Selected area maintains clarity and image sharpness while the remainder of the image blurs. Useful for directing viewer’s attention.

Serial Port
Computer input/output port supporting serial communications, in which information is transmitted one bit at a time. Referred to as “COM port.”

SMPTE Timecode
See Timcode

Shooting ratio
Amount of raw footage recorded relative to the amount used in an edited, finished program.

Directional microphone with long “barrel,” designed to pick up sound from extreme subject-to-mike distances.

An electronic control that governs the amount of time during which incoming light forms a single video field. A camcorder’s normal shutter speed is 1/60 second.

S/N (signal-to-noise ratio)
Relationship between signal strength and a medium’s inherent noise. Video S/N indicates how grainy or snowy a picture will be, plus color accuracy; audio S/N specifies amount of background tape hiss present with low or no-volume recordings. The higher the S/N, the cleaner the playback.

Sound effects
Contrived audio, usually prerecorded, incorporated with a video soundtrack to resemble the real thing. Blowing on a microphone, for example, might simulate wind to accompany hurricane images.

The audio portion of a video recording, often multifaceted with voiceover, background music, sound effects, etc.

Source Timecode
Since Source In and Out points for a clip relate specifically to the clip, moving the clip on the Composition window timeline, doesn’t affect them.

SP (standard play)
Fastest tape speed of most VHS VCRs, accommodating two-hour recordings.

Special Effects (SFX)
Tricks and illusions, electronic or on camera. Employed in film and video to distort reality.

Special effects generator (SEG)
Video signal processor with vast, but varying, image manipulation capabilities involving patterns and placement as well as color and texture: mixing, multiplying, shrinking, strobing, wiping, dissolving, flipping and colorizing, for example DVE switcher.

Radiates a well-defined directional beam of light, casting hard, distinct shadows. Best used to focus illumination on individual subjects, whereas floodlights blanket broader areas.

Stock shot
Previously shot footage stored so it is conveniently accessed as need.

Series of cartoon-like sketches illustrating key visual stages (shots, scenes) of a planned production, accompanied by corresponding audio information.

Non-inherent titles or graphics appearing over an existing video picture, partially or completely hiding areas they cover. A picture superimposed on another can appear transparent.

S-Video. A higher quality than the original VHS tape. Uses S-VHS connectors, which have a round plug with four pins. Composite signal in which the C (chrominance) signal has separated from Y for better color, a step up from basic composite video.

S-video separately transmits the chrominance and luminance portions of a video signal via multiple wires, thereby avoiding the NTSC encoding process, and the inevitable picture quality degradation created by encoding and decoding a signal.

A term used in electronics to describe the precise alignment of two signals or functions. Electronic pulses that synchronize the scanning of various video equipment. In video, sync is an essential element for maintaining the proper clocking of video signals.

The common name for the special effects generator (SEG).Permits video signal mixing from two or more sources such as cameras, time base correctors, character generators. Most common visual transitions are dissolves, wipes, and other clean transition effects.

Tally light

Automatic indicators on camera from and within viewfinder that signal a recording is in progress and seen by both camera subject(s) and operator.

Telecine converter
Imaging device used in conjunction with a movie projector and camcorder or camera, to transfer film images to videotape.

Camera lens with a long focal length and a narrow horizontal field of view. The opposite of wide-angle lens, a telephoto lens magnified, close-up images from considerable distance.

A mechanical device that projects and advances text on a mirror in front of camera’s lens, allowing on-camera talent to read lines while appearing to maintain eye contact with viewers.

Test pattern
Any various combinations of converging lines, alignment marks, colored bars and gray scales appearing on screen to aid in the adjustment of video equipment optimal for picture alignment, registration, and contrast. Often viewed on broadcast television in off-air hours.

One terabyte is equal to 1,024 gigabytes.

Three-point lighting
Basic lighting approach employing key, back, and fill lights to illuminate subject with a sense of depth and texture. Strategic placement imitates natural outdoor lighting environment and avoids flat lighting.

A digital code number was developed by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers as a standard to locate exact points on videotape. This is very helpful for editing video because such a standard affords the ability to specify exact IN and OUT points of video.
The format of SMPTE timecode is HH:MM:SS:FF: (hour, minutes, seconds, frames). Many video decks and cameras now keep track of this timecode and usually display on a readout on the deck itself. Also, many of today’s cameras record timecode onto the tapes themselves in an area of the tape not used for video or audio storage. Since many decks also transmit this timecode through RS-422 or RS-232 ports.
There are two types of SMPTE timecode: drop frame and non-drop frame, and two ways of storing timecode information: LTC and VITC.
Timcode, Drop Frame and Non-Drop Frame
Drop Frame timecode vaporizes 2 frames worth of video timecode every minute in order to match the 29.97 frames per second (or 59.94 fields per second) NTSC standard. When timecode was first developed it was assumed that video would run at exactly 30 frames per second. However, color television arrived at 29.97 frames per second. This meant that over an hour’s time there would about a three and half second error-about 110 frames. This resulted in a problem for broadcast television, which is sensitive. So the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) developed Drop Frame Timecode to solve the problem.

A camera move in which the camera head pivots in a vertical direction, down or up, from a stationary position. Follows movement, contrasts differences in size between two subjects, or gives viewer point-of-view sense of a subject’s height.

Time-lapse recording
Periodically recording a minimal number of frames over long durations of actual time. Upon playback, slow processes such as a flower blooming, or clouds forming may be viewed in rapid motion.


The process of incorporating onscreen text as credits, captions or any other alphanumeric communication to video viewers.


Three-legged camera mount offering stability and camera placement as well as consistency in movement. Most are lightweight, used for remote recording.

A camera view that includes two subjects, a popular style used for interview situations.

Alighting accessory shaped like an umbrella, available in various sizes. Usually made of textured gold or silver fabric. Facilitates soft, shadow less illumination by reflecting light onto a scene.

A highly selective microphone pickup pattern. Rejects sound that comes from behind the microphone while absorbing sound that comes from in front.

Variable bit rate.

VHS (video home system)
Predominant half-inch videotape format developed by Matsushita and licensed by JVC.

VHS-C (VHS compact)
Scaled-down version of VHS using miniature cassettes compatible with full-size VHS equipment through use of adapter.

Video Capture Card
Hardware that converts analog video into digital signals. New cards are capable of realtime processing of video effects. Most current cards capture in fields (30fps= 60 fields per second.) for high quality. See Field

The display, actually a tiny video monitor, on which a camcorder operator watches the image being taped.

Visual special effect whereby viewers see images through a perceived keyhole or other desired shape. In low-budget form, this can be achieved by aiming camera through a cutout of desired vignette.

Undesirable darkening at the corners of a picture, as if a viewer’s peering through a telescope. Due to improper matching of lens to camera.

VITC Timecode
Vertical Interval Timecode is recorded within the video picture, during the vertical blanking interval. It can be present in a video signal without being visible on screen. Compared to LTC; VITC offers two advantages for video editing: it can be read from a still frame; and it provides field-rate (half-frame) accuracy. VITC cannot be recorded on linear audio tracks.

Virtual Memory
Memory management allowing information in physical memory to be swapped out to a hard disk, and allowing more memory space for application programs.

Narration accompanying picture, heard above background sound or music, without the narrator being seen on camera. Typically applied to an edited visual during post-production.

Video Tape Recorder.

Whip pan (swish pan)
Extremely rapid camera movement from left to right or right to left, appearing as an image blur. When edited together, two such pans can effectively convey passage of time.

White balance
Electronic adjustment of a video camera to retain truest colors of recorded image. Activated in camcorder prior to recording; proper setting established by aiming at white object.

Camera lens with short focal length and broad horizontal field of view. Opposite of the viewer and tends to reinforce the perception of depth.

Foam microphone shield, thwarts undesirable noise from wind and rapid mike movement.

Picture transition from one scene to another wherein anew scene is reveled by a moving line or pattern. In the simplest form, simulates a window shade being drawn. More sophisticated variations, triangle wipes and Venetian blind wipes.

Wireless microphone
Consisting of radio transmitter and receiver; utilizes a low-power radio signal for cable-free operation.

Three-pin plug for a three-conductor “balanced” audio cable. Employed with high-quality microphones, mixer, and other audio equipment. XLR is also called a “cannon.”

Term used to describe the separation of video signal components used in systems such as Hi-8 and S-VHS, VHS and 8millimeter recordings. In addition
to composite and component formats of color recording, Y/C is used to record video signal.

Y, Cr, Cb
Digital Luminance and color difference signals in ITU-R601 coding. Cr is a digitized version of R-Y, Cb is a digitized version of B-Y.

A video system employing luminance and two chroma components directly related to the red and blue components.

Variance of focal length, bringing subjects into and out of close-up range. Lens capability permits change from wide-angle to telephoto, or vice-versa, in one continues move. “Zoom in” and “zoom out” are common terms.

Zoom ratio
Range of lens’ focal length, from the most “zoomed in” field of view, to the most “zoomed out.” Expressed as ratio: 6:1, for example, implies the same lens from the same distance can make same image appear six-times closer.

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