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Jargon Busting

15th May 2014

One of the ways we bring the magic of the movies to your business or work place is with the terminology we use, here’s our translation guide.


AUTOCUE – The equipment which displays the presenter’s script. It’s attached to the camera, so a presenter can read their lines while looking directly at the camera.

BEST BOY – The first assistant to the gaffer (head electrician) of a film crew. (The term is apparently borrowed from sailing terminology.)

CUTAWAY – A shot, often a close-up, that is used to break up a matching action sequence. Often vital in editing to rescue an impossible break in continuity.

DOLLY – Any apparatus upon which a camera can be mounted, which can be moved around smoothly.

EDIT SUITE - The room in which editing equipment is located and where the editing process takes place. This is also referred to as the Cutting Room.

FADE – Slow transition from one shot to black. Fade Out is where the image becomes black. Fade In or Fade Up is where the image fades up from black.

GAFFER – The most senior lighting electrician who reports to the Lighting Camera person and is in charge of the other members of the lighting dept (the Sparks).

HAND HELD – Filming without a tripod.

IRIS – A valve within the camera lens to control the amount of light that passes through. Opening the Iris permits more light through, closing the Iris permits less.

JUMP CUT – Two similar shots edited together with a jump in camera position, time or continuity.

KNEW WAVE - Exquisite film making style for business promotion!

LEGS – The slang name given to the tripod on which the camera rests.

MID-SHOT - A camera framing term, half-way between a wide-shot and a close-up. A mid-shot of a person will show them from about the waist or chest up.

NODDIES – Shots of the presenter or interviewer nodding, smiling, listening etc. These can be shot after the interview and inserted during editing.

OUT TAKES – Often fun footage that is not used in the main production.

PAN – Horizontal camera on an axis, moving from left to right or vice versa. Camera is turning on own axis, not across space as in Dolly or Tracking shot.

Q ???? – Can’t think of a Q word, any suggestions?

ROUGH CUT – the editing stage after first assembly, but prior to a First Cut for client viewing.

SLATE – Clapperboard used to record a scene number, take number, and with synch point at the beginning (or end) of a shot.

TILT – Vertical camera movement on its axis, up or down.

UHF – Ultra High Frequency radio waves.

V ???? – Can’t think of a V word either, any suggestions?

WRAP or “IT’S A WRAP” – Golden words, said when filming is finished for the day or for the entire film. Heralded from the early days of film production Wind Reel And Print.

ZOOM - A camera shot that changes smoothly from a long shot to a close up, can be done as fast movement particularly if you’re making a 1960′s Spaghetti Western!