Video 101: A Glossary

Video 101

7 Mins Read

Video 101: A Glossary

Looking to create a video for your brand but don’t exactly know how to describe it? Maybe you want a specific look and feel for your event coverage video, but can’t describe how you want it shot?

Fret not, we put together this list of video terms so that you can tell us precisely what you need!
Beginning with pre-production all the way to video editing in post, we’ve got you covered!

Pre-production

Narrative
Refers to any particular story a video seeks to capture and convey to the audience, usually featuring a brand, company, or individual

Script
A script is a formatted written work that includes dialogue to be spoken during on camera, with directions for intonation and effect.

Shot List
Shot list is a full log of all the shots you want to include in your film; essentially it is a checklist filled with minute details that will give your film a sense of direction and efficiency.

Slate
A slate is a rectangular board and clapstick that produces a sharp ‘clap’ sound. Used for capturing and organising sound during production, making the job of the editor easier when syncing picture and sound in post.

Storyboards
Storyboards are drawings that show each scene of your film, creating a blueprint for your movie. Storyboards provide a clear and concise visual plan for what you need to shoot or animate.

Production

Aspect Ratio
Refers to the relationship between the height and width of your video dimensions, expressed as a ratio. The most common aspect ratio for horizontal videos is 16:9, and 9:16 for vertical videos posted on social media platforms.

B-roll
B-roll is supplemental footage that provides supporting details. These can be close-ups of subjects or topics.

Close-up (CU)
A close-up is a shot that is composed entirely with the subject in great detail, as the main focus. E.g. a shot that shows just the person’s face.

  • Mid Close-up (MCU)
    A shot that shows the person’s face and shoulders.
  • Extreme Close-up (ECU)
    A shot that focuses entirely on a person’s eyes, mouth, hands or other small objects.
  • Mid Shot (MS)
    A shot that shows the person’s head to waist.
  • Long Shot (LS)
    A shot of a person from far away, showing their full body
  • Wide Shot (WS)
    A shot that shows the person and the environment they are in.

Gimbal/Float
When the camera is free to move in any direction, but its rotation is stabilised.

Handheld
When the camera is manipulated by hand, it can be used to achieve more casual, realistic or journalistic styles.

Macro
Macro is a lens that uses a long barrel for close focusing. They can capture extremely fine detail in tiny objects, like words on a coin, food details or the texture of fabric. 

Nodal Movements
When the camera turns or zooms without physically moving, consisting of Pans, Tilts, Rolls and Zooms. Though technically wrong, cameramen will understand when all turns are referred to as “Pans”.

  • Pan
    Pans are when the camera turns left or right.
  • Tilt
    Tilts are when the camera looks up or down.
  • Roll
    Rolls are when the camera rotates left or right like a clock.

Over-the-shoulder (OTS)
A shot that frames a particular object or subject from the perspective of other characters, usually to highlight the relationship between them.

Point-of-view (POV)
Point of view shot is a shooting technique that shows the perspective of a scene literally from a character or object’s position in the setting.

Steadicam
A steadicam can be paired with a Gimbal. It is a flying camera stabiliser (often consisting of an arm, vest, and sled) that enables cinematographers to get even smoother moving shots.

Tracking

A tracking (or dolly) shot physically advances or changes the position of the camera relative to the subject, changing the spatial relations between a subject and its surroundings. These shots are often captured using a dolly or slider. To be more specific, you can specify a move as a Dolly, Crab or Crane movement.

  • Dolly
    When the camera is moved forward or backward.
  • Crab
    When the camera is moved side to side.
  • Crane
    When the camera is raised up or lowered.

White Balance
White balance is the process of capturing the correct colours for the type of available light. Think of it as making sure the colour white is always white, and doesn’t have warm or cool tints. Many cameras come with a white balance menu, as well as an auto white balance feature.

Wide Angle
Wide angle is a lens that uses a grouping of glass to enable a shorter focal length than the physical body of the lens would normally permit. In doing so, the wide angle lens can capture more of a subject from an equal distance when compared to a normal lens of the same size.

Zoom Shot
A zoom shot makes the subject larger or smaller within the frame simply by shifting the lens elements inside to change focal lengths. This magnifies the view of the subject while the camera itself remains stationary.

Lighting Terms

Clamshell Lighting
A type of lighting where the key light is placed above the subject and the fill light is placed beneath them.

Edgelight
This is an extra light that shines on the subject from behind, it highlights the edges of their faces, clothes or hair. This is also known as a backlight or hairlight.

Eyelight
This is an extra tiny light that shines on the subject, placed near the camera. It adds a subtle glisten in the subject’s eyes.

Fill Light
This is the secondary light that shines on the darker side of the subject, usually dimmer and positioned on the other side of the key light.

Key Light
This is the primary light that shines on the subject from the front or slightly to the side.

Rembrandt Lighting
A specific angle of key lighting that casts a small shadow of a person’s nose on their face.

Three-point Lighting
Three-point lighting is a common type of lighting setup that lights a subject from three different sources in order to control shadows and balance contrast. The three lights are typically called key, fill, and back lights.

Post-production

After Effects
A type of software called a compositor. It is used in the creation of motion graphics and visual effects.

Compositing
A post-production technique which combines multiple images to achieve a new image.

Cutaways
Cutaways, also known as cut-ins or insert shots, typically show objects or props that a character is manipulating. Think of it as an intentional and abrupt shot that focuses attention on an object.

Dissolve/Cross-dissolve
Cross-dissolve is a specific type of effect that transitions between two shots or sounds, if it’s from the scene to black, it’s a fade-out/fade to black. Conversely, if it’s a black scene to image, it’s a fade-in! 

Five-by-five (5×5)
A video that consists of five 5-second clips, using original sound.

Frame
One of the many still images that make up an entire movie. Might also be used to discuss how a particular scene is set up and shot (a.k.a Framing).

J-cut/L-cut
A J-cut is a type of cut in which the sound of the next scene precedes the picture. The name comes from the shape these clips make in the timeline of an editing program. Conversely, an L-cut is a type of cut in which the picture changes but the audio continues.

Jump Cut
Jump cut is an abrupt transition, typically in a sequential clip that makes the subject appear to jump from one spot to the other, without continuity.

Keyframe Animation
A post-production technique that triggers a shift in property between keyframes.

Lower Third
A graphic overlay often placed on the bottom of the screen, often used to display texts, names or information. Graphics can also be placed on the upper third, though this is much less common. 

Match Cut
A transition between scenes in which the composition of previous and following shots are matched in subject, action, or subject matter. Similar to a jump cut but used more intentionally.

Motion Capture
Technology that allows movement to be tracked and replicated one-for-one digitally. Enables post-production effects such as replacing or copying actions onto other objects. 

Rigging
Crucial for animation, rigging identifies the pivotal elements that need to be moved around and adjusted in order for animation to appear smooth.

Rotoscoping
The process of tracing objects in After Effects, frame by frame, to allow for edits and application of other visual effects. 

Rushes
Raw, unedited footage shot in principal photography. Also called dailies.

Slow Motion
Slow motion is the action of slowing down pre-recorded footage to a different speed. Also known as over cranking.

Speed Ramping
This is when shots are smoothly sped up and slowed down dynamically during the shot, done to make dances more impactful or to subtly speed up gaps in a longer shot.

Split Screen
Split screen incorporates more than one simultaneous image in the screen. Usually it’s divided in two, but there can be many more.

Stop Motion
Stop motion is an animation technique used to make objects appear as if they were moving freely.

Time-lapse
Time-lapse is a technique where each frame in a video is captured at a much slower rate than normal. When played back at normal speed, time appears to go by faster. This can also be achieved by fast forwarding or increasing the speed of your video in an editing program.

Under Cranking
This refers to speeding up footage slightly, it’s another word for fast motion.

Captivate Your Audience Today!

There’s no better way to impress your audience than with a well-crafted video.

Reach out to us today, and we’ll create a video guaranteed to leave a positive impression!

Daryl is a Copy Editor at Superminted, fueled by a love for bringing emotionally engaging stories to life. With  carefully selected words and a smart turn of phrase, he is devoted to helping brands shape their unique voice.

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Branding Masterclass

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