180-degree rule (or crossing the line): Keeping camera angles on one side of an imaginary line running through the set. Crossing the line can cause confusing discontinuity.

4:4:2 (and 4:4:4): Chroma sampling rates. 4:4:4 means that the color and luminance components of the picture are sampled at the same rate, as is performed in cinematic post-production. With 4:2:2, the two chroma components are sampled at half the rate of the luminance component; this reduces bandwidth by one-third with little or no visible difference.

4K: High-definition formats that can process screen resolutions up to 4,096 pixels. Ultra-high definition (UHD) 4K is 3,840 wide, while DCI 4K is 4,096. It has four times as many pixels as current 1080p HDTV.

8K: High-definition format capable of resolutions up to 7,680 pixels wide. Called Super Hi-Vision in Japan, it has 16 times as many pixels as current 1080p HDTV.


Adaptive bit rate streaming: Encoding a single video at multiple bit rates. The process detects the bandwidth and CPU capacity of the viewer’s computer in real time and adjusts the bit rate accordingly.

After Effects: An Adobe software application for motion graphics and compositing.

AFTRA: American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Alpha compositing: The process of combining an image with a background to create the appearance of partial transparency. An alpha channel is used extensively when combining computer rendered image elements with live footage.

Analog: Standard audio/video recording. When copied, signal loss results. Digital eliminates the signal loss.

Archival copy: A copy recorded on a high-quality disc that is designed to preserve the recording. It is a good idea to make a second copy and store it at a different location.

Aspect ratio: The ratio of length to height of a picture. Standard definition video is 4:3, while most high-definition video is 16:9.

AVCHD: Advanced video coding high definition. A format for recording and playback of HD video onto removable flash media and hard drives. It uses the MPEG-4, H.264 video compression codec.

AVI: Audio video interleaved. An audio/video film format used during digital video editing, frequently displayed as “.avi.”


Betacam SP: Broadcast-quality, analog video standard. This format is popular with television stations, but it is slowly being phased out. Betamax is an old home video format. Betacam XS is a digital broadcast Betacam format.

Blue screen: A chroma-keying technique where the subject is shot in front of a blue background, with that background replaced during post-production.

Blu-ray: A high-definition disc format similar in size and operation to a DVD but capable of holding eight times as much data. Sony and Panasonic support Blu-ray, while Microsoft and Toshiba support HD DVD.

BNC connector: A broadcast-standard video connector used with a coaxial cable. A single BNC connector is used for analog video. Multiple BNC connectors carry serial digital interface (SDI) video.

Bokeh: A background so out of focus that it appears to be soft and cloudlike. Very narrow depth of field draws attention to the main subject. It is obtained when using a digital still camera for video or when using a neutral density filter.

Broadcast quality: Video and audio quality standards developed by the National Association of Broadcasters. Frequently used to describe a broadcast camera.

Broadcast-quality camera: A high-resolution video camera with three chips for each of the primary colors of light: red, blue, and green. Furthermore, a broadcast-quality camera allows for internal adjustments to achieve the best possible contrast and color rendition.

B-roll: During a video production, in addition to video shot with actors or participants speaking on camera, the camera operator shoots other shots of interiors and exteriors to help to illustrate the story.


Camcorder: A combination video camera and recorder. Camcorders may record on videotape, DVD, hard drive, or flash card.

CD-DA: Compact disc digital audio. The standard digital music CD format that is playable on all CD players.

CDN: Content delivery network. A service that distributes online videos as live streaming or video on demand.

Chapter: A segment on a DVD that is used during navigation. Authored DVDs have their glossaries created at specific points to divide the video for easy navigation and interactivity.

Character generator: Software that is part of video editing used to create titles. The titles may be over video or by themselves.

Chip: A small circuit board for processing data. Camcorders have one or three optical chips.

Chroma-key: A compositing technique where the subject is shot in front of a green or blue background. In post-production, the background is replaced with a different image.

Chroma subsampling: Applying more compression to the chrominance portion of the signal than to the luminance. Humans process luminance with more precision than chrominance. There is no perceptible loss by compressing chrominance at a higher level than the luminance portion of the signal.

Chrominance: The color level or color saturation.

Closed-captioning: A transcript of the words that are spoken on a film or video, usually displayed as text at the bottom of the screen.

Cloud computing: Internet-based shared computing. Video and other IT resources may be shared. Cloud computing customers do not own the infrastructure but rather pay for it on a per-use basis, similar to paying for traditional utility services, such as electricity.

Coaster: A sarcastic name for a disc that will not play, suggesting it could be used as a coaster for drinks.

Coax (or coaxial) cable: A video cable that consists of an inner conductor, an insulating layer, and a conducting shield usually of braided metal. Coax cables are thicker than shielded audio cables because of the higher frequencies of video. RG59 is a common size for a coax cable.

Co-browsing: Navigation of internet pages by two or more users. Some co-browsing tools offer synchronized playback of video with start, pause, and stop functionality.

Codec: An encoder–decoder used in digital video and audio. Files are encoded for such applications as internet video and then decoded when displayed from a website.

Component video: Separating primary colors and picture information of a video signal into three cables, usually colored red, green, and blue. This allows for a sharper display of video.

Composite video: Combining video signal and color into a single cable, usually the yellow RCA-type connector on a monitor, camcorder, or DVD player.

Compositing: Combining several images together, sometimes using layering, to create a single scene. Chroma-key and green screen are examples of compositing.

Composition: Composing shots to conform to aesthetic principles such as the rule of thirds, using leading lines, and avoiding distracting backgrounds.

Compression: A method of squeezing data into a smaller size for storing on a computer or a disc, and for sending via the internet.

CTA: Call to action, such as “Subscribe to our YouTube channel” or “Buy now.”

Cutaway: A reaction shot or a shot that is away from the main action. Cutaway shots are sometimes used to cover up a jump cut.

Cut-in: A close-up shot that shows detail of the subject. In multicamera filming or during editing of single-camera footage, the director will ask for a cut-in to show the detail.


Data DVD/CD: Unlike a video DVD or an audio CD that plays on a standard machine, a data DVD or CD is designed to store AV files in a computer format. Data discs such as these are used for further editing or for internet uploading.

DGA: Directors Guild of America.

Digital compositing: The process of digitally assembling multiple images to make a final image. Adobe After Effects, Apple Shake, and Autodesk Smoke are digital compositing applications.

Digital file conversion: Transferring one type of audio/video file to another for the purpose of uploading it to the internet or making a CD or DVD.

Digital recording: Audio and video are converted to bits of data. This results in no signal loss when digital copies are made. DVDs are digital, while VHS tape is analog.

Digital video editing: Using a computer to perform video editing. As with sentences and paragraphs in word processing, scenes can be rearranged in the order required.

Display: Another word for monitor, whether it is a computer monitor or a video monitor.

Dissolve: A smooth blend from one image to another. As the first image fades away, the second overlaps and fades in.

DivX: A trade name for a digital video compression format based on the MPEG-4 standard that compresses video into a small file.

Dolly: A wheeled cart to hold the camera and allow for smooth movements. Sometimes refers to the movement itself.

Downloadable video: Video that may be downloaded from a website and stored on the user’s computer. Downloadable video takes longer to start playing than streaming video, but streaming video cannot be stored.

DSLR: Digital single-lens reflex camera, some of which record HD video.

Duplication: Making copies of DVDs, CDs, or videotapes. The process usually includes verification to confirm that the signals were properly recorded on the discs or tapes. Frequently, labels and boxes are included with duplication.

DVCAM: A popular digital videotape format. It is used in broadcast-quality camcorders and in digital video editing.

DVD: Digital versatile disc. Can be used to store video and other kinds of data.

DVD authoring: The process of creating a custom DVD by dividing a video into glossaries. Chapters are listed in a menu and allow for easy navigation and interactivity.

DVD video: A DVD disc that has standard video and audio recorded on it. Will play in a standard DVD player or on a computer.

DVI: A connector for HD video display on a monitor. Similar to and compatible with HDMI, but carries no audio.


Edit decision list (EDL) A list of time code numbers of the start and stop times of scenes. An EDL greatly shortens billable editing time. The list may be written by hand or generated by a computer. The video editor enters these numbers into the computer during the editing process.

Editing: Combining video shots together in an organized method. Includes addition of voice-over narration, music, titles, graphics, and special effects. See also Post-production.

Editor: The professional technician who performs video editing, post-production, photo montages, and digital file conversion.

Embedding: A technique using tools, such as HTML5, to enable viewing video and other rich media content on a web page. The HTML video element incorporates a few lines of code, called a “tag.”

Enterprise: A term for a large corporation or anything relating to corporate structure.

Enterprise WAN: Enterprise wide area network. The network links corporate offices from different locations.


File-based editing: Instead of videotape, editing is done using file-based media such as a hard drive, optical disc, or solid-state storage.

FireWire (or IEEE 1359): A digital cable and connector that carries audio, video, and other information between computers, camcorders, and other digital devices.

Fishpole: A boom for holding a shotgun microphone. The boom may be extended and is usually held by a sound technician.

Flash: A computer program from Adobe that allows photos, graphics, and video to be displayed on home and office computers. The file extension is .swf.

Flickr: A website that provides both private and public image storage. A user uploading an image can set privacy controls that determine who can view the image. A photo can be flagged as either public or private.

Flypack: Rack-mounted video production equipment encased in a shipping case that is approved for airline shipping.

Frame-accurate: A term to describe the highest precision in video editing. A frame is 1/30 of a second, and it is the smallest measurement of time in a video or audio recording.

French flag: A shade that mounts above the lens to help to keep light out of the lens. It looks like a single barn door.


GOP: Group of pictures. A group of successive pictures within a coded video stream. Each coded video stream consists of successive GOPs. From the pictures contained within it, the visible frames are generated. The GOP is composed of: I-frames, which are the least compressible but don’t require other video frames to decode; P-frames, which use data from previous frames to decompress and are more compressible than I-frames; and B-frames, which can use both previous and forward frames for data reference to get the highest amount of data compression.

Green screen: A chroma-keying technique where the subject is shot in front of a green background, with that background replaced during post-production.


H.264 encoding: MPEG-4 AVC (advanced video coding) compression designed to record at lower bit rates than MPEG-2.

H.265 encoding: See “High Efficiency Video Coding.”

Haul videos: User-generated videos showing several items the consumer has purchased from a single company.

HDD: Hard disc drive. The hard drive in a computer or a device used as an external hard drive for a computer or video camera.

HDMI: High-definition media interface. The HD connector on a monitor or recording device that carries audio and video. It supports uncompressed video and up to eight channels of audio.

HDTV: High-definition television. Sharper than standard definition, it displays up to 1,050 lines of resolution.

HDV: A type of high-definition video often found in camcorders.

High definition: Video with resolutions greater than standard definition. High definition usually starts at 720 lines; 1080p refers to 1,080 lines with progressive scanning.

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC or H.265): The 4K and 8K successor to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. It is designed to support resolutions up to 8,192×4,320. HEVC is designed to provide double the data compression ratio of H.264/MPEG-4 AVC with no loss of video quality. In addition to higher resolution, the HEVC standard allows for more color depth and a faster frame rate.

HTML5: A tag of Hypertext Markup Language that adds support for embedding video in an HTML page. An alternative to Adobe Flash.

Hue: The tint of color.


IATSE: International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, sometimes referred to as the IA.

IFB: Interruptible feedback (or foldback). Intercom used for remote broadcasting. Usually includes earpieces that the host and guest wear to hear both each other and the director.

IMAG: Image magnification. Frequently used at conferences and conventions. A camera video output is connected to a data projector to project a live image onto a projection screen.

Instructional DVD: Unlike a training video, an instructional DVD is marketed to the general public or to a special interest group. Instructional DVDs include how-to videos.

Interframe: Compression using interframe prediction. This kind of prediction tries to take advantage of the redundancy between neighboring frames to achieve high compression rates with minimal loss.

Interlaced scanning: To economize bandwidth for CRT monitors, lines of video are recorded as separate fields of odd lines followed by scans of the even lines. Sometimes still frames in interlace scanning produce a flicker. Progressive scanning produces sharper images but requires greater bandwidth.

Intraframe: A compression system used for videoconferencing and some video editing platforms. It is part of the GOP, along with interframes. Compression is done only to the individual frame and not to the adjoining frames.

Intranet: An organization’s internal website, but may be a more extensive part of the organization’s IT infrastructure.

I/O: Input/output. Refers to connectors and cables going between a computer and AV devices. In computing, I/O also refers to the communication between an information processing system and the user.

IPTV: Internet Protocol television.

ISDN: Integrated Services Digital Network. A set of communications standards for simultaneous digital transmission of voice, video, data, and other network services over the traditional circuits of the public switched telephone network.

IT: Informational technology. The department in an organization that manages computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware.


JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group. The most popular compression technique for still photos.

Jump cut: An error that may occur during editing where the subject appears to jump from one shot to the next. This is common when the recording was stopped or paused and then resumed.


LCD: Liquid crystal display. This is popular for flat-screen displays.

Lossless data compression: A compression technique that allows the original data to be reconstructed when uncompressed. This is in contrast to lossy data compression, where only an approximation of the original data is available.

Lossy data compression: Compression used to minimize bit rate for editing and processing. Video can sometimes be compressed 100:1 without noticeable quality loss. Audio can be compressed 10:1 before noticing loss.

LTO: Linear Tape Open. A magnetic tape storage system that uses open standards and that is popular for backups in larger computer systems. Each tape cartridge can store up to 1.5 TB of uncompressed data.


Meerkat: Live streaming app that enables mobile device users to send a live video to their followers on Twitter. Similar to Twitter’s Periscope.

Menu: The opening screen of an authored DVD that shows the glossaries. Frequently the glossaries are shown as thumbnails.

Metadata: Information hidden within an audio or video file, such as camera settings, date recorded, and other data.

Mini-DV: A popular digital video format used in consumer and prosumer camcorders.

Motion effects: During editing and post-production, still images can be made to move or look as if the camera is zooming, panning, or tilting.

.mov: The file format used by QuickTime for compressing audio and video for computer and internet displays.

MP3: The most popular method of compressing audio for recording on a solid-state player, a disc, or the internet.

MPEG: Moving Picture Experts Group. Standards for compressing video for recording on discs, hard drives, and the internet.

MPEG-1: The standard for video CD and audio MP3 compression.

MPEG-2: The standard for DVD compression. MPEG-2 is not as efficient as newer standards such as H.264 and H.265/HEVC.

MPEG-4 (or AVC): A digital video compression format that is frequently used for compressing video for solid-state devices such as mobile phones and iPods.


NAS: Network attached storage. A system of multiple hard drives, such as a RAID, that may be accessed by all terminals on a network.

Noddies: Shots where the host nods in reaction to what the guest has said. These may be shot after the guest has left.

Noise: Tiny dots that sometimes appear in low-quality video, or the hiss that is sometimes heard in low-quality audio.

NTSC: National Television Standards Commission. The video system used in the United States and Japan.


On-disc printing: Rather than using paper labels, discs with an inkjet-printable surface allow label art to be printed directly onto the disc.

OTS: Over the shoulder. The camera is placed behind the interviewer and is focused on the interviewee. Sometimes the interviewer’s shoulder and the side of his or her head are visible in the frame.

OTT: Over the top. The delivery of video programming via the internet as an alternative to cable or broadcast television.


PAL: Phase alternating line. The video system used in Europe and other countries. PAL videotapes and discs need to be converted to NTSC for viewing in the United States and Japan.

Pan: When the camera operator moves the camera left to right or right to left during filming. Generally a good pan goes in a single direction and is done slowly and smoothly. This effect may be applied to a still image during post-production.

PA system: Public address system of microphones, amplifiers, and speakers, usually installed in an auditorium or meeting room. Portable PA systems may be brought into a room.

Pay per view: Streaming or downloadable videos that require payment to view.

Periscope: Similar to Meerkat, this app lets people stream live videos to their followers on Twitter.

Photomontage: A video DVD of photos combined with music. This is usually produced at a video editing workstation by a professional video editor. Images frequently have dissolves for smooth transitions, and movements such as zooms, pans, and tilts may be applied.

Podcast: Streaming video or audio that is regularly scheduled like a radio or television broadcast.

Progressive scanning: A method for displaying, storing, or transmitting moving images in which all of the lines of each frame are drawn in sequence. This is in contrast to the interlacing used in traditional television systems, where first the odd lines and then the even lines of each frame (each image now called a field) are drawn alternately.

Prompter: The generic term for the popular brand TelePrompTer. Prompters display the script for the talent to read. The text is displayed on a clear glass panel that may be placed in front of the camera lens.

ProRes 422: An intraframe-only codec that is part of Apple Final Cut Studio. Designed for lossy compression of HD, it is designed to be simpler to decode than distribution-oriented formats such as H.264. It is comparable to Avid’s DN×HD codec, which has the same purpose and uses similar bit rates.

Prosumer: A cross between “consumer” and “professional” equipment. Frequently used to distinguish a three-chip camcorder from a consumer (single-chip) camcorder.

Proxy editing: Creating a low bit rate copy of your HD source footage that uses less computer resources. After editing at that low resolution, the editor switches to HD and renders the finished video in full quality.

Pull focus: Changing focus to sharpen objects at different distances from the camera to draw the viewer’s attention.


QuickTime: An Apple computer program that allows audio/video to be displayed on home and office computers. The file extension is .mov.


RAID: Redundant array of independent discs. A hard drive system comprised of two or more drives that have the same data. If one drive fails, the other takes over.

RealPlayer: A Real Networks computer program that allows audio/video to be displayed on home and office computers. The file extension is .rv, .rm, or .rmvb.

RED One: Brand name of a camera that can record at resolutions up to 4,096×2,304 pixels directly to flash or hard disc storage. It features a single Super 35-sized CMOS sensor and a cinematography industry-standard PL lens mount.

Resolution: The capacity of a recording system to show distinct thin lines of a picture. Higher resolution results in the viewer being able to see a greater number of distinct lines in a given area.

RGB: Red, green, and blue. An additive color model that cameras use for individual image capture chips and displays use for processing color. Dividing the color spectrum into RGB enables each primary color to be separately processed.

Rule of thirds: Mentally dividing the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically to position key elements on those axes.


SaaS: Software as a service over the internet. Rather than purchasing the software, the user is licensed to use the software through a subscription or based on usage, similar to a traditional utility service, such as electricity.

Safe title area: On a video monitor, the center 80 percent of the picture within which text should be limited. Some playback monitors cut off the edges of the text, so a safe title area is used when creating text during post-production.

Safety training video: A video or DVD that shows exact procedures for security or safety training. Rather than reading a manual, employees learn from the video, which is the next-best thing to a live class.

SAG: Screen Actors Guild.

Sales motivation video: A training video used to teach selling techniques and to stimulate viewers to improve their sales.

SAN: Storage area network. A system to attach external storage devices to servers so the devices appear as attached locally to the operating system.

Scalability: The ability of a system to add a growing amount of data or work. The scalability of a video storage system relates to uncompressed high-definition and ultra-high-definition file sizes.

Screensharing: Allowing someone else on a different computer or different network to see your screen, for collaboration.

SDI: Serial digital interface. A broadcast video interface that consists of BNC connectors that send video divided into its components. HD-SDI is a high-definition version of the interface that provides a nominal data rate of 1.485 Gbit/s. Dual-link HD-SDI consists of a pair of SDI connectors that provide a nominal data rate of 2.970 Gbit/s. 3G-SDI consists of a single 2.970 Gbit/s serial link.

SEG: Screen Extras Guild.

SEO: Search engine optimization. The optimization of a website so search engines find it quickly.

Standard definition: Standard video that is currently used on DVDs and VHS tapes. It is limited to approximately 480 lines of resolution. High definition goes up to 1,080 lines.

Streaming video: Video that may be viewed from a website but not stored on the user’s computer. Streaming videos usually start playing faster than downloadable videos.

Stream thinning: A bandwidth conservation technique whereby some of the information is removed, such as image frames. This reduces the quality of the stream to avoid disconnecting it entirely.


Tape to DVD/CD/HDD/flash drive transfers: Tape is dead, or tapes may wear out soon. Hard drives, flash drives, and discs are designed for archival storage and are easier to search through than tapes.

TBC: Time base corrector. Used during copying or transferring from videotape to correct distortions caused by tape. Also used for color and brightness correction.

Telecine: The process of converting motion picture film to video.

TelePresence: A high-end videoconferencing system that simulates a live conference. Large monitors and loudspeakers positioned near the images of the individuals who are speaking create the illusion of a live conference.

Thumbnail: A small photo or frame of video that identifies the contents.

Tie-in: Connecting to an existing sound system, such as one found in an auditorium or meeting room. A tie-in allows the videographer to get high-quality sound from the microphones in that room.

Tilt: When the camera moves up or down during filming. This effect may be applied to a still image during post-production.

Time code: A method of identifying shots on a tape, disc, or hard drive. The recording is measured in hours, minutes, seconds, and frames, based on a time code signal embedded in the recording.

Titles: Text on the video screen; created by a software or hardware character generator.

Training video: A video, DVD, or online video used to train employees on the procedures and policies of the organization.

Triax (or triaxial) cable: Similar to coax, but with the addition of an extra layer of insulation and a second conducting sheath. It provides greater bandwidth and rejects interference better than coax.

Tweet: A post on Twitter with no more than 140 characters. Retweeting refers to forwarding a tweet to others.


Ultra High Definition (UHD): A 4K video format that has approximately four times as many pixels as current 1080p HDTV. UHD 4K is 3,840 pixels wide, while DCI 4K is 4,096.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV): Also known as “drones” or radio-controlled (RC) aircraft, UAVs can be fitted with a small camera and operated remotely. The FAA enforces restrictions on their commercial use.


VCR: Videocassette recorder. An older type of home video recording device.

Vectorscope: A hardware monitor or software plug-in that enables the technical director to ensure that the colors coming from cameras are accurate.

VHS: Video home system. A format of videotape and VCR that was popular with consumers in the 1980s and 1990s but is now becoming obsolete.

Videoconference: Two-way audio and video is displayed at two or more locations for several people to speak to one another from different sites.

Video editing workstation: An ensemble of digital video editing computers, monitors, post-production VCRs, DVD recorders, and other equipment used for video post-production and production of photomontages.

Video on demand (VOD): Streaming videos that users view from a website whenever they want, as opposed to a webcast, where the video streams only at certain times.

Video production: The process of planning, recording, editing, and other procedures to produce a finished video or DVD.

Viral video: Online videos that users send to one another via email with a link to the video. Sometimes written comments accompany the video.

Vlog: Video blog. A blog posting that includes embedded video or a link to a video.


WAN: Wide area network. Corporations use WANs to relay data among staff, customers, and vendors from various geographical locations.

Waveform monitor: A hardware device or software plug-in that allows the camera technician to adjust the brightness and contrast accurately with either lighting or the camera’s own internal white and black levels.

Webcast: A video that may be viewed online at a scheduled time.

WGA: Writers Guild of America.

Widget: Small applications that allow users to turn personal content into dynamic web apps that can be shared on just about any website.

Window dub: A copy of a master video, usually on DVD, where the time code numbers are displayed in a window on the monitor.

Windows Media Player: A Microsoft computer program that allows audio/video to be displayed on home and office computers. The file extension is .wmv.

Wireless microphone: A microphone that does not need a cord between transmitter and receiver. Usually it consists of a clip-on mic attached to a small belt pack transmitter. The receiver portion of the system is at the camera.


Xsan: An enterprise shared disc file system that encourages collaborative post-production. It allows several computers to read and write to the same storage volume at the same time.


YCbCr: A way of encoding RGB color. Y is the luminance (or the black-and-white) element of the signal. Cb is the “color difference,” which is represented as the color blue minus the luminance (B–Y). Cr is the color red minus the luminance (R–Y). In analog video it is referred to as “YUV.”

YouTube video: A film, usually under ten minutes in length, that can be uploaded and displayed on the YouTube website at no charge.


Zero day vulnerability: In cyber-security, a vulnerability that could adversely affect hardware or software. “Zero” refers to the number of days of warning to prepare for or avoid the problem.

Zoom: When the camera lens enlarges the image so the viewer sees a closer view. Also used in post-production to give the effect of zooming in on a still image.