Terms and Definitions

Below there will be a complete list of terms and definitions you’ll need to know for this course.



Scripting & Storyboard – The pre-production phase of a project is where all the planning takes place before the camera rolls. Whether its measured in minutes, hours or days, this planning phase sets the overall vision of the project. Pre-production also includes working out the shoot location and casting. You’re in pre-production mode the moment you start writing down a few points to cover in a video even if it is a short piece made for a blog. As your projects become more ambitious you can start to storyboard the project. Storyboards can really smooth out the post-production process when it’s time for editing. This will really be useful if there are multiple people working on the project.

Pre-production is the process of preparing all the elements involved in a film, play, or other performance. There are three parts in a production: pre-production, production, and post-production. Pre-production ends when the planning ends and the content starts being produced.


Production begins once the footage is recorded. This process will capture all the scenes and information captured in the pre-production process. During the production process you will work out the lighting requirements, framing and composition. Some projects will also shoot B-Roll during the production process. B-Roll is supplementary footage that is included in the finished product.


The post production process begins after all the footage has been captured.  Graphics can be added along with images, music, color correction and special effects. If you are producing your own video content there will be a bit of a learning curve at first, but it will be really rewarding.  Post-production is like putting the last coat of paint on in a room and it will be well worth the time to learn the basics. This is where your video project will really come to life.

Post-production is part of filmmaking, video production and photography process. It occurs in the making of motion pictures, television programs, radio programs, advertising, audio recordings, photography, and digital art.

Aspect Ratio:  

The ratio of the Width to the Height of an image on screen.  The frame aspect ratio is easily computed from the pixel resolution of a video. For HD video the two common pixel resolutions are 1280×720 and 1920×1080. 1440×1080 equates to a 4:3 frame aspect ratio and 1920×1080 equates to a frame aspect ratio of 16:9 screen resolution 1080p or 1080i 1280×720 defines the screen resolution of 720p.  Standard Definition or 480p equates to 640×480.  This will be discussed more when we cover letterbox vs. anamorphic.

What is the difference between 16×9 and 4×3? Anamorphic and Letterbox.

Standard NTSC video has an aspect ratio of 4:3 or 4×3.  That means for every four units of width, the picture will be three units high. 

HDTV standards call for an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 16×9, which describes a rectangle that is wider relative to it’s height than NTSC’s 4:3.

What is the definition of a log line?

log line or logline is a brief summary of a television program, film, or motion picture often providing both a synopsis of the program’s plot, and an emotional “hook” to stimulate interest.


A visual representation of a movie over time, consisting of video clips laid horizontally across the screen. This is a common interface in non-linear video editing applications.


A separate audio or video layer on a timeline.


An indexing system that provides a unique index for each frame of video, in the form hh:mm:ss:ff. This makes it easy to locate and reference a particular frame.

Terms and Tools

  1. Editing Windows.
    1. Project Window
    1. Source Window
    1. Preview Window
    1. Timeline
  • Keyboard shortcuts (Premiere)
    • Spacebar – Play/Pause
    • I – Mark an In Point
    • O – Mark an Out Point
    • C – Cut Tool (Also known as the razorblade tool)
    • V – The Selection Tool
    • P – The Pen Tool
    • N – The Roll Edit Tool
    • A – Select All Tool
    • L – Fast Forward
    • J – Rewind
    • Command Plus to enlarge the Video Track
    • Scroll over Audio Track to reveal Waveforms.
  • Action Safe Area:  A region of the screen where elements are guaranteed to be visible.
  • Title Safe Area:  A region of the screen where text is guaranteed to be visible.
  • The Action Safe Area is always larger than the Title Safe Area.
  • Voice Over:  Voice added to a video during the editing process.  In most cases, the person whose is used is meant to be an “interior voice” or thought.
  • ADR:  Automatic Dialogue Replacement.  The process of re-recording one dialogue in a studio and syncing it to the video that was previously filmed.
  • MOS:  Motor Only Shot.  A shot or scene filmed without the use of accompany of sound.
  • The Rule of Thirds:  Shooting and showing the foreground, middle ground, and background of a shot.
  • Depth of Field:  The distance from the camera lens at which objects are in focus.  This range varies based on the length of the lens or the zoom level.
  • Premiere Key Commands:
  • C – Cut
  • V – Selection Tool
  • P – Pen Tool
  • N – Roll Edit Tool
  • I – In Point
  • O – Out Point
  • A – Select All Forward
  • Spacebar – Play/Pause
  • J – Rewind
  • K – Play/Pause
  • L – Fast Forward
  • Ambient Sound:  The natural sound of a location.  Cars, Birds, etc.
  • Camera Blocking:  Plotting the placement and movement of the camera within the scene.
  • Cutaway:  A shot, usually a close up of some detail or landscape, that is used to break up a matching action sequence.
  • Intercut:  A technique where the editor cuts back and forth between two separate scenes as the play out.
  • Reaction Shot:  A shot of someone looking off screen.  A reaction shot can also be a shot of someone in a conversation where they are not given a line of dialogue but are just listening to the other person speak.
  • Room Tone:  Background sound recorded on set for the purpose of enabling the seamless modification and removal of audio in post production.
  • Lock Down Shot:  A shot taken with a pan and tilt on the tripod tightened so that the camera will not move.
  • Focus Pull:  The process of refocusing a shot to keep the object in focus or to draw the audiences attention elsewhere.
  • Boom:  A telescopic arm or pole used for mounting a camera or microphone.
  • Slow Motion:  A shot in which action takes place at a slower than normal speed.  It is achieved by speeding up the camera during recording and then playing back the frames at a slower frame rate.
  • Frame Rate:  The frequency at which frames in television, film, or video are recorded.  Frames Per Second, or FPS.  HH:MM:SS:FF
  • 24FPS – Film (23.97)
  • 30FPS – Video (29.97)
  • 60FPS – Slow Motion – (59.97)
  • 120FPS – Super Slow Motion – (119.97)
  • A Slate:  A visual identifier placed in front of the camera lens before a take to communicate important details to the post production team.
  • Rough Cut:  The first cut of the project by the editor.
  • B-Roll:  Non-critical video footage taken for purposes of adding more images and giving the editing team more choices.
  • Chroma Key:  A compositing process that allows a selected color in an image to be made transparent.  Commonly used for Green Screen Compositing.
  • Compositing:  The process of combining multiple elements shot separately (still images, movie clips, CGI) into a final image or sequence to give the impression they were all shot at the same time.
  • Keying:  A term for compositing two images together using holes created by mattes.
  • Blue/Green Screen Compositing:  The process of making all blue/green elements in an image transparent and placing different backgrounds underneath.
  • Matte:  An image mask that is used in visual effects to control which parts of the image an effect will be applied to.
  • Key Frame:  A key frame in animation or filmmaking is a drawing or a shot that defines the starting and ending points of any smooth transition.  These are called frames because their position in time is measured in frames on a strip of film or on a digital video editing timeline.
  • Alpha Channel:  A channel in an image or movie clip that controls the opacity region.
  • Noise:  Undesired data in a video or audio signal that is not intended to be present.  Also known as artifacts.
  • Pixelation:  The display of large blocky pixels in an image caused by over-enlarging it.
  • Masking:  Masks let you define a specific area in a clip that you want to blur, cover, highlight, apply effects, or color correct.  You can modify different shaped masks, like an Ellipse or a rectangle.  You can draw free-form Bezier shapes using the pen tool.
  • Contrast:  The difference between the lightest and darkest elements of an image.
  • Channel:  One of several grayscale components used to make up a color image.  RGB Images are made up of red, green, and blue channels, with optional alpha channel for transparency.  Some file formats support additional channels to contain extra information such as z-index data.
  • Hue:  The shade of a color.  This is the general color category that the color falls into.  For example pink, crimson, and plum are different colors but they fall under the hue of red.
  • RGB:  The primary colors of light that are used to make images in monitors, cameras, and digital projectors.  
  • Continuity:  The process of maintaining the consistency of the plot, characters, time period, objects, places, and events of the film in order to maintain the audience’s suspension of disbelief.
  • Standard Naming Convention:  The process in which the editor(s) comes up with a formula for naming clips and files in a project.  This process would become routine for all projects.
  • Feathering:  A technique for blurring the edges of a mask.
  • Opacity:  An inverse measure of the level of transparency in an image, which is of importance when compositing.  Opacity information is stored in the image’s Alpha Channel.
  • Color Temperature:  The hue of the color, with lower (colder) values towards the blue end of the spectrum and higher (warmer) values towards the red end of the spectrum.  Measured in Kelvin.
  • Non-Linear Editing:  An editing system in which edits can be preformed at any time, in any order.  Access is random, which means that the system can jump to specific pieces of data without having to look through the whole footage to find it.
  • Freeze Frame:  The repetition of a single frame of footage to give you the effect that the action has stopped or that the audience is looking at a still image.
  • Slow Motion:  A form of animation in which static objects are physically animated and photographed frame by frame.
  • TimeLapse:  A cinematography technique where the camera is set to capture one frame at a time with a relatively large interval between captures.  When played back at normal speed, the event appears to be occurring much faster than it would in real life.  This is useful for long-lasting events such as flowers growing or clouds moving across the sky.

  3-Point Lighting and 4-Point Lighting:

This term defines the proper technique for lighting MOST scenes in film.  

  1. You have your KEY LIGHT which is the light the focuses on the main subject of the scene.  
  2. You have your FILL LIGHT that will help remove any unwanted shadows or reflections and dark areas of the shot.  
  3. And then you have your BACK Light that will fill in the back of a subject.  Sometime you may need a 4th light for Background Specific lighting.
  4. Macintosh HD:Users:Michael:Desktop:3point_light.jpgMacintosh HD:Users:Michael:Desktop:Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 7.41.01 AM.png

Print this page