AKA: Animated, Animator

The process of creating the illusion of motion by creating individual frames, as opposed to filming naturally-occuring action at a regular frame rate.



AKA: F/Number, F-Stop, Effect Aperture, Relative Aperture

A measure of the width of the opening allowing light to enter a camera. The apparent diameter of a lens viewed from the position of the object against a diffusely illuminated background is called the "effect aperture". The ratio of focal length of a lens to its "effective aperture" for an object located at infinity is called the "relative aperture", or "f/number". Larger apertures allow more light to enter a camera, hence darker scenes can be recorded. Conversely, smaller apertures allow less light to enter, but have the advantage of creating a large depth of field.


Aspect Ratio

AKA: Aspect, Academy Ratio

A measure of the relative sizes of the horizontal and vertical components of an image.


Automatic Dialogue Replacement

AKA: Automatic Dialog Replacement, ADR, Dialogue Looping, Dialog Looping, Looping

The re-recording of dialogue by actors in a sound studio during post-production, usually performed to playback of edited picture in order to match lip movements on screen. ADR is frequently used to replace production track of poor quality (e.g., due to high levels of background noise) or to change the delivery or inflection of a line. ADR can also be used to insert new lines of dialogue which are conceived during editing, although such lines can only be placed against picture in which the face of the actor speaking is not visible



A device for recording images.



A hand drawn sheet representing a single animation frame, usualy made of a clear material like cellulose or mylar to allow several layers of composition.



AKA: Computer Generated Imagery

The use of computer graphics to create or enhance special effects.



AKA: Cinematography, Cin

A person with expertise in the art of capturing images either electronically or on film stock through the application of visual recording devices and the selection and arrangement of lighting. The chief cinematographer for a movie is called the director of photography.



Animation of models constructed from clay or plasticine.


Color Temperature

Term that describes the color of light sources; literally, the temperature at which a blackbody emits enough radiant energy to evoke a color equivalent to that coming from a given light source. A high color temperature corresponds to bluer light, a low color temperature to yellow light. The color temperature of daylight is around 5500K.



A change in either camera angle or placement, location, or time. "Cut" is called during filming to indicate that the current take is over. See also shot, action. A "cut" of a movie is also a complete edited version.


Deepfocus Shot

A shot in which both the foreground and the background are in focus. In other words, a shot with exceptional depth of field.


Depth of Field


A measure of the range along a camera's line of site in which objects will be in focus. See also aperture, shutter speed.


Digital Editing

Editing a portion of a movie by digitizing one or more frames and altering them electronically or combining them with other digitized images, and then printing the modified frame.


Directing Animator

The animator responsible for creating the key poses or key frames of an animation.



AKA: Dir, Helmer

The principal creative artist on a movie set. A director is usually (but not always) the driving artistic source behind the filming process, and communicates to actors the way that he/she would like a particular scene played. A director's duties might also include casting, script editing, shot selection, shot composition, and editing. Typically, a director has complete artistic control over all aspects of the movie, but it is not uncommon for the director to be bound by agreements with either a producer or a studio. In some large productions, a director will delegate less important scenes to a second unit.



AKA: Visual Editing, Film Editing

Reconstructing the sequence of events in a movie.



A person who performs editing (in consultation with the director) on a movie. This term usually refers to someone who does visual editing.



AKA: Fade To Black, Fade In, Fade Out

A smooth, gradual transition from a normal image to complete blackness (fade out), or vice versa (fade in).


Fast Motion

AKA: Skip Frame

A shot in which time appears to move more quickly than normal. The process is commonly achieved by either deleting select frames (called "skip frames") or by undercranking.



An event at which films can often premiere. Festivals can be used as by studios to show their wares and sell rights to distributors, or to officially mark a movie's release so as to make it eligible for award ceremonies with hard deadlines that can't be met if they waited for a general release. Some festivals are competitive, giving awards from a jury or selected by the audiences.



The sharpness of an image, or the adjustments made on a camera necessary to achieve this.



The art of recreating incidental sound effects (such as footsteps) in synchronization with the visual component of a movie. Named after an early practitioner. Foley artists sometimes use bizarre objects and methods to achieve sound effects, e.g. snapping celery to mimic bones being broken. The sounds are often exaggerated for extra effect - fight sequences are almost always accompanied by loud foley added thuds and slaps.



An individual picture image which eventually appears on a print.


Frame Rate

AKA: Frames Per Second, FPS

Movies are created by taking a rapid sequence of pictures (frames) of action. By displaying these frames at the same rate at which they were recorded, the illusion of motion can be created. "Frame Rate" is the number of frames captured or projected per second. The human optical system is only capable of capturing pictures 18-20 times per second; hence to give a realistic illusion of motion a frame rate greater than this is required. Most modern motion pictures are filmed and displayed at 24 fps. Earlier films used lower frame rates, and hence when played back on modern equipment, fast motion occurs due to undercranking.


Freeze Frame

AKA: Freeze

An optical printing effect whereby a single frame is repeated to give the illusion that all action has stopped.



AKA: 4:3

Fullscreen is a term used to describe the shape of the picture a movie is displayed in order for it to fill a regular (as of 1998) TV screen. At the time of writing, most TVs are squarer than the newer widescreen TVs on the market. With these older sets, for every 4 inches/cm of horizontal screen size there are 3 inches/cm of vertical size, hence a 4:3 aspect ratio. Widescreen TVs have 5 and 1/3 inches/cm horizontal size for each 3 of vertical. Rather than write that as 5.333:3, we use 16:9. So fullscreen=4:3, widescreen=16:9. When a movie is played in fullscreen format for a 4:3 TV, the movie is almost always adjusted to fit. You may be familiar with the phrase "this movie has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit your TV." What that almost always means is that much of the original picture has been thrown away, i.e. the pan and scan procedure has been used to pick the most appropriate pieces of the picture to keep because the old TV screen is the wrong shape to show the whole picture. In terms of home cinema, fullscreen is inferiror to widescreen and is often considered to be an unacceptable format. The 4:3 shape TV is expected to become obsolete over the next decade as TV moves to digital and HDTV formats, which are widescreen based. DVDs often offer both fullscreen and widescreen formats, however many are already only available in widescreen and anamorphic format, so as to cater for the growing audience of home cinema enthusiasts who have already abandoned fullscreen.


Go Motion

AKA: Go-Motion

A form of animation similar to stop motion, but which incorporates motion blur. Ordinary stop motion cannot produce motion blur as motion only occurs between frames. Robotic models that are moved during the exposure of each frame produce motion blur, and thus are more realistic.



An instability introduced when images sampled at one frame rate are converted to a different frame rate for viewing. This effect is most noticeable when frames are repeated or deleted in order to obtain slow motion or fast motion.


Jump Cut

A cut involving an interruption to the continuity of time.



An optical device used by a camera to focus an image onto film stock.



AKA: Lights

Most productions use artificial lighting when filming for various technical and artistic reasons, both on location or on a set. Lighting is designed by the director of photography in consultation with the director, and is the responsibility of the electrical department.



AKA: Mike, Mic

A device which converts sound into electrical impulses, usually for recording or amplification.


Motion Artifact

AKA: Strobing, Nyquist Limit

The visual interference patterns between a shot's frame rate and a filmed object's periodic motion or change. If a shot is filmed with a frame rate R, any images of periodic events of a frequency greater than R/2 (the "Nyquist Limit") will be misrepresented on film. A commonly-occuring example of this artifact is the illusion of spoked wheels appearing to turn in the wrong direction or at the wrong rate. Incorrect frame rates and synchronization can also cause strobing during shots of projected movies or of television screens.


Motion Blur

Shots of objects that quickly move in the camera's frame, and/or shots with a slow shutter speed are likely to produce a "smearing" effect, since the object is in a range of positions during a single exposure.


Motion Capture

An animation technique in which the actions of an animated object are derived automatically from the motion of a real-world actor or object.


Non-linear Editing

The computer-assisted editing of a movie without the need to assemble it in linear sequence. The visual equivalent of word processing.



The standard for TV/video display in the US and Canada, as set by the National Television Standards Committee, which delivers 525 lines of resolution at 60 half-frames per second.



The process of speeding the frame rate of a camera up, so that when the captured pictures are played at the normal frame rate the action appears to be in slow motion. Historically, cameras were operated by turning a crank at a constant, required speed; hence "overcranking" refers to turning the crank too quickly.



AKA: Phase Alternating Line

A standard for tv/video display, dominant in Europe and Australia, which delivers 625 lines of resolution at 50 half-frames per second.



A variant of stop-motion animation where actors are the objects being filmed.



Anything an actor touches or uses on the set; e.g. phones, guns, cutlery, etc. Movie animals and all food styling (food seen or eaten on set/screen) also fall into this domain.



AKA: Rotoscope

An animation technique in which images of live action are traced, either manually or automatically.



A continuous block of storytelling either set in a single location or following a particular character. The end of a scene is typically marked by a change in location, style, or time.



The musical component of a movie's soundtrack. Many scores are written specifically for movies by composers.



A script written to be produced as a movie.



AKA: Against

A general term for a written work detailing story, setting, and dialogue. A script may take the form of a screenplay, shooting script, lined script, continuity script, or a spec script.



AKA: Sequential Couleur avec Mémoire, Système Electronique Couleur avec

The standard for TV/video display in France, the Middle East, much of Eastern Europe, and some African countries. Delivers 625 lines of resolution at 50 half-frames per second.



An environment used for filming. When used in contrast to location, it refers to one artifically constructed. A set typically is not a complete or accurate replica of the environment as defined by the script, but is carefully constructed to make filming easier but still appear natural when viewed from the camera angle.


Shutter Speed

The length of time that a single frame is exposed for. Slower shutter speeds allow more light to enter the camera, but allow more motion blur.


Slow Motion

AKA: Slow Mo, Slow-Mo

A shot in which time appears to move more slowly than normal. The process is commonly achieved by either repeating frames (see also freeze frame), or by overcranking.


Special Effects

AKA: SFX, Special Effects Assistant, Special Effects Technician

An artificial effect used to create an illusion in a movie. Refers to effects produced on the set, as opposed to those created in post-production.


Stop Motion

AKA: Stop-Motion

A form of animation in which objects are filmed frame-by-frame and altered slightly in between each frame.


Time Lapse Photography

AKA: Time Lapse

A form of animation in which numerous single frames are filmed spaced at a given interval to show a process that would take a very long time to occur. i.e. a flower blooming, or the motion of the stars.


Visual Effects

Alterations to a film's images during post-production.



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