Videomaker's Glossary of Terms

.asf Active Streaming Format

.avi Short for Audio Video Interleave, the file format for Microsoft's Video for Windows standard.

.gif Graphics Interchange Format--a bit-mapped graphics file format used by the World Wide Web, CompuServe and many BBSs. GIF supports color and various resolutions. It also includes data compression, making it especially effective for scanned photos.

.jpeg Joint Photographic Experts Group image format. A popular Internet compression format for color images.

.wav A sound format for storing sound in files developed jointly by Microsoft and IBM. Support for WAV files was built into Windows 95 making it the de facto standard for sound on PCs. WAV sound files end with a .wav extension and can be played by nearly all

2.4 GHz The radio frequency used by some home wireless transmitters to transmit NTSC video up to 300 feet (microwave ovens interfere with this frequency).

418 GHz The radio frequency used by some home wireless transmitters to transmit remote control codes. Typically employed by remote extenders that convert infrared (IR) to RF (to get through walls) and then convert it back to infrared within distances up to 100

8514fix.fon Software to increase the font size of the MS Windows 3.1 system fonts. These are used to display window titles, menus, and dialog boxes. Making them larger makes them more readable when displayed on TV screens.

8mm Compact videocassette format, popularized by camcorders, employing 8-millimeter-wide videotape. [See Hi8]

900 MHz The frequency used to transmit NTSC video up to 100 feet by some home wireless transmitters.

A/B roll editing Two video sources played simultaneously, to be mixed or cut between.

accessibility Options A built-in option in the Windows Control Panel that increases the font size of the MS Windows 95 system fonts. These are used to display window titles, menus and dialog boxes. Making them larger makes them more readable when displayed on TV screens.

action axis Imaginary line drawn between two subjects or along a line of motion as an aid in maintaining continuity of screen direction. Sometimes referred to as the "180-degree rule."

ad-lib Unrehearsed, spontaneous act of speaking, performing, or otherwise improvising on-camera activity without preparation.

aDSL Asymmetric (or Asynchronous) Digital Subscriber Line. A ìfat pipe.î New technology to carry high-speed data over typical twisted-pair copper telephone lines. ADSL promises be up to 70 times as fast as a 28.8 modem, and can be used concurrently with voic

AFM See audio frequency modulation.

AGC See automatic gain control.

agents Also called intelligent agents, these are small strings of computer code that manage information on the Internet and TV. Agents "learn" to recognize their users' preferences. They can retrieve pertinent information, sort e-mail and recommend TV programs

ambient sound (ambience) Natural background audio representative of a given recording environment. On-camera dialog might be primary sound; traffic noise and refrigerator hum would be ambient.

analog An electrical signal is referred to as either analog or digital. Analog signals are those signals directly generated from a stimulus such as a light striking a camera picture tube. You can convert an analog signal to a digital signal by using an analog t

analog set-top box

The type of television set-top cable box currently deployed in most U.S. cable subscription homes. The box receives the analog cable signal and descrambles those channels the subscriber has access to.

Animated GIF

A type of GIF image animated by combining several still GIFs into a single file.


Visual special effect whereby progressive still images displayed in rapid succession creates the illusion of movement.


See iris.


Before Java language, applets were known as the small applications built into an operating system or a larger application program. For example, the built-in writing and drawing programs that come with Windows are sometimes called applets. Because of the


(application) Software that performs a specific function.


Unwanted visual distortions that appear in a video image, such as cross-color artifacts, cross-luminance artifacts, jitter, blocking, ghosts, etc.

artificial light

human-made illumination not limited to "indoor" variety: fluorescent bulbs, jack-o'-lanterns, a car's headlights, all qualify. Typically, has lower color temperature than natural light, and thus more reddish qualities.

aspect ratio

Proportional width and height of picture on screen. Current standard for conventional receiver or monitor is four by three 4:3; 16:9 for HDTV.

assemble edit

Recording video and/or audio clips in sequence immediately following previous material; does not break control track. Consecutive edits form complete program. [See edit, insert edit]


(amateur television) Specialized domain of ham radio, transmits standard TV signals on UHF radio bands.

audio delivered later

(ADL) A concept by which customized audio programming is selected by a user to be delivered and stored (either digital on a hard drive or analog on a tape) when bandwidth congestion and use patterns are lightest (like in the middle of the night). In an I

audio dub

Result of recording over pre-recorded videotape soundtrack, or a portion thereof, without affecting pre-recorded images.

audio frequency modulation

(AFM) Method of recording hi-fi audio on videotape along with video signals.

audio guide

A schedule of audio programming.

audio mixer

Device with user-adjustable controls used to blend multiple sound inputs into desired composite output. [See mix.]

automatic exposure

Circuitry that monitors light levels and adjusts camcorder iris accordingly, compensating for changing light conditions.

automatic gain control

(AGC) Camcorder circuitry that adjusts incoming audio levels automatically.

available light

Amount of illumination normally present in a particular environment: natural light, artificial, or a combination.


A visual representation of an individual in a virtual setting. Participants in some chat rooms can have avatars represent them in the room while they are interacting with other participants. Players in popular online role playing environments such as Ul

back light

Illumination from behind, creates a sense of depth by separating foreground subject from background area. Applied erroneously, causes severe silhouetting. [See fill light, key light, three-point lighting.]

bandwidth compression

Reducing the bandwidth that is required for transmission of a given digital data rate.

bandwidth compression

Banner Advertising Purchased advertisements that appear as small images on Web sites. Users may click on advertisement banners to hyperlink to the advertiser's Web site.


Accessory for video lights, two- or four-leaf folding flaps that control light distribution.

batch capture

The ability of certain computer-based editing systems to automatically capture whole lists or "batches" of clips from source videotapes.


More commonly known as "Beta," half-inch videotape format developed by Sony, eclipsed by VHS in home video market popularity. [See ED Beta]


Microphone pickup pattern whereby sound is absorbed equally from two sides only. [See omnidirectional, unidirectional.]


Microphone pickup pattern whereby sound is absorbed equally from two sides only. [See omnidirectional, unidirectional.]

black box

Generic term for wide variety of video image manipulation devices with perceived mysterious or "magical" capabilities, including proc amps, enhancers, SEGs, and TBCs.


Video image imperfection characterized by blurring of color borders; colors spill over defined boundaries, "run" into neighboring areas.

blinking 12:00

The clock LED on a VCR once the power is interrupted or when it hasn't been set. The blinking 12:00 on VCRs around the world are a testimony to the poor user interface of VCRs.


Used as an adjective to describe poor video or 3-D images delivered over the Internet. Used to refer to video when it is of poor quality and delivered at a slow frame rate.


(bayonet fitting connector) Durable "professional" cable connector, attaches to VCRs for transfer of high-frequency composite video in/out signals. Connects with a push and a twist.


A system of symbolic logic, named after an English mathematician, George Boole (1815-64). Boolean operators are used by many database programs and Internet search engines. Boolean operators include AND (find records containing both specified terms), OR


Extension arm used to suspend a microphone or camera over sound or subject(s) being recorded. Objective is to keep production gear out of camera's view or to provide a unique angle to shoot video from.


Camera move above or below subject with aid of a balanced "boom arm," creating sense of floating into or out of a scene. Can combine effects of panning, tilting, and pedding in one fluid movement.


Automated software that catalogs documents for search engines by following and retrieving hyperlinks. On the Web, bots are also called spiders and crawlers.


To send information to multiple receiving devices simultaneously, whether over a data communications network, a voice mail or e-mail system, a local TV or radio transmitter, or a satellite system. Generally used to describe television, radio or other on

broadcast networks

cable networks and cable providers are also significant participants, including: ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS; Discovery Communications, ESPN, etc. The top multiple service operators in the country, including TCI, Time Warner and Comcast; are also involved to


Application that enables the user to read HTML pages, open hypertext links and navigate from one World Wide Web site to another. A handful of companies produce browsers. Netscape and Internet Explorer are the most popular.


See chrominance.


A cord containing any number of electrically conductive wires within the same insulator, typically refers to coaxial cable, which contains a single copper wire and a shield and is used to transmit television programming and other data to subscribing reci

cable modem

Similar to a telephone modem but much faster. Connects to coaxial cable instead of telephone wires. Cable modems are being used experimentally for high-speed data services and Internet access. Cable television companies may soon provide them broadly to

cable TV

System for bringing television signals from satellites and broadcast antennas to individual TV sets through coaxial and fiber optic cables.

cable/community access

Channel(s) of a local cable television system dedicated to community-based programming. Access centers provide free or low-cost training and use of video production equipment and facilities.

cameo lighting

Foreground subjects illuminated by highly directional light, appearing before a completely black background.


See XLR.

capture card

A piece of computer hardware that captures digital video and audio to a hard drive, typically through a FireWire (IEEE 1394) port.


The most common type of unidirectional microphone; pickup pattern resembles a heart-shaped figure.

carpal wrist

A cramp in the wrist from trying to precisely control a cursor on a TV screen.


(Charge Coupled Device) Light-sensitive computer chip in video cameras that converts images into electrical flows. Less prone to image irregularities -- burn-in, lag, streaking -- than are older image sensors. [See pickup]


Consumer Electronics Bus - a communications standard for in-home networks developed by the Electronics Industry Association (EIA) and the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association. It was in development for over a decade and approved in 1992. CEBus


Common Gateway Interface - a specification for interfacing computer programs with HTTP or WWW servers, so that a server can offer interactive sites instead of just static text and images. Gateway programs, or scripts, are executable programs that can be

character generator

A device that electronically builds text which can be combined with a video signal. The text is created with a keyboard and program that has a selection of font and backgrounds.


Characteristics of color a videotape absorbs with recorded signal, divided into two categories: AM (amplitude modulation) indicates color intensity; PM (phase modulation) indicates color purity.


Method of electronically inserting the image from one video source into the image of another through areas designated as its "key color." It is frequently used on news programs to display weather graphics behind talent.


Portion of video signal that carries color information (hue and saturation, but not brightness); frequently abbreviated as "C," as in "Y/C" for luminance/chrominance. [See luminance.]


Identification slate with hinged, striped top that smacks together for on-camera scene initiation. Originally used to synchronize movie sound with picture. [See lip-sync]


Tightly framed camera shot in which principal subject is viewed at close range, appearing relatively large and dominant on screen. Extent of view may be designated "medium closeup" or "extreme closeup." [See long shot, medium shot]

coaxial cable

Coaxial cables contain an insulated wire conductor wrapped in another conductor made of metal foil or mesh. Both conductors share the same axis; thus the name. They are used for cable TV transmission.

color bars

Standard test signal containing samples of primary and secondary colors, used as reference in aligning color video equipment. Generated electronically by a "color bar generator," often viewed on broadcast television in off-air hours. [See test pattern]

color corrector

Electronic device that dissects the colors of a video signal, allowing them to be adjusted individually.

color temperature

The tint of "white" light, measured in "degrees Kelvin." Light from an incandescent bulb typically measures 2,800K, while that from a quartz lamp measures 3,200K and that from noontime sunlight measures 5,600K. [See artificial, natural light.]

comet tailing

Smear of light resulting from inability of camera's pickup to process bright objects -- especially in darker settings. Object or camera in motion creates appearance of flying fireball. [See lag]

component video

Signal transmission system, resembling S-video concept, employed with professional videotape formats. Separates luminance and two chrominance channels to avoid quality loss from NTSC or PAL encoding.

composite video

Single video signal combining luminance and chrominance signals through an encoding process, including image's separate RGB (red, green, blue) elements and sync information.


Superimposing multiple layers of video. Each layer may move independently.


Visual makeup of a video picture, including such variables as balance, framing, field of view, texture -- all aesthetic considerations. Combined qualities form image that's pleasing to view, and effectively communicates.


Reducing the digital data in a video frame, typically from nearly one megabyte to 300 kilobytes or less, by throwing away information the eye can't see. JPEG, Motion-JPEG, MPEG, DV, Indeo, Fractal and Wavelet are all compression schemes.


Microphone with built-in amplifier, the type installed on camcorders. Also called capacitor or electret condenser, requires battery or external power source. [See electret condenser.]


[1:visual] Logical succession of recorded or edited events, necessitating consistent placement of props, use of wardrobe, positioning of characters, and progression of time.


Difference between a picture's brightest and darkest areas. When high, image contains sharp blacks and whites; when low, image limited to variations in gray tones.

control track

A portion of the videotape containing information to synchronize playback and linear videotape editing operations.


A two-way communication system used to coordinate tape transport commands for linear editing. Primarily found in Mini DV, Digital8, Hi8 and 8mm camcorders and VCRs. (See Control-S, synchro edit).


A one-way communication system that treats a VCR or camcorder as a slave unit, with edit commands emanating from an external edit controller or compatible deck. Primarily found on 8mm VCRs and camcorders. (See Control-L, synchro edit).


A term for adding silicon intelligence, processing power and connectivity to common household appliances and home theater components.


Small file passed from a server to a client that provides the server with information about the client. The major Web browsers will alert the user whenever a server attempts to send a cookie, if the user chooses that option in her or his browser default


(cucalorus) Lighting accessory consisting of random pattern of cutouts that cast patterened shadows when light passes through. Used to imitate shadows of natural lighting.


(Also wireless) transmitting without wires, as in cordless phone, cordless mouse, wireless keyboard.

couch potato

Slang for someone who doesn't watch TV the smart way. A couch potato will mindlessly surf through channels for hours on end with no purpose.


(Also TV-friendly) Measure the diagonal of your VGA monitor and multiply that by three. If you can sit that distance from your monitor and easily read or view what's on it (e.g. a Web page), then what's on it is couch-friendly. Other features that make


Term for hardware and/or software used in conjunction with a television (usually from a couch).


Text or graphics - usually special announcements or credits - that move across screen horizontally, typically from bottom right to left. Produced with a character generator.


Simultaneous fade-in of one audio source or lighting effect as another fades out; may overlap temporarily. Also called a dissolve.


(cookie) Lighting accessory consisting of random pattern of cutouts that forms shadows when light passes through it. Used to imitate shadows of natural lighting.


[1] Signal to begin, end, or otherwise influence on-camera activity while recording. [2] Presetting specific starting points of audio or video material so it's available for immediate and precise playback when required.


A dot, line, arrow or flashing symbol controlled by mouse or remote control, used as an indicator of on-screen selections.


[1] Instantaneous change from one shot to another. [2] Director's command to immediately terminate on-camera action and recording.


Shot of other than principal action (but peripherally related), frequently used as transitional footage or to avoid a jump cut.

cuts-only editing

Editing limited to immediate shifts from one scene to another, without smoother image transition capabilities such as dissolving or wiping. [See cut, edit]

D1, D2

Entirely digital "professional" videotape recording formats (component and composite, respectively) capable of


The broadcasting of information services through a television channel's bandwidth.


Connection (plug or jack) used for a joystick on a PC.


Connection used for a mouse on a PC.


(Direct Broadcast Satellite) Digital satellite system for transmitting TV programming and data to the home. To receive these transmissions, consumers purchase or lease DBS dishes and tuners and subscribe to the networks of their choice. There are curren


(Db) Measure of audio signal strength based on a logarithmic scale. Also the unit of measure for sound pressure level (loudness).

depth of field

Range in front of a camera's lens in which objects appear in focus. Varies with subject-to-camera distance, focal length of camera lens and camera's aperture setting.

desktop video

(DTV) Fusion of personal computers and home video components for elaborate videomaking capabilities rivaling those of broadcast facilities.

diffused light

Illuminates relatively large area indistinctly; produces soft light quality with soft shadows. [See directional light]


Gauzy or translucent material that alters the quality of light passing through it to soften shadows and produce less intense lighting.

diffusion filter

Mounted at front of camcorder lens, gives videotaped images a foggy, fuzzy, dreamy look. [See filter]


The digital signal is composed of bits (ones and zeros). Digital information can be manipulated by computers.

digital audio

Sounds that have been converted to digital information.

digital set-top box

A digital set-top box is a cable box that uses silicon processing to perform an added range of functions. Digital set-top boxes have a microprocessor and RAM and use the fiber-coax network to transfer myriad data types, including video and Internet. Dig

Digital TV

(DTV) Any broadcast signal that uses a digital compression and transmission scheme as opposed to analog. Congress has mandated that by 2006, every over-the-airwaves broadcaster in the U.S. will be delivering digital TV broadcasts. The FCC has adopted a t

digital video effects

(DVE) Electronic picture modification yielding specialty image patterns and maneuvers: tumbling, strobing, page turning, mosaic, posterization, solarization, etc.


The process of converting a continuous analog video or audio signal to digital data for computer storage and manipulation.


Device that imports and converts analog video images into digital information for hard drive-based editing.


Type of connection (jack or plug) used for keyboards.

directional light

Light that illuminates in a relatively small area with distinct light beam; usually created with spotlight, yields harsh, defined shadows. [See diffused light]


Image transition effect of one picture gradually disappearing as another appears. Analogous to audio and lighting cross-fade. [See cross-fade.]

distribution amp

(distribution amplifier) Divides single video or audio signals, while boosting their strength, for delivery to multiple audio/video acceptors. Allows simultaneous recording on multiple VCR's from the same source, especially useful for tape duplication.


Data Over Cable Service Interfaces Specification


Camera movement toward or away from a subject. Effect may appear same as zooming, which reduces and magnifies the image, but dollying in or out maintains perspective while changing picture size.


Camera movement toward or away from a subject. Effect may appear same as zooming, which reduces and magnifies the image, but dollying in or out maintains perspective while changing picture size.


a device that prevents the unauthorized use of hardware or software. A dongle usually consists of a small cord attached to a device or key that secures the hardware. The term is also used to signify a generic adapter for peripherals.


Videotape signal voids, viewed as fleeting white specks or streaks. Usually result of minute "bare spots" on a tape's magnetic particle coating, or tape debris covering particles and blocking signals.


Digital Subscriber Line. A way of sending digital data over regular copper telephone lines at high speed. With DSL, data can be delivered at a rate of 1.5 Mbps (around 30 times faster than through a 56-kbps modem). Also, DSL users can receive voice and


A specific DBS transmitting protocol used by such companies as USSB and DirecTV. Thomson licenses its DSS technology to a number of manufacturers on the market including General Electric, HNS Insight, Panasonic, ProScan, RCA, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, and


Desktop video.

DTV resolution and format

When speaking about digital TV, it is typical to speak of the resolution first, then the format. 1080i versus 720p, for example. There is substantial debate about which format provides the best quality picture.


[1] Process or result of duplicating a videotape in its entirety. [2] Editing technique whereby new audio or video replaces portion(s) of existing recording.

DV effects

(DVE) Electronic analog-to-digital picture modification yielding specialty image patterns and maneuvers: tumbling, strobing, page turning, mosaic, posterization, solarization, etc.


(Digital Video Broadcasting) the European standard for digital television being developed by its group of more than 110 members.


(Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) A standard for optical digital storage that may replace CD-ROM and audio CD standards. A DVD disc can hold 4.7 gigabytes of data, seven times the data capacity of a current Compact Disc. There are several


The computer version of the DVD standard, DVD-ROM runs all CD and DVD interactive, media, but it requires PC processing power to do so.


A TV set-top playback technology that uses the DVD standard, including MPEG 2 and Dolby Digital 5.1 channel audio.


Microphone type, also called "moving coil." Works much like a loudspeaker in reverse, employing a simple diaphragm, magnet and wire coil to convert sound waves into an electrical signal.


DBS company. Provides DISH Network programming and DISH Internet high speed Internet access.


Beta (extended definition Beta) Improved version of the original half-inch Betamax video format, yielding sharper pictures with 500-line resolution. [See Betamax]


Process or result of selectively recording video and/or audio on finished videotape. Typically involves reviewing raw footage and transferring desired segments from master tape(s) onto new tape in a predetermined sequence. [See assemble edit, in-camera e

edit control protocols

protocols Types of signals designed to communicate between editing components including computers, tape decks and camcorders. Allows components to transmit instructions for various operations such as play, stop, fast forward, rewind, etc…

edit controller

Electronic programmer used in conjunction with VCRs/camcorders to facilitate automated linear videotape editing with speed, precision and convenience.

edit decision list

(EDL) Handwritten or computer-generated compilation of all edits (marked by their time code in points and out points) to be executed in a video production.

edited master

Original recorded videotape footage; "edited master" implies original copy of tape in its edited form. Duplications constitute generational differences.


(EDL) Handwritten or computer-generated compilation of all post-production edits to be executed in a video work.


(Electronic field production) Film-style production approach using a single camera to record on location. Typically shot for post-production application, non-live feed.

electret condenser

Microphone type incorporating a precharged element, eliminating need for bulky power sources. [See condenser.]


(also infrared emitter, infrared blaster): Generates infrared pulses that control consumer electronic hardware (most remotes have one).


Device that translates a video signal into a different format -- RGB to composite, DV to MPEG,etc.


Device that translates a video signal into a different format -- RGB to composite, DV to MPEG,etc.


(Electronic news gathering) Use of portable video cameras, lighting and sound equipment to record news events in the field quickly, conveniently, and efficiently.


(Image enhancer) Video signal processor that compensates for picture detail losses and distortion occurring in recording and playback. Exaggerates transitions between light and dark areas by enhancing high frequency region of video spectrum.


(Extended play) Slowest tape speed of a VHS VCR, accommodating six-hour recordings. [See LP, SP]


Emphasizing specific audio or video frequencies and eliminating others as signal control measure, usually to produce particular sonic qualities. Achieved with equalizer.

essential area

Boundaries within which contents of a television picture are sure to be seen, regardless of masking differences in receiver displays. Also called the "critical area," and "action safe area," it encompasses the inner 80 percent of the screen.

establishing shot

Opening picture of a program or scene. Usually a wide and/or distant perspective, orients viewer to overall setting and surroundings.

existing electric wiring

AC power line: Sometimes used to send various commands, data, audio and video signals from one area of the home or business to the other.


Accessory talent not essential to a production, assuming some peripheral on-camera role. In movie work, performers with fewer than five lines are called "under fives."

extra large display

A built-in option in the Windows Control Panel for significantly increasing the font size of the MS Windows 95 and Windows 98 system fonts (which are used to display window titles, menus, and dialog boxes).


Numbers corresponding to variable size of camera's iris opening, and thus amount of light passing through lens. The higher the number, the smaller the iris diameter thus less light enters.


Special effects. Visual tricks and illusions -- electronic or on camera -- employed in film and video to define, distort or defy reality.


Gradual diminishing or heightening of visual and/or audio intensity. "Fade out" or "fade to black," "fade in" or "up from black" are common terms.


Act or result of transmitting a video signal from one point to another.


[1:video] Infinite loop of visual patterns from signal output being fed back as input; achieved by aiming live camera at receiving monitor. [2:audio] Echo effect at low levels, howl or piercing squeal at extremes, from audio signal being fed back to itse


Half a scanning cycle. Two fields comprise a complete video frame. Composed of either all odd lines or all even lines.

field of view

Extent of a shot that's visible through a particular lens; its vista.

fill light

Supplementary illumination, usually from a floodlight positioned midway between camera and subject, which lightens or eliminates shadows created by key light. [three-point lighting.]


Out-of-sequence shooting approach, to be edited in appropriate order at post-production stage. Advantageous for concentrating on and completing recording at one location at a time, continuity and convenience assured.


A series of rendered picture files (like frames on a filmstrip) delivered to form an animation. A particularly low-bandwidth method for delivering a Web-based presentation.


Transparent or semi-transparent material, typically glass, mounted at front of camcorder lens to change light passing through. Manipulates colors and image patterns, often for special effect purposes.


(IEEE 1394 or i.LINK) A high-speed bus that was developed by Apple Computers. It is used, among other things, to connect digital camcorders to computers.


flashes and evident in picture, caused by excessive light beaming into a camera's lens and reflecting off its internal glass elements.

flat lighting

Illumination characterized by even, diffused light without shadows, highlights or contrast. May impede viewer's sense of depth, dimension.


Concept for any computer hardware product that enables the user to control his or her VCR or TV with a computer or Internet appliance. Flecks work with computer software (fleckware). An idea for new fleckware: a VCR-programming applet that can be downloa


Concept for computer software for flecks (see "fleck"). Fleckware would bind consumer electronics gear to home computers, and thus to the Internet. Fleckware could be thought of as virtual assistants who push all the necessary buttons on the user's consu


Radiates a diffused, scattered blanket of light with soft, indistinct shadows. Best used to spread illumination on broad areas, whereas spotlights focus on individual subjects.

fluid head

Tripod mount type containing viscous fluid which lubricates moving parts, dampens friction. Design facilitates smooth camera moves, alleviates jerkiness. [See friction head]

flying erase head

Accessory video head mounted on spinning headwheel, incorporated in newer camcorders and VCRs to eliminate glitches and rainbow noise between scenes recorded or edited.

focal length

Distance from a camera's lens to a focused image with the lens focused on infinity. Short focal lengths offer a broad field of view (wide-angle); long focal lengths offer a narrow field of view (telephoto). Zoom lenses have a variable focal length.

follow focus

Controlling lens focus so that an image maintains sharpness and clarity despite camera and/or subject movement.


Videotape and video equipment design differences -- physical and technical -- dictating compatibility and quality. In most basic sense, refers to standardized tape widths, videocassette sizes. [See Betamax, D1/D2, 8mm, three-quarter-inch, VHS]


1)One complete image. In NTSC video a frame is composed of two fields. One 30th of a second. 2) The viewable area or composition of an image.

frame rate

Number of video frames per second. NTSC is 30 frames per second. On the Internet, frame rate is dependent upon the bandwidth available and the multimedia format from which the video file is produced.


Act of composing a shot in the camcorder's viewfinder for desired content, angle, and field of view -- overall composition.

freeze frame

Single frame paused and displayed for an extended period during video playback; suspended motion perceived as still snapshot.


Number of vibrations produced by a signal or sound, usually expressed as cycles per second, or hertz (Hz).

frequency response

Measure of the range of frequencies a medium can respond to and reproduce. Good video response maintains picture detail; good audio response accommodates the broadest range, most exacting sound.

friction head

Tripod mount type with strong spring that counterbalances camera weight, relying on friction to hold its position. More appropriate for still photography than movement-oriented videomaking. [See fluid head]

full-motion video

A standard for video playback on a computer; refers to smooth-flowing, full-color video at 30 frames per second, regardless of the screen resolution.


Production crew technician responsible for placement and rigging of all lighting instruments.


Video amplification, signal strength. "Riding gain" means varying controls to achieve desired contrast levels.


A type of product that apportions TV use to a specific user. Some of these devices simply control the total amount of time a user can watch TV during a given week. More elaborate gatekeepers limit or eliminate the user's viewing of specific channels. Fo


Colored material placed in front of a light source to alter its hue or intensity. Useful for effect, or for correcting mismatches in lighting, as in scenes lit by both daylight and artificial light.

General Instrument

Manufactures the digital set-top box to be deployed by TCI to (potentially) millions of cutomers. Slated to have Windows CE OS and Sun PersonalJava application layer.


Relationship between a master video recording and a given copy of that master. A copy of a copy of the original master constitutes a second-generation duplication.

generation loss

Degradation in picture and sound quality resulting from an analog duplication of original master video recording. Copying a copy and all successive duplication compounds generation loss. Digital transfers are free of generation loss.


(generator locking device) Synchronizes two video sources, allowing part or all of their signals to be displayed together. Necessary for overlaying computer graphics with video, for example.


Undesirable faint double screen image caused by signal reflection or improperly balanced video circuitry. "Ringing" appears as repeated image edges.


Momentary picture disturbance.


Blanketed signal noise viewed as fuzziness, unsmooth images -- attributable to lumination inadequacies.


Production crew stagehand responsible for handling equipment, props, and scenery before, during, and after production.

hard disk

Common digital storage component in a computer. For video use, hard disks need: 1) an access time of less than 10 milliseconds; 2) a sustained throughput (data transfer rate) of 3 Megabytes per second; and 3) a maximum housekeeping of 33 milliseconds


The highest resolution and most bandwidth intensive flavor of digital TV. It uses the highest compression and has the clearest signal. All of the digital TV standards support a wider screen than NTSC and roughly twice the resolution. To pump this additio


(high-definition television) "In the works" television system standard affording greater resolution for sharper pictures and wide-screen viewing via specially-designed TV equipment.


Electromagnetic components within camcorders and VCRs that record, receive and erase video and audio signals on magnetic tape.


Space between the top of a subject's head and a monitor's upper screen edge. A composition consideration.


(high fidelity) Generalized term defining audio quality approaching the limits of human hearing, pertinent to high-quality sound reproduction systems.


(high-band 8mm) Improved version of 8mm videotape format characterized by higher luminance resolution for a sharper picture. Compact "conceptual equivalent" of Super-VHS. [See 8mm]


Primary background signal interference in audio recording, result of circuit noise from a playback recorder's amplifiers or from a tape's residual magnetism.

home automation

The automatic control of household devices through other devices. Home automation largely relies on microchips, which can be programmed to control lights, thermostats, sprinkler systems, security systems, etc.

home plug and play

The standard backed by the CEBus Industry Council to promote interoperability among home control technologies. With a universally understood translation called CAL (Common Applications Language), Home Plug and Play allows you to remotely control consume

home theater

Refers to a home audio/video entertainment center.

horizontal resolution

Specification denoting amount of discernable detail across a screen's width. Measured in lines, the higher the number the better the picture quality.


(Hypertext Markup Language): The programming language used to create sites on the World Wide Web.


DBS company. Hughes satellites provide DirecTV and USSB programming. Hughes DirecPC is a satellite-based Internet service. Hughes DirecDuo is a combination TV/PC service through the same dish.


A word or phrase in an HTML document that is coded to enable users to download a related Web page when they click on the coded word or phrase. The coded word or phrase (which generally appears underlined or in a certain color on the user's computer scre

Illustrated audio

Technology designed to synchronize image and text displays with a sound track. This allows for computer-based slide shows and for distributing video programs over low-bandwidth networks where full-motion video is not possible.

image enhancer

Video signal processor that compensates for picture detail losses and distortion occurring in recording and playback. Exaggerates transitions between light and dark areas by enhancing high frequency region of video spectrum.

image sensor

A video camera's image sensing element, either CCD (charge coupled device) or MOS (metal oxide semiconductor); converts light to electrical energy. [See CCD]

in-camera editing

Assembling finished program "on the fly" as you videotape simply by activating and pausing camcorder's record function.

incident light

That which emanates directly from a light source, measured from the object it strikes to the source. [See reflected light]


Ability of some VCRs to electronically mark specific points on videotape for future access, either during the recording process (VISS: VHS index search system) or as scenes are played back (VASS: VHS address search system).

insert edit

Recording video and/or audio on tape over a portion of existing footage without disturbing what precedes and follows. Must replace recording of same length

Interactive TV

(ITV) Broadly speaking, TV content that has the potential for some user interaction. Extremely interactive TV could involve activities as extensive as chatting with fellow fans or stars from a program while itís being aired. Limited interaction could in


Technology from Intel allowing interactive HTML-formatted content and streaming information to be broadcast over a TV signal in conjunction with traditional television programming. Using a software application, the user views the enriched content on his


Video format TVs use in the United States under the NTSC standard. The concept of splitting a TV picture into two fields of odd and even lines. Under the interlaced method, every other line is scanned during the first pass, then the remaining lines are sc

interlaced video

Process of scanning frames in two passes, each painting every other line on the screen, with scan lines alternately displayed in even and odd fields. NTSC video is interlaced; most computers produce a noninterlaced video signal. [See noninterlaced video]

Internet-ready TV

Television set with built-in Internet device.

Interpersonal Computer

Another name for network computer.

Interstitial Advertising

Larger than a banner advertisement, an interstitial ad takes over the entire Web browser window, displaying itself after a user clicks to go to a new page, and before that new page has loaded.

IR Blaster

Generates a series of infrared pulses that transfer information from one electronic device to another.


Camcorder's lens opening or aperture, regulates amount of light entering camera. Diameter is measured in f-stops. [See f-stop.]


(Internet Service Provider) An ISP is a company that provides access to the Internet to individuals and companies. An ISP owns or rents the equipment required to provide access for the area it is serving. Many ISPs serve only a small region such as the


Any female socket or receptacle, usually on the backside of video and audio equipment; accepts plug for circuit connection.


A computer program mini-language that allows cross-platform use of small software programs (see applets) downloaded from a Web server to a client computer.


Video image aberration seen as slight, fast vertical or horizontal shifting of a picture or portion of one.


Manual control on some VCRs, facilitates viewing and editing precision and convenience. Jog ring moves tape short distances to show a frame at a time; shuttle dial transports tape forward or reverse more rapidly for faster scanning.

jump cut

Unnatural, abrupt switch to/from shots identical in subject but slightly different in screen location. Awkward progression makes subject appear to jump from one screen location to another. It can be remedied with cutaway or shot from a different angle.


Temperature scale used to define the color of a light source; abbreviated as "K." [See color temperature]

key light

Principal illumination source on a subject or scene, normally positioned slightly off center and angled to provide shadow detail. [See back light, fill light, three-point lighting.]


Perspective distortion from a flat object being shot by a camera at other than a perpendicular angle. Nearer portion of object appears larger than farther part.

Killer app

An HYPERLINK "application.htm" application of such technological importance and wide acceptance that it surpasses (i.e., kills) its competitors.


Camera pickup's retention of an image after the camera has been moved, most common under low light levels. Comet tailing is a form of lag.


Small, easily concealed, unobtrusive and aesthetically pleasing microphone, typically attached to clothing for interview settings.

Leased access

Cable channels or programming time reserved for non-discriminatory, purchased use.

linear editing

Tape-based editing. Called linear because scenes are laid in a line along the tape.

lip sync

Proper synchronization of video with audio -- lip movement with audible speech. [See synchronous sound.]

long shot

Camera view of a subject or scene, usually from a distance, showing a broad perspective.


(long play) Middle tape speed of a VHS VCR, accommodating four-hour recordings. [See EP, SP]


(longitudinal time code) Frame identification numbers encoded as an audio signal and recorded lengthwise on the edge of a tape. (See time code, VITC).


Black-and-white portion of video signal, carries brightness information representing picture contrast, light and dark qualities; frequently abbreviated as "Y."


Amount of lumens in a square meter. Means of measuring a camcorder's low-light sensitivity -- minimum amount of illumination required to record an "acceptable" image. Lower the lux reading the greater the sensitivity.


Lens capable of extreme closeup focusing, useful for intimate views of small subjects.


Original recorded videotape footage; "edited master" implies original tape in its edited form.

matched dissolve

Dissolve from one image to another that's similar in appearance or shot size.

medium shot

Defines any camera perspective between long shot and closeup, whereby subjects are viewed from medium distance. [See closeup, long shot.]

memory effect

Power-loss phenomenon alleged of NiCad -- camcorder batteries, attributed to precisely repetitive partial discharge followed by complete recharge, or long-term overcharge. Considered misnomer for "voltage depression" and "cell imbalance."


(musical instrument digital interface) System of communication between digital electronic instruments allowing synchronization and distribution of musical information.


"Mic," short for "microphone."


Type of connection (plug or jack) used for mouse and sometimes keyboards on PCs.


A pointer control device that looks like a tiny joystick and fits under the user's thumb.


[1:audio] Combining two or more sound sources, with various channels controlled to achieve desired balance of single audio signal output. Executed with audio mixer. [2:video] Combining video signals from two or more sources.


Multi-channel (also Multi-point) Distribution Service. Wireless cable technology using frequencies in the 2.5 to 2.7 GHz band. One antenna can serve line-of-site customers in a thirty-mile radius. Customers use a twelve-inch dish to receive the signal an

Mobile Player

Mobile Walkman-style device from Audible, Inc. that allows the download of streaming audio files for mobile replaying away from the computer (

model release

Agreement to be signed by anyone appearing in a video work, protecting videomaker from right of privacy lawsuit. Specifies event, date, compensation provisions, and rights being waived.


Changing a characteristic of one wave by another; e.g. frequency modulation, amplitude modulation. Sometimes used for encoding digital data into analog signals for transmission purposes. Telephone companies use modulation to transfer data in audible tone


[1:video] Television set without receiving circuitry, wired to camcorder or VCR for display of live or recorded video signals. Most standard TVs have dual-function capability as monitor and receiver. [See receiver] [2:audio] Synonymous with speaker.


One-legged camera support. [See tripod]


A sequence of shots assembled in juxtaposition to each other to communicate a particular idea or mood. The implied relationship between seemingly unrelated material communicates messages.


Electronic special effect whereby individual pixels comprising an image are blown up into larger blocks -- a kind of checkerboard effect. [See DVE]


A hand-held control device connected to a computer that assists the user in navigating the computer environment and performing functions. The device controls a cursor on the screen that enables the user to point to information. Buttons on the device all


(MPEG-1) A video compression standard set by the Motion Picture Experts Group. Involves changing only those elements of a video image that actually change from frame to frame and leaving everything else the same.


The highest quality digital video compression currently available. MPEG-2 is less blocky than MPEG-1 and is used in DVDs and DSS satellite TV systems.


Communication between a single sender and a select group of multiple receivers on a network as in sending an _HYPERLINK "e_mail.htm"__e-mail_ message to a _HYPERLINK "mailing_list.htm"__mailing list_. _HYPERLINK "teleconference.htm"__Teleconferencing_ a


The method of blending multiple signals successively to be carried jointly on a communication channel.

natural light

Planetary illumination -- from sun, moon, stars -- be it indoors or out. Has higher color temperature than artificial light, and thus more bluish qualities. [See artificial light, color temperature]


Network Computer Inc. A subsidiary of Oracle Inc. The consumer division of NCI provides the design specs for the N/C, a consumer set-top box that connects the TV to the Internet, much like WebTV. The first incarnation of the N/C failed in May 1998, but o

Near Video-On-Demand

True video-on-demand is video content (movies, sitcoms, etc.) delivered at the moment a user requests it. Near video-on-demand is video content delivered on a more rigid schedule and is less in the userís control (relative of pay-per-view).

Net-top Box

TV set-top box that connects the television to the Internet, i.e. WebTV.


A mobile Walkman-style device from for replaying audio files away from the computer.


A line of software products developed by _HYPERLINK "Microsoft.htm"__Microsoft_ for _HYPERLINK "streaming.htm"__streaming_ _HYPERLINK "multimedia.htm"__multimedia_ content over the _HYPERLINK "World_Wide_Web.htm"__World Wide Web_. The NetShow server an

Network Computer

(NC) A computer that makes maximum use of a network, such as the Internet and network servers, and minimum use of its own hard drive. A network computer may have a small hard drive with little Random Access Memory (RAM) because it relies on data kept on

neutral-density filter

(ND) Mounted at front of camcorder lens, reduces light intensity without affecting its color qualities. [See filter.]


Topical Internet bulletin boards. Topics range from parenting to computing, home to education, literature to comic books.


(nickel cadmium) Abbreviation coined and popularized by SAFT America for lightweight camcorder battery type designed to maintain power longer than traditional lead-acid batteries.


Undesirable video or audio signal interference; typically seen as snow, heard as hiss.

noninterlaced video

Process of scanning complete frames in one pass, painting every line on the screen, yielding higher picture quality than that of interlaced video. Most computers produce a noninterlaced video signal; NTSC is interlaced. AKA progressive scan.

nonlinear editing

Digital "random access" editing that uses a hard drive instead of tape to store images. Random access allows easy arrangement of scenes in any order. Also eliminates the need for rewinding and allows for multiple dubs without generation loss.

nonsynchronous sound

Audio without precisely matching visuals. Usually recorded separately, includes wild sound, sound effects, or music incorporated in post-production. [See synchronous sound.]


U.S. television broadcasting specifications. NTSC refers to all video systems conforming to this 525-line 59.94-field-per-second signal standard. [See PAL]

Numb Thumb

Thumb fatigue from Web surfing with a TV-style remote control.


Until recently, the low quality of computer video images limits the DTV computer to "off-line" work. That is, making the edit-point decisions (EDL) for use in a later "on-line" session, using the original tapes to assemble the edit master. Today's high-e



When a computer accesses the Internet or works on a local network, it is considered to be online.


An Interactive TV architecture provider. Widely deployed in Europe. Working on breaking into US market.


(Online Service Provider) An OSP is a company that provides access to the Internet through its own special user interface and proprietary services: i.e. America Online, Prodigy and MSN. Connecting to the Internet through an OSP is an alternative to conn


Footage not to be included in final production.

over-the-shoulder shot

View of primary camera subject framed by another subject's shoulder and back of head in foreground. Common in interview situations, perspective affords sense of depth.


(phase alternate line) 625-line 50-field-per-second television signal standard used in Europe and South America. Incompatible with NTSC. [See NTSC]


Horizontal camera pivot, right to left or left to right, from a stationary position.


A large screen personal computer designed for living room use as a server for remote controls, digital disk players, speakers, VCRs and TVs.


Vertical camera movement, rising or lowering, with camera levelness maintained. Approaching closer to either floor or ceiling, the up/down equivalent of dollying.

phone plug

Sturdy male connector compatible with audio accessories, particularly for insertion of microphone and headphone cables. Not to be confused with phono plug.

phono plug

Sturdy male connector compatible with audio accessories, particularly for insertion of microphone and headphone cables. Not to be confused with phono plug.

phono plug

Sturdy male connector compatible with audio accessories, particularly for insertion of microphone and headphone cables. Not to be confused with phono plug.


[1] A video camera's image sensing element, either CCD (charge coupled device) or MOS (metal oxide semiconductor); converts light to electrical energy. [See CCD] [2] A microphone's sound reception.

pickup pattern

Defines a microphone's response to sounds arriving from various directions or angles. [See bidirectional, omnidirectional, unidirectional.]


(picture in picture, p-in-p, pix in pix) Image from a second video source inset on a screen's main picture, the big and small pictures usually being interchangeable.

Planet Web

Manufactures browser and interface technology for ìInternet appliances.î Specifically included in the Zilog set-top box reference design.


Videotaped material viewed and heard as recorded, facilitated by camcorder or VCR.

playback VCR

Playback source of raw video footage (master or workprint) in basic player/recorder editing setup. [See recording VCR]


Software that adds a feature or features to a computer application. Software manufacturers write design specifications to enable third-party developers to write plug-ins for their applications. A number of plug-ins is available, many of them free, for t

point of view shot

(POV) Shot perspective whereby the camera assumes subject's view, and thus viewers see what the subject sees as if through his/her/its eyes.

polarizing filter

Mounted at front of camcorder lens, thwarts undesirable glare and reflections. [See filter.]

post production

(post) Any video production activity following initial recording. Typically involves editing, addition of background music, voiceover, sound effects, titles, and/or various electronic visual effects. Results in completed production.


Electronic special effect transforming a normal video image into a collage of flattened single-colored areas, without graduations of color and brightness. [See DVE]


An acronym for Plain Old Telephone System. Refers to the existing infrastructure of analog twisted copper pair that makes the majority of the installed telephone lines.



[1] Slight backing-up function of camcorders and VCRs when preparing for linear tape-to-tape editing; ensures smooth, uninterrupted transitions between scenes.


DBS company. Offers unique equipment lease package to subscribers.

proc amp

(processing amplifier) Video image processor that boosts video signal's luminance, chroma, and sync components to correct such problems as low light, weak color, or wrong tint.

Programmable Infrared Remote Control

An idea for a new product, the Programmable Infrared Remote Control would consist of a Remote Module, a box that would transmit and learn IR commands, and a Windows-based user interface/control program. The user would connect the Remote Module to her com


A method of displaying the horizontal video lines in computer displays and digital TV broadcasts. Each horizontal line is displayed in progression (1,2,3, etc), as opposed to interlace format, where each line is displayed in alternate order (1,3,5, then


Short for "properties," objects used either in decorating a set (set props) or by talent (hand props).

Public access

Cable channels reserved for the exclusive use of the general public to provide or present uncensored programming on a first-come, first-served basis.


(pressure zone microphone) Small, sensitive condenser mike, usually attached to a 5-inch-square metal backing plate. Senses air pressure changes in tiny gap between mike element and plate. [See condenser.]


Computer system software that defines a format for video and audio data, so different applications can open and play synchronized sound and movie files.

rack focus

Shifting focus during a shot in progress, typically between background and foreground subjects, creating respective clarity and blurriness.

raw footage

Pre-edited recordings, usually direct from the camcorder

RCA plug

A popular cable connector for home audio as well as video components. Standard connection for direct audio/video inputs/outputs.

reaction shot

Cutaway view showing someone's or something's response to primary action/subject. [See cutaway]

real time

Occurring immediately, without delay for rendering. If a transition occurs in real time, there is no waiting, the computer creates the effect or transition on-the-fly, showing it on demand.

real-time counter

Tallying device that accounts for videotape playing/recording by measure of hours, minutes, and seconds.


A HYPERLINK "streaming.htm" streaming technology developed by RealNetworks (formerly Progressive Networks) for transmitting audio data over the HYPERLINK "World Wide Web.htm" Internet in up to FM-stereo-quality sound.


Developed the leading streaming technology for transmitting live video over the Internet using a variety of data compression techniques and works with IP and IP Multicast connections.


A program developed by RealNetworks to play live and on-demand RealAudio and RealVideo files. It is freely available from a number of places and is included in current versions of both _HYPERLINK "Navigator.htm"__Netscape Navigator_ and _HYPERLINK "Inte

RealPlayer Mobile

A RealAudio format that allows streaming files to be downloaded and stored on a userís hard drive for later playback or transfer to a Mobile Player.


A _HYPERLINK "streaming.htm"__streaming technology_ developed by RealNetworks for transmitting live _HYPERLINK "video.html__video_ over the _HYPERLINK "Internet.html__Internet_. RealVideo uses a variety of _HYPERLINK "data_compression.html__data compres


Television set that includes a tuner as well as an audio amplifier and speaker. Accommodates broadcast RF signals, whereas a monitor accepts composite video signals only. [See monitor]

recording VCR

Recipient of raw video feed (master or workprint) and recorder of edited videotape in basic player/recorder editing setup. [See playback VCR]

reflected light

That which bounces off the illuminated subject. Light re-directed by a reflector. [See incident light]


Lighting accessory helpful for bouncing light onto a subject as well as filling in shadows. Often made of lightweight reflective metal or poster board covered with metallic material.


(or remote control) A device that allows a user to operate a machine from a distance, usually through infrared signals, rather than by cables and wires.


[1] Videomaking performed "on location," outside controlled studio environment. [2] Equipment allowing from-a-distance control, usually without physical connections.

Remote extender

A device which picks up the infrared signals from remotes, converts them into radio frequencies and sends them through walls, floors, doors, outside, etc., and then reconverts them back to IR at the point of the device to be controlled.


The processing a computer undertakes when creating an applied effect, transition or composite.

rendering time

The time it takes an NLE computer to composite source elements and commands in it's edit decision list into a single video file so the sequence, including titles and transition effects, can be played in full motion (30 frames per second).


Amount of picture detail reproduced by a video system, influenced by a camera's pickup, lens, internal optics, recording medium, and playback monitor. The more detail, the sharper and better defined the picture. [See horizontal resolution]

Rewritable Consumer

(RC) Time code sent trhoug Control-L interface permitting extremely accurate edits. Each frame is assigned a unique address expressed in hours:minutes:seconds:frames.


(radio frequency) The UHF and VHF spectra are common radio frequencies. Audio and video signals are encoded with a high frequency carrier and transmitted on radio frequencies for radio and television broadcasts as well as closed-circuit transmission.


(radio frequency) Combination of audio and video signals coded as a channel number, necessary for television broadcasts as well as some closed-circuit distribution.

RF converter

Device that converts audio and video signals into a combined RF signal suitable for reception by a standard TV.


(red, green, blue) Video signal transmission system that differentiates and processes all color information in separate red, green, and blue components -- primary colors of light -- for optimum image quality. Also defines type of color monitor.


Undesirable faint double screen image caused by signal reflection or improperly balanced video circuitry. "Ringing" appears as repeated image edges.


Text or graphics -- usually credits -- that move up or down the screen, typically from bottom to top. Typically produced with a character generator or computer. [See crawl]

rough cut

Raw, tentative edit of footage in the approximate sequence, length, and content of finished program. Gives preliminary indication of eventual actual work.

rule of thirds

Composition theory based on the screen being divided into thirds vertically and horizontally and the placement of important elements along those lines.


Also known as Y/C video, signal type employed with DV, Hi8 and S-VHS video formats. Transmits chrominance and luminance portions separately via multiple wires, thereby avoiding a composited signal and its inevitable picture quality degradation


Also known as Y/C video, signal type employed with Hi8 and S-VHS video formats. Transmits chrominance and luminance portions separately via multiple wires, thereby avoiding the NTSC encoding process and its inevitable picture quality degradation.

S/N Ratio

Relationship between signal strength and a medium's inherent noise. Video S/N indicates how grainy or snowy a picture will be, plus color accuracy; audio S/N specifies amount of background tape hiss present with low- or no-volume recordings. Higher the S

safe title area

The area that will produce legible titles on most TV screens; 80% of the screen, measured from the center.

scan converter

Device that changes scan rate of a video signal, possibly converting it from noninterlaced to interlaced mode. Allows computer graphics to be displayed on a standard video screen.

Scan Converter

Converts a VGA progressive scan format video signal to a TV interlace format (See _HYPERLINK \l "encoder"__Encoder_).

scan line

Result of television's swift scanning process which sweeps out a series of horizontal lines from left to right, then down a bit and left to right again. Complete NTSC picture consists of 525 scan lines per frame.

scan rate

Number of times a screen is "redrawn" per second. Computer displays operate at different scan rates than standard video.


In the language of moving images, a sequence of related shots usually constituting action in one particular location. [See shot]

Scientific Atlanta

Manufactures the Explorer 2000 advanced set-top box. Slated to have PowerTV OS and be compatible with several different application layers, including Spyglass Mosaic and NCI DTV Navigator.

Screen phone

(also called PC phone) Connection between the PC and the telephone line providing standard telephone use with advanced facilities such as caller ID, interfaces to contact databases, call logging, automatic dialing, automatic incoming call routing, etc.


Lighting accessory made of wire mesh, lessens intensity of light source without softening it. Half scrims and graduated scrims reduce illumination in more specific areas.


Text specifying content of a production or performance, used as a guide. May include character and setting profiles, production directives (audio, lighting, scenery, camera moves), as well as dialogue to be recited by talent. [See storyboard]


A lower resolution flavor of DTV. It is possible to fit as many as six SDTV signals in the bandwidth space required for a single HDTV signal.


(sequential color and memory) 625-line 25-frame-per-second television signal standard used in France and the Soviet Republic. Incompatible with NTSC; PAL and SECAM are partially compatible. [See NTSC, PAL]


See special effects generator.

selective focus

Adjusting camera focus to emphasize desired subject(s) in a shot. Selected area maintains clarity, image sharpness while remainder of image blurs. Useful for directing viewer's attention.


Brassy "antique" look characteristic of old photographs. For video images, tone achieved with a special lens filter or electronically with a special effects filter.

Serial control

Data transmission in which one event happens at a time (contrasted with parallel control in which more than one event happens at a time).

Set-top Box

A box that hooks into a user's television which primarily decodes cable or satellite transmissions into viewable programs. Some set-top boxes enable access to special services, such as pay per view, Web access and DirecPC.

shooting ratio

Amount of raw footage recorded relative to the amount used in edited, finished program.


All pictorial material recorded by a camera. More strictly speaking, shots are intentional, isolated camera views which collectively comprise a scene. [See scene]


Highly directional microphone with long "barrel" designed to pick up sound from extreme subject-to-mike distances.

signal-to-noise ratio

(S/N) Relationship between signal strength and a medium's inherent noise. Video S/N indicates how grainy or snowy a picture will be, plus color accuracy; audio S/N specifies amount of background tape hiss present with low- or no-volume recordings. Higher


(1A) or haze (UV) filter Mounted at front of camcorder lens, virtually clear glass absorbs ultraviolet light. Also excellent as constant lens protector. [See filter]

Slide show

A series of images delivered one-after-another, often with sound, either automatically or by point-and-click selection.


Used as an adjective before a noun to describe built-in intelligence usually from silicon microprocessor (Smart card, Smart house, Smart TV).


Time code standard for film, video, and audio named for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, which sanctions standards for recording systems in North America. [See time code]


Open-ended cylindrical funnel mounted on a light source to project a narrow, concentrated circle of illumination.


Electronic picture interference; resembles scattered snow on the television screen. Synonymous with chroma and luma noise.


Electronic special effect distorting a video image's original colors, emphasizing some and de-emphasizing others for a "paint brush" effect. [See DVE]

sound bite

Any recorded video or audio-only segment salvageable for use in edited program -- usually a highlight phrase or event. Common component of broadcast news.

sound effects

Contrived audio, usually prerecorded, incorporated with a video soundtrack to resemble the real thing. Blowing on a microphone, for example, might simulate wind to accompany hurricane images.


The audio portion of a video recording, often multifaceted with voiceover, background music, sound effects, etc.


(standard play) Fastest tape speed of a VHS VCR, accommodating two-hour recordings. [See EP, LP]

special effects

(FX) Tricks and illusions -- electronic or on camera -- employed in film and video to define, distort, or defy reality.

special effects

F/X. Tricks and illusions -- electronic or on camera -- employed in film and video to define, distort, or defy reality.

special effects generator

(SEG) Video signal processor with vast, but varying, image manipulation capabilities involving patterns and placement as well as color and texture: mixing, multiplying, shrinking, strobing, wiping, dissolving, flipping, colorizing, etc.


Radiates a well-defined directional beam of light, casting hard, distinct shadows. Best used to focus illumination on individual subjects, whereas floodlights blanket broader areas.


An application/interface/browser software manufacturer.


Video signal processor used primarily for tape dubbing to eliminate picture jump and jitter, maintain stability.


Filter Mounted at front of camcorder lens, gives videotaped light sources a starburst effect. Generally available in four-, six-, and eight-point patterns. [See filter]


Sound emanating from two isolated sources, intended to simulate pattern of natural human hearing.

stock shot

Common footage -- city traffic, a rainbow -- conveniently accessed as needed. Similar to a "photo file" in the photography profession.


Series of cartoon-like sketches illustrating key visual stages (shots, scenes) of planned production, accompanied by corresponding audio information. [See script]


1) Playing sound or video in real time as it is downloaded over the internetas opposed to storing it in a local file first. Avoids download delay.


Digital variation of fixed-speed slow motion, with image action broken down into a series of still frames updated and replaced by new ones at rapid speed. [See DVE]


(S-VHS, S-VHS-C) Improved version of VHS and VHS-C videotape formats, characterized by separate carriers of chrominance and luminance information, yielding a sharper picture. [See VHS, VHS-C]


(super) Non-inherent titles or graphics appearing over an existing video picture, partially or completely hiding areas they cover.

Surround Sound

High-quality _HYPERLINK "digital_audio.htm"__digital audio_ delivered in a configuration where the audio signal is delivered through five channels to five speakers: left, right, center, left rear and right rear. Sometimes called 3D sound.


Shared wireless applications protocol


Post-production process of adding music and sound effects to or otherwise enhancing, purifying, massaging a final audio track.


Extremely rapid camera movement from left to right or right to left, appearing as image blur. Two such pans in the same direction -- one moving from, the other moving to a stationary shot -- edited together can effectively convey passage of time.


Simplified SEG, permits video signal mixing from two or more sources -- cameras, time base correctors, character generators -- for dissolves, wipes, and other clean transition effects.


(synchronization) Horizontal and vertical timing signals or electronic pulses -- component of composite signal, supplied separately in RGB systems. Aligns video origination (live camera, videotape) and reproduction (monitor or receiver) sources.

synchronous sound

Audio recorded with images. When the mouth moves, the words come out.


Generic term for the people or creatures assuming primary on-screen roles in a videotaping.

Talking browser

Technology that allows WWW browsers to speak and to recognize voice commands.

tally light

Automatic indicators on camera front and within viewfinder that signal recording in progress -- seen by both camera subject(s) and operator.


Electronic device that corrects timing inconsistencies in a videotape recorder's playback, stabilizing the image for optimum quality. Also synchronizes video sources, allowing image mixing. [See sync]


Abbreviation for telecommunication company, including AT&T, Sprint, MCI, Pac Bell, etc. Telcos typically own and operate POTS systems but increasingly are trying to expand into DSL.

telecine converter

Imaging device used in conjunction with a movie projector and camcorder to transfer film images to videotape.


Camera lens with long focal length, narrow horizontal field of view. Opposite of wide-angle, captures magnified, closeup images from considerable distance.


(prompter) Mechanical device that projects and advances text on mirror directly in front of camera's lens, allowing talent to read their lines while appearing to maintain eye contact with viewers.

test pattern

Any of various combinations of converging lines, alignment marks, and gray scales appearing on screen to aid in video equipment adjustment for picture alignment, registration, and contrast. Often viewed on broadcast television in off-air hours. [See colo

Text to speech

Technology which converts text to audible, spoken-word sound files. Incorporated into talking browsers.

Thin Client

A computer with minimal CPU power, RAM and hard drive capacity connected to a server on a network (such as the Web). Java is designed for slim-client applications, which means you can run networked applications (Java applets) without great need for RAM o

Thin Streaming

Low bandwidth delivery of streaming video, audio or animated content.

three-point lighting

Basic lighting approach employing key, back, and fill lights to illuminate subject with sense of depth and texture.


(U-matic) Most popular professional/industrial video format employing larger cassettes and three-quarter-inch tape, as opposed to the half-inch width of VHS and Beta "consumer" formats. Related equipment is generally larger and sturdier, format's recordi


Camera view including three subjects, generally applicable to interview situations.


Camera move in a vertical direction, down or up, from a stationary position. Follows movement, contrasts differences in size between two subjects, or gives viewer point-of-view sense of a subject's height.

time base corrector

(TBC) Electronic device that corrects timing inconsistencies in a videotape recorder's playback, stabilizing the image for optimum quality. Also synchronizes video sources, allowing image mixing. [See sync]

time code

Synchronization system, like a clock recorded on your videotape, assigning a corresponding hours, minutes, seconds, and frame-number designation to each frame. Expedites indexing convenience and editing precision. [See SMPTE.]

time code

Synchronization system, like a clock recorded on your videotape, assigning a corresponding hours, minutes, seconds, and frame-number designation to each frame. Expedites indexing convenience and editing precision. [See SMPTE.]

time-lapse recording

Periodically videotaping a minimal number of frames over long durations of actual time. Upon playback, slow processes such as a flower blooming may be viewed in rapid motion.

timeline editing

A computer-based method of editing in which video and audio clips are represented on a computer screen by bars proportional to the length of the clip.


Method of programming a VCR to record desired programming in order to view at the user's demand rather than at the time broadcast.


Process or result of incorporating on-screen text as credits, captions, or any other alphanumeric communication to video viewers. [See character generator]


An alternative to the mouse, a trackball allows control of the computer cursor through a freely spinning ball mounted in a stable frame. Instead of moving a mouse across a pad to control the cursor the user spins the trackball with a finger or thumb.


[1] Lateral camera movement aligned with moving subject; background appears to move. Camera should maintain regulated distance from subject. [2] Positioning of video and/or audio heads over a videotape's recorded signals. [See head]


Three-legged camera mount offering stability and camera placement/movement consistency. Most are lightweight, used for remote recording. [See monopod]


A device for decoding signals, usually RF signals, into radio or TV programs. Tuners are typically built into TV sets and VCRs. They are now available also on computer cards that enable the viewing of TV programs on computer monitors. TV tuners can also


Television and VCR component that receives RF signals from an antenna or other RF sources and decodes into separate audio and video signals.

TV Agent

A concept for a search engine that would browse all TV listing sites on the Web. After the user enters personal preferences in a dialog box called PROFILE, TV Agent would conduct regular searches for suitable programs on his behalf.

TV Filter

A concept for developing intelligent agent software that would filter out unwanted TV programs by channel, time-of-day, program content and individual viewers. It would be similar to the V-Chip television filters and other lock out devices available on t

TV Mailbox

A concept for an application that would record TV shows for the user without any need for the user to push buttons on a VCR or remote. In concept, it's like delayed Video-On-Demand (VOD). One could call it Video Delivered Later (VDL). It would operate s

TV Prescriptions

A concept for software for the TV Filter. TV critics, psychologists, leaders of faiths, organizations or other opinion leaders could program their television recommendations into TV Prescriptions. The user could obtain these on floppy discs or via Inter


(see couch-friendly) Web content that works well on TV


Camera view including two subjects, generally applicable to interview situations.


Most popular professional/industrial video format employing larger cassettes and three-quarter-inch tape, as opposed to the half-inch width of VHS and Beta "consumer" formats. Related equipment is generally larger and sturdier, format's recording conside


Ultra high frequency. The band of frequencies between 300 and 3000 megahertz in the radio spectrum, corresponding to wavelengths of 10 cm to 1 meter. In the U.S., part of this spectrum is assigned to commercial broadcast television channels 14-69.


Lighting accessory available in various sizes usually made of textured gold or silver fabric. Facilitates soft, shadowless illumination by reflecting light onto a scene.


Communication between a single sender and a single receiver over a network. Point-to-point communication, similar in meaning to unicast.


Highly selective microphone pickup pattern, rejects sound coming from behind while absorbing that from in front. [See bidirectional, omnidirectional.]


(Uniform Resource Locator) The "address" to a location on the World Wide Web.


A system of networks used to transmit messages to Internet newsgroups.


Tim Collings of Simon Fraser University, financed by Shaw Cable (a Canadian cable service), created the V-chip, a computer chip which allows users to block programs. Parents can program the V-chip with the ratings of shows they want to block. The V-chip


Videocassette recorder. Multifunction machine intended primarily for recording and playback of videotape stored in cassettes.


A proposed technology standard which would allow any Web site or software application the ability to program any TV tuner or VCR by using any "Internet-ready linking product" (smart cable, wireless RF/infrared, VCR drive) via an infrared connection. The


Electronic testing device that measures a video signal's chrominance performance, plotting qualities in a compass-like graphic display.

vertical interval time code

(VITC) Synchronization signals recorded as an invisible component of the video signal, accessed for editing precision. [See time code]


Very high frequency. The portion of the electromagnetic spectrum with frequencies between 30 and 300 megahertz. Part of the VHF spectrum in the United States is assigned to channels 2-13 for broadcast television service.


(video home system) Predominant half-inch videotape format developed by Matsushita and licensed by JVC. [See Super-VHS]


(VHS compact) Scaled-down version of VHS using miniature cassettes compatible with full-size VHS equipment through use of adapter. [See Super-VHS]

video card

The PC card that controls the computer's monitor display. Don't confuse the computer's video (VGA, SVGA, Mac monitor and so on) which is non-interlaced, with NTSC video. PC cards for DTV are also called capture, overlay or compression cards. They do not g

Video delivered later

(VDL) A concept by which customized video programming is selected by a user to be delivered and stored (either digital on a hard drive or analog on a tape) when bandwidth congestion and use habits are lightest like in the middle of the night. In an Inte

Video phone

(Internet video phone) An application from Intel allowing users to talk to others across the Internet using both audio and video.

video prompter

A mechanical device that projects and advances text on a mirror directly in front of a camera lens, allowing talent to read lines while appearing to maintain eye contact with viewers.


A feature of any product that sends audio and video signals from a video source to a monitor in another room. These products include a transmitter made to be attached to the source and a receiver meant for the remote monitor. Using such products a user c

videocassette recorder

(VCR) Multifunction machine intended primarily for recording and playback of videotape stored in cassettes.


Visual special effect whereby viewers see images through a perceived keyhole, heart shape, diamond -- whatever. In low-budget form, achieved by aiming camera through cutout of desired vignette.


Undesirable darkening at the corners of a picture, as if viewer's peering through a telescope, due to improper matching of lens to camera -- pickup's scope exceeds lens size.


(VITC) Synchronization signals recorded as an invisible component of the video signal, accessed for editing precision. [See time code.]

Voice control

Technology that allows electronic devices to be controlled by userís voice command.


(VO) Narration accompanying picture, heard above background sound or music. Talking typically applied to edited visual during post-production.


Pronounced ver-mul, and short for Virtual Reality Modeling Language or Virtual Reality Markup Language, VRML is a programming language used to model three-dimensional objects for on-screen virtual reality environments. Files written in VRML have a .wrl

Wall wart

The AC to DC convert that many consumer electronics products require (external modems, external encoders, etc) these are "large plugs" that plug into the wall receptacle. They look like a wart on the wall.

waveform monitor

Specialized oscilloscope testing device providing a graphic display of a video signal's strength. Plus, like a sophisticated light meter, aids in precise setting of picture's maximum brightness level for optimum contrast.

Web Ring

Web sites linked together to form a "tour" of common content sites

Web Tone

Provided by an ISP, much as a dial tone is provided by the phone company.

WebTV Networks

The leading Net-top box provider. Microsoft owns WebTV.

whip pan

(swish pan) Extremely rapid camera movement from left to right or right to left, appearing as image blur. Two such pans in the same direction -- one moving from, the other moving to a stationary shot -- edited together can effectively convey passage of t

white balance

Electronic adjustment of camera to retain truest colors of recorded image. Activated in camcorder prior to recording, proper setting established by aiming at white object.

Whole house audio/video

A home audio and/or video system wired to provide integral entertainment throughout the home. Single Zone whole house audio provides the capability to listen to a single audio source from speakers in multiple rooms. Multi- Zone whole house audio provide


Camera lens with short focal length and broad horizontal field of view. Opposite of telephoto, supports viewer perspective and tends to reinforce perception of depth.

wild sound

Nonsynchronous audio recorded independent of picture ie. rain on roof, five o'clock whistle -- often captured with separate audio recorder. [See nonsynchronous sound]


Sponge-like microphone shield, thwarts undesirable noise from wind and rapid mike movement.


Transition from one shot to another wherein the new shot is revealed by a moving line or pattern. In it's simplest form, it simulates a window shade being drawn.

wireless microphone

Consisting of radio transmitter and receiver, utilizes low-power radio signal for cable-free operation.


Copy of a master videotape used for edit planning and rough cut without excessively wearing or otherwise jeopardizing safekeeping of original material. Also called "working master."

World Wide Web

A client/server hypertext system for retrieving information across the Internet. Web "pages" are built in HTML format and linked to other documents by their URLs. Originally developed by CERN labs in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Wide Web's continuing

wow and flutter

Sound distortions consisting of a slow rise and fall of pitch, caused by speed variations in audio/video playback system.


A home automation protocol used to send signals using existing AC wiring. A central control box plugs into an AC outlet and sends the X-10 signals to modules located on the same system. Modules are commonly used to control lighting, sprinklers, heaters


Refers collectively to all types of digital subscriber lines, which use sophisticated modulation schemes to pack data onto copper wires offering fast two-way data connections over ordinary telephone lines. (See DSL and ADSL).


(Ground-Left-Right) Three-pin plug for three-conductor "balanced" audio cable, employed with high-quality microphones, mixers and other audio equipment.


Symbol for luminance, or brightness, portion of a video signal; the complete color video signal consists of R,G,B and Y.


Also known as S-video. Video signal type employed with Hi8 and S-VHS video formats. Transmits chrominance and luminance portions separately via multiple wires, thereby avoiding the NTSC encoding process and its inevitable picture quality degradation.


Variance of focal length, bringing subject into and out of closeup range. Lens capability permits change from wide-angle to telephoto, or vice versa, in one continuous move. "Zoom in" and "zoom out" are common terms.

zoom ratio