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Newschool - Glossary of Film Terms
Category: Film and Animation > Film
Date & country: 13/09/2008, USA
Words: 338

Academy Aperture
In 35mm this is the full frame exposed by the camera, with an aspect ratio of 1.33. When the film is projected there is a mask in the projector`s gate to change the aspect ratio to 1.85 or 1.66, cropping the top and bottom of the image. Older films were not shot to be masked and should be projected without a mask. The Academy Aperture is somet...

Academy Leader
This is standard countdown leader, counting down 8 to 3 and then with one frame of 2, at which point there is a single frame beep on the sound track. It is used at the beginning of a film for the lab to line up sound (using the beep) and later for the projectionist to know when to turn on the lamp and hopefully not miss the opening of the film. A c...

A method of creating a wide screen image with standard film, using a special lens on the camera and projector that compresses the width of the image that is exposed on the film and then expands it when projected

Answer Print
This is the first corrected print made from the A&B Rolls, printed with the optical track. It is sometimes called a married print because it is the first time that picture and sound are wed together on the same piece of print stock. If you are not overly optimistic about the results of the timing, you can call this the First Answer Print. When ...

This is the same as the Iris.

Apple Box
This is a wooden box, often helpful on the set to raise up equipment, for the cameraperson to stand on if the tripod is up very high etc. Often you will find them used as seats by the less involved participants. There are also half apples and quarter apples, which as you might expect, are half and one quarter as thick respectively

A metal rod that is attached to a C-Stand which can extend off to the side.

Aspect Ratio
The proportions of the frame. In 16mm and 35mm the camera photographs a slightly square image, with an aspect ratio of 1.33 to 1. Aspect Ratios are usually shorted to leave out the `- to 1,” taking for granted that it will always be in relation to 1, an so `1.33 to 1” can just be called `1.33” In 35mm 1.33 is known as the Academy Aperture. In 35mm the image is usually shot with the Academy Apertur...

Rewinding film in the camera to shoot a Double Exposure.

Balance Stripe
A second stripe found on 35mm stripe mag stock and super-8 sound film to prevent warping

Handy blinders on the sides of lights that can be used to keep light from going everywhere. They can also be used to clip on a lighting gel. They get very hot when a light is on, so it is best to wear work gloves when adjusting them

A quilted cozy that fits around a camera to reduce camera noise. Generally it is only effective on a camera that is pretty quiet to begin with. The term comes from barney blanket, a kind of horse blanket

Film has two basic elements: The base is the clear, perforated strip, and the emulsion is the thin, light-sensitive layer that is glued onto it

A type of lens mount commonly used with heavier lenses, such as zoom lenses. In contrast to screw-mount lenses, bayonet lenses are attached to the camera with a locking mechanism. Bayonet lenses can typically be changed much faster than screw-mount lenses

Best Light
Similar to a One Light, but by implication, the timer has gone through the film more thoroughly in selecting a timing light that will agree with the majority of the footage.

Black Leader
Black leader is black, opaque film, often specifially called black emulsion leader. It is what the negative cutter uses when preparing A&B rolls. It is very important that it be emulsion leader rather than plastic leader when used for A&B rolls, since plastic leader cannot be cement spliced. It also must be very opaque, not any black piece of film will do.

Blow Up
An optical enlargement of a film from one gauge to another, such as 16mm up to 35mm. The opposite of a blow up is a Reduction Print.

Blow Down
The actual term for the opposite of a blow up is a Reduction Print, but this term has been coined by Colorlab in Rockville, Maryland, for a reduction print made from super 16mm to regular 16mm, as an alternative to the much more expensive process of blowing up super 16mm to 35mm.

A fiberglass housing used to encase a noisy camera to make it suitable for sync sound filming

Blimped Camera
The term is used not to mean a camera in a blimp, but a camera that is designed with internal soundproofing without the need for an external blimp. For instance, with an Arri BL the `BL” stands for `blimped.”

One of the more widely used 16mm non-sync cameras, it is made in Switzerland by the Paillard Company. There are many varieties, non-reflex, reflex, springwound and electric motor driven. But when someone says `Bolex,” typically they mean a reflex, springwound model, such as the Rex-4.

Bounce Card
A white or silver card used for soft indirect lighting of the subject by bouncing light off the card. Can also be used to provide a gentle brightening of shadow areas. Especially out-of-doors as it does not require power

The filming of several takes of the same shot at different f-stops to achieve the desired result. Usually this technique is applied to shooting titles much more than anything else. (It is a good idea to film a few frames of black in-between, since it is sometimes difficult to tell where the camera was stopped.)

Camera Core
A 2 inch Core

Camera Original
A slightly more adamant way of saying Original

Camera Noise
The sound of the camera running. Even supposedly quiet cameras will make some noise

Camera Reports
A form of paperwork used to log shots and takes and put down any notes either to the lab or for future organization in the editing stage. There is generally one camera report per camera roll. Camera reports can be used to communicate specific timing requests to the lab (for instance, if a shot if lit with unusual color gels, this can be noted to le...

Camera Roll
Each roll that you shoot becomes a camera roll. It is often helpful to label them with a number in the order that they were shot. The usual way is with the abbreviation C.R. followed by a number. The lab will then assemble and print them in that order. This makes things less confusing when you first get back your footage

Camera Stock
This is film. It is also called camera stock to distinguish it from Print Stock.

Camera Tape
Cloth tape specifically for use on film shoots, much like gaffer`s tape. Camera tape is typically 1 inch wide and white so that it can be used together with a sharpie for labeling magazines with the emulsion type and camera roll number. It is valid to use the terms gaffer`s tape and camera tape interchangeably (they are both really the sa...

Canted Angle
see Dutch Tilt.

Cement Splice
A type of splice used primarily by negative cutters. In a cement splice the two pieces of film overlap each other and are fused together with film cement

Changing Bag
A double chambered black bag with a zipper on one end and two elasticized arm holes on the other side, used for loading film into magazines

Check Print
This is a print made from an internegative or an optical to verify the quality and success of an effect

When the camera is set up for a second shot at a different angle it is possible to move things around a little to improve the new composition, the difference in perspective and angle of the two shots hiding the fact that things are not exactly in the same place. Both actors and furniture on the set can be cheated. The term is often used as cheating...

Cinch Marks
Not to be confused with sync marks. Cinch marks are small vertical scratches on a roll of film that are caused when the end of the film is pulled to tighten the roll, causing any dust on the film to make a small scratch. Too much drag on the supply while rewinding is one common way that cinching can occur

Clamp Light
A type of lighting fixture designed to hold a screw-in light bulb, with a not-so-dependable spring clamp for mounting on the side of an open door, etc. Often includes an aluminum reflector dish as well

The Slate, or just the two sticks that are struck together to mark a sync sound take.

Co-axial Magazine
A type of magazine with two chambers side by side, with the supply and take up rolls rather like wheels mounted on either end of the same axle

Code Numbers
Inked-on edge numbers, usually added to a workprint and mag track after syncing, so that corresponding sound and picture can always be properly aligned during editing. They are also used for the general organization of the footage. Sometimes the term edge numbers are used, and although this is not incorrect, care should be taken that it is understood that you are talking about the inked-on numbers...

The Timer of a video transfer.

Color Temperature
It is a measurement of the color of light, and important in that film is much more sensitive to color temperature than our eyes are. Is measured on scale that takes its name from the scientist Lord Kelvin

Progressive versions of a film in the editing stage are known as conformations, often identified by date. Conformations are only of any significance on a large production where different editing departments should be sure to be working with the latest conformation

The word to describe the negative cutter`s matching of the original to the workprint

Contact Printing
The method used by the lab to copy film. A contact print is made on a machine called (sensibly enough) a Contact Printer, in which the original film and unexposed print stock are sandwiched together, emulsion against emulsion, and are run at a constant speed past a light which shines through the original, exposing the print stock with the same image. All workprints, answer prints and release print...

The seamlessness of detail from one shot to another within a scene. Continuity refers particularly to the physical elements, rather than to the choices in Coverage that can result in a lack of seamlessness. Elements of continuity include any actions of the actor, the placement of props, the lighting, the costumes, and so on.

Coverage is used to describe the architecture of breaking down a script into the shots that will allow the scene to be cut together. Although coverage addresses the bare-bones question of getting shots that will cut together smoothly, it is important not to be too distracted from bigger aesthetic question of getting the right shots for the scene to work.

A fancier way of saying Gobo or Cookie.

A flat board, like a flag, but full of irregular holes used for creating a pattern of shadows when put in front of a light

A plastic hub used to hold film without a reel. There are 2 inch cores (small cores) and 3 inch cores (large cores). 2 inch cores can also be called camera cores

Corrected Print
Same as a Timed Print.

Further changes in the timing of a print are known as corrections

Critical End!
What to label your film can when turning it in at the lab when the roll ran out during a very important shot and you want to make sure you get every last frame possible

Cross Modulation Test
Sometimes called `cross mod” for short. This is a test the Mixing House will do in conjunction with the lab you plan to use to make sure the optical track is exposed and developed for optimal sound quality

Cross Processing
A technique used much more by still photographers. Cross processing is the use of color reversal film stock to be developed as a negative. A positive print struck from that negative will have strange and rich colors, intense contrast and on overall yellowish hue

Crystal Sync
Specifically, a way of recording Sync Sound where the camera runs at correct speed with a quartz crystal-governed motor, and tape recorder records its pilottone using a built-in quartz crystal pilottone generator. The crystal is much like the kind used in a quartz watch. Unlike cable sync, the camera and tape recorder are not attached.

Cue Sheets
A road map, of sorts, for the mixer to find the sounds on your tracks during the mix. It is laid out as a grid with each track forming a column and time moving ahead in rows measured in 35mm footage (even if your film is 16mm you must convert the footage to 35mm)

What the director says to end the filming of a shot. 2.: The cutting apart of 2 shots at the frameline, or the point where the shots have been cut apart. 3.: In the different stages, or at the completion of editing the edited film itself can be referred to as `the cut” or `the edit.”

A shot, usually a closeup of some detail, or landscape, that is used break up a matching action sequence, and is often very helpful in editing to rescue you from an impossible break in continuity or coverage. A cutaway, as the name implies, is a shot that does not focus on some detail of the shot before or after it but cuts away from the action at hand, unlike an Insert Shot. However, the two term...

Daylight Balanced
The color temperature of daylight which is 5,400K on the color temperature scale (it does vary during the day, being higher at noon and lower in the earlier and later parts of the day). Color film for outdoor shooting is balanced for daylight, otherwise the image would appear blue in hue. If daylight balanced film is used indoors without a correcti...

Daylight Spool
An aluminum spool holding 100 feet of film with solid, opaque sides, painted black, which will protect the film from becoming completely exposed when loading a camera in daylight. The name daylight spool comes from the fact that the film may be loaded without total darkness. There are also 400 foot daylight spools, but these are very rarely used as...

Depth of Field
While a lens focuses on a single plane of depth, there is usually an additional area in focus behind and in front of that plane. This is depth of field. Depth of field increases as the iris is closed. There is more depth of field the wider the lens and less the longer the lens. There is a deeper area in focus the further away a lens is focused than...

1.: A filter used on the camera to create a soft focus effect. 2.: A white or pearlecent sheet of material used on a movie light to soften the shadows

The diopter is part of the viewfinding system of a camera that can be adjusted to compensate for your own particular eyesight, allowing you to see the groundglass clearly.

A transition between two shots, where one shot fades away and simultaneously another shot fades in. Dissolves are done at the lab in the printing phase, but prepared by the negative cutter, who cuts in an overlap of the two shots into the A&B rolls. Labs will only do dissolves in fixed amounts, such as 24 frames, 48 frames, etc

Dolly Shot
A dolly shot is one where the camera is placed on a dolly and is moved while filmming. Also known as a tracking shot

Double Exposure
A double exposure occurs when (prior to development) an exposed piece of film is reshot with a second image on top of the first. Several exposures can be made, but it still valid to call it a `double” exposure rather than a `triple” or `quadruple” exposure. It is perfectly alright to say `five double exposures,...

Double Perf
16mm film with a row of perforations running along both edges. On the film can this will be indicated by 2R appearing on the label.

Double Reel
In 35mm a double reel is 2 single reels joined together, the maximum size being 2,000 feet. Double reels are labeled 1 A/B, 2 A/B etc., to distinguish them from single reels

Double System
The term double system refers to sound and picture as two separate elements, recorded, edited or projected in sync. 16mm and 35mm use the double system format. A camera photographs the picture and a tape recorder records the sound. In the end, the final print is Single System, combining sound and picture onto the same piece of print stock.

Double System Projector
A projector designed to project a workprint and play a mag track in sync

The recording of dialogue in a sound studio, after the footage is shot, where the actors watch the film and match the lip movements

A dupe is a positive copy of a positive. A dupe can also be a negative copy of a negative. A dupe is a print made in the reversal process. It can sometimes be clearer to call something a dupe, because to simply say `positive print” you could just mean a positive copy of a negative, which would not be a dupe

Dutch Tilt
A composition with the camera viewing the scene at a diagonal. Same as a canted angle. Some nice examples can be seen in Carol Reed`s `The Third Man.”

The cutting and arranging of shots. 2.: In the different stages, or at the completion of editing the edited film itself can be referred to as `the cut” or `the edit.”

Editing Bench
A workbench with rewinds attached, and sometimes a built-in light table in the center

Editing Bin
see Trim Bin.

Editorial Sync
A set of sync marks on picture and sound that line up at the same frame, as opposed to Printer`s Sync, where the picture and sound are displaced. Sometimes it is usedful to label a sync mark E.S. to know that it is an Editorial Sync mark.

Edge Fog
Exposure along the edge of the film from raw light, in most cases from a lightleak, due to the camera door not being taped. Edge Fog can sometimes be visible in the frame or sometimes outside of the frame effecting the clarity of the latent edge numbers

Edge Numbers
The edge numbers are small numbers running along the edge of the film, in between the perf in 16mm, and just to the far side of them in 35mm. The are photographed onto the film in its manufacture, and are there to aid the negative cutter in lining up shots in the process of conforming the negative. They are sometimes called latent edge numbers to distinguish them from inked-on code numbers. 2.: Co...

The thin layer of silver attached to the base which, when exposed and developed, creates the film image through the areas of silver, which block light, and the clear areas which allow light to pass through

Emulsion Batch
The emulsion batch is the series of numbers on the film can the come after the Emulsion Type. When the film is made, each batch is given a number so that you can shoot a single sequence with one particular batch. Just as a suit where the pants and jacket were cut from different bolts of fabric might be a little off, a sequence shot with different emulsion batches might also be a little off. From o...

Emulsion Leader
Unlike plastic leader, emulsion leader can be cement spliced

Emulsion Type
A film`s emulsion type refers to the composition of its emulsion, whether it was manufactured to be fast, slow, grainy, fine-grained, colorful, pastel, black and white or color, daylight balanced, tungsten balanced, etc. The emulsion type is represented by a number. For Kodak it is a series of four numbers, such as 7248. The `72” alw...

Estar Base
a brand name for Polyester Base.

Exciter Lamp
A special lamp in the projector used for the playback of Optical Sound. The projector reads the track by passing it between the exciter lamp a light-sensitive photo-electric cell.

Exposure Index
This is the sensitivity to light of a particular type of film. It is the specific number used to measure Film Speed. Your film will list an E.I. number on the box or the film can as the film speed. It is the same as A.S.A. and I.S.O. on your light meter.

Extension Tubes
These are a handy way to turn any long lens into a macro lens for ultra-close shooting. They are hollow metal tubes that are mounted between the camera and the lens. Typically they come in a set of different lengths which can be combined. It is a good idea to open up the lens a little when using an extension tube, as a little light is lost. It shou...

Eye Line
Eye line is the direction an actor should look off-screen to match a reverse angle or a P.O.V. shot. It is best to give the actor an actual thing or spot to look at rather than a blank spot on an empty wall or an empty space in mid air

A transition from a shot to black where the image gradually becomes darker is a Fade Out; or from black where the image gradually becomes brighter is a Fade In. Fades are done at the lab in the printing phase, but prepared by the negative cutter, who cuts in an overlap of black into the A&B rolls. Labs will only do fades in fixed amounts, such ...

Filler is scrap film, most often used to keep a sound track running the same length as the picture, even though there is just silence. When used this way in can also be called sound fill. Filler is usually a print with the emulsion scraped off the center all the way along, perhaps to prevent bootlegging, but also useful in that a mark can be seen o...

Film Cement
A liquid that is actually not a glue, but a chemical that melts and fuses two pieces of film together

Film Speed
The sensitivity to light for proper exposure of a given film stock. This is primarily a result of the size of the silver halides in the emulsion, the larger the grain, the less light is needed for exposure. Film stocks are generally spoken of as being fast or slow, a fast film having large grains and needing less light, a slow film having smaller grain and needing more light.

Film Plane
The film plane is the plane of depth from the lens of the film, behind the gate, in the camera. It is also the point from where the distances on the focusing ring should be measured from, and is indicated on the outside of the camera with a little symbol that looks like the planet Saturn turned on its side.

A tinted glass or small tinted plastic sheet placed in front of the lens or behind the lens in a filter holder, used to change the color rendition of the entire shot. Filters are used to convert tungsten balanced film for use in daylight or vice versa. The can also be used for aesthetic reasons, such as a red filter to darken the sky when filming i...

Fixed Focal Length Lens
see Prime Lens.

A round cloth bounce card mounted on a flexible ring that can be folded up when not in use

This has two meanings. 1.: It can be a large black cloth on a frame used on a shoot to keep light out of part of the composition. 2.: In the cutting room it is a small piece of tape attached to a shot in a roll and used exactly as you would use a bookmark. The flag sticks out the side of the roll, making it easy to find that shot again quickly

This has two meanings: 1.: When using film on a daylight spool, the erratic pattern of raw light that washes out the beginning and end of the roll are known as `the flares.” 2.: A flare of the other kind is a Lens Flare. It is caused when light strikes the lens and either causes the entire image to be fogged in appearance, or for a little...

Flash Frame
1.: A flash frame is a single frame that is completely clear between two shots. It occurs when the camera is stopped with the gate open, allowing for a very long exposure on that single frame. Rather than a problem, a flash frame can actually be a very helpful thing in the editing room, making it very easy to see where one shot ends and another beg...