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

Pull Down
A transfer of sound slowed down from film speed, 24 film frames per second, to video speed, 29.97 video frames per second, which is the equivalent of 23.98 film frames per second. This must be done to line it up with a video transfer of picture when transferring sync sound to video

Pulldown Claw
The pulldown claw is part of the camera movement, which advances the film from the exposed frame to the next unexposed frame while the camera`s shutter is closed

Pull Processing
Pull processing is a special type of processing where the film is developed for a shorter time than normal, usually to make up for intended overexposure

Pull Up
This term can be a little confusing since it has three meanings that both apply to sound. 1.: The process of offsetting the sound 26 frames ahead of picture when making a print (see Printer`s Sync). 2.: Pull Ups, as a noun, are transfers of the first 26 frames of sound from a reel that are spliced onto the outgoing sound of the previous reel so that sound is not lost when the film is printed with ...

Push Processing
Push processing is a special type of processing where the film is developed for a longer time than normal, usually to make up for intended underexposure. It should be noted that only entire rolls can be pushed, not individual scenes. Pushing film will add some contrast and graininess

Quartz Light
Can also be called halogen light or tungsten light. A quartz light is a very bright type of light that uses a tungsten filament that is contained in a quartz envelope. The color temperature will be a fairly consistent 3,200K. They can get very hot when in use. It is also very important never to touch the bulb with your bare hands at any time. Oil from your hands will cause the bulb to blister and ...

Quick Release
A latching device for quickly mounting and removing the camera from the tripod

Quick Release Shoe
The part of the quick release that attaches to the camera is called the quick release shoe, and is inevitably worth double-checking, as they frequently stray away the tripod when left behind on the camera

Rack Focus
A shot where focus is changed while shooting. Unlike a Follow Focus shot, a rack focus shot is usually done not from the necessity of keeping someone in focus but to shift attention from one thing to another.

Raw Stock
Unexposed film

Reaction Shot
1.: A shot of someone looking off screen. Used either to lead into a P.O.V. Shot (and let the viewer know that it is a P.O.V. shot), or to show a reaction right after a P.O.V. shot. 2.: A reaction shot can also be a shot of someone in a conversation where they are not given a line of dialogue but are just listening to the other person speak.

Leftover film that was loaded into a magazine but (unlike a Shortend) not even partially shot, and then loaded back in the film can. Basically, it is a roll a film that has been opened, but not used.

Reduction Print
An optical reduction of a film from one gauge to another, such as 35mm to 16mm

1.: A metal or plastic spool for holding film, either for projection or editing. 2.: In 35mm a reel is 1,000 feet of film (or usually a little less). Also known as a Single Reel

Reflective Light Reading
A reflective light reading measures the amount of light bouncing off the subject. You take a reflective reading with a light meter equipped with a honey-comb or lensed grid. The meter is pointed at the subject, so as to read only the light bouncing off the subject. The other type of light reading is an Incident Light Reading.

A viewfinding system in a camera where the image you see in the viewfinder is viewed through the same lens that is used to photograph the image on film

The degree to which one frame lines up with the next is registration. A camera with poor registration will create an image that will gently bobble when projected. Projectors too can have good or poor registration (sometimes making it difficult to tell if it was the camera). Good registration is most important for certain types of special effects sh...

Registration Pin
A registration pin is found in the movement certain cameras, such as the Arriflex and the Eclair, and acts to steady the image during exposure.

Release Print
This is a print made after the answer print has been approved. It is not retimed, but struck using the same timing as the final answer print. Because it is not retimed it is generally much cheaper than an answer print. On a big production, these are the prints released to movie theaters, hence the name

A device that governs the speed of a tape recorder during the transfer to mag, insuring the sound will be in sync with picture. The resolver uses the pilottone as a reference for adjusting the playback speed, hence something can only be resolved if it has been recorded with a properly equipped tape recorder. The Nagra IV has a built-in resolver

A type of film and method of processing that yields a positive original. This is the movie-film equivalent of slide film and processing, in still photography

Reverse Shot
A shot from the other side of the previous shot (though preferably on the same side of the 180° Line), such as cutting between two characters talking, a person exiting and entering though a doorway, a reaction shot and P.O.V. shot, etc.

A simple device for winding film, consisting of a crank and a spindle for mounting one or more reels, typically found mounted on either side of an editing bench

A type of tape splicer which uses perforated splicing tape. Two models exist: One for straight cuts used for picture, and one for slanted cuts used for sound

Room Tone
A recording of the `silence” of a room or any location, to be used to fill in gaps when editing the sound. The silence of a location is really not very silent at all, and the room tone of one location is not a substitute for another, so a sync sound shoot will usually end with the sound recordist asking everyone to be quiet for the record...

Rough Cut
The edited film, between the stages of being an assembly and a fine cut

A cloth bag with two chambers filled with sand, used as a weight on the legs of a light stand for additional stability

A scene is really just a single shot. But often scene is used to mean several shots, which is more to do with the word`s origin in theater. It is sometimes clearer to say `sequence” for several shots, so as not to confuse the filmic and theatrical meanings of the word

Scratch Mix
A mix with little correction of the sound, that is usually done before the final mix in order to screen the film with all the sounds in place, to determine if there are any changes to be made. Typically this is not done on lower budget productions, as the added cost would be self-defeating

Scratch Test
A scratch test is done before shooting, by running either a foot or two of the beginning of a roll of film, or a dummy roll of film, and checking for scratches, to insure that neither the camera nor the magazines are scratching the film

Scratch Track
A sync recording made under conditions that make the sound useless, except for reference to the sound editor or to the actors for dubbing

Sometimes it is useful to separate out all the shots you are going to use before beginning to edit. These are known as selects

A permanent felt-tipped marker useful for labeling the cans of exposed rolls out on a shoot and in the editing room for labeling your leader. Sharpie is a brand-name of the most common of these markers

Shooting Ratio
The ratio of how much film shot compared to running time of the finished film. For instance a 5 minute film for which you shot 30 minutes of footage would have a shooting ratio of 6 to 1

The unexposed remainder of a roll of film in a magazine that is clipped and placed back into a can for use later. Unlike recans a shotend is something less than 400 feet

A shot is the film exposed from the time the camera is started to the time it is stopped. Shot and Scene are interchangeable terms.

Silent Camera
This term is often a little confusing because it does not mean a camera that is itself silent, and therefore usable for sync sound, but it means a noisy, unsilent camera, usable only for shooting silent, M.O.S. scenes

Silent Speed
18 frames per second. A slightly archaic notion left over from the time when 16mm was used exclusively for home movies. It is not always that easy to find a projector that will project at 18 frames per second and so films shot at silent speed will often be speeded up slightly, whether the filmmaker intended this of not

Single Perf
16mm film with a row of perforations along one edge. On the film can this will be indicated by 1R appearing on the label.

Single Reel
In 35mm a reel is 1,000 feet of film (or usually a little less)

Single System
Single System refers to recording, editing or projecting sound and picture together on the same piece of film. Cameras used for tv news would record the sound on a magnetic stripe as well as photograph the picture. Also super-8 sound. Single system has some distinct editorial disadvantages, hence the more common use of Double System for shooting and editing.

Slop Print
An untimed black and white dupe print of your workprint, used for projection in a sound mix. A slop print is used because splices can jump and cause the film to go out of sync, and a slop print will have no splices

A rather unattractive sounding name for Filler.

Soft Light
A type of light with a built-in surface to act as a bounce card, providing soft, indirect light on the subject

Sound Blanket
Basically just a quilted mover`s blanket. Often it is thrown over the camera (and the camera operator) to cut down on camera noise, as a sort of improvised Barney.

Sound Reader
A playback head for reading mag stock, mounted on a bracket that snaps onto a synchronizer. It is pugged into the squawk box

Sound Speed
24 frames per second. The normal speed for filming and projecting.

A metal cylinder with a flat plate at one end and a hole through the center, used between reels on the spindle of a rewind to space out the reels the same distance as the gangs of a synchronizer. Although it is a little shorter, in a pinch you can use cores as spacers

In sound editing, these are any effects that directly relate to the picture, where we see a thing happen and hear it too. Backgrounds, ambiance and speech are not specifics

Split Screen
see Matte Shot. Typically a split screen is a matte shot divided down the center of the shot.

Another, less commonly used, term for Spreader.

Spikes are a term that comes from theater. They are little pieces of tape placed around the legs of furniture, or the tripod legs, before they are moved, making it easy to return things to their original position

A method of joining two peices of film so they can be projected as one continuous piece. There are three methods: the Tape Splice (usually used for editing), the Cement Splice (used for original material), and the far less common Ultra-Sonic Splice (used for Polyester Base film).

Split Reel
A very handy reel, the two halves of which may be unscrewed and film on a core placed between. Once screwed back together (but not too tight, or it will never open) your film on a core has quickly been converted into film on a reel

Spool Down
Winding an unexposed 400 foot roll down onto four 100 foot daylight spools for use in a camera that will only take 100 feet of film. Spooling down can only be done in complete darkness. 42 turns on a rewind per daylight spool will divide a 400 foot roll pretty evenly. Also, it is vitally important that the film be wound all the way through once and...

Spot Meter
A type of meter for taking a Reflective Light Reading with a short telescopic sight that enables you to take a very specific reflective reading of a small, well-defined area.

A piece of gear consisting of three arms on a central hub attached to the bottom of a tripod to keep the legs from collapsing outwards

Spring Lock
A round spring-loaded clamp that goes on the end of a rewind to allow several reels to turn together

The teeth on a roller designed to engage with the perforations in film. Sometimes sprocket holes are referred to as sprockets too

Spun glass diffusion material. see Diffusion.

A grease pencil mark on the workprint indicating either a fade or a dissolve, called so because when projected it resembles a streamer trailing across the screen

A popular brand of flatbed. The word is sometimes used interchangeably with flatbed

an endearing term, used by electricians, for an extension cord. Not a very commonly used term on the whole

35mm mag stock that contains a stripe of magnetic tape rather than the complete coating found on Fullcoat. Stripe mag will also have a balance stripe to prevent warping.

Super 16
A format using single perf 16mm film on which a wider image is exposed than is the case with regular 16mm, using the area that would normally have the soundtrack. Super 16mm was conceived specifically for blow up to 35mm, and is typically rather inconvenient for anything else

Super Speed
Just a fancy way for Zeiss to describe a fast prime lens, typically with a T-stop of 1.3

The same as Double Exposure, but often used expressly to describe a double exposure done through optical printing, as in superimposed titles, etc.

The degree to which sound and picture are lined up, in-sync being lined up exactly, and out-of-sync not so exactly. It can be applied to any specific sound and picture relationship, not just voices and not just sync-sound, but any type of specific effect too

The actual lining up of sound and picture before editing a sync sound film. This also involves cutting the excess sound between takes, and adding filler, so that the picture and sound are now in sync for beginning to end

Sync Mark
1.: The point at which the clapsticks come together at the beginning of a shot, and the accompanying sound on the sound track. 2.: An `X” mark on a single frame at the beginning of a reel of picture that lined up with a second sync mark on a roll of sound (May also be used anywhere where needed). Sync marks are also used at the beginning of A&B rolls.

A very helpful tool of the editing room, a synchronzier is a device with a center axle and several sprocketed wheels attached to it. The wheels are called gangs. Film may be clamped into the gang, so that it can be measured with a footage counter on the front of the synchronizer. One revolution of the synchronizer equals one foot of film. Several e...

Sync Sound
Sync sound is sound recorded while shooting picture. Usually it involves footage of people speaking, and is thus sometimes called lip sync. It must be recorded with either crystal or cable sync to line up and not drift out of sync

A gauge on a camera measuring the film speed when the camera is running

The end of a shot or a roll is called the tail

Tail Slate
Sometimes it is necessary to mark a shot at the end rather than at the beginning. When this is done it is called a tail slate. It is customary to call `Tail Slate!” just before clapping the slate, so that the person syncing the film does not get confused. To easily distinguish a tail slate, the slate is held upside down when marking the s...

Multiple versions of the same shot are called takes

Take Up Reel
An empty reel, used on a projector to gather up the film after it has passed through the movement

Take Up Spool
An empty spool in a camera used to gather up the film after it has passed through the movement

Tape Splice
A method of joining two pieces of film so they can be projected as one continuous piece. Tape splices are used in the editing stage. To cut the negative Cement Splices are used.

A machine for transferring film to video

Used as an equivalent to Long Lens, but for those who wish to be overly exact, a telephoto lens is a long lens that is physically shorter than its focal length.

The Call
This is the sequence of directions that begin a take, typically: `Roll Sound!” `Roll Camera!” `Mark it!” `And... Action!”

The Groundglass
A flat surface of etched glass in the viewfinding system of a camera that is the same distance from the lens as the film plane.

The Movement
The parts of a camera or projector that move the film intermittently: the pulldown claw, the rollers before and after the loops, and the gears connecting these parts form the movement. If there is a registration pin, this is also part of the movement. Sometimes the shutter can also be considered part of the movement

The Slate
A board with two hinged sticks attached. The slate is used to record a scene number and sync point (via the clapstick) at the beginning of a shot

The Sticks
1.: The tripod or the tripod legs. 2.: The clapper on the slate

The Taking Lens
On a turret, the lens that is actually in front of the gate, producing an image on the film

Tie-In Kit
A device for bypassing the fuse box and electrical wiring of a location by tapping power directly from the mains

Tight Wind
A handy attachment sometimes found on an editing bench on the right rewind, used to wind film onto a core and giving it a very smooth edge. It can be quicker than opening and tightening split reels if you are just rewinding an entire roll

Tight Wind Hub
A tight wind is useless without it. This is the hub that holds a core on the spindle of a rewind

A vertical camera move on an axis, up or down. Not to be used interchangeably with pan. It is not really correct to say `pan up” or `pan down,” when you really mean tilt

Time Lapse
Time lapse is when single frame shooting is used to dramatically speed up the action over the course of a long period of time. Typically it is a process where a single frame is shot after a consistent pause. It could be one frame every ten seconds, or one frame every hour, and such

Timed Print
Unlike a One Light Print, this is a print where the timer has gone through and timed every shot.

The person at the lab who goes through your film, shot by shot and selects the printing lights

The lab`s process of selecting printing lights to for the proper redition of exposure and color when making a print. The term is a little consuing, as it has nothing at all to do with `time” as in `running time” or such

Timing Lights
These are the lamps of the contact printer at the lab. Their brightness can be controlled, which is measured in a scale of 1 to 50, 1 being the darkest and 50 the brightest. In color there are three lights used together: Red - Green - Blue. When working with negative it is worth remembering that the values are reversed: the brighter the light, the ...

Timing Report
A list of the timing lights and corresponding footages the lab used in making your print. The timing report can be very helpful for analyzing the footage and judging the possibilities of further corrections. Any serious problems with the footage (out of focus, scratches, edge fog, etc.) are usually also noted on the timing report

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

Trims are outtakes of a few frames, usually a foot or less. To keep them from getting lost they are usually stored separately from longer outtakes, either in their own vault box or in a trim book

Trim Bin
A trim bin is a bin on wheels lined with a fabric bag and topped off with a frame with a row pins on which to hang film while editing. Oddly enough, a trim bin is not used for trims, which are small, but for selects and outtakes. Not to be confused with a waste basket!