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      We get it, moving image and video production agencies bombard you with industry jargon that frankly you know little about!

      Well, check out this handy little guide to decipher your video production terms.

      Your Essential Guide to Over 30 Video Production Terms

      1. AFTER FX

      After Effects.
      This relates to the addition of motion graphics and visual effects in the post-production editing process. The possibilities are limitless; add a dragon into your video, or turn your actors into Jedi’s with light sabres.

      2. ASSETS

      Assets are used to describe the different components of the video. You might have visual assets, music, audio, subtitles… you get the idea.

      3. ALT TEXT

      This is overlooked by many marketers and web managers. Alt text is used within the HTML code of the website and is used to describe an image. This is especially important for web users who are visually impaired. This text helps screen reading tools to tell the user what is on the webpage.

      4. B-ROLL

      A B-roll clip can be classed as any supplementary images that act as ‘fillers’ to the primary shots. This can range from stock footage to shots from a different angle, or a different scene. You decide!

      5. BREATHING

      Quentin Tarantino is well known for this technique in his films. Breathing is when there is a pause in the narrative or in sections of the film (or video!). This is a great way to add emphasis to certain sections of the video to signify to the viewer that there is a change of pace occurring.

      6. CUT

      You can’t just say this one, you need to SHOUT it. When filming, cut means to stop the scene. In the post-production process, a cut is the transition from one scene or shot to another. There are lots of different types of cuts. Read our blog post about how editing can affect the storyline here to see more of them!

      7. CAPTIONS

      Necessary for foreign language translations, those hard of hearing or impaired, and to add emphasis to specific messaging in your video. There are loads of reasons for captions, and aren’t something to be overlooked!

      8. CLEAR CAST

      The organisation that all of our Adsmart from Sky TV adverts go through. This ensures that all advertising meets the correct standards.


      Used to separate the foreground from the background, often used by blurring one or the other. You can change the depth of field by changing the aperture on the camera lens.


      When two images or videos are overlaid on one another. See an example of some of the double exposure here.

      11. EDIT

      You might have 10 edits of a video. An edit refers to a specific version of the video. You’ll never get it completely right in the first edit, but it’s good to save it for reference in future edits.

      12. EDITOR

      A post-production team member. The person who creates the edits. Check out our tips for video editing here.

      13. FRAME RATE

      Refers to the number of frames per second. Typically, a standard film in cinemas will have 24 frames per second (f/ps). This can be toyed with to create a super smooth cinematic masterpiece, or slowed down to create a stop-motion effect.

      14. GRADE

      The raw footage from filming doesn’t always pick up the depth of the colours that we can see in real life. Therefore, when an editor grades the footage, they change the lighting, colour, and brightness balances to bring the video to life. This is especially important to do across indoor and outdoor transitions to ensure the viewer watches a seamless video.


      A specialised camera rig is mounted on a robotic arm. Instead of shaky movements from handheld cameras (imagine filming in a car or moving object), the motional control camera rig allows for smooth and precise camera movements.

      16. MOVING IMAGE

      Does what it says on the tin. Refers to any moving image type of media. This includes (but is not limited to): live action filming, 2D and 3D animation, virtual reality and immersive experiences.


      Relates to any graphics on screen that have been computer generated. This could be text, special effects, or animations, for example.


      Before your moving image project can begin, there’s a whole lot of planning and preparation that needs to happen.


      Editors, animators, and other moving image professionals will edit and create your video. This happens once all of the planning, and filming, has taken place.

      20. RENDER

      This video production term is used to describe the exporting of a motion graphics project (e.g., an animation). For larger projects, the rendering process can take hours!

      21. ACTION

      This is a fairly obvious term that I’m sure you’ve all heard at some point in your life. This essentially means everything on set is good for the actors or your companies representative (if you’re making a corporate piece to camera) to start performing their scene in front of the camera.

      22. TAKE

      A ‘take’ is the version of the scene that is being filmed. For example, if various takes were performed incorrectly or the director thinks they can be done better then he’ll cut it, then go for another ‘take’. For the opening scene of The Social Network director David Fincher made the actors perform the same shots 99 times in the strive for perfection. It’s not likely we’ll do that many takes for a single bit we can’t make any promises ;). Numbering takes with the clapperboard also helps immeasurably in the post-production of these films. You can easily sync the audio up with the video as well as help the editor organise the footage.


      This means the camera has just started recording. We tend to record 4-6 seconds before actually saying “action”. This is a bit of a leftover from the days of film as film cameras would need to get up to speed before you can play out the scene. These days with digital cameras it’s not entirely necessary but we do it anyway just to make sure the camera is recording properly.

      24. QUIET ON SET

      Often said before the take is being shot this means that everyone on the film set needs to be dead silent, there’s to be no talking, no mobile phones ringing (even on silent), and everyone must stay still until the director says “cut”.

      25. PAN

      This is when a camera is recording and is being moved horizontally.

      26. TILT

      A tilt is where the camera is recording and is looking up and down. A quick note to all filmmakers out there… never get this mixed up with ‘Pans’. It’s wrong, you can’t pan up or down.

      27. SOFT

      To call a shot soft means that it’s out of focus and will likely be re-taken.

      28. VOICE OVER

      This is when there is some form of narration over the top of the footage. In our line of work, this is very popular amongst product videos more than most of the others but can be used for anything!

      29. TALKING HEAD

      Essentially this is just another term for an interview with a person. They’re called Talking Heads and we’ve made several ‘Talking Head’ video productions over the years. This is the kind of footage that would work well with B-Roll.

      30. DOLLY

      A ‘Dolly’ is the name people in the video production industry have given to the tracking system we use that creates great professional-looking tracking movements. It’s essentially a tripod with the camera on top attached to some tracks and then moved along.

      31. ISO

      The ISO value is a measure of the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor to light. The lower the ISO the lower the sensitivity.

      32. NOISE

      This is a term that is used when the camera is using high ISO’s to see better in the dark and a digital grain comes over the top of the frame. It happens when the camera is trying to pick up on signal and image data that isn’t there.

      33. ROI

      Return on Investment. The infamous words we all jump for joy at!
      The ROI is the measurement of how effective a project was. To calculate this, subtract the initial cost of the investment from the final profits to find your net return. Divide the net return by the initial cost of investment and times by 100.

      Read our blog here to see how you can maximise your return on investment.

      34. SFX

      Sound effects.
      Sound effects can really elevate a piece of content. Whether it’s adding a popping sound to give emphasis to a specific action, or tire screeches to make the animated car seem more realistic, there are hundreds of ways you can incorporate sound effects into your moving image project.


      Check out some of the creative posts we upload on Instagram here. Check out our other blogs, and follow us on social media to see more of what we do!