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      Video Jargon Explained

      Lights, Camera, Action – the phrase engrained into the very fabric of our being. But there’s more to video production than three simple words. Discover the world of video jargon with our handy little guide here…


      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 doing corporate piece to camera) to start performing their scene in front of the camera.


      Again another well known phrase within filming. This means that the director is happy with whats been recorded and has told the sound and camera crews to stop recording.


      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 some 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 video as well as helping 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.

      Quiet on Set

      Often said before 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”.


      This is footage that is shot for the purpose of being used as cutaways and to fill in transitions between scenes.

      Depth of Field

      This is the area in which objects are in focus. A deep depth of field means object in foreground and background are both in focus whereas a shallow depth of field gives a very limited area thats in focus. This style of filmmaking has been revived quite significantly since the arrival of the big sensored DSLR cameras. Check out the pictures below as examples…


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


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


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

      Voice Over

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

      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.


      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. [show example]


      The ISO value is a measure of the sensitivity of the cameras sensor to light. The lower the ISO the lower the sensitivity.


      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.


      Now you’re all set on the video jargon, give us a call on 020 7757 7473 or fill in the form below to contact us with your enquiry!