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The A-Z of Video Production

From Aspect Ratio to Zebra Stripes: The Ultimate A-Z Guide to the world of video production.



Aberration: A distortion or imperfection in the quality of an image or video, caused by factors such as lens defects, sensor errors, or environmental conditions.

Aerial footage: Video footage captured from an aerial perspective using drones, helicopters, or other airborne devices.

Aperture: The opening in the lens that determines the amount of light that enters the camera and affects the depth of field of the image or video.

Amplitude: The strength or intensity of an audio or visual signal, measured in units such as decibels or volts.

Analog: A type of signal or technology that uses continuously variable physical quantities, such as voltage or amplitude, to represent and transmit data, as opposed to digital signals which use discrete binary values.

Anti-aliasing: A technique used to smooth jagged edges and reduce visual artifacts in digital images or video, caused by the display or processing of low-resolution or compressed content.

Aspect Ratio: The ratio of the width to the height of a video frame.

Audio mixer: A device used to control and adjust the levels and quality of audio signals from multiple sources, such as microphones, instruments, and playback devices.

Auto Focus: A camera function that automatically adjusts the focus based on the subject's distance from the camera.

Audio sync: The process of aligning the audio and video tracks of a recording, either manually or using software, to ensure that the sound is synchronised with the images.


Backlighting: This technique involves positioning the light source behind the subject, illuminating the subject from behind. It is commonly used in portrait and product photography and can create a halo effect around the subject.

Barn doors: Adjustable flaps or doors attached to a lighting fixture, used to control and direct the spread and shape of the light beam.

Bitrate: The amount of data processed per unit of time, usually expressed in bits per second (bps), used to measure the quality and file size of digital audio or video files.

Bokeh: The aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus areas of an image or video.

Boom Pole: A long, lightweight pole used to position a microphone close to the subject without being visible in the shot.

Broad Lighting: This technique involves positioning the light source to illuminate the side of the face that is facing the camera. It is commonly used in portrait photography and can create a soft, flattering effect.

B-roll: Extra footage used to support the main footage in a video.

Burn-in: The process of permanently embedding subtitles or captions into a video image, rather than displaying them as a separate overlay or file.

Butterfly Lighting: This technique involves positioning the light source directly above and in front of the subject, casting a shadow that resembles a butterfly under the nose. It is commonly used in beauty photography and creates a dramatic, glamorous effect.


Camera Stabiliser: A device used to reduce camera shake and stabilise the camera during handheld shots or movement.

Chroma Key: The technique of using a specific colour (usually green or blue) as a background and then replacing it with a different image or video.

Close-Up: A shot that captures a tight framing of the subject's face or object to emphasise its details.

Codec: Short for compression/decompression, a codec is a software algorithm that compresses video and audio data for storage and transmission, and then decompresses it for playback or editing.

Colour-grading: The process of adjusting and enhancing the colours of an image or video to achieve a desired look or mood. It involves adjusting colour temperature, contrast, saturation, and other attributes to create a cohesive and visually appealing final product.

Contrast: The degree of difference between the lightest and darkest areas of an image or video, often used to create depth, texture, and visual interest.

Colour Correction: The post-production process of adjusting the colour and contrast of the image or video to improve its visual appearance.

Continuity: The seamless flow and consistency of visual and audio elements in a video or film, often achieved through careful planning, shooting, and editing.

Crop: The process of removing or trimming parts of an image or video frame, often used to change the composition, focus, or aspect ratio of the content.

Cross Lighting: This technique involves using two light sources positioned at right angles to each other, creating a distinct cross-shaped shadow on the subject. It is commonly used in product and still life photography to create a dramatic, dynamic effect.


Depth of Field: The range of distance in front of and behind the subject that appears acceptably sharp in a photograph or video, often controlled by adjusting the aperture size and focal length of the lens.

Diffusion: The process of softening or spreading light to reduce harsh shadows and create a more even and flattering lighting effect, often achieved using specialised filters, diffusers, or materials.

DSLR: A digital single-lens reflex camera that can shoot high-quality photos and videos.

Dolly Shot: A camera movement where the camera is mounted on a moving platform or track to create a smooth and fluid motion.

Directing: The process of overseeing and coordinating the creative elements of a video production, including the actors, camera crew, and overall vision.


Editing: The post-production process of selecting, arranging, and refining the footage to create the final video.

Effects: Any additional visual or audio elements added to a video, such as text, graphics, or sound effects.

Establishing shot: A wide-angle shot used at the beginning of a scene or sequence to establish the location, environment, and context of the story.

Eye Line: The imaginary line of sight between two people, used to establish the direction of the subject's gaze in a video.

Exposure: The amount of light that reaches the camera sensor, determined by the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings.


Fill Lighting: This technique involves using a secondary light source to fill in shadows created by the main light source. It is commonly used in portrait and product photography to create a more even, balanced effect.

Fluid Head: a type of tripod head designed for smooth and precise camera movements. It uses hydraulic fluid or other damping mechanisms to provide resistance and control over the pan (horizontal) and tilt (vertical) movements of the camera.

Focal Length: The distance between the lens and the camera sensor, which affects the field of view and perspective of the video.

Focus: The sharpness of the image or video, determined by the distance between the camera and the subject.

Focus Puller: A camera assistant responsible for adjusting the focus of the lens during the shot to keep the subject sharp.

Frame Rate: The number of frames per second in a video.

F-Stop: A measurement of the size of the aperture in the lens, affecting the amount of light and the depth of field of the image or video.


Gimbal: A handheld stabiliser that helps to keep the camera steady while shooting video.

Grading: The process of adjusting the colour, contrast, and brightness of footage in post-production to create a desired look or mood.

Green Screen: A type of chroma key background that is usually green in colour and is replaced with another image or video in post-production.

Grain: The visual noise that appears in a video when shooting in low light or high ISO settings.


Hair Light: a type of accent light used in photography, videography, and cinematography. It is positioned behind and above the subject to illuminate the hair and provide separation from the background. The hair light is typically a smaller and less intense light than the key light and is used to create depth and dimension in the scene.

Hard light: Bright, focused light that creates harsh shadows and emphasises texture and detail.

Headroom: The amount of space between the top of the subject's head and the top of the frame.

Hertz (Hz): A unit of frequency that is used to measure the number of cycles per second in an electrical signal or wave. In video, it is used to measure the refresh rate of a display or the frequency of an audio signal.

High Definition: A video format that has a higher resolution and image quality than standard definition.

High Key Lighting: A lighting technique that uses bright and even lighting to create a cheerful and upbeat mood.

Histogram: A graph that shows the distribution of brightness levels in an image or video.

Hue: A term used to describe the colour of an object, ranging from red to violet in the visible spectrum.

Hue is one of the three primary components of colour, along with saturation and brightness.

Hyper lapse: A time-lapse video technique that involves moving the camera while shooting to create a sense of motion.

H.264: A popular video codec used for compressing and distributing high-quality video content.


ISO: The sensitivity of the camera’s film or sensor to light.

Interlaced: A type of video format that splits each frame into two fields, resulting in a lower quality and a "comb" effect on fast-moving objects.

Image Stabilisation: A camera function that helps to reduce camera shake and produce smoother video.

In-Camera Editing: The process of editing footage during the filming process to ensure the desired shots are captured correctly.

Intensity: The brightness or power of the light source, affecting the overall look and feel of the image or video.

Iris: The adjustable opening in the camera lens that controls the amount of light entering the camera.


Jib: A type of crane used to move the camera up and down or side to side while shooting video.

Jump Cut: A sudden, noticeable change in the continuity of a video that can be used for artistic effect.

JPEG: A compressed image format that is commonly used in video production.

Judder: A visual effect caused by a mismatch between the frame rate of the footage and the display, resulting in a stuttering or jerky motion.


Key light: the primary light source used in photography, videography, and cinematography. It is positioned to illuminate the subject and provide the main source of light and shadow in the scene. The key light is typically the brightest and most directional light, used to define the shape and texture of the subject.

Key Frame: A specific frame in a video that contains information about changes to a certain aspect, such as position or size, of an object in the video.

Keying: the process of isolating a specific colour or range of colours in a video clip or image and making it transparent. This allows for the insertion of another image or video clip in the transparent area, creating a composite or overlay effect. Keying is commonly used for creating special effects, such as replacing a green screen background with a different environment or adding virtual objects or characters to a live-action scene.

Ken Burns effect: A type of panning and zooming effect commonly used in video production and named after the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. It involves slowly panning and zooming in or out of still images to create a sense of motion and depth.

Kelvin: A unit of measurement used to describe the colour temperature of light sources, ranging from warm (lower kelvin) to cool (higher kelvin).

Kicker Light: A type of backlight that is used to create separation between the subject and the background.


Lavalier Microphone: A small, clip-on microphone that can be discreetly attached to the subject's clothing or body.

Lens: The part of the camera that focuses light onto the camera sensor, affecting the image quality and depth of field.

Lens Flare: The streaks or circles of light that can appear on the image or video when bright light sources are present in the shot.

Lighting: The use of various light sources and modifiers to illuminate the subject and create a desired mood or effect.

Live streaming: The process of broadcasting video content in real-time over the internet, allowing viewers to watch events as they happen.

Log profile: A camera setting that records a wider range of colour and tonal information than standard settings, allowing for greater flexibility in post-production colour grading.

Loop Lighting: This technique is similar to Rembrandt lighting but with a slightly wider light source. It creates a small shadow that falls slightly below the nose, creating a loop shape. It is commonly used in portrait photography and can create a natural, flattering effect.

Low Key Lighting: A lighting technique that uses darker and more contrasty lighting to create a dramatic and moody effect.

LUT: A Look-Up Table that maps the colour and contrast of a video to a specific output colour space or device.


Manual Focus: The camera function that allows the user to manually adjust the focus of the lens instead of relying on the autofocus function.

Matte Box: A device that attaches to the front of the camera lens to block unwanted light and prevent lens flare.

Metadata: Descriptive information about a video file, such as the date it was created, the camera settings used, and keywords used to describe its content.

Motion Graphics: Animated visual elements, such as text or graphics, used in video production.

Mirrorless: Digital cameras that do not have a mechanical mirror to reflect light into an optical viewfinder. Instead, they use a digital display or an electronic viewfinder to show the image preview. They are smaller and lighter than traditional DSLR cameras and often offer comparable image quality and advanced features.

Medium Shot: A shot that captures the subject from the waist up, often used for dialogue or to show the subject in their environment.

Montage: A sequence of shots or clips edited together to convey a specific idea or message.

MTF chart: A chart that measures the contrast and resolution of a lens, indicating the sharpness and clarity of an image it produces.


Natural Light: The available light present in the shooting environment, such as sunlight or ambient light.

ND Filter: A Neutral Density filter that reduces the amount of light entering the camera without affecting the colour balance.

Noise: The visual or audio distortion that appears in a video due to low light, high ISO, or other technical factors.

NTSC: The National Television System Committee, a video format used in North America and some other countries.


Off-axis: A term used to describe the placement of a microphone or light source in a position that is not directly in front of the subject. Off-axis placement can help reduce unwanted shadows or background noise.

Off-Screen Space: The space outside of the frame that is implied to exist in the shot, often used for storytelling or to create tension.

On-camera microphone: A microphone that is mounted directly on the camera and used to capture sound while filming. On-camera microphones are often small and compact, but may not provide the best audio quality.

Overexposure: When too much light enters the camera and the image or video appears too bright and lacks detail in the highlights.

Optical Zoom: A zoom function that physically changes the focal length of the lens to magnify the image, rather than cropping in digitally.

Output Resolution: The size and quality of the final video output, usually measured in pixels or lines of resolution.

Over-the-Shoulder Shot: A shot that captures the subject from behind the shoulder of another character or person, often used for dialogue or interaction.


Pan: A camera movement that involves moving the camera horizontally from one side to another.

Parallax - The apparent displacement of an object in relation to the background when the camera's position changes.

Picture Profile: A camera setting that adjusts the colour, contrast, and other aspects of the image or video.

Post-Production: The process of editing, colour grading, and adding effects to the footage after it has been shot.

POV (Point of View) - The perspective from which the camera records a scene, as if through the eyes of a particular character.

Prime Lens: A lens with a fixed focal length that cannot zoom in or out.

Pull Focus - A camera technique in which the focus changes from one subject to another while filming, creating a blurred effect.


Quad HD: A video format with four times the resolution of 720p HD.

Quality: The overall standard of the video, determined by factors such as resolution, frame rate, and compression.

QuickTime: A video file format developed by Apple that supports high-quality video and audio playback.

Quit Cut: A type of cut that abruptly ends one shot and immediately begins the next shot, often used for emphasis or to create a jarring effect.


Rack Focus: A camera technique where the focus shifts from one subject to another in the same shot, often used for storytelling or to create a dramatic effect.

Raw Footage: The unprocessed and uncompressed footage captured by the camera, allowing for more flexibility in post-production.

Rec. 709 - A standard colour space for high-definition video, used for colour grading and post-production.

Reflector: A device used to reflect and manipulate light in a video shoot.

Rembrandt Lighting: Named after the Dutch painter Rembrandt, this technique creates a triangle of light on the subject's cheek opposite the light source. It is achieved by positioning the light source above and to the side of the subject, creating a shadow on the opposite side of the face. It is commonly used in portrait photography to create a dramatic, moody effect.

Resolution: The number of pixels or lines of vertical resolution in a video, affecting the overall image quality and sharpness.

RGB - A colour model that represents red, green, and blue light as the primary colours, used to display colour images and videos.

Rim Lighting: This technique involves positioning the light source behind the subject, creating a rim of light around the edges of the subject's silhouette. It is commonly used in portrait and product photography and can create a dramatic, edgy effect.

Rule of Thirds: A compositional guideline that divides the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically, placing the subject or important elements along these lines or at their intersections.

Rolling Shutter: A camera function that captures video frames by scanning from top to bottom, resulting in a "jelly-like" effect on fast-moving objects.


Saturation: The intensity and purity of the colours in a video, affecting the overall visual impact.

SFX (Special Effects) - Visual or audio effects that are added to a video in post-production, such as explosions, gunfire, or sound effects.

Shallow Depth of Field: A condition where only a small portion of the image or video is in focus, often used for creative or dramatic effect.

Short Lighting: This technique is the opposite of broad lighting and involves positioning the light source to illuminate the side of the face that is facing away from the camera. It is commonly used in portrait photography and can create a dramatic, moody effect.

Shotgun Microphone: a highly directional microphone commonly used in film, video, and television production. It is designed to capture audio from a specific direction, while rejecting sounds from other directions. The microphone has a long, narrow tube or "shotgun" shape that helps to focus the audio pickup and reduce ambient noise.

Shutter Speed: The amount of time the camera sensor is exposed to light, affecting the overall brightness and motion blur in the video.

Slow Motion - A video technique in which the frame rate is increased, resulting in a slower playback speed and creating a dramatic effect.

Soft lighting: a type of lighting that produces a diffused and gentle illumination on the subject. It is characterised by soft shadows and a more natural, even lighting compared to harsh lighting. Soft lighting is often achieved by using larger light sources or modifiers, such as soft boxes, diffusers, or umbrellas, which scatter and soften the light.

Sound Design: The process of creating and adding sound effects, music, and other audio elements to the footage to enhance its emotional impact.

Split Lighting: This technique involves positioning the light source directly to one side of the subject, creating a distinct line of light and shadow down the centre of the face. It is commonly used in dramatic or moody photography and can create a strong, powerful effect.

SSD: solid-state drive, is a type of data storage device that uses NAND-based flash memory to store data. Unlike traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), SSDs have no moving mechanical parts, which makes them faster, more durable, and less prone to failure. SSDs are often used in high-performance computing applications, such as video editing.

Steadicam: A type of camera stabilisation system that involves a vest and arm to reduce camera shake and produce smoother video.

Storyboard - A visual representation of a video's story, consisting of a series of sketches or images that show each shot and its corresponding audio.

Sync Sound - Audio that is recorded simultaneously with the video, ensuring that the audio and video are perfectly synchronised.


Telephoto Lens - A lens with a longer focal length than a standard lens, used to magnify distant subjects and create a narrow depth of field.

Teleprompter: a device used in video production and broadcasting that displays a script or text in front of the camera lens, allowing the presenter to read the text while looking directly into the camera.

Title Card - A text graphic that appears at the beginning of a video, typically used to display the title and credits.

Timecode: A system for synchronising video and audio recordings by assigning a unique identification number to each frame of video or audio. Timecode is commonly used in film and video production to facilitate the editing and post-production process.

Time-Lapse: A video technique that involves capturing frames at a slower rate than playback, resulting in a compressed and sped-up representation of time.

Tilt: A camera movement that involves moving the camera vertically up or down.

Tracking Shot - A camera movement in which the camera moves alongside a subject, typically following it from behind or alongside.

Transitions - The visual effects used to move from one shot or scene to another, such as fade-ins, fade-outs, and wipes.

Tripod: A camera support device that helps to stabilise the camera and prevent camera shake.

Two-Shot - A shot that features two people or subjects, typically used in dialogue scenes.


UHD: Ultra High Definition, a video format with four times the resolution of 1080p HD.

USB: Universal Serial Bus, a data transfer protocol used for connecting cameras and other devices to a computer.

Unidirectional microphone: A unidirectional microphone is a type of microphone that is designed to pick up sound from a specific direction or angle, while rejecting or minimizing sound from other directions.

Underexposure: When too little light enters the camera and the image or video appears too dark and lacks detail in the shadows.


Video Codec: The algorithm used to compress and decompress video files, affecting the overall video quality and file size.

Viewfinder: A device used to frame and preview the shot in a camera, often replaced by a digital screen in modern cameras.

Vignette: A visual effect that darkens the edges of the frame, often used to draw attention to the centre of the frame.

Voiceover (VO): A narration or dialogue that is not accompanied by visuals of the speaker, often used for storytelling or to provide information.


Waveform Monitor: A device used to measure the brightness and colour levels of the video signal, often used for colour grading.

White Balance: The camera function that adjusts the colour temperature of the image or video to accurately represent the colours in the scene.

White Point - the point in a video image where white appears at its brightest and most neutral, often used as a reference point for colour correction.

Wide Angle Lens: A lens with a shorter focal length that captures a wider field of view, often used for establishing shots or to create a sense of space.

Wide Shot: A shot that captures a wide view of the subject and the surrounding environment.

Wipe: A type of transition where one shot is replaced by another shot that pushes or wipes the first shot off.

Wireless Microphone - a microphone that uses radio frequency to transmit audio signals wirelessly, often used in situations where a wired connection is not practical or possible.

Windscreen - a cover or foam filter placed over a microphone to reduce wind noise and other unwanted sounds caused by airflow.


XAVC: A video compression format developed by Sony for high-quality video recording and playback.

X-axis: The horizontal axis of the image or video frame, used to describe movement or positioning.

Xenon Lamp: A type of high-intensity discharge lamp used in professional lighting equipment for video shoots.

XLR: A type of professional audio connector used in video production to ensure a secure and balanced audio signal.

XML: An extensible markup language used to transfer and store video and audio metadata.


Y-axis: The vertical axis of the image or video frame, used to describe movement or positioning.

YUV: A colour space used in video encoding that separates the image or video into luminance (Y) and chrominance (UV) components.

YouTube: A popular video-sharing platform where users can upload and watch videos.


Zoom Lens: A lens with a variable focal length that can zoom in or out to adjust the framing of the shot.

Zebra Stripes: A camera function that overlays diagonal stripes on areas of the image that are overexposed, helping to adjust the exposure settings.

Zero Cut: A type of cut that removes any pauses or breaks between shots, often used to create a sense of urgency or tension.

Zero Point: The point where the camera is perfectly level and not tilted up or down, often used as a reference point for camera movements.

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