A Glossary of Video Production Terms
What is video and audio production? In the dynamic world of media production, understanding the terminology is crucial for effective communication and collaboration. Whether you’re a client, a filmmaker, or simply curious about the industry, familiarizing yourself with production terms can enhance your experience and help you navigate the process with confidence. In this blog, we present a comprehensive glossary of production terms, shedding light on their meanings and applications. So, let’s dive in!
1. Walkie Check
When you arrive on set, one of the first things you do is a walkie check. This involves ensuring that your walkie talkie is working properly, fully charged, and tuned to the correct channel for effective communication within your department. A seamless walkie check sets the stage for smooth coordination and efficient workflow throughout the production.
In the world of walkie talkies, “10-2” is a term used to discreetly communicate the need to take a restroom break. It’s essential to establish a system for such breaks, allowing team members to maintain their focus while ensuring their personal needs are met.
3. Hot Points
Safety is paramount in any production set. Hot points refer to areas where equipment with sharp or protruding parts is being moved around, especially when turning corners or navigating blind spots. Being aware of hot points helps prevent accidents and ensures the well-being of everyone on set. As we say in the industry, safety comes first, Elmo!
4. Abby or Abby Singer
During a shoot, when the Assistant Director (AD) calls out “Abby,” it signifies that the current shot is the second to last of the day. This term serves as a helpful indicator for the crew, providing an estimate of the remaining workload and allowing for efficient time management.
5. Best Boy
In the realm of lighting, the Best Boy plays a crucial role as an assistant or technical assistant to the key Grip or Gaffer. Their responsibilities include routing power and stingers to the lighting instruments on set. The Best Boy’s expertise ensures the seamless operation of lighting setups and contributes to the overall visual quality of the production.
A butterfly is a large piece of fabric used to diffuse a broad light source, spreading it evenly over a wide area. This diffusion helps soften shadows and creates a more pleasing and natural lighting effect. Butterflies are commonly employed in outdoor shoots or larger studio setups to achieve a balanced and visually appealing result.
The Gaffer holds the role of the head electrician on a production crew. Working closely with the director, the Gaffer is responsible for the lighting design. Their expertise ensures that the creative vision aligns with the practical aspects of lighting, contributing to the overall mood, atmosphere, and aesthetics of the production.
On any production set, the Grip is the hardworking individual responsible for various tasks, including setting up dolly tracks and handling various gear. They work closely with the Gaffer, receiving direction and coordinating the efforts of other grips on the crew. Grips play a vital role in achieving smooth camera movements and ensuring the successful execution of technical setups.
Overcranking refers to pushing the frame rate of a camera above the standard 24 frames per second (fps). By increasing the frame rate, the resulting footage appears in slow motion. The higher the frame rate, the smoother and more dramatic the slow-motion effect appears. Overcranking adds a visually captivating element to specific scenes or sequences, enhancing the overall cinematic experience.
The term “showrunner” has gained prominence in recent years, often associated with acclaimed figures like Emmy winner Jesse Armstrong (Succession) or Ava DuVernay (DMZ, Colin in Black and White). A showrunner is typically the creator and writer of a TV show or series. They hold creative control and manage all aspects of the production, ensuring its artistic integrity and overall success.
The slate, also known as the clapper, is a familiar sight on production sets. It is placed in front of an actor before shooting a scene. The slate serves multiple purposes, including identifying the Director of Photography (DP), director, shot number, show title, and take number. Just before the clap, you’ll often hear the call-out “MARK,” which aids in syncing sound during post-production.
This term harkens back to the days of old film studios. A C47 is simply a clothespin used to secure gels or diffusion material to the barn doors of cinema light fixtures. The origin of the name is rooted in the storage practices of a bygone era, where these clothespins were kept in row C, space number 47.
13. White Balance
In camera settings, white balance allows the Director of Photography (DP) to establish what is considered “true white.” This serves as a baseline for measuring other colors accurately. Under different lighting conditions, white can appear cooler (with a bluish tint) or warmer (with an orange or yellowish tone). Proper white balance adjustment ensures accurate color representation in the captured footage.
During a shoot, a “bogey” refers to anyone who inadvertently crosses the camera’s view or enters a shot without being part of the scene. It is the responsibility of the Production Assistant (PA) to control and manage the crowd and crew, ensuring that disruptions are minimized while the camera is rolling.
The term “MOS” originated from a German director who would shout “mit out sound” to indicate shooting a scene without synchronized sound. Over time, the crew interpreted it as “MOS.” When a scene is shot MOS, the audio is either recorded separately or omitted entirely, focusing solely on capturing the visuals. This technique is often used for scenes where dialogue is not critical or during special effects shots.
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