A style of filmmaking that attempts to duplicate the look of objective reality as it's commonly perceived, with emphasis on authentic locations and details, long shots, lengthy takes, and a minimum of distorting techniques. Founded by the Lumiere brothers.
A style of filmmaking in which aesthetic forms take precedence over the subject matter as content. Time and space as ordinarily perceived are often distorted. Emphasis is on the essential, symbolic characteristics of objects and people and are often lyrical. Founded by Geroges Melies.
A style of filmmaking emphasizing extreme distortion, lyricism, and artistic self-expression at the expense of objectivity.
From the French, meaning "in the front ranks." Those minority artists whose works are characterized by an unconventional daring and by obscure, controversial, or highly personal ideas.
A movie strong in story, star, and production values, with a high level of technical achievement, and edited according to conventions of classical cutting. The visual style is functional and rarely distracts from the characters in action. Movies in this form are structured narratively, with a clearly defined conflict, complications that intensify to a rising climax, and a resolution that emphasizes formal closure.
Those images that are recorded continously from the time the camera starts to the time it stops.
The dividing line between the edges of the screen image and the enclosing darkness of the theater. Can also refer to a single photograph from the filmstrip.
A relatively close shot, revealing the human figure from the knees or waist up.
A detailed view of a person or object. Includes only the head of the actor.
A lens that acts as a telescope, magnifying the size of objects at a great distance.
Extreme Long Shot
A panoramic view of an exterior location, photographed from a great distance, often as far as a quarter mile away.
A shot that includes an area within the image that roughly corresponds to the audience's view of the area within the proscenium arch in the live theater.
A type of long shot that includes the human body in full, with the head near the top of the frame and the feet near the bottom.
Extreme Close Up
A minutely detailed view of an object or person. Includes only the eyes or mouth of actor.
A technique of photography that permits all distance planes to remain clearly in focus, from close-up ranges to infinity.
Usually and extreme long or long shot offered at the beginning of a scene, providing the viewer with the context of the subsequent closer shots.
A film genre characterized by bold and sweeping themes, usually in heroic proportions.
A medium shot featuring three actors.
Usually a medium shot of two people, with the camera placed just behind the shoulder of one character, directed at the face of the opposite character.
A lens that permits the camera to photograph a wider area than a normal lens.
The placement of the camera approximately five to six feet from the ground, corresponding to the height of an observer on the scene.
A shot in which the camera photographs a scene from directly overhead. Tends to make people look vulnerable and dominated from above.
A shot in which the subject is photographed from above. Tends to make people look powerless and trapped.
A shot in which the subject is photographed from below. Tend to make people look threatening and powerful.
A shot photographed by a tilted camera. When the image is projected on the screen, the subject itself seems to be tilted on a diagonal.
The artist or technician responsible for the lighting of a shot and the quality of the photography.
A variation of a specific shot.
A recognizable type of movie, characterized by certain preestablished conventions.
A style of lighting emphasizing bright and even illumination, with few shadows.
A style of lighting emphasizing harsh shafts and dramatic streaks of lights and darks.
A style of lighting that emphasizes diffused shadows and stmospheric pools of light.
Three sources of light: the key light is the main source, creating the dominant contrast, where we look first in a shot. Fill lights are less intense and are generally placed opposite the key, illuminating areas that would otherwise be obscured by shadow. Backlights are used to separate the foreground elements from the setting, emphasizing a sense of depth.
The main source of illumination for a shot.
That area of the film image that compels the viewer's most immediate attention.
Secondary lights that are used to augment the key light; soften the harshness of the key light, revealing details that would otherwise be obscured in shadow.
When the lights for a shot derive from the rear of the set, thus throwing the foreground figures into semidarkness or silhouette.
The use of only that light which actually exists on location, either natural (the sun) or artificial (house lamps).
A ground or molded piece of glass, plastic, or other transparent material through which light rays are refracted so they converge or diverge to form the photographic image within the camera.
A visual style emphasizing soft edges, lush colors, and a radiantly illuminated environment, all producing a romantic lyricism.
A visual style emphasizing sharply defined lines rather than colors or textures.
Too much light enters the aperture of a camera lens, bleaching out the image.
A French term--literally, black cinema-- emphasizing a despairing universe where there is no escape from mean sity streets, lonliness, and death. Stylistically, it emphasizes low key and high contrast lighting, complex compositions, and a strong atmosphere of dread and paranoia.
The blurring out of all except one desired distance range.
Pieces of glass or plastic placed in front of the camera lens that distort the quality of light entering the camera and hence the movie image.
A lens that acts as a telescope, magnifying the size of objects at a great distance.
The blurring of focal planes in sequence, focusing the viewer's eyes to travel with those areas of an image that remain in sharp focus.
A lens that permits the camera to photograph a wider area than a normal lens.
Film stock that's highly sensitive to light and generally produces a grainy image.
Film stocks that are relatively insensitive to light and produces crisp images and a sharpness of detail.
A film actor or actress of great popularity.
Exposed film stock.
A previsualization technique in which shots are sketched in advance and in sequence, thus allowing the filmmaker to outline the mise en scene and construct the editing continuity before production begins.
Mise En Scene
The arrangement of visual weights and movements within a given space. Cinematic encompasses both the staging of the action and the way that it's photographed.
The ratio between the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the screen.
A movie image that has an aspect ratio of approximately 5:3, though some possess horizontal dimensions that extend as wide as 2.5 times the vertical dimension of the screen.
A technique whereby a portion of the movie image is blocked out, thus temporarily altering the dimensions of the screen's aspect ratio.
An eyepiece on the camera that defines the playing area and the framing of the action to be photographed.
A subordinated element of the film image, complementing or contrasting with the dominant contrast.
An unobtrusive area of the film image that nonetheless compels our most immediate attention because of its dramatic or contextual importance.
The positioning of the camera and lights for a specific shot.
Usually in close shots. The mise en scene is so carefully balanced that the people photographed have little or no freedom of movement.
Usually in longer shots. The mise en scene is so spaciously distributed within the confines of the framed image that the people photographed have considerable freedom of movement.
Short for panorama, that is a revolving horizontal movement of the camera from left to right or vice versa.
The spatial relationships among characters within the mise en scene, and the apparent distance of the camera from the subject photographed.
Used primarily by realist filmmakers, these techniques are likely to be unobtrusive, with an emphasis on informal compositions and apparently haphazard designs.
A visual style that inclines toward self-conscious designs and carefully harmonized compositions.
Techniques of filmmaking that depend on the element of chance. Images are not planned out in advance but must be composed on the spot by the camera operator.
The placement of the camera in such a manner as to anticipate the movement of an action before it occurs.
The use of a well known cultural symbol or complex of symbols in an artistic representation.
Pertaining to motion and movement.
A stylistic exuberance and subjectivity, emphasizing the sensuous beauty of the medium and producing an intense outpouringof emotion.
An implied agreement between the viewer and artist to accept certain artificialitites as real in a work of art.
The camera's angle of view relative to the subject being photographed.
A style of filmmaking characterized by austerity and restraint, in which cinematic elements are reduced to the barest minimum of information.
The joining of one shot with another.
A shot taken from a special device, which resembles a huge mechanical arm. It carries the camera and the cinematographer and can move in any direction.
A shot taken from a moving vehicle.
A lens of variable focal length that permits the cinematographer to change from wide angle to telephoto shots in one continous movement, often plunging the viewer in or out of a scene rapidly.
A shot taken with a moving camera that is often deliberately shaky to suggest documentary footage in an uncontrolled setting.
A variation of the crane shot, though restricted to exterior locations. Usually taken from a helicopter.
A cut to a shot of a character's reaction to the contents of the preceding shot.
A horizontal movement of the camera at such a rapid rate that the subject photographed blurs on the screen.
Any shot that is taken from the vantage point of a character in the film, showing what the character sees.
Pull Back Dolly
Withdrawing the camera from a scene to reveal an object or character that was previously out of frame.
A form of filmmaking characterized by photographing inanimate objects or individual drawings frame by frame, with each frame differing minutely.
Shots of a subject photographed at a rate slower than twenty-four fps, which, when projected at the standard rate, convey motion that is jerky and slightly comical, seemingly out of control.
Shots of a subject photographed at a faster rate than twenty-four fps, which, when projected at the standard rate produce a dreamy, dancelike slowness of action.
A series of images are photographed with the film reversed. When projected normally, the effect is to suggest backward movement.
A shot composed of a single frame that is reprinted a number of times on the filmstrip; when projected it gives the illusion of a still photograph.
Transparent plastic sheets that are superimposed in layers by animators to give the illusion of depth and volume to their drawings.
The slow fading out of one shot and the gradual fading in of its successor.
An editing technique that suggests the interruption of the present by a shot or series of shots representing the past.
A shot of lengthy duration.
Cutting To Continuity
A type of editing in which the shots are arranged to preserve the fluidity of an action without showing all of it.
An abrupt transition between shots, sometimes deliberate, which is disorienting in terms of the continuity of space and time.
A return to an initial establishing shot within a scene, acting as a reminder of the physical context of the closer shots.
A style of editing in which a sequence of shots is determined by a scene's dramatic and emotional emphasis rather than by physical action alone.
A medium shot featuring two actors.
A single lenghty shot usually involving complex staging and camera movements.
An uninterrupted shot that contains an entire scene.
The initial sequence of shots in a movie, often constructed by the director.
The sequence of shots in a movie as it will be released to the public.
Extra shots of a scene that can be used to bridge transitions in case the planned footage fails to edit as planned.
Reverse Angle Shot
A shot taken from an angle 180 degrees opposed to the previous shot. That is, the camera is placed opposite its previous position.
The alternating of shots from two sequences suggesting that they are taking place at the same time.
A type of editing in which separate shots are linked together not by their literal continuity in reality but by symbolic association.
An editing technique that suggests the interruption of the present by a shot or series of shots representing the future.
Any unobtrusive technique, object, or thematic idea that's systematically repeated throughout a film.
Transitional sequences of rapidly edited images, used to suggest the lapse of time or the passing of events.
An analytical methodology that juxtaposes pairs of opposites to arrive at a synthesis of ideas.
Cinema Verite or Direct Cinema
A method of documentary filming using aleatory methods that don't interfere with the way events take place in reality.
A nonsynchronous spoken commentary in a movie, often used to convey a character's thoughts or memories.
The agreement or correspondence between image and sound, which are recorded simultaneously, or seem so in the finished print.
The addition of sound after the visuals have been photographed.
A soundproof camera housing that muffles the noise of the camera's motor so sound can be clearly recorded on the set.
A group of young French directors who came to prominence during the late 1950s.
An overhead telescoping pole that carries a microphone, permitting the synchronous recording of sound without restricting the movement of the actors.
The kind of logic implied between edited shots, their principle of coherence.
Sound and image that are not recorded simultaneously, or sound that is detached from its source in the film image.
The process of combining separately recorded sounds from individual soundtracks onto a master track.
An avant-garde movement stressing Freudian and Marxist ideas, unconscious elements, irrationalism, and the symbolic association of ideas.
A type of film music that is purely descriptive and attempts to mimic the visual action with musical equivalents.
The crudely edited footage of a movie before the editor has tightened up the slackness between shots. A kind of a rough draft.
A term used in drama and film to signify the dramatic implications beneath the language of a play or movie.
These actors are used primarily to provide a sense of a crowd.
These are amateur players who are chosen not because of their acting ability, but because of their authentic appearance.
These stage and screen performers are capable of playing a variety of roles in a variety of styles.
The technique of exploiting the charisma of popular performers to enhance the box office appeal of films.
From the Latin, "mask." An actor's public image, based on his or her previous roles, and often incorporating elements from their actual personalities as well.
The principal production studios of a given era. Examples include: MGM, Warner Brothers, RKO, Paramount Pictures, and Twentieth Century-Fox.
Tends to play only those roles that fit a preconceived public image, which constitutes his or her persona.
Can play roles of greater range and variety.
An original model or type after which similar things are patterned.
Actors emphasize psychological intensity, extensive rehearsals to explore a character, emotional believability rather than technical mastery, and "living" a role internally rather than merely imitating the external behavior of a character.
A technique in which a background scene is projected onto a translucent screen behind the actors so it appears that the actors are on location in the final image.
Small scale models photographed to give the illusion that they are full scale objects.
During the studio era, standing exterior sets of such common locales as a turn-of-the-century city block,a frontier town, and so on.