Film vocabulary

27 terms by LUElinks 

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Pan

abbreviation for panorama shot; refers to the horizontal scan, movement, rotation or turning of the camera in one direction (to the right or left) around a fixed axis while filming.

Tilt

a camera tilted up or down on a diagonal along a vertical axis; a vertical camera movement from a fixed position often used to suggest an imbalance, or strangeness; also known as tilt pan, tilt up or tilt down (or reveal).

Actor

refers either to a male performer, or to any male or female who plays a character role in an on-screen film; alternate gender-neutral terms: player, artist, or performer.

Director

the creative artist responsible for complete artistic control of all phases of a film's production (such as making day-to-day determinations about sound, lighting, action, casting, even editing), for translating/interpreting a script into a film, for guiding the performances of the actors in a particular role and/or scene, and for supervising the cinematography and film crew. The director is usually the single person most responsible for the finished product, although he/she couldn't make a film without support from many other artists and technicians.

Producer

the chief of a movie production in all logistical matters (i.e., scheduling, budgeting) save the creative efforts of the director; raises funding and financing, acquires or develops a story, finalizes the script, hires key personnel, and arranges for distributors of the film to theaters; serves as the liaison between the financiers and the film-makers, while managing the production from start to finish.

Production designer

refers to a film's overall design, continuity, visual look and composition (colors, sets, costumes, scenery, props, locations, etc.) that are the responsibility of the production designer; the art department refers to the people in various roles (e.g., matte painters, set designers and decorators, illustrators, title designers, scenic artists, and storyboard artists) who work under the production designer's supervision; the art director is responsible for the film's physical settings (specifically refers to the interiors, landscapes, buildings, etc.)

Cinematographer

specifically refers to the art and technique of film photography, the capture of images, and lighting effects, or to the person expert in and responsible for capturing or recording-photographing images for a film, through the selection of visual recording devices, camera angles, film stock, lenses, framing, and arrangement of lighting; the chief cinematographer responsible for a movie is called the director of photography (or D.P.), or first cameraman; one of the earliest movie-picture machines, patented by the Lumiere brothers in 1895, was termed a Cinematographe.

Developing shot

camera shot wherein the entire camera moves.

Screenwriter

a script or text for a film production written by a scripter or screenwriter(s) (or scribe), written (scribbled, scripted, or penned) in the prescribed form as a series of master scenes, with all the dialogue provided and the essential actions and character movements described; screenplays are often adaptations of other works; known archaically as a photoplay during the silent era.

Editing

the process (performed by a film editor) of selecting, assembling, arranging, collating, trimming, structuring, and splicing-joining together many separate camera takes (includes sound also) of exposed footage (or daily rushes) into a complete, determined sequence or order of shots (or film) - that follows the script; digital editing refers to changing film frames by digitizing them and modifying them electronically; relational editing refers to editing shots to suggest a conceptual link between them; an editor works in a cutting room; the choice of shots has a tremendous influence upon the film's final appearance.

Auteur

literally the French word for "author"; in film criticism, used in the terms auteurism or auteur theory, denoting a critical theory (originally known as la politique des auteurs or "the policy of authors") popular in France in the 1950s that was introduced by Francois Truffaut and the editors of the celebrated French film journal Cahiers du Cinéma and subsequently enlarged upon in the 1960s by American critic Andrew Sarris, among others; the theory ascribed overall responsibility for the creation of a film and its personal vision, identifiable style, thematic aspects and techniques to its film-maker or director, rather than to the collaborative efforts of all involved; the theory posited that directors should be considered the 'true' authors of film (rather than the screenwriters) because they exercise a great deal of control over all facets of film making and impart a distinctive, personal style to their films; simply stated, an auteur can refer to a director with a recognizable or signature style.

Blocking

the process of figuring out where the camera goes, how the lights will be arranged, and what the actors' positions and movements - moment by moment - are for each shot or take; often, the specific staging of a film's movements are worked out by the director, often with stand-ins and the lighting crew before actual shooting.

Crosscut

the editing technique of alternating, interweaving, or interspersing one narrative action (scene, sequence, or event) with another - usually in different locations or places, thus combining the two; this editing method suggests parallel action (that takes place simultaneously); often used to dramatically build tension and suspense in chase scenes, or to compare two different scenes; also known as inter-cutting or parallel editing.

Cut

an abrupt or sudden change or jump in camera angle, location, placement, or time, from one shot to another; consists of a transition from one scene to another (a visual cut) or from one soundtrack to another (a sound cut); cutting refers to the selection, splicing and assembly by the film editor of the various shots or sequences for a reel of film, and the process of shortening a scene; also refers to the instructional word 'cut' said at the end of a take by the director to stop the action in front of the camera; cut to refers to the point at which one shot or scene is changed immediately to another; also refers to a complete edited version of a film (e.g., rough cut); also see director's cut; various types of cuts include invisible cut, smooth cut, jump cut, shock cut, etc.

Dissolve

a transitional editing technique between two sequences, shots or scenes, in which the visible image of one shot or scene is gradually replaced or blended (by an overlapping fade out or fade in and dissolve) with the image from another shot or scene; for an instant, one image is superimposed on or gradually blended with the other to soften the cut; often used to suggest the passage of time and to transform one scene to the next; lap dissolve is shorthand for 'over'lap dissolve; also known as a soft transition or dissolve to.

Documentary

a non-fiction (factual), narrative film with real people (not performers or actors); typically, a documentary is a low-budget, journalistic record of an event, person, or place; a documentary film-maker should be an unobtrusive observer - like a fly-on-the-wall, capturing reality as it happens; a.k.a. doc or docu; also called direct cinema; one type is termed docudrama; contrast with cinema verite and mockumentary.

Fade

a transitional device consisting of a gradual change in the intensity of an image or sound, such as from a normally-lit scene to darkness (fade out, fade-to-black) or vice versa, from complete black to full exposure (fade in), or from silence to sound or vice versa; a 'fade in' is often at the beginning of a sequence, and a 'fade out' at the end of a sequence.

Jump Cut

- an abrupt, disorienting transitional device in the middle of a continuous shot in which the action is noticeably advanced in time and/or cut between two similar scenes, either done accidentally (a technical flaw or the result of bad editing) or purposefully (to create discontinuity for artistic effect); also contrast with an ellipsis and match cut.

Mise-en-scene

a French term for "staging," or "putting into the scene or shot"; in film theory, it refers to staging action that 'covers' or records an entire uninterrupted scene within the frame of the film, and the arrangement, composition and content of the visual elements before the camera (usually in a long-shot) - the content includes settings, decor, props, actors, costumes, lighting, performances, and character movements and positioning; the scene plays out in front of a continually-running camera in real-time, without cutting, but instead by using techniques such as blocking, zoom, and camera movement; includes both technical and non-technical elements that make up a scene's look and feel; the term connotes that there is a psychological unity that exists from one frame to the next; it can be contrasted to montage (a French word that simply means 'editing', or many cuts or separate images of a dramatic scene put together in rapid succession to create a composite picture), preferred by director Sergei Eisenstein

Montage

literally, "putting together" or "assembling shots"; refers to a filming technique, editing style, or form of movie collage consisting of a series of successive short shots or images (often disconnected in time or place) that are rapidly juxtaposed into a coherent sequence to suggest meaning or a larger idea; usually a montage is not accompanied with dialogue; dissolves, cuts, fades, super-impositions, and wipes are often used to link the images in a montage sequence; an accelerated montage is composed of shots of increasingly-shorter lengths.

Storyboard

a sequential series of illustrations, stills, rough sketches and/or captions (sometimes resembling a comic or cartoon strip) of events, as seen through the camera lens, that outline the various shots or provide a synopsis for a proposed film story (or for a complex scene) with its action and characters; the storyboards are displayed in sequence for the purpose of visually mapping out and crafting the various shot divisions and camera movements in an animated or live-action film; a blank storyboard is a piece of paper with rectangles drawn on it to represent the camera frame (for each successive shot); a sophisticated type of preview-storyboard (often shot and edited on video, with a soundtrack) is termed an anima tic.

Take

a single continuously-recorded performance, shot or version of a scene with a particular camera setup; often, multiple takes are made of the same shot during filming, before the director approves the shot; in box-office terms, take also refers to the money a film's release has made

Wipe

a transitional technique or optical effect/device in which one shot appears to be "pushed off" or "wiped off" the screen by another shot replacing it and moving across the existing image; also called a push-over; a flip-over (or flip) wipe is when one scene rotates or flips-over to the new scene; wipes were very commonly used in the 30s

Extreme close-up

a shot taken from a close distance in which the scale of the object is magnified, appears relatively large and fills the entire frame to focus attention and emphasize its importance; i.e., a person's head from the shoulders or neck up is a commonly-filmed close-up; a tight shot makes the subject fill almost the entire frame; also extreme close-up (ECU or XCU) is a shot of a part of a character (e.g., face, head, hands) to emphasize detail; also known as detail shot or close on; contrast to long-shot (LS)

Close-up

a less close in version the above shot.

Medium shot

refers to a conventional camera shot filmed from a medium distance; although it is difficult to precisely define, it usually refers to a human figure from the waist (or knees) up; between a close shot and a long shot; abbreviated as m.s.

Long shot

a camera view of an object or character from a considerable distance so that it appears relatively small in the frame, e.g., a person standing in a crowd of people or a horse in a vast landscape; variations are the medium long-shot (or mid-shot) (MS) and the extreme long-shot (ELS or XLS); also called a wide shot; a long shot often serves as an establishing shot; contrast to close-up (CU); a full-shot is a type of long shot that includes a subject's entire body (head to feet).

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