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Vocab Words

Ambient Sound

Natural background noise on television, film or radio. In the same manner ambient light refers to natural available light that is not enhanced in any way.


All those who receive or interact with any media product. A target audience is the group of people to whom a product is particularly aimed. This may be identified as either "mass" or mainstream if it is target at a very large number of people or "niche" if it is targeted at a smaller, more specific group of people

Camera Angle

The position of the camera in relation to the main subject. It could be a high angle, low angle, worm's eye view or aerial view.


The person responsible for camera and lighting. Often referred to as the "director of photography"

Continuity Editing

Sometimes referred to as "invisible" or "academic" editing, this is the unobtrusive style of editing developed by Hollywood taht is still the basis of most commercial productions. The basis of continuity editing is to cut on action so that the whole sequence looks natural.

Diegetic Sound

Diegetic sound is that which appears to come from a recognizable source within the narrative world of a film, radio or televison text. Example would be the sound of crashing waves on cliffs or bird song,even though these may be added in post production

Non-diegetic Sound

Non-diegetic sound is that which appears to come from a source unconnected to the narrative world of a text. An example of non diegetic sound would be a film musical score.


The conversion of sound and visual to transmit information in a code using the numbers zero and one.


A process whereby sound is added to film. This may take the form of adding music or additional sound to dialogue, or it may refer to the addition of an entire soundtrack, including dialogue.


The selection of material to make a coherent whole. In film and televison an editor uses a variety of methods to move from one sequence to another. This is reffered to as a "transition"


The structure, or skeleton, of a text and the narrative framework around which it is based. For example, a feature film commonly has a three-act structure. Some structures are determined by a genre and its corresponding codes and conventions.


As a noun, this refers to the single area ona strip of film that holds a single image or a single still image on video. As a verb, it means to adjust the positoin of the camera or to adjust the camera lens to compose the required image. An image can be framed to construct a close-up shot, long shot or medium shot.


The classification of any media text into a category or type, for example: news,horror, documentary, soap opera and so on. Genres tend to have identifiable codes and conventions that have developed over time and for which audiences may have developed particular expectations.

Generic Hybrids

Media texts that are a mixture of more than one genre


Literally, everything that is "put in the scene", or put in the frame to be photographed (appropriate to the time and era portrayed). This usually includes production design, set,location, actors, costumes, make-up, gesture, proxemics and blocking, extras, props, use of colour, contrast and filter. Lighting is often included within mise-en-scene. Camera shot composition, framing, angle and movement are also sometimes referred to as mise-en-shot.


The term is taken from the French "to assemble'. It has several meanings in the context of film and is not exclusively used to refer to "Soviet Montage." 1)Its used as a synonym for editing. 2)In Hollywood cinema it means to edit a concentrated sequence using a series of brief transitions creating the effect of the passage of time or movement over large distances or for expressionistic moods.3)Thematic or "Soviet" montage was developed by Sergei Eisentstein by arrangin striking juxtapositions of individual shots to suggest an idea taht goes beyond meanings within an individual shot. He called this "collision montage". 4) Any sequence taht creates a particularly significant effect aminly through its editing. The shower scene in Pyscho woudl be an example.


The way in which a plot or story is told, by whom and in what order. Flashbacks, flash forwards, and ellipsis may be used as narrative devices. Tsvetan Todorov, Bordewell and Thmopson and Robert McKee have all presented interesting ideas about narrative development.


The period and the processes that come between the completion of principal photography and the completed film or programme. This includes the editing of a film or programme, along with titles, graphics, special effects and so on.


The entire range of preparations that takes place before a film or television programme can begin shooting.

Primary Research

Research information or data that you collect yourself. Sources for this may include interviews, questionnaires, analysis of films or television programmes taht you undertake yourself.


Either the product itself or the actual process of filming.

Qualitative Research

Research undertaken through observation, analysing texts and documents, interviews, open-ended questionnaires and case studies. It is reasoned argument that is not based upon simple statistical information. Overall, qualitative research enables researches to study pyschological, cultural and social phenomena.

Quantitative Research

Primarily, this is statistical data most frequently obtained from closed questions in questionnaires or structured interviews. Quantitative research may calculate how many males in the 15-25 years age range watch a particular television soap opera, for example, but qualititave research is necessary to determine why they watch it.


The dominant mode of representation in television, mainstream films and print. The term usually implies taht the media text attmepts to represent an external reality: a film or television programme is "realistic" becuase it gives the impression that it accurately reproduces that part of the real world to which it is referring. However, the concept is much more complex than this brief definition. One suggestion is to think of "realisms" rather than realsim.


The process of making meaning in still or moving images and in words and sounds. It means to present or show someone or something. Used to describe the process by which an image can be used to represent or stand in for someone or something for example a person place or thing. Used to describe the manner in which segments or individuals in society (women, elderly, ethnic minorities) are portryaed in the media.

Secondary Research

Research information taken from sources other than your own work, such as academic studies, reviews or essays, wheteher in printed format or from other film texts such as documentaries or interviews


An oversimplified representation of people, places or issues, giving a narrrow and/or exaggerated set of attributes. Stereotypes are frequently tthought to be entirely negative but this is not necessarily the case.


The "look" of a media text; its surface apperance. It can be recognized by the use of colour, mise-en-scene, lighting, music, camera, angle, movement, framing dialogue, editing and so on.`

Synchronous Sound

Where the sound matches the action or speech in film or television.

Asynchronous Sound

When there is a mismatch the most obvious example occurs when lip-synch is out, that it, when the words spoken and the lip movement of the actor on screen do not match.

Teaser Trailers

Shor film or televison trailers shown before a full-length trailer


The overall impression that is given by a media text-serious, comic, romantic, senstationalist and so on.

Extreme Close-Up

A shot with a very narrow field of view that gives the impression that the camera is very close to the subject for instance a part of a persons face.

Close Up

A character's head and shoulders

Medium Shot

A shot in which the field of view is between those of the long shot and the clse-up. The camera see the actor from the waist up.

American Shot (Hollywood Shot, Cowboy Shot, Knee Shot)

A shot that frames a figure from the knees up

Full Figure

A full human figure shot

Long Shot

Shot giving a broad view of the visual field; the cmaera appears to be far away from the subject (Y-axis)

Wide Shot

Composed to see a wide vista (x-axis)


Shot with only one person in it

Two Shot

The camera frames two characters in a shot


Often photographed by the second unit, this shot, frequently a close-up reveals details not seen in the master shot or missed by the general coverage. (a clock)

Two-T Shot

A shot framed from the nipples up

High Angle

Shot taken from an angle above the object

Aerial Shot

Very high angle shot often a ccomplished with a helicopter or an airplane

Low angle

Taken from the placement of the camera below the object

High Hat Shot

Positioned as if it were a hat's height off the floor.

3/4 shot

shot thats positioned halfway between a frontal angle and a profile. Can be a front or back shot.


shot from a side angle

Straight on or frontal

when the camera is looking directly at the object

Over the Shoulder

Usuallyt shot of a character in conversation with a second person whose shoulder you shoot over.

Canted Frame

Dutch or Chinese angles. The camera is tilted sideways, setting the objects off the vertical axis.

Dolly Shot

Tracking or trucking. Camera travels on dolly tracks. Usually used to describe shots moving on the z axis


The camera swiveles on the horizontal axis.

Swish Pan

A very swift pan that blurs the scene in between the starting and ending points

Tracking shot

camera moves to left or right. often used to follow a figure or vehicle.


Camera pivots up and down from its base which doesn't move

Boom Shot

Camera travels up and down on a boom arm

Crane shot

Shot taken from a crane that has the ability to boom down and track in long distances without using tracks

Car Mount

A shot taken from a camera that is mounted directly onto a vehicle

Static Shot

Any shot where the camera specifically doesn't move

Steadicam Shot

Shot using the steadicam, a acamera taht attacheds to a harness and can be operated by a single person in handheld situations.


refers to the movement of a zoom lens


Tenchnique in which the camera dollies in and zooms out at the same time.

Smash Zoom

very fast zoom


operator braces the camera on the shoulder or at hip height. Documentary sized footage

Follow Shot

Any moving shot that follows an actor

Traveling shot

Any shot that utilizes a moving camera body

Objective Shot

Camera sees the scene from an angle not seen by the character in the scene

Subjective Shot

Shot taken from the position of someone in the scene. A point of view shot.

Master Shot

Called a cover shot. A medium to wede angle shot of a scene that runs for the duration of the action.

Establishing Shot

Often a wide shot of the location. It tells the audience where they are.


All the setups needed to edit the scene aside from the master shot.


Refers to the position ofa camera and the required lighting of a shot or shots.

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