Term Definition and Explanation
180 degree rule a screen direction rule that camera operators must follow – an imaginary line on one side of the axis of action is made (e.g., between two principal actors in a scene), and the camera must not cross over that line – otherwise, there is a distracting visual discontinuity and disorientation; similar to the axis of action (an imaginary line that separates the camera from the action before it) that should not be crossed
24 frames per second refers to the standard frame rate or film speed – the number of frames or images that are projected or displayed per second; in the silent era before a standard was set, many films were projected at 16 or 18 frames per second, but that rate proved to be too slow when attempting to record optical film sound tracks; aka 24fps or 24p. This rate is still referred to when filming on HD even though there is no film.
4-A’s Associated Actors and Artistes of America; umbrella organization for SAG, AFTRA, Equity and other performers’ Unions.
8×10 Commonly used size of a performer’s photos, usually in black and white.
A.D. The 1st Assistant Director. Generally in charge of scheduling and running the set.
Above the line usually refers to that part of a film’s budget that covers the costs associated with major creative talent: the stars, the director, the producer(s) and the writer(s), although films with expensive special effects (and few stars) have more ‘above the line’ budget costs for technical aspects; the term’s opposite is below the line
ACTION! (1) any movement or series of events (usually rehearsed) that take place before the camera and propel the story forward toward its conclusion; (2) the word called out at the start of the take during filming cueing the actors to begin performing; (3) also refers to the main component of action films – that often contain significant amounts of violence
Ad lib a line of dialogue improvised by an actor during a performance; can be either unscripted or deliberate; improvisation consists of ad-libbed dialogue (and action) that is invented or created by the performer
Adaptation the presentation of one art form through another medium; a film based upon, derived from (or adapted from) a stage play (or from another medium such as a short story, book, article, history, novel, video game, comic strip/book, etc.) which basically preserves both the setting and dialogue of the original; can be in the form of a script (screenplay) or a proposal treatment
ADR Automated Dialogue Replacement. Dialogue added to a scene in post production. Also called “looping”.
Aerial shot a camera shot filmed in an exterior location from far overhead (from a bird’s eye view), as from a helicopter (most common), blimp, balloon, plane, or kite; a variation on the crane shot
AFI The American Film Institute
AFTRA American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Represents radio artists and news broadcasters, and, in earlier times, television performers. In more recent times, however, television performers may be represented by either AFTRA or SAG, depending on the producer’s contract. Discussions about merging the two organizations have been ongoing for several decades; recent Television & Film and Commercial Contracts have been jointly negotiated.
AGMA American Guild of Musical Artists
AGVA  American Guild of Variety Artists
Ambiance the feeling or mood of a particular scene or setting
Ambient light the natural light (usually soft) or surrounding light around a subject in a scene; also see background lighting
AMPTP Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers
Ancillary rights contractual agreement in which a percentage of the profits are received and derived from the sale of action figures, posters, CDs, books, T-shirts, etc.
Angle refers to the perspective from which a camera depicts its subject; see camera angle, and other specific shots (high, low, oblique, etc.)
Animation (and animator, animated films) a form or process of filmmaking in which inanimate, static objects or individual drawings (hand-drawn or CGI) are filmed “frame by frame” or one frame at a time (opposed to being shot “live”), each one differing slightly from the previous frame, to create the illusion of motion in a sequence, as opposed to filming naturally-occurring action or live objects at a regular frame rate. Often used as a synonym for cartoons (or toons for short), although animation includes other media such as claymation, computer animation; see also CGI, claymation, stop-motion, time lapse.
Anime a distinctive style of animated film that has its roots in Japanese comic books (known as manga), yet covers a wide range of genres, such as romance, action/adventure, drama, gothic, historical, horror, mystery, erotica (hentai), children’s stories, although most notably sci-fi and fantasy themes; originally called ‘Japanimation‘ but this term is not used anymore; anime is found in a wide variety of storylines and settings, but usually recognizable and often characterized by heavily-stylized backgrounds, colorful images and graphics, highly exaggerated facial expressions with limited facial movement, simulation of motion through varying the background behind a static character or other foreground element, and frequently, big-headed characters with child-like, large eyes
Antagonist the main character, person, group, society, nature, force, spirit world, bad guy, or villain of a film or script who is in adversarial conflict with the film’s hero, lead character or protagonist; also sometimes termed the heavy.
Anthology film a multi-part or multi-segmented film with a collection or series of various tales or short stories sometimes linked together by some theme or by a ‘wrap-around’ tale; often the stories are directed by different directors or scripted by various screenwriters, and are in the horror film genre; also known as an episode film or omnibus film; this term may also refer to a full-length, compilation-documentary film of excerpted segments or clips from other films (i.e., That’s Entertainment (1974)).
Anti-climax anything in a film, usually following the film’s high point, zenith, apex, crescendo, or climax, in which there is an unsatisfying and disappointing let-down of emotion, or what is expected doesn’t occur.
Anti-hero the principal protagonist of a film who lacks the attributes or characteristics of a typical hero archetype, but with whom the audience identifies. The character is often confused or conflicted with ambiguous morals, or character defects and eccentricities, and lacks courage, honesty, or grace. The anti-hero can be tough yet sympathetic, or display vulnerable and weak traits. Specifically, the anti-hero often functions outside the mainstream and challenges it.
Aperture refers to the measurement of the opening in a camera lens that regulates the amount of light passing through and contacting the film.
Arc shot a shot in which the subject(s) is photographed by an encircling or moving camera.
Archetype a character, place, or thing, that is repeatedly presented in films with a particular style or characterization; an archetype usually applies to a specific genre or type classification.
Art Director refers to the individual responsible for the design, look, and feel of a film’s set, including the number and type of props, furniture, windows, floors, ceilings dressings, and all other set materials; a member of the film’s art department (responsible for set construction, interior design, and prop placement).
Art-house film films, often low budget or ‘art’ films, that are acknowledged as having artistic merit or aesthetic pretensions, and are shown in an arthouse theatre; films shown usually include foreign-language films, independent films, non-mainstream (sometimes anti-Hollywood) films, shorts, documentaries, explicitly-erotic films, and other under-appreciated cinema of low mass appeal; began to appear in the 1950s and provided a distinct contrast to commercial films.
Aside occurs when a character in a film breaks the ‘fourth wall‘ and directly addresses the audience with a comment.
Aspect ratio in general, a term for how the image appears on the screen based on how it was shot; refers to the ratio of width (horizontal or top) to height (vertical or side) of a film frame, image or screen; the most common or standard aspect ratio in early films to the 1950s was called Academy Aperture (or ratio), at a ratio of 1.33:1 (the same as 4:3 on a TV screen); normal 35mm films are shot at a ratio of 1.85:1; new widescreen formats and aspect ratios were introduced in the 1950s, from 1.65:1 and higher; CinemaScope (a trade name for a widescreen movie format used in the US from 1953 to 1967) and other anamorphic systems (such as Panavision) have a 2.35:1 AR, while 70mm formats have an AR of 2.2:1; Cinerama had a 2.77:1 aspect ratio; letterboxed videos for widescreen TV’s are frequently in 16:9 (or 1.77:1) AR.
Assembly the first stage of editing, in which all the shots are arranged in script order.
Asynchronous (sound) refers to audio-track sounds that are mismatched or out of conjunction or unison with the images in the visual frame (or screen); sometimes accidental, but sometimes intentional; aka non-synchronized
ATA Association of Talent Agents
Atmosphere refers to any concrete or nebulous quality or feeling that contributes a dimensional tone to a film’s action.
Audience refers to spectators, viewers, participants – those who serve as a measure of a film’s success; although usually audiences are viewed in universal terms, they can also be segmented or categorized (e.g., ‘art-film’ audiences, ‘chick film’ audiences, etc.).
Audio refers to the sound portion of a film.
Audio bridge refers to an outgoing sound (either dialogue or sound effects) in one scene that continues over into a new image or shot – in this case, the soundtrack, not a visual image, connects the two shots or scenes; aka lightning mix
Audition A tryout for a film, TV or stage role. Usually auditions involving reading from the script, but can also require improvisation.
Auteur (or auteur theory) 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 late 1940s and early 1950s that was introduced by Francois Truffaut and the editors (including legendary film critic and theorist Andre Bazin) of the celebrated French film journal Cahiers du Cinéma (literally ‘cinema notebooks’), arguably the most influential film magazine in film history; their ideas were 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 (actors, producer, production designer, special effects supervisor, etc); 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.
Avail a courtesy situation extended by performer or agent to a producer indicating availability to work a certain job. Avails have no legal or contractual status.
Available light the naturally-existing light in an off-set location; a film’s realism is enhanced by using available or natural light rather than having artificial light.
Avant-garde refers to an experimental, abstract, or highly independent, non-independent film that is often the forerunner of a new artistic genre or art form; avant-garde films self-consciously emphasize technique over substance; also loosely applies to a group of French and German filmmakers in the early 20th century and to some modern American experimental filmmakers (e.g., Andy Warhol), and their film movement that challenged conventional film-making; see also cinema verite, surrealism, and abstract form
Back lot an area, on studio property, in an open-air, outdoor space away from the studio stages, where real-life situations with backgrounds are filmed; contrasted to on-location shoots that are more expensive; various studios in the Los Angeles area offer back lot tours. 
Back projection a photographic technique whereby live action is filmed in front of a transparent screen onto which background action is projected. Back projection was often used to provide the special effect of motion in vehicles during dialogue scenes, but has become outmoded and replaced by bluescreen (or greenscreen) processing and traveling mattes; also known as rear projection or process photography (or shot); contrast to matte shot.
Back story refers to the events that directly happened prior to the beginning of the story, or lead to the story; composed of information that helps fill out the skeletal story of a screenplay or a character’s background, often to help actors or the audience understand motivation.
Back to one! The verbal cue for performers to return to the mark where they started the scene. Typically called out by the 1st AD when they are filming the scene again.
Backdrop refers to a large photographic backing or painting for the background of a scene (e.g., a view seen outside a window, a landscape scene, mountains, etc.), usually painted on flats (composed of plywood or cloth); a large curved backdrop (often representing the sky) is known as a cyclorama; backdrops were more commonly used before the current trend toward on-location shooting and the use of bluescreens.
Background the Extra performers. On the set, “Background!” is a verbal cue for the Extras to start their action.
Background music refers to part of the score that accompanies a scene or action in a film, usually to establish a specific mood or enhance the emotion.
Backlighting this phenomenon occurs when the lighting for the shot is directed at the camera from behind the subject(s), causing the figure(s) in the foreground to appear in semi-darkness or as silhouettes, or highlighted; with backlighting, the subject is separated from the background.
BAE British Actors Equity
Balance within a film’s visual frame, refers to the composition, aesthetic quality, or working together of the figures, light, sound, and movement.
Banned the blocking of a film’s release (in a theatre showing or on video) by either the government or an official movie classification board, for political, religious, sexual, or social reasons; see also censorship.
Barn doors the black metal folding doors an all four sides of a light that can be bent back and forth on their hinges to control where the light is directed.
Barney a blanket placed over the film camera to reduce the noise of the moving mechanisms inside; see also blimp. Now that most sets film on HD there is no more camera noise, however, if a small gas powered generator (genny) is used on set for power they may ask for a blimp to reduce it’s noise.
Based on a true story films that consist of a story line that has at least some basis in real historical events, and may actually contain only a few factual elements. These films, loosely based on various biographies, stories, or events, may/may not significantly alter the characters or situations for greater dramatic effect; inspired by a true story indicates the film is even looser with the factual basis of the events.
Beat refers to an actor’s term for how long to wait before doing an action; a beat is usually about one second.
Beauty Shot On TV soaps, the shot over which the credits are rolled.
Behind the scenes the off-camera events or circumstances during filmmaking.
Below the line Opposite of above the line.
Best boy the term for any technical assistant, apprentice or aide (regardless of sex) for the gaffer or the (key) grip on a set, responsible for the routing and coiling of power cables necessary to run the lights for a shot; a gender-neutral term that came from whaling.
Beta 1/2 inch videotape that was originally called Betamax.
B-Film (or B-Movie, B-Picture) an off-beat, low-budget, second-tier film, usually from an independent producer, shot quickly with little-known, second rate actors; often the second film (or the ‘lower half’) of a double-feature shown in a grindhouse; B-films are often characterized by sensational and catchy titles, campy acting, cheesy special effects, and gratuitous violence and sexuality; contrast to an A-pictures (first-class, big-budget films with high-level production values and star-power); not to be confused with cult films, although some B-films attain cult status; sometimes aka exploitation film
Billing the placement or display of names of actors, directors, and producers for a movie in publicity materials, opening (or closing) film credits, and on theatre marquees. A person’s status is indicated by the size, relative position, and placement of their name. Generally, higher positions closer to the top with larger and more prominent letters designate higher importance and greater box-office draw, and precede people of lesser importance; the most prominent actor that appears first is said to have top billing, followed by second billing, and so forth.
Bio Short for “biography”. A resume in narrative form, usually for a printed program or press release.
Bit part a small acting role (usually only one scene, such as a waiter) with very few lines or acting; contrast to a cameo, extra,or walk-on role.
Biz in shorthand, refers to the “business”, or “show business”.
Blacklisting refers to late 40s and early 50s McCarthyism and the HUAC’s (House UnAmerican Activities Committee) formal and informal discrimination and ‘blacklisting’ (effectively banning from employment) of various actors, artists and film-makers based upon their personal, political, social, or religious beliefs (i.e., “Communist sympathizers”); the blacklist was a roster of illegal artists who were not to be hired during the years 1947-1951.
Blaxploitation a combination of the terms “black” and “exploitation”; refers mainly to sensational, low-budget films in the 1970’s featuring mostly African-American casts (and directors), that broke the mold of black characterization in feature films; usually emphasized fads of the time in hairstyles, music and costuming, and also brutality, sleazy sex, street-life, racist and militant attitudes, etc.
Blimp the sound-deadening housing a noisy movie camera is put in to prevent the sound equipment from picking up extra sounds
Blockbuster originally referred to a large bomb that would destroy an entire city block during World War II; now in common usage, an impactful movie that is a huge financial success – usually with box-office of more than $200 million (the benchmark of the early 2000s, after the original mark was $100 million) upon release in North America; ticket lines for blockbusters literally go around the ‘block’; also known as box-office hit; the term may also refer to a costly film that must be exceptionally popular in order to recoup its expenses and make a profit; the opposite of a blockbuster is a bomb, flop, or turkey. See All-Time Box-Office Bombs/Flops.
Blocking The actual physical movements by performers in any scene. Also can refer to the movements of the camera.
Blue Screen a special-effects process whereby actors work in front of an evenly-lit, monochromatic (usually blue or green) background or screen. The background is then replaced (or matted) in post-production by chroma-keying or optical printer, allowing other footage or computer-generated images to form the image; since 1992, most films use a green-screen
Blurb another name for a commercial or advertisement (usually for TV)
Body double a performer who takes the place of an actor in scenes that require a close-up of body parts without the face visible, often for nude scenes requiring exposed close-ups (considered distasteful by some actors), or scenes requiring physical fitness; not to be confused with stunt double or stand-in
Bollywood refers to the burgeoning film industry of India, the world’s biggest film industry, centered in Bombay (now Mumbai); the etymology of the word: from Bo(mbay) + (Ho)llywood; unlike Hollywood, however, Bollywood is a non-existent place.
Bookends a term denoting scenes at the beginning and end of a film that complement each other and help tie a film together; aka framing device
Booking A firm commitment to a performer to do a specific job.
Boom An overhead microphone, usually on an extended pole. The Boom Operator is the member of the sound department responsible for holding the boom pole, with mic attached, over and sometimes under the actors. Also usually responsible for placing radio mics on actors.
Bootleg an illegally copied, unauthorized, and/or distributed version of a copyrighted film/video/DVD, often of second-rate quality; also termed pirated.
Bowdlerize(d) refers to purging anything considered disturbing, vulgar, or adult in content in order to make it sanitized for mass market consumption and appropriate for children; originally a literary term derived from the name of Englishman Thomas Bowdler who published a ‘censored’ Family Shakespeare version in the early 1800s.
Box-office the measure of the total amount of money or box-office receipts paid by movie-goers to view a movie; also referred to as B. O. or gross; usually divided into domestic grosses (unadjusted and adjusted for inflation), and worldwide grosses
B-Roll typically filmed without sound, this footage includes, scenics, exterior establishing shots, the protagonist walking somewhere and is typically used in the edit as transitional shots from oen scene to another
Bracketing the act of shooting a scene several times with different F-stops to try and get a certain desired effect
Breakaway specially designed prop or set piece that looks solid but shatters easily
Breakdown a summary description of a script prepared by or for the casting director often including the names of the director, producer, network or studio, together with audition location and times, storyline and roles available for casting in a production. These are, and have traditionally been, provided only to qualified talent agents.
Bridging shot a transitional type of shot used to cover or ‘bridge’ a jump in time or place or other discontinuity; see also audio bridge and match-cut
Buddy film a subgenre of film (comedies, westerns, dramas, action films, road films, etc.) in which two mismatched persons (usually males) are forced to work together, often a pair of police cops; situations are often contrived to present the pair with challenges or strains that both strengthen their bond and weaken it; buddy films are often action/comedy films with witty dialogue between the two characters and sometimes the inclusion of a love triangle; has been extended to include female buddies; compare to fish-out-of-water tale
Building a scene using dramatic devices such as increased tempo, volume, and emphasis to bring a scene to a climax
Bumper usually refers to the pre-film segment of pre-made film that contains studio trademark and logo or title identification; also refers to a period of positive financial growth (i.e., it was a ‘bumper year’ for films)
Buzz slang for the sense of excitement, expectancy, and hype that surrounds a film, an actor, or a director
Buzz track a soundtrack of natural, atmospheric, on-location background noise that is added to the re-recorded (or looped) track of actors’ dialogue and other sound effects recordings to create a more realistic sound; aka referred to as room tone or matching ambient sound; a wild track or sound refers to a soundtrack w/o any synchronized picture accompanying it (e.g., the sounds of a playground)
CAEA Canadian Actors Equity Association
Call sheet a sheet containing the cast and crew call times for a specific day’s shooting. Scene numbers, the expected day’s total pages to be shot, locations, and production needs are also included.
Callback any follow-up interview or audition
Cameo originally meaning “a small piece of artwork,” refers to a bit part (usually a brief, non-speaking or walk-on role that is uncredited or unbilled) or special screen appearance by a famous actor, director, or prominent person who would ordinarily not take such a small part; contrast to a bit part; also refers to a type of camera shot in which the subject is filmed against a black or neutral background.
Camera the basic machine involved in film-making, from a hand-held version to portables, to heavy studio cameras; some of the parts of a camera include the aperture, lens, film magazine (for storage), viewfinder, etc; the positioning of the camera by the camera operator is known as the setup
Camera angle the point of view (POV) or perspective (including relative height or direction) chosen from which to photograph a subject. Various camera angles, compositions, or positions include: front, behind, side, top, high (looking down), low (looking up), straight-on or eye-level (standard or neutral angle), tilted (canted or oblique), or subjective, etc.; see also framing
Camera Crew With the D.P. (Director of Photography) as its chief, this team consists of the camera operator, the first assistant camera operator (focus puller), the second assistant camera operator (film loader and clap stick clapper) and the dolly grip.
Camera movement the use of the camera to obtain various camera angles and perspectives. (See motion picture camera shots below, including the pan, tilt, track, and zoom; also boom/crane shots, Steadicam, or hand-held
Camera Operater The member of the camera crew who actually looks through the lens during a take. Responsible for panning, tilting and keeping the action within the frame under the direction of the film’s director and director of photography (or cinematography)
Can refers to the round metal/plastic container that holds or stores film (reels) for transport or for long-term storage; a film that has been completed is known colloquially as “in the can”; canned means pre-recorded; also see reel
Candlelight (lighting) refers to lighting that is provided by candlelight, to provide a warm hue or tone, and connote intimacy, romance, and harmony
Caption the descriptive, printed line(s) of text that occasionally appears on the screen, usually at the bottom of the frame, to describe the time/place, or to translate a foreign word/phrase; different from closed-captioning (closed captions are all white uppercase (capital) letters encased in a black box that require a decoder or television with a decoder chip to be viewed) for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers; see also subtitles
Caricature a character appearing ridiculously out of proportion because of one physical, psychological or moral trait that has been grossly or broadly exaggerated; a caricature often portrays a character in an unrealistic, stereotypical fashion
Cash cow in movie terms, a definitely guaranteed, ‘can’t-miss’ blockbuster film that promises to generate disproportionately tremendous profits due to its lucrative franchise (sequels, merchandising, spin-offs, etc.).
Cast a collective term for all of the actors/performers (or talent) appearing in a particular film: usually broken down into two parts: the leads with speaking roles, and the seconds or supporting characters, background players or extras, and bit players
Cast against type an actor playing a role distinctly different from roles previously played
Casting the process of selecting and hiring actors to play the roles and characters in a film production, and be brought under contract; the lead roles are typically cast or selected by the director or a producer, and the minor or supporting roles and bit parts by a casting director; type-casting refers to an actor playing only roles similar to those he/she has played before
Casting couch refers to the illegal practice (mostly during the heyday of the studio system) when unknown young actors or actresses (starlets) exchanged sex (literally on an office couch) with a casting director or producer in order to acquire/land a role in a film
Casting Director the producer’s representative responsible for choosing performers for consideration by the producer or director
Casting Facility studio or space used by one or more casting directors for holding audition taping sessions
Casting Notice similar in format to a Breakdown, the casting notice is not restricted to agents only. They are distributed to actors, agents and the public, much the same as a posting in a newspaper.
Catharsis during a film’s climax, the audience may experience a purging or cleansing of emotional tension, providing relief or therapeutic restoration 
CGI Computer-Generated Imagery (or Images), a term referring to the use of 3D computer graphics and technology (digital computers and specialized software) in film-making to create filmed images, special effects and the illusion of motion; often used to cut down on the cost of hiring extras. See Visual/Special Effects.
Change-over cue the small dot, oval or mark on the top-right corner of a film frame that signaled to the projectionist to change over from one projector (or film reel) to another (about every 15-20 minutes)
Character the fictitious or real individual in a story, performed by an actor; also called players
Character actor an actor who specializes in playing well-defined, stereotypical, archetypal, off-beat, humorous, or highly-recognizable, fictional roles of a particular physical, emotional, or behavioral type, in a supporting role; see also typecasting
Character study a film that uses strong characterizations, interactions and the personalities of its characters to tell a story, with plot and narrative almost secondary to them
Cheat an actor’s adjustment of body position away from what might be absolutely “natural” in order to accommodate the camera; can also mean looking in a different place from where the other actor actually is.
Cheater cut the footage put into the beginning of a serial episode to show what happened at the end of the previous episode
Chief Electrician heads the electrician crew; also called the Gaffer.
Child actor technically, any actor under the age of 18
Choreographer (and choreography) a person who plans, designs, organizes, sequences, and directs dancing, fighting, or other physical actions or movements in a film or stage production
CinemaScope the term commonly refers to widescreen processes or anamorphic techniques, that use different magnifications in the horizontal and the vertical to fill the screen; it is also the specific trademark name for 20th Century Fox’s commercially-successful widescreen process which uses an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (originally it could be as wide as 2:66:1 – to compete with Cinerama and 3-D processes in the 1950s. 
Cinematic relating to or suggestive of motion pictures; having the qualities of a film
Cinematographer (also cinematography) 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 DOP)
Clapboard (Slate) a small black or white board or slate with a hinged stick on top that displays identifying information for each shot in a movie, and is filmed at the beginning of a take. The board typically contains the working title of the movie, the names of the director, the editor, and the director of photography, the scene and take numbers, the date, and the time. On the top of the clapboard is a hinged wooden stick (called a clapstick or clapper) which is often clapped to provide audio/visual synchronization of the sound with the picture during editing; electronic clappers and synchronization are currently in use instead of the old-fashioned clapboard.
Claymation refers to the animation of models constructed of clay, putty, plasticine, or other moldable materials, often through stop-motion
Cliffhanger a film characterized by scenes of great tension, danger, adventure, suspense, or high drama, often climaxing at the end of a film, or at the end of a multi-part serial episode, where the plot ending and the fate of the protagonist(s) are left unresolved; the name was derived from the movie serials of the 1930’s where each week the hero (or heroine) was perilously left dangling from a cliff — with a ‘to-be-continued’ ending — to increase interest for the next episode (sequel).
Climax the highest point of anxiety or tension in a story or film in which the central character/protagonist faces, confronts, and deals with the consequence(s) of all his/her actions, or faces the antagonist in a climactic battle or final engagement; a crisis often leads to a climax; also called the film’s high point, zenith, apex, or crescendo; a climax may be followed by an anti-climax or denouement
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; contrast to wide-shot (WS)
Coda literally, means “tail” in Italian, and usually refers to musical selections; in film, it refers to the epilogue, ending or last section of a film (often wordless), that provides closure, a conclusion, or a summary of the preceding storyline
Cold reading unrehearsed reading of a scene, usually at an audition
Colorization the film-altering process whereby a black and white film is digitally changed to include color
Comic relief a humorous or farcical interlude in a dramatic film, usually provided by a buffoonish character, intended to relieve the dramatic, built-up tension or heighten the emotional impact by means of contrast
Coming-of-age (film) a film associated with difficult teen rites of passage (from adolescence to adulthood), the onset of puberty, the loss of naive innocence and childhood dreams, the experience of growing up, achieving sexual identity, etc.; aka teen films
Command performance a great performance in a film by an actor, sometimes referring to the one before his or her death; it originally referred to a special performance that was requested by a sovereign, royal, head of state, or other important person
Commentary an objective opinion or description of characters or events occurring in the film, presented from an omniscient point of view by a commentator; the commentator’s voice comes from off-camera, and is presented on the soundtrack as a voice-over; also refers to one of the added features on various DVDs in which a cast member, director, film critic, or film historian ‘comments’ on the film in some way
Compilation film a film made up of shots, scenes, or sequences from other films
Complication a plot event that complicates or tightens the tension of a film
Composer the musician who creates (writes or adapts) the film’s musical score; contrast to a conductor (who directs the orchestra’s performance of the score), or a lyricist (who writes a song’s words)
Composite a series of photos on one sheet representing an actor’s different looks
Composition refers to the arrangement of different elements (i.e., colors, shapes, figures, lines, movement, and lighting) within a frame and in a scene
Conflict status of being paid for services in a commercial for one advertiser, thereby contractually preventing performing services in a commercial for a competitor
Continuity (editing or cutting) the system of editing that developed in the early 20th century to provide a continuous and clear movement of events/images in a film; refers to the final edited structure of a completed film, with the events or scenes/sequences arranged as if they had occurred continuously, when, in fact, they were shot out of sequence; continuity also refers to the degree to which a film is self-consistent without errors, jump cuts, or mis-matched shots and details; a continuity cut refers to an editing cut that takes the viewer seamlessly, unobtrusively, and logically from one sequence or scene to another, to propel the narrative along; a blooper or flub is a continuity error
Contract player an actor (both stars and bit players) who has a contractual commitment or agreement to a studio/producer/company
Contrast refers to the difference between light and shadow, or between maximum and minimum amounts of light, in a particular film image; can be either high contrast (with a sharp delineation between the bright and dark areas) or its opposite low contrast; color can also be contrasted
Conventions the expected elements in a type of film, without question, thought, or judgment
Coogan’s Law refers to landmark legislation in the late 30s designed to protect a child actor’s earnings, by depositing some of the minor’s earnings in court-administered trust funds that the child receives when he/she reaches the age of majority; named after child actor Jackie Coogan
Copy script for a commercial or voice over
Costume refers to the garments or clothing worn by actors/performers in a film; a costume (or wardrobe) designer researches, designs, and selects the costumes to be appropriate to the film’s time period, the characters, their location, and their occupations, whereas the costumer (or stylist) is responsible for acquiring, selecting, manufacturing, and/or handling the clothing and accessories; a costume drama is a film set in a particular historical time period, often with elaborate costuming
Coverage refers to all the shots, including closeups and reverse angles, that a director takes in addition to the master shot, to make up the final product; to have proper coverage means having all the proper scenes, angles, lightings, close-ups, and directions
Craft Services on-set beverage and snack table. Different from the Caterer
Crane Shot a camera shot taken from a large camera dolly or electronic device (an apparatus, such as a crane), resembling a extendable mechanical arm (or boom), that can raise the camera up in the air above the ground 20 feet or more; the crane allows the camera to fluidly move in virtually any direction (with vertical and horizontal movement), providing shifts in levels and angles; crane shots usually provide some kind of overhead view of a scene
Crawl Usually the end credits in a film or TV shot which “crawl” up the screen.
Credits in general, this term refers to the list of technical personnel, cast, and crew of a film; specifically, it refers to the list of names and functions of persons and corporations contributing and responsible for the artistic or intellectual content of a film, such as: “Story by…”, “Screenplay by…”, “Photography by…”, etc.; sometimes distinguished from the cast (the performers in front of the camera); see also titles or post-credits sequence.
Crew refers to those involved in the technical production of a film who are not actual performers
Crisis the period of highest tension just before the climax of a film (there can be more than one); the point at which events reach their highest level of tension 
Critic an individual who writes and/or publishes a review of a film from either an artistic or entertainment point of view. Film reviews often analyze and discuss a film’s details, its content and characters, a critique of the performances, camera work, directing, editing, production, and script; film critics are usually more philosophical and theoretical than film reviewers or commentators
Cross-over a film or production that is made for one audience, but may easily ‘cross-over’ to another unexpected audience; also refers to a film, actor, or production that appeals to different demographic groups or age groups and can move between two or more distinct franchises; see also hybrid
CSA Casting Society of America. Professional society of Theatrical (Film, TV, Stage) Casting Directors.
Cue a signal or sign for an actor to begin performing, from either another performer, from the director, or from within the script; a cue is often the last word of one character’s line(s) of dialogue, when another performer is expected to ‘pick up their cue’ to speak.
Cue cards a device (cards, scrolling screen, teleprompter, or other mechanism) printed with dialogue provided to help an actor recite his/her lines; an electronic cue card is called a (tele)-prompter
Cult film(s) usually a non-mainstream film that attracts a small, but loyally-obsessed group of fans, and remains popular and worshipped over many years; cult films have limited but special appeal, and often have unusual or subversive elements or subject matter; they are often replayed for repeat viewings and audience participation (and group identification) as midnight movies; not to be confused with B-films (not all cult films are B-films)
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 (an abrupt cut from one scene or shot to the next), shock cut (the abrupt replacement of one image by another), etc.
Cutaway shot a brief shot that momentarily interrupts a continuously-filmed action, by briefly inserting another related action, object, or person (sometimes not part of the principal scene or main action), followed by a cutback to the original shot; often filmed from the POV of the character and used to break up a sequence and provide some visual relief, or to ease the transition from one shot to the next, or to provide additional information, or to hint at an impending change; reaction shots are usually cutaways; cross-cutting is a series of cutaways and cutbacks indicating concurrent action; a cutaway is different from an insert shot.
Cyclorama the curved backdrop used to represent the sky when outdoor scenes are shot in the studio
D.P. Director of Photography or Cinematographer.
Dailies the immediately processed, rough cuts, exposed film, or first prints of a film (w/o special effects or edits) for the director (producer, cinematographer, or editor) to review, to see how the film came out after the day’s (or previous day’s) shooting; more commonly in the form of videotape or digital dailies nowadays; aka rushes (referring to the haste taken to make them available); used to determine if continuity is correct, if props are missing or out of place, or if sound is poor, etc., to help decide whether to re-shoot
Dark horse in film terms, a little-known, unlikely movie (often a sleeper, a low-budget film, indie, or a foreign film) that is, surprisingly, nominated for a major award (i.e., Academy Award or Golden Globe)
Day Player A principal performer hired on a daily basis, rather than on a longer – term contract.
Day-for-night shot a cinematographic technique for using shots filmed during the day to appear as moonlit night shots on the screen, by using different lenses, filters, special lighting and underexposure; very common during the 50s and in the 60s, but rarely used in present-day films.
Deadpan a specific type of comedic device in which the performer assumes an expressionless (deadpan) quality to her/his face demonstrating absolutely no emotion or feeling.
Deep-focus shot a style or technique of cinematography and staging with great depth of field, preferred by realists, that uses lighting, relatively wide angle lenses and small lens apertures to simultaneously render in sharp focus both close and distant planes (including the three levels of foreground, middle-ground, and extreme background objects) in the same shot; contrast to shallow focus (in which only one plane is in sharp focus)
Deleted scene refers to a scene that was edited out of a film’s final cut, for several possible reasons: the scene was poorly done, the scene was unnecessary, the film’s running time needed truncation, the film was avoiding an R or NC-17 rating, the film’s studio disapproved of it, etc. Deleted scenes are now commonly included on DVDs, either re-edited into a director’s cut or as a separate feature
Demo tape an actor’s audio or video tape that agents use for audition purposes. These are now going digital and are being uploaded saving duplication and shipping costs for agents and their actors.
Denouement the point immediately following the climax when everything comes into place or is resolved; often the final scene in a motion picture; aka tag; see resolution
Depth of field the depth of composition of a shot, i.e., where there are several planes (vertical spaces in a frame): (1) a foreground, (2) a middle-ground, and (3) a background; depth of field specifically refers to the area, range of distance, or field (between the closest and farthest planes) in which the elements captured in a camera image appear in sharp or acceptable focus; as a rule of thumb, the area 1/3 in front of and 2/3 behind the subject is the actual distance in focus; depth of field is directly connected, but not to be confused with focus
Depth of focus related to depth of field – refers to an adjustment made technically to insure that a camera shot retains its deep focus throughout all the various planes (fore, middle, and back)
DGA Directors Guild of America.
DGC Directors Guild of Canada
Dialogue any spoken lines in a film by an actor/actress; may be considered overlapping if two or more characters speak simultaneously; in film-making, recording dialogue to match lip movements on previously-recorded film is called dubbing or looping 
Diegetic simply means realistic or logically existing, such as the music that plays on a character’s radio in a scene; more generally, it refers to the narrative elements of a film (such as spoken dialogue, other sounds, action) that appear in, are shown, or naturally originate within the content of the film frame; the opposite is non-diegetic elements, such as sounds(e.g., background music, the musical score, a voice-over, or other sounds) w/o an origin within the film frame itself
Diffusion the reduction or softening of the harshness or intensity of light achieved by using a diffuser or translucent sheet (lace or silk) in front of the light to cut down shadows; materials include screen, glass, filters, gauze, wire mesh, or smoke; also see soft-focus.
Digital production refers to filming on digital video using digital high-resolution cameras, rather than on traditional 35mm film 
Direct sound the technique of recording sound simultaneously with the image
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
Director of Photography (D.P. or D.O.P) Supervises all decisions regarding lighting, camera lenses, color and filters, camera angle set-ups, camera crew and film processing.
Director’s cut a rough cut (the first completely-edited version) of a film without studio interference as the director would like it to be viewed, before the final cut (the last version of the film that is released) is made by the studio.
Discovery shot in a film scene, when the moving or panning camera unexpectedly comes upon or ‘discovers’ an object or person previously undisclosed to the viewer
Disney-fication refers to the making of an adapted, sanitized, ‘family-friendly’ version of a book or play, by removing objectionable elements (such as crude language, sexuality, or violence) and modifying plot elements to make the tale more acceptable, entertaining, predictable and popular for mass consumption by audiences, as first exercised by the Disney studios in the 50s; now used as a derogatory term for how popular culture has been homogenized and cultural diversity has been minimized; see also bowdlerize(d)
Dissolve a transitional editing technique between two sequences, shots or scenes, in which the visible image of one shot or scene is gradually replaced, superimposed or blended (by an overlapping fade out or fade in and dissolve) with the image from another shot or scene; often used to suggest the passage of time and to transform one scene to the next
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; aka doc or docu; also called direct cinema; one type is termed docudrama; contrast with cinema verite and mockumentary
Dolby stereo a stereo-sound process for motion pictures created by Dolby Laboratories, Inc., used to improve sound quality; 35mm prints have two optical sound tracks (Dolby can decode and playback on four channels), while 70mm prints have six magnetic tracks for multi-channel playback; by the 1990s, Dolby Stereo was superceded by advanced digitally-recorded sound
Dolly A piece of equipment that the camera sits on to allow mobility of the camera.
Dolly (shot) refers to a moving shot in which the perspective of the subject and background is changed; the shot is taken from a camera that is mounted on a wheeled camera platform (sometimes referred to as a truck or dolly), pushed on rails (special tracks) and moved smoothly and noiselessly during filming while the camera is running;a pull-back shot (or dolly out) is the moving back (‘tracking back’) of the camera from a scene to reveal a character or object that was previously out of the frame, dolly in is when the camera moves closer (‘tracking in’) towards the subject, and dollying along with (or ‘tracking within’) refers to the camera moving beside the subject; also known as tracking shot
Dolly Grip The crew member who moves the dolly.
Double refers to the person who temporarily takes the leading player’s place for a dangerous or difficult stunt, or to photographically stand in for the actor (when the latter is not available or when the actor wants a body double for a nude scene, etc.)
Double exposure to expose a single frame twice so that elements of both images are visible in the finished product; produces an effect similar to superimposition and is often used to produce ‘ghostly’ effects 
Dress the set add such items to the set as curtains, furniture, props, etc.
Dub the act of putting a new soundtrack on a film or adding a soundtrack (of dialogue, sound effects, or music) after production, to match the action and/or lip movements of already-filmed shots; commonly used when films are shot on location in noisy environments; also refers to adding translated dialogue to a foreign-language film; as opposed to direct sound – which is sound recorded when filming a scene; contrast to looping.
Dutch tilt a shot made with the camera leaned to one side and filming at a diagonal angle; see also camera angle.
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. 
Electrician in film, crew members who place lighting instruments, focus, gel and maneuver the lights.
Ellipsis the shortening of the plot duration of a film achieved by deliberately omitting intervals or sections of the narrative story or action; an ellipsis is marked by an editing transition (a fade, dissolve, wipe, jump cut, or change of scene) to omit a period or gap of time from the film’s narrative.
Encoding converting a digital file, usually audio or video, into a specific format. Ie: MP3, AVI, MOV etc.
Enfant terrible literally from the French, meaning “terrible baby” – referring to a brilliant, young, passionate but egotistical, brash director; characteristics of an enfant terrible director include being innovative and unorthodox 
Ensemble (film) a film with a large cast without any true leading roles, and usually with multiple plotlines regarding the characters; it also literally means ‘the group of actors (and sometimes directors and designers) who are involved in a film’.
Epic a costly film made on an unusually large scale or scope of dramatic production, that often portrays a spectacle with historic, ancient world, or biblical significance
Epilogue a short, concluding scene in a film in which characters (sometimes older) reflect on the preceding events
Epiphany a moment of sudden spiritual insight for the protagonist of a film, usually occurs just before or after the climax 
Episodic a TV series in which each episode’s story has a conclusion at the end of the episode.
Equity Actors Equity Association (see AEA, BAE , CAEA and MEAA) Union representing stage actors.
Establishing shot usually a long (wide-angle or full) shot at the beginning of a scene (or a sequence) that is intended to show things from a distance (often an aerial shot), and to inform the audience with an overview in order to help identify and orient the locale or time for the scene and action that follows; this kind of shot is usually followed by a more detailed shot that brings characters, objects, or other figures closer; a re-establishing shot repeats an establishing shot near the end of a sequence.
Exec abbreviations for ‘executive’
Executive Producer (EP) the person who is responsible for a film’s financing, or for arranging the film’s production elements (stars, screenwriter, etc.)
exposition the conveyance (usually by dialogue or action) of important background information for the events of a story; or the set up of a film’s story, including what’s at stake for the characters, the initial problem, and other main problems
EXT. (Exterior) a scene shot outside.
Extra(s) a person who appears in a movie in a non-specific, non-speaking, unnoticed, or unrecognized character role, such as part of a crowd or background, e.g., a patron in a restaurant, a soldier on a battlefield; usually without any screen credit; also termed atmosphere people; contrast with walk-on and non-speaking role, bit players, or principals
Eyeline match a cut between two shots that creates the illusion of the character (in the first shot) looking at an object (in the second shot).
F/X abbreviation for special (or visual) effects
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
Fast motion a camera device or effect to compress reality and highlight a scene or cause a dramatic effect, created by filming a scene with the film running at a rate less than the normal 24 frames per second and then projecting it back at standard speed, thereby creating the effect of moving faster than normal; generally used for comic effect; contrast to slow-motion
Feature (film) a “full-length” motion picture, one greater than 60 minutes in length – but usually about 90-120 minutes on one particular topic; also known as a theatrical; contrast to shorts.
Festival an event at which films can often be premiered, exhibited, awarded, and engaged in distribution deals, such as Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, etc.; also known as fest
Film (1) as a verb, to record a scene or make (or lense) a motion picture; (2) as a noun, refers to a motion picture, or (3) the thin strip of material on the film negative (with a base and light-sensitive coating of emulsion) that is used to create images – through light exposure.
Film clip a short section of film removed from a movie and often exhibited; a part of a film, and sometimes a complete scene or sequence, taken from a film; similar to an excerpt
Film noir a French phrase literally meaning “black film” that developed in the early 40s; refers to a genre of mostly black/white films that blossomed in the post-war era in American cinema, with bleak subject matter and a somber, downbeat tone; the plot (often a quest), low-key lighting (harsh shadows and chiaroscuro) often in night scenes, camera angles (often canted or high angle shots), the setting (the gloomy underworld of crime and corruption), iconography (guns, urban settings), characters (disillusioned, jaded), and other elements (voice-overs and flashbacks) combined to present a dark atmosphere of pessimism, tension, cynicism, or oppression. Film noirs, often crime films, were usually set in grim and seedy cities, with characters including criminals, anti-heroes, private detectives, and duplicitous femme fatales; see also tech-noir
Film stock refers to film size or gauge (8mm, 16mm, 35mm, 70mm, 105mm, for example), and film speed, among other things; also refers to raw unused, unexposed film; various kinds of film stock include tungsten (for use with artificial light, usually indoors) and daylight film stock (for use with natural light, usually outdoors)
Film within a film a particular story-telling approach, literally, to have one film within another; in some cases, the characters are aware of the ‘film-within-a-film,’ and break the fourth wall and enter into or interact with it; aka subset film or picture within a picture
Filmography a comprehensive (often chronological by year) listing of films featuring the work of an actor/actress, director, or other crew member; may also be a list of films for a specific genre or topic; a filmographer is another term for a film-maker or a person who studies film
Filter glass, plastic, or gelatinous substance placed before or behind a camera lens to change the effect and character of the lighting within the film’s frame
Final cut the last edited version of a film as it will be released
First A.D. (1st AD) First Assistant Director; person responsible for the running of the set. Gives instructions to crew and talent
First Assistant Camera Operator responsible for focusing the camera lens during the shooting of a scene; also known as the Focus Puller
First Team The production term for the principal actors in a scene.
Fish-eye an extreme type of super wide-angle lens with a very short focal point (and nearly infinite depth-of-field), that exaggerates and distorts the linear dimensions of the image, giving it a sense of curvature
Fish-out-of-water’ tale a film (usually humorous) in which the main character(s) faces ‘culture shock’ by being placed in unfamiliar or new surroundings or situations
Flash frame a single clear frame that is inserted between two shots that can barely be perceived, giving the appearance of a flash of white when viewed, and for the intention of producing a shock or sudden dramatic effect
Flashback a filmic technique that alters the natural order of the narrative; a flashback may often be the entire film; it takes the story order back chronologically in time to a previous or past event, scene, or sequence that took place prior to the present time frame of the film; the flashbacked story that provides background on action and events is often called the backstory; contrast to flash-forward
Flash-forward simply put, the opposite of flashback; a filmic technique that depicts a scene, event or shot taking place (or imagined) or expected that is projected into a future time beyond the present time of the film, or it can be a flashforward from the past to the present
Flat a section of a studio’s set, consisting of a constructed wooden frame covered with materials (such as plywood that is treated or covered with fabric, metal, paint, wallpaper, etc.)
Flood a lamp that provides general diffuse lighting on a studio set
Focus refers to the degree of sharpness or distinctness of an image (or an element of an image such as a person, object, etc.); as a verb, it refers to the manipulation or adjustment of the lens to create a sharper image; terms related are deep focus, shallow focus (very common in close-ups), soft focus, and rack focusing
Foil an acting role that is used for personality comparison or contrast, usually with the protagonist or main character, as a means to show and highlight a character trait
Foley artist in the post-production and editing stage of a film’s production, the foley artist (named after pioneer Jack Foley) creates or adds sound effects/noises (e.g., footsteps, gunshots, kisses, punches, storm noises, slamming doors, explosions, etc.) to the film as it is projected, often with props that mimic the action
Follow a shot with framing that shifts to follow and keep a moving figure or subject onscreen; also known as a type of tracking shot
Footage any length, portion or sequence of film (either shot or to be shot) measured in feet; also refers to a particular sequence of events depicted in a motion picture
Forced Call A call to work less than 10 hours after dismissal on the previous day. See TURNAROUND.
Foreground objects or action closest to the camera; contrast to background (abbreviated as BG)
Foreground Cross Action in a scene in which an Extra Performer passes between the camera and the principal actors; sometimes called a “wipe”.
Foreshadowing to supply hints (in the form of symbols, images, motifs, repetition, dialogue or mood) within a film about the outcome of the plot, or about an upcoming action that will take place, in order to prepare the viewer for later events, revelations, or plot developments; also, ominous music often foreshadows danger or builds suspense
Fourth wall refers to the imaginary, illusory invisible plane through which the film viewer or audience is thought to look through toward the action; the fourth wall that separates the audience from the characters is ‘broken through’ when the barrier between the fictional world of the film’s story and the “real world” of the audience is shattered – when an actor speaks directly to the viewers by making an aside
Frame refers to a single image, the smallest compositional unit of a film’s structure, captured by the camera on a strip of motion picture film – similar to an individual slide in still photography; a series of frames juxtaposed and shown in rapid succession make up a motion (or moving) picture; also refers to the rectangular area within which the film image is composed by the film-maker – in other words, a frame is what we see (within the screen); see fps and framing below.
frames per second or fps films are usually run through a camera or projector at a frame rate (running speed or camera speed) of 24 fps (frames per second); older films, made at 18 fps, appear jerky and sped-up when played back at 24 fps – this technique is referred to as undercranking; overcranking refers to changing the frame rate (i.e., shooting at 48 or 96 fps), thereby producing slow-motion action when viewed at 24 fps.
Framing refers to the way a shot is composed, and the manner in which subjects and objects are surrounded (‘framed’) by the boundaries or perimeter of the film image, or by the use of a rectangle or enclosing shape (such as a shadow, mirror, door or hallway) within the film image; also, camera angles such as low-angle and high-angle shots contribute to the framing; reframing refers to short panning or tilting movements of the camera to adjust to the character’s movements and keep them onscreen, centered, and in the frame
Freeze an optical printing effect in which a single frame image is identically repeated, reprinted or replicated over several frames; when projected, a freeze frame gives the illusion of a still photograph in which the action has ceased; often used at the end of a film to indicate death or ambiguity, and to provide an iconic lasting image
Front projection a film process developed in the 1950s in which actors and foreground objects were filmed in front of a projection screen, with a previously-filmed background projected onto it
F-stop the scale measurement of the size of the opening of the iris (the opening that lets light in) on a lens; common f-stops are 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, and 22; the smaller the number, the larger the opening, and the more light that is allowed
Gaffer the chief or head electrician or supervisory lighting technician in the film/photography crew on a movie set, responsible for the design and execution of a production’s lighting on the set; the gaffer’s right-hand assistant is known as the best boy; gaffer tape refers to multi-purpose, sticky and wide black cloth tape, used to mark studio floors, to hold things together, etc.
Gate the aperture assembly of a camera, printer, or projector at which the film is exposed
Gel a transparent, tinted colored sheet of plastic used as a filter for a movie light to create a colored glow over a scene, usually to evoke a desired mood. Black-and-white silent films would often physically tint film stock to achieve the same effect (see tint)
Gender twist a role traditionally played by a male or female that is switched and played by a member of the opposite sex; see also non-traditional casting
Gender-bending role usually, a cross-dressing role in which a male or female plays a character of the opposite sex
General release refers to the widespread simultaneous exhibition of a film
Generation usually refers to the number of times a videotape has been copied; third generation means three steps away from the original media master
Genre originally a French word meaning “kind”, “sort” or “type”; refers to a class or type of film (i.e., westerns, sci-fi, etc.) that shares common, predictable or distinctive artistic and thematic elements or iconography (e.g., bad guys in Westerns wear black hats), narrative content, plot, and subject matter, mood and milieu (or setting) or characters. Film genres are distinct from film styles
Greenlight a term denoting the ‘go-ahead’ for a show to be made; shouldn’t be confused with green-screening
Grip the crew member responsible for setting up dolly tracks and camera cranes, erecting scaffolding, moving props or scenery, or the adjustment or maintenance of any other production equipment on the set – a physically demanding job; the key grip is the head grip who coordinates all of the other grips in the crew, and receives direction from the gaffer or head lighting technician; the key grip’s right-hand assistant is known as the best boy grip
Gross refers to the box-office take – the total amount of money taken in during theatrical release, not including earnings from film rentals or sales, or the entire profit made by a film
Guerrilla usually shot without seeking location permits
Hand Model a performer whose hands are used to double for others, typical in children’s toy commercials
Handheld shot a shot taken with a handheld camera or deliberately made to appear unstable, shaky or wobbly; often used to suggest either documentary footage, ‘realism,’ news reporting, cinema verite, or amateur cinematography; contrast with Steadicam
Head-on shot a shot in which the action moves or comes directly toward or at the camera, to enhance the audience’s feelings of participation; works well with 3-D films
Helicopter shot a moving shot, often breathtaking; an establishing shot from a bird’s eye view or from overhead, the shot may pan, arc, or sweep through a landscape; many films open with a helicopter shot (often under the credits)
Hero/heroine refers to the major male and female protagonists in a film with whom the audience identifies and sympathizes. Character traits often include being young, virtuous, handsome, pretty, etc.; contrast with the antagonist or heavy (the villain or evil force).
Hiatus Time during which a TV series is not in production
High-angle shot a shot in which the subject or scene is filmed from above and the camera points down on the action, often to make the subject(s) small, weak and vulnerable; contrast to low-angle shot
High-concept’ refers to the saleable or marketable elements of a film; a high concept (actually low-concept in practice) refers to a film’s main premise expressed as a simple formula in just a few words (as a one-liner) that can be easily understood by all; this idea portrays a shallow, condescending attitude toward undiscriminating film audiences by Hollywood’s marketers and often results in having film content controlled by what appeals to the lowest common denominator type market
High-definition (HD) an on screen television image that will appear in a ratio of 16:9 compared to analog signal ratio of 4:3; the image will be ‘high-def’ due to increased lines of resolution (e.g., 1080 lines rather than the 525 of analog)
Hitting a mark an actor’s term for moving to the correct, predetermined position during rehearsals and during camera takes so that the camera can smoothly record the action
Hold over the term used by a director for an actor used for an extra day
Homage usually a respectful tribute to someone or something; this often occurs within one movie when a reference is made to another film’s scene, image, etc.
Honey Wagon A towed vehicle containing one or more dressing rooms, as well as crew bathrooms.
Hybrid (film) a film or production that combines or intersects two or more distinct genre types, and cannot be categorized by a single genre type; see also cross-over
Hype the abbreviation for hyperbole; refers to manufactured promotional buzz and excessive advertising/marketing for a film or project, including celebrity appearances, radio and TV spots or interviews, and other ploys
IATSE International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees; the union which represents most off – camera crew members.
IMAX a specialized, big-screen film format about ten times larger than the traditional cinema format (35mm) and three times larger than the standard 70 mm widescreen format; debuted in Osaka Japan at the 1970 Exposition; IMAX films, often short documentaries, ‘educational,’ travelogue or nature films, are shot and projected on 15 perforation/70mm gauge film – “15/70”, the largest film format in existence, which produces incredible high-definition sharpness in films projected on up to eight-story high screens in theatres equipped with advanced digital surround-sound systems; IMAX projection onto a domed screen is called Omnimax 
In the can a term for an entire film or a subset of shots that are all finished shooting; also denotes when a director has the take that he wanted 
In-camera editing refers to filming in the exact order required for the final product, thereby eliminating the post-production editing stage; a fast, albeit unprofessional way to produce a film, often employed by student or amateur film-makers; requires advanced planning to tell the desired story in order
Indie and independent films small independent, low-budget companies, mini-majors, or entities for financing, producing, and distributing films (i.e., Miramax, New Line Cinema, Polygram) working outside of the system or a major Hollywood studio; however, an indie may lose its independent status when its grows large and powerful; also refers to a movie, director, distributor or producer (sometimes unconventional) not associated with or produced by a major Hollywood film studio; often with groundbreaking subject matter designed for sophisticated audiences, and not necessarily produced with commercial success as the goal, unlike mainstream films
Ingenue a young, teenaged female actress often in an important or lead role in a film; usually portrays an innocent, sometimes naive, and attractive character; also refers to an actress sometimes known as a starlet
Ink slang term meaning to ‘sign’ a contract
Insert shot a shot that occurs in the middle of a larger scene or shot, usually a close-up of some detail or object, that draws audience attention, provides specific information, or simply breaks up the film sequence (e.g., a quivering hand above a gun holster in a Western, a wristwatch face, a letter, a doorbell button, a newspaper headline, a calendar, a clock face); an insert shot is filmed from a different angle and/or focal length from the master shot and is different from a cutaway shot (that includes action not covered in the master shot)
INT. (Interior) A scene shot indoors.
Intercut shots usually refers to a series of shots, consisting of two simultaneous events, that are alternated together to create suspense; intercutting can also consist of shots of two people involved in a telephone conversation
Interlude a brief, intervening film scene or sequence, not specifically tied to the plot, that appears within a film
Iris the adjustable opening in the lens that allows light to pass through – the measurement for the iris opening is f-stop
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
Key light the main or primary light on a subject, often angled and off-center (or from above) that selectively illuminates various prominent features of the image to produce depth, shadows, etc.; high-key lighting (with everything evenly and brightly lit, with a minimum of shadows) is termed realistic (and often used in musicals and comedies), while low-key lighting (with less illumination, more shadows, and many grayish, dark areas) is termed expressionistic (and often used in film noir); three-point lighting uses: (1) a fill (or filler) light – an auxiliary light to soften shadows and areas not covered by the key light, (2) a back light behind to add depth to a subject, and (3) a bright key light
Lavalier (microphone) a miniature type of microphone, usually omni-directional and wireless, and small enough to be taped or clipped to an actor, to record dialogue; aka lav, lapel or lap microphones
Lead role refers to the most important, main character in a film, often distinguished by gender; usually there is at least one male and female lead role; also usually known as protagonist; contrasted to supporting roles or characters
Legs’ a film that has ‘legs’ has strong and profitable box-office, stamina and audience drawing power far beyond the opening weekend; the term usually applies to films that last many months
Lens a piece of glass in a camera through which light passes; various types include wide-angle lens, telephoto lens, normal, and of course they are rated by length such as 50 mm, 70 mm, or 210 mm
Line Producer the producer responsible for keeping the show  on budget
Lines refers to the spoken dialogue belonging to a single performer; also refers to the full complement of spoken words in a film or stage script; also known simply as dialogue
Lip sync refers to synchronization between mouth movement and the words on the film’s soundtrack
Location the properties or places (interior or exterior) used for filming away from the studio, set, or (back)lot, often to increase the authenticity and realism of the film’s appearance; exteriors are abbreviated as ext., and interiors as int.
Location sound refers to recording background sound on location, to improve the film’s realism; see also buzz track
Logline a short, introductory summary of a film or TV show, usually found on the first page of the screenplay and is typically the opening line of a pitch, to be read by executives, agents, producers and script-readers
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)
Looping refers to the process in which dialogue is re-recorded by actors in the studio during post-production, matching the actor’s voice to lip movements on screen; aka ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement); contrast with dubbing; loop refers to a length of film joined from beginning to end for repeated continuous running
Low-angle shot a shot in which the subject is filmed directly from below and the camera tilts up at the action or character, to make the subject appear larger than life, more formidable, taller and more menacing; contrast to a high-angle shot
Madcap comedy a fast-paced, wild, and reckless humorous work, usually with plenty of slapstick humor, goofy and farcical action, and crazy characters; also see screwball comedy
Magic hour the optimum time for filming romantic or magical scenes due to ‘warm’ and ‘soft’ lighting conditions, characterized by a golden-orange hue color; occurs for about 30 minutes around the time of sunset and sunrise; aka golden hour
Mainstream a Hollywood-made film with major stars, big budgets, and big hype; compare to independents; its extreme opposite is termed counter-cinema (forms of alternative cinema, such as avant-garde, art films, Third World cinema, etc.)
Majors refers to the major Hollywood motion picture producer/distributor studios at the present time (i.e., DreamWorks SKG, MGM/UA, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sony (Columbia/TriStar), Warner Bros, Universal, and Disney); contrast to the smaller, mini-major production-distribution companies (i.e., Miramax, New Line Cinema, and Polygram) that compete directly with the bigger studios
Makeup refers to the materials that are used to prepare the performer for his/her respective role(s) before the camera, anywhere from facial pancake to elaborate costuming, latex masks, and other ghastly transformations; the makeup department is headed by a makeup artist
Making of… a specialized documentary that focuses on the production of a specific film; most “making of…” documentaries are extended promotional advertisements before the release of the film, and almost all of them are shot while the film is in production; some specialized documentaries of classic films (called retrospectives), made years after the film was released, gather interviews and behind the scenes clips, etc.
Mark (1) the name for the clapping of the sticks to sync up the sound and the picture; and (2) something on the ground (tape, a stick, chalk, etc.) that lets the talent know where they should be for the shot
Marker! A verbal cue that the take has been identified on camera both verbally and with the slate board
Master shot a continuous shot or long take that shows the main action or setting of an entire scene (most scenes are shot with one or two master angles and then broken up into a series of smaller or tighter angles during editing (such as one-shots, two-shots, close-ups, and reaction shots)); a master refers to a positive print made especially for duplication purposes
Match cut a transitional technique, in which there’s a cut between two shots (outgoing and incoming) that are joined, matched, or linked by visual, aural, or metaphorical parallelism or similarities; there can be audio matches, segues (a segue refers to a smooth, uninterrupted transition), and visual match-cuts of various kinds; see also audio bridge and bridging shot
Matching actions The requirement that the actor match the same physical movements in a scene from take to take in order to preserve the visual continuity.
Matte shot the optical process of combining (or compositing) separately-photographed shots (usually actors in the foreground and the setting in the background) onto one print through a double exposure that does not meld two images on top of each other, but masks off (or makes opaque and blank) part of the frame area for one exposure and the opposite area for another exposure; the second image is printed in the masked-off area; it is a photographic technique whereby a matte painting or artwork from a matte artist – usually painted on glass – is combined with live action footage to provide a convincing setting for the action; also sometimes known as split-screen
McGuffin Alfred Hitchcock’s term for the device or plot element (an item, object, goal, event, or piece of knowledge) that catches the viewer’s attention or drives the logic or action of the plot and appears extremely important to the film characters, but often turns out to be insignificant or is to be ignored after it has served its purpose; its derivation is Scottish, meaning a “lion trap” for trapping lions in the lion-less Scottish Highlands (i.e., a trap that means nothing, since it is for an animal where there is no such animal)
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 MS
Megaplex both refer to movie chains (i.e., Loews, AMC Theatres) with movie theatres that screen more than one film at a time, as opposed to single-screen theatres. A multiplex has from 2 up to 16 screens, a megaplex has 16 or more screens; plex is the abbreviation for a multiplex theatre.
Melodrama originally referred to “a drama accompanied by music”; a film characterized by expressive plots with strong and intensified emotion, often with elements of pathos, illness and hardship; called ‘women’s films’ or ‘weepies’ (tearjerkers) during the 1940s; aka meller; sometimes used disparagingly to describe films that are manipulative and crudely appeal to emotions; see also ‘chick flicks’
Metaphor a filmic device in which a scene, character, object, and/or action may be associated, identified, or interpreted as an implied representation of something else (that is unrelated)
Method acting a style of acting first expounded by Konstantine Stanislavsky in the early 1900s, and popularized by Lee Strasberg (1899-1982) in the US in his Actors Studio; refers to actors who gave realistic performances based upon and drawn from their own personal experiences and emotions; refers to not emoting in the traditional manner of stage conventions, but to speak and gesture in a manner used in private life
Mime acting without words, emphasizing facial expressions, body movements, and gestures; common during the silent film era
Miniatures small-scale models photographed to give the illusion that they are full-scale objects; also known as model or miniature shots
Miscast refers to an actor/actress who is completely wrong, untalented, or unbelievable for the role he or she has been cast in
Mise en scène a French term for “staging,” or “putting into the scene or shot”; in film theory, it refers to all the elements placed (by the director) before the camera and within the frame of the film — including their visual arrangement and composition; elements include settings, decor, props, actors, costumes, makeup, lighting, performances, and character movements and positioning; lengthy, un-cut, unedited and uninterrupted sequences shot in real-time are often cited as examples of mise-en-scene; contrast to montage
Mix (mixing) the electrical combination of different sounds, dialogue, music, and sound effects from microphones, tape, and other sources onto the film’s master soundtrack during post-production; dubbing (or re-recording) refers to the mixing of all soundtracks into a single composite track; the soundtrack is blended by a mixer (chief sound recording technician)
Mixer Chief of the sound crew; responsible for the quality of the sound recording on a shoot.
Mockumentary a fictional, farcical film that has the style, ‘look and feel’ of a documentary, with irreverent humor, parody, or slapstick, that is deliberately designed to ‘mock’ the documentary or subject that it features; related to docudrama (a film that depicts real people and actual events in their lives)
Mogul refers to a domineering, autocratic head of a major film studio; most commonly used when the studio system dominated film-making; now popularly called a studio chief
Money shot aka payoff shot; a term originally borrowed from the pornographic film industry; referring to a scene, image, revelation, or climactic moment that gives the audience “their money’s worth,” may have cost the most money to produce – and may be the key to the movie’s success
Monitor refers to a small television screen hooked up to the camera and/or recording device that allows crew other than the camera operator to check the quality of a scene as it is being shot or to check and see if it needs to be reshot
Monologue a scene or a portion of a script in which an actor gives a lengthy, unbroken speech without interruption by another character; see also soliloquy
Montage a French word literally meaning “editing”, “putting together” or “assembling shots”; refers to a filming technique, editing style, or form of movie collage consisting of a series of short shots or images that are rapidly put together into a coherent sequence to create a composite picture, or to suggest meaning or a larger idea; in simple terms, the structure of editing within a film; a montage is usually 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; contrast to mise-en-scene
Morality tale (or play) a literary term mostly, but used also to refer to a film (often heavy-handed and obvious in tone) that presents a judgment on the goodness/badness of human behavior and character, and emphasizes the struggle between good and evil
Morph the transformation of one digital image into another with computer animation
MOS (Mit Out Sound/Motion Only Shot) Any shot without dialogue or sound recording. Also sometimes called S.O.C. , silent on-camera.
Motif refers to a recurrent thematic element in a film that is repeated in a significant way or pattern; examples of motifs – a symbol, stylistic device, image, object, word, spoken phrase, line, or sentence within a film that points to a theme
Motion pictures a length of film (with or without sound) with a sequence of images that create an illusion of movement when projected; originally referred to the motion or movement (due to the principle of persistence of vision) perceived when a string of celluloid-recorded images were projected at a rate of 16 or more frames per second; an art form, and one of the most popular forms of entertainment, known archaically as a photoplay during the silent era
Motivated and unmotivated lighting refers to lighting (or a light source) that is naturally existing in the real world, i.e., from a lamp post, table lamp, sunlight shining through a window, etc., that appears in a scene; for the lighting to appear natural in a film scene, it should seem to be coming from light sources that are visible or implied within the scene; the opposite effect is unmotivated lighting
Mouse (House) a slang term for the Walt Disney Co. or any division thereof — refers to the company’s most famous animated character: Mickey Mouse
MPAA acronym-initials meaning ‘Motion Picture Association of America’ – an organization that represents the interests of the major motion picture studios
MTV style editing refers to the style of filming and editing first found on the MTV cable channel in the 1980s and its music videos, consisting of rapidly-cut shots, fast-paced action, jump-cuts, fast-edits, numerous camera angles
Musical (film) a major film genre category denoting a film that emphasizes segments of song and dance interspersed within the action and dialogue; known for its distinctive artists, stars, singers, and dancers; two major types are ‘backstage’ musicals and ‘music-integrated’ musicals
Mute a print with only the picture image (minus the sound track)
N.A.B.E.T National Association of Broadcasting Employees & Technicians
Narration the telling of a story, and the supplemental information given to the film audience by an off-screen voice; sometimes the narrator is a character in the film, who provides information in a flashback; see also voice-over
Narrative film a structured series of events, linked by cause and effect, that provide the plot of a film; a film that tells a chronological or linear story (with a beginning, middle, and end), as opposed to non-narrative films, such as poetic or abstract films
Naturalism a stage, artistic, philosophical, or literary term as well as a film term, signifying an extreme form of realism in which life is depicted in a stoic, unbiased way
ND MEAL (NON DEDUCTABLE MEAL) a 15 minute meal break provided to actors by the production company to bring actors in sync with crew break time. It must be completed within 2 hours of performers call time
Negative refers to film that has an inverted record of the light and dark areas of the photographed scene
Network TV originally referred to the “Big Three” (ABC, NBC and CBS), but now with additional competitors, including Fox Channel, often known as ‘free-TV’
Newsreel refers to a filmed cinema news report
Nickelodeon the term for a makeshift motion picture theater, often a converted store, which proliferated all over the US, mostly in working-class areas of metropolitan centers, during the first decade of the 20th century. The name was derived from the 5 cents/nickel charged to patrons
Night Premium A surcharge for certain work performed after 8 p.m. (times may change as per union agreements)
Nihilistic (nihilism) a dark and brooding film that features a downbeat, depressing, dreary, cynical, gloomy or bleak tone; often doom-laden and concerned with the subjects of death, suffering, tragedy, unhappiness, and existential despair; the protagonist often meets with death or tragedy in a film’s conclusion
Nitrate film base a highly-flammable kind of film base, composed of cellulose nitrate, used up until the late 1940s when it was then supplanted by acetate base
Noir see film noir, tech-noir
Non-speaking role a small role in a film, usually a brief appearance on screen, that has no dialogue but where the individual is clearly identifiable and usually appears in the credits; see also extra, cameo, bit, and walk-on
Non-sync refers to a scene shot without synchronized sound – and sounds must be added later during the editing stage; sync sound is its opposite; also refers to a mis-matched soundtrack; aka asynchronous
Non-traditional casting a movement, now officially headed by the Non-Traditional Casting Project (NTCP) to “promote inclusive hiring practices and standards, diversity in leadership and balanced portrayals of persons of color and persons with disabilities”; not to be confused with cast against type or miscast
Nostalgia film A film that wistfully looks back at an earlier past time, often depicting it as more innocent and uncomplicated than it actually was, historically; nostalgia films usually look back on the protagonist’s or narrator’s childhood. See also coming of age film
Novelization refers to making a novel from a film or screenplay
NTSC an abbreviation, refers specifically to National Television System Committee that sets TV and video standards; also refers to the US and Japanese video systems that have 525 horizontal scan lines, 16 million different colors, and 30 frames per second (or 60 half-frames (interlaced) per second); competing systems in Europe and worldwide are PAL (Phase Alternating Line) and SECAM (Sequential Color with Memory)
Nudie an old term for a pornographic movie, often used during the age of the Hayes Code when nudity was forbidden by censors in mainstream films on the silver screen; an era of nudie films was generated by filmmaker Russ Meyer in the late 50s; also see porn
Nut in the movie-theatre business, refers to operating expenses associated with a film (the exhibitor’s calculation of what it takes to lease his theater, to staff and run it, etc.); aka house nut
Obligatory scene a cliched and expected scene for a particular genre, e.g., a love scene in a romance or dramatic film, a shoot-out in a Western, the solving of a crime in a mystery, a rescue in an action film, etc.
Off or offstage refers to action or dialogue off the visible stage, or beyond the boundaries of the camera’s field of vision or depicted frame; aka off-screen
Off-camera (OC or OS) dialogue delivered without being on screen
Omniscient point-of-view a film in which the narrator knows (and sees) everything occurring in a story, including character thoughts, action, places, conversations, and events; contrast to subjective point-of-view
On or onstage on the visible stage, or within the boundaries of the camera’s field of vision
One man (or woman) show a scripted or filmed narrative (or an avant-garde or experimental film) featuring a solo performance piece with only one actor or actress who sometimes plays multiple roles or characters; often presented by a stand-up comedian; contrast with concert film
One-liner a term for a short, one-line joke (that contains its own punchline); also the term may refer to the ‘high concept’ description of a film – a few words used to describe a script, storyline or a film’s premise that a person can easily understand with a simple one-liner
One-sheet refers to a synopsis and type of pitch material used to sell a show. Although it is typically one page, some can be two or three pages
Opening credits or title (sequence) the presentation of the ‘opening credits’ (as an introduction to the audience about the film and including selected important members of the production) is known as the opening credits sequence; sometimes it is superimposed on the action, but often exists as static letters on a solid background; since the closing or end credits usually list the entire cast and production crew, the opening credits sequence is usually positioned to set the mood of the film, and sometimes even lacks any credits except the film’s title
Optical(s) in film-making, refers to a visual device, e.g., a fade, wipe, dissolve, superimposition, freeze-frame, split-screen, composite (a train reflection in a car window), or another effect, some of which can be created in the camera, and others that have to be achieved in post-production by mixers or other specialized techniques 
Out of frame outside the camera range
Out-takes refers to camera shots that are not included (literally, they are ‘taken out’) in the final cut or print of a film, often retrieved from the cutting room floor, and shown during the closing credits; also see blooper
Overacting poor, overly-broad, or ‘over-the-top’ acting by a ‘ham’ actor; aka “hamming it up” or ‘chewing up the scenery’; sometimes considered in a positive light as ‘campy’; contrast with underacting
Overcrank to speed up a camera – to shoot at more than the normal 24 fps, so that the resulting image appears in slow-motion; this technique is often used to shoot miniatures; the term “cranking’ refers to the old technique of having to turn or crank a camera by hand 
Overdubbing in studio singing or voice work, the process of laying one soundtrack over another
Overexposed refers to a film shot that has more light than normal, causing a blinding, washed-out, whitish, glaring effect; deliberately used for flashbacked or dream scenes; aka flared or bleached; the opposite of underexposed 
Overlap the carry-over of dialogue, sounds, or music from one scene to another; occurs when the cut in the soundtrack is not at the same time as the cut in the image; can also refer to two or more characters speaking at the same time; aka overlap sound
Over-the-shoulder (OTS) shot a very commonly-used medium camera angle or view in a dialogue scene, mostly with alternating shot/reverse-shot editing, in which the camera records the action from behind the shoulder and/or head of one of the characters, thus framing the image; the two characters are thus linked or connected to each other, and their positions are established
Overture in film terms, a pre-credits or opening credits musical selection that sets the mood and theme for the upcoming film
PA Production Assistant
P.O.V.  Shot (or point-of-view shot) a subjective shot made from the perspective of one of the characters to show the audience the scene as it would look through the character’s eyes; usually coupled (before and/or after) with a reactionshot (or a three-shot sequence called a shot reverse shot) to establish the POV; also known as first-person point-of-view shot or subjective camera (the use of the camera to suggest the POV of a particular character)
Pace the speed/tempo of the dramatic action, which is usually enhanced by the soundtrack and the speed of the dialogue, the type of editing, etc.
Package the marketing elements of a film project, such as script, signed film stars, director, locations, ‘high-concept’ hook, etc.
Pan verb meaning ‘to express a totally negative opinion of’ a film, normally in a critical film review; also known as ‘trashing’ a film
Pan (or panning shot, or panoramic shot) 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; a variation is the swish pan (also known as flash pan, flick pan, zip pan, blur pan, or whip pan), in which the camera is purposely panned in either direction at a very fast pace, creating the impression of a fast-moving horizontal blurring of images across the screen; often confused with a dolly or tracking shot
Pan and scan a technique that avoids the ‘letterboxing‘ of a widescreen film for a full-framed 4×3 home video or TV picture, by focusing on the elements of the picture that are most important to the plot and by adjusting or cropping the image; when an important part of the image drops out of the visible screen, the picture is mechanically panned to the side (left or right in a ping-pong effect) to show the missing part – hence, the term pan-and-scan; approximately 43% of the visuals are sacrificed or cropped out in the pan-and-scan version, affecting the director’s original intent and aesthetic sense
Parallel editing that cuts between two sequences taking place at different locations and possibly different times; parallel action refers to a narrative device in which two scenes are observed in parallel by cross-cutting; parallel sound refers to sound that matches the accompanying image; aka cross-cutting, inter-cutting
Parody a comedy that imitates or makes fun of an existing work(s) in an absurd, non-sensical way, and exaggerates its characteristics
Payoff a dramatic scene that justifies everything that preceded it; the necessary result of a complication for which the audience has been prepared; contrast to punchline and money shot
Payola refers to bribery or under-the-table payments
Per diem fee paid by producer on location shoots to compensate performer for expenditures for meals not provided by the producer
Photo double an actor cast to perform on camera in place of another
Pic(s) (also pix) slang terms for motion picture(s)
Pick up starting a scene from a place other than the beginning
Picture within a picture a particular story-telling approach, literally, to have one film within another; in some cases, the characters are aware of the ‘film-within-a-film,’ and break the fourth wall and enter into or interact with it; aka subset film or film within a film
Picture’s up! warning that the sequence of cues to shoot a scene is about to begin
Pin-up girl refers to the most sexually-attractive star-actresses of an era, who would be popularized in seductive poses usually semi-clad – in pictures, calendars, or mass-produced posters that were usually literally “pinned-up”, usually with thumbtacks, on bedroom walls, the insides of lockers, and so forth; this practice started especially amongst GI servicemen away from home during military combat who pined for the ‘girl-back-home’; related terms are cover girl (for magazine covers), model or cheesecake
Pitch(es) orally or written (sales) proposals for film projects usually made by screenwriters (to sell a TV show or screenplay idea), or independent producers for studio producers or executives to obtain financial backing; anything from a one-line description to a two- to three-page treatment of an idea (before becoming a script); also refers to short phrases that capture or succinctly sum up the script
Pivotal character refers to the character that launches the action between the protagonist and the antagonist; or the character who sets the main events of the plot in motion; films with a classic “love triangle” involve a woman who serves as the ‘pivotal character’ between two rival suitors
Pixillation an animation technique in which the illusion of continuous, real movement of three-dimensional objects, often people, is broken and/or made to move unevenly or jerky through the use of stop-action cinematography (single frame animation) or by printing only selected frames from the continuously-exposed negative
Plot and plot point refers to a series of dramatic events or actions that make up a film’s narrative; a plot point is a key turning point or moment in a film’s story that significantly advances the action; plot points either set the story further into motion, or disrupt and complicate the plot; also known as beat or A story; contrast to a subplot (aka B story or C story) – a secondary plot in a film; a plot plant is the technique of ‘planting’ an apparently trivial piece of information early in a story – that becomes more important later on
Point of view (POV) the perspective from which the film story is told; also refers to a shot that depicts the outlook or position of a character; also see omniscient and subjective point of view, and P.O.V. shot
Porn (porno) refers to a film that exploits sex; see also nudie
Post-credits sequence either a throwaway scene or an epilogue that happens during or after the end credits; sometimes used as a bonus for theatergoers who remain to watch the credits, and partly to generate ‘buzz’ about the extra scene
Post-modern refers to a return to tradition, in reaction to more ‘modernist’ styles
Post-production the final stage in a film’s production afterprincipal photography or shooting, involving editing, the addition of sound/visual effects, musical scoring, mixing, dubbing, distribution, etc.; in digital post-production, can also include changing facial expressions, removing flaws or obtrusive objects (microphone, boom, etc.), enhancing the visual image, etc.; aka post; contrast to pre-production
Post-synchronization refers to the post-production process of recording the sound after the film has been shot, often adding dialogue spoken by actors as they watch the projected film
Potboiler a literary reference to the hard-edged, American detective/crime thrillers (also often called ‘pulp fiction’ or ‘dime novels’) rapidly written and filled with violence, crime, and sex – to literally ‘boil the pot’; also known as hard-boiled 
Premiere the first official public screening of a movie, marking the kick-off, opening or opening night; a ‘red carpet’ premiere is one with greater publicity
Premise the main idea of a movie, usually explainable in a few sentences
Pre-production the planning stage in a film’s production after the project is finally greenlighted, and beforeprincipal photography or actual shooting commences, involving script treatment and editing/rewriting, scheduling, set design and construction, casting, budgeting and financial planning, and scouting/selection of locations; contrast to post-production
Prequel the second or third film in a series of films that presents characters and/or events that are chronologically set before the time frame of the original movie; contrast to sequel
Pre-screen to view/watch/see a movie before it is released for the public (at the premiere)
Preview a short film, usually with excerpts from a future film, intended as an advertisement; a sneak preview refers to an unadvertised, often surprise showing of an entire film before its general release or announced premiere, often to gauge audience reaction; aka trailer
Principal photography refers to the filming of major and significant portions of a film production that involves the main/lead actors/actresses; contrast to second-unit photography
Principals refers to the main characters in a play or film (usually those that have dialogue); contrasted to protagonists or antagonists, or extras
Print refers to a positive copy of a film
Process a technique that shoots live action in front of a screen on which the background view is projected; a process shot refers to a shot of live action in front of a process projection 
Producer (film) the chief of a movie production in all logistical matters (i.e., scheduling, financing, budgeting) save the creative efforts of the director; raises funding and financing, acquires or develops a story, finalizes the script, hires key personnel for cast, crew, and director, 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
Product placement refers to how companies buy advertising space within a film for their products, as a way for a producer to fund some film production costs
Production the general process of putting a film together, including casting, set construction, costuming, rehearsals, and shooting; also refers to the middle stage of production which is preceded by pre-production and followed by post-production
Production (value) production refers to an entire movie project; pre-production refers to the stage at which a film is prepared to go into production; post-production refers to the stage at which editing, scoring and effects are executed on a motion picture; production value refers to the overall quality of a film, based not on the script, acting, or director, but on criteria such as costumes, sets, design, etc. 
Production design 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.)
Projector the machine that rapidly puts (‘projects’) a succession of motion picture images (individual frames) up onto a screen, using the principle of illusion of motion
Prologue a speech, preface, introduction, or brief scene preceding the the main action or plot of a film; contrast to epilogue
Promo slang term for sales promotion
Props abbreviation for properties – refers to the furnishings, fixtures, hand-held objects, decorations, or any other moveable items that are seen or used on a film (or stage) set but that are not a structural part of the set; usually the responsibility of the prop man or property master
Protagonist the lead or main character in a film; also known as hero/heroine; contrast to antagonist
Punchline a funny, witty line that culminates a story, joke or scene; contrast with payoff and one-liner
Q rating refers to an ad research rating that gauges how easily a celebrity is recognized — and how well the celebrity is liked
Rack focusing refers to an on-screen film technique of focus change that blurs the focal planes in sequence, forcing the viewer’s eye to travel to those areas of an image that remain in sharp focus; the focus changes from an object in the foreground to an object in the background or vice versa, to direct, shift, and steer the attention of the viewer forcibly from one subject to another; also known as selective focusing or pull focus
Rating system(s) or ratings also known as the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) film rating system, first officially instituted in late 1968; it refers to the ever-evolving classification system for films usually based upon age-appropriateness, and the judgment of a film’s suitability for various audiences, in terms of sexual content, offensiveness, or violence; see also censorship
Reaction shot a quick shot that records a character’s or group’s response to another character or some on-screen action or event; often accompanied with a POV shot; reaction shots are usually cutaways
Real time actual time it would take for an event to occur in reality, as contrasted to filmic time (time can be sped up or slowed down). Real and filmic time often coincide for long sequences within a film; also see running time
Realism filming so that the reality outside the camera is shown in a neutral style with as little distortion and interference as possible; realism is attained by long, uninterrupted takes, deep focus shots, and other filmic techniques; contrast to expressionism; similar to the ‘reality’ of docudramas
Rear (screen) projection a special effects technique to create backgrounds, in which actors are filmed in front of a screen on which a background scene is projected; commonly used in early films to produce the effect of motion in a vehicle. Also see process shot, process photography,or back projection
Red carpet literally, to “roll out” a welcoming ‘red carpet’, laid down for major ceremonies (film premieres, awards ceremonies) to signify an important, honorary event with dignitaries and esteemed guests attending; often the locale for live interviews and photo opportunities
rRd herring an instance of foreshadowing that is deliberately planted to make viewers suspect an outcome–but the audience is to be deceived – the opposite happens and the false clue ‘plant’ is irrelevant; often done for humor, irony, or for other thematic reasons; contrast to McGuffin
Redlighted refers to a film project that was in production, but lost its financial backing – resulting in a premature abandonment by the studio; aka a film in turnaround
Reel refers to a plastic or metal spool for winding film; also, earlier films were measured in reels (one reel = about 10 minutes of running time).
Re-enactment a film production that re-creates an actual event as closely as possible
Reference refers to how one film in its storyline (through dialogue, images) alludes to, recalls, or refers to another film; similar to homage
Reissue refers to a studio releasing a work subsequent to the original or initial release; similar to re-release
Release refers to the first distribution and general public exhibition of a film to theatre audiences
Remake refers to a later production (of a previous film), with different credits, script, and cast; a redone, second version of a film’s narrative and subject matter; remakes have been common throughout all of film history
Re-release the revival or rebroadcast of a work by the original distributor, studio, releaser, or broadcaster
Reshoot contingency refers to the funds kept or saved by a producer in case supplementary shootings (reshoots) are required – often occurring after test screenings or decisions made by studio executives
Residual fee paid to a performers for rebroadcast of a commercial, film or TV program
Resolution the outcome, or the “untying” of tension in the scenes after the climax of a film; refers to how things turned out for all of the characters; some films abruptly end without a scene following the climax; aka denouement
Retrospective usually a tribute, exhibition, or ‘looking back’ at a film star’s, artist’s or director’s work over a span of years with a comprehensive compilation or montage of film clips or excerpts; also known as a retro; also, in terms of a screenplay, a film in which nearly the entire story is looking back in time at events that have already taken place, usually accomplished by flashback
Reverse angle shot a basic camera angle composed of a shot photographed from the opposite side of a subject to provide a different perspective; in a dialogue scene between characters, a shot of the second participant is commonly composed as an over-the-shoulder shot; sometimes known as an 180 degree angle shot or change in perspective; the alternating pattern between two characters’ points of view is known as shot/reverse shot
Reverse motion refers to a trick camera effect, created by running film backwards in the camera or during optical printing; aka reverse action
Revisionistic refers to films that present an apparent genre stereotype and then subvert, revise, or challenge it; aka deconstruction
Revival house film or exhibition theatres that are dedicated to emphasizing or specializing in only one type of film – such as foreign films, older films, silent films, classics, rarely-screened films, etc.
Rewrite changes in the script, often using color-coded pages to indicate most current version
Right-to-work-states those states which do not honor certain union provisions
Roadshow refers to exploitation films (such as “sex-hygeine” films) with controversial content (disguised as educational medical information) that were heavily promoted and shown on the road, and would be packed up quickly in case of the authorities; also refers to films that were released early and shown in prestigious theatres 
Rolling! the verbal cue for the camera film and audio tape to start rolling
Room tone a sound recording (sometimes made upon completion of a scene) to record existing noise at the location. Also called “wild track”
Rotation refers to a camera rotation – which can be a vertical or horizontal pan; or it may refer to a camera move in which the camera is moved in a complete (or half) circle to produce a spinning, disorienting effect to the viewer; a partial rotation is termed a tilt 
Rough cut an early edited (or ‘cut’) version of a film – with all the pieces of the film assembled in continuous, sequential order, but without any fancy editing; also sometimes known as first cut; one of the stages toward the final cut; often used in a focus group screening
Running time a measure of the duration or length of a film, usually about two hours for a feature film
Rush(es) the prints of takes (of the camera footage) from one day’s shooting, usually without correction or editing, for examination by the director before the next day’s shooting; aka daily-ies
SAG Screen Actors Guild
Satire a mocking, ridiculing commentary on an economic, political, religious or social institution, ideology or belief, person (or group), policy, or human vice
Scenario (1) the outline for a screenplay, or (2) a complete screenplay
Scene usually a shot (or series of shots) that together comprise a single, complete and unified dramatic event, action, unit, or element of film narration, or block (segment) of storytelling within a film, much like a scene in a play; the end of a scene is often indicated by a change in time, action and/or location; see also shot and sequence
Scenery refers to the outdoor background in a set (represented by either a backdrop or a natural view) 
Scene-stealing usually refers to a character (or group of characters), usually subsidiary, whose appearance, actions and/or dialogue draws more attention than other actors in the same scene
Screen direction refers to the direction that characters or objects are moving in a film’s scene or visual frame; common screen directions include “camera left” (movement to the left) or “camera right” (movement to the right); a neutral shot is a head-on shot of a subject with no evident screen direction; a jump-cut often indicates a change in screen direction 
Screen test refers to a filmed audition in which an actor performs a particular role for a film production; casting often depends upon the photogenic (the projection of an attractive camera image) quality of the star
Screener the term for a promotional DVD (or video) version of a film that is sent to voters (and film critics) by the movie studios for their convenience during the awards season
Screening the exhibition or display of a movie, typically at a cinema house/theatre; to screen (or unspool) a film means to show or project a film; types of screenings include a critical screening (a pre-release viewing for film critics), a pre-screening, or a focus-group screening (to test audience reactions to a film’s rough cut); cinema is another term for a movie theatre
Screenplay 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
Screwball comedy a type of highly-verbal comedy prevalent in 1930’s Hollywood, and typified by frenetic action, verbal wit and wisecracks (substituting or serving as a metaphoric euphemism for sex), a battle of the sexes with conflict that is ultimately resolved – all elements that serve as important plot points
Script refers to the written text of a film – a blueprint for producing a film detailing the story, setting, dialogue, movements and gestures of actors, and the shape and sequence of all events in the film; in various forms, such as a screenplay, shooting script, breakdown script (a very detailed, day-to-day listing of all requirements for shooting, used mostly by crew), lined script, continuity script, or a spec script (written to studio specifications); a screenplay writer is known as a screenwriter, scripter, scribbler, scribe or penner; a last-minute script re-writer is known as a script doctor; a scenario is a script that includes camera and set direction as well as dialogue and cast direction; a shooting script is a detailed final version of the screenplay with the separate scenes arranged in proper sequence, and used by the cast
Script Supervisor the crew member assigned to record all changes or actions as the production proceeds
Second Assistant Director (2nd AD) Often two or three on a set, they handle checking in the talent, insuring proper paperwork is filed, distribute script revisions. Actors check in with the 2nd A.D. upon arrival on the set
Second banana in general terms, an actor who plays a subordinate or secondary role; aka second fiddle; in comedies, it refers to a performer who acts as a sidekick, foil or stooge (straight man) to a lead comedian
Second-unit photography in larger film productions, this refers to the less important scenes (large crowd scenes, scenery, foreign location backgrounds, various inserts, etc.) that are filmed by a smaller, secondary or subordinate crew, usually headed by a second-unit director; contrast to principal photography
Segment a section or episode of a film; a series of sequences that comprise a major section of the plot; segmentation of a film often helps to further analysis
Sepia tone a black-and-white image that has been converted to a sepia tone or color (a brownish gray to a dark olive brown) in order to enhance the dramatic effect and/or create an “antique” appearance
Sequel a cinematic work that presents the continuation of characters, settings, and/or events of a story in a previously-made or preceding movie; contrast to a prequel, follow-up, serial, series, spin-off or remake
Sequence a scene, or connected series of related scenes that are edited together and comprise a single, unified event, setting, or story within a film’s narrative; also refers to scenes that structurally fit together in the plot; sequence usually refers to a longer segment of film than a scene; sequences are often grouped into acts (like a three-act play); a sequence shot refers to a long, normally complicated shot with complex camera movements and actions; see also shot and scene
Serial a multi-part, ‘short-subject’ film that was usually screened a chapter/episode per week at a film theatre; the predominant style of the serial was melodrama; often, each chapter or episode, continually presented in installments over several weeks, would conclude with an unresolved cliffhanger to ensure that audience would return the following week to discover the resolution; popular until the early 1950s; contrast with series and sequels
Series a string or sequence of films with shared situations, characters or themes and related titles, but with little other inter-dependence, especially with respect to plot or significant character development. Usually presented without cliffhangers; the term also applies to feature films with more than one sequel; contrast with serials and sequels
Set the environment (an exterior or interior locale) where the action takes place in a film; when used in contrast to location, it refers to an artificially-constructed time/place (a backdrop painting or a dusty Western street with a facade of storefronts); supervised by the film’s art director; strike refers to the act of taking apart a set once filming has ended
Set-piece usually a self-contained, elaborate scene or sequence that stands on its own (i.e., a helicopter chase, a dance number, a memorable fight, etc.), and serves as a key moment in the film; in terms of production, it may also refer to a scene with a large set
Setting the time (time period) and place in which the film’s story occurs, including all of the other additional factors, including climate (season), landscape, people, social structures and economic factors, customs, moral attitudes, and codes of behavior; aka locale
Set-up the place or position where the director and the director of photography put the camera (and lighting) when shooting a scene; a scene is usually shot with multiple setups and with multiple takes from each setup; aka angle
Set-up (screenplay) in screenplay terms, set-up refers to the first act in which the characters, situation, and the setting are established
Sex comedy a humorous, light-hearted film with an improbable plot about sexual relationships and extra-marital affairs, with various pairings between numerous characters, often characterized by slamming doors
Sexploitation refers to non-pornographic, non-explicit, soft-core films that feature sexual themes or explicit sexual material and nudity often in an apparently crude, immature, leering way; these films exploited the concept of sex without violating long-standing cultural and legal taboos against showing it all on the screen; often with lurid titles; aka skin flick
SFX Sound effects
Shoot the process of filming or photographing any aspect of a motion picture with a camera; the plan for a shoot is termed a shooting schedule
Short subject (shorts or short films) a film that is shorter than around 30 or 45 minutes; in the silent film era, most films were shorts, such as those shown in nickelodeons; then, during the early film era, the price of a movie ticket included not only the weekly feature but also “selected short subjects,” as they were usually billed; contrast to features
Shot the basic building block or unit of film narrative; refers to a single, constant take made by a motion picture camera uninterrupted by editing, interruptions or cuts, in which a length of film is exposed by turning the camera on, recording, and then turning the camera off; it can also refer to a single film frame (such as a still image); a follow-shot is when the camera moves to follow the action; a pull-back shot refers to a tracking shot or zoom that moves back from the subject to reveal the context of the scene; see also scene and sequence; shot analysis refers to the examination of individual shots; a one-shot, a two-shot, and a three-shot refers to common names for shooting just one, two, or three people in a shot
Shot, scene, and sequence a shot, scene, and sequence together make up the larger dramatic narrative of film; scenes are composed of shots, sequences are composed of scenes, and films are composed of sequences
Sight gag aka visual gag; an image that conveys humor visually, usually non-verbally; often used in silent film comedy, or in films with very little dialogue
Silent film the term for motion pictures without sound (spoken dialogue or synchronized soundtrack), although they were often accompanied by live commentary, piano-music, sound effects, and/or orchestration; the period from about 1895 to 1927 (when “talkies” were introduced); contrast with talkies
Silver bullet aka “magic bullet” – a solution that completely solves the complicated dramatic problem within a film; the term was derived from European folklore in which only a silver bullet could kill a werewolf
Skip frame the optical printing effect of skipping or cutting out certain frames of the original scene to speed up the action
Slasher film usually a cheaply-made sub-genre film (usually in the horror genre) designed for the teenage audience (teen movie), deliberately made to contain gory, blood-splattering, explicit deaths without any build-up, style or suspense, often committed by an unstoppable serial killer, with a sharp bladed weapon; most slasher films are created to generate sequels and repetitive boredom; aka splatter films; see also trash film, grindhouse film, schlock film, B-film and Z-film
Slate (board) refers to the digital board held in front of the camera that identifies shot number, director, camera-person, studio and title; the slate has the clap sticks on top and the scene number, take and production name or title usually written on it, and the person operating the slate will say “mark” and clap the sticks for picture and sound sync purposes; originally the data was written with chalk on a slate board; the footage of the slate at the beginning of each shot or take is used in the laboratory and editing room to identify the shot; see also clapboard
Sleeper a movie that is released with little publicity or pre-release buzz, often directed by and starring relatively unknown people, that eventually becomes popular (as a cult film) or financially successful beyond expectations, usually due to positive word-of-mouth; the term is sometimes used incorrectly to describe unpopular movies that the critics love
Slow-motion refers to an effect resulting from running film through a camera at faster-than-normal speed (shooting faster than 24 frames per second), and then projecting it at standard speed; if a camera runs at 60 frames per second, and captures a one second-long event, a 24-frame playback will slow that event to two and a half seconds long; overcrank(ing) means to speed up the camera, thereby making the action appear slower when projected – the term dates back to the old days of physically hand-cranking film through a camera; this filmic technique is usually employed to fully capture a ‘moment in time’ or to produce a dramatic (or romantic feeling); contrast to fast-motion (or accelerated motion, achieved by undercranking) or time compression
Smash-cut a cinematic term that refers to an abrupt, jarring and unexpected change in the scene or film’s image (and the audio), in order to surprise the viewing audience; see also transition 
Snub during nominations or awards proceedings, when a prominent, leading, or favored performer/director/crew member or film is inexplicably excluded or denied an award or nomination
Soft-focus a cinematographic effect in which a filter, vaseline or gauze-like substance placed over the camera lens reduces the clarity or sharpness of focus, blurs the image, and produces a diffused, hazy light; often used to enhance romantic or dreamy scenes, or to remove wrinkle lines from an actor’s face
Soliloquy a dramatic monologue delivered by a single actor with no one else onstage; sometimes expressed as a ‘thinking aloud’ dialogue of inner reflections; delivered by a character to him or herself, or directly to the audience; contrast to an aside
Sound the audio portion of a film including dialogue, music, and effects; sound effects refers to all created sounds except dialogue or music
Soundstage a large, soundproof area/room in a studio used in film production, where elaborate sets are constructed, to allow film-makers greater control over climate, lighting, and sound, security, and spectators
Soundtrack technically, this term refers to the audio component of a movie, including the dialogue, musical score, narration, and sound effects, that accompany the visual components. Popularly, it refers to a collection of songs heard during the movie, and often sold as an album
Spaghetti western a western, low-budget B-movie filmed in Italy (or Spain) during the 60s, usually characterized by low production values, sparse dialogue
Special effects (or F/X, SFX, SPFX, or EFX) a broad, wide-ranging term used by the film industry meaning to create fantastic visual and audio illusions that cannot be accomplished by normal means, such as travel into space. Many visual (photographic) or mechanical (physical) filmic techniques or processes are used to produce special illusionary effects, such as optical and digital effects, CGI, in-camera effects, the use of miniatures/models, mattes, rear-camera projections, stop-motion animation, bluescreens, full-scale mockups, pyrotechnics (squibs (miniature explosions, i.e. a gunshot)), stunt men, animatronics (electronic puppets), rain/snow/wind machines, etc.; F/X are coordinated by the visual effects and the special effects supervisors; known negatively as trick photography; see also visual effects – a sub-category of special effects
Spiking the lens Looking directing into the lens during a scene; since it destroys the illusion of realism, actors should never spike the lens unless specifically directed to do so for specific effect
Spin-off refers to a derivative work (film or TV), either a sequel or a prequel which includes characters from the previous original product; contrast to a prequel, follow-up, serial, series, sequel or remake
Split-reel in the silent era, refers to two different short-subject films (each too brief for a separate screening) that were joined together on one reel for movie-house exhibition
Split-screen the combination of two actions filmed separately by copying them onto the same negative and having them appear side-by-side within a single frame (without overlapping); a slight variation on split-screen is termed multiple image (different images are set alongside each other within a single frame); split-screen is usually intended to signify simultaneous action; also see bluescreen and matte shot
Spoiler information about the plot or ending of a film that may damage or impair the enjoyment of the film if known ahead of time; usually, critics or reviewers warn readers with a ‘spoiler alert’, or avoid revealing spoilers altogether
Spoof usually a comedic film that pays tribute to an earlier film in a humorous way
Stage right To the performer’s right side, to the audience’s left side. Likewise, STAGE LEFT is to the performer’s left, the audience’s right. Stage directions are for actors, not audiences, therefore they are always given from the actor’s point of view to the audience. In contrast, crew may be given directions saying “Camera right” or “Camera Left”. These directions are from the camera’s point of view, thus the opposite of the actor’s.
Stand-in a substitute person who is physically similar (in size and appearance) to an actor and who takes the actor’s place during often lengthy preparation of a scene (the taking of light meter readings, camera setup, light adjustment, etc.) but not during filming. Not to be confused with a stunt double or a body double
Star the name given to famous, talented, and popular actors or celebrities, often in lead character roles, who can draw an audience to a film with their photogenic appearance, inspirational acting, or some other quality. Historically, a starlet (or ingenue) was an attractive actress promoted by a film studio in a small role as an up-and-coming star during the 40s and the 50s; also used in the term star quality and star system
Star system refers to the way in which studios “groomed” stars under contract, and sought star vehicles for them; studios served as protectorates for their stars
Star vehicle a film expressly made to show off the talents of a performer, with all other aspects almost secondary; compare with tour de force
Static shot an unmoving camera shot that is stationary, due to the use of a tripod
Steadicam (shot) a hand-held camera technique using a stabilizing Steadicam (introduced in the late 70s), developed by inventor Garrett Brown, with a special, mechanical harness that allows the camera operator to take relatively smooth and steady shots, though hand-held, while moving along with the action; the resulting images are comparable to normal tracking shots on a wheeled dolly 
Stealing a scene usually refers to a supporting actor/actress attracting attention from the lead actor or actress to whom the center of interest legitimately belongs; see also ‘tour de force‘ performance
Stereotyping the act of portraying a particular character (or group) with a formulaic, conforming, exaggerated, and oversimplified representation, usually offensive and distorted
Still refers to a single, static image, either (1) a frame still (possibly enlarged) from a finished film, (2) a production still taken from an unfinished film, or (3) a publicity shot (of an actor or scene)
Stock character a minor character whose actions are completely predictable, stereotypical, or standard for his/her job or profession; similarly, a stock situation is a basic, recognizable plot situation (e.g., a lover hiding in the closet, twins mistaken for each other, etc.).
Stock footage previously-shot footage or film of common elements or scenes, such as canyons or deserts in the American West, or travelogue shots (e.g., skylines, airplane takeoffs/landings, famous places, etc.) that are kept in a film archive or library and used to fill in portions of a movie in different film productions, thereby saving the time of reshooting similar scenes over and over; a stock shot refers to an unimaginative or commonplace shot that looks like it could be stock footage
Stop-motion a special-effects animation technique where objects, such as solid 3-D puppets, figures, or models are shot one frame at a time and moved or repositioned slightly between each frame, giving the illusion of lifelike motion. Stop-motion was one of the earliest special-effects techniques for science-fiction films, now replaced by CGI and animatronics; aka stop-frame motion
Story the events that appear in a film and what we can infer from these events; aka narrative or plot
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 animatic
Straight man an actor/actress who serves as a stooge for a comedian (or funnyman), usually by adopting a serious stance or reaction to the comic partner; the straight man often feeds lines to the other irreverent comedian – who replies with witty comments; aka second banana or foil
Studio chief the head or chairperson of a film studio who has the final authority for each film project (gives the green light – or authorization go-ahead), and oversees the many departments (financial, legal, marketing, advertising, distribution, etc.); also called the topper; in Hollywood’s Golden Age, the chief was called a mogul
studio system refers to the all-powerful control the monopolistic film studios had over all aspects of assembly-line filmmaking and film production from the 1920s until the late 1950s, when chiefs – moguls (Mayer, Selznick and Zukor) ruled; tactics included the ownership of property, control of publicity and marketing, and iron-clad contracts with star-actors, directors, composers, cameramen, costume designers, writers, and producers.
Studio(s) (1) the for-profit companies that specialize in developing, financing and distributing most American commercial films; (2) also refers to the actual site for a film production, with physical sets, stages, offices, backlots (located on the outdoor grounds of a film studio and used for filming exteriors), etc; see also majors and independents, and mogul
Stunt double(s) a stunt performer(s) (aka stunts) that take the place of an actor when the scene calls for a dangerous or risky action (car crash, fight, window jump, etc.); doubles usually have the same build or appearance as the star; also called stunt performer, stuntman or stuntwoman; not to be confused with a stand-in or a body double; stunts are supervised, conducted and planned by a stunt coordinator
Stylize(d) a term that refers to the artificial exaggeration or elimination of details in order to deliberately create an effect – in other words, to make (or interpret) a person, a face, a tree, a figure, or something as ‘grotesque,’ ‘disturbing,’ or ‘overbright’ as opposed to realistic or naturalistic
Subjective point-of-view (POV) a film in which the narrator has a limited point-of-view regarding the characters, events, action, places, thoughts, conversations, etc.; a subjective camera is a style of filming that allows the viewer to look at events from the POV of either a character or the author, when the camera position is close to the line of sight of the character; contrast to omniscient point-of-view
Subplot a secondary, subordinate, or auxiliary plotline, often complementary but independent from the main plot (the A story), and often involving supporting characters; not the same as multiple plotlines; aka the B story or C story
Subtext the deeper and usually unexpressed “real” meanings of a character’s spoken lines or actions – if the viewer can ‘read between the lines’
Subtitles refers to the printed line(s) of text superimposed and displayed at the bottom of the screen frame, often used to translate a foreign-language phrase, or to describe a time/place; also the text translating an entire foreign language film (that hasn’t been dubbed); often termed caption
Sundance short for the influential Sundance Film Festival, known for the exhibition and screening of the best of independent films each year in Utah; also see (film) festival
Superimpose an optical printing process that places or ‘exposes’ one image on top of another on the same piece of filmstock, such as inserted credits and titles at the beginning of a film; sometimes composed as a double exposure
Supporting role(s) characters seen less frequently than the lead role characters, but still in important, secondary roles; often termed a featured player or feature player; well-known guest stars often play brief supporting roles in a film; character actors are usually in supporting roles
Surreal (surrealism) a term applied to a film, signifying a distorted or fantastic dream state, a nightmarish or hallucinogenic world, or a subconscious thought or death experience; often expressed by a random, non-sequential juxtaposition of images that go beyond realism
Sword and sorcery a term for the class of fantasy movies characterized by the presence of wizards and warriors, magic and sword fighting
Sword-and-sandal epic a term for a movie, usually a Roman or Biblical epic, characterized by the weapons (swords) and footwear (sandals) of the period
Symbol an object in a film that stands for an idea, or that has a second level of meaning to it, e.g., a window or train=freedom, a rose=beauty, a cross-roads=a decision point, etc.; the more a symbol is repeated, the greater its significance
Symmetry within a film when two or more distinct plotlines ‘mirror’ each other or develop variations on the film’s theme or plot; aka mirroring
Synchronous sound refers to sound whose source can be seen in the image’s frame, or whose source can be understood from the context of the image
Syndication Selling TV programs to individual stations rather than to networks
Tag line a clever phrase or short sentence to memorably characterize a film, and tease and attract potential viewers, or sell the movie; also creates a catchy ‘soundbite’ often repeated or presented in a trailer or on a film’s poster
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
Talent a term applied to the actors, as a group, on a film set
Talkies the common term used for films with sound (beginning in 1927), although rarely used currently. The advent of talkies marked the dawning of the era of sound films, as opposed to silent films
Talking head(s) a medium shot of people conversing; used as a criticism – denoting an uninteresting image
Tap a slang term, meaning to “pick”, “select”, “name”, or “appoint”
Technicolor the trade name for the best known color film process; 3-strip color is often used as a synonymous term;also used generically as a term for rich, bright, vibrant, sometimes garish colors; Technicolor films were described as highly saturated (with pure and vivid colors); Technicolor (a 3-color dye transfer system) was introduced in the Disney short cartoon, Flowers and Trees (1932)
Tech-noir modern day (or post-modern) expressionistic film noirs set in the future, with dark, decaying societies
Telefilm refers to a feature-length motion picture made for television; also known as telepic or telepix; see also made-for TV movie
Telephoto refers to a camera lens with a very long focal length and narrow angle of view – the effect is to compress or condense depth in space, thereby bringing distant objects closer to the viewer (without moving the camera), but it also flattens the depth of the image; it has the opposite of the effect of a wide-angle lens
Teleprompter brand name of a device which enables a broadcaster to read a script while looking into the camera lens
Tentpole an industry slang or trendy buzzword term, meaning a film that is expected to serve as a primary support for a studio, i.e., to be a top-grossing blockbuster (usually during the summer season), to compensate for a studio’s other flops; usually the film is the start of, or an installment in, a franchise
The Lion (Leo) a slang term that refers to Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) Studios — with the legendary “Leo the Lion” logo
Theatre the place for screening, presenting, or viewing a film or motion picture; aka cinema
Theatrical a slang term referring to a feature-length motion picture
Theme the central characteristic, idea, concern or motif in a film
Theme music the opening or closing music of a motion picture, often containing the film’s ‘signature’ or leitmotif tune/phrase that is associated with a character or situation within the film
Three-shot refers to a medium shot that contains three people; compare to two-shot
Tie-in refers to any commercial venture connected to a film
Tilt shot (or oblique angle) 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, or to emphasize size, power or menace; also known as tilt pan, tilt up or tilt down (or reveal), or vertical pan, although not technically the same as “pan up” or “pan down”, similar to a moving close-up; a dutch angle is filmed at an extreme diagonal tilt
Time lapse a method of filming where frames are shot much slower than their normal rate, allowing action to take place between frames, and giving the appearance of the action taking place much faster in the finished product; often done for nature filming (the blooming of a flower, the movement of clouds, etc.), allowing the viewer to witness the event compressed from real time (hours or days) into a few seconds; (one frame shot every 30 seconds over 24 hours of real time would equal two minutes of film time); opposite of slow-motion
Title role the lead part in a movie or other production for an actor or actress, that is named after the title of the film
Titles the words that appear on the film screen and convey information; categories of titles include: credit titles, main titles, end titles, insert titles, and subtitles; a creeper title, also known as a roll-up title, refers to a film title that appears to move slowly across the screen – vertically or horizontally; in silent film, “titles” (called title cards or intertitles) included the written commentary and full screens of textual dialogue spliced within the action; title design refers to the artistic manner in which the title of a film is displayed on screen; the working title is the name by which a film is known while it is being made (e.g., during the filming of Psycho (1960), it was known as Production 9401); see also credits
Tix abbreviation for tickets
Tone the mood or atmosphere of a film scene, often revealed by the director in the way a film is directed, e.g., serious, humorous, satiric, amusing, etc.
Topline to star; or to be billed above the title of a film; the topliner is the star of a particular film 
Tour de force literally “forceful turn” (French); usually refers to a lead actor’s performance that was incredibly skillful, brilliant, notable, masterful, reflecting a very high standard, and perfectly displaying the actor’s ability; compare to ‘stealing a scene‘ – the equivalent for a supporting actor role
Tracking shot a smooth shot in which the camera moves alongside (‘tracking within’) the subject, usually mounted on a dolly, in a side-to-side motion (relative to the scene or the action); also known as following shot; sometimes used interchangeably with dolly shot, pull back (pull-out, push-out, widen-out or push-back) shot, track back (moving away) or track in (or push-in) (moving forward), or zoomshot; see also Steadicam 
Trademark refers to a personal touch or embellishment of an actor, director, writer or producer within a film; aka signature, calling card
Trades refers to the professional magazines and publications that report the daily or weekly entertainment news of the entertainment industry
Trailer a short publicity film, preview, or advertisement composed of short excerpts and scenes from a forthcoming film or coming attraction, usually two-three minutes in length; often presented at the showing of another film. Historically, these advertisements were placed at the end of a newsreel or supporting feature and so “trailed” them, hence the name; also commonly known as preview(s); also, another name for the tail – a length of blank leader (strip of film) at the end of a reel; a teaser is basically a very short trailer (of 15-30 seconds in length) that only provides a few hints about the film (a Web address, a few bars of music, a quick sequence of images, specially-shot footage, etc.)
Transition one of several ways of moving from one shot or scene to the next, including such transitional effects or shots as a cut, fade, dissolve, and wipe; a transition focus between two scenes means the current scene goes out of focus and the next scene comes into focus
Trash film refers to second-run, low-budget films that are deliberately over-the-top, infantile, amateurish, sometimes excessively gory or raunchy which are intended to shock, disgust, and repel mainstream audiences, and appeal to non-traditional audiences. Sometimes described as a sub-category of exploitation and cult films, or called a ‘turkey’ film. Compare with sexploitation, B-films, and Z-films
Travelogue a film made for the purpose of showing scenes from foreign, exotic places
Treatment a detailed literary summary or presentation of a film’s story, with action and characters described in prose form, often used to market and/or sell a film project or script; a completed treatment is a late stage in the development of a screenplay after several story conferences have incorporated changes into the script; contrast to a synopsis (a brief summation of a film)
Trilogy a group of three films that together compose a larger narrative and are related in subject or theme
Triple threat refers to an actor or actress who can sing, dance and act skillfully and equally well on a consistent basis; usually applicable to performers in the musicals genre; it also could refer to a person who can act, direct, and screenwrite
Turnaround refers to a film or project that has been abandoned by a studio and is no longer active (and now available for being shopped to another studio)
Twist ending a film that is marketed as having a surprise ending that shouldn’t be revealed (as a spoiler) to those who haven’t seen the picture
Two-hander refers to a film with only two characters
Two-shot a medium or close-up camera shot of two people (often in dialogue with each other), framed from the chest up; often used to provide a contrast between the two characters; compare to three-shot
Typecasting when an actor or actress is commonly (but unfairly) identified, associated with, or ‘stereotyped’ by a particular character role; casting against type is the reverse of typecasting; typage refers to director Eisenstein’s theory of casting that shunned professional actors in favor of ‘types’ or representative characters
Unbilled role a ‘supporting’ role for a major (sometimes minor) star that is officially credited (usually in the end credits), but no mention (or billing) is made in the film’s advertisements or the opening credits; contrast with cameo and uncredited role.
Uncredited role a role that a major (or minor) star plays that is not credited in the credits or in the film’s poster; contrast with cameo and unbilled role.
Underacting refers to an understated, neutral and muted acting performance; contrast with overacting
Undercranking refers to the slowing down of a camera, by shooting at less than the standard 24 fps, so that the image, when normally projected, will appear in fast motion; often used to produce a comic effect
Underexposed refers to a film shot that has less light than normal, causing an indistinct, dimly-lit, unclear image; the opposite of overexposed
Underground film a low-budget, non-commercial film, usually independently-made, without the traditional sources of funding or distribution
Unions organizations that represent professionals in the motion picture industry (e.g., directors, actors, writers, etc.), and help those individuals negotiate contracts, receive recognition, pursue rights, protect interests, etc.; aka guilds
Unreliable narrator a literary term meaning a protagonist or narrator whose perspective is skewed to their own perspective, producing a portrayal of events that may or may not be accurate or truthful; the lack of credibility may be deliberate or due to a lack of knowledge
Utopia(n) refers to an imaginary, ideal (or mythical), perfect state or place (especially in its laws, government, social and moral conditions), often with magical healing, restorative properties; see also its opposite – dystopia
Vamp a femme fatale or woman with a bad reputation, usually seductive and scheming in nature or behavior.
Variety a respected, oft-quoted show-biz periodical or trade paper (or one of the trades) that reports and provides coverage on the entertainment industry (including the film industry), and best known for its goofy, shorthand ‘Varietyese’ headlines, using made-up words, e.g. ‘dee jay’ (disc jockey), or ‘B.O.’ (box office or boffo)
Vaudeville a stage variety entertainment show, featuring a series of short acts – songs, dancing, acrobatics, comedy skits, and animal acts; it was highly popular in America from the late 1880s to the 1920s, when it became overtaken by sound films and radio; most of the early film, radio and TV comedians found their start on the vaudeville circuit
Video literally, “to see,” in other words, the visual or pictured image (either projected, taped, etc.), as opposed to the audio aspect of film; also refers to the visual component of television; digital video refers to a video signal represented by a series of binary numbers that are readable by computer – compare with analog video; aka vid (for short)
Vignette a scene in a film that can stand on its own; also refers to a masking device, often with soft edges
Visual effects considered a sub-category of special effects; refers to anything added to the final picture that was not in the original shot; visual effects can be accomplished in-camera (like stop motion, double exposures and rear/front projection) or via a number of different optical or digital post-production processes (CGI, for example), usually with a computer
Voice-over (VO) refers to recorded dialogue, usually narration, that comes from an unseen, off-screen voice, character or narrator (abbreviated as o.s. meaning beyond camera range), that can be heard by the audience but not by the film characters themselves; narration is a type of voice-over; VO. often conveys the character’s thoughts, either as a ‘voice’ heard within one’s head, or as other narrative information and commentary to explain the action or plot; often a technique in film noirs; the abbreviation is used as an annotation in a script
Will Notify (W/N ) notation on a call sheet that tells the actor that he/she will probably work that day but the specific time has not yet been decided
Waivers union-approved permission for deviation from the terms of a contract
Walkaway a meal break in which all cast and crew are on their own to get lunch
Walk-on a minor role consisting of a single, brief appearance on the screen, usually not appearing in the credits and without dialogue; contrast with extras, bitparts, and non-speaking roles
Walk-through the first rehearsal on the set, to figure out lighting, sound, camera positioning, etc.
Walla walla refers to the atmospheric, background sound effect for the indistinct murmurings and buzz of voices in a crowd; extras in crowd scenes, in older films (or in radio), would be asked to murmur a phrase (‘walla walla,’ ‘rhubarb,’ ‘peas and carrots,’ or ‘watermelon,’ etc.) to create the sound of the crowd and to pretend that they were talking; see also foley artist, dubbing, and non-synchronized sound
Wardrobe the general name for the costume department, or the costumes (and their accessories) themselves; see also costume
Wardrobe allowance a maintenance fee paid to on-camera talent for the use (and dry cleaning) of talent’s own clothing
Wardrobe fitting a session held prior to production to prepare a performer’s costumes
Weather permitting call due to weather conditions, the production company has the option to release an actor four hours after the call time (if the camera has not started to roll) with a reduced rate of pay for the day
WGA Writers Guild of America
WGC Writers Guild of Canada
White (or color) balance refers to electronically setting or ‘color-correcting’ a camera’s white balance – or the true color of white, since white doesn’t appear ‘white’ with all lighting conditions
Whoop-whoops in sound effects, this refers to the extra noises added to a sound, e.g., bells, horns, or whistles to an explosion, to make it more interesting or exciting
Wide-angle shot (WS) a shot (often abbreviated WS) taken with a lens that is able to take in a wider field or range of view (to capture more of the scene’s elements or objects) than a regular or normal lens; a wide-angle shot exaggerates the distance, depth or disparity between foreground and background planes, thereby creating greater depth-of-field and keeping all objects in focus and in perspective; an extreme or ultra-wide-angle lens giving a 180 degree view is called a ‘fish-eye‘ lens
Widescreen refers to projection systems in which the aspect ratio is wider than the 1.33:1 ratio that dominated sound film before the 1950s; in the 1950s, many widescreen processes were introduced (to combat the growing popularity of television), such as CinemaScope (an anamorphic system), VistaVision (a non-anamorphic production technique in which the film is run horizontally through the camera instead of vertically), and Todd-AO and Super Panavision (that both used wider-gauge film); also known as letterboxing
Wipe a person, or vehicle, or anything that crosses the frame while filming to help with making smooth looking cuts while editing.  Also 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
Word of mouth a term referring to the public discussion or buzz that a film can acquire, fueled by sneak previews and advance advertising; word of mouth is an important marketing element in a film’s success or failure – positive word of mouth gives a film legs, while negative word of mouth may prematurely close it down
Wrap refers to the completion of film shooting (either for the day or for the entire production or project); in the early days of cinema, the cameraman would say after filming: “Wind, Reel, And Print’ – abbreviated as WRAP; a entirely completed film is termed in the can
Wrap party the end of the production party
Writer refers to the individual who authors the content of the piece from pre-existing material or uses an entirely new idea; usually there are many writers involved with re-writes, adaptations, character development, etc.; aka screenwriter
Zoom shot a single shot taken with a lens that has a variable focal length, thereby permitting the cinematographer to change the distance between the camera and the object being filmed, and rapidly move from a wide-angle shot to a telephoto shot in one continuous movement; this camera technique makes an object in the frame appear larger; movement towards a subject to magnify it is known as zoom in or forward zoom, or reversed to reduce its size is known as zoom out/back or backward zoom
Zoptic special effects a revolutionary special effects, 3-D process invented by cameraman Zorian Perisic, incorporating a camera system and a projector with synchronized zoom lenses, to create the illusion of movement in depth