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Video Production Glossary: A Concise Guide

Video Production Professionals use specialised terms
throughout the process of making a video.

Below, you’ll find a handy glossary outlining the most commonly used terms in Australia.

This glossary will help you understand important video production terms. Whether you’ve hired a production company and are confused by industry jargon, or just want to refresh your knowledge, this resource will improve your understanding of key concepts and techniques. Knowing these terms will help you communicate better with a video production company.


All | A B C D E F G H I K L N O P R S T V
The A-Cam is the primary camera employed in video shoots. Some productions may utilise a single camera but in multi-cam projects, the A-Cam takes the lead role. It typically captures the most important shots. In an interview setup this is often the wide, most central angle.

After Effects
After Effects is software made by Adobe. It's mainly used to create motion graphics and visual effects.

This is the opening on a camera lens that controls the amount of light entering the camera. Aperture settings are measured in f-stops and this term is often used interchangeably to mean the same thing. The aperture primary affects depth of field and how shallow the focus appears – for example whether everything is in sharp focus, or just a subject with the background being blurred.

Aspect Ratio
Aspect ratio describes your video dimensions, displaying the width and height in ratio format. Commonly, video aspect ratios are 4:3 or 16:9, but this can vary depending on content type and purpose. Popular aspect ratios for platforms such as Instagram are 1:1 or 9:16.

B-cam is a term used for a supporting camera that complements the primary camera, the A-Cam. In an interview setting an A-Cam might capture a front on-angle wide shot of the person speaking, while the B-cam captures a more profile angle, positioned off to the side. If there are more than two cameras they can be referred to sequentially as C-CAM, D-CAM and so on.

B-roll is a general term for supplementary video footage that is shot to support the main video content (often an interview or voice over). For example, if your video includes an interview with a policeman, it may be paired with B-roll showcasing the officer driving a vehicle or engaging with colleagues, adding depth to the story.

The bitrate is the amount of data included per second in a video file. It affects video quality and file size. High bitrate footage will mean better quality and bigger file sizes.

Blocking involves the strategic arrangement and coordination of actors' positions and movements within a scene.

Bokeh refers to the type of blur and appearance of subjects out of focus in your video content. Various lenses can create distinct types of bokeh, although these differences are often quite subtle.

Boom Mic
A boom mic is a directional microphone that is mounted on a boom pole and often used to record interview dialogue from above the speakers head, just out of view of the camera. In controlled settings such as interviews and movie shoots, the high directionality of a boom microphone makes it an ideal choice for capturing dialogue.

A bounce is any material or object used to reflect light onto your subject. A bounce is often used to provide additional light to people's faces, particularly in outdoor settings. They are generally inexpensive tools, commonly made of fabric, card, paper, or foam core. One popular choice on smaller productions is the 3-in-1 pop-up reflector.

Burn-In refers to the direct overlaying of information like captions or timecodes onto the video. When captions or subtitles are hardcoded or burnt in, they are permanently overlaid on the video, unlike those that can be toggled on or off.

A C-stand is a type of stand that is most commonly used to hold lights, backdrops, reflectors, or diffusion. C-stands are generally the most versatile stands on a shoot and much more stable than general purpose lightweight stands. They are however much heavier. For smaller shoots a film crew may opt to use less c-stands and more general purpose stands if they need to stay mobile.

Call Sheet
A call sheet is a document that contains information about the shooting schedule, crew details, locations, and other important information. Call sheets are usually emailed to the cast and crew a few days before a shoot.

Close Up (CU)
A shot that frames a subject closely. It emphasises detail and is commonly used to show emotions.

Colour Grading
Colour Grading involves adjusting and enhancing video colours to create a specific look or mood. It's a crucial aspect of post-production that brings your video to life.

Compressing a video reduces its file size, making it easier to store, share, or stream. Compressing a video usually always results in quality loss so its usually only used heavily when a video is at a draft stage. Final videos can be less compressed to maintain visual quality.

Concept Development
Concept development is part of the pre-production phase where an initial idea for a video takes shape and begins to evolve into a more refined plan. This involves brainstorming, storyboarding, scripting and integrating feedback to lay the groundwork for the production process.

Continuity in video production is about maintaining consistency throughout scenes. It involves ensuring that various elements – such as actors' positions, props, and actions – remain consistent and unchanged from shot to shot. This helps avoids any distracting inconsistencies in the final video.

Depth of Field (DOF)
Depth of field refers loosely to the part of frame that is in focus. Varying your depth of field can alter emphasis on different parts of a shot. For example a deep depth of field can show everything in a shot without any blurring of the background, while a shallow depth of field can emphasise specific things – such as a flower or face, with the background blurred out.

Diffusion is any type of material placed on or over a light source to soften it. Diffusion is often used for interview lighting to soften shadows on a persons face. It is also regularly used outdoors to soften harsh sunlight.

The director leads the shoot, overseeing shots and guiding actors and crew to achieve the productions objectives.

A commonly used transition where one shot gradually fades into another.

The DP is the Director of photography, the head of the camera department. They are a cinematographer who often operate the camera or work with a camera operator or assistant.

Draft Video
A draft video (or rough-cut) is an initial or preliminary version of a video project. It's typically an incomplete or version used for review, allowing for adjustments, feedback, and revisions before the final version is produced. Draft videos serve as a working copy, presenting the main content but often lacking final touches, such as refined editing, color grading, or visual effects.

Dynamic Range
Dynamic range refers to the extent of shadow, highlight and colour information a camera can capture without losing detail or sharpness. Modern cinema cameras offer higher dynamic range compared to the more limited capabilities of devices like smartphones.

Establishing Shot
This is typically a wide shot at the beginning of a scene to establish location or setting.

Exposure in video production is the amount of light that reaches the camera sensor. It determines how bright or dark the video appears. Adjusting exposure involves managing settings like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Fill Light
A fill light is a light source used to fill in shadows, typically on someones face. A fill can be a light or something like a bounce board reflecting light to fill in shadows.

The creation or recording of sound effects to match actions in a video.

A single image in a sequence of images that make up a video.

Frame Rate (FPS)
The speed at which individual frames are shown per second. Australian television typically broadcasts videos at 25 frames per second, following the PAL standard. In contrast, other countries might use a different standard, such as 29.97 frames per second (NTSC).

A crew member in who manages lighting setups.

A gimbal is a tool that uses motors to stabilise a camera while in motion, enabling the capture of smooth and steady footage.

The visible texture in an image or video. Grain is sometimes added to emulate the look of film cameras and to give footage a more organic look.

High Definition (HD)
This refers to a video resolution of 1080p (1920x1080) or 720p (1280x720).

A camera setting which controls the sensitivity of the camera sensor to light; a higher ISO setting increases sensitivity but can introduce noise, an generally unwanted, unappealing type of grain that can affect picture quality.

Key Light
The key light is the primary light source illuminating your subject. It can originate from sunlight or artificial lighting.

LUT (Look-Up Table)
This is file loaded into editing or colour grading software to modify colours. Its often a quick way to establish a specific look or style. Motion Graphics: These are animated elements or graphics added into a video. For example an animated logo or text.

Natural Light
Natural light generally means sunlight. Shooting with natural light only would mean you are not using any lights and simply using available light – predominately from the sun. It can also occasionally mean any uncontrolled available light, such as moonlight or ambient street light.

A grainy looking appearance that is often unwanted and unappealing as it can affect picture quality. Noise is often seen in low-light conditions or with high ISO settings.

This is when too much light enters the camera (often due to incorrect camera settings) causing parts of the image to be excessively bright and lose detail.

Overlay footage generally means b-roll footage or another type of visual asset that is used to go over the top of something like interview footage.

This is the stage of video production after filming, involving editing, visual effects, sound design.

The planning phase of video production, including scripting, storyboarding, and scheduling.

A producer generally oversees the entirety of the video production, handling tasks like creative direction, budgeting, scriptwriting, logistics, deadline management, and team communication throughout the process. Their role can vary depending on the specific filmmaking industry they work in - whether that be the film industry making feature films or working within a production company or content agency.

Raw Footage
Raw footage usually refers to unedited video footage – straight from the camera. Alternatively, it can also refer to footage recorded in a RAW format - an unprocessed type of footage that allows greater manipulation of colours, highlights and shows.

The number of pixels that make up a video image, determining clarity and detail.

Rough Cut
The same as a draft video – it's an early stage of the edited video, without fine-tuned details.

Sound Design
Creating or manipulating audio elements to enhance storytelling or atmosphere.

A sequence of drawings or images representing planned shots in a video, used for visualising scenes. Story-boarding is an important part of pre-production, but its not necessary for all projects.

abbreviation of Television commercial.

This is generally a high-quality recording of voice for use in a video as narration, commentary, or sharing information.