cinematography A general term for all the manipulations of the film strip by the camera in the' shooting phase and by the laboratory in the developing phase.

angle of framing The position of the frame in relation to the subject it shows-. above it, looking down (a high angle); horizontal, on the same level (a straight-on angle), , looking up (a low angle). Also called "camera angle."

crane shot A shot with a changed, in framing accomplished by hiding the camera above the ground and moving through the air in any direction.

dolly A camera support with wheels, used in making tracking shots.

establishing shot
A shot, usually involving a distinct framing, that shows the spatial relations among the important figures, objects, and setting in a scene.

extreme close-up A framing in which the scale of the object shown is very large; most commonly, a small object or a part of the body.

extreme long shot A framing in which the scale of the object shown is very small; a building, landscape, or crowd of people would fill the screen.

following shot A shot with framing that shifts to keep a moving figure on- screen.

framing The use of the edges of the film frame to select and to compose what will be visible onscreen.

front projection Composite process whereby footage meant to appear as the background of a shot is projected from the front onto a screen: figures in the foreground are filmed in front of the screen as well. This is the opposite of rear projection.

long shot A framing in which the scale of the object shown is small; a standing human figure would appear nearly the height of the screen.

long take A shot that continues for an unusually lengthy time before the transition to the next shot.

matte shot A type of process shot in which different areas of the image (usually actors and setting) are photographed separately and combined in laboratory, work.

mixing Combining two or more sound tracks by combining them into a single one.

mobile frame The effect on the screen of the moving camera, a zoom lens, or certain special effects, the framing shifts in relation to the scene being photographed.. See also crane shot, pan, till, tricking shot.

normal lens A lens that shows objects without severely exaggerating or reducing the depth of the scene's planes. In 35-mm filming' a normal lens is 35 to 50 mm. See also telephoto lens, wide-angle lens.

pan A camera movement with the camera body turning to the right or left on a stationary tripod. On the screen, it produces a mobile framing which scans the space horizontally,

point-of-view shot (POV shot)
A shot taken with the camera placed approximately where the character's eyes would be, showing what the character would see; usually cut in before or after a shot of the character looking.

process shot Any shot involving rephotography to combine two or more images into one, or to create a special effect; also called "composite shot." See also matte shot, rear projection, special effects.

racking focus Shifting the area of sharp focus from 'one plane to another during a shot; the effect on the screen is called "rack focus."

rear projection A technique for combining a foreground action with a background action filmed earlier. The foreground is filmed in a studio, against a screen; the background imagery is projected from behind the screen. The opposite of front projection.

reestablishing shot A return to a view of an entire space after a series of closer shots following the establishing shot.

reframing Short panning or tilting movements to adjust for the figure's movements, keeping them onscreen or centered.

shot 1. In shooting, one uninterrupted run of the camera to expose a series of frames. Also called a take. 2. In the finished film, one uninterrupted image with a single static or mobile framing.

shot/reverse shot . Two or more shots edited together that alternate characters, typically in a conversation situation. In continuity editing, characters in one framing usually look left, in the other framing, right. Over-the-shoulder framings are common in shot/reverse-shot editing.

special effects A general term for various photographic manipulations that create fictitious spatial relations in the shot, Such as superimposition, matte shots, and rear projection.

superimposition The exposure of more than one image on the same film strip.

take In filmmaking, the shot produced by one uninterrupted run of the camera. One shot in the final film may be chosen from among several takes of the same action.

telephoto lens A lens of long focal length that affects a scene's perspective by enlarging distant planes and making them seem close to the foreground planes. In 35-mm filming, a lens of 75-mm length or more. See also normal lens, wide-angle lens.

tilt A camera movement with the camera body swiveling upward or downward on a stationary support. It produces a mobile framing that scans the space vertically.

tracking shot
A mobile framing that travels through space forward, backward, or laterally. See also crane shot, pan and tilt.

wide-angle lens A lens of short focal length that affects a scene's perspective by distorting straight lines near the edges of the frame, and by exaggerating the distance between foreground and background. In 35- mm filming, a wide-angle lens is 30 mm or less. See also normal lens, telephoto lens.

zoom lens A lens with a focal length that can be changed during a shot. A shift toward the telephoto range enlarges the image and flattens its planes together, giving an impression of moving into the scene's space, while a shift toward the wide-angle range does the opposite.



editing 1. In filmmaking, the task of selecting and joining camera takes. 2. In the finished film, the set of techniques that governs the relations among shots.

axis of action In the continuity editing, the imaginary line that passes from side to side through the main actors, defining the spatial relations of all the elements of the scene as being to the right or left. The camera is not supposed to cross the axis at a cut and thus reverse those spatial relations. Also called the '180 degree line."

continuity editing A system of cutting to maintain continuous and clear narrative action. Continuity editing relies upon matching screen direction, position, and temporal relations from shot to shot

crosscutting Editing that alternates shots of' two or more lines of action occurring in different places, usually simultaneously

cut In filmmaking, the joining of two strips of film together with a splice. 2. In the finished film, an instantaneous change from one framing to another. See also jump cut,

cut-in An instantaneous shift from a distant framing to a closer view of some portion of the same space.

dialogue overlap In editing a scene, arranging the cut so that a bit of dialogue or noise coming from shot A is heard under a shot of character B or of another element in the scene.

dissolve A transition between two shots during which the first image gradually disappears while the second image gradually appears; for a moment the two images blend in superimposition

eyeline match
A cut obeying the axis of action principle, in which the first nearby space shows a person looking off in one direction and the second shows a nearby space containing what he or she sees. If the person looks left, the following shot should imply that the looker is offscreen right.

1. Fade-in. A dark screen that gradually brightens as a shot appears. 2. Fade-out. A shot. gradually darkens as the screen goes black.

graphic match
Two successive shots joined so as to create a strong similarity of compositional elements (e.g., color, shape).

jump cut An elliptical cut that appears to be an interruption of a single shot. Either the figures seem to change instantly against a constant background, or the background changes instantly while the figures remain constant.

match on action A continuity cut that places two different framings of the same action together at the same moment in the gesture, making it seem to continue uninterrupted.

montage 1. A synonym for editing. 2. An approach to editing developed by the Soviet filmmakers of the 1920s; it emphasizes dynamic, often discontinuous, relationships between shots and the juxtaposition of images to create ideas not present in either one by itself.

montage sequence A segment of a film that summarizes a topic or compresses a passage of time into brief symbolic or typical images. Frequently dissolves, fades, superimpositions, and wipes are used to link the images in a montage sequence.



diegetic sound Any voice, musical passage, or sound effect presented as originating from a source within the film's world. See also nondigetic sound.

nondiegetic sound
Sound, such as mood music or a narrator's commentary, represented as coming from a source outside the space of the narrative.

offscreen sound
Simultaneous sound from a source assumed to be in the space of the scene but in an area outside what is visible onscreen.

sound bridge 1. At the beginning of one scene, the sound from the previous scene carries over briefly before the sound from the new scene begins. 2. At the end of one scene, the sound from the next scene is heard, leading into that scene.

synchronous sound Sound that is matched temporally with the movements, occurring in the images, as when dialogue corresponds to lip movements.


ellipsis In a narrative film, the shortening of plot duration achieved by omitting intervals of story duration. motif An element in a film that is repeated in a significant way.

narrative form A type of filmic organization in which the parts relate to each other through a series of causally related events taking place in a specific time and space.

plot In a narrative film, all the events that are directly presented to us, including their causal relations, chronological order, duration, frequency, and spatial locations. 0pposed to story, which is the viewer's imaginary construction of all the events in the narrative.

scene A segment in a narrative film that takes place in one time and space or that uses crosscutting to show two or more simultaneous actions.
sequence Term commonly used for a moderately large segment of a film, involving one complete stretch of action. In a narrative film, often equivalent to a scene

story In a narrative film, all the events that we see and hear, plus all those that we infer or assume to have occurred, arranged in their presumed causal relations, chronological order, duration, frequency, and spatial locations. Opposed to plot, which is the film's actual presentation of certain events in the narrative.


mise-en-scene All the elements placed in front of the camera to be photographed: the settings the props, lighting, costume, and make-up, and figure behavior

high-key fighting Illumination that creates comparatively little contrast between the light and dirk areas of the shot. Shadows are fairly transparent and brightened by fill lights

key light
In the three-point lighting system, the brightest illumination coming into the scene.

low-key lighting Illumination that creates strong contrast between light and dark areas of the shot, with deep shadows and little fill light.

three-point lightingA common arrangement using three directions of light on a scene: from behind the subjects (backlighting), from one bright source (key light), and from a less bright source balancing the key light (fill light).

screen direction The right-left relationships in a scene, set up in an establishing shot and determined by the position of characters and objects in p the frame; by the directions of movement; and by the characters' eyelines.


This handout was taken verbatim from www.uky.edu/LCC/ENG/filmterms.html