Common Video Production Terms


Secondary scenes / angles which are shot to cover cut points in the edit and so prevent jumps or a disjointed appearance in your video.


A light positioned behind the subject/interviewee to give illumination of their hair and shoulders. This helps to give depth to an image. Also see Key Light.

BCAP Code / Clearance

The British Committee of Advertising Practice writes and maintains the UK Advertising Codes which offer advice and guidance on how to create campaigns which comply with regulation rules. By submitting your script for clearance you eliminate the possibility of having it pulled from air or needing to re-shoot. Advert clearance based on the BCAP Code is compulsory for most major UK television channels.

Bed (Music Bed)

Background music added underneath the dialogue of your video.


Testing camera moves, subject positions and movement prior to shooting commences. Blocking ensure the best vantage points for the camera(s) to gain the most out of a live/staged situation, or filming footage to be edited.

Burnt-in Time Code (BITC)

A small window showing the running time digits of a video which is superimposed over the image. This is often used when a client is reviewing a preview with a view to cutting sections out as it is the easiest way to convey to the editor which sections to remove.

Call Sheet

A document which outlines a schedule and all of the required scenes, equipment and people for a days shoot.

Camera Log

A written recording made on-set of all of the scenes and sections shot and in what order, as well as which takes were more preferable.


A shot which draws attention to a pertinent detail or important stage in a process. For example: we see a wide shot of a man writing a letter, we then cut to a CUTAWAY shot of the pen, and we see what he is writing.


Voice recording used to replace unusable dialogue. This term is also often used for mixing all audio at the final stage of post-production.


Used in conjunction with a track, this is camera mount with wheels which follows a pre defined route (usually on a track) to give smooth camera movements across the floor.

Encoding / Transcoding

The process of digitally converting one video format to another, which is often computer intensive if it’s HD video. There are hundreds of formats available, and certain files need to be transcoded/encoded in order to conform with a certain work-flow or delivery platform such as DVD or Blu-ray.

Establishing Shot

A long shot, usually fairly wide, which shows the locale of the area to set the scene and to help the viewer figure out a ‘mental map’ of the location.

Frame Rate

Frequency of images that are displayed per second, normally 25 per second in UK for video. Frame Rate is commonly abbreviated as FPS (Frames Per Second)


The process of colouring a film to produce a desired visual effect and overall look. For example: Western films often look orange and musty, whereas BBC’s The Apprentice has an overall ‘cold blue’ grade to portray tough business. Grading can also be used for Colour Correction, where footage is tweaked and fixed to maintain a consistent look in the colour balance.


The process of collecting all footage into the edit suite. Also known as Digitising when dealing with non file based formats such as digital video tape.


In-Perpetuity License

A license, usually relating to music, voice or images, used in your production which grants you permission to use them for as long as you see fit, without the need to re-license or pay further royalties at a later date.


A mechanical arm which raises / lowers the camera with a smooth motion.

Key Light

The main light source providing illumination for a subject. Also see Backlight.

(Audio) Mix

The correct levelling of all audio sources used in your video (including voice, music and sound effects) to create one overall balanced stereo sound mix.


The process of outputting the final complete version of a video in a high quality format. This is then used to create multiple versions for different distribution formats.

Pan (Camera Move)

Horizontal movement of camera on a fixed axis. For example, camera pans left to right. Also see ‘Tilt (Camera Move)’.


Re-shooting of a section of a scene to correct a small mistake when the rest of the scene was acceptable. Although, pick-ups are not always the result of a mistake, but can also be due to further creative and editorial decisions further down the line in editing.


The work undertaken after the production phase, generally referring to the editing process, creation of graphic elements, music etc.

Reaction Shot

In general terms, this is a shot of someone’s reaction to another’s dialogue – often referred to as a ‘listening shot’.


Also known as location scouting. Recce’s (or site visits) involve looking at proposed filming locations to check for suitability and address any perceived problems before shooting commences.


In video editing terms, rendering is the process of the computer calculating and crunching all of the different effects in each shot, and mixing down the layers of all graphics and captions on the editing timeline to produce a final single/flat video output.

Room Tone

The natural ‘silent’ sound of a location. This ‘silent sound’ is often recorded so that edits and sound junctions can be smoothed out in post-production.


Original music composition, written specifically for a film or video, which often reflects the action or mood of what’s happening on-screen.

Set Up

Each unique camera position required for the scene. The more set-ups you have on a shoot or location, the longer the shoot will take.

Sight Line / Eye Line

Imaginary line drawn between the subject and what they are looking at. This is crucial for maintaining a ‘mental geography’ for the viewing when cutting pictures in the edit.

Tilt (Camera Move)

Vertical movement of camera on a fixed axis. For example, camera tilts up and down. Also see ‘Pan (Camera Move)’.

Vector Graphic

A piece of artwork which is based upon mathematical expressions in the file rather than a fixed amount of pixels. This means that the image can be resized without loss of quality and without becoming pixelated or blurry in your video. Logos and branding imagery often comes in vector format. 

If you’re feeling super-geeky – or just curious – and would like to know more, we can recommend an in-depth read of FilmLand’s extensive Film, Audio and Video Dictionary. Happy reading!