7 Common Video Production Terms You Should Know

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Jargon, lingo, slang: whatever you want to call, there are countless shortcuts and vocabulary words used on video production sets. As the person behind your company’s next production, knowing these terms will help you communicate your ideas more effectively, resulting in a better collaboration with your crew. Although many terms could be included here, it is not as essential to know the crew’s specific slang words, such as how they refer to extension cords, the last shot of the day,or even the script supervisor. Instead, this post focuses on some of the most important terms that can affect production’s shots, lighting, and overall look. Here are seven terms to know while on the set of your next Orlando video production:


  1. Ambient

This word is typically used on set in conjunction with lighting or noise. Ambient lighting is the light present in a room without any lighting equipment or reflecting devices. It includes overhead lights and any lamps that are present, in addition to sunlight. Ambient light is general and non-directional, unlike spotlights or other equipment. In fact, the existing ambient lighting levels of the room chosen for filming will greatly affect the amount of additional equipment the camera crew needs. In addition, shooting in a room primarily lit by sunlight means keeping an eye on the changing amount and color of ambient light and making lighting adjustments as needed.


Similarly, ambient noise is the existing total sound in a given room or location. This primarily refers to the room’s tone and reverberations, but could also include the heating or air conditioning units, hallway noise, or passing traffic sounds. Determining and controlling the room’s ambient noise is vital for establishing and correcting audio levels for your shoot.


  1. Bounce

Depending on your location’s current lighting and your crew’s equipment, you may need to use a Bounce to reflect light onto your set or subject. A Bounce helps to dispense and distribute light onto a set to avoid the appearance of a single lighting source. Bounces also help to even out shadows, making them essential for both indoor and outdoor shoots.


  1. Color Temperature

The term color temperature is measured in degrees Kelvin, and simply describes the quality of visible light in a shot or image. It refers to the color of your light source, which ranges from cool to warm. You may hear your crew discussing the color temperature of your space or the footage they just shot. Or, perhaps you want to pursue a certain atmosphere or color palette for your production. Either way, certain lighting adjustments may have to be made to even out the lighting levels of the shoot.


  1. Aperture and F-Stops

If you have ever used a high-quality digital camera, you may already be familiar with these terms. A camera’s aperture is simply the size of the opening within the lens, and it is measured in f-stops or f-numbers. Lower f-stop numbers indicate a larger aperture, which means that more light passes through the lens and reaches the image sensor, resulting in a shallow depth of field. Common f-stop numbers include f/1.4, f/2, f/8/ and f/22, among others. Understanding apertures and f-stops will help you discuss the depth of field and focus you want in a particular scene or shot.


  1. Axis

Video productions are meant to be viewed on a screen, whether that is a television, computer, projector, or mobile phone. Because of this, each production is designed with a certain ratio to maximize its multi-platform viewing capabilities. On set, the axis is an invisible line drawn between the set and the camera to keep the two separated. The audience will see only what your crew’s cameras capture, but you must establish that line on set in order to avoid including other information unintentionally.


  1. Essential Area

Establishing the axis will also help your crew determine a scene’s essential or critical area. This is the material that will absolutely be seen, regardless of the type of screen someone uses to view it. The boundaries of the essential area encompass about 80% of the inner screen, so any figures outside of that space could be slightly cropped or cut out depending on a viewer’s display.


  1. Composition

You wrote the script, hired the actors, and gathered all the props, but what do you think about the composition of each shot or scene? In this case, composition refers to the visual setup of a video frame. You can opt for highly symmetrical images, or create a sense of drama by including contrasting shots. Many interviews are filmed with the speaker filling one third of the screen, to either side, resulting in a balanced composition even though it is not centered. Understanding different types of composition will help you collaborate with your camera crew on a deeper level. It will also help you establish your production’s atmosphere and aesthetics. Related terms and ideas include framing, balance, field of view, and texture.


Thankfully, our Orlando video production company, NG Production Films, can collaborate with you no matter your experience or understanding of on-set jargon. We are a full-service video production firm with the experience and dedication you need to ensure your shoot is a success.For a free, no-obligation consultation, call us today at 877-203-2895 or fill out our simple contact form for a prompt reply.