Video Production Glossary


  1. Red-light – production has been rejected
  2. Yellow-light – production is in the process of acquiring funds/ approval
  3. Green-light – Production is budgeted and approved.
  4. Proposal – Initial yellow-light document, outlines basic concept of video.
  5. Treatment – Yellow/green-light document, outlines in more detail the concept of a video. Sometimes unnecessary.
  6. Script – Document detailing an outline of the overall story, and every line of dialogue to the word. This leaves a big gap for the directors ingenuity. E.g. a 20 minute epic battle sequence in which an army of tens of thousands storm a fort – the script can just say “they take the fort”.
  7. Storyboard – Document visually illustrating the information gap left in a script. The 20 minute sequence of an army taking the fort will have huge detail, and will help teams of people collaborate on the visuals while maintaining the directors vision. Not usually necessary for dialogue-driven scenes.
  8. Shot-list – Document for use in production, usually lists shots in the order of filming rather than the order of viewing. This is a technical document which is unlikely to be of interest or use to commissioners/clients.
  9. Rehearsal – The process of working with actors, performers, or technicians to prepare for capturing an event. Typically a rehearsal process involves actors, but it could also involve technicians e.g. rehearsing a complex shot before going on location.
  10. Location visit – Viewing a location, typically involving stills photography for the director. The visit will usually look for three main things: technical suitability (permission, power availability, daylight hours, sound etc.), creative suitability and health & safety.


  1. Depth of field – amount of depth in focus (focus defined by circle of confusion)
  2. Circle of confusion – Governing the definition of “in focus”, the radius of the focus “blur” in comparison to image resolution. I.e. focus blur radius must be equal-to or small-than the one pixel to be considered in focus.
  3. Prime lens – one or more pieces of glass able to focus light at varying depths. Usually contains an iris to limit amount of the light. No zoom function.
  4. Zoom lens – one or more pieces of glass able to focus light at varying depths. Usually contains an iris to limit amount of the light. With zoom functionality.
  5. Focus – Refracting light from a single point at one depth outwards of the lens to another point inwards of the lens. I.e. a single point from the subject to a single point on the film or sensor.
  6. White balance – The colour temperature (measured in kelvin) of the light emanating from a source. Higher temperatures producer higher frequency light and vice-versa. Ergo, daylight can appear blue, candle-light can appear red. This is caused by the oscillation of electrons in an atomic structure.
  7. Grip – Anything supporting a camera, aiding in stability and motion. E.g. steadi-cam, tripod, crane, dolly, truck, car-mount etc.
  8. Tripod – 3-legged support for camera, usually used with a pan/tilt motion head. Fluid-drag systems are premium, as opposed to cheaper friction-plate designs.
  9. Crop-factor – The effect of using a camera with a smaller digital sensor or film frame than that which the lens was designed for. For most DSLR cameras, this factor is 1.3–2.0×. For example, a 28 mm lens delivers a moderately wide-angle FOV on a 35 mm format full-frame camera, but on a camera with a 1.6 crop factor, an image made with the same lens will have the same field of view that a full-frame camera would make with a ~45 mm lens (28 × 1.6 = 44.8).
  10. 3-point Lighting – A common lighting technique for lighting simple/ small scenes. Consists of a key light, 45deg in front of subject, provides the most intense light for the scene and casts a shadow across reverse side of face; A fill light, opposite to key light, and provides a softer light to eliminate some of the shadow. Typically a fill light will eliminate 70 of shadow in broadcast – it eliminates usually 85-100% of shadow for web presenters. A “back” or “clip” light, used to lighten the top of the subjects head, intensity varies from rig to rig, short haired subjects typically have lower levels of backlight than those with long hair.


  1. Digitisation (digitising, to digitise) – The process of scanning each frame from a film-strip to create a digital video clip.
  2. Editing – The process of cutting footage into a sequence different from how it was captured for playback. Digital editing can add transitions, titles and some effects with relative ease.
  3. Compositing – The process of taking footage or assets and playing them back simultaneously. E.g. a shot of clouds could be composited into another shot which originally had a grey sky. A web presenter is composited onto a website.
  4. Motion tracking – The process of taking a point in a shot and tracking it’s movement from frame-to-frame.
  5. Camera tracking – Taking many motion tracking points and, using complex algorithms, calculated by the original camera movements through 3d space, the rough 3d layout of the scene, and the field of view the camera had at the time of capturing. The result allows 3d objects to be composited seemlessly within scenes – E.g. Gollum in Lord of the Rings.
  6. Colour Correction – The process, usually digital, of correcting footage’s visual properties. This could be from under or over exposure, or from shooting a slightly different colour temperature than was present.
  7. Colour Grading – An artistic version of correction, this process uses the same techniques but may make an image coloured incorrectly for artistic reasons. E.g. a Matrix is tinted green, the real world is tinted blue – or more subtly the warm yellow light in the drawing scene in Titanic.
  8. Signal – Non random: The part of image or sound information we want.
  9. Noise – Random: The part of image or sound information we do not want – commonly seen as “grain” or heard as “static”. “White noise” means noise at full amplitude. Blue and pink noise refer to noise with preference to high or low frequencies respectively.
  10. Grain – Commonly used to describe noise, grain is referring to the actual grain on a film-strip.