Confused by video marketing lingo?
Still not sure on the difference between a script and a storyboard?
What does PTC stand for? Or HD for that matter?
Don’t worry, help is at hand!
Making video marketing for your business can be daunting enough. So thinking you have to learn a bunch of new phrases at the same time as figuring out which way to point the camera and remembering your YouTube login is going to be too much for most people! When we’re putting together video production proposals for client’s or working with them on set and on set, we do everything we can do avoid slipping into ‘Spielberg mode’ and sprouting off all sorts of terminology that doesn’t mean a thing to the average business owner!
That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive list of every single video marketing phrase you’ll ever hear, explained in concise and plain English!
This isn’t an exam! You don’t need to memorise any of these terms or even use them properly! They’re just here for reference.
Is there a video marketing term you hear a lot but aren’t 100% sure what it means? Use the Search / Find option in your web browser (usually by pressing Ctrl-F on a PC or Cmd-F on a Mac) and type in the word that’s been bugging you to quickly find it in our glossary! Plus, why not bookmark this page so you can easily jump back to it whenever one of those pesky words crops up in the future!
This article is being constantly updated. So please, leave us a comment at the end of the article if there are any phrases we’ve not included and we’ll add them to the list!
Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K is a screen resolution with dimensions of 3840 x 2160 pixels and the most common flavour of 4K.
1080p / 1080i
1080 is a High Definition (HD) screen resolution with dimensions of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Also known as ‘Full HD’.
The ‘p’ after ‘1080’ stands for progressive, which means each frame contains a single image. You’ll want to film with this if you’re making videos for online use. The ‘i’ stands for ‘interlaced’ which means each frame contains two images displayed through alternating lines of image data. This is more commonly used for TV.
720p is a High Definition (HD) screen resolution with dimensions of 1280 x 720 pixels.
The aperture is the size of the opening in the lens that regulates how much light enters the camera. The wider the aperture, the more light that enters and the brighter the image.
Aperture is measured in ‘f-stops’, with smaller numbers (eg f/1.8) representing a wide aperture and high numbers (eg f/22) representing a narrow aperture.
Aperture settings affect focus too. A wide aperture causes less of an image to be in focus, creating soft, blurred backgrounds. A narrow aperture creates sharper images with less blurred areas.
Aspect Ratio is the ratio of height to width in an image. The most common aspect ratio for video is 16:9, also known as ‘widescreen’. Square videos are 1:1, whilst old TV shows (pre year 2000) is usually 4:3.
Autofocus is a lens function that keeps the subject in focus throughout filming.
Bit Rate (or Data Rate) is a measurement of the amount of data used for each second of footage. This is measured in kilobits per second (kbps), and can be either a constant number or variable within a predefined range.
Blowout is when an image has been overexposed, resulting in very bright images and a loss of detail. This should be avoided at all costs as it is very difficult to repair blowout in editing. Also known as Overexposure or Overexposing.
B-Roll (also known as General Shots) is supporting footage that provides context and additional detail within an edit. NOT short for ‘Bread Roll’.
Close Up (CU)
A ‘Close Up’ shot is a camera angle where the frame is filled almost entirely of the subject. A ‘Medium Close Up’ is slightly wider and an ‘Extreme Close Up’ is event tighter still.
Colour Correction is the colour of an image is digitally altered in the editing. This can be either to correct inconsistencies in the shot or to enhance the image for creative effect, more commonly known as ‘Colour Grading’.
Colour Temperature is a characteristic of visible light in an image. Colour temperature is measured by a number on the Kelvin scale (denoted by the letter “K” after the number). Warm (yellow) light is measured in lower numbers such as 3200K and cool (blue) light is measured in higher numbers such as 5600K.
Compression is a process that reduced the amount of data in a video file. Compressing video files can make them easier to work with in editing due to the reduced file sizes requiring less computer processing power. Compressing video files also allow them to be uploaded or downloaded faster. Be careful though, too much compression can cause loss in detail in an image.
Depth of Field
Depth of Field (shortened to DOF) refers to the part of your image that is in focus. A shallow DOF gives greater emphasis to your subject as only a narrow range of your image will be in focus, giving anything out of focus a soft appearance. This works great for interviews and close-ups. A deep DOF is when more of the image is in focus, perfect for wide shots and landscapes. Tip – if you want to get a shallow DOF, let as much light into the camera as you can.
Zooming involves getting a closer view of far-away subjects. Digital Zoom (as opposed to Optical Zoom) enlarges the pixels of the image and reduces image resolution and quality.
A DSLR (it stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex) is a type of camera that records images using a mirror to reflect the light coming through the lens. When you hit record, the mirror flips out the way allowing light to pass onto the camera’s image sensor and record the image. DSLR’s are traditionally used as stills photography cameras, but are now fancy enough to record incredible quality video.
Dynamic Range is the scope that a camera can capture the brightest and darkest areas of an image without losing detail. If the image is beyond the camera’s dynamic range, bright areas become blown out and dark areas become noisy. The more dynamic range a camera has, the more image detail you can capture.
An Establishing Shot reveals the setting of a scene to the audience. This is usually captured as a Wide Shot.
Exposure is a general term for how bright or dark an image is. An image is created when the camera’s image sensor is ‘exposed’ to light, hence the term. An ‘underexposed’ image is too dark, and an ‘overexposed’ image is too bright. Aperture, Shutter Speed, ND and ISO all contribute to the exposure of an image.
A Fade is a dissolve transition in editing that moves between an image and a black screen. A Fade Out if dissolving to black from an image, and a Fade In in dissolving from black to an image.
A Frame is one of the several still images which make up a video clip.
Frame also refers to the edges of the image as captured with a camera or viewed on a screen.
The Frame Rate is the number of still images that make up one second of video. Typical frame rates are 24, 25, 30, 50 & 60.
Gaffer Tape (or Gaff tape or Gaffers tape) is a colloquial term for an indispensable strong, durable tape used on film sets. Gaffers are the folk responsible for the practical side of lighting, if you’re interested.
Use it to tape down loose cables or to mark the floor with positions of camera, interviewees etc. Never steal someone’s gaffer tape, they will always remember. Especially Gaffers.
Headroom is a term for the space between the top of a subject’s head and the top of the frame of an image. Too much headroom makes the subject appear too low in the shot, too little headroom and you might be chopping off your subjects head!
HD (High Definition) video is any resolution from 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) up to Full HD / 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels)
HDMI (which stands for High Definition Media Interface) is a digital connector that carries both HD video and audio signals between devices.
The Image Sensor is a silicon chip that converts light and optical images from the lens into an electric signal that your camera captures as video files. They come in different shapes and sizes such as APS-C, micro four thirds and full-frame.
Image Stabilization (shortened to IS or OIS) is a function on either a lens or image sensor that helps counterbalance shaky filming, usually caused by handheld filming.
Importing is the process of transferring videos clips from the camera, memory card or hard drive into an editing programme.
The Iris is an adjustable part of a video camera lens which lets light into the camera. The wider the iris is open, the more light lands on the image sensor and the brighter the image is.
The ISO is a camera setting that determines the sensitivity of a camera’s image sensor. A low ISO setting of around 400 is perfect for shooting in daylight. Increasing the ISO is helpful when shooting in low light conditions, but using too high an ISO can produce footage with less detail and high noise, giving the images a grainy, static appearance.
A Jump Cut is a sudden transition where the subject appears to rapidly jump in the frame with little visible change in the image.
A Lavalier Microphone is a small microphone that clips onto a subject’s clothing. Commonly known as a ‘tie clip’ microphone.
The Looking Room is the amount of space between the subject and the edge of the frame they are facing.
Manual is a mode of video cameras that allow settings such as aperture, focus, ISO and shutter speed to be set individually and precisely controlled. The opposite of this is ‘Auto’ where the camera’s software fully controls all settings.
A Memory Card is a small data storage device used to record digital data, including video footage. SD and Micro SD (Secure Digital) and CF (Compact Flash) are the most common types.
A Microphone is a device that translates sound into an electronic signal. That signal is then recorded for playback or editing.
A Monopod is like a tripod, but with only one “leg.”
Neutral Density (ND) Filter
A Neutral Density (ND) Filter is a piece of glass that goes over the front end of a lens to reduce the amount of light entering the camera. Think of them as a pair of sunglasses for the camera! ND filters are useful for maintaining a wide aperture in bright sunlight and achieving a shallow depth of field.
Noise is a freckled appearance in footage, usually caused by filming in low light or with a high ISO setting. Also known as grain or static.
Zooming involves getting a closer view of far-away subjects. Optical Zoom (as opposed to Digital Zoom) is when the lens glass physically moves to adjust the image, resulting in higher quality footage than if a Digital Zoom were used.
A Panning Shot (Pan)
A Panning Shot (Pan) is a horizontal side-to-side camera movement from a stationary position. Not to be confused with a ‘Tilt’
Piece to Camera (PTC)
A Piece to Camera (PTC) is a phrase used for when a presenter or actor speaks directly to the camera as if speaking directly to the audience. This is very common in video blogging.
A pixel is the smallest unit of a digital image. The more pixels in an image, the greater the detail.
POV (Point of View) Shot
A POV (Point of View) Shot is a camera angle that shows the perspective of a shot from the subject’s position in the scene.
A Practical Light is any light source that is part of a scene and doesn’t need to be hidden out of shot.
A Prime Lens is a lens with no optical zoom functionality, also known as a fixed focal length lens. They have wider apertures and higher optical quality over a Zoom Lens.
Resolution refers to the number of horizontal and vertical pixels used to capture or display an image. Video resolutions are often referred to by the vertical dimensions with a letter denoting either progressive or interlaced images (eg 480p, 720p, 1080p)
Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is a guideline for composing shots in an aesthetically pleasing way. The principle is that an image should be divided with two horizontal and two vertical lines equally spaced within the frame, with the subject or other important parts of the image placed along these imaginary lines or intersections. This creates more interest in the shot than just placing the subject in the middle of the frame.
Saturation is the intensity of the colours within an image.
A Scene is a sequence of related shots that tend to take place in one location.
A Script is a chronological document of scenes, shots, action, voiceover, graphics and dialogue for a video. It’s the backbone of any piece of video marketing! Typically, a video script is formatted with tables, where each column is a different element of the script.
A shot is a series of individual frames that make up a single video clip, usually lasting for an uninterrupted period of time.
A Shot List is a log of all the different shots you want to capture during filming.
The shutter is a mechanism or function in the camera that allows light to pass onto the camera’s image sensor for a determined period of time. The shutter opens and closes once for every video frame captured.
The Shutter Speed measures how long the shutter is open for whilst each frame is captured during filming. This is typically written in fractions of a second and should be at least double the frame rate you’re shooting at. So, if you’re filming at 25 frames per second the shutter speed should be at least 1/50 of a second.
Slow Motion is an effect where an action in a shot appears to happen slower than it would in reality. This effect is best achieved when footage is recorded with the intention of being shown in slow motion. This way, the shot will be captured with more image detail and at a higher Frame Rate, creating a smoother look.
Split Screen is when two or more images are shown on screen at once.
A Steadicam is a device that enables super smooth handheld filming by reducing shock and vibration, therefore stabilizing the camera. Although Steadicam is a brand name, the term is commonly used to refer to other camera stabilization devices too.
Storyboards are sketches that show how each shot or scene of your video may look through the camera lens.
Sync (short for Synchronization) refers to the relative timing of video and audio in the edit.
Three-Point Lighting is the most common lighting setup, consisting of a key light (for the subject), fill light (to fill in any shadows on the subject) and back light (to illuminate the back of the subject).
Thumbnails are small images that represent the content of a video.
A Tilt Shot is a vertical up-and-down camera movement from a stationary position. Not to be confused with a ‘Pan’
Timelapse is a filming technique where video (or a series of still images) is captured at a much slower frame rate than usual. The resulting shot appears to show time going by faster than in reality.
A Tracking Shot is when the camera physically moves horizontally side-to-side alongside a moving subject. These shots are usually captured using a Camera Slider or Dolly. Also known as a Dolly Shot.
A Transition is what happens between two shots in a sequence. A Transition can be as simple as a cut, when one shot instantly changes to the next. More elaborate transitions can use graphics or digital effects like wipes or fading between colours.
A tripod is a portable three-legged stand used to support a camera. A video tripod is better to shoot video with than a photography tripod as it allows for smoother horizontal and vertical movement.
A Tungsten Light (also referred to as incandescent light) is an artificial light source, such as a normal household bulb. Tungsten light has a Colour Temperature of approximately 3200K.
A Two Shot is a camera angle where the frame includes two subjects.
The Viewfinder is the part of the camera that shows the field of view of the lens. It allows you to focus, frame and expose your shot properly. Most digital video cameras have an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) that uses a small electronic screen to show the camera image direct from the camera’s image sensor. Whereas DSLR’s have an Optical Viewfinder (OVF) which uses mirrors and prisms to show the image directly entering the lens.
A vignette is a visual effect whereby the corners of a frame are darkened in order to draw more attention to the subject in the frame.
A Watermark is when a semi-transparent image or piece of text is overlaid onto a video. It’s often used to protect the copyrights of the video or to add important information throughout the entire video, such as ‘Draft Edit – Do Not Share’.
Wide Shot (LS)
A Wide Shot (LS) is a camera angle that shows the entire subject within their surroundings. Also known as a Long Shot (LS).
A Whip Pan is a very fast horizontal camera movement from side-to-side. Cutting from one Whip Pan to another during the movement can give the effect of the passage of time or a change of location.
White Balance (WB)
White Balance (WB) is the process of balancing unrealistic colour casts, often caused by a change or differences in Colour Temperature, so the image has realistic colour tones. This is usually done by using a non-reflective white surface for the camera to use as a measurement of true white in the frame.
A Zoom lens is a lens with a optical zoom functionality, often controlled by a ring around the lens or a button on the camera.
What video marketing terminology do you find yourself using most often? Are there any video camera terms that still have you a bit confused? Let us know! Find us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and we’ll help you out