Intimidated by video production lingo? Want to be “in the know” when you’re on set? That’s exactly why we’ve broken down the most commonly used words and phrases thrown around by video production crews.
Accent light: This is a light unit “that emphasizes one subject.”
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B-Roll: B-roll is alternate or supplemental footage intercut with the main shot. “A-roll” isn’t a term commonly used, but you can think of it in terms of A footage and B footage – A being the main shots, B being the supplements.
Call sheet: This is a list of the crew, talent and/or client who will be required on set for the day. Details include attire, location and time, equipment needed and the planned schedule for the day.
Clapper: A clapperboard, or clapper, is what you think of when you think of a director going, “Lights! Camera! Action!” and clapping down that black and white rectangle. It typically has, “a place to write the scene, take, and shot with some other information like production title, director, and DP.” It’s an iconic symbol of film production, but in reality, the board is used for identifying shots and making it easier when it comes time to edit the piece together.
C-stand: Nickname for a century stand. This multi-purpose metal piece of equipment is essential on all film sets, and you’ll hear the term thrown around a lot. It’s “primarily used to position light modifiers in front of light sources. It consists of a collapsible base, two riser columns, and a baby pin on top.”
Photo by Manfrotto
C-47: A commonly used nickname for a clothespin, which has a variety of purposes on a film set.
DP: Director of Photography. He or she works alongside the director, and is “in charge of the look, lighting and composition of the film using various complex physical and technical skills.”
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PA: PA is short for production assistant. He or she is, “a member of the film crew and is responsible for various aspects of a production.” They usually work alongside the producer and help wherever help is needed.
Per Diem: “This is a daily allowance of costs incurred while filming on location.” It is used for food and the like.
Post: “That’s okay, we’ll fix it up in post.” This is referring to post-production, when all of the filming is finished and the editing commences to create the final product.
Rough cut: “The first version of the unfinished video. It often includes a sample voiceover and music, placeholder graphics, and is indicative of the direction of travel.” This is usually uploaded on a site for others working on the same piece, but put on private so the general public can’t see while it’s still a work in progress.
Sticks: “Hey could you grab the sticks?” If you hear this on set, that person is referring to the tripods – or the 3-legged pieces of equipment that holds up the camera.
Photo by Vanguard
VO: Voice-over. This is an off-screen voice narrating the footage on screen.
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Video production crews will throw around lingo all the time that may sound like a foreign language to you. Make sure you brush up on your film set terminology before you’re on the call sheet!
Updated on January 24, 2020
Written by Alanna Goodman, Marketing and Communication at Green Buzz Agency. Emily Herman contributed to this post.