aerial perspective a cue for suggesting represented depth in the image by presenting objects in the distance less distinctly than those in the foreground
axis of action In the continuity editing system, the imaginary line that passes from side to side through a main actors, defining the spatial relations of all the elements of the scene as being to the right or the left. It is also called the 180-degree line. When the camera crosses this axis at a cut, those spatial relations are reversed thereby confusing the audience. It is one of cardinal rules of continuity editing not to cross this axis during a sequence.
backlighting lighting cast onto the figures from the side opposite the camera. It creates a thin outline of light on the figures' edge.
camera angle the position of the frame in relation to the subject it shows. A high angle is when camera is looking down, low angle when looking up. camera movement onscreen impression that the framing is changing with respect to the scene being photographed. This is usually achieved by actual movement of camera but also by a zoom lens or special effects.
canted framing a view in which the frame is not level. Either right or left side is lower, causing objects in the scene to appear tipped.
cinematography a general term for all the manipulations of the film strip by the camera in the shooting phase and by the laboratory in the development phase.
Cinéma vérité a cinema that utilized lightweight equipment, two-person crews (camera and sound), and interview techniques. It is also now often used loosely to refer to any kind of documentary technique. See direct cinema.
close-up a framing in which the scale of the object shown is relatively large, most commonly a person's head seen from the neck up, or an object of a comparable size that fills most of the screen.
contrast in the cinematography, the difference between the brightest and the darkest areas within the frame
crane shot a shot with a change in framing accomplished by having the camera on the crane and moving through the air in any direction.
deep focus a use of the camera lens and lighting that keeps both the close and distant planes being photographed in sharp focus.
deep space an arrangement of mise-en-scene element so that there is a considerable distance between the plane closest to the camera and the one farthest away. Any or all of these planes may be in focus.
depth of field the measurements of the closest and farthest planes in front of camera lens between which everything will be in sharp focus. For example,a depth of field from 5 to 16 feet would mean everything closer than 5 feet and farther than 16 ft would be out of focus.
distance of framing the apparent distance of the frame from the mise-en-scene elements. Also called "camera distance" and "shot scale". Close-up and medium long shot are examples of terms referring to distance of framing.
dolly a camera support with wheels, used in making tracking shots.
establishing shot a shot, usually involving a distant framing, that shows the spatial relations among the important figures, objects, and setting in a scene.
exposure a measure of the amount of light striking the surface of the film. Overexposed film gives a very light, washed out, dreamy quality to the print image while underexposed makes the image darker, muddy, and foreboding.
extreme close-up a framing in which the scale of object is very large; most commonly, a small object or a part of the body. Also called detail shot
extreme long shot a framing in which the scale of the object shown is very small; a panoramic view of an exterior location photographed from a considerable distance, often as far as a quarter-mile away.
eyeline match a cut obeying the axis of action principle, in which the first shot shows a person looking off in one direction and the following shot shows a nearby space containing what he or she sees. If the person looks left, the following shot should imply that the looker is off screen right.
fast motion The film is shot at less than 24 frames per second so that when it is projected at normal speed, action appears to move much faster. (A slow motion is achieved when film is shot faster than 24 frames and projected at normal speed.) Also called accelerated motion .
fill light lighting from a source less bright than the key light , used to soften deep shadows and illuminate areas not covered by key light . Also called filler light . See three-point lighting .
film stock or simply film, the strip of material upon which a series of still photographs is registered; it consists of a clear base coated on one side with light-sensitive emulsion.
filter a piece of glass or geltain placed in front of camera or printer lens to alter the quality(color) or quantity of light strking the film in aperture.
focal length the distance from the center of lens to the point at which the light rays meet in sharp focus. The focal length determines the perspective relations of the space represented on the flat screen.
focus the degree to which light rays coming from the same part of an object through different parts of the lens re-converge at the same point on the film frame, creating sharp outlines and distinct textures. focus in, out a punctuation device in which the image gradually comes into focus or goes out of the
forelengthening the linear distortion caused by wide-angle lens ; the perception of depth is exaggerated. foreshortening the distortion caused by a telephoto lens ; the illusion of depth is compressed.
frame 0 . a single image on the strip of film. When a series of frames are projected onto a screen in quick succession (currently 24 frames per second), an illusion of movement is created. 0. the size and shape of the image on the screen when projected. 0. the compositional unit fo film design.
framing the use of edges of the film to select and to compose what will be visible onscreen. freeze frame a freeze shot, which is achieved by printing a single frame many times in succession to give the illusion of a still photograph when projected.
frontal lighting lighting directed into the scene from a position near the camera.
full shot a shot of a subject that includes the entire body and not much else.
gauge The width of the film strip, measured in millimeters. 35mm is most commonly used filmstock, 65mm and 70mm are used for major epic productions.
hard lighting lighting that creates sharp-edged shadows. hard-key lighting lighting that creates comparatively little contrast between the light and dark areas of the shot. Shadows are fairly transparent and brightened by fill light .
height of framing the height of the camera above the ground, regardless of camera angle
iris a round, moving mask that contracts to close down to end an scene ( iris-out ) or emphasize a detail, or opens to begin a scene ( iris-in ) or to reveal more space around a detail.
key light in the three-point lighting system, the brightest light coming into the scene. See also backlighting and fill light
long shot a framing in which the scale of the object shown is small; a standing human figure would appear nearly the height of the screen.
low-key lighting lighting tht creates strong contrast between light and dark areas of the shot, with deep shadows and little fill light
matte shot a type of process shot in which different areas of the image (usually actors and setting) are photographed separately and combined in laboratory work.
medium close-up a framing in which the scale of the object shown is fairly large; a human figure seen from the chest up fill most of the screen.
medium long shot a framing at a distance which makes an object about 4 or 5 feet high appear to fill most of the screen vertically. See plan americain , the special term for a medium long shot depicting human figures.
medium shot a framing in which the sclae of the object is of moderate size; a human figure seen from the waist up would fill most of the screen.
mise-en-scene all the elements placed in front of the camera to be photographed, that is, part of the cinematic process that take place on the set, as opposed to montage , which takes place afterward. It includes the settings and props, lighting, costumes and make-up, and figure behavior.
Mise-en-scene tends to be very important to realists, montage to expressionists. mise-en-shot the design of an entire shot, in time as well as space.
mobile frame the effect on the screen of moving camera, a zoom lens , or special effects shifting the frame in relation to the scene being photographed.
monochromatic color design color design which emphasizes a narrow set of shades of a single color.
multiple exposure a number of images printed over each other. multiple image a number of images printed beside each other within the same frame, often showing different camera angles of same action, or separate actions. Also called split screen
180-degree system the continuity approach to editing which dictates that the camera should stay on one side of the action to ensure consistent spatial relations between objects to the right and left of the frame. The 180-degree line is also called axis of action .
offscreen space the six areas blocked from being visible on the screen but still part of the space of the scene: to four sides of the frame, behind the set, and the behind the camera.
overlap a cue for suggesting depth in the film image by placing closer objects partly in front of more distant ones. pan movement of camera from left to right or vice versa on a stationary tripod. On the screen, it produces a mobile framing which scans the space horizontally. Not to be confused with tracking shot
pixillation a form of single-frame animation in which three-dimentional objects, often people, are made to move in staccato bursts through the use of stop-action cinematography thereby breaking the illlusion of the continuous movement.
plan american a framing in which the scale of the object shown is moderately small; the human figure seen from the shins to the head would fill the most of screen; so named by the French critics who found this the most frequent framing in American movies. This is also referred to as a medium long shot , especially when human figures are not shown.
plan-sequence French term for a scene handled in a single shot, usually a long take; often referring to complex shot including complicated camera movements and actions. Also called sequence shot .
point-of-view(POV) shot a shot taken with the camera placed approximately where the character's eyes would be, representing what the character sees; usually cut in before or after a shot of the character looking.
process shot any shot involving re-photography to combine two or more images into one, or to create a special effects; also called composite shot .
pull-back shot a tracking shot or zoom that moves back from the subject to reveal the context of the scene
rack focus shifts the area of sharp focus from one plane to another during a shot thereby directing the attention of the viewer forcibly from one subject to another.
rate in shooting, the number of frames exposed per second; in projection, the number of frames thrown on the screen per second. If the two are same, the speed of action appears normal while a disparity will create slow or fast motion. The standard rate in sound cinema is 24 frames per second for both shooting and projection (for silent film, it used to be between 16 and 18 frames per second
reaction shot a shot that cuts away from the main scene or speaker in order to show a character's reaction
reestablishing shot a return to a view of an entire space after a series of closer shots following the establishing shot .
reframing short panning or tilting movements to adjust for the figures' movements, keeping them onscreen or centered.
roll the rotation of camera around the the axis that runs from the lens to the subject. This is not common because its effect usually disorients the viwer.
rotoscope a machine that projects live-action motion picture film frames 1 by 1 onto a drawing pad so that an animator can trace the figures in each frame. The aim is to achieve more realistic movement in an animated cartoon. rushes
screen direction the right-left relationship in a scene, set up in an establishing shot and determined by the position of characters and objects in the frame, by the directions of movement, and by the character's eyelines. Continuity editiong will attempt to keep screen direction consistent between shots. See axis of action , eyeline match , 180-degree system .
shallow focus a restricted depth of field, whic keeps only those planes close to the camera in sharp focus; the opposite of deep focus . shallow space staging the action in relatively few planes of depth; the opposite of deep space .
size diminution a cue for suggesting represented depth in the image by showing objects that are further away as smaller than foreground objects.
soft lighting lighting that avoids harsh bright and dark areas, creating a gradual transition from highlights to shadows. space
space At minimum, any film displays a two-dimensional graphic space, the flat composition of the image. In films which depict recognizable objects, a three-dimensional space is represented as well, which may be directly depicted as onscreen space, or suggested as offscreen space. In narrative film, one can also distinguish between story space, the locale of the totality of the action (whether shown or not) and plot space, the locales visibly and audibly represented in the scenes.
telephoto lens a lens of long focal length that affects a scene's perspective by enlarging distant places and making them seem closer to the foreground planes. In 35mm filming, a lens of 75mm length or more. Normal lens for 35mm filming would be a lens of 35mm to 50mm.
three-point lighting a common arrangement using three directions of light on a scene: from behind the subject( backlighting ), from one bright source( key light ), and from a less bright source balancing the key light ( fill light ).
tilt a camera movement by swiveling upward or downward on a stationary support. It produces a mobile framing that scans the space vertically.
top lighting lighting coming from above a person or object, usually in order to outline the upper areas of the figure or to separate it more clearly from the background.
tracking shot a mobile framing that travels through space forward, backward, or laterally. It could move on tracks or dolly, or hand-held. Also called "traveling shot."
underlighting lighting from a point below the figures in the scene.
whip pan an extremely fast movement of camera from side to side, which causes the image to blur into a set of indistinct horizontal lines briefly. Often imperceptible cut joins two whip pans to creat a trick transition between scenes.
wide-angle lens a lens of short focal length that affects the scene's perspective by distorting straight lines near the edges of the frame and by exaggerating the distance between foreground and background planes. In 35mm filming, a wide-angle lens is 30mm or less. Produces the opposite effect of telephoto lens
zoom lens a lens with a focal length that can be changed during a shot. A shift toward the telephoto range enlarges the images and flattens its planes together, giving an impression of moving into the scene's space, while a shift toward wide-angle range does the opposite.