SAC 236 Film Glossary - BASIC FILM GLOSSARY ENHANCED...

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Unformatted text preview: BASIC FILM GLOSSARY, ENHANCED 9/8/2006 ACCELERATED MOTION: Means whereby movement in a shot is represented as taking place at greater speed than it did in reality. Also known as fast motion or undercranking since running the camera slower than normal produces this effect. ASPECT RATIO: The height—to-width ratio of the projected screen image. “Academy aperture” is a specific aspect ratio of l to 1.33 to that dominated before pre-wide screen film. BACK LIGHTING: Lighting in which the main source of illumination is directed towards the camera and from behind the actor/subj ect, thus tending to throw the subject into silhouette (if there is little or no fill lighting), or, at the very least, to differentiate the subject from the background. CAMERA ANGLE: Angle of View on the subject as established by the position of the camera. HIGH ANGLE means that the camera is “looking down” on the subject. LOW ANGLE means that the Camera is “looking up” at the subject. Also reference to side to side relationships such as “straight on” and “oblique” can be delineated through reference to angle. CAMERA SPEED: “camera speed,” or “cranking speed,” both of which refer to the number of frames per second that are shot. CINEMASCOPE: An anamorphic process developed in the 1920s, and used (with a new name) by Twentieth Century—Fox in the 19505 to create a widescreen effect (with an aspect ratio of 12.35) with film of normal size and 121.33 aspect ratio through the use of a supplementary lens placed in front of an ordinary camera lens that relied on lateral compression of the image. CINEMA VERITE: A way of filming from real—life without elaborate equipment, playing down the technical and formal means of production (script, supplemental lighting, etc.) and emphasizing the circumstantial reality of the scene. The term is applied to the documentary in a specific historical period and to filmmakers Jean Rouch, the Maysles brothers, and Richard Leacock, among others. Also known as “direct Cinema.” CLOSE—UP: A shot in which a small detail or a face fills the frame, taken either by setting the camera close to the subject or by using a long focal-length lens (greater magnification). In relation to a human subject, close-up usually refers to a shot of the face alone, although, of course, there may be close-ups of hands or feet, or any part of the body. COMPOSITION: The aesthetic arrangement of all the graphic elements within the screen image to achieve a desired distribution and balance of light, mass, shadow, color or black/white and movement. CONTINUITY EDITING: A style of editing marked by its emphasis on maintaining a continuous and seemingly uninterrupted flow of action or shot transition, and which depends upon use of the “l80degree rule,” “matched action,” and other techniques of staging the action. CRANE SHOT: A moving shot taken by the camera on a specially constructed crane, usually from a high perspective. CROSS-CUTTING: The intermingling of shots that take place in two or more locations, so that attention switches back and forth between two or more events, usually understood as occurring simultaneously. ’ CUT: (l) Noun: A transition made by editing two pieces of film together. (2) Verb: To edit a film by selecting shots and splicing them together. CUTAWAY: In continuity editing, a shot which does not include any part of the Visual contents of the preceding shot and which bridges a jump in time or other break in the continuous flow of action within a scene. DAY FOR NIGHT: Daylight exterior shots simulating night through the use of filters and underexposure. During the “silent” era these techniques for giving the impression of a night scene were frequently supplemented by blue tinting. DECELERATED MOTION: Means whereby movement in a shot is represented as taking place at a slower speed than it did in reality. Also known as slow motion or overcranking, since the camera is running faster than normal to produce this effect. DEEP FOCUS: A camera lens strategy whereby objects in the immediate foreground and at a great distance appear in equally sharp focus at the same time on screen. Also known as “depth of field shooting.” DEPTH OF FIELD: Distance between the nearest and furthest points at which the screen image is in reasonably sharp focus. DIALOGUE TITLES: Intertitles that reproduce words that are understood to bespoken by a character in a shot that precedes or follows the title. DIFFUSION FILTER: A filter placed in front of a camera lens to reduce or soften the definition of the image that the lens produces. DISSOLVE: Gradual merging of the end of one shot into the beginning of the next produced by the super-imposition of a fade-out onto a fade-in. Once done “in the camera” in early film production, a process later achieved through optical printing. DOLLY SHOT: A shot taken while the camera is moving through space. DUB: To record dialogue or other sound to match action in shots already filmed. DUTCH TILT: A crazily tilted image in which the subject appears in a diagonal or oft- balanced framing created by the camera not being held parallel with the ground. Also known as CANTED FRAMING. EDIT: The splicing together of separate shots. ESTABLISHING SHOT: A shot showing the location of a scene or the arrangement of characters within it, often the opening shot of a sequence. EXPOSITORY INTERTITLE: See NARRATIVE TITLE EXTREME LONG SHOT: A shot notable for the extreme distance of the camera from the subject. Often used for an establishing shot. EYE—LEVEL SHOT: A shot taken at the height of normal human vision. FADE: A visual (now optically produced rather than in—camera) effect used as a transitional device in which the image on the screen gradually does to black (fade-out) or emerges from (fade-in). FAST MOTION: See ACCLERATED MOTION. FILM SPEED: A measure of the sensitivity of the film stock emulsion to light. This is not the same as f‘camera speed” or “cranking speed,” both of which refer to the number of frames per second that are shot. FLAT LIGHTING: The distribution of light within the image so that bright and dark tones are not highly6 contrasted. FLASHBACK: A shot or sequence of shots that take the action of the story into the past, either as a reminder of an earlier event the audience has witnessed or to indicate the recollections of one of the characters. FLASH—FORWARD: A shot or sequence which takes the action of the story into the future. ' FRAME: (l) Noun: One single picture on a piece of motion picture film. (2) Noun: The boundaries of the screen image. (3) Verb: To compose a shot so as to include, exclude, or emphasize certain elements, thus influencing composition. FREEZE—FRAME: An optical effect in which action appears to come to a dead stop, achieved by printing a single frame of motion picture film many times in succession. GLASS SHOT: A shot in which part of the background is painted or photographed in miniature on a glass slide and placed in front of the camera so as to blend with the rest of the image which contains live action. Also known as a “Glass Matte shot.” HAND—HELD CAMERA: A shot made with the camera not mounted on a tripod or other stabilizing fixture. HIGH-ANGLE SHOT: See CAMERA ANGLE. HIGH—KEY LIGHTING: The distribution of light within the image so that bright tones predominate. INTERTITLE: A shot, cut into live action, that offers written text of the dialogue “spoken” by the actors in a silent film or “expository” in nature, i.e. giving narrative explanation. During the era of silent film production, these shots were known as “titles” or “sub-titles.” IRIS: A decorative transition in which the 1mage appears to disappear Within a growing or diminishing circle. Commonly used 1n silent film. JUMP CUT: A cut that jumps forward within a single action, thus creating a sense of discontinuity. An ellipsis in time without the bridging effect of a cutaway. LONG SHOT: A shot taken with the camera at a distance from its subject. LOW-ANGLE SHOT: See CAMERA ANGLE. LOW-KEY LIGHTING: The distribution of lighting with the image so that dark tones and shadows predominate. MASK SHOT: A shot in which a portion of the image is blocked off by means of an opaque sheet or “matte” placed over the lens, thus altering the shape of the frame. MATCH ON ACTION: Matching the actor’s position or his/her action across a cut or from a closer shot within the scene. Hollywood films was known for perfecting cuts on action that avoided “jump cuts” and obvious breaks in the visual impression of continuity. MEDIUM-CLOSE UP: A shot taken with the camera at a slight distance from the subject. In relation to a human subject, usually refers to a shot of the head, neck and shoulders. MEDIUM LONG SHOT: A shot taken with the camera at a distance from the subject, but closer than a long shot. MEDIUM SHOT: A shot taken with the camera at a mid-range point from the subject. In relation to a human subject, usually refers to a shot of the human figure from the knees or waist up. MISE EN SCENE: A term used in reference to the staging of a scene in a play or film when considering as a whole the settings, the arrangements of the actors in relation to the setting, the lighting, and everything else that may be placed in front of the camera. Commonly used in film criticism to describe the impact of the arrangement of elements within the frame of a single shot in contrast to the impact of cutting or editing. MONTAGE: (1) French: The joining together or splicing of shots of sequences—in a word, editing. (2) American: A rapid succession of shots assembled, usually by means of superimpositions and/or dissolves, to convey a general visual effect, such as the passing of time. Sometimes called a “Hollywood montage sequence.” (3) Russian or Soviet: Editing as the foundation of film art. As Pudovkin suggested: “The building up of film separate strips of raw material (linkage) or as Eisenstein argues for, “An imagist transformation of the dialectical principle, montage as the collision of ideas an ‘cinematographic’ conflicts.” M.O.S.: “Mit Out Sound.” These initials were written on the clapboard and briefly filmed at the beginning of a shot to designate shooting without synchronous sound recording. The term used is “mit” rather than “with,” we are told, because of the influence of the many German film directors who emigrated to Hollywood during the early sound era. NARRATIVE TITLE: An intertitle in silent film with text that objectively relates action of the film’s storyline. Sometimes referred to as an “expository intertitle.” OPTICALS: Any device produced by the film laboratory requiring the use of any optical printer. Dissolves, fades, and wipes fall under this category. ORTHOCHROMATIC FILM: Film with emulsion that responds, in terms of light sensitivity, strongly only to the blue-green spectrum of light, slightly to yellow light, and not at all to red and orange light. Generally replaced in commercial U.S. production by the use panchromatic stock from 1928. OVERCRANKING: See DECELERATED MOTION PAN CHROMATIC FILM: Film with emulsion that responds almost equally to all wavelengths of visible light. PANNING SHOT: A shot in which the camera remains in place but rotates on its axis so that the subject is constantly re—framed within a horizontally changing scene. PARALLEL ACTION: A device of narrative construction in which the development of two or more pieces of action are presented alternately so as to suggest a sense of their simultaneous occurrence. PROCESS SHOT: See REAR PROJECTION REACTION SHOT: A shot of a person reacting to the main action as a listener or spectator. REVERSE ANGLE SHOT: A shot taken of the same scene by a camera positioned opposite from where the previous shot was taken, thus moving the lens axis more than 90 degrees from the previous shot and revealing the “reverse” field of action or space. SCORE: Music composed for a film. .SET: An artificially constructed environment in which action is photographed. SOFT FOCUS: A common term for the camera lens strategy whereby all objects appear soft rather than perfectly or crisply in focus. Often used for romantic effect. Referred to more accurately as “image diffusion.” SOUND TRACK: (l) A recording of the sound portion of a film (2) A narrow band along one side of a print of a film in which sound is recorded in the form of a light trace of varying widths (optical track). SPLIT SCREEN: The division of a projected film frame into two or more sections, each containing a separate image. STOCK SHOT: A shot taken firom a library of film footage, usually of famous people, places, or events. STOP-CAMERA EFFECT: The more accurate term for “stop-motion” cinematography. A trick effect achieved by stopping the camera, removing a person or object from the scene (or inserting same), restarting the camera, and later joining the two shots together so that the object seems to appear or disappear instantaneously from the scene. SUBJECTIVE SHOT: A shot which represents the point of View of a character. Often a reverse angle shot, preceded by a shot of the character as he or she glances off-screen. Also referred to as a “p.o.v. shot.” SUPERIMPOSITION: A shot in which one or more images are printed on top of one another, as in ghost effects or titles. SWISH PAN: A shot in which the camera pans so rapidly that the image is blurred. TELEPHOTO SHOT: A shot in which a camera lens of longer than normal focal length is employed so that the depth of the project image appears compressed. THREE—SHOT: A shot encompassing three persons. TILT SHOT: A shot in which the camera remains in place but rotates on its axis so that the subject is subject to a continually changing vertical reframing. TINTING: The process whereby a shot or shot sequence in a film is dyed with a single color across the entire emulsion. Popular in Silent film practice. TITLES: Credits. In silent film, written commentary and dialogue, sometimes decorated with symbols or scenes, spliced within the action. TRACKING SHOT: A shot in which the camera moves on some form of transport, usually at a roughly fixed distance from a moving subject. Sometimes called a “parallel tracking shot.” TRAVELLING SHOT: A shot taken from a moving object, such as a car or boat. TWO—SHOT: A shot encompassing two persons within the flame, often in close-up. VIGNETTING: Technique often used in silent film in which the shape of the frame is altered, most often through an edging projected slightly into the frame to make a border mask. Hard-edge circular vignetting was quickly replaced by the use a soft—edged, semi- transparent black edging of the frame. This effect was achieved by making an edging mask from layers of black gauze placed in front of the lens in a matte box, the latter a standard accessory for the silent era cameraman. VOICE—OVER: Commentary by an unseen character or narrator. WIDE—ANGLE SHOT: A shot in which a camera with a lens of shorter than normal focal length is used so that the depth of the projected image appears protracted and the angle of vision is wider. WIPE: A transition, often seen in Hollywood films of the 19303, in which one shot changes to another by use of a line that appears to travel across the screen removing, as it travels, the first shot as it reveals the second. ZOOM: The simulation of camera movement toward or away from the subject by means of a lens of variable focal length. More information on these film definitions and techniques, especially in the history of their development, may be found in Barry Salt, Film Sflle and Technology: histoiy and Analysis (London: Starwood, 1983) and other standard references books on film. ...
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