FILM101 Glossary

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Bordwell, D., Thompson, K. (2010). Film Art: An Introduction (9th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.

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Abstract Form A type of filmic organization in which the parts relate to one another through repetition and variation of such visual qualities as shape, color, rhythm, and direction of movement.
Academy Ratio The standardized shape of the film frame established by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In the original ratio, the fram was 1 1/3 times as wide as it was high (1.33:1); later the width was normalized at 1.85 times the height (1.85:1).
Aeriel Perspective A cue for suggesting depth in the image by presenting objects in the distance less distinctly than those in the foreground.
Anamorphic Lens A lens for making widescreen films using regular Academy Ratio frame size. The camera lens takes in a wide field of view and squeezes it onto the grame, and a similar projector lens unsqueezes the image onto a wide theater screen.
Angle of Framing The position of the frame in relation to the subject it shows: above it, looking down (a high angle); horizontal, on the same level (a straight-on angle); below it, looking up (a low angle). Also called camera angle.
Animation Any process whereby artificial movement is created by photographing a series of drawings, objects, or computer images one by one. Small changes in position, recorded frame by frame, create the illusion of movement.
Aspect Ratio The relationship of the frame's width to its height. The standard Academy ratio is currently 1:85:1.
Associational Form A type of organization in which the film's parts are juxtaposed to suggest similarities, contrasts, concepts, emotions, and expressive qualities.
Asynchronous Sound Sound that is not mateched temporally with the movements occurring in the image, as when dialogue is out of synchronization with lip movements.
Auteur The presumed or actual author of a film, usually identified as the firector. Also sometimes used in an evaluative sense to distinguish good filmmakers (auteurs) from bad ones.
Axis of Action In the continuity of editing system, the imaginaty line that passes from side to side through the main actors, defining the spatial relations of all the elements of the scne as being to the right or left. The camera is not supposed to cross the axis at a cut and thus reverse those spatial relations. Also called the 180 degree line.
Backlighting Illuminations case onto the figures in the scene from the side opposite the camera, usually creating a thin outline of highlighting on those figures.
Boom A pole upon which a microphone can be suspended above the scene being filmed and that is used to change the microphone's position as the action shifts.
Camera Angle "Angle of Framing"
Canted Framing A view in which the frame is not level; either the right or the left side is lower than the other, causing objects in the scene to appear slanted out of an upright position.
Categorical Form A type of filmic organization in which the parts treat distinct subsets of a topic. For example, a film about the United States might be organized into 50 parts, each devoted to a state.
Cel Animation Animation that uses a series of drawings on pieces of celluloid, called cels for short. Slight changes between the drawings combine to create an illusion of movement.
CGI Computer-generated imagery: using digital software systems to create figures, settings, or other material in the frame.
Cheat Cut In the continuity editing system, a cut that presents continuous time from shot to shot but that mismatches the positions of figures or objects.
Cinematography A general term for all the manipulations of the film strip by the camera in the shooting phase and by the laboratoy in the developing phase.
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.
Closure THe degree to which the ending of a narrative film reveals the effects of all the causal events and resolves (or "closes off") all lines of action.
Continuity Editing A system of cutting to maintain continuous and clear narrative action. Continuity editing relies on matching screen direction, position and temporal relations from shot to shot. For specific techniques of continuity editing, see "Axis of Action", "Cross-cutting", "Cut-in", "Establishing Shot", "Eyeline Match", "Match on Action", "Reestablishing Shot", "Screen Direction", "Shot/Reverse Shot".
Contrast In cinematography, the difference between the brightest and darkest areas within the frame.
Crane Shot A shot with a change in graming accomplished by placing the camera above the subject and moving through the air in any direction.
Crosscutting Editing that alternates shots of two or more lines of action occurring in different places, usually simultaneously.
Cut (1) In filmmaking, the joining of two strips of film together with a splice, (2) In the finished film, an instantaneous change from one framing to another.
Cut-in An instantaneous shift from a distant framing to a closer view of some portion of the same space.
Deep Focus A use of the camera lens and lighting that keeps objects in both close and distant planes in sharp focus.
Deep Space An arrangement of mise-en-scene elements so that there is a considerable distance between the plane closest to the camera and the one farthest away. Any of all of these planes may be in focus.
Depth of Field THe measurements of the closests and farthest planes in front of the camera lens between which everything will be in sharp focus. A depth of field from 5 to 16 feet, for example, would mean everything closer than 5 feet and farther than 16 feet would be out of focus.
Dialogue Overlap In editing a scene, arranging the cut so that a bit of dialogue coming from shot A is heard under a shot that shows another character or another element in the scene.
Diegesis In a narrative film, the world of the film's story. The diegesis includes events that are presumed to have occurred and actions and spaces not shown onscreen.
Diegetic Sound Any voice, musical passage, or sound effect presented as originating from a source within the film's world.
Digital Intermediate A strip of film is developed and scanned, frame by frame, to create a digital copy of sequence or a whole movie. The digital copy is manipulated with computers. When finished, it is scanned frame by frame onto a strip of negative film, which will be used to make prints to send to theaters.
Direct Sound Music, noise, and speech recorded from the event at the moment of filming; opposite of "postsynchronization".
Discontinuity Editing Any alternative system of joining shots together using techniques unacceptable within "continuity editing" principles. Possibilities include mismatching of temporal and spatial relations, violations of the "axis of action", and concentration on graphic relationships.
Dissolve A transition between two shots during which the first image gradually disappears while the second image gradually appears; for a momentthe two images blend in "superimposition".
Distance of Framing The apparent distance of the frame from the mise-en-scene elements. Also called camera distance and shot scale.
Distribution One of the three branches of the film industry; the process of marketing the film and supplying copies to exhibition venues.
Dolly A camera support with wheels, used in making "tracking shots".
Dubbing The process of replacing part or all of the voices on the sound track in order to correct mistakes or rerecord dialogue.
Duration In a narrative film, the aspect of temporal manipulation that involves the time span presented in the "plot" and assumed to operate in the "story".
Editing (1) In filmmaking, the task of selecting and joining camera takes. (2) In the finished film, the set of techniques that governs the relations among shots.
Ellipsis In a narrative film, the shortening of "plot" duration achieved by omitting some "story" duration.
Elliptical Editing Shot transitions that omit parts of an event, causing an "ellipsis" in plot duration.
Establishing Shot A shot, usually involving a distanct framing, that shows the spatial relations among important figures, objects, and setting in a scene.
Exhibition One of the three branches of the film industry; the process of showing the finished film to audiences.
Exposure The adjustment of the camera mechanism in order to control how much light strikes each frame of film passing through the aperture.
External Diegetic Sound Sound represented as coming from a physical source within the story space that we assume characters in the scene also hear.
Extreme Close-up A framing in which the scale of the object shown is very large; most commonly, a small object or a part of the body.
Extreme Long Shot A framing in which the scale of the object shown is very small; a building, landscape, or crowd of people will fill the screen.
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 second whos a nearby space containing what he or she sees. If the person looks left, the following shot should imply that the looker is offscreen right.
Fade (1) Fade-in: a dark screen that gradually brightens as a shot appears. (2) Fade-out: a shot that gradually disappears as the screen darkens. Occasionally, fade-outs brightien to pure white or to a color.
Fill Light Illumination from a source less bright than the "key light", used to soften deep shadows in a scene.
Film Noir "Dark film", a term applied by French critics to a type of American film, usually in the detective or thriller genres, with low-key lighting and a somber mood.
Film Stock The strip of material upon which a series of still photgraphs is regiestered; it consists or a clear base coated on one side with a light-sensitive emulsion.
Filter A peice of glass or gelatin placed in front of the camera or printer lens to alter the quality or quantity or light striking the film in the aperture.
Flashback An alteration of story order in which the plot moves back to show events that have taken place earlier than ones already present.
Flash-forward An alteration of story order in which the plot presentation moves forward to future events and then returns to the present.
Focal Length The distance from the center of the 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 reconverge at the same point on the film frame, creating sharp outlines and distinct textures.
Following Shot A shot with framing that shifts to keep a moving figure-onscreen
Form The overall system of relationships among the parts of a film
Frame A single image on the strip of film. When a series of frames is projected onto a screen in quick succession, an illusion of movement is created.
Framing The use of the edges of the film frame to select and to compose what will be visible onscreen.
Frequency In a narrative film, the aspect of temporal manipulation that involves the number of times any "story" event is shown in the "plot"
Front Projection A composite process whereby footage meant to appear as the background of a shot is projected from the front onto a screen; figures in the foreground are flimed in front of the screen as well. This is the opposite of "rear projection".
Frontal Lighting Illumination directed into the scene from a position near the camera
Frontality In stagem the positioning of figures so that they face the viewer
Function The role or effect of any element within the film's form
Gauge The width of the film strip, measure in millimeters
Genres Various types of films that audiences and filmmakers recognize by their familier narrative conventions. Common genres are musical, gangster, and science fiction films
Graphic Match Two successive shots joined so as to create a strong similarity of compositional elements (e.g. color, shape)
Handheld Camera The use of the camera operator's body as a camera support, either holding it by hand or using a harness
Hard Lighting Illumination that creates sharp-edged shadows
Height of Framing The distance of the camera above the ground, regardless of the angle of framing
High-key Lighting Illumination that creates comparatively little contrast between the light and dark areas of the shot. Shadows are farily transparent and brightened by "fill light".
Ideology A relatively coherent system of values, beliefs, or ideas shared by some social group and often taken for granted as natural or inherently true
Intellectual Montage The juxtaposition of a series of images to create an abstract idea not present in any one image
Internal Diegetic Sound Sound represented as coming from the mind of a character within the story space. Although we and the character can hear it, we assume that the other characters cannot.
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