Video Jargon Dictionary: What Videography Terms Actually Mean
by Kyle Griffith on May 2, 2023
When you’re working with a videographer — or when you’re on location at a video shoot — the terminology can get confusing! You’ll hear terms like b-roll, shutter speed, exposure and more. To clear up the video language barrier, let’s define some of the most commonly used terms.
What it means: The shots videographers place during a voiceover to show what’s being talked about. B-roll shows video of people doing a certain task, highlights a certain location or shows off other elements. It also helps cover up cuts in the edit!
What it doesn’t mean: When a bee is on fire and it stops, drops and rolls.
What it means: How long the shutter, the camera part that opens and closes to let in light and capture the image, stays open and exposes the film to the light. Shutter speed determines the lighting of an image.
What it doesn’t mean: How fast I get goosebumps when I see Darth Vader tell Luke, “I am your father.”
What it means: The amount of light that hits the photo-sensitive element in the camera.
What it doesn’t mean: What a politician wants when they are shaking hands and kissing babies.
What it means: A clothespin. You would be surprised how often these are needed on a shoot! From pinning back someone’s hair or clothing, to holding the mics in place, clothespins are the most versatile and surprisingly useful things on a shoot.
What it doesn’t mean: The newest fighter jet the Air Force is rolling out.
What it means: Taking photos over an extended period to illustrate the passage of time in a short clip. It’s like watching your video fast forward.
What it doesn’t mean: When you may have had one too many celebratory beers after a K-State win and can’t quite remember why you ordered the latest Amazon package gizmo that showed up on your doorstep.
What it means: Showing film or playing back video more slowly than it was recorded.
What it doesn’t mean: The Calvin and Hobbes bully Moe, and how fast he is on the uptake.
What it means: Moving or adjusting the edges of an image or video clip.
What it doesn’t mean: The field of corn, wheat or barley that your local Kansas farmer is bringing in this season.
Depth of Field
What it means: The size of the area in your image where objects appear acceptably in-focus or sharp.
What it doesn’t mean: How far a wide receiver runs when the quarterback yells, “Go long!”
What it means: The ratio between the brightest and darkest parts of an image, from pure black to bright white.
What it doesn’t mean: A field that triples as a gun range, bow-shooting range and home on the range.
What it means: The rate at which images are displayed, usually noted by how many frames are shown per second of film.
What it doesn’t mean: How quickly my mom hangs up photos of her grandkids when I send them to her.
Whether you’re a videographer, interviewee, businessperson or other individual on a video shoot, you’re going to hear a lot of interesting terms throughout the process!
Eventually it becomes like a second language, but if you have any questions, just ask! Us media types love to explain what’s going on. And if nothing else, Google is your friend.
If you’re looking for some video experts to help turn your vision into reality, please reach out! That’s what we’re here for.
Until next time, this is Kyle Griffith saying CUT! THAT’S A WRAP! (Meaning: The shoot is over and it’s time to clean up.)