COMMON TERMINOLOGY


A frame is one still image recorded onto the celluloid or tape by the camera. Cameras usually record at a rate of 24 frames per second. When played at this speed, the eye believes it is seeing a moving image.

A shot is all that is recorded on film from the point at which the camera begins rolling (action) until it stops rolling (cut). It is one uninterrupted image with a single static or mobile framing.

A scene is a series of related shots, usually at the one set or location.

Animation: any process by which 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.

Auteur: the presumed or actual “author” of a film, usually identified as the director. Also sometimes used in an evaluative sense to distinguish good filmmakers (autuers) from bad ones.

Crosscutting: editing that alternates shots of two or more lines of action occurring in different places, usually simultaneously.





Deep focus: a use of the camera lens and lighting that keeps both the close and distant planes being photographed in sharp focus.





Diegetic sound: any voice, musical passage, or sound effect presented as originating from a source within the film’s world. (Opposite is non-diegetic sound).

Establishing shot: a shot, usually a long or very long shot, that shows the spatial relations among the important figures, objects and setting in a scene.

Eyeline: the line along which a person is looking, especially in relation to framing – e.g. is the subject is looking to the left or right of the frame.





Focus-pulling: (racking, through focus) a change of the field in focus taking the viewer from one object to another that was previously out of focus.

Graphic match: two successive shots joined so as to create a strong similarity of compositional elements.



Intertextuality: occurs when a film makes reference to another, usually popular, text.

Montage sequence: a segment of film that summarises a topic or compresses a passage of time into brief symbolic or typical images.

Motif: an element of a film that is repeated in a significant way or at a significant time.

Plot: in a narrative film, all the events that are directly presented to us, including their causal relations, chronological order, duration, frequency and spatial locations.

Point-of-view-shot (POV): a shot taken with the camera placed approximately where the character’s eyes would be, showing what the character would see.


Shallow focus: a restricted depth of field, which keeps only those planes close to the camera in sharp focus.

Suspension of disbelief: a term used to describe how viewers of a film accept small flaws or discrepancies with logic, reality or physics, especially if they are enjoying the film.