Film and Electronic Media Terms
back focus Adjusting the distance between the back of a lens and the camera target to attain the sharpest image possible of an object at infinity. Back focus adjustment determines whether a zoom lens will stay in focus when moved through its focal length range.
background generator Electronic circuit that adds color to a blank background area.
backhaul Sending a video feed from a local area via satellite back to the main distribution area for retransmission via satellite.
back light Light directed from behind and above the subject used to separate and add dimension to a scene. Slightly stronger than front light.
back-up schedule A "plan B" schedule of shots or scenes that can be substituted for planned shooting schedule in case of illness of a principal actor, bad weather, mechanical or technical problems, etc.
backlight compensator BLC A camera control that opens up the lens aperture two-to-three f-stops. Used to compensate for the error made by automatic iris circuits when shooting into light or against a bright background.
back-time Timing a program backwards, from the end, instead of from the start. Gives time remaining figures.
background light Light intended to illuminate a background. Generally about two-thirds the intensity of the key light.
background music Sound track music intended to enhance drama or visual elements during a production.
background projection See rear projection.
backlight switch Camera control which overrides auto iris system and opens the iris two or three f-stops. Commonly used in backlit situations where auto-iris would result in dark skin tones and underexposure.
backtime Calculating time for a show backwards from the end to determine when segments should start in order to bring the show out on time.
balanced audio input An audio input into a device that consists of two conductors surrounded by a grounded shield.
balanced mic balanced line Typically, a two-conductor audio cable enclosed in a metal shield, which, as a result is relatively immune to hum and other electronic interference. Unbalanced lines have only two conductors.
ballast An electrical transformer that changes electrical voltage for HMI lights.
band Range of radio frequencies.
banding A picture artifact or fault whereby smooth brightness or color gradients appear to be comprised of bands of brightness or color, often the result of too few bits used to represent each sample of a picture. Banding could make a billiard ball look like a sliced onion.
bandwidth The difference in Hz between the highest and lowest frequency components of a radio frequency (RF) signal. The total radio frequency range used by a signal.
bar chart A graphic consisting of vertical bars which show the relative difference between selected variables.
barn door Side and/or top flaps that attach to front of light and shape the light beam. Commonly used with a Fresnel light.
barney A cover for a video or film camera designed to protect it from dirt, rain, snow, sand, etc.
bars and tone A carefully-controlled audio and video signal generally recorded at the beginning of a videotape and later used to properly setup playback equipment. "Bars" consist of a test pattern of color bars "tone" consists of an audio signal of a certain frequency at 0dB.
barrel connector An adapter that allows two cables to be connected together
baseband audio and video Composite audio and video, as opposed RF modulated.
base light Even lighting used over a set or production area. Often a set is initially lit with basic (base light) illumination, and then the key and back lights are added.
base station Central digital control system used for adjusting levels, color balance, etc. of several studio cameras.
basic make-up Primary or elemental make-up. As opposed to corrective or character make-up, make-up intended to significantly alter or enhance appearance.
bass Audio tones of low frequency--typically below 300Hz.
battery light A battery operated, portable light commonly used for ENG work. Often mounted on top of camera.
baud rate The speed at which computer data is transmitted in terms of bits per second. Modems typically operate at 2,400 and 9,600 baud.
bayonet mount A camera mount that locks a lens securely into place with only a partial turn. This contrasts with the C-mount that requires numerous turns to secure.
BBS Electronic bulletin board system. An electronic source of text, images, real-time discussions, and computer programs available over telephone lines by computer modem hookups.
beam projector; beam spot projector A spotlight that projects a focused, hard and generally narrow beam of light often used to simulate sunlight coming through a window.
beam splitter A prism or dichroic mirror device used behind a color TV camera lens to divide the light into the three primary colors.
beat An assigned area covered by reporter on a regular basis.
beauty shot Identifying close-up shot of advertised product.
Betacam A broadcast-quality format developed by Sony and used in several types of camcorders.
Betamax A consumer-quality 1/2-inch videocassette format developed by Sony which eventually was supplanted by VHS.
bias light A dim light inside a camera directed toward the front surface of the CCDs or pickup tubes intended to increase camera sensitivity while controlling video noise.
bicycling Routing a videotape from station to station instead of sending individual tapes to each.
bidirectional A microphone pickup pattern with two primary areas of sensitivity. Typically, in a figure-eight pattern.
binary system A number system with a base of two. Each digit has only two possible states 0 or 1, or on and off. Binary numbers are the basis for computer languages.
BIOS Basic Input/Output System. Computer device that manages communications between the basic computer and peripherals, such as the keyboard and monitor.
bird A satellite. Sometimes used as a verb to indicate the transmission of a video program or segment.
bit A binary digit 0 or 1. The smallest amount of information a computer can handle.
bit speed Speed at which units of digital information can be transmitted from one point to another.
bite Sound bite. A short interview segment with associated audio intended as part of a production.
bitmapped image / BMP Image stored by specific pixel information. Capable of handling 16 colors, 256 colors, or True color.
black balancing Electronically setting the black level of a camera to correspond to TV black.
black clipping A circuit used to limit the black level of video so that it does not intrude into the sync.
black level The darkest portion of the video picture. Reference black.
blanked tape A videotape intended for insert editing onto which black (or color bars) and a control track have been recorded. Also called a crystal tape.
blanking a tape Recording black, sync and a control track on a videotape. The process of creating a blanked tape. Also called blacking a tape.
blanking interval The retrace interval of 10.5 microseconds in which the effect of the electron beam is extinguished so that it can return from the right to the left side of the screen. Also the 1.3 millisecond interval in which the effect of the electronic beam is extinguished so that it can move from the bottom of one field to start scanning the top of the next field.
blanking pulse Video signal which blacks out a video image between successive scanning lines, fields and frames. See blanking interval.
blocking To establish camera angles and positions and the movements and positions of actors before a production rehearsal.
bloom; blooming A dark halo that surrounds bright areas in a scene caused by aberrations in the video process. Generally associated with tube-type cameras.
blooper An error in speech made by on-camera talent.
blue pages Revised pages (of any color) that are substituted for existing script pages.
blue pencil To edit or censor a script.
blue screen process Process of photographing action in front of a blue screen to make a matte special effect possible.
BMI Broadcast Music, Inc. Agency that licenses the use of copyrighted music.
BMP See bitmapped image.
BNC Widely-used video connector used for video, sync and RF signals.
boarder merger A composition problem in which subject matter is awkwardly and inappropriately cut off at one edge of the video frame.
body brace A type of camera mount which attains some measure of stability by resting on the shoulder and attaching to the chest or belt area.
body wash Body make-up used by actors.
boom Cantilevered camera mount allowing adjustment of camera height. Also balanced pole device used to suspend microphone.
boom up boom down To raise or lower the height of a camera mounted on a boom or pedestal.
bounce light An even, diffused light over an area that results from light being reflected off of the ceiling or wall in a room.
breakaway A prop used during action sequences that looks real but is constructed so that it will break easily without harm to performers.
breakdown Analysis of script segments for the purpose of determining best sequence for shooting scenes and setups. Also referred to as "breakdown sheets." Term also refers to analyzing a script for a cost analysis.
breakaway / split edit / L-cut An edit where the audio and video do not automatically switch together, but one comes before or after the other. Often audio will come in before the corresponding scene starts.
breakup A brief interruption of video caused by a technical problem.
bridge Short visual or audio sequence designed as a transition between two program elements.
bridging shot A shot inserted between two scenes to indicate a break in time or continuity.
brightness range Range in reflectance from the darkest to the lightest subject matter in a scene as measured by a reflected light meter.
broad A broad-beam floodlight with a rectangular reflector used to light backgrounds and to throw light over a wide set area.
broad-beamed lamp A lighting instrument within a rectangular reflector that creates a broad, somewhat diffused light.
budget tracking A process whereby the actual expenses in a production are regularly compared to originally-projected expenses.
build up Creating tension in a dramatic production by arranging scenes and selecting music that build to a crisis or climax.
bulk erase To completely erase an audio or videotape by the use of a strong electromagnet.
bump up To copy segments from one videotape to a larger or higher quality videotape format.
bump-down Copying video information from higher-quality VTR format to a lower-quality one.
burned in SMPTE\EBU time code numbers that are a permanent part of the corresponding video.
burned-in time-code As opposed to keyed-in time code, SMPTE\EBU time code numbers which are a permanent part of the corresponding video.
burst / color burst Reference signal used in video as the benchmark for hues.
bus, buss A single row of buttons on a video switcher.
business The realistic actions of actors that take place as a scene progresses. Examples would be reading a newspaper, knitting, lighting a cigarette, or fixing a drink.
bust shot Camera shot of an actor from the waste up.
busy A scene that contains an inordinate amount of activity or distracting background elements.
butterfly diffuser A large net diffusion screen used between direct sunlight and a subject to soften the harshness of the sun.
byte Eight bits computer-language information used to define an alphabet character.