Glossary of Film and Electronic Media Terms
MII Panasonic professional camcorder format that uses VHS size cassettes.
macro setting A zoom lens setting that allows for extreme close-ups of subjects.
magenta A purplish-red secondary TV color.
malice Untrue statements, often motivated by ill-will or an attempt to harm another. When used in the legal sense, malice can refer to a published or broadcast statement that results from a careless disregard for the truth.
master black control An adjustment on camera CCUs which controls the blanking, pedestal or black level in the video.
master control switcher Video switcher with limited video effect capabilities designed to serve the specific needs of a master control area. Most such switchers control video and audio simultaneously.
master control An audio and video control center which is the final switching point before signals are sent to the television transmitter.
master scene script style An approach to script writing where only the basic scenes are described. Decisions on the various shots within the scenes are not outlined in the script and are left to the discretion of the director.
master scene A wide shot intended to orient an audience to the relative positions of actors and objects in a scene.
matched shots In single-camera production similar views of a subject from two camera angles that can be cut together in editing.
master shot A wide, all-inclusive shot of a scene that establishes major elements. Often in single camera, film-style production, action and dialogue are taped from the master shot perspective before the closer insert shots are done.
master The original or primary recording.
match dissolve A dissolve between two scenes which have similar content.
matched action A technique in which a single camera is used to photograph a repeated sequence of action. When the various takes are edited together it appears that the scene was simultaneously photographed from various angles.
matched cut An edit in single-camera, film style production during which the camera position and angle switches during action. The action smoothly continues from one shot to the other.
matching transformer A impedance-changing device used to make different pieces of equipment electronically compatible. Often used to alter the output of high-impedance mics so they can be used with low-impedance equipment inputs.
matte Electronic keying process in which one source of video acts as a pattern to define the area for visual material from another source. This combination is then inserted into a background picture.
matte box An adjustable square box, typically constructed with bellows, that goes on the front of a camera and acts as a lens shade, and filter and matte holder.
matte key Commonly refers to keying letters or symbols from one video source into background video. In the process the letters or symbols can be electronically filled in with any desired color.
MB (megabyte) Unit of computer data equal to 1,048,576 bytes (but commonly rounded off to 1,000,000 bytes).
MCU Script designation for medium close-up.
MS (medium shot) Object seen from a medium distance. Normally covers framing between long shot and close-up.
Megabyte Mb One-million bytes.
megahertz / MHz One million cycles per second.
menu In computer terms, an on-screen index of possible choices.
metal evaporated tape A high-quality audio and videotape which can record higher frequencies with a high signal-to-noise ratio.
Mhz Megahertz millions of cycles per second.
microphone boom A device for suspending, directing and moving a mic over a production area.
microphone mic A sound-detecting device that converts sound waves to electrical energy.
microprocessor A single computer chip which is capable of processing information according to programmed instructions. Microprocessors are used in digital cameras, for example, to set up and maintain a camera's optimal performance.
microwave A directional, point-to-point transmission, generally of an audio and video signal using high-frequency RF energy. Typically used to get a TV signal from the field to the studio or from the studio to the transmitter.
microwave relay A point-to-point, line of sight transmission method which relies on high frequency RF energy as a medium. Often a number of microwave relays are spaced 50 or so miles apart to sent signals over great distances.
mid-side; M-S micing A stereo micing technique commonly used in broadcast television. Important centered sounds are sharper and more stable than those produced by the X-Y method.
MIDI (music instrument digital interface) A standardization system allowing various pieces of digital audio equipment, including computers, to work together.
mike Microphone mic.
mini disk MD A very small, CD-type audio recording-playback format.
minicam A small, light-weight television camera.
minus lens A supplementary lens that increases the effective focal length of a basic lens to produce telephoto effects.
mix To combine two or more sources of audio or video.
mix-down The process by which numerous audio tracks are appropriately combined into the final one or two audio tracks needed for program distribution.
mix-effects bank A double row of buttons on a switcher which can be used in the creation of video effects
mix-effects monitors Video monitor dedicated to setting up and viewing video effects from one or more mix-effects banks.
mixed-sources Two or more light sources with significantly different color temperatures. Commonly, sunlight and incandescent light.
mixer A device that blends two or more audio or video sources.
MLS Script designation for medium long shot.
MMDS Multichannel multipoint distribution service. A wireless distribution service for cable-type programming or data.
mobile unit A mobile television control room used to cover events in the field. Signal are commonly sent back to the studio by microwave or satellite.
modeling effect Effectively using light to create depth and dimension in subject matter.
modem Acronym for modulator-demodulator. A device that converts digital information from a computer to analog sound signals that can be transmitted over telephone lines. At the receiving end the modem can convert the sound back into digital information.
modular camera A video camera that can be configured in various ways in terms of the attachment of different viewfinders, recorders, etc.
modulation The superimposition of audio and video signals on a radio frequency carrier wave so that the signals may be broadcast.
moiré effect Color reverberations that occur in video when narrow, contrasting stripes of a design interfere with the scanning lines.
moiré pattern A unintended wavy, moving pattern in a picture often caused when an interaction occurs between striped wardrobe patterns and the TV scanning system.
MOIS (metal oxide semiconductor) A solid-state electronic imaging device used in some video cameras.
monitor A TV set, normally without an RF tuner or audio circuitry, used for the checking of color, composition, etc., during a production.
monochrome Although it means one color, it generally denotes a black and white television picture.
monopod A one-legged camera support.
montage An edited sequence in which a juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated shots is designed to create a mood or basic theme.
montage editing Although the term as used in early film work had a different meaning, today montage editing refers to a rapid, impressionistic sequence of disconnected scenes linked by a variety of transition devices that are designed to communicate feelings or experiences. A montage does not tell a story by developing an idea in a logical sequence.
monaural Single-channel audio as opposed to stereo audio.
monochrome A black and white picture, as opposed to color.
mood music Background music intended to evoke a particular feeling.
morphing A visual--generally computer-generated--effect in which a person or object is progressively transformed into another person or object.
mosaic Visual effect in which an image is broken down into a moving pattern of squares.
mosaic filter An array of colored filters that cover a CCD chip used to separate a picture into its primary color components.
motherboard The main circuitboard in a computer containing such things as the CPU, memory, and slots for other circuitboards.
motion artifacts Picture defects that appear only when there is motion in the scene. This often occurs with extreme signal compression or when international broadcast standards are converted.
moving-coil mic Dynamic microphone. Microphone which depends upon a diaphragm connected to a moving coil suspended in a magnetic field.
MS Script designation for medium shot.
M-S stereo miking A stereo micing system using a directional and a bi-directional mic. Generally includes an encoder to manipulate the mic signals.
MTS (multi-channel TV sound) Commonly designates a stereo TV system.
multi-image lenses Multifaceted polished optical glass lens that produces multiple images of a subject in a single picture.
multi-path reception Interference to a primary radio or TV signal resulting from reflections from objects between the transmitter and receiver. Multi-path interference results in "ghosts" in TV reception.
multi-tasking A computer system that can do more than one task at the same time.
multi-camera Simultaneous use of more than one camera in a production.
multiplex To combine and transmit more than one signal on a single electronic signal or carrier wave.
multiplexer A mirror device which is part of a film island that selectively directs the light from multiple projectors into a single television camera.
music production libraries Collections of music covering a wide variety of moods and needs, which have been especially designed for productions.
© 1996-2004, R. Whittaker