DSLR Terms for Shooting and Editing Video
When I was a kid I use to be interested in many different types of hobbies from BMX trick biking to programming video games in basic. Even though I was just a young kid I think I intuitively understood that before really getting a grasp on any subject you needed to be able to speak the lingo or the language of your craft. So, the first thing I would always do is subsribe to an enthusiast/industry magazine to really get a true handle on the terms. In addition I would also find like minded individuals to toss around ideas and shoot shit with using my new found vocabulary. Fast forward to present day when waiting for a magazine to arrive in the mail is no longer a burden. Now all we have to do is get on the internet and browse or subscribe to blogs or videos channels to satisfy our interests. In terms of video channels YouTube obviously comes to mind but there is also Vimeo that not only gives me a more refined artistic alternate to host my videos but it also provides a vast resource of information and tutorials for getting started with and excelling in DSLR filmmaking revolution. Vimeo also has entire groups dedicated to many different types of cameras like the 5D Mark II, EOS 7D, Nikon D90 and a catch-all DSLR Cinema Group.
Enter Vimeo Video School:
Here is a list of terms that are helpful to know when you're making or editing videos. Memorize them, there will be a quiz at the end of the list.
After Affects is a software primarily used for creating motion graphics and visual effects. For more information, check out our lesson Getting Started with Adobe After Effects.
Aperture is the size of the opening within your lens that allows light onto the image sensor. Aperture is measured by f-number or f-stops. For more information, check out our lesson on F-stops and Aperture.
Aspect Ratio is the relationship between the width and the height of your video dimensions expressed as a fraction. The most common aspect ratios for video are 4:3, 16:9 and 1.85:1. Check out the diagram below for an approximation of those ratios.
Boom microphones are long, highly directional microphones. They are normally attached to boom poles to capture dialogue in a scene. They also can be mounted directly on cameras to capture long distance sound. For more information, check out our lesson on Capturing Good Sound
Close up is a shot composition where the frame is filled almost entirely with the subject's face. For more information, check out our lesson on Varying Your Shot Composition.
Color Correction is when an editor digitally manipulates colors in post-production. For more information, check out our lesson An Introduction to Color Correction.
Compression as it relates to video refers to reducing the amount of data in a video file. While it can take time to compress a video, it will upload faster, and also download quicker for anyone you choose to share the original file with. We strongly recommend you compress the videos you upload to Vimeo. You'll be able to upload more videos that way! Check out our recommended compression settings here.
Cut-in also known as insert shots, typically show objects or props that a character is manipulating. For more information, check out our lesson on Varying Your Shot Composition.
Depth of Field (DOF) refers to the part of your image that is in focus. A deep DOF will show nearly everything in the frame sharply in focus. If you have a shallow DOF, a narrow range within your video image will be in focus. A shallow depth of field allows for greater emphasis to be placed on your main subject.
Diegetic sound refers to the sound that is present and/or captured during the recording of the video. For more information, check out our lesson on Capturing Good Sound.
Digital Zoom is a method of giving an appearance of zooming without an actual optical lens change. This is accomplished by cropping the image to a centered area while maintaining the same aspect ratio.
A Dolly is a piece of film equipment that runs on a track to create smooth camera movements. For more information, check out our lesson Do-It-Yourself Dolly and Shoulder Rig.
DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) This is a type of camera that uses a mirror to reflect the light coming through the lens onto the viewfinder. When you press the shutter button on the camera, this mirror swings out of the way to allow light to reach the image sensor. For more information, check out our lesson on DSLR Mechanics.
Export refers to the process of assembling your edited video project into a single file that can then be played back on it’s own, shared, or uploaded.
Exposure is the amount of time light is allowed to hit the sensor. The longer your exposure, the more light will get in and the brighter your image will be.
Fade is the dissolve transition between a normal image and a black screen. When you dissolve from an image to black, it’s a fade out. When you dissolve from black to an image it’s called a fade in.
Focal length is the distance from the lens to the image focus point inside the camera. A high focal length makes distance objects appear magnified while a low focal length give a wide view of the scenery facing the lens.
Foley is the art of reproducing and creating sounds for film. For more information, check out our lesson on Foley Artistry.
A Follow Focus is a control mechanism that allows you to easily make changes on the focus ring of your camera lens. For more information, check out our lesson on Do-It-Yourself Follow Focus.
F-stop is a term used to describe the size of the aperture opening. The lower the F-stop number, the bigger the aperture. If the aperture is low, more light is able reach the image sensor. F-stop settings are normally displayed with a forward slash. Common f-stops are: f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, and f/22. A low f-stop number (large aperture) results in a shallow depth of field and a high f-stop (smaller aperture) gives a deep depth of field. For more information, check out our lesson on F-stops and Aperture.
Frame Rate is the rate at which a shutter opens and closes, or a sensor captures video during one second. The higher the shutter speed, the jerkier the motion will appear because the individual frames are sharper. Slower shutter speeds blur the motion which smooths the frames together. Typical frame rates are 24, 25, and 29.97, 30 and 50 and 60. For more information, check out our lesson on Frame Rate Vs. Shutter Speed.
Hot shoe is a mounting point at the top of some cameras that allow you to attach a flash unit, microphones or other accessories.
Image Sensor is what your digital camera uses to convert an optical image into an electric signal that your camera interprets to produce the image you see. For more information, check out our lesson on Image Sensors.
Importing refers to the process of transferring videos from your camera onto your computer or into a piece of editing software.
I.S.O is a camera setting in the digital cameras that changes how sensitive the sensor is to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the sensor is to light, allowing you to shoot video in low light conditions. Low ISOs are used to shoot video in daylight and bright light conditions and provide more detail in the image. For more information, check out our lesson on Mastering I.S.O..
Jump Cut this an abrupt transition, typically in a sequential clip that makes the subject appear to jump from one spot to the other, without continuity.
Lavalier microphone is a small clip-on microphone that attaches to the subjects clothing. Normally used on TV newscasts or sitcoms that require sound to be captured from the subject without it being obvious that there is a microphone attached.
Memory Card is a data storage device used to store the digital information of your photos and videos on your camera. The two main types of memory cards are Secure Digital (SD) and Compact Flash (CF). For more information, check out our lesson on Memory Cards.
Macro is a lens that uses a long barrel for close focusing. Typically, a macro lens is capable of creating a reproduction ratio greater than 1:1. The reproduction ratio is the size of your subject on your image sensor to the size of your actual subject.
Neutral Density Filter is a piece of glass that fits over the front end of a lens to reduce the amount of light entering the camera. For more information, check out our lesson on Neutral Density Filters.
Optical Zoom is the lens' ability to change the focal length either closer to or further from a central subject.
Over The Shoulder shots are framed with an emphasis on a particular character's perspective. This shot is used in dialogue scenes to show conversations between two people. For more information, check out our lesson on Varying Your Shot Composition. Pans are fixed, lateral movements made with the camera.
Pixel Aspect Ratio, your video image is made up of thousands of little squares called pixels. The width of each pixel relative to its height is know as the pixel aspect ratio. For uploading to Vimeo set your pixel aspect ratio (PAR) to 1:1 or 1.00.
Polarizing Filter is a piece of glass that fits over the front end of a lens to change the way that your camera sees and treats light, while ultimately cutting down on glare. For more information, check out our lesson on Polarizing Lens.
Room Tone is the presence, or sound in a room. It is recorded and later intercut with dialogue to smooth out any rough or jarring editing points. For more information, check out our lesson onRoom Tone, Presence and Ambience.
Resolution is a measure of the number of pixels a video contains both horizontally and vertically. Some common resolutions are 640x480 (SD) 1280x720 (HD), 1920x1080 (HD). Sometimes these are referred to just by their vertical dimension such as, 480p, 720p or 1080p. For more information, check out our lesson on The Basics of Image Resolution.
The Rule of Thirds is a method of composing your shots in an aesthetically pleasing way. For more information, check out our lesson on Framing and Composition.
Screenplay is a formatted written work that includes stage direction, action, character names and dialogue. For more information, check out our lesson on Screenplay Formatting.
Shot List is a full log of all the shots you want to include in your film; essentially it is a checklist filled with minute details that will give your film a sense of direction and efficiency. For more information, check out our lesson on Making a Shot List.
Shoulder Rig is a piece of equipment used to help stabilize a handheld camera. For more information, check out our lesson Do-It-Yourself Dolly and Shoulder Rig.
Slow Motion is the action of slowing down pre-recorded footage to a different speed. For more information, check out our lesson Slow Motion on a Budget.
Split screen incorporates more than one simultaneous image in the screen. Usually it’s divided in two, but there can be many more.
Stop motion is an animation technique used to make objects appear as if they were moving freely.
Sync or synchronization refers to the sound lining up properly with the image.
Telephoto is a lens that uses a telephoto group to enable a longer focal length than the physical body of the lens would normally permit. This allows the lens to magnify images, while maintaining its small size.
Tilts are fixed up and down, or vertical, movements made with the camera.
Timelapse is a technique where each frame in a video is captured at a much slower rate than normal. When played back at normal speed, time appears to go by faster. This can also be achieved by fast forwarding or increasing the speed of your video in an editing program. For more information, check out our lesson on Timelapse.
Video Blogs are simply what their name states, blogging through the format of video. For more information, check out our lesson Art of the Vidblog.
Viewfinder is the part of the camera you look through to see the image from your lens’s field of view.
Wide angle is a lens that uses a grouping of glass to enable a shorter focal length than the physical body of the lens would normally permit. In doing so, the wide angle lens can capture more of a subject from an equal distance when compared to a normal lens of the same size.
White balance is the process of capturing the correct colors for the type of available light. Think of it as making sure the color white is always white, and doesn’t have blue or red tints. Many cameras come with a white balance menu, as well as an auto white balance feature. For more information, check out our lesson on White Balance.
Alright, ready for your quiz? Just kidding, we wouldn't do that. I hated 4th grade as much as you did.