We wrote this guide to help demystify the technology, and explain some of the terms we use.
© Audio Visual Consultants, 2007
Analog: Standard audio/video recording. When copied, signal loss results. Digital eliminates the signal loss.
Archival Copy: A copy recorded on high quality disc that is designed to preserve the recording. It is a good idea to make a second copy and store it at a different location.
Aspect Ratio: The ratio of length to height of a picture. Standard definition video is 4:3, while most high-definition video is 16:9.
AVI: Audio Video Interleaved – An audio-video film format used during digital video editing.
AVC: Advanced Video Coding – a digital video compression format sometimes referred to as MPEG-4.
AVC: Audio Visual Consultants. The storefront video production studio in Oakland, CA that provides video production, DVD production, copies and digital editing.
Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah: A Jewish ceremony for 13 year olds as a rite of passage into Jewish adulthood. Usually conducted at a Jewish temple, the son (bar) or daughter (bat) reads from the Torah and conducts the Sabbath ceremony. Frequently a Kiddush and reception follow a bar or bat mitzvah.
Betacam SP: Broadcast-quality, analog video standard. This format is popular with television stations, but is slowly being phased out. Betamax is an old home video format. Betacam XS is a digital broadcast Betacam format.
Blog: A web log or periodic Internet posting of news or commentary in text, photos and links. A video blog (“vlog”) uses video
Blu-Ray: A high-definition disc format similar in size and operation to a DVD, but capable of holding eight times the data. Sony and Panasonic support Blu-ray, while Microsoft and Toshiba support HD DVD.
Broadcast Quality: Video and audio quality standards developed by the National Association of Broadcasters. Frequently used to describe a broadcast camera
Broadcast-Quality Camera: A high-resolution video camera with three chips, for each of the primary colors of light: red, blue and green. Furthermore, a broadcast-quality camera allows for internal adjustments to achieve the best contrast and color rendition possible.
Business Videos: Videos and DVDs used for training, marketing or general communications within an organization.
CD-DA: Compact Disc Digital Audio – The standard digital music CD format that is playable on all CD players.
Chapter: A segment on a DVD that is used during navigation. Authored DVDs have their chapters created at specific points to divide the video for easy navigation and interactivity.
Character Generator: Software that is part of video editing used to create titles. The titles may be over video or by themselves.
Chip: A small circuit board for processing data. Camcorders have one or three optical chips.
Chrominance: The color level or color saturation
Closed Caption: Transcript of the words that are spoken on a film or video, usually displayed as text at the bottom of the screen.
Coaster: A sarcastic name for a disc that will not play. It could be used as a coaster for drinks.
Codec: Encoder-decoder. Used in digital video and audio, files are encoded for such applications as Internet video and then decoded when displayed from a website.
Component Video: Separating primary colors and picture information of a video signal into three cables, usually colored red, green and blue. This allows for sharper display of video.
Composite Video: Combining video signal and color into a single cable, usually the yellow RCA-type connector on a monitor, camcorder or DVD player.
Compression: A method of squeezing data into a smaller size for storing on a computer, on a disc and for sending via the Internet.
Custom DVD: A DVD that is created with a video camera and/or with post production. The custom DVD is made to the clients’ specifications.
DivX: A trade name for a digital video compression format based on the MPEG-4 standard that compresses video into a small file.
DVCAM: A popular digital videotape format. It is used in broadcast-quality camcorders and in digital video editing.
DVD: Digital Versatile Disc – Can be used to store video and other kinds of data.
DVD Authoring: The process of creating a custom DVD by dividing a video into chapters. Chapters are listed in a menu and allow for easy navigation and interactivity.
DVD Video: A DVD disc that has standard video and audio recorded on it. Will play in a standard DVD player or computer with DVD.
Data DVD/CD: Unlike a video DVD or audio CD that plays on a standard machine, a data DVD or CD is designed to store AV files in a computer format. Data discs such as these are used for further editing or for Internet uploading.
Digital Recording: Audio and video are converted to bits of data. This results in no signal loss when digital copies are made. DVDs are digital, while VHS tape is analog.
Digital File Conversion: Transferring one type of audio/video file to another for the purpose of uploading it to the Internet or making a CD or DVD.
Digital Video Editing: Using a computer to perform video editing, the scenes are assembled in the order required. Like word processing, the scenes may be re-arranged.
Display: Another word for monitor, whether it is a computer monitor or video monitor.
Dissolve: A smooth blend from one image to the other. As the first image fades away, the second image overlaps and fades in.
Duplication: Making copies of DVDs, CDs or videotapes. The process usually includes verification to confirm that the signals had been properly recorded on the discs or tapes. Frequently, labels and boxes are included with duplication.
Edit Decision List (EDL): A list of time code numbers of the start and stop times of scenes. An EDL greatly shortens billable editing time. The list may be written by hand or generated by a computer. The video editor enters these numbers into the computer during the editing process.
Editing: Combining video shots together in an organized method. Includes addition of voice-over narration, music, titles, graphics and special effects. See also Post Production.
Editor: The professional technician who performs video editing, post production, photo montages and digital file conversion.
Family Videos: Videos and DVDs that document a family event or chronicle the history of a family. Weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, memorial videos, retirement videos, birthday videos, anniversary videos and other similar events are considered Family Videos.
FireWire: A digital cable and connector that handles audio, video and other information between computers, camcorders and other digital devices. Also known as IEEE 1359.
Flash: A computer program from Adobe that allows for photos, graphics and video to be displayed on home and office computers. The file extension is .swf.
Frame Accurate: A term to describe the highest precision in video editing. A frame is 1/30-second and it is the smallest measurement of time in a video or audio recording.
HDD: Hard Drive Disk – The hard drive in a computer or used as an external hard drive for a computer or video camera.
HD DVD: A high-definition disc format similar in size and operation to a DVD, but capable of holding seven times the data. Microsoft and Toshiba support HD DVD, while Sony and Panasonic support Blu-ray.
HDTV: High Definition Television – Sharper than standard definition, it displays up to 1050 lines of resolution.
HDV: A type of high-definition video that is popular with camcorders.
High Definition: Video recorded and displayed at resolutions of 1280×720 up to 1920×1080 lines.
Hue: The tint of color.
IEEE 1359: A digital cable and connector that handles audio, video and other information between computers, camcorders and other digital devices. Also known as FireWire.
Instructional DVD: Unlike a training video, an instructional DVD is marketed to the general public or to a special interest group. Instructional DVDs include how-to videos.
JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group – JPEG is the most popular compression technique for still photos.
LCD: Liquid Crystal Diode – popular for flat-screen displays.
MP3: The most popular method of compressing audio for recording on a solid-state player, on a disc or for the Internet.
MPEG: Moving Picture Experts Group – Standards for compressing video for recording on discs, on hard drives and for the Internet.
MPEG-1: The standard for Video CDs and audio MP3 compression.
MPEG-2: The standard for video DVD compression, high-definition compression for camcorders
MPEG-4: A digital video compression format sometimes referred to as Advanced Video Coding or AVC. MPEG-4 is frequently used for compressing video for solid state devices such as mobile phones and iPods.
Menu: The opening screen of an authored DVD that shows the chapters. Frequently the chapters are shown as thumbnails.
Mini-DV: A popular digital video format used in consumer and prosumer camcorders.
Mov: The file format used by Quicktime for compressing audio and video for computer and Internet display.
Motion Effects: During editing and post-production, still images can be made to move or look like the camera is zoom, pan or tilt movements.
NTSC: National Television Standards Commission – The video system used in the US and Japan.
Noise: Tiny dots that sometimes appear in low quality video. Hiss that sometimes is heard in low quality audio.
On-Disc Printing: Rather than use paper labels, discs with an inkjet printable surface allow label art to be printed directly on the disc.
Online Video: Videos posted to the Internet. Most online videos are short video clips that stream on individual websites or are posted social networking sites.
PA System: Public address system of microphones, amplifier and speaker, usually installed in an auditorium or meeting room. Can also be a portable PA system that may be brought to a room.
PAL: Phase Alternate Line – The video system used in Europe and other countries. PAL videotapes and discs need to be converted to NTSC for viewing in the US.
Pan: When the camera operator moves the camera left to right or right to left during filming. Generally a good pan goes in a single direction, is done slowly and smoothly. This effect may be applied to a still image during post-production.
Photo Montage: A video DVD of photos combined with music. This is usually produced at a video editing workstation by a professional video editor. Images frequently have dissolves for smooth transitions and movements such as zooms, pans and tilts may be applied.
Prosumer: A cross between consumer and professional equipment. Frequently used to distinguish a three-chip camcorder from a consumer single-chip camcorder.
Quicktime: A computer program from Apple that allows for audio, video to be displayed on home and office computers. The file extension is .mov.
RealPlayer: A computer program from Real Networks that allows for audio, video to be displayed on home and office computers. The file extension is .rv, .rm, or .rmvb.
Resolution: The capacity of a recording system to show distinct thin lines of a picture. Higher resolution results in the viewer being able to see a greater number of distinct lines in a given area.
Safe Title Area: On a video monitor, the center 80% of the picture within which text should be limited. Some playback monitors cut off the edges of text, so safe title area is used when creating text during post-production.
Safety Training Video: A video or DVD that shows exact procedures for security or safety training. Rather than read a manual, employees learn from the video, which is the next best thing to a live class.
Sales Motivation Video: Training video used to teach selling techniques and to stimulate viewers to improve their sales.
School Videos: Student performances, graduations, dance recitals are the types of videos that are considered School Videos. Sometimes these can be a fundraiser when parents buy DVD copies directly from the video company, and the company shares profits with the schools.
Standard Definition: Standard video that is currently used on DVDs and VHS tapes. It is limited to approximately 480 lines of resolution. High definition goes up to 1080 lines.
Storefront Studio: A video facility in a store. Located in a commercial district, the storefront houses a wide array of video production services.
Tape to DVD/CD Transfers: Tape is dead, or they may soon wear out. DVD or CD discs are designed for archival storage and are easier to search through than tapes.
TBC: Time Base Corrector – Used during copying or transferring from videotape to correct distortions caused by tape. Also used for color and brightness correction.
Thumbnail: A small photo or frame of video that identifies the contents
Tie-in: Connecting to an existing sound system, such as those found in auditoriums or meeting rooms. A tie-in allows the videographer to get high quality sound from the microphones in that room.
Tilt: When the camera moves the camera up or down during filming. This effect may be applied to a still image during post-production.
Titles: Text on the video screen, sometimes referred as character generator.
Time Code: A method of identifying shots on a tape, disc or hard drive. The recording is measured in hours, minutes, seconds and frames based on a time code signal embedded in the recording.
Training Video: A video, DVD or online video used to train employees on procedures and policies of the organization.
Unobtrusive Videographer: A videographer at an event who does not interfere with or direct participants in the event. Photographers are not considered unobtrusive because they pose the participants.
VCR: Video cassette recorder – The older type of home video recording device.
VHS: Video Home System – The format of videotape and VCR that has been popular with consumers but is gradually being phased out.
Video Editing Workstation: An ensemble of digital video editing computer, monitors, post-production VCRs, DVD recorder and other equipment used for video post-production and production of photo montages.
Video Production: The process of planning, videotaping, editing and other procedures to come up with a finished video or DVD.
Vlog: A video blog. Periodic video clips posted to the Internet, sometimes with accompanying text or links.
WEVA: Wedding and Event Videography Association. The international association of wedding and event videographers. WEVA issues awards and maintains a code of ethics for videographers
Windows Media Player: A computer program from Microsoft that allows for audio, video to be displayed on home and office computers. The file extension is .wmv.
Wireless Microphone: A microphone that does not need a cord. Usually is consists of a clip-on microphone attached to a small belt pack transmitter. At the camera is the receiver portion of the system.
Zoom: When the camera lens enlarges the image so that the viewer sees a closer view. Also used in post-production to give the effect of zooming in on a still image.