Video Glossary M-R

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Video Glossary M-R2020-10-15T13:11:37-07:00
M-S stereo miking2020-10-15T15:24:36-07:00

Mike setup for stereo using a bidirectional and a cardioid mike close together, and an encoder to manipulate the signals into stereo. [10]

Macro lens2020-10-15T15:24:36-07:00

A lens that can be focused on a very close (sometimes touching) object. [7]


Popular anti-copy signal recorded on a video tape to make it playable but not copyable. [13]

Maintenance contract (or service contract)2020-10-15T15:24:36-07:00

An agreement with an outside repair company to keep your equipment in good working order for a fixed yearly charge (plus parts, usually). [16]


A pointer on the timeline to show what part of it is playing. As the show plays, the marker moves. It can be quickly positioned to play a short segment of a show, perhaps previewing a simple transition. [14]


A cardboard cutout used to frame a picture with a smooth border or cover unwanted parts of a picture or other background. [12]

Masking tape2020-10-15T15:24:37-07:00

Paper adhesive tape used for holding things temporarily because it tears easily and removes easily. [12]

Master audio control2020-10-15T15:24:37-07:00

Mixer knob that adjusts, up or down in volume, all mixer inputs at once. Useful for fading out all mikes and sounds together. [10]

Master dimming control2020-10-15T15:24:37-07:00

A single slider on a dimmer that dims all the lights at once. [9]

Master disc2020-10-15T15:24:37-07:00

A specially made original videodisc from which distribution copies are reproduced. [18]

Master fade2020-10-15T15:24:37-07:00

A fade lever that always fades the picture out to black or a chosen color. [11]

Master recorder2020-10-15T15:24:37-07:00

In the tape copying process, the VCR that plays the tape that the slaves copy. Also called the VCP, videocassette player. [13]

Master tape2020-10-15T15:24:37-07:00

The original copy of the finished version of a tape. Could be original footage of a “live” show, or could be a program edited together from other tapes. The master is the best-quality copy of this program in existence. [13]

Mastering plant2020-10-15T15:24:37-07:00

A company that converts a video tape or other media into a master videodisc and makes copies of it. [18]

Match frame edit2020-10-15T15:24:39-07:00

An edit in which a scene is edited onto itself so exactly that there is no apparent interruption in the scene. [14]

Matched shots2020-10-15T15:24:39-07:00

Similar-looking views of a subject from two cameras at the same time. [11]


Data that creates a surface with color and design, like wallpaper, wood grain, or marble, that can be wrapped around a wireframe to make it solid. [12]

Material editor2020-10-15T15:24:39-07:00

Part of a 3-D graphics package that makes the surfaces that cover the wireframes made in modler. [12]

Material shade2020-10-15T15:24:39-07:00

Smoothshade with the actual material (i.e., wood) and color stretched over the wireframe. [12]


A special kind of key effect where light parts of a picture are removed and replaced with a chosen color. [11]

Matte box2020-10-15T15:24:39-07:00

Container that holds lens filters in slots and attaches to the front of the camera lens. [7]

Matte screen2020-10-15T15:24:40-07:00

A nonglossy smooth white projection screen. Like a white sheet, it reflects light equally in all directions. [19]

Measured spacing2020-10-15T15:24:40-07:00

Typography where the space between letters is always the same. Manual typewriters use measured spacing. [12]


One million cycles (vibrations) per second, represented by 1 MHz, which is near the frequency of video signals[4]


An attribute of nicad batteries whereby they “forget” how long they should be able to provide power if they haven’t been worked hard enough. Frequent short duty cycles will eventually make them able to perform only shallow discharges before they need recharging. [16]


On a VCR’s index counter, this button tells the machine to stop rewinding when it reaches 000 on the counter. Helpful in noting and locating spots on a tape. [5]


A list of choices, possible answers to a question, or a table of contents. The option selected is the one the player goes to next. [18]

Metal halide2020-10-15T15:24:40-07:00

Bright projection bulb with long life. Like HMI lights, these lamps require a ballast. [19]


Short for microphone input, a highly sensitive, low-level audio input. [6]


Tiny lenses embossed onto the CCD chip to concentrate light onto the light sensing surfaces and increase the chip’s sensitivity to light. [6]


An extremely high band of radio/TV frequencies used with satellites to relay TV signals. On earth, used to transmit TV signals in beams about 5-10 miles long between mobile TV vans and the broadcasting station or between cable TV companies. [4]


Extremely high-frequency radio waves, about 1 billion vibrations per second (1GHz, one gigahertz), used to transmit video, audio, RF, telephone, and computer data over long distances. [15]

Microwave receiver2020-10-15T15:24:40-07:00

Circuit which converts microwaves to video and audio. It works much like a TV tuner or demodulator, except at higher frequencies. [20]

Microwave receiver2020-10-15T15:33:09-07:00

Device for picking up microwaves and converting them into an electrical signal such as video and audio. [15]

Microwave relay2020-10-15T15:24:42-07:00

Device that receives microwaves, boosts them, and beams them out in another direction. [15]

Microwave transmitter2020-10-15T15:24:42-07:00

Device to convert video and audio signals into microwaves for broadcasting to a receiver which can convert the signals back. [15]


High-frequency signals, around a gigahertz which, among other things, can carry TV signals. [20]


Cable TV channels 14-22.[4]

MIDI or .mdi2020-10-15T15:24:42-07:00

Musical Instrument Digital Interface, a standardized way of sending digital instructions between audio devices and musical instruments, telling them, for instance, what notes to play. [10]


Middle frequencies of sound, about 40-12,000 Hz. [10]


Professional camcorder format using VHS-like cassettes, recording separate colors at high tape speed for high quality. [5]


One of the ways of going from one TV picture to another (as opposed to wipe and key). Mix is often the name on the button that tells the fader levers to dissolve rather than wipe or key from one picture to the next. [11]


Switch on a two-channel or stereo VCR which allows both channels to be mixed and heard together. [5]


Multichannel multipoint distribution service, another name for wireless cable system. [4]


Multichannel multipoint Distribution System, a wireless cable system that delivers data. [20]


Minimum operating distance, the closest a lens can focus normally. [7]

Mode selector2020-10-15T15:24:43-07:00

Knob or button on an editing VCR that sets the VCR into the insert edit, assemble edit, video insert, or audio insert mode. [14]

Modeling light2020-10-15T15:24:43-07:00

Light aimed at the subject from behind and to the side, creating a white rim of light to add dimension. [9]


Modulator-demodulator, a device that turns digital data into tones that can travel over phone wires, as well as convert tones back to digits to be used by a computer. [20]


Part of a 3-D graphics package that builds the 3-D object in space. [12]


RF generator. Combines audio and video into a channel number. [2]

Modulator or RF generator2020-10-15T15:24:43-07:00

Electronic device which combines audio and video signals, coding them into RF, a TV channel number.[1]


Video artifact seen in NTSC pictures along the edges of brightly colored objects, text, and graphics. Moire looks like crawling dots or saw-teeth. [1]


Single-channel audio. Opposite of stereo. [5]


A TV set which has no tuner and usually has no speaker (as opposed to a TV receiver, which has both). Such a TV displays video signals but not RF signals. Any device used to observe or hear the quality of a signal (i.e., audio monitor).[2]

Monitor analyzer2020-10-15T15:24:47-07:00

A deep blue lens used for viewing color bars on a color monitor while adjusting the TV’s color hue to obtain proper colors. [15]

Monitor speakers2020-10-15T15:24:47-07:00

Loudspeakers with excellent fidelity used to evaluate audio in the control room. [10]


Black and white (as opposed to color). [6]


Black and white (not color). [1]


One-legged tripod. [6]


2-D or 3-D graphic effect that gradually stretches one image into another while simultaneously dissolving from one image to the other. Thus the object changes shape while also changing color and surface character. [12]


Digital effect where an image (or part of it) is broken into tiny tiles or colored squares. [11]

Mosaic filter2020-10-15T15:24:47-07:00

An array of tiny colored lenses that cover a CCD chip used in one-chip color cameras. The lenses allow different pixels in the chip to sense different colors of light. [6]


Main circuitry of the computer, holding the CPU, the main brain of the computer, plus slots for memory and additional boards, such as a graphics board. [12]

Motion JPEG or MJPEG2020-10-15T15:24:47-07:00

JPEG compression performed on each video frame in real time (30 frames per second). Motion JPEG is used in nonlinear editors. [12]


Device for viewing and comparing several reels of film at a time while selecting segments to splice into an edited master film. [14]

MTF or Modulation Transfer Function2020-10-15T15:24:47-07:00

Ability of a lens to reproduce contrast, especially at high focal lengths. [7]


Multichannel television sound, a technique of broadcasting stereo audio on TV. [10]


Multichannel television sound, technique for stereo TV broadcasting. [5]


Audio, video, text, graphics, and other information delivered by computer. [10]

Multiple system operator2020-10-15T15:24:47-07:00

Large cable company that owns and operates many little cable companies in various municipalities. [4]


Mirror device that selects one (of several) projector’s image and shines it at the TV camera. [15]


Mirrored device that selects which one of several projectors shines its image into a TV camera for transferring film to video. [12]

Multipoint videoconference2020-10-15T15:24:48-07:00

Videoconference between three or more locations or individuals. [20]

Multiscan (or multisync) monitor2020-10-15T15:24:50-07:00

Computer monitor capable of working with different horizontal and vertical scan rates to make the image. [2]


Several events, perhaps recorded at different times, residing on a disc, accessible by computer. [18]

Munsel color chip-chart2020-10-15T15:24:50-07:00

A particular brand of color bar test chart. [15]

Music under2020-10-15T15:24:50-07:00

Music volume is reduced into the background so that narration or something else gets the audience’s attention. [10]


A control which cuts out the sound but leaves everything else going.[2]


Billionth of a second, a number used to describe the sharpness of a character generated letter. Professional quality CGs have 35 nanosecond or lower numbers specifying their sharpness. [12]


Group of computers communicating together via wire or optical fiber, sharing data, perhaps collectively rendering an image. [12]


Group of TV broadcasters or cable TV companies wired together to share signals from each other. [4]

Neutral density filter2020-10-15T15:24:51-07:00

A gray glass lens attachment that diminishes light coming through the lens, thus reducing picture brightness. [7]

NFM or near field monitor2020-10-15T15:24:51-07:00

Small speaker designed to be positioned near the listener. [10-30.2]

NiCd or Nicad2020-10-15T15:24:51-07:00

NIckel CADmium. Lightweight, high-power battery for camcorders. [5]


Non-Linear Editor. [14]


Unwanted interference that creeps into your signal. Audio noise could be hum or hiss. Video noise could be snow, graininess, or streaks in the picture. [10]

Noise bars2020-10-15T15:24:51-07:00

Bands of snowy hash across the TV screen usually evident in still and scan modes and when mistracking occurs. [5]

Noise-canceling microphone2020-10-15T15:24:51-07:00

Microphone that is used close to the mouth, and rejects surrounding noise. [10]

Noise reduction system2020-10-15T15:24:51-07:00

Electronic device that attempts to reduce electronic noise when something gets recorded and/or played back. [10]

Noise temperature2020-10-15T15:24:51-07:00

Rating in degrees Kelvin for how “quiet” (doesn’t make spurious signals) a satellite signal amplifier is; the lower the temperature, the better. [20]

Non-drop frame2020-10-15T15:24:51-07:00

SMPTE time code mode that continuously counts frames, skipping no numbers. [14]

Non-linear editing2020-10-15T15:24:51-07:00

Assembling video sequences that are randomly accessible, typically digitized onto a hard drive. The process is much like word processing in that items can be moved, deleted, copied, or changed electronically before being printed or copied to video tape. [12]

Non-linear editor or NLE2020-10-15T15:24:51-07:00

Computerized video editor that permits scenes to be selected and rearranged on the computer’s screen before being assembled (by the NLE) on the master tape. [14]


Compression scheme that reduces redundant data that will never be missed, thus retaining full picture quality while reducing the file size by a moderate amount. [12]


Video (picture) signal without sync combined. [1]

Nondestructive editing2020-10-15T15:24:53-07:00

Computerized audio editing whereby the playlist changes as you edit and delete sounds, the original sound files remain undamaged. [10]

Normal-through or normaled2020-10-15T15:24:53-07:00

In a patch bay, the top socket is automatically connected to the socket directly beneath when no patch cable is plugged into either. The signal “normally” travels through from one to the other. [10]


National Television Standards Committee. United States organization that developed the NTSC video standards which ensure that all TV signals in the United States are compatible. [5]

NTSC video2020-10-15T15:24:53-07:00

National Television Standards Committee method used in the United States for electronically creating a color TV signal. The color and brightness aspects of the image travel together on the same wire. [1]


On-board camera light. [9]

Object based modler2020-10-15T15:24:53-07:00

Modler using spheres, cubes, and other shapes to form objects. Solid models are resolution-independent; round edges stay round as you zoom in on them. [12]

Oblique angle2020-10-15T15:24:53-07:00

Camera angle that shows the front and a side, or maybe two sides of an object. Oblique angle shots convey more dimensionality than face-on shots. [8]

Off-line editing2020-10-15T15:24:53-07:00

Making a “practice edit” using inexpensive video equipment. Result is a lower-quality “draft” copy used for decision making and to create a list of edits to be performed later on-line. [14]


A measure of electrical resistance or impedance. Things must have the same impedance to be electrically compatible with each other. In video, 75 ohms (75) is standard for cables, inputs, and outputs.[2]


The symbol for ohm is . TV antenna wires are generally 300, 75, or 72. Ohm is an electrical property of the wire indicating its resistance to certain signals passing through it.[3]

Omnidirectional light2020-10-15T15:24:54-07:00

Light that travels in all directions, like from the sun or a bare light bulb. [12]

On-line editing2020-10-15T15:24:54-07:00

Editing a video tape with the highest-quality VTRs and editor controllers. Process results in final edited master but costs more than off-line editing. [14]

One-chip camera2020-10-15T15:24:54-07:00

One image pickup chip senses all the colors plus black-and-white aspects of a TV picture. [6]

Optical disk recorder2020-10-15T15:24:54-07:00

Device that records analog video onto a plastic disk, like a laser video disc. [12]

Optical scan conversion2020-10-15T15:24:54-07:00

Aiming a TV camera at a TV screen and recording the result, useful for copying the picture from a nonstandard or troublesome tape. [13]

Optical-sight viewfinder2020-10-15T15:24:54-07:00

Inexpensive, simple lens scope, gun-sight or cross hairs used to help aim a TV camera. [6]

Optical-to-electrical (O/E) converter2020-10-15T15:24:54-07:00

Device that changes light from a fiber to electrical signals. [15]

Optical zoom ratio2020-10-15T15:24:54-07:00

The actual zoom ratio (smallest focal length divided into the largest focal length of the lens) of the physical lens without any digital enhancement from the camera. [7]

Output selector2020-10-15T15:24:56-07:00

Switch determining which of several signals will be fed to a VCR’s output for viewing. [5]


A shot which for some reason (i.e., a flubbed line) you don’t plan to use in the final production. [14]


Recording sound on one audio track and then recording a related sound on another track. Each track may have its unique sound recorded or may be a mixture made from the playback of an already-recorded track plus the new sound. [10]


Using too much video signal when making an RF signal, which results in buzzing from the TV speaker when white lettering appears on the screen. [2]


A TV picture blown up too big on the screen, causing the edges of the picture to be cut off and hidden from view. [2]


Public address, an amplifier generally used with a microphone by speechmakers who wish to be heard by a crowd or in several rooms at one time. [10]

Paint or 2-D paint2020-10-15T15:24:57-07:00

Electronic graphics technique or software that allows you to draw flat images on the computer screen, like drawing on a piece of paper. The images can be colored, warped, rotated, resized, and manipulated in various ways, then stored electronically. [12]


Phase alternate line – a European video standard incompatible with the U.S. NTSC system. [5]


Some graphics adapters can keep track of a limited number of colors, not all that are presented to it. The palette is the small selection of colors that the graphics adapter uses to approximate the original picture. [12]


Tiny camcorder that fits in the palm of your hand. [6]

Pan pot2020-10-15T15:24:57-07:00

Pot (short for potentiometer or volume control) that adjusts whether a signal will go to the left channel or the right, or be shared between the two by a selected amount. [10]


Shape of a reflector dish that focuses incoming signals on a tiny point (making the signals stronger there). [20]

Parabolic microphone2020-10-15T15:24:57-07:00

Attached to a small bowl-shaped reflector, the microphone picks up weak or distant sounds. [10]


How the positions of objects change relative to one another as you move by them. If your camera looks at a subject from one position and you look at the subject from another, the two of you will see slightly different pictures. [6]


A way of sending computer data over several wires at once. Printers usually use multiwire parallel connections with computers. [14]

Parallel cutting2020-10-15T15:24:58-07:00

Editing raw footage so that similar or parallel actions are seen one after another, making it look like “everybody’s doing it.” [17]

Parametric equalizer2020-10-15T15:24:58-07:00

A tunable equalizer on which you can select a particular frequency or band of frequencies to boost or cut, perhaps to remove much of an unwanted sound from a recording. [15]

Parametric equalizer2020-10-15T15:31:11-07:00

Audio device that adjusts to reduce or boost a selected range of frequencies. [10]


A device that does not use electrical power to operate, and does not add anything to a signal passing through it. [11]


Electrical device which doesn’t need electrical power (i.e., batteries or power from the wall outlet) to operate. [3]

Passive matrix2020-10-15T15:24:59-07:00

Inexpensive liquid crystal used in LCD panels that show static pictures and data. [19]

Patch bay2020-10-15T15:24:59-07:00

In audio, several rows of sockets connected to the inputs and outputs of various audio devices. Plugging a patch cable into a pair of sockets connects them so that the signal can travel from one device to the other. [10]

Patch bay2020-10-15T15:30:30-07:00

Like a telephone switchboard, a console of sockets leading to the studio lights and another set of sockets leading to the dimmer circuits. Connecting the two via patch cords allows various dimmers to activate various lights. [9]

Patch bay2020-10-15T15:36:54-07:00

Several rows of sockets connected to the inputs and outputs of various devices. Plugging a patch cable into a pair of sockets connects them so that the signal can travel from one device to the other. [15]

Patch cable2020-10-15T15:25:00-07:00

This special heavy-duty lighting cable plugs into the patch bay to carry current from the dimmer circuit to the grid circuit and studio lamp. [9]

Patch cord2020-10-15T15:25:00-07:00

A short cable that connects the output of one device to the input of another. [10]

Patch cord2020-10-15T15:30:42-07:00

Used with a patch bay. The patch cord is a cable with plugs that connect to sockets in the patch bay to carry signals from one device to another. [15]


An aluminum cutout that fits into a pattern spotlight to create the shapes projected by the light. [9]

Pattern spotlight2020-10-15T15:25:00-07:00

Lighting instrument that accepts aluminum cutouts to project patterns such as venetian blinds, leaves, or other figures on the background. [9]

Pause edit2020-10-15T15:25:00-07:00

Editing of a video tape while recording by pressing the pause button between takes.[14]


Cable or broadcast television for which you pay to see each show, usually by activating a descrambler which makes the programs visible on your TV. Pay-per-view usually consists of movies and sports without commercials.[4]

PCI bus2020-10-15T15:25:00-07:00

Peripheral Component Interchange bus which can pipe data between computer components at 132 MBps. [5]

PCI bus2020-10-15T15:30:38-07:00

Peripheral Component Interconnect, a very fast pathway for data traveling from one board to another in the computer. PCI video cards require little configuration (plug-and-play) in order to work. [12]


Pulse Code Modulation, a second method of recording hi fi sound with 8mm and Hi 8 VCRs. Unlike AFM, PCM audio can be edited without affecting the picture. [5]

PCM or pulse code modulation2020-10-15T15:25:00-07:00

Method of recording digital high fidelity sound on 8mm and hi8 tapes. The spinning video head places the PCM signal at the end of each diagonal video track. [10]

Peak clamping2020-10-15T15:25:00-07:00

Electronically limiting the maximum video signal level to a certain strength, like 100 IRE. [15]

Peak hold2020-10-15T15:25:00-07:00

On LED signal level meters, the top LED illuminated in the bar graph will stay “on” for a few moments to show the peak loudness of a sound even after it goes away. [10]

Peak level indicator2020-10-15T15:25:00-07:00

Tiny light often built into mixers and audio recorders that blinks when sound volume is too loud. [10]


Electronic control on a camera which adjusts the brightness of the picture. Proper adjustment yields blacks which are the right darkness. [6]


The elevation control on a camera tripod. “Pedestal up” means raise the camera higher. [6]

Per diem2020-10-15T15:25:02-07:00

An additional daily living expense payment made to employees working away from home. [17]

Phantom power2020-10-15T15:25:02-07:00

Power fed from a mixer’s mike input to run a condenser microphone. [10]


The timing of when electrical or sound vibrations reach a place, like an input or a microphone. When IN PHASE, the vibrations strengthen each other, making a strong signal. OUT-OF-PHASE signals cancel each other out, weakening the result. Electrical and sound signals need to be kept IN PHASE. [10]

Phase reversal2020-10-15T15:25:02-07:00

Undesirable situation where one audio signal has its vibrations going the opposite to another audio signal so that when combined the result is weak and tinny sounding. [10]

Phono or RCA plug2020-10-15T15:25:02-07:00

Small connector used to carry audio signals and, in home video equipment, video signals and sometimes RF signals. [2]


Light bulb, available at photo stores, that can screw into normal lamp sockets but gives off proper color temperature for TV or film work. [9]

Photographic tape2020-10-15T15:25:02-07:00

Colored adhesive tape (usually black) used for framing pictures. [12]


A measure of a line’s width. A pica equals 1/6 inch. [12]


An individual temporarily hired to perform a specific task. Often a free-lance camera operator brought in for a single show. [17]

Pickup chip2020-10-15T15:25:02-07:00

The light-sensitive part of a TV camera which “sees” the picture and turns it into video signals. [1]

Pickup pattern2020-10-15T15:25:03-07:00

The areas in which a microphone picks up the best sound. Also a diagram depicting a microphone’s sensitivity in different directions. [10]

Pickup tube2020-10-15T15:25:03-07:00

Vacuum tube light sensor on an older TV camera. Plumbicon, saticon, and vidicon are three types. [6]


Picture ICON, a thumbnail image of the first frame (or a representative frame) of a clip. [14]

Picture-in-a-picture (PIP)2020-10-15T15:25:03-07:00

Digital effect where one picture is squeezed smaller and placed over another. [11]

Picture stop2020-10-15T15:25:03-07:00

A coded instruction on a level 1 videodisc telling the player to freeze-frame when it comes to a particular picture. Works while the machine is in the play mode. [18]

Piezo autofocus2020-10-15T15:25:03-07:00

Electronic autofocus method that focuses by maximizing contrast in the picture. [6]

Pinch roller2020-10-15T15:25:03-07:00

Rubber wheel near the capstan that pinches the tape against the capstan, so it can grip the tape as it pulls it through the mechanism. [16]

PIP, or Picture In A Picture2020-10-15T15:25:03-07:00

TV set feature allowing you to view two channels simultaneously on one TV screen. [4]


Building or using a device to descramble satellite TV (or other broadcast programming) without paying the subscription fee. [20]


Duplicating copyrighted tapes without permission. [13]


Picture elements, tiny dots that make up the picture. In a camera, pixels represent the tiny light-sensitive transistors that store the image. [6]

PL259 or UHF connector2020-10-15T15:25:04-07:00

A male industrial plug used for video and sometimes RF. Goes into SO259 socket. Rarely used today. [2]


The marker on an audio editing screen that shows where in the timeline you are playing the sound. The playhead moves across the events in the timeline, playing clips as it comes to them. [10]


The list of clips to be played in order on the timeline. [10]

Plug and play2020-10-15T15:25:04-07:00

Ability of a card to operate in a computer automatically without you having to throw DIP switches and run setup software to configure the card to work in your system. [12]


Part of a color bar test signal used for adjusting TV monitor brightness. [15]

Pneumatic studio pedestal2020-10-15T15:25:05-07:00

Heavy duty studio camera pedestal and dolly that allow the camera to be raised and lowered smoothly with ease. [6]


A measure of the height of lettering. 72 points equals one inch. [12]

Point-to-point videoconference2020-10-15T15:25:05-07:00

Videoconference between two locations or individuals. [20]

Polar mount2020-10-15T15:25:05-07:00

Satellite dish support that is oriented along the earth’s axis to ease the tracking of geosynchronous satellites. [20]


An orientation imparted to electromagnetic waves, such as vertical, horizontal, circular left-handed (like a corkscrew spiraling counterclockwise), and circular right-handed. Antennas must be oriented the same way as the signal to be sensitive to it. [20]

Polarizing filter2020-10-15T15:25:05-07:00

Like Polaroid sunglasses, these lens attachments cut out glare and reflections. [7]

Polygon based modler2020-10-15T15:25:05-07:00

Modler using user-selected dots connected by the web of the wireframe to form objects. Round objects are made of tiny straight lines; zooming in on one will reveal these facets. [12]

Positioner arm or actuator2020-10-15T15:25:05-07:00

Motorized aiming mechanism for a satellite dish. [20]

Post production house2020-10-15T15:25:05-07:00

Video service company that edits your tapes, perhaps adding video and audio effects. [14]

Post Production switcher2020-10-15T15:25:05-07:00

A switcher/SEG with automated features designed to be controlled by computer, editor-controller, or manually, often using menus to select functions. [11]


Visual effect of reducing a picture’s varied brightness levels down to just one or two, giving it a flat poster-like or cartoon-like look. [11]


Also called a pot, it is a volume control on a mixer or other audio device. [10]


Plain Old Telephone Service, the analog telephone line that goes to most homes. [20]

Power line antenna2020-10-15T15:25:05-07:00

TV antenna connection which uses house wiring as the antenna. [3]

Power line filter2020-10-15T15:25:07-07:00

Removes unwanted signals, electrical pulses (“spikes”), and other interference mixed in with your power from your wall outlet.[3]

Power supply2020-10-15T15:25:07-07:00

Circuit in electronic equipment which converts household electricity to the kind of power (correct voltage and frequency) the equipment needs in order to run. [2]


The video tape sent to the mastering facility and transformed into videodiscs. Also, the act of making such a tape. [18]

Premastering software2020-10-15T15:25:07-07:00

Computer software that helps you properly record a CD-ROM. [18]

Premium channel2020-10-15T15:25:07-07:00

Cable channel that is unavailable to the basic service viewers unless an additional monthly fee is paid. [4]

Preread or read-before-write2020-10-15T15:25:07-07:00

DVR ability to play what’s on the tape at the same time it’s recording new material on the tape a moment later. [5]


Begin a tape playing so it is up to speed and its signals are stable before the VCR switches to record. [14]

Presentational set2020-10-15T15:25:07-07:00

Background and furniture that is abstract in design. Most news and talk show sets are presentational. [12]


on multichannel dimmers, the dimmers can be set up (preset) for one lighting arrangement on one channel, and then the channel is turned off, essentially “storing” the lighting setup for use later when the channel is reactivated. [9]

Pressure zone microphone2020-10-15T15:25:07-07:00

Microphone mounted on a flat plate that senses sound reflected from the plate. [10]


Record time code on a tape while blacking it, before recording or editing the actual audio and video on it. [14]


A channel on a switcher/SEG that sends out to your preview monitor a view of an effect so that you can adjust or perfect the effect before using it. Like audition in audio. [11]


Electronic graphics window that lets you see a sample of what your picture will look like after filtering, without going through a time-consuming render. [12]


Part of a 3-D graphics package that allows you to assemble the lights, camera angle, objects, atmosphere, and motion paths, and audition the resulting scene. [12]


Primary Rate Interface multiplexes together 23 ISDN lines to yield 1.544Mbps data rate. [20]

Primary colors2020-10-15T15:25:08-07:00

Three colors which can be combined together to create all the other colors. TVs in the United States use red, green, and blue as primary colors. [1]

Print to tape2020-10-15T15:25:08-07:00

Process where a digital non-linear editor will play its data back to a VCR that records the show on tape. Also the process where an analog NLE will follow the edit decision list to drive the VCPs, VCR, and SEG to create the final edited show from the raw footage. [14]

Private network2020-10-15T15:25:08-07:00

A connection between sites allowing a group of subscribers to videoconference with each other but no one else. The system is leased from the phone or cable TV company on a monthly basis. [20]

Processing amplifier2020-10-15T15:25:08-07:00

Electronic device that modifies and stabilizes video signals by separating the video from the sync and regenerating brand new, “clean” sync as well as adjusting video and color levels. [15]


Creator and organizer of a TV show, usually responsible for budgets, salaries, etc. [17]


Combined job title for a person in charge of undertaking a TV show, handling financial matters, and carrying out TV production details. [17]


On audio mixers, the sound channel sent out to the VCR. [10]


The final output from a switcher that is broadcast or recorded. [11]

Program (PGM) Bus2020-10-15T15:25:14-07:00

The group of buttons on a switcher that directly selects (when pressed) which picture or special effect is broadcast or recorded. [11]


Ability to tell a machine to do something on its own. A VCR’s programmable timer stores instructions for when to start and stop recording and what channel to record. It may remember several such instructions covering a period of days or even months. [5]

Progressive scan2020-10-15T15:25:15-07:00

Method of making a computer picture by drawing all the scan lines sequentially from top to bottom. [2]

Proportional or Optical spacing2020-10-15T15:25:15-07:00

Typography where the space between letters depends on the shape and size of the letters. [12]


Professional consumer, someone halfway between a professional videographer, and an amateur, often working in video as a sideline. Equipment halfway between professional and amateur, typically costing more and performing better than common hone equipment, but not as good as true professional gear. [5]


Standard method of communications so that one machine can send/receive data or commands to/from another. [14]

Proximity effect2020-10-15T15:25:15-07:00

Thunderous bass boost heard when people speak or instruments are played too near the face of a directional microphone. [10]

Public domain2020-10-15T15:25:15-07:00

A work that is not copyrighted; anyone may use it freely. [13]

Pull focus2020-10-15T15:25:15-07:00

Adjusting the focus of a lens, often to keep a moving subject sharp, while your camera is “on”. [7]

Pulse-cross monitor2020-10-15T15:25:15-07:00

TV monitor which can shift the picture down and sideways so that the corners of the pictures are in the center of the screen. This professional monitor is used to observe picture and sync problems. [2]

Pulse distribution amplifier or PDA2020-10-15T15:25:15-07:00

Electronic device that takes one sync signal and makes several from it, each as strong as the original. [15]

Punch-in assemble edit2020-10-15T15:25:15-07:00

An assemble edit executed manually, live, while the actors perform. [14]


An internal color TV adjustment done to a picture tube to make the screen colors even and uncontaminated by other colors or patches of colors.[2]

Push-on F connector2020-10-15T15:25:15-07:00

Special F connector which pushes on and pulls off rather than screws onto an F socket.[3]

Q encoder2020-10-15T15:25:16-07:00

Similar to I encoder but responsible for different colors. [15]


The process of measuring an analog signal and assigning numerical levels to it. [5]

Quantization resolution2020-10-15T15:25:16-07:00

The accuracy of measuring an analog signal and representing its strength with numbers. A two-bit resolution describes something by 4 levels, a three-bit resolution, 8 levels. [5]

Quick release2020-10-15T15:25:18-07:00

A plate attached to the base of the camera by a bolt. The plate can then clip quickly onto the tripod head. [6]

Quicktime movie2020-10-15T15:25:18-07:00

A file format that takes a series of individual files (pictures) and combines them into one file and can play them in sequence, creating animation or motion. [12]

Rabbit ears2020-10-15T15:25:18-07:00

A portable TV set’s two telescoping rod antennas. Also called dipole antenna. [2]


Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives, a method of providing non-linear editors with many gigabytes of instantly accessible data storage by teaming together a group of slower, smaller, cheaper hard drives. [14]

RAM or random access memory2020-10-15T15:25:18-07:00

The size of a computer’s “brain”, measured in bytes, describing the amount of data the computer can process and temporarily store at any moment. [12]


Phenomenon that causes the f number of a long zoom lens to increase as it zooms in, creating a dimmer picture. [7]

Raster graphics2020-10-15T15:25:18-07:00

Category of 2-D image formats using bitmaps. [12]

Rate card2020-10-15T15:25:18-07:00

A published listing of charges for services. [17]

Raw footage2020-10-15T15:25:18-07:00

Recordings made directly from the camera, intended to be edited into a final program later. [13]

RC time code or RCTC2020-10-15T15:25:18-07:00

Sony time code system for 8mm and Hi8 VCRs. Code identifies each separate frame and is recorded on a special track next to the video signal. [14]

Real estate2020-10-15T15:25:18-07:00

The space on a videodisc available for your program. [18]

Real time2020-10-15T15:25:19-07:00

Something that plays, records, compresses, or decompresses as fast as it actually happened in real life. [12]

Rear or retro projection2020-10-15T15:25:19-07:00

Process of projecting an image onto the rear of a gray, translucent screen, with the viewers on the side opposite the projector. [19]

Rear projection2020-10-15T15:25:19-07:00

Technique of projecting an image onto the rear of a translucent screen so that the image can be viewed from the front. [12]


Paint feature that undoes an undo, bringing back work you may have removed from a picture. [12]


The process of creating one special effect and then using it as a source (as if the picture had come directly from the camera) that can now be mixed with another picture to create another special effect. Process allows effects to be piggybacked atop one another. [11]


3-D graphics feature that calculates how light will reflect off shiny surfaces and polished objects. [12]


3-D graphics feature that calculates how light will bend as it passes through clear objects. [12]

Relection map2020-10-15T15:25:19-07:00

Flat surface with clouds, stripes, or a “snapshot” of the area, used to make fake reflections off silvery objects. [12]


Switch on a TV that makes it respond to a remote control. [2]

Remote control2020-10-15T15:25:21-07:00

Control of a device such as a VCR with a keypad held in the hand. Most use infrared light signals to communicate with the VCR. [5]

Remote survey2020-10-15T15:25:21-07:00

Visit to a distant shooting location to determine production needs, strategy, and resources. [17]


Electronically perform the calculations which create the surfaces, shadows, and reflections in a three dimensional scene. [12]

Repeat switch2020-10-15T15:25:21-07:00

Switch on a VCR that tells it to play a tape over when it reaches the end. [5]


A receiver/transmitter that picks up a radio signal (or TV or microwave signal) and retransmits it. Repeaters are usually placed up high where their signals can reach farther than portable transmitters. [17]


To duplicate a videodisc, CD, or CD-ROM. [18]

Representational set2020-10-15T15:25:21-07:00

Background and furniture that look lifelike and realistic. Soaps and sitcoms use representational sets. [12]


Setting something back to the beginning. Resetting an index counter sets all the numbers to zero. [5]


Picture sharpness, measured in “lines”. [5]


Picture sharpness, usually measured in “lines”. The greater the number of lines, the sharper the picture. [6]


A digital disk recorder’s ability to continuously record audio and video on a disk and make room for the data by simultaneously erasing what was recorded some time earlier. [5]


Switch on some studio TV cameras that displays the final program image or some other video image (as opposed to the camera’s own image) on the camera’s viewfinder to help the camera operator position objects in the viewfinder. Useful for coordinating with other camera shots. [6]


A camera angle that hides something important and then reveals it for dramatic effect. [11]

Reverb or reverberation2020-10-15T15:25:22-07:00

The slow decay of a sound when it’s finished, like the ringing in the air heard after you clap your hands. Technically not the same as echo. Reverb is often added to music to make it sound fuller. [15]

Reverberation or reverb2020-10-15T15:25:22-07:00

The continuance of a sound after the original sound has ceased. Also the device that artificially adds reverberations to audio. [10]

Reverberation time2020-10-15T15:25:22-07:00

The amount of time it takes for a loud sound to fade to silence. [15]

RF generator or modulator2020-10-15T15:25:22-07:00

Electronic device which combines audio and video to make RF (radio frequency), a channel number. Usually built into VCRs so that signals may be fed to TV antenna terminals. [2]

RF or radio frequency2020-10-15T15:25:22-07:00

The kind of signal which is broadcast through the air and comes from a TV antenna. RF is a combination of audio and video signals coded as a channel number. [1]


Technical name for commonly used coax antenna and video cable. [3]


Red, green, blue. An RGB monitor displays a picture from three video signals-one for the red parts of the picture, one for green, and one for blue. Also the name given to the kind of video signals which represent component colors, rather than the combined colors. [2]

RGB Key2020-10-15T15:25:23-07:00

Chroma key using RGB video sources to define a sharper key effect than is possible with composite video sources. [11]

RGB-to-video encoder2020-10-15T15:25:23-07:00

Device which changes RGB video signals to composite video signals. This is a part of the scan converter and the term is sometimes used interchangeably with scan converter. [12]

RGB video2020-10-15T15:25:23-07:00

Video signals traveling on three separate wires. Red parts of a colored picture go on one wire; green, on the second; and blue, on the third. [1]

Rippling edit2020-10-15T15:25:23-07:00

Non-linear edit that pushes the following scenes later on the timeline leaving them intact and lengthening the show. If a scene is removed, the following scenes move forward on the timeline closing the hole. [14]

RJ11 and RJ45 connectors2020-10-15T15:25:23-07:00

Standard telephone plugs and jacks, roughly square and about 1/4 inch wide, used to connect telephones to the wall outlets. Some other non-telephone electronic equipment uses these connectors to carry remote control signals. [20]


Run length encoded, a non-lossy form of compression that works best with simple pictures having smooth backgrounds. [12]

Rocker switch2020-10-15T15:25:23-07:00

A two-way switch that if pressed one way zooms a lens in, and if pressed the other way zooms it out. [7]

Rocker switch2020-10-15T15:30:11-07:00

Lever which rocks back and forth. Pressed one way, it could make an electric zoom lens zoom in. The other way would zoom the lens out. [6]

Rolling edit2020-10-15T15:25:24-07:00

Edit that adds or subtracts material to/from the timeline, but doesn’t push ahead the following scenes or close them up. Such an edit replaces other material or leaves a blank spot where material used to be. [14]

Room tone2020-10-15T15:25:24-07:00

A character, “color,” or individual “personality” of a sound recorded in a particular room, caused by echoes and background noises in the room. [14]

Rotary actuator2020-10-15T15:25:24-07:00

Costlier motorized actuator capable of precise horizon-to-horizon aiming of the satellite dish. [20]


Motorized rooftop device used to steer a TV antenna in different directions following a command from a console near the TV set. [3]


Technique of carefully positioning a graphic object into a “real” picture so that an actor may appear to hold or interact with it. [12]

Rough cut2020-10-15T15:25:24-07:00

Approximation of what the edited master will took like. Rough cut is generally performed on off-line editing equipment. [14]

Routing switcher2020-10-15T15:25:24-07:00

Switch that sends the signal from one of several sources to several destinations. A push-button version of a patch bay. [15]

Routing switcher2020-10-15T15:30:15-07:00

Switcher used primarily to connect various video devices together (often with audio-follow-video) to quickly send signals where you want them to go. [11]


A standard serial communications protocol used by computers for all types of digital devices and some specially equipped VCRs. [14]


A more powerful and flexible derivative of the RS-232 protocol used on industrial video equipment including some VCRs. [14]


Standardized multipin computer connection. [2]

Rule of thirds2020-10-15T15:25:25-07:00

The center of attention should not be dead center on the screen but one third of the way down from the top, or up from the bottom, or in from the edge of the screen. [8]

Rumble filter2020-10-15T15:25:27-07:00

Audio filter to trap low frequencies (rumble from wind, noisy phono records, hum) and pass the rest. [15]

Run length encoding (RLE)2020-10-15T15:25:27-07:00

Non-lossy compression method that uses short numbers to describe events that occur often and longer numbers to represent events that are rare. [5]

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