Video Glossary S-Z

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Video Glossary S-Z2020-10-15T13:11:46-07:00
S connector2020-10-15T15:25:27-07:00

Small multipin connector carrying Y/C video signals from or to “super” VCRs. [5]


Super VHS, much improved version of VHS, downwardly compatible with VHS. [5]

Safe copy2020-10-15T15:25:27-07:00

A second video tape made just in case the first gets damaged or doesn’t record correctly. [5]

Safe title area2020-10-15T15:25:27-07:00

Central portion of a graphic or a control-room monitor’s TV screen that can always be seen when the picture is viewed on misadjusted TV sets; the place where it is “safe” to put a title because you know it will all show. [12]

Safety cord2020-10-15T15:25:27-07:00

Loop of chain, cable, or rope that fastens loosely around the lamp and the grid pipe and stops the lamp from falling if its C-clamp becomes undone. [9]

Safety tab2020-10-15T15:25:27-07:00

A button or tab on a videocassette that can be removed to render the tape unrecordable (thus unerasable). [5]

Sampling frequency2020-10-15T15:25:27-07:00

The number of measurements made per period of time (i.e., per second). For digital video, 13.5 million samples per second is common (also expressed as 13.5 MHz). [5]

Sans Serif2020-10-15T15:25:27-07:00

Lettering without serifs. [12]


Supplementary audio program-a third channel of sound broadcast using the MTS system. [10]

SAP or supplementary audio program2020-10-15T15:25:27-07:00

Technique for broadcasting a third, additional sound track along with stereo TV signals.[2]

Satellite receiver2020-10-15T15:25:27-07:00

The tuner part of a satellite downlink, the part that resides in your house and takes commands from your remote control. [20]


The purity and vividness of a color. A stop sign is saturated red. Pink, garnet, or cardinal are less saturated reds. [12]


The vividness of a color. Colors lacking saturation look pastel. [2]

Scalar map2020-10-15T15:25:28-07:00

Texture map describing parts of a surface that will disappear and be replaced by other materials or surfaces. [12]

Scan converter2020-10-15T15:25:28-07:00

Electronic device that changes the signals that a computer sends to its monitor, into video signals that can be displayed on a TV monitor or recorded on a VCR. [2]

Scan, fast scan, or picture search2020-10-15T15:25:28-07:00

Playback of a VCR at several (up to 30) times the normal speed. Useful for skimming through a show in search of a particular event. [5]

Scanned area2020-10-15T15:25:28-07:00

Part of a graphic “seen” by the studio camera and control room monitor but not necessarily seen on all home viewer TV sets. [12]


Desktop device that “looks” at a document, photo, or page of a book, and records it as a computer file. The process takes about 1/2 minute. [12]


Funnel-shaped fill light. [9]


Code the picture and sound signals so that they are unviewable without a descrambler (decoder) box. [4]


Distortion of the TV sync signals by a broadcaster or a cable company to render the picture unwatchable (it contorts and wreathes) without a descrambler.[2]


To make a satellite TV signal unviewable without a descrambling device and a special code (which you rent) to activate it. [20]

Screen door effect2020-10-15T15:25:29-07:00

LCD panels and projectors sometimes show the spaces between their pixels and the image looks like it were being seen through a screen door. [19]

Screenplay or live TV format or center column format2020-10-15T15:25:29-07:00

Script format with dialogue in the center of the page and big margins for director’s notations. [17]


Glass fiber or metal screen mesh which clips to front of lighting instrument to diffuse and soften light. [9]

Scroll bar2020-10-15T15:25:29-07:00

Icon along the margin of a picture showing a marker. Move the marker and the picture scrolls (moves across the screen revealing more of the picture) up or down or sideways. [12]

Scroll or roll2020-10-15T15:25:29-07:00

To move text vertically, as in rolling credits upward through your TV screen as you read them. [12]


Small Computer Systems Interface, a hard disk drive controller. Various flavors include SCSI-2, SCSI-wide, and SCSI-Ultrawide for faster speeds. [5]


Standard Definition Television, digitally broadcast TV signals with about the same sharpness and screen shape as today’s NTSC television. [21]


SEquential Color And Memory – a video standard used in much of Asia, incompatible with our NTSC system. [5]


Ability of a VCR or camcorder to play slowly, frame-by-frame, and parking on a specific frame. [14]

Seek time2020-10-15T15:25:30-07:00

Time it takes a disk drive to find data and begin sending it out. [5]


(pronounced “SEG-way”) A smooth change from one sound, place, or subject to another. [10]

Selective focus2020-10-15T15:25:30-07:00

Adjusting the focus of a lens so that one part of the picture is sharp and other parts fuzzy, useful for directing attention. [7]


A way of sending computer data over a single wire, one command after another. Long wires are possible. Modems and mice are serial devices, as are RS-422 and RS 232 ports on a computer. [14]


The flare or crook at the ends of some letters, like at the top and bottom of the capital letter “I”. [12]

Servo lock2020-10-15T15:25:30-07:00

Editing VCR feature that assures vertical interval edits only at the end of even (or odd) fields. [14]


Society of European Stage Actors and Composers-an agency that licenses the use of copyrighted music. [10]


An event on a CD. A single session might be a series of songs on a CD or a file on a CD-ROM. CD players are capable of playing single sessions only and CDs have a single session on them. [18]

Set light2020-10-15T15:25:31-07:00

Lighting instrument used to illuminate the background or set. [9]

Settlement brochure2020-10-15T15:25:31-07:00

A video program showing the opposing side how much evidence there is against them, intended to increase the chance for settlement out of court. [17]


Braided wire or foil that creates a flexible pipeline surrounding another wire, protecting it from outside electrical interference. [11]

Shield or ground line2020-10-15T15:25:31-07:00

The woven braid around an audio wire that wards off hum and interference and is also one part of the electrical circuit. [10]

Shielded speaker2020-10-15T15:25:31-07:00

Loudspeaker with a metal shield to keep magnetic interference from bothering nearby TVs and computer screens. [10]

Shock mount2020-10-15T15:25:31-07:00

Protects a microphone from picking up noises as it is moved or handled. [10]

Shot sheet2020-10-15T15:25:32-07:00

An index of all shots recorded on a tape. Includes time code numbers for each shot plus a commentary on the quality of each take. [14]

Shot sheet2020-10-15T15:29:55-07:00

Brief list of the kinds of shots a camera operator will need to take during a show. [8]

Shotgun mike2020-10-15T15:25:32-07:00

Microphone shaped like a gun barrel, which “listens” only in the direction it is aimed. [6]

Shoulder pod2020-10-15T15:25:32-07:00

Cushioned device connected to the base of a camera, allowing it to rest on the operator’s shoulder. [6]

Shutter bar2020-10-15T15:25:32-07:00

Occurs when a TV camera records a movie from a projector-a soft dark band runs through the TV picture when the projector doesn’t synchronize its shutter with the TV camera’s picture-making frequency. [12]

Shuttle speed control2020-10-15T15:25:32-07:00

A fast scan control allowing video tape to be played slower or faster than normal-useful when hunting for edit points on a tape. [14]

Signal splitter2020-10-15T15:25:32-07:00

Small electrical device which divides a TV signal into several components. A TV coupler could split an antenna signal into two parts for two TVs. A band splitter could divide a multichannel antenna’s single signal into separate bands such as UHF, VHF, and FM. [3]

Signal-to-noise ratio (S/N ratio)2020-10-15T15:25:32-07:00

A number describing how much desired signal there is compared to undesirable background noise. The higher the S/N ratio, the “cleaner” the signal. [6]

Silk or net2020-10-15T15:25:32-07:00

Reflective or translucent material, usually in a frame, for reflecting light or softening light passing through it. [9]

Single-channel antenna2020-10-15T15:25:32-07:00

Antenna designed to pick up one channel only. [3]

Single-chip camera2020-10-15T15:25:32-07:00

A black-and-white camera or a color camera with a pickup chip sensitive to all colors at once. [1]

Single-tube TV projector2020-10-15T15:25:32-07:00

Obsolete TV projector with only one TV picture tube, usually recognizable because it has only one lens snout. [19]

Site survey2020-10-15T15:25:32-07:00

Evaluation of the place where you plan to install a satellite dish to assure there are no obstructions or interferences to the signal. [20]


The control which adjusts the tape tension on a video tape machine to hold the picture steady during playback. When you have a skew error, the top of a TV picture flutters or pulls to the side. [5]

Skylight filter2020-10-15T15:25:34-07:00

Slightly pink lens filter that reduces blue atmospheric haze, used mostly to protect the camera lens from dirt. [7]


A visible and/or audible cue recorded at the beginning (or end) of a take, identifying the take number for later reference. [14]


In the tape copying process, the videocassette recorder that actually does the recording. [13]

Slide chain2020-10-15T15:25:34-07:00

Slide projector connected to a TV camera for converting slides to video. [12]

Slow speed shutter2020-10-15T15:25:34-07:00

An electronic circuit in a video camera that allows the CCD chip to “see” for a period longer than the usual 1/60 second, making the camera more sensitive in low light. [6]

Slow tracking2020-10-15T15:25:34-07:00

Adjustment on a VCR used to attain a clear picture while the tape is playing slowly or is still framed. [5]


A temporary white vertical streak passing through bright objects in a CCD camera’s picture. [6]


Rounded surface applied to what the computer calculates to be round surfaces to give wireframes substance and realism. Smoothshades render quickly but not as quickly as flatshades. [12]

SMPTE time code2020-10-15T15:25:34-07:00

A time code used to address every frame on a tape with a unique number to aid in logging and editing. The time code format is standardized in the United States by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. [14]

Soft key2020-10-15T15:25:35-07:00

Key effect with a fuzzy, soft edge. [11]

Soft light2020-10-15T15:25:35-07:00

Large lighting instrument with built-in reflector for soft, shadow-free lighting. Also the kind of light that has soft shadows or no shadows. [9]

Soft wipe2020-10-15T15:25:35-07:00

A split screen or wipe effect with a soft border where the two pictures join. [11]

Solid or flag or cutter2020-10-15T15:25:35-07:00

Opaque fabric often in a frame, used to block light. [9]

Sony Vbox2020-10-15T15:25:35-07:00

An interface device used to incorporate lower-end VCRs into higher-level computer editing systems. [14]

Sound bite2020-10-15T15:25:35-07:00

A long enough stretch of acceptable sound to be useful during editing. [14]

Sound card2020-10-15T15:25:35-07:00

Circuit installed in a computer to change audio signals into data the computer can handle and vice versa. [5]

Sound card2020-10-15T15:29:49-07:00

Computer circuit that digitizes audio or converts digital audio back to sound signals, and perhaps plays audio from MIDI instructions. [10]

Sound coloration2020-10-15T15:25:35-07:00

The characteristic tone a microphone gives to the sounds it picks up. [10]

Sound mix2020-10-15T15:25:35-07:00

The process of editing and mixing numerous sounds into the final form heard by the audience. [10]


Standard play – The 2-hour speed of a VHS VCR. [5]

Spade lugs2020-10-15T15:25:36-07:00

Small metal half-circles bonded to the ends of some twin lead cables and accessories to simplify their connection to TV antenna terminals. [3]


Specks of snow in a satellite reception. [20]

Special effects generator (SEG)2020-10-15T15:25:36-07:00

Electronic video device that creates effects such as wipes, fades, keys, etc. [11]

Specular color2020-10-15T15:25:37-07:00

The highlight you get on shiny surfaces. [12]

Speech compressor2020-10-15T15:25:37-07:00

Electronic circuit which changes the pitch of fast playing tape so that it sounds normal (not like the “Chipmunks”). [5]


A measure of how much light a lens can transmit. A “faster” lens has a lower f-stop number. [7]


Service Profile Identifier, a number telling the phone company what kind of device (phone, fax, computer) you have connected to an ISDN line. [20]


To reattach the broken ends of tape together. Also the junction where the tape ends were attached. [16]


In audio, special adhesive tape used to attach the ends of audio tape together for continuous playback. A “splice” is a physical “cut” in a tape followed by attaching the tape to another tape. [10]

Splicing tape2020-10-15T15:25:37-07:00

In video, a thin adhesive tape to connect the ends of a video tape. [14]

Split field color bars2020-10-15T15:25:37-07:00

Color bar test signal where the bars don’t go all the way down the screen; the bottom 1/3 of the screen is used for additional test signals. [15]

Split page or split column format2020-10-15T15:25:37-07:00

Two (or more) column script format with video described on the left and audio on the right. [17]

Split screen2020-10-15T15:25:37-07:00

A wipe that stops partway across the picture, revealing a section of the original picture and a section of the new picture. [11]


Narrowly focused light that concentrates its intensity over a limited area. [9]


Light that travels in a beam and spreads out slowly. [12]


Special effect to highlight a portion of the picture as if a spotlight were aimed at it. [11]


Inexpensive processing amplifier made for home video market. [15]

Standard lens2020-10-15T15:25:37-07:00

Inexpensive, nonzooming lens which gives a “normal” (not close-up, not wide angle) field of view. [6]

Standards converter2020-10-15T15:25:37-07:00

A device that changes one standard of video signal (say, NTSC) into another (say, PAL) or vice versa, bridging the gap of incompatibility between standards. [2]

Standards converter2020-10-15T15:29:39-07:00

Expensive electronic device which changes one TV standard into another (i.e., PAL into NTSC) for use with other TV equipment. [5]

Star pattern2020-10-15T15:25:38-07:00

Lens effect creating shafts of light gleaming from any bright points of light in a picture. [8]

Statement of purpose or treatment2020-10-15T15:25:39-07:00

Document listing in a few sentences the objective of a TV production, what the desired outcomes will be. [17]


An elaborate framework of levers and springs used to hold a camera steady while the camera operator walks or climbs. A harness straps to the camera operator while the camera attaches to the other end of a movable arm. [6]

Stepping ring2020-10-15T15:25:39-07:00

Adapter to allow a lens attachment to fit a lens of a different size. [7]


Two separate audio channels are used at the same time. One represents what the left ear would hear and the other, the right. [5]

Stereo adapter2020-10-15T15:25:39-07:00

Device that creates pseudostereo sound (fake stereo sound) from monaural sound. [15]

Stereo imaging2020-10-15T15:25:39-07:00

Ability to discern the original positions or placement of sounds when listening to earphones or speakers. [10]

Stereo microphone2020-10-15T15:25:39-07:00

Microphone that “hears” in two directions and sends out two separate audio signals to a stereo recorder. [10]

Stereo separation2020-10-15T15:25:39-07:00

The amount of difference there is between the left and right stereo channels. Poor separation mixes the two together. No separation is monaural sound. [10]

Still frame audio2020-10-15T15:25:39-07:00

Technique of turning audio into data that can be stored like a picture on a disc. With the help of a decoder, the “picture” can be “read” and converted back into 10-40 seconds of sound. [18]

Still frame audio adapter2020-10-15T15:25:39-07:00

Device to convert a still frame of encoded audio from a videodisc into several seconds of sound. [18]

Still Store2020-10-15T15:25:39-07:00

Digital effect where an image is electronically “frozen” and displayed or mixed with other images. [11]


Short sound effect or a few notes of music or just a chord used to introduce, segue between, or end scenes. [10]

Stop edit2020-10-15T15:25:39-07:00

Technique of editing a video tape by stopping the VCR (pressing stop) at the end of one scene and then starting it recording again (pressing record/play) at the beginning of the next. [14]


A script done in pictures, showing the sequence of shots that will make the show. NLEs allow you to make a storyboard from the picons captured from tape. [14]


A series of comic-book-like sketches showing what the TV scenes should look like. The corresponding audio is typed at the bottom of each sketch. [17]


To clear props and set pieces from the studio. [17]


Record time code on a tape. [14]

Studio crane2020-10-15T15:25:40-07:00

Large studio device able to smoothly lift camera and operator high into the air. [6]

Studio production switcher2020-10-15T15:25:41-07:00

A large active switcher/SEG that receives all the video sources (inputs from cameras, etc.) and is used to select the pictures or effects to be shown. [11]

Subcarrier or 3.58MHz subcarrier2020-10-15T15:25:41-07:00

A color reference signal. Burst is a short sample of subcarrier that is part of the sync pulse. [15]

Subcarrier phase2020-10-15T15:25:42-07:00

Adjustment on cameras and other video equipment which alters all the colors coming from them. [6]

Submaster dimming control2020-10-15T15:25:42-07:00

Lighting control that fades up or down all the lights for a particular channel. [9]


SVHS, Hi8, ED Beta 3/4U-SP or any improvement to a VCR format that increases the picture sharpness above 400 lines of resolution. Sometimes called High Band. [5]

Super VHS (S-VHS)2020-10-15T15:25:42-07:00

Improved VHS format using special tape and yielding 400 lines of resolution picture sharpness. [13]


Cable TV channels 23-36. [4]


Slightly improved totally compatible version of betamax. [5]


Circuit that lays computer text over videodisc scenes so that both can be viewed together on the same TV monitor. [18]


Two pictures shown atop one another. They may look semitransparent or “ghosty.” A dissolve stopped halfway. [11]

Supplementary area2020-10-15T15:25:42-07:00

Outside edge of a graphic or control room monitor’s picture “seen” by the camera and control room monitor but not usually seen by the audience because it is just off the edge of their TV screens. [12]

Supply reel2020-10-15T15:25:42-07:00

On a reel-to-reel tape machine, this reel contains the program you wish to play or the blank tape you wish to record. [10]

Sustained data transfer rate2020-10-15T15:25:42-07:00

Rate at which a hard drive can continuously play data without interruption. [5]

Sweep reverse2020-10-15T15:25:42-07:00

Button on a camera which switches the camera’s picture left to right or flips it upside down. [6]


Manipulation of recorded sound to give it echo, filter out a noise, boost a particular frequency, or mix it with other sounds. [10]

Swish pan2020-10-15T15:25:42-07:00

Rapid sideways movement of the camera as it goes from one scene to another causing the image to streak. [14]

Switched digital video or SDV2020-10-15T15:25:42-07:00

Technology for sending motion video through cable TV or phone lines in real time upon request. VOD and VDT would use SDV. [20]


Push-button device which selects one or another camera’s picture to be viewed or recorded. [6]


A circuit or a signal which directs the electron gun in a camera or TV picture tube to create a TV picture steadily on a screen. Sync also synchronizes the electronics of other TV equipment. [1]

Sync generator2020-10-15T15:25:43-07:00

An electrical device which makes sync (timing) signals which synchronize TV equipment and keep TV pictures stable. [1]

Sync generator2020-10-15T15:29:30-07:00

Electronic device that makes sync signal used to synchronize the electronics of several cameras so their pictures can be mixed together. [6]

Sync generator2020-10-15T15:36:40-07:00

Electronic device that makes sync, the pulses that keep studio cameras, etc. electronically in step. [11]


Simple editing protocol where one VCR controls another, activating its buttons. [14]

Synchronization clearance2020-10-15T15:25:46-07:00

Permission acquired from music copyright holders to use parts of their music to go along with parts of your TV show. [10]


Musical device that makes sounds electronically. [10]


Standard size of a VHS videocassette. Plays 2, 4, or 6 hours. [5]

T connector2020-10-15T15:25:46-07:00

Video connector which allows three wires to connect together. [2]


Type of tariffed service from the phone companies, where you rent the equivalent of 24 64kbps phone channels. [20]

Tai chi stance2020-10-15T15:25:46-07:00

Body position for hand-holding a camera steady. [6]

Tail slate2020-10-15T15:25:46-07:00

A slate identifying a scene after it has been recorded (at the tail end of the scene). [14]

Take-up reel2020-10-15T15:25:46-07:00

On a reel-to-reel recorder, this is the empty reel that fills as tape is played. [10]


Performer, actor, newscaster, etc. [9]


A loudspeaker system to allow the control-room crew to speak directly to studio personnel. [10]

Tally light2020-10-15T15:25:46-07:00

Lamp on the TV camera which goes on when the camera’s image has been selected by the TV director. It tells both the performer and the camera operator that the camera is “on”. [6]

Tape cleaner/evaluator2020-10-15T15:25:46-07:00

Electronic device to check video tape for defects while cleaning the tape. [16]

Tape guides2020-10-15T15:25:46-07:00

Little posts inside a VCR to guide the tape from place to place as it plays or is threaded. [16]

Tape remaining2020-10-15T15:25:46-07:00

Readout on some VCRs, calculating the amount of tape left on a standard cassette based on the amount of tape used. [5]


Published, government-controlled charges for certain phone service. Your household phone bill is tariffed to cost a certain amount per month. [20]


Technical Director, person who runs the switcher. [17]


Small curtain used to block light. [9]

Technical director2020-10-15T15:25:48-07:00

The person who pushes the buttons on the switcher/SEG during the show. [11]

Technical setup2020-10-15T15:25:48-07:00

Adjusting the video equipment prior to a show. Also the time period for this process before a show. [17]


Movie projector/TV camera combination designed for converting movie images to video. Also called a film chain. [12]


Course taught over television, usually by videotape. [4]


Lessons presented via television, often for credit through a participating college. [20]


The opposite of wide-angle, a telephoto lens magnifies the view. like binoculars. It also has a narrow field of view, concentrating on one part of a picture and cutting out the rest. [7]

Telephoto converter2020-10-15T15:25:48-07:00

Lens attachment to increase the focal length (magnification) of a lens for a narrower angle of view. [7]


Device that sits near the camera lens and allows the performer to read the text while his eyes appear to be looking at the camera lens (the viewer). [6]


Electronic device that shows script or other cues to the talent, who appear to be speaking directly to the TV camera. [17]


Inserting a resistance (usually 75 for video) at the end of a cable carrying a signal. A signal may be looped through several devices but must be terminated at the last one by plugging in a terminating plug or throwing a switch to the 75) position. [2]

Terrestrial interference or TI2020-10-15T15:25:49-07:00

Electrical noise from earth-based microwave transmitters in your neighborhood that jams your satellite TV reception. [20]

Test (or production) monitor2020-10-15T15:25:49-07:00

TV monitor designed to yield sharp, truthful images that accurately shows flaws in a TV signal or picture. [2]

Test pattern2020-10-15T15:25:49-07:00

Chart used for measuring a camera or other video device’s performance such as resolution. [6]

Test signal2020-10-15T15:25:49-07:00

A video (or other) signal containing certain properties (like color bars) to show whether equipment is working as it should. Test signals meet certain technical specifications useful for calibrating other equipment. [15]

Test signal generator2020-10-15T15:25:49-07:00

Electrical device that makes test signals for calibrating and measuring performance of equipment. [15]

Test tape2020-10-15T15:25:49-07:00

A video tape made under “perfect” conditions, used to test the performance of VCRs, VCPs, and sometimes other video equipment. Tape may include special test signals for measuring signal strengths, timing, and purity. [16]


Data that creates a surface material, including bumps, that you wrap around a wireframe to make it solid. Grass, water ripples, and tree bark are textures. [12]

Texture map2020-10-15T15:25:49-07:00

The data describing the color, roughness, surface design (i.e., woodgrain), and whether parts will be cut out and replaced by another surface. Several layered texture maps can be used together. [12]

Three-chip camera2020-10-15T15:25:49-07:00

A TV camera with three pickup chips inside, one sensitive to the red parts of the picture, another sensitive to green, and the third sensitive to blue.[1]

Three-chip camera2020-10-15T15:29:15-07:00

More expensive TV camera which has separate chips to sense each primary color in the picture. [6]

Three-tube video projector2020-10-15T15:25:50-07:00

Video projector with three TV picture tubes for a brighter, sharper picture than one-tube models. Three-tube projectors are recognizable by their three lens snouts. [19]

Three-two pulldown2020-10-15T15:25:50-07:00

The motion taken as a movie projector plays a 24-picture-per-second movie into a 30-frame-per-second TV system. One movie picture is scanned three times by the TV system and pulled down, and the following picture is scanned twice; then the process repeats. [18]

Threshold or coring2020-10-15T15:25:51-07:00

Control on an image enhancer selecting which high frequencies will be boosted (enhanced) and which will be left alone, to reduce graininess in the picture. [15]


A level of cable TV programming. Basic level, or tier 1 may be inexpensive. Tier 2 has more channels but costs more per month. [4]

Tightener ring2020-10-15T15:25:51-07:00

A large round nut on the mounting plate of a camera head for tightening the camera to the mount. [6]

Tilt lock2020-10-15T15:25:51-07:00

Camera head control to lock the camera in place so it can’t tilt. [6]

Time base corrector2020-10-15T15:25:51-07:00

Electronic device to remove jitter and other timing abnormalities from a video signal, usually the signal from a VCP. [15]

Time code2020-10-15T15:25:51-07:00

A way of measuring where (how far from the beginning of a tape) scenes are located. Usually a magnetic pulse recorded on the tape that can be converted into a listing of hours, minutes, seconds, frames. [14]

Time code generator2020-10-15T15:25:51-07:00

Electronic device that makes the time code signal, which may then be recorded on the tape. [14]

Time code reader2020-10-15T15:25:51-07:00

Electronic device that decodes the time code from a tape on playback and converts it into recognizable numbers: hours, minutes, seconds, frames. [14]

Time elapsed counter2020-10-15T15:25:51-07:00

An electronic indicator on a VCR that measures the length of recorded tape that has moved through the VCR, in hours, minutes, seconds, and sometimes frames. [5]

Time lapse2020-10-15T15:25:51-07:00

Method of compressing time by taking a picture every few seconds (or minutes) and playing them back 30 per second, to speed viewing. Time lapse VCRs can record many hours on the tape. [5]


A graphic ruler stretching across a computer screen on which clips are placed during editing. [10]


Like a ruler stretched across the computer screen, the non-linear editor’s timeline lists every moment in the TV program; indicating which scenes go where, what graphics and titles appear, what audio will be heard, and what transitions occur between scenes. [14]

Tone generator2020-10-15T15:25:51-07:00

Electronic circuit often built into mixers, which can create an even, standardized audio signal. Used for checking volume levels, it provides a handy reference tone. [10]

Top loading2020-10-15T15:25:52-07:00

Cassette goes into a trapdoor that opens on the top of older VCRs. [5]

Touch screen2020-10-15T15:25:52-07:00

A touch-sensitive TV screen whereby viewers can point to or press their fingers against the screen in response to computer questions rather than using a keypad or computer keyboard. [18]


A pathway along a tape set aside for a discrete (usually audio) signal. In digital audio editing, a sequence of sounds grouped as if they were on a track of a tape. [10]


Place on a timeline to drag-and-drop clips. Several tracks allow you to indicate A/B rolls and effects. [14]


Computer input device, like a mouse, that moves the cursor when you rotate a ball imbedded in the holder. [19]


Adjustment on VTRs so that they play the video tracks from the tape following exactly the path that the recorder took. Good tracking results in a clear, stable picture. [5]


Electronic device to convert video signals between Y/688, Y/C, Y/R-Y/B-Y, and others. [15]

Transformer splitter2020-10-15T15:25:54-07:00

A combined device which does the job of a matching transformer and a band splitter. [3]


Ways of changing from one title or graphic to another. [12]

Translator box2020-10-15T15:25:54-07:00

A device that converts computer commands into one or more VCR protocols, such as LANC, CONTROL-M, CONTROL-S, etc. [14]


One of the transmitters on a satellite. Each one has its own frequency, so by tuning in the various frequencies you can pick up various signals from the same satellite. Each transponder can handle two analog TV signals, both audio and video, or ten compressed digital TV signals. [20]

Treatment format or rundown2020-10-15T15:25:54-07:00

Script format listing general description of program’s content, direction, and style. [17]


A TV or VCR which can work with an NTSC, PAL, or SECAM TV signal. [5]

Tri-standard TV2020-10-15T15:25:54-07:00

A TV which switches from NTSC to PAL to SECAM standards to display foreign video signals or broadcasts. [2]


Adding or subtracting numbers from the time code at the edit point to make the edit occur earlier or later than originally planned. [14]


To precisely define the edit-in and edit-out points of a scene. [14]

Trim or gain control2020-10-15T15:25:55-07:00

Volume control that adjusts the mixer’s input sensitivity. Turned up, the input works with mikes; turned down it works with hi level sources. [10]

True color2020-10-15T15:25:55-07:00

Ability of a graphics card to display millions of colors, as opposed to a select 64 or 256 from a palette. [12]

Trunk line2020-10-15T15:25:55-07:00

24 telephone signals grouped onto one pair of wires. [20]


Common TV lamp bulb with a tungsten filament (glowing wire inside) and a quartz bulb filled with iodine (a halogen) gas. It’s small, generally operates at 3200K color temperature and runs very hot. [9]

TV black or reference black2020-10-15T15:25:55-07:00

The blackest black allowable in an NTSC TV picture; 7.5 IRE. [15]

TV coupler2020-10-15T15:25:55-07:00

A small electrical device which allows two or more TVs to share signals from the same antenna wire. [3]

TV monitor/receiver (or receiver/monitor2020-10-15T15:25:55-07:00

) A TV set that can act either as a monitor (using video) or a receiver (using RF). [2]

TV projector2020-10-15T15:25:55-07:00

Usually found in the home, a device designed to project images from TV signals, typically RF from cable TV or antennas. Essentially a video projector with a tuner. TV projectors may have separate audio and video inputs. [19]

TV receiver2020-10-15T15:25:55-07:00

A TV set that tunes in channels but doesn’t have audio or video inputs. [5]

TV standard2020-10-15T15:25:57-07:00

Set of technical specifications describing how a TV picture is made. In the USA, the FCC (Federal Communications Committee) ordained the NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) standard. In Europe, they use a different, incompatible standard, PAL.[2]


Television Receive Only, the dish antenna and receiver which can pick up signals but not transmit them. [20]


Small speaker, efficient at reproducing high notes. [10]

Twin lead2020-10-15T15:25:57-07:00

Flat ribbon-like antenna cable containing two wires, nearly always 300.[3]

Twisted pair2020-10-15T15:25:57-07:00

Common telephone wire. [15]

Twisted pair2020-10-15T15:29:10-07:00

Two skinny wires, twisted together, used frequently for telephone service. [20]

Two-channel audio2020-10-15T15:25:57-07:00

Capability of recording two sound tracks on a tape. [14]

Type C2020-10-15T15:25:58-07:00

Aging professional reel-to-reel recorder format using 1-inch tape. [5]


Ultra high frequency; TV channels 14-69. [2]


Sound with a pitch so high, humans can’t hear it. When used in autofocus cameras, ultrasonic waves bounce off the subject to sense the focusing distance. [6]


A light reflector made like an umbrella with a silvery underside, used to soften portable lights. [9]

Unbalanced line2020-10-15T15:25:58-07:00

An audio cable with two wires, one of which is a shield surrounding the other. [10]


TV picture which is smaller than the screen, showing the black edges of the picture on the screen.[2]

Underscanned monitor2020-10-15T15:25:58-07:00

TV monitor which can shrink its picture to display the edges.[2]


Paint feature that allows you to restore a picture to its condition before you changed it. [12]

Unidirectional light2020-10-15T15:25:58-07:00

Hard light from a far away source. [12]

Union scale2020-10-15T15:25:58-07:00

A salary negotiated between a union and larger producers, covering specific job titles. Scale sets a standard used by others in the industry, even if not members of the union. [17]


Device to couple a film projector to a TV camera, useful for making video copies of movies, etc. [15]

Universal remote2020-10-15T15:25:58-07:00

Remote control that works with many devices, once it is programmed. [2]


Some VTRs and other devices have convenience power outlets in the back, handy for feeding power to other devices. If this power ceases when the VTR’s power is turned off, it’s called “switched.” Unswitched outlets are active all the time as long as the VTR, is plugged in. [5]


Cameras that create their pictures independently of one another, not using an external sync source to lock their electronics in step. [11]


Transmitter that sends signals to an orbiting satellite. [20]


Send data from a small or temporary machine (i.e., a personal computer) to the main machine (i.e., a mainframe computer digital camcorder, or digital VCR). [5]


Natural brightness of a color. Pure yellow is light while pure blue is dark. [12]

Variable focus light2020-10-15T15:26:00-07:00

A lighting fixture that can be adjusted from spot to flood or vice versa to direct the light’s intensity. [9]


A device, much like a VCR remote control, that will make your VCR record a TV show in your absence. By typing a several digit code number into the VCR+ you bypass the complex task of programming your VCR. [5]

Vector graphics2020-10-15T15:26:00-07:00

Image stored as mathematical instructions, lines (vectors), points, and angles. [12]

Vector line2020-10-15T15:26:00-07:00

Imaginary line dividing the set (action area) in two; all camera angles must be taken from one side of this line to maintain unambiguous transitions from shot to shot. [11]


Specialized oscilloscope that graphically displays the color parts of a video signal, precisely showing the colors’ strength and hue. [15]

Vertical height control2020-10-15T15:26:00-07:00

TV set control which stretches or squashes the picture vertically. [2]

Vertical interval2020-10-15T15:26:00-07:00

The part of a video signal that doesn’t show on the TV screen; the black bar (sync) at the bottom of the TV picture when it rolls. [14]

Vertical interval switching2020-10-15T15:26:01-07:00

Electrically controlled switch that toggles from one source to another (i.e., from camera 1 to camera 2) during the brief instant that the TV is notmaking a picture on the screen. It switches during the vertical interval, the black line below the bottom of the screen. [11]

Vertical linearity2020-10-15T15:26:01-07:00

TV adjustment controlling how a TV reproduces shapes in the vertical direction without stretching or distorting them. [2]

Vertical sync2020-10-15T15:26:01-07:00

The part of the sync signal which controls the up and down motion of the TV’s electronic gun. This holds the picture steady and keeps it from rolling vertically.[1]

Vertical wipe2020-10-15T15:26:01-07:00

A wipe where a horizontal boundary line sweeps vertically through the screen, changing the picture as it goes. [11]

VGA or video graphics array2020-10-15T15:26:01-07:00

1987 standard for graphics cards in IBM compatible PCs, determining sweep frequencies, colors, resolution, and wire connections in monitor plugs. [12]


Very high frequency; TV channels 2-13. [2]


Video home system. The most popular consumer 1/2-inch videocassette format. [5]


VHS compact format using VHS tape in a minicassette. [5]


Slightly improved version of VHS format, totally compatible with it. [5]

VIASS or VISS2020-10-15T15:26:02-07:00

VHS Index-Address Search System, a way of bookmarking up to 8 places on a VHS or SVHS tape, making them easy for a VCR to “find” later. [14]


The picture portion of a broadcast TV signal; an electronic signal making a TV picture. [1]

Video bridge2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00

A type of network circuit used to match phone services to each other insuring the best transfer of data between them. [20]

Video capture card2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00

Circuit installed in a computer to change video signals into data the computer can handle, and vice versa. [5]

Video capture card2020-10-15T15:28:48-07:00

Computer circuit capable of converting a video signal into a digital computer signal that can be stored on disk or manipulated. [12]

Video CD2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00

Compact Disc able to hold full motion video and audio, playable on PC and MacIntosh computers. [18]

Video Deposition2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00

Lawyers ask a witness questions to determine the facts of a case. The proceedings are videotaped and parts later played to the jury. [17]

Video dial tone or VDT2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00

Wide bandwidth telephone network enabling subscribers to select from a TV screen menu (or dial on their phones) a video presentation or full length movie. [20]

Video distribution amplifier or VDA2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00

Electronic device that splits one video signal into several (often four) and boosts each to make them as strong as the original signal. [15]

Video Encoder2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00

A device that makes a composite color video signal from component video signals. [12]

Video feedback2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00

Fantasy effect created when a camera is aimed at a TV monitor displaying the camera’s picture. [8]

Video Glossary D-G2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00
Video Glossary H-L2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00
Video Glossary M-R2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00
Video Glossary S-Z2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00
Video head drum2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00

Spinning cylinder inside a VCR with video heads attached to it. [5]

Video heads2020-10-15T15:26:03-07:00

Electromagnets attached to a spinning drum inside the VCR, responsible for recording the picture. [5]

Video insert2020-10-15T15:26:04-07:00

Replacing a segment of old video with new video, in the midst of prerecorded tape. Audio is not affected. [14]

Video level2020-10-15T15:26:04-07:00

How strong a video signal is. On VTRs, the video level control will adjust the contrast of your video recording. [5]

Video on demand or VOD2020-10-15T15:26:04-07:00

Wide bandwidth cable or phone network permitting users to download video (i.e., movies), playing it in real time on their TVs. [20]

Video printer2020-10-15T15:26:05-07:00

Electronic device that converts a TV screen image to hard copy. [13]

Video projector2020-10-15T15:26:05-07:00

Device designed to project images made from an NTSC video signal (composite, Y/C, RGB, etc. using an interlaced horizontal sweep rate of 15,735 Hz). Usually found in schools and industry, sometimes equipped with speakers. [19]

Video reverse2020-10-15T15:26:05-07:00

Camera switch which makes blacks white and whites black and changes colors into their complementary colors (opposites). [6]

Video tape player or VTP2020-10-15T15:26:05-07:00

A machine which can play a video tape but cannot record one. [5]

Video tape recorder or VTR2020-10-15T15:26:05-07:00

A machine which can record picture and sound on a tape. Nearly all can also play back a tape. Although a videocassette recorder is also a video tape recorder, VTR usually implies that reel-to-reel tape is used rather than cassette. [5]

Video/VGA projector2020-10-15T15:26:05-07:00

Device designed to project images made from NTSC video or from a VGA computer output (640480 pixels scanned at 35,500 progressive sweeps per second). [19]

Video wall2020-10-15T15:26:05-07:00

TV sets (or small retro projectors) stacked like building blocks and able to each show part of a picture so that the group displays the whole picture. [19]


A box containing video tape connected to an internal supply reel and a take-up reel, used in VCRs. [5]

Videocassette player or VCP2020-10-15T15:26:05-07:00

A machine which can play a videocassette but cannot record one. [5]

Videocassette recorder or VCR2020-10-15T15:26:05-07:00

A video tape recorder which uses cassettes rather than open reels of tape. [5]


A popular analog descrambler, with versions VC-II, VC-II+, and VC-II+ RS. [20]

Videoconferencing or teleconferencing2020-10-15T15:26:05-07:00

A technology that allows participants in remote locations to communicate with images and sound. [20]


An analog record-shaped disc encoded with a TV program. [18]

Videodisc – player2020-10-15T15:26:06-07:00

Phonograph-like machine that plays a videodisc, sending the video and audio (or RF) signals to a TV for display. [18]

Videodisc recorder2020-10-15T15:26:06-07:00

Machine that records a TV signal onto a videodisc. [18]

Videophone or picturephone2020-10-15T15:26:06-07:00

A telephone that also displays images. [20]

Videowall processor2020-10-15T15:26:06-07:00

Circuit that maps the video or computer images onto the video wall monitors. [19]


The part of a TV camera you look through to see where the camera is aimed. [6]


A condition where the picture’s edges (usually the corners) show the dark edges of the lens, often because the lens format is too small for the pickup chip. [7]

Virtual set2020-10-15T15:26:06-07:00

Studio set that exists as a computer graphic. The set moves as the studio camera moves so that the graphic looks real. [12]


Sony Video system Control Architecture, a two-way protocol from Sony that permits computers, through their RS-232 or RS-422 ports, to communicate with VCRs and other control-M or LANC enabled devices. [14]

VITC or Vertical Interval Time Code2020-10-15T15:26:07-07:00

Time code data recorded as part of the video signal in the sync pulse between pictures. [14]

VL bus2020-10-15T15:26:07-07:00

Vesa Local Bus, a very fast 32 bit pathway for data traveling from one board to another in the computer. The VL bus can coexist on motherboards with slower, ISA busses. [12]


Standardized lens mount for 1/2-inch chip camcorders assuring automatic lens controls are compatible with camcorder, thus allowing lenses to be swapped. [7]


Narration added to and louder than background sounds or music. [10]


A measure of electrical pressure. In the United States, 120 V (volts) is the standard available from common electrical outlets in homes or institutions. [9]


Volume unita measure of loudness. A VU meter measures the strength of an audio signal. A 0 VU (“zero V-U”) setting is considered optimum sound volume. [10]

Waterfall effect2020-10-15T15:26:08-07:00

A slice across the TV picture that slides down the screen. [5]


A measure of electrical power. Amps times volts equals watts. A studio light may use 1000 W (watts). Institutional wiring may handle 2400 watts per circuit. [9]


A speaker’s power-handling capacity, related to how loud it can be. [10]

WAVE or .WAV2020-10-15T15:26:08-07:00

A computer file of digitized sound. [10]


A graphic representation of a video signal, showing signal levels (whites and blacks), color, and timing (sync). [15]

Waveform monitor2020-10-15T15:26:08-07:00

A specialized oscilloscope for displaying video signal levels and timing. [15]

Wavetable synthesizer2020-10-15T15:26:08-07:00

Musical device that electronically generates sounds from digitized samples. [10]

Wedge mount2020-10-15T15:26:08-07:00

A type of quick release camera mount that slides into a wedge-shaped groove in the tripod head. [6]

White balance2020-10-15T15:26:08-07:00

The mix of primary colors which results in pure white light. On color cameras, the controls which strengthen the blue or red colors so that none overpowers the other, allowing white objects to appear pure white, not tinted. By pressing one button and holding a white card in front of the camera, this will automatically adjust the camera’s circuits to make pure white. [6]


The opposite of telephoto, a wide-angle lens takes in a broad panoramic view. The lens “gets everything in,” but everything may appear small in the picture. [7]

Wide-angle converter2020-10-15T15:26:08-07:00

Lens attachment to decrease a lens’s focal length, giving the image a wider angle of view. [7]

Wild sound2020-10-15T15:26:08-07:00

Background sound without narration or performing going on. During editing it can be mixed with the performer’s sounds if they have to redo their lines in a quiet studio. [14]

Window dub2020-10-15T15:26:08-07:00

Copy of a time-coded video tape with one change: Time code numbers are visible on the TV screen, making it possible to log edit decisions while playing the tape on common VCRs not equipped with time code readers. [14]


Microsoft’s software that controls the computer (like DOS) but does so with menus and a graphical user interface (GUI). [12]


Foam boot that fits over a microphone to shield it from wind noises. [10]


Special effect that starts with one TV picture on the screen, then a boundary line moves across the screen (vertically, diagonally, or whatever), and where it passes, the first picture changes into a second picture. [11]


Electronic graphics image whereby selected points are connected by lines forming the “skeleton” of an object. [12]

Wireless cable2020-10-15T15:26:11-07:00

TV programs delivered via microwave signals. System requires a microwave antenna and decoder box. [4]

Wireless microphone2020-10-15T15:26:11-07:00

A mike transmitting a radio (UHF or FM) signal to a receiver rather than sending the signal over a wire. It is used by performers who need freedom to move without mike cords. [10]


Big speakers, efficient for reproducing bass notes. [10]

Working master2020-10-15T15:26:11-07:00

A carefully made copy of a master tape, which is in turn copied. The working master protects the master from damage and wear in the copying process because it is the working master which gets played many times while the master is archived. [13]


Write Once Read Many, an optical disk recorder that can’t erase and record the disk over. [12]

Writing speed2020-10-15T15:26:12-07:00

The speed of the video heads relative to the tape. [5]

X-Y stereo miking2020-10-15T15:26:12-07:00

Mike setup for stereo using two cardioids crossed, one aiming left, the other right, their heads almost touching. [10]


The luminance or black-and-white part of a video signal.[1]

Y/688 dub, Y/629 dub2020-10-15T15:26:12-07:00

Method of sending separate luminance and downconverted color signals between 3/4U and SVHS and VHS editing-type VCRs to preserve color quality. [5]

Y adapter2020-10-15T15:26:12-07:00

Used in audio, a Y-shaped connector or wire which combines two signals or splits one signal into two. [5]


Video signal separated into two parts: brightness (Y) and color (C). Such signals yield sharper, cleaner color than composite video signals. Also another name for S connector. [5]

Y/C or S2020-10-15T15:26:12-07:00

A method of transmitting color video over two wires, one carrying luminance (Y) and the other carrying color (C). Also called super or S-video as it is employed on super VHS (SVHS) VCR’s and camcorders. Hi8 camcorders also use Y/C video. [1]

Y/C or S connector2020-10-15T15:26:12-07:00

Multipin connector designed to carry Y/C video on two wires inside one cable. [1]


Another form of Y/(R-Y/(B-Y) making component color video using luminance and two color difference signals. [1]


Another form of Y/(R-Y)/(B-Y). [1]


Pronounced Y, R minus Y, B minus Y, this is one way component video is transported; also the type of video equipment or circuits that handle such signals. The letters represent luminance with sync, red minus the luminance, blue minus the luminance. [1]


A form of Y/(R-Y)/(B-Y) making component color video, popular in Europe. [1]


A type of outdoor TV antenna.[3]

Zoom lens2020-10-15T15:26:14-07:00

A lens which can “zoom in” or “zoom out” to give a closer-looking picture or a wider angle of view. [6]

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