When you hire a video production team, you might find yourself exposed to a whole new language. Frames? Gaff tape? Codec? What does it all mean?!! In this article, you will learn some of the more commonly used technical video terms so that you can better understand what is happening and why.

Video Terms

Pre Production Video Terms

Pre Production: The stage in video creation in which all planning activities occur.

Storyboard – A l storyboard is a series of digital or sketched illustrations that represent the intention and approximate framing of a shot. They can be highly or minimally detailed.

Shot List – A shot list is a list of shots needing to be captured for the project and is created prior to production. Generally it’s created in conjunction with the script and/or storyboard. This tool keeps production professionals on task and organized so that nothing’s missed.

Call Sheet: Especially important when multiple people are involved, a call sheet is a master list detailing the people involved, their roles, the location(s) of a production and sometimes an itinerary.

Production Video Terms

Production: The stage in video creation in which all filming/recording takes place and graphic design & animations are created.

VO – Stands for voice over.  Refers to digital audio recorded for the purpose of playing in conjunction with graphics, b-roll & other video data.  It’s generally scripted.

Gaffer Tape – An invention better than sliced bread. High quality gaffer tape is used primarily to secure cables so that no one trips, but due to its strength it can (and has) been used to secure things in creative ways. High quality tape is usually easy to peel off and leaves no or minimal residue on a surface.

C-stand or Century Stand – A heavy duty stand, used to hold up any number of lighting controls, light fixtures and just about anything else. Usually secured with a sandbag. 

Soft Box / Soft Light: A soft box can be removable or built into a light fixture and diffuses the light it’s attached to.

A-roll: The primary footage for a project, usually an interview or master shot.

B-roll: Refers to any footage obtained as a result of opportunity or storyboarding that can be used to illustrate messages created in video. This includes graphics, photos, or other digital assets not recorded by camera.

Post-Production Video Terms

Post production: The stage in video creation in which the editing and finishing of the final video is accomplished.

Rough Cut – An initial edit, designed to present the initial structure of a video, usually produced quickly. Intended to provide a baseline for client feedback.

Final Cut – Finished version of a video, with finished graphics, color correction & color treatments.

Burn-in – Traditional term for a review video with the timecode overlay.  Used to identify & communicate segments of a particular video, between client & editor or producer.

Other Technical Video Terms

FPS: Frames per second.  Video is recorded in what is referred to as frame rate. One common standard in North America consists of 30 (29.97) still images per second.

P or Progressive: Refers to the type of scanning method of the recording.

Resolution: Refers to the pixel dimensions & aspect ratio of recorded video. 

CDN or VDN: Short for content delivery network, a private service offering hosting of video content separate from your website host. It’s essentially A CMS for video.

CODEC (coder/decoder) a compression algorithm used in the acquisition & distribution of digital video/audio.

1920x1080p30: HD resolution video output at 30 progressive frames per second, a common web format.

H.264 – Mpeg-4 codec which is a standard codec used in web video distribution.

Linear PCM – Audio codec, standard used in recording sound.