Video/Film Production
And Advertising Terms
Flat-Art: Two dementional art work used as an illustration and traditionally rendered in a physical form, then photographed for print reproduction.  Now, all design, rendering and delivery is done digitally.  Flat-art can also be used in video as an illustration.
Fulfillment: The design, printing and packaging of physical media (tape, disk) for the purpose of attractive display in a case or on a label.  Example: a DVD disk usually requires a case insert and a disc label.
Copywriting: The act of writing copy which is the term used in advertising for any written material that appears in an ad.  Example: "I wrote all the copy in that Ad".
Buying: The act of buying time and/or space in media outlets that sell advertising time or space, usually done by a professional with that expertise called a Buyer.  Example: "Our Buyer will be buying all the space you need for your magazine ad".
Advertising Agency: A business that specializes in creating and marketing different forms of advertising.  Agencies come in all sizes, some specializing in specific areas such as print or television.
Advertising Executive: A job title in advertising, usually the person who sells you on their services and handles your account.
Script: A written document that describes in detail the contents of a video, movie or play including dialog.  Scripts need to be form-specific whereas  different forms are used for different types of projects, and are usually written by someone who specializes in scriptwriting.
Talent: The persons who appear on screen or in voice-over in a video or movie who have a specific roll to play.  These people are normally selected for their rolls on the assumption that they have talent, thus the term.
Visual Effects: An on-screen result done for the purpose of enhancing, changing or adding to the natural images that are recorded in camera, usually created because the result is difficult or impossible to accomplish in front of the camera.  In the past visual effects were accomplished optically.  Now they are done digitally.  In commercial spot production, visual effects are often used to illustrate a point and/or grab the viewer's attention.  Commonly referred to as CGI.
Special Effects: An on-screen result of special preparations that are physically created and performed in front of the camera during Acquisition.  Sometimes called Practical Effects, examples would be actual fires and explosions, as apposed to Visual Effects that are created digitally during Postproduction.
Green Screen: A term generally used to describe a solid colored background usually found in video/film studios used to make a foreground image appear to be surrounded by transparency.  An Editor can Key-out the green parts of the image accomplished with a technique called Chroma Key, thus creating transparent space in the image.  That image can then be combined through layering with a different background image of the users choice.  Chroma Key Green and Chrome Key Blue are special colors that are formulated to be unlike colors found in nature and are the norm for professional use.
Chroma Key: A video technique; one of many types of Keys that are used as a visual effect for the purpose of creating composited images.  Chroma Key is based on color differentiation and the term is commonly used in referring to all Key types.
Composite: an image created from more than one different images combined through layering into a new unique composition.
TelePrompTer: A device used in video studios that attaches to the front of a camera that allows Talent to look directly into the camera while reading dialog.  Superior to cue-cards because a good camera framing the Talent in a medium-close shot will be able to see the Talent's eyes looking off camera, reading their dialog.  Handy for Talent inexperienced in delivering dialog or who have problems with memorization.  Some TelePrompTers are portable and can be taken on location.
Producer: For Commercial Spot Production the Producer is generally the person in charge of your project.  With smaller operations the Producer may also be the Writer, Director and Editor, ala the One-Man-Band.  In larger video/film companies there may be many different types of Producers; Executive Producer, Field Producer, Line Producer, etc.  Sometimes the title is given to a production team member when you don't know what else to call them.
Director: Probably the most important person in a production team in terms of the aesthetic and physical aspects of the acquisition.  The guy who is responsible for and selects the lighting and use of microphones, directs the Talent, calls the camera setups and keeps track of it all.  In smaller operations the Director may also be the Writer, Producer, and Editor, ala the One-Man-Band.
Acquisition: The process of acquiring original footage with a video or film camera.  One of the fun parts.
Flash: A software application developed by MacroMedia, bought out and now owned by the creative software giant, Adobe.  Flash is a very powerful and complex program that allows the user to create and deliver rich, interactive content for the Internet, as with the use of video.  Flash files are utilized through the use of the Adobe Flash Player which can be installed in, and plays automatically from your Browser.  Fortunately, all recently manufactured computers come with Flash pre-installed.  This is important because if you use Flash files to play your videos on the Internet, almost everyone will be able to see them.  Example: YouTube transcodes all the many different flavors of videos uploaded to them to Flash.  When you watch a video on YouTube you are watching a Flash file.  Occasionally your computer may prompt you to download and install the latest version of the Flash Player.  Do it.  You'll need it.  Especially now that High Definition  video is being integrated into the Internet.  It's the hot topic with Internet Producers.
Codec: Short for Compression/Decompression, Codec's are digital algorithms used to manipulate the size and quality of digital audio and video files.  Digital video files can be huge.  A 30 sec. uncompressed Standard Definition file weighs in at about 798 MB.  A 30 sec. uncompressed High Defination file at 1440X1080 resolution is a whopping 3.48 GB.  When digital video is delivered to the end publishing platform (disk, TV, Cable, Internet) it will need to be transcoded to a more manageable size through the use of Codecs.  There are hundreds, maybe thousands of Codecs created by many different developers for many different purposes.  Now that HD video is in the mix, it's even more confusing.  As a client of a production house, you needn't concern yourself with this.  Leave it up to the pros as to which method is best for your purposes.  Just be aware that the use of Codecs is one of the skills-sets your Producer/Editor needs to have in his tool-set
Air-time: A term used to describe the time used up by a commercial or program as it runs "on-the-air".  Originally, all video time was air-time because the broadcast stations were actually sending their signals through the air.  They still do, but they also send it to satellites that then send it to cable and satellite companies that deliver it through wires and other satellites that bring it to you.  Now that TV Broadcasters are using the Internet to distribute content, the term becomes even more nebulous.  Cable companies also sell and publish their own air-time that is most properly called cable-time.  Because both types of time amount to the same thing to the viewer, "air-time" is properly used to describe both.
Pre-vis: Short for pre-visualization, a Pre-vis is a low quality animation created for the purpose of visualizing a script before work begins on production.  Issues of scene timing, pace and potential impact can be evaluated.  Similar in use to a Storyboard.
Storyboard: A linear series of still illustrations, hand drawn or computer generated, for the purpose of visualizing a script.  Helps in determining the timing and pacing and potential impact of the script.  Similar in use to a Pre-vis.
CGI: Short for Computer Generated Image.  Commonly used in refering to digital Visual Effects.
Editor: The artist with the skills and responsibility to assemble all the elements (acquisition, voice-over, music, graphics) of a video or film project.  Formerly done linearly on tape and film, now done digitally with the aid of very sophisticated software.  The Editor will work closely with the Producer/Director and the Client to fine-tune and finalize the project.
Creative Director:  A job title in production and advertising usually indicating the person in charge of all creative departments and projects.  This guy is usually the boss and may end up being your Writer/Producer/Director.
Capturing:  The act of transfering raw video from a recording medium such as tape or disk to a hard drive on a computer for editing and Postproduction.
Talking-Head: The simplest way to make a video presentation using live Talent.  Usually framed in a head shot, thus the name, the Talent talks to the camera.
Archiving:  The process by which video and audio is saved and stored for future use and posterity.  Digital production files are usually burned to disk for this purpose.
Rendering: The process by which a computer application generates a new file (in our case audio and video) that represents a preview or becomes the finished version of a project, accomplished through computer processing.  Example: "The computer is rendering your project now".
Transcoding:  The process by which a digital file (in our case, audio and video) is changed to a different kind of file through the use of a codec.
Local Access: All local cable franchises are required by law to provide access to channels on their system devoted to local programing, both free and commercial.  Anyone can have the opportunity to have a local show on cable.  The commercial Local Access channels can provide an advertising opportunity that can be niche-specific on a local level and very inexpensive.
Avail: From the word "available", in Broadcast and Cable TV, blocks of time made available for the use of playing Commercials, Promos, Public Service Announcments and Programs.  Example: We have three Avails left for that time period.