We use video terminology all of the time on our blog and in our easy video editor so we thought it was time we put a glossary together. Bookmark this page as a handy resource to help refresh or level-up your video expertise.
We could give you a 10-page blog that lists A-Z of every video term out there, but you can Google that if you want. Instead, we’ve selected the most important terms and definitions here in our video editing terminology glossary, so you don’t have to.
We’ve even broken it down into camera terms, video editing terms, videographer terms, video terminology, and video production definitions.
Let’s start with 101: What is video?
Well, back in 1979, Video Killed The Radio Star, pictures came and broke your heart… Just kidding.
Unless you just landed here from space you don’t need an explanation of what a video is - but for Wikipedia’s sake, “Video is an electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting, and display of moving visual media.” See, a bit more technical than just “moving pictures”, right?
Alright, let’s get glossary with it:
Aperture - is the size of the opening within your camera lens that allows light onto the image sensor, it’s measured by f-number or f-stops.
Depth of Field (DOF) - refers to the part of your image that is in focus. A deep DOF will show nearly everything in the frame sharply in focus.
Diffusion - refers to material used on lights to reduce harsh shadows by softening light, for example, a reflector.
F-stop - a term used to describe the size of the aperture opening. The lower the F-stop number, the bigger the aperture. If the aperture is low, more light is able to reach the image sensor.
Frame Rate is the rate at which the video camera sensor captures video during one second. Typical frame rates are 24, 25, and 29.97, 30 and 50 and 60.
Hot shoe - a mounting point at the top of most cameras that allows you to attach a flash or a microphone.
ISO - a camera setting in digital cameras that controls how sensitive the sensor is to light. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the sensor is to light, allowing you to shoot video in low light or nighttime conditions. While, low ISO is used to shoot video in daylight and bright light conditions.
Macro - a lens that uses a long barrel for close focusing. Typically, a macro lens is capable of creating a reproduction ratio greater than 1:1 - I.e. really close up!
Viewfinder - the part of the camera you look through to see the shot from your lens’ field of view.
Wide angle - a lens that captures a shorter focal length than the physical body of the lens would normally permit. Wide angle lens can capture more of a subject from an equal distance than compared to a normal lens of the same size. In short, a wider view!
White balance - the process of capturing the correct colors for the type of available light - keeping your whites whiter! Just like keeping your t-shirt white, without mixing it in the wash with a rogue red sock!
Zoom lens - a lens with a ring that lets you zoom in and out between a range of focal lengths within the single lens.
Video editing terms
A-Roll - video that focuses on the main subject - a person being interviewed for example.
B-roll - extra footage that provides supporting details when editing video. This supplementary footage might be used to cut away from an interview or news report to help tell the story. In multiple camera productions, it’s the video taken by the secondary camera.
Compression - refers to reducing the amount of data in a video file. When exporting files it can take time to compress a video but it will in turn upload to the web faster, and also download quicker.
Fade - the transition between a normal image and a black screen. When you dissolve from an image to black, it’s ‘fade out’. When you dissolve from black to an image, it’s ‘fade in’. Note: ‘cross-fade’ or ‘dissolve’ is the simultaneous fade-in of one video or audio source as another fades out so that they temporarily overlap.
Jump Cut - a sudden transition, typically in a sequential clip that makes the subject appear to jump from one spot to the other.
Post-Production – aka ‘post’ is all stages of production done after the video is recorded. This might include music, editing, and special effects - which are essential in making an engaging video.
Scrub – moving the cursor or playhead across the video timeline manually.
Slide - an editing tool that allows you to move a clip to the left or right in a timeline while simultaneously trimming the two clips on either side.
Slip - a handy editing tool that simultaneously changes the in and out points of a clip in a timeline at the same time, while keeping the time span between them the same.
Transition - any visual changes between two scenes - e.g. cuts, dissolves, fades and wipes.
Wipe - transition from one shot to another, where the edge of the transition moves across the original image as a pattern or a line, exposing the new shot.
Voiceover - aka ‘VO’ is spoken audio from an unseen narrator heard above background sound or music.
Close up shot - a shot composition where the frame is filled almost entirely with the subject’s face.
Dolly - a piece of film equipment that runs on a track to create stable camera movements.
Monopod - a video camera stand with only one leg.
Pans - stable, lateral movements made with the camera.
POV (point of view) shot - a shooting technique that shows the perspective of a scene from a character or object’s position in the scenario.
Rule of Thirds - a method of composing your shot in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Tripod - a three-legged camera stand that helps shoot a still video.
Zoom shot - a shot composition that makes the subject larger or smaller within the frame by adjusting the lens to change the view of the subject while the camera itself remains still.
Bit rate - the amount of data used for each second of video. It’s generally measured in kilobits per second (kbps).
Bumper Ad - a 3-10 second video ad, usually with a clickable call-to-action. YouTube’s bumper ad is a 6 second, unskippable video ad that plays before a YouTube video.
Codec - aka “Compression Decompression” is a video compression technology used to compress data in a video file. A popular codec is H.264.
Color correction - the process where color and luminance values of video footage can be altered for color accuracy and image consistency.
Content Delivery Network (CDN) - a computer system network across the web that delivers content to end-users. Each network can contain thousands of users, which allows massive networking and makes CDN ideal for online video content marketing.
Crawl - text that moves right-to-left (in the English-speaking world) across the screen, usually on television and news programs. It usually appears at the top or bottom of a screen.
Interactive video - online video which allows viewers to manipulate the video content by clicking options. For example, users can click on a product to know more info or make a purchase, or watch the video from a different angle.
Long-form video - video footage which runs over 5 minutes. Long-form video usually refers to full-length films or TV shows.
Mid-stream Ads - ads that appear during a web video. Less popular compared to usual ads as viewers often close their browsers instead of watching these.
Motion Graphics - using animation or video to generate the false impression of movement. Compared to ‘talking head’ advertisements, motion graphics are considered more effective although a little more expensive.
Promotional Video – video content to promote or market something, such as a product, brand, or company. These videos don’t get direct revenue, but can indirectly boost sales by creating interest in the product or service.
Short-form video – video footage that is shorter than 5 minutes—typically between 30 seconds and 3 minutes—short videos make up most of the video content online.
Split screen - when more than one image fits on the screen simultaneously. Usually it’s divided into two, but there can be more.
Stop motion - an animation technique used to make still objects appear as if they were moving freely.
Talking-head - where the main action of the video involves someone talking to the camera, either directly or slightly to the side, interview style.
Timelapse - a technique where each video frame is captured at a much slower rate. When played back at normal speed, time appears to go by faster. You can also get this effect by increasing the speed of your video in an editing program.
Tracking – monitoring the online behaviour of video users, collecting data on the kind of content viewers watch, the length of video, time spent watching and the number of users a video draws.
Video SEO – Aka ‘video search engine optimization’ – the process of making the most for ranking and indexing a video on search engines.
Viral Video – online video usually delivered via email or social media which gets far-reaching attention. Touted as the most effective online video marketing media, being more engaging than traditional ads.
Vlog – a ‘video blog’ which uses talking to the camera instead of writing on a webpage.
Video production definitions
Aspect Ratio - the relationship between the width and the height of your video dimensions as a ratio. The most common aspect ratio for video is 16:9.
Lapel - a small microphone easily clipped onto a person’s clothing, usually within a foot or less of the mouth, for voice amplification.
Pixel Aspect Ratio - your video is made up of thousands of little squares called pixels. The width of each pixel relative to its height is called the pixel aspect ratio.
Resolution - measures the number of pixels a video contains both horizontally and vertically. Often referred to by just their vertical dimension: 480p, 720p or 1080p.
Teleprompter – a screen positioned in front of a person where they can read text while directly looking into a camera.
Timecode – exact time of a particular frame in a video clip. Measured in frames, seconds, minutes and hours.
Now, back to that song playing in your head… hit it!
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
In my mind and in my car
We can't rewind, we've gone too far…
Except you can rewind - and you can timelapse, jump cut, fade out, and more with our easy Video Editor! Sign up to Clipchamp today and get your video editing groove on!