Category Archives: Shoot

Jargon Defined: Screen Recording

What is a Screen Recording? It’s just that, a video recording of your computer screen in real-time.

How do you get one made? There are tons of free apps, and on a mac you simply open QuickTime Player and on the tool bar click on file and choose ‘new screen recording” and voila!

Here a sample from my YouTube channel:

Jargon Defined: Talking-Head

A Talking-Head in context of a video shoot or video marketing is a shot where a person talks directly into camera as if addressing the viewer personally.

Not too long ago addressing an audience directly by any body but news anchors, journalists, documentarians, and politicians was frowned upon.

In ancient plays, the Greek chorus ran a running commentary on the proceedings by addressing the audience directly from the stage, which is referred to as “breaking the fourth wall”. A great example of which is Kevin Spacey’s character Frank Underwood in the Netflix series House of Cards.

With the increased use of video in corporate communications, ‘talking-heads’ today are standard operating procedure addressing thkevin-spacey-underwood-netflixeir audience in keynote speeches, training sessions, and video bulletins.


Jargon Defined: Continuity

Continuity  is the maintenance of continuous action and self-consistent detail in the various scenes of a movie, or any other audio-visual media.  The crew person  in charge of keeping continuity is a Script Supervisor, (also called continuity supervisor), who oversees the continuity of the film, including wardrobe, props, set dressing, hair, makeup, and the actions of the actors during a scene. And, sometimes the continuity mistake lies in the mis-match of time periods, as you can see in the image below.

Films and even corporate video are mostly shot out of sequence, so continuity is very important to keep up the uninterrupted flow of visual storytelling.  This is why, shooting with sunlight (moving patterns on a wall), or wearing a shawl (tends to have a life of its own), is not advisable.

Here some classic continuity mistake examples:

Jargon Defined: Tungsten Light

Lighting is an art form; just ask Rembrandt. For the sake of a quick definition: Tungsten Light is warm, or soft light, and generally used indoors. Daylight, is a colder, much brighter light.



Color temperatures are a science in itself, but basically, Tungsten Light has warmer, with orange properties and it’s temperature is around 3’200 Kelvin, whereas Daylight (also called HMI) has much higher, (5’600 K) temperature and has blue properties. Fluorescent light has yellow-green properties which is why it’s so perfectly ghastly to shoot with.

If you’re interested it’s worth perusing the color temperature link on Wikipedia. They have some rad schematics.

For a DIY-er keep these three points in mind:

  • Consumer cameras and smart phones, don’t need to be balanced for either or lighting, but LOOK and SEE what you’re shooting and pay attention to the tonality on your subjects face and skin
  • Either shoot with the light of a window and daylight balanced bulbs, or
  • Shoot in a window-less room, or at night and supplement with Tungsten light bulbs (aka, soft, or warm bulbs)

Jargon Defined: Room Tone

Room Tone is the silent sound you record after a scene is shot in a particular room, or setting, to give the editor atmospheric silence to work with.

When you watch a movie, even if nothing is being said, or nothing really can be heard, there is at least “room tone”, because if there wasn’t, it would be a very jarring experience.

If you’ve ever been to an Anechoic Chamber, like the quiet room at the Bell Labs in New Jersey you know what I’m talking about. The anechoic chamber is the loneliest and eeriest experience even if you’re in the chamber with a bunch of other people. “Quiet” isn’t “no sound”.

Jargon Defined: Lavalier Microphone

A Lavalier Microphone, or Lav, or Lav Mic, is a clip-on microphone that goes on the interviewees clothes as close to the mouth as possible.

A lav is mostly used in conjunction with a boom microphone to give the editor an alternative, and to capture sound closer to the source without much background interference.

Telephone_girl_cc-can useMy personal pet-peeve with Lav’s is when they are visible. A good sound person get’s the Lav to disappear into the folds of closing without any rustling of clothes being recorded (that’s where Dr. Scholl’s bunion cushions comes in).

[Wikipedia]: The term lavalier originally referred to jewelry in the form of a pendant worn around the neck. Its use as the name of a type of microphone originates from the 1930s, when various practical solutions to microphone use involved hanging the microphone from the neck.

Jargon Defined: B-roll

B-roll (also B roll) is supplemental footage inserted into the main footage as a cutaway to help the story along. It’s particularly helpful during interviews to illustrate what’s being said and to break up the often visually boring talking-head footage.

The explanation to where the term B-roll comes from is a bit more involved. It stems from the use of 16 mm film editing where so-called A- and B-rolls alternated shots to allow for fades and dissolves between shoots.  Somehow the term B-roll was later ‘abused’ for the conceivably less important support footage.