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Definitions Of Video Production Terms

Introduction to Video production terms in South Africa

In most cases the terms used to describe elements of video productions are universal they can be different from country to country.

Below is a list of terms used in the video production industry.



The act of capturing the moving images with a camera. the term was originally used because actual celluloid film was used. While film is still rarely used to capture moving images and more commonly digital storage is used, the term filming is often still used. The term footage is sometimes also used. In the same way that there is rarely any actual measurement in feet of any real film, the video files are sometimes referred to as video footage.



The process of cutting, cleaning, processing, rearranging and rendering of video footage is referred to as a video edit. There are basic edits and then there are more advanced video edits. Advanced video edits may include special effects such as motion graphics, green screen or chroma keying. Color grading is sometimes part of a basic edit but is often seen as a more specialized part of the video edit.


Lighting comes in a range of types including LED, Tungsten, Florescent and even sun light. There can also be mixed lighting used in certain situations. Lighting is used to allow for the camera to have the ability to capture what is being filmed but it also works as a way to create a mood, focus on a subject or create special effects.


Just about any camera can be used for filming but to get the best results certain specifications are needed. Although in certain situations standard definition footage can still be used in a production. But this would normally be historic stock footage. Standard format video is no longer filmed. The minimum requirement is HD video or higher. These camera cam include DSLR, Micro Four Thirds, DV Cam, Pro-sumer cams, Go Pro, Drone cameras and a range of other commercial and non commercial HD cameras or 4K cameras.


Microphone in most case are either cardioid or dynamic.There are other types such as ribbon microphones but they are rarely used for film productions.

The polar patter of each microphone used will depend on the application. In most cases directional microphones are use such as shotgun microphones. In other cases where a wider angel of recording is needed a dynamic microphone may be used or a cardioid microphone with an omni-directional pattern may be used.

Audio Recorders

To capture audio correctly a digital audio recorder is needed. There are some cameras with good enough built in audio recording but many or not good enough. That is when an external digital recorder is needed such as the Zoom H5. The audio recorders in the past were analogue tape recorders such as the Nagra 4.2 – Analog Tape Machine. The audio recording  specifications are important as well as the pre-amplifier which affects the audio input quality noise floor.

Voice Over Narration

Although audio may be recorded on set for many video productions, the use of voice overs is very common. In many cases recording audio on set is not practical or necessary. This is when a voice over could work better. In a noisy environment, recording voice may be difficult if not impossible. In many situations, the edit of multiple shots would make the use of a recorded voice over in post production a much more viable option. Often voice overs simply sound better as they are mostly done by professional voice artists who are recorded in professional studios.


A script can be used for filming as well as post production voice over recording. In many cases a script will not be used because the audio is not being recorded. In this situation a shot list may take it’s place. The script can be what the presenter in the video needs to say or it can be used by the voice artist in the recording studio to present the narration for the video. The script can be part of the overall brief of the production. This brief may include a storyboard, shot list and other important information for the video.


Music can take the form of prerecorded, copyrighted or copyright free recording. It can also be a live performance that is filmed. Prerecorded music, in the form of copyright free, is the most commonly used type.

This differs from “Public Domain” or “creative commons music. Copyright free music is till purchased but can be used in commercial productions. Copyrighted music can also be used in certain productions but tends to be more expensive.

It is important to understand that “Public Domain” music does not mean any music which is in the public domain. Simply because you can buy or listen to a song does not make it “Public Domain”.

While the term may be confusing it is simply a legal definition for a very specific type of music no longer has copyright over it. Music that you hear in public or that is available to the public is not normally “Public Domain” music.