SCART 21-pin – connector for composite, y/c, rgb, and stereo audio. The SCART connector (Syndicat des Constructeurs d’Appareile Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs) is used for combined audio and visual interconnection. The SCART connector, also known as the Pertitel, is a multi-purpose connector for use with domestic video equipment. It provides video, audio, and control inter-connections via a standard 21-pin connection.  The SCART connector is able to carry three different types of video information:  1. Composite. The lowest quality signal carried by SCART where the luminance and chrominance information is mixed. Due to the interference between the luminance and chrominance, this is considered to be poor in quality. A standard VHS VCR would produce composite.  2. S-Video. This is a high quality type of video, sometimes incorrectly referred to as S-VHS. S-VHS is a tape recording system derived from VHS designed to be higher in quality. S-Video has luminance and chrominance information in the same way as composite, but with the two signals being separate, there is no interference.   An S-VHS VCR should have an S-Video source for optimum performance.  3. RGB. Similar to S-Video, RGB is a high quality video interface. RGB simply stands for Red, Green, and Blue. These are the colors used to represent a picture by a TV. In a domestic source a synchronization signal is also required, which would be present on the composite line.

SCSI –  small computer systems interface, a high-speed communications protocol that allows computers, samplers, and disk drives to communicate with one another. pronouce this “ess-see-ess-eye”.

SD –  1. Standard Definition video. 2. Secure Digital memory card, a tiny memory card used to make storage portable among various devices, such as car navigation systems, cellular phones, eBooks, PDAs, smartphones, digital cameras, music players, camcorders, and personal computers. An SD card features a high data transfer rate and low battery consumption, both primary considerations for portable devices. It uses flash memory to provide nonvolatile storage, which means that a power source is not required to retain stored data.

SD DVR – Secure Digital memory card Digital Video Recorder. 1. This SD DVR (Digital Video Recorder) allows you to easily record everything you see and hear from your FPV model’s camera directly to an SD card. This eliminates the need for bringing your laptop to the field for video recording. This device features and A/V input and output allowing you to connect it in-line with your FPV system. The input source will be recorded directly to the SD card, while the A/V output will carry the signal on to your TV, monitor or FPV goggles. The SD DVR even includes an IR remote control for easy setting adjustment such as resolution, video quality, volume, timer functions and more. The menu system will be displayed via the A/V output to your TV, monitor or FPV goggles.   With cloud-based DVR, which provides 500 GB of storage, you can watch DVR shows at home or take them to go, schedule or delete recordings, stream recordings from anywhere over Wi-Fi or download to your tablet or smartphone to watch. 2. These  make great hidden cameras since you don’t need to run wires or send signals to a DVR for recording. As their name implies DVR cameras contain both a camera and digital recorder inside making them ideal as self contained surveillance systems. Most of our DVR Surveillance cameras use SD cards as the recording medium since they are small, portable and can hold hours of video and audio files, and look like ordinary everyday items that have been modified with hidden cameras and recorders for discreet recording. All DVR cameras will require power to operate and many contain rechargeable batteries while others plug into a standard outlet. For short term operation of a few hours to a few days rechargeable battery devices can be used but for longer or continuous operation it’s best to use the camera that plug into an outlet.

SDII –  Sound Designer Ii, an audio file format. The native format of Digidesign’s Sound Designer II (Macintosh) Graphic Audio Waveform Editing Program.

SDS –  the MIDI Sample Dump Standard. SDS is used to transfer digital audio samples from one instrument to another over a MIDI cable.

SECAM – Séquentiel couleur à mémoire, French for Sequential Color with Memory. 1. a color television system with 625 lines per frame and 50 fields per second, developed by France and the USSR. Color difference information is transmitted sequentially on alternate lines as an fm signal. 2. Video format at 625 (formerly 819) scan lines, tape runs at 25 frames per second, or 50 half-frames per second. The standard for TV/video display in france, the middle east, much of eastern europe, and some african countries.  3. The european developed standard for encoding analog color and monochrome (black and white) video and audio television signals. The standard, fixed in the mid 1960s, reduced vertical color resolution to more closely align with human visual color acuity. There are other significant technical differences from NTSC and PAL. One of the weaknesses of SECAM later turned out to be its difficulty to be accurately edited and mixed in studios. The standard specifies line count, image refresh frequency, synchronization, modulation schemes, and composite signal encoding. See also NTSC and PAL.

SEG – Special Effects Generator.  1. the device in television used to switch between and combine various picture sources. Also called a switcher.  2. video signal processor with vast, but varying, image manipulation capabilities involving patterns and placement as well as color and texture: mixing, multiplying, shrinking, strobing, wiping, dissolving, flipping, colorizing, etc. See DVE, switcher.

sfi –  a file extension specifying Turtle Beach’s Soundstage audio format. Typically used as filename.sfi .

SMDI –  SCSI Musical Data Interchange, a specification for sending MIDI sample dumps over the SCSI bus. See SDS.

smp –  Turtle Beach’S Samplevision audio file format. Typically encountered as filename.smp.

SMPTE (society of motion picture and television engineers) – 1. a professional organization that sets standards for american motion picture and television engineering standards. 2. a color difference video format that uses a variation of the y, r-y, signal set.  3. a time code (see SMPTE time code).

SMPTE time code – Pronounced “simp-tee”.  1. time code that conforms to SMPTE standards for synchronizing film and videotape to audio tape and software-based playback systems. It consists of an eight-digit number specifying hours – minutes -seconds – frames. Each number identifies one frame on a videotape. SMPTE time code may be of either the drop-frame or non-drop frame type. In GVG editors, the SMPTE time code mode enables the editor to read either drop-frame or non-drop frame code from tape and perform calculations for either type (also called mixed time code). 2. Like pilot tone, SMPTE time code recorded on magnetic audio tape allows for frame accurate film or video synchronization during the post-production editing process. being a rectangular wave signal, it is heard as a pulse similar to that of a fax machine or dial-up modem. It has been described as an “obtrusive noise and often a fairly high level signal”.  As an example, a 1/4″ open reel tape was transferred with a two-track head to produce a quick access copy. Since the actual program was on the left channel and the pulse was only heard on the right channel, mono derivatives with just the program proved adequate. Even though the actual process of synching audio to moving image may not factor into the preservation transfer, that does not remove the need for proper playback. Capturing everything on the tape accurately requires an appropriate playback head with time code. However, even with the appropriate head, there is still a potential for crosstalk depending on the recording level of the pulse. See frame.

SMT – Surface-Mount Technology. See surface mount.

s/n – signal-to-noise ratio. 1. the relation of the strength of the desired signal to the accompanying electronic interference, the noise. if s/n is high, sounds are reproduced with less noise and pictures are reproduced clearly without snow. 2. the s/n relates how much stronger a signal is than the background noise. usually expressed in decibels (dB). Also written snr. 3.  video s/n indicates how grainy or snowy a picture will be, plus color accuracy; audio s/n specifies amount of background tape hiss present with low- or no-volume recordings.  Higher the s/n the cleaner the playback.

snd –  sound resource. A macintosh audio file format.

SONET – Synchronous Optical Network. A telecommunications standard.

SP – Standard Play, fastest tape speed of a VHS VCR, accommodating two-hour recordings.  see EP, LP.

S/PDIF – Sony/Philips Digital Interface is a standard audio transfer file format. It is usually found on digital audio equipment such as a DAT (Digital Audio Tape) machine or audio processing device. It allows the transfer of audio from one file to another without the conversion to and from an analog format, which could degrade the signal quality. The most common connector used with an S/PDIF interface is the RCA connector, the same one used for consumer audio products. An optical connector is also sometimes used.  Currently, there are two consumer-level interfaces to transmit audio in digital format: SPDIF and HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface). SPDIF transmits only audio, but HMDI also carries digital video signal. If HDMI is a more “complete” interface, why should you use SPDIF? It’s because not all audio/video equipment has an HDMI output available. For example, a professional-grade CD player or a MiniDisc deck will have an SPDIF output available, but not an HDMI, since this equipment doesn’t produce video, only audio. Also, in certain situations (which we will talk about in the next page), you will need to carry video using the HDMI interface but audio using an SPDIF connection. Also, SPDIF cables and connectors are very thin, while HDMI cables and connectors are bulky, since they have more wires inside. The coaxial SPDIF cable is a simple mono RCA cable. See Figure 10. The optical SPDIF cable is a fiber optics. There are two kinds of optical connector. The most common is a square one (see Figure 11), but a 3.5 mm optical connector is also available . This 3.5 mm connector has the same size as a 3.5 mm headphone plug and is commonly used on laptop computers. There are also adapters for you to convert the regular square connector into a 3.5 mm one. The availability of ready-to-use SPDIF connectors will depend on the motherboard or laptop model. Looking at the rear panel of your computer, you can easily see if your computer has optical and/or coaxial SPDIF connectors. The motherboard comes with an optical SPDIF connector, or comes with both optical and coaxial SPDIF connectors. On laptops, the presence of an SPDIF output is more difficult to detect, because it is usually combined with the headphone jack, supporting the 3.5 mm optical connector. Therefore, most users think that they don’t have an SPDIF output on their laptops, while this feature may be available. You have to take a look around the headphone jack to see if the word “SPDIF” is written near it. Several laptop models,  however, won’t bring any indication that they have an SPDIF output. You will have to check on the product specifications page to see if SPDIF is listed. If it is, then the headphone jack is also an SPDIF output. There are other tricks to detect the support for SPDIF. You can try using your computer in the dark and playing a song with it to see if you can see a red light coming out of the headphone jack, indicating that there is an SPDIF interface inside. (Don’t look directly at the source of the light; it can damage your eyes.) Another trick is to see the color of the jack. If it is just green, probably the jack doesn’t have SPDIF function, but if it is black, it probably does. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers follow this scheme.

SSS – 1. Sub-Surface Scattering. The effect of light penetrating a surface and illuminating the inner layers. Very important to consider when simulating realistic skin and most other organic materials.  2. Sticky Shed Syndrome – see below.

s-trig – short trigger. Negative (-) gate trigger used in Moog synthesizers.

S-video – also known as y/c video, signal type employed with HI8 and S-VHS video formats. Transmits chrominance and luminance portions separately via multiple wires, thereby avoiding the NTSC encoding process and its inevitable picture quality degradation. Provides better color separation and a much cleaner signal than composite by keeping separate the color and picture parts of a composite-video signal.

Sub-QCIF – Sub-Quarter Common Intermediate Format, a video format for H.263 (required) and H.261 (optional) with 128 by 96 pixels, a standard size for low-resolution video clips and streaming video on mobile phones. Sub-QCIF images are 128 pixels wide and 96 pixels tall. Sub-QCIF is the smallest of the standard image sizes, being smaller than QCIF and QVGA. Sub-quarter common intermediate format is the smallest standard image size.

sabre artist – a member of the production team utilizing a combination of software programs to create special effects.

safe action area – electronic or physical markings on camera viewfinders and video monitors as the area that will be visible on most TV screens. Defined as 90% of the screen area measured from the center.

safe area – a camera’s viewfinder actually shows (and records on film stock) a greater area of the scene than will appear in the final product. Markings are etched in the viewfinder to indicate to the camera operator the extents of the “viewable” film (called the live area). An area beyond that (called the safe area) is also marked; it is in this area that the production sound mixer might direct the boom operator to place the boom microphone. In television graphics or film shot for television, the safe area is the area which is almost certain to be displayed on any television set. About 80% of the scanned area.

safe base – film base that is fire-resistant or slow burning. Acetate base film and polyester base film meet safety film standards.

safe title area – the area on a monitor defined as 80% of the screen area measured from the center. Keeping the title within this area insures that the complete title will be visible on all TV sets.

safety film –  a photographic film whose base is fire resistant or slow burning as defined by ansi and various fire codes. At the present time, the terms “safety base film,” “acetate base film” and “polyester base film” are synonymous with “safety film.”

salvo – the sending of a group of commands at the same time.

sample –  1. a digitally recorded representation of a sound; also, a single word of the data that makes up such a recording.  2. to make a digital recording.  3. A discrete value at a point in a waveform representing the audio at that point. Also the act of taking a sequence of such values. All digital audio must be sampled at discrete points. By contrast, analog audio (such as the sound from a loudspeaker) is always a continuous signal. Sample as used in multimedia, including computers and electronics, comes from the following older, and more general meanings: a small part of something intended as representative of the whole; items selected at random from a population and used to test hypotheses about the population. See sampling.

sample-and-hold –  a circuit on an analog synthesizer that, when triggered (usually by a clock pulse), looks at (samples) the voltage at its input and then passes this voltage on to its output unchanged, regardless of what the input voltage does in the meantime (the hold period), until the next trigger is received. In one familiar application, the input was a noise source and the output was connected to oscillator pitch, which caused the pitch to change in a random staircase pattern. The sample-and-hold effect is often emulated by digital synthesizers through an LFO waveshape called “random.”

sample format – also known as bit depth or word size. The number of computer bits present in each audio sample determines the dynamic range of the audio.

sample rate – measured in Hz like frequency, this represents the number of digital samples captured per second in order to represent the waveform in a digital synthesizer or sampler. Typical sample rates vary from 11kHz to 48kHz. See sampling rate.

sample reel – also called a demo or sampler reel or tape. contains samples of a person’s or company’s best video work for the purposes of marketing.

sampler –  an instrument that records and plays back samples, usually by allowing them to be distributed across a keyboard and played back at various pitches.

sampling –  the process of encoding an analog signal in digital form by reading (sampling) its level at precisely spaced intervals of time. See sample, sampling rate.

sampling rate –  the number of samples taken per second. typical sampling rates vary from 11kHz to 48kHz. 2. The frequency at which information from the original recording is sampled or collected from a continuous signal. The rate is given in hertz (Hz) which equals cycles per second. One common example is the audio cd which has a sampling rate of 44,100 Hz, or 44.1 kHz. The sampling rate for all compact disc recordings is 44.1 kHz. This means that every second of information is comprised of 44,100 individual samples. See sampling, Nyquist frequency. 2. the frequency at which an analog signal is measured and converted to a digital data.

satellite – an orbiting space vehicle containing a set of transponders that retransmit television broadcast signals back to earth receivers. A TV station licensed to rebroadcast the programming of a parent station.

satellite downlink – the communications path from a satellite to its ground station.

satellite uplink – the communications path from a ground station to its satellite.

saticon – a television pickup tube used mostly in industrial television and electronic news gathering.

saturation (chroma, chroma gain, color) – 1. the intensity of the colors in the active picture. 2. the voltage levels of the colors. 3. the degree by which the eye perceives a color as departing from a gray or white scale of the same brightness. a 100% saturated color does not contain any white; adding white reduces saturation. in NTSC and PAL video signals, the color saturation at any particular instant in the picture is conveyed by the corresponding instantaneous amplitude of the active video subcarrier. The point on the operational curve of an amplifier at which an increase in input amplitude will no longer result in an increase in amplitude at the output. 4. A term used to describe the brilliance or purity of a color. When color film images are projected at the proper brightness and without interference from stray light, colors that appear bright, deep, rich, and undiluted are said to be “saturated”.  See also my Image Glossary for more on saturation, chroma, color.

scan – one sweep of the target area in a camera tube or of the screen in a picture tube.

scan converter – device that changes scan rate of a video signal, possibly converting it from non-interlaced to interlaced  mode. Allows computer graphics to be displayed on a standard video screen, for example.

scan line – result of television’s swift scanning process which sweeps out a series of horizontal lines from left to right, then down a bit and left to right again. complete NTSC picture consists of 525 scan lines per frame.

scanline rendering – rendering technique, or family of algorithms, that renders a scene one row of pixels (or scanline) at a time. It works on a row-by-row basis rather than a polygon-by-polygon or pixel-by-pixel basis.

scan rate – number of times a screen is “redrawn” per second. Computer displays operate at different scan rates than standard video.

scan resolution –  the number of pixels acquired from the original camera negative. Film scanning has three popular resolutions, full (4k), half (2k), and quarter (1k).

scanner – 1. a device for scanning images and converting them into an electronic signal in a standard image or video format. 2. a device used to digitize films and images. Each film frames yields a separate digital image file.

scanning – The process of converting a hard copy into digital data ready for editing and design. The quality of the scan is dependent on the quality of the original, the scanning equipment and software as well as the experience of the operator!

scene – 1. in the language of moving images, a sequence of related shots usually constituting action in one particular location. 2. a continuous block of storytelling either set in a single location or following a particular character. The end of a scene is typically marked by a change in location, style, or time.  3. a segment of a film that depicts a single situation or incident. See shot.

scenic artist – a member of the crew responsible for work which includes the preparation, painting and/or coloration of all textures, plastering, appliqueing on scenery, sets, and properties; the application of all decorative wall or surface coverings; all lettering and sign work (including signs and murals; miniature sets and/or models and properties and the painting and aging in the (construction) studio or on the set of costumes and costume accessories as specified by the costume designer.

schematic – a diagram of the electrical scheme of a circuit with components represented by graphic symbols.

score – the musical component of a movie’s soundtrack. many scores are written specifically for movies by composers.

scratches – non-photographic blemishes on the film emulsion or base.

screen (tint) – In graphic arts, a uniform dotted fill pattern, described in percentage (for example, 50 percent screen).

screen font – Low-resolution (that is, screen resolution) bitmaps of type characters that show the positioning and size of characters on the screen. As opposed to the printer font, which may be high-resolution bitmaps or font outline masters.

screen printing – This is a process where the ink is transferred to the printing surface by being squeezed through a fine fabric sheet stretched on a frame. The screen carries a stencil that defines the image area. The process can be manual or mechanical but is most suitable for short runs. Screen printing is usually used for large poster work and display material. It comes into its own when printing to difficult or unusual surfaces such as clothing or plastic objects. It is often referred to as silkscreen printing although the screens are generally made from artificial fibers.

screen test – a form of audition in which an actor performs a particular role on camera, not necessarily with the correct makeup or on the set.

screening – an exhibition of a movie, typically at a cinema. see also feature presentation, supporting feature, double bill, trailer.

screenplay – a script written to be produced as a movie.

screenwriter – a writer who either adapts an existing work for production as a movie, or creates a new screenplay.

scrim – lighting accessory made of wire mesh, lessens intensity of light source without softening it. Half scrims and graduated scrims reduce illumination in more specific areas.

script – a general term for a written work detailing story, setting, and dialogue. A script may take the form of a screenplay, shooting script, lined script, continuity script, or a spec script. a script is often sold for a particular price, which is increased to a second price if the script is produced as a movie. for example, a sale may be described as “$100,000 against $250,000”. In that case, the writer is paid $100,000 up front, and another $150,000 when the movie is produced.  2. Text specifying content of a production or performance, used as a guide. may include character and setting profiles, production directives (audio, lighting, scenery, camera moves), as well as dialogue to be recited by talent.  See also advance, storyboard.  3. Connected, flowing letters resembling hand writing with pen or quill. Either slanted or upright. Sometimes with a left-hand slant.

script department – the section of a production’s crew responsible for the script of a movie. consists of writers, script editors,and prompters.

script editing – also script editor, script doctor, story editor. a process whereby a script is reviewed and changed, based on input from various sources such as the director or producer. Writers who specialize in script editing are called “script doctors”, and are frequently uncredited.

Script Supervisor – a person who tracks which parts have been filmed, how the filmed scenes deviated from the script; they also make continuity notes, creating a lined script.

scrub – to move backward and forward through an audio waveform under manual control, in order to find a precise point in the wave for editing purposes.

SDI spike – this artifact was initially seen without an audio dropout, but later occurred with a loss of audio multiplexed with the video over a SMPTE-259M SDI line. The cause of the artifact has been traced to interference in the output of an SDI switch receiving several multiplexed SDI signals. This artifact occurs intermittently, with as few as one frame affected per 90 minutes of SDI transmission. The actual cause of the interference is still under review, but the manufacturer of the switch has proposed the following possible causes, cable or connector fault in an integrated system; static electricity interference in the area where the SDI transmission is taking place; motor starting or stopping in the vicinity (e.g. heating/cooling, elevator, pump); solenoid activating or deactivating, such as another tape transport control starting or stopping; flash photography in the immediate area of the SDI line; or cell phone transmitter or walkie-talkie located near the SDI line. Since the SDI line is disrupted during video capture, the artifact is recorded in the resulting file and cannot be removed using a non-destructive method.

seamstress – a person who makes the costumes.

Second Assistant Camera – also 2nd Assistant Camera, 2nd Assistant Cameraman, Second Assistant Cameraman. An Assistant to the Assistant Cameraman.

Second Assistant Director – also 2nd Assistant Director. An Assistant to the Assistant Director. Duties include overseeing the movements of the cast, and preparing call sheets.

Second Second Assistant Director – Also 2nd 2nd Assistant Director, Third Assistant Director, 3rd Assistant Director:  An Assistant To The Second Assistant Director; responsible for (among other things) directing the movements of extras.

Second Unit – also 2nd Unit. A small, subordinate crew responsible for filming shots of less importance, such as inserts, crowds, scenery, etc.

Second Unit Director – also 2nd Unit Director. The Director of the Second Unit.

secondary color correction – selection and manipulation of specific portions of the color spectrum or objects without affecting the overall color balance of the scene.

section – A folded sheet that is assembled with others to make up a book. For example an A2 sheet will provide a section of eight A4 pages when folded twice. A 20-page booklet would therefore require two 8-page sections and one 4-page section. These sections are then saddle-stitched together. Larger booklets of, say, more than sixty pages could be perfect bound.

selective focus – adjusting camera focus to emphasize desired subject(s) in a shot. Selected area maintains clarity, image sharpness while remainder of image blurs. Useful for directing viewer’s attention.

sensitivity – degree of responsiveness of a film to light. Also the ability of a device, such as a camera or microphone, to sense intelligible information and convert it into a usable electronic signal.

sensitometer –  an instrument with which a photographic emulsion is given a graduated series of exposures to light of controlled spectral quality, intensity, and duration. Depending upon whether the exposures vary in brightness or duration, the instrument may be called an intensity scale or a time scale sensitometer.

sensitometric curve – see characteristic curve.

sensitometry – study of the response of photographic emulsions to light.

separation masters –  three separate black and white master positives made from one color negative; one contains the red record, another the green record, and the third the blue record.

sepia – brassy “antique” look characteristic of old photographs. for video images, tone achieved with a special lens filter or electronically with an SEG.

sequel – a movie that presents the continuation of characters and/or events of a previously filmed movie. See also series, serial.

sequence — a sequencer’s music performance instructions, a set of music performance commands (notes and controller data) stored in a sequencer.

sequencer – 1. A hardware device, software application or module used to arrange and sequence timed events into musical patterns and songs. An analog sequencer uses control voltages and gate triggers to control vintage analog devices. A digital sequencer usually uses MIDI and has more advanced capabilities than an analog sequencer.  2. In digital audio recording, a sequencer is a program in a computer or stand-alone keyboard unit that puts together a sound sequence from a series (or sequence) of Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) events (operations). The MIDI sequencer allows the user to record and edit a musical performance without using an audio-based input source. The performance is recorded as a series of events that would ordinarily be played in from a keyboard instrument. The MIDI sequencer does not record the actual audio, but rather the events related to the performance – what note was played at what time, how hard the key was pressed, when did the sustain pedal get depressed, and so forth. This data is then played back into a MIDI instrument or sound module. Using this method, the performer can select a sound for a musical passage and later decide that the passage would work better as an different sound. The editor can simply changes the sound program on the MIDI keyboard to alter the sound without needing to rerecord the entire performance. Using sound modules and keyboards that can respond on different MIDI channels, the player can layer the sounds of different instruments to create the illusion of an entire band or orchestra.  3.  It’s often convenient to visualize a sequencer as being analogous to a multitrack tape recorder, and indeed, the ‘layers’ or parts of a sequence are recorded onto tracks, but it is vitally important to understand that what is being recorded is not the sound itself, but the electronic equivalent of a musical score. Just as a musical score is a series of instructions to the musicians, a MIDI sequence holds a series of instructions which tell your synths what to play. In some ways, a better analogy might be the player piano or pianola, where a punched paper roll holds the instructions that make the piano play, except in the case of MIDI, you have a multitrack, a virtual ‘paper roll’ capable of controlling many instruments at the same time.In a typical setup, a MIDI instrument (usually, but not invariably, a keyboard) is connected to a sequencer via a MIDI cable, and when the sequencer is set to record, any notes played on the keyboard are recorded as MIDI data into whichever sequencer track has been selected for recording. In a simple system, you might have 16 MIDI tracks set up so that each is on a different MIDI channel, and if you feed the MIDI output of the sequencer to a 16-part multitimbral sound module, you can play back all 16 tracks at once. If you only have an 8-part multitimbral module, then you can only play back eight different sounds at once, in the same way that a real-life string quartet can only play four lines of music at the same time. To avoid having to switch the MIDI send channel on your keyboard every time you want to record onto a new sequencer track, modern sequencers convert the incoming MIDI data to the appropriate channel for the track you’re recording on. This makes life very easy, because once you’ve completed one track, all you need do is select the next one and carry on playing. The remaining capabilities of a MIDI sequencer bear more resemblance to a word processor than anything else. Like a word processor, you can delete or replace wrong characters (in this case, musical notes) and if you want to use the same phrase more than once, you can copy it and paste copies into new locations to save having to do the same thing lots of times. For example, if a song has the same structure for each chorus, you only need play the chorus once, then copy it to any place in the sequence where you’d like another chorus to appear. Of course, there’s more to MIDI data than notes, and a sequencer will record just about any MIDI data you throw at it, with the exception of MIDI clock — a sequencer has its own timing clock. Nevertheless, you can synchronise a sequencer to an external source if you wish, such as a tape machine (via a suitable sync box) or to a MIDI drum machine. Unless you deliberately filter out certain types of MIDI data, you’ll find that your sequencer captures Note On/Off, Pitch, Velocity, Aftertouch and Controller information as well as MIDI Program Changes and even System Exclusive (SysEx) data. It is possible to record a SysEx dump of all your synth sounds at the start of a song, so that when you first play the sequence, your synths are automatically loaded up with the appropriate set of new sounds to play that particular musical sequence. A MIDI Program Change command recorded during the count-in period of a track will ensure that the connected synth switches to the correct sound patch before playback commences, but you can also insert Program Changes part way through a track (as many times as you like) if you want the sound to change for, say, a solo. This is the orchestral equivalent of writing a note on the score at a certain bar number to tell a violin player to put down his violin and play the next part on a flute! This isn’t something you’d usually do in real life, but a MIDI sound module is equally proficient on all instruments and, as yet, MIDI modules don’t have trade unions! When your sequence is played back, the sequencer transmits the MIDI information to the receiving synth(s) — or sampler, drum machine, and so on — in exactly the same order, and with the same timing as you originally played it. If you so wish, you can change the tempo after recording without affecting the pitch (unlike a tape recorder, where you’re dealing with sound rather than MIDI data). If you’re still not sure why the pitch doesn’t increase as the tempo goes up, think back to the orchestra and score analogy; if the conductor asks for a piece to be played faster, the orchestral instruments don’t change in pitch. Similarly, if you pedal a pianola faster, the paper roll will be played faster but the piano’s tuning will remain the same. In reality, MIDI does have a finite timing resolution, because the sequencer or computer sending the MIDI information has to work to an internal timing routine based on an electronic clock. However, in practice,MIDI is far more accurate than a typical human performer, and is capable of resolving a bar of music into at least 960 time divisions, and frequently more. See also MIDI-thru, and all-notes-off.

serial – 1. a multipart film that usually screened a chapter each week at a cinema. The story structure usually has each chapter ending with a cliffhanger to ensure the audience would like to watch following chapter at its release. Contrast with series. 2. time-sequential transmission of data along a single wire. Analogous to a railroad train, where each car (data bit) follows the other in single file. Serial interface computer data moves through a single line bit by bit.

serial control panel – a control panel separate from the switcher (for example, a routing switcher) that communicates with the switcher via a serial connection.

serial digital – digital information that is transmitted in serial form. Often used informally to refer to serial digital television signals.

serial interface – a digital communications interface in which data is transmitted and received sequentially rather than several bits at a time, along a single wire or pair of wires. Common serial interface standards are RS232 and RS422. MIDI is a serial interface. compare with Parallel interface.

servo – an electronic circuit used to control the speed of a motor which drives a videotape recorder head assembly drum, which must be controlled with great precision.

servo lock – in a VTR, to lock (or synchronize) the operation of the servomechanisms to a reference sync signal.

set – an environment used for filming. When used in contrast to location, it refers to one artificially constructed. A set typically is not a complete or accurate replica of the environment as defined by the script, but is carefully constructed to make filming easier but still appear natural when viewed from the camera angle.


Set Decorator – also Set Decoration. A person who has total charge of decorating the set with all furnishings, drapery, interior plants, and anything seen on indoor or outdoor sets. The Set Decorator has authority over a Leadman. See also Set Dresser.

Set Designer – the person responsible for translating a production designer’s vision of the movie’s environment into a set which can be used for filming. The Set Designer reports to the Art Director.

Set Dresser – a person who maintains the set per the Set Decorator’s requirements, placing elements such as curtains and paintings, and moves and resets the set decoration to accommodate camera, grip and lighting setups. Contrast with Set Decorator, Property Master. Responsible for set continuity with Script Supervisor and Property Master.

Set Medic – the set medic provides for the medical needs and emergency medical logistics of the entire cast and crew and is the safety liaison between production/construction and various agencies. This person may be an Emergency Medical Technician, Paramedic, Nurse, or Physician. Most often the Set Medic is involved in the production from the beginning of pre-production or construction through filming or production through striking the set or post-production.

set-off – A printing fault where ink transfers from a sheet to the one below as it leaves the press creating an undesirable ghost image. This can be cured if necessary by interleaving. The machine minder should be able to correct the problem.

set solid (typesetting) – type set without line spacing (leading) between the lines. Type is often set with extra space; egg 9 point set on 10 point.

shader – shading model. A computer program used to determine the final surface properties of an object or image. This often includes arbitrarily complex descriptions of light absorption, diffusion, texture mapping, reflection, refraction, shadowing, surface displacement and post-processing effects. In real-time shading languages there are two different applications of shaders: vertex shaders and pixel shaders. Shader also means the algorithm to produce color across the surface of an object.  Basically, the shader incorporates the surface normal information, and the topology of the object surface; the general surface attributes, such as transparency and color;  the surface reflectance attributes, or how much the object reflects its surroundings; and the lighting model,how many lights of what type from what direction illuminate a particular object. Different types of shaders include  1. constant or uniform, the simplest possible shader, which includes only the surface color, which is constant across the surface. Surface normal, reflectance and lighting information are not calculated at all. Useful with texture mapped surfaces when it is preferred to reproduce the image texture on the object, as closely to the original color as possible.  2. Lambert, which calculates surface by interpolating between normals of two adjacent polygon normals, resulting in a smoothly shaded object. The surface reflectance is not incorporated, which yields Lambert shader suitable for matte surfaces with unpolished, chalk-like look. This shader is based on the Lambert’s cosine law discovered by Johan Lambert, a Sixteenth-Century Astronomer and Physicist. Lambert’s Cosine Law simply states that the intensity of light on a surface is proportional to the angle at which the light hits the surface.  3. Gouraud, which calculates surface by linearly interpolating between normals of adjacent polygons. Gouraud shader is a simplified version of Lambert shader and is especially suitable for real-time rendering on graphics hardware, i.e hardware rendering. Developed by Henri Gouraud in 1971.  4. Phong, calculates the normal separately for every pixel on the surface and also processes the relation between normal, direction of the light source and the direction of the camera’s point of view. This method gives a much better surface curvature. Phong is best suited for plastic materials;though much more computationally expensive than Lambert or Gouraud, phong is the most popular shading method today. developed by Bui Tuong Phong in 1973. 5. Blinn shading calculates surface very much like Phong, except that the shape of the specular highlight reflects the actual lighting more accurately. Suitable for metallic materials. Developed by James (Jim) Blinn.

shadow detail –  a combination of three other image attributes, toe speed, black-level speed, and low toe contrast.  An improvement in any of the attributes should lead to an improvement in shadow detail; though it can be difficult to describe shadow detail when a film has an advantage in one of the categories but a disadvantage in others.

sharpness –  visual sensation of the abruptness of an edge; clarity.

shock mount – a support for a microphone which used rubber or foam supports to isolate the mic from vibrations which can appear as low frequency rumble in the audio.

shooting ratio – the ratio between how much film was shot versus how much was used in the final version on the film; also the amount of film purchased to shoot the film, versus the amount of film that remains in the completed print. Therefore the amount of raw footage recorded relative to the amount used in edited, finished program.

shooting script – the script from which a movie is made. Usually contains numbered scenes and technical notes. See also lined script.

short pitch – the perforation pitch of a negative stock, which is somewhat shorter than the pitch of positive stock to avoid slippage in contact printing. See perforation pitch.

shot – 1. all pictorial material recorded by a camera. More strictly speaking, shots are intentional, isolated camera views which collectively comprise a scene. 2. a continuous block of unedited footage from a single point of view. See also scene, take, frame rate.

shot composition – the arrangement of key elements within the frame. See also shot selection.

shot list – a list given to the film production crew which indicates the sequence of scenes being shot for the day. This list may include the scene number, the location of where the scene is being shot, a description of the scene, the length of a scene (listed by number of pages from the script), a list of actors who will be involved in the scene, and, special notes to all departments of what will be needed or required for a particular scene being shot.

shot selection – also camera angle. The location of the camera, and what can be seen with it. See also shot composition, POV, mise-en-scene.

shot/reverse shot – a sequence of three shots –  1) a person’s face; 2) what that person is looking at; and 3) the person again, giving the audience a chance to process the person’s reaction to what (or who) s/he is seeing. See also reverse shot.

shotgun – highly directional microphone with long “barrel,” designed to pick up sound from extreme subject-to-mike distances.

shotgun microphone – a unidirectional microphone with a narrow pickup pattern.

shoulder – high density portion of a characteristic curve in which the slope changes with constant changes in exposure. For negative films, slope decreases and further changes in exposure (log h)finally produce no increase in density because maximum density has been reached. For reversal films, slope increases.

shrinkage – reduction in the dimensions of motion picture film caused by loss of moisture, support plasticizers, and solvents, as well as heat, use and age.

shutter –  in theatrical projection, a two-bladed rotating device used to interrupt the light source while the film is being pulled down into the projector gate. One blade masks the pulldown while the other blade causes an additional light interruption increasing the flicker frequency to 48 cycles per second a level that is not objectionable to the viewer at the recommended screen brightness of 16 foot-lamberts (55 candelas per square meter). In a camera, a rotating disk with a section removed.

shutter speed – the length of time for which the shutter stays open, and therefore the length of time that a single frame is exposed for. The higher the shutter speed is, the more clearly a moving object can be shot. Slower shutter speeds allow more light to enter the camera, but allow more motion blur.  2. Non-film: the shutter electronically controls the amount of time that light passing through a lens exposes onto the CCD. Most camcorders are set at a shutter speed of 1/50 sec, with fast shutter speeds varying from 1/120 sec through to 1/10,000 sec. The higher the speed the more precise the detail and the less blur noticeable. See also aperture, depth of field, go motion.

slow motion –  the process of photographing a subject at a faster frame rate than used in projection to expand the time element.

sibilance – excessive amount of vocal hiss when consonants such as “s” are spoken.

sidebands –  frequency components outside the natural harmonic series, generally introduced to the tone by using an audio-range wave for modulation. see Clangorous.

sign writer – the person in charge of writing and making signs shown in a production; possibly part of the set designer’s team.

signal generator – a test oscillator that can be adjusted to provide a test signal at some desired frequency, voltage, modulation, and waveform.

silver halides – light sensitive compound used in film emulsions.

silent film – a film that has no synchronized soundtrack and no spoken dialogue. It was a form predominate in film until the late 1920’s when practical synchronized soundtrack technology was developed and its use became popular. See also inter-titles.

silk – a large section of translucent white cloth used to filter and soften a hard-light source.

Siloxane D5 – Cyclopentasiloxane, decamethyl-D5, also known as cyclopentasiloxane, decamethyl-, is an industrial chemical.D5 is found or used in the manufacture of a wide variety of products. The predominant use of D5 worldwide and in Canada is in blending and formulating consumer products. D5 is also used in manufacturing silicone polymers. D5 is used in personal care products such as hair/skin care products, antiperspirants and deodorants. Silicone polymers are also used in industrial processes (for example, as surfactants in certain pesticide products and as defoamers), in lubricants, cleaning products, sealants, adhesives, waxes, polishes and coatings. An increasing number of commercial dry cleaners in Canada use D5 as a dry-cleaning fluid.  See soft binder syndrome.

silver halides –  light-sensitive compound used in film emulsions.

silver recovery – reclaiming the silver from processing solutions. Primarily from the fix.

sine wave – an oscillator’s signal that causes the voltage to ascend and descend evenly and rises and falls smoothly and symmetrically, following the trigonometric formula for the sine function. Sub-audio sine waves are used to modulate other wave-forms to produce vibrato and tremolo. Audio-range sine waves contain only the fundamental frequency, with no overtones, and thus can form the ‘building blocks’ for more complex sounds.

singer – a featured vocalist; often the person who sings a film’s theme song.

Singing Voice – someone who performs an actor’s vocal parts. Marni Nixon was the singing voice for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady (1964); during post-production, Nixon’s voice was dubbed over Hepburn’s for the musical numbers.

single perforation film – film with perforation along one edge only.

single-step mode –  a method of loading events (such as notes) into memory one event at a time. Also called step mode and step-time. Compare with real time.

size – a solution based on starch or casein that is added to the paper to reduce ink absorbency.

sketch – an short scene that typically lasts less than 15 minutes that is typically shown as part of a TV series’ content. It is typically used in comedies that feature these productions such as “Saturday Night Live” (1975) and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” (1969).

skew error – tape is susceptible to expansion and shrinkage, and these dimensional changes affect the length and angle of the recorded tracks. On playback, the loss of correspondence between the track position and the playback head results in a skewed picture. A skew error shows as a hooking in the picture at the top  or bottom  of the TV monitor. If the picture hooks to the left, the video track on the tape is longer than the playback track length of the machine. If the picture hooks to the right, the video track on the tape is shorter than the playback length of the machine. Audio may also be affected. Even if there is no actual image error, it is possible to see, at the bottom of the uncropped image (i.e. in underscan mode), a slight, jittery line displacement immediately below the head switching point. If the symptom is very pronounced, the skewing will also appear along the top edge of the image, where it becomes visible as a disruptive skew error. Some VTRs have skew controls that allow for minor adjustments in tape tension, most notably, several models of U-matic machines and some 1/2″ open reel models. Otherwise, skew error may be minimized through the use of a good time base corrector (TBC). It may also require an alignment adjustment or back tension adjustment in the player equipment, but be careful –  this kind of tinkering should be done by a trained technician and not performed on equipment used for recording. See lengthwise tape expansion or shrinkage.

skivings – fine thread like particles found in the vicinity of the projector gate; caused by physical abrasion against a sharp burr or nick on a film path component or any roller that might come in contact with the edge of the film.

skylight – or haze (UV) filter mounted at front of camcorder lens, virtually clear glass absorbs ultraviolet light. Also excellent as constant lens protector. See filter.

slate – the recorded identification of scene and take numbers, usually done with a clapboard, on which script information, such as scene and shot numbers, is written. The slate is then filmed at the beginning of each shot to make the editor’s job easier. Most takes are identified at the beginning; a “tail slate” marks the end instead. Also used in an audition, to identify an actor’s name, representation (if any), and the scene they will be performing in the audition.

sleeper – also sleeper hit. An unpromising or unpublicized movie that suddenly attains prominence and success.

slow motion – also slow mo, slow-mo. A shot in which time appears to move more slowly than normal. The process is commonly achieved by either repeating frames (see also freeze frame), or by over-cranking. See also motion artifact, judder, frame rate, contrast with stop motion.

slug line – also slug. A header appearing in a script before each scene or shot detailing the location, date, and time that the following action is intended to occur in.

slurring – a smearing of the image, caused by paper slipping during the impression stage.

snapshot automation –  a form of mixing automation (frequently MIDI-controlled)in which the controlling device records the instantaneous settings (the snapshot) for all levels and pan pots, and recalls these settings on cue.

Snap-to (guide or rules) – a WYSIWYG program feature for accurately aligning text or graphics. The effect is exercised by various non-printing guidelines such as column guides, margin guides that automatically places the text or graphics in the correct position flush to the column guide when activated by the mouse. The feature is optional and can be turned off.

sneak preview – also preview. An unannounced screening of a movie before the premiere, often used to gauge audience reaction and feedBack for final editing. See also focus group.

snoot – open-ended cylindrical funnel mounted on a light source to project a narrow, concentrated circle of illumination.

snow – electronic picture interference; video noise. Resembles scattered snow on the television screen. Synonymous with chroma and luma noise.

soft –  1. as applied to a photographic emulsion or developer, having a low contrast. 2. as applied to the lighting of a set, diffuse, giving a flat scene in which the brightness difference between highlights and shadows is small. 3. any light which is diffused and creates very soft shadows.

Soft Binder Syndrome – a term suggested to describe the type of media degradation that has previously been called Sticky Shed Syndrome or Loss of Lubricant. The stick-slip action that causes squealing as the tape
moves across the playback head, believed to be caused by a soft binder, is symptomatic of both SSS (Sticky Shed Syndrome) and LOL (Loss Of Lubricant). 1. Sticky Shed Syndrome. Open reel polyester tapes with back-coating manufactured since the 1970s commonly suffer from binder breakdown due to the absorption of moisture (hydrolysis). SSS can be tested for prior to playback by slowly unraveling the reel, and seeing whether the tape comes cleanly off the pack or if it sticks. If a tape suffering from SSS is played back, the heads and guides will quickly accumulate deposit, reducing high frequency response and often producing an audible squeal. Playback in this condition WILL DAMAGE the tape. 2. Loss of lubricant may not be entirely accurate when describing non-SSS tapes that squeal, since lubricant is likely not the issue. In broad terms, Loss of lubricant has been used for tapes that do not respond to incubation. This is confusing as tapes which squeal and do not respond to incubation have been shown to be carrying a normal lubricant load. If the squeal makes its way into a digitized file, there is no solution at this time to correct the frequency modulated of the desired signal. There are methods, however, to prevent the squeal from occurring during playback. For Sticky Shed Syndrome: Removing moisture from the tape pack will get the tape to a playable state for digitization, which can be achieved by: baking the tape in a scientific oven; baking the tape in a vacuum oven; or dehydrating the tape in a food dehydrator. Cooking times and temperatures vary, and can depend on the severity of the hydrolysis. 131 degrees Fahrenheit (+/- a few degrees) with an incubation time of 8-10 hours is a good place to start. Tape baking is a process first proposed by Ampex engineers upon learning of SSS. Ampex patented this process, but it has lapsed in the U.S.A. Ironically, the treatment violates the terms of warranty one enjoyed when first purchasing an Ampex tape. In the decades since proposing this remedy, other methods for fixing a tape have been employed, but baking or dehydrating remains the industry standard method. Squealing tapes that do not respond to baking: Unfortunately there is no straightforward fix for a tape exhibiting Loss of Lubricant. The fix involves hardening the magnetic coating of the tape, or reducing friction between the tape and everything it touches during playback. Current options include, but are not limited to: Cold playback, lowering the ambient temperature to the tape’s glass transition temperature, i.e. playing the tape back in a fridge; holding a q-tip continually moistened with D5 siloxane against the tape during playback; and creating a steady isopropyl alcohol drip to cool and lubricate the tape during playback. These techniques employ slightly different mechanisms. Cold playback works by playing the coating at a temperature where it is harder. D5 decreases the friction between the tape and the head. Wet playback with isopropyl alcohol decreases friction and lowers the temperature, helping to harden the coating.  All tape suffers to some degree of stick-slip, but it is usually called “scrape flutter”. When the squealing becomes audible, the scrape flutter has massively increased, but it is the same mechanism.

soft or discretionary hyphen – a specially coded hyphen that is only displayed when formatting of the hyphenated word puts it at the end of a line.

solarization – 1. electronic special effect distorting a video image’s original colors, emphasizing some and de-emphasizing others for a “paint brush” effect.  See DVE.  2. A photographic image in which both blacks and whites appear black, while midtones approach white.

solvent – A (usually) liquid substance which is able to solve (dissolve) another substance, either for cleaning, thinning, mixing, or some particular step in an art technique. Common solvents include water (especially when soapy), turpentine and paint thinner, (denatured) alcohol, acetone, lacquer thinner, toluene, xylene, plastic cement (model airplane cement), and naphtha. Solvents are commonly available at hardware stores, as well as at art supply stores. All solvents can be dangerous — most are toxic, volatile, and flammable — so be sure to study their labels carefully, in order to handle, store, and dispose of them properly. Keep them out of the reach of children. The exception to liquid solvents is the solvent for encaustic, which is heat.

song position pointer – SPP. MIDI information indicating the number of sixteenth-notes that played since the selection started. An SPP message is generally sent in conjunction with a continue message in order to start playback from the middle of a song.

Sony Dynamic Digital Sound – also SDDS. Sony has produced a noise reduction and sound enhancement process. Competitors include Dolby Digital and DTS.

sorenson 3 – moderate compression, can be high quality. Found in quicktime files with extension movs. Common for web downloads (e.g. apple’s movie trailer site).

sostenuto pedal – maintains notes held down when the pedal is depressed. Found on the grand piano and mimicked on some synthesizers, with which notes are sustained only if they are already being held on the keyboard at the moment when the pedal is pressed. Compare with sustain pedal.

sound bite – any recorded video or audio-only segment salvageable for use in edited program, usually a highlight phrase or event. Common component of broadcast news.

soundcard –  a circuit board that installs inside a computer adding new sound capabilities. These capabilities can include an FM or wavetable synthesizer and audio inputs and outputs. MIDI inputs and outputs are also normally included.

Sound Crew – also Sound, Sound Engineer, Sound Assistant. The group of crew members directly involved with creating of a movie’s soundtrack. Individual job titles include Sound Designer, Sound Editor, Sound Effects, Sound Mixer, Sound Recordist, Boom Operator, Re-Recording Mixer, Music Supervisor, And Foley Artist. See also MPSE.

Sound Designer – the conceptual chief of a movie’s soundtrack, responsible for designing and creating the audio component of a movie.

Sound Editor – a member of the sound crew who performs editing on the soundtrack. See also Dialog Editor.

sound effects – sounds added during post-production by the sound crew. also used as a job title. Contrived audio, usually prerecorded, incorporated with a video soundtrack to resemble the real thing.

Sound Effects Editor – a sound editor who specializes in editing sound effects.

sound mix – also mix. The process of recording the production sound on the set at the time of shooting.

Sound Mixer – an audio engineer who works with a Boom Operator to record the production sound on the set at the time of shooting.

sound negative –  the negative record of photographic sound recording.

sound positive –  a positive print of the photographic sound recording film.

sound recordist – see tape recorder operator.

soundstage – a large area (usually in a studio) where elaborate sets may be constructed. Soundstages allow filmmakers greater control over factors such as sound, lighting, temperature, spectators, and security.

soundtrack – the audio portion of a video recording or movie, often multifaceted with voiceover, background music, sound effects, etc. In film the industry, refers more strictly to musical score,and the  collection of songs which are heard during the movie, often sold as an album. Soundtracks can be separate (usually production or printing elements) or directly on the film (in the case of release prints and some camera originals). When on the film, a soundtrack can be optical, magnetic, or digital. Older films usually have optical soundtracks, which is a visual representation of the sound waves. film prints that showed in commercial theaters from the 1990s onward likely have both optical and digital soundtracks.

source – equipment that produces video, such as cameras, tape recorders, graphics, and character generators. In digital picture manipulators, the origin of picture information applied to the input of a digital effects processor. May consist of a video component and sometimes a key component.

source music – music that originates from a source (e.g. an orchestra, a band, a radio) within the film scene. if there’s a scene where a character turns on the radio and listens to music, that’s source music. Also known as ‘foreground music’ (as opposed to ‘background music’, i.e. the film’s score).

sourcey –  the tendency for a light source to be perceived as being artificial. This artificiality is a function of the light appearing too bright or too extreme on the subject and then dropping off in intensity very quickly.

sparkle – printed in dirt that causes white dirt in the projected image.

spaghetti western – a western filmed in Italy, many times with American leading actors. This term appeared following the appearance of Clint Eastwood in a number of Sergio Leone movies.

spatial and temporal metadata – this could be creation dates, ingestion date, modification dates, durations, event times, delays, screen position of objects, layer of object, etc.

speaking role – a speaking role is one in which the character speaks scripted dialogue. A non-speaking role is a character specifically mentioned in the script but who doesn’t have any lines of dialogue in the finished film. Speaking roles typically pay much more than non-speaking roles. While extras may or may not be heard to speak in a film, they are not included as either speaking or non-speaking roles.

spec script – a script written before any agreement has been entered into (“on spec” or speculation), in hopes of selling the script to the highest bidder once it has been completed.

special colors: This refers to colors that are produced using specially mixed inks from one of the commercially available color ranges such as Pantone, DIC or Focoltone. They are most commonly used when using Two Color Printing.
To print colors outside the range of four-color process it is necessary to use special inks. If for example the exact color of a company logo could not be achieved from a CMYK mix then it would be necessary to print a fifth plate with the special ink. It is not unusual, where an elaborate effect is required, to print in six or more colors. There are presses that are capable of printing eight different plates in a single run through the machine. It is worth bearing in mind when choosing a color for a company logo that sooner or later you will want to print a color brochure using four-color process. A vivid ink that you have chosen from the Pantone book may not have an acceptable CMYK equivalent. You may be forced to change the company color or swallow the ongoing expense of a fifth plate.

special-dye-density curve –  a graph 1. of the total density of the three dye layers measured as a function of wavelengths, and  2. of the visual neutral densities of the combined layers similarly measured.

special effects – also SFX, Special Effects Assistant, Special Effects Technician. An artificial effect used to create an illusion in a movie. Refers to effects produced on the set, as opposed to those created in post-production. Most movie illusions are created in post production. These are called visual effects.  2. Tricks and illusions, electronic or on camera, employed in film and video to define, distort, or defy reality.

Special Effects Supervisor – also Special Effects Co-Ordinator. The Chief of a production’s Special Effects Crew.

Special Makeup Effects – an artist who combines knowledge of makeup and hair work, with technologies of mold- making and synthetic skin materials (such as foam latex, gelatin and silicone). Many have an art or sculpture background and familiarity with puppeteering, animatronics and CGI.

spectral bandwidth – in telecommunications, the spectral bandwidth for single peak devices is the difference between the wavelengths at which the radiant intensity is 50% (or 3 dB) down from the maximum value.

spectral sensitivity – the relative sensitivity of a particular emulsion to specific bands of the spectrum within the films sensitivity range. sometimes confused with color sensitivity.

spectrum –  1. range of radiant energy within which the visible spectrum- with wavelengths from 400 to 700 mm -exists.  2. presentation of a sound in terms of its component frequencies.

specular – mirrorlike.  Capable of reflecting light like a mirror; “mirrorlike surface of the lake”; “a specular metal”

speed – 1. an announcement made by either the Director Of Photography or Camera Operator indicating to the Director that the camera is operating at the correct speed. Called just after lock it down, and just before action.  2. inherent sensitivity of an emulsion to light. Represented by a number derived from a films characteristic curve or lens opening, and can be characterized in terms of absolute film sensitivity or in terms of reproduced image blacks. Absolute sensitivity is simply a measure of what level of light (exposure) begins to produce the first density signal in the film, and this is known as toe speed.  The toe speed of a film can also be interpreted by a cinematographer as underexposure latitude or shadow detail. The blackness of a positive image d-max can also be used to define speed.  Most cinematographers would describe a film with smokier blacks as slower than a film with blacker blacks given both were exposed similarly.  Black level also relates to a cinematographer’s perception of shadow detail.

speed point – the exposure required to produce a specific optical density, usually 0.1 above base + fog.

spherical – also spherical print. An optical system in which the magnifications of the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the picture are the same. See also aspect ratio, contrast with anamorphic.

splice –  any type of cement or mechanical fastening by which two separate lengths of film are united end to end so they function as a single piece of film when passing through a camera, film processing machine, or projector.

splicing – the joining together of two or more pieces of film or tape.

spline – 1. a curve shape produced on a computer or video device by connecting dots or points at various intervals along the curve.  A spline is a curve which is defined mathematically and has a set of control points. In digital picture manipulators, each key frame becomes a point on a curve and the user can control how straight or curved the path of the transformed image is as it travels through the key frame points.  2. An interpolation that produces movement between key frames along curved lines creating a smooth, flowing motion.  3.  A flexible strip (wood or rubber) used in drawing curved lines; a thin strip of wood or metal. See also slat.

spoking –  condition of magnetic tape and motion picture film where excessive pressure caused by shrinkage or too much winding tension eventually causes deformation. It is identifiable by the pack of tape or film showing radial lines emanating out from the hub of the spool like spokes.

spot color –  color not made using the CMYK process colors – instead the color is printed using a separately mixed ink – each spot color needs its own separate printing plate. Spot colors do not apply to digital printing as the printing devices can only reproduce from the four process colors; cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

spot meter –  a light meter designed to measure light reflected from the subject.

spotlight – radiates a well-defined directional beam of light, casting hard, distinct shadows. Best used to focus illumination on individual subjects, whereas floodlights blanket broader areas.

sprocket – a toothed wheel used to transport perforated motion picture film.

sprockets – a series of tiny, square holes (sprocket holes)on both edges of a piece of film fit onto notches on wheels (sprockets) similar to gears within a film projector, used to pull the film through the projector from one reel to the other.

square-wave – a square or rectangular-shaped periodic wave that alternately assumes two fixed values for equal lengths of time, the transition being negligible in comparison with the duration of each fixed value.

squib – 1. firework consisting of a tube filled with powder (as a broken firecracker) that burns with a fizzing noise).  2. a small explosive device, which when detonated will simulate the effect of a bullet/puncture wound or small explosion. When worn by actors, they typically include a container of ‘blood’ which bursts upon detonation. See also special makeup effects.

stabilizer – video signal processor used primarily for tape dubbing to eliminate picture jump and jitter, maintain stability.

stacking ring – a circular ridge used to separate the discs during the processing to stop them sticking.

stand-by painter – a scenic artist available during filming for last minute changes.

stand-in – also stand in. a person who has the same physical appearance of a particular actor, and takes their place during the lengthy setup of a scene. This allows the actor to prepare for the filming itself. Contrast with stunt double and body double.

star filter – mounted at front of camcorder lens, gives videotaped light sources a starburst effect. Generally available in four-,six-, and eight-point patterns.  See filter.

static electricity –  electric field that is present primarily due to the presence of electrical charges on materials.

status byte – a MIDI byte which shows the type of the data bytes that come after it.

steadicam – a camera attached to a camera operator via a mechanical harness which reduces or eliminates the unsteadiness of the operator’s motion.

Steadicam Operator – a camera operator who operates a steadicam.

step –  an exposure increase or decrease, usually by a factor of 2. the same as “stop”, except stop specifically refers to lens aperture. a patch of a step tablet used for sensitometer exposures, as in “21 -step tablet.”

step-contact printer –  contact printer in which the film being copied and the raw stock are advanced intermittently by frame.  Exposure occurs only when both are stationary.

stereo – sound emanating from two isolated sources, intended to simulate pattern of natural human hearing.

sticky shed syndrome (sss) –  sticky shed is a problem unique to magnetic tape; it is caused by the chemical breakdown of the magnetic tape binder or backing layer of the tape. As the binder or backing absorb moisture from the surroundings, they become sticky and often shed brown residue to equipment. During playback the tape may squeal and bind, which can damage both tapes and equipment. This process is also referred to as binder hydrolysis. See also soft binder syndrome.

still photographer – also stills photographer.  A person who photographs the action (often alongside the camera) to be used in publicizing the movie.

still store – device which stores individual video frames, either in analog or digital form, allowing extremely fast access time.

stinger – it’s a new category of soundtracks. This new type is called a “stinger” (which is very short –  3 to 8 seconds). Stingers are sounds or audio effects used to accompany short video sequences such as transitions, video effects or animated graphics. Scorefitter volume 1 includes 4 stinger categories and 10 music source tracks. Scorefitter volume 2 includes 15 music tracks. Both versions offer up to 12 variations (tempo, mood) per track, depending on the length to be generated. Dr. Jone Dae has stingers available for download, contact her at drjonedae@gmail.com.  Variations by tempo, mode or key (mood), and length.

stock –  general term for motion picture film, particularly before exposure.

stock footage – for reasons of simplicity, time, or budget, some shots in a film may duplicated from other films or a film library. such shots are called stock footage.

stock music – also library music, production music.  Music not written specifically for the film in question. Very often it’s owned by a company connected with the production and so it’s cheap for them to use – sometimes royalty-free.

stock shot – common footage — city traffic, a rainbow — conveniently accessed as needed.  Similar to a “photo file” in the photography.

stop down –  to decrease the diameter of the light-admitting orifice of a lens by adjustment of an iris diaphragm.

stop motion –  an animation method whereby apparent motion of objects is obtained on the film by exposing single frames and moving the object to simulate continuous motion.

stop motion – also stop-motion. A form of animation in which objects are filmed frame-by-frame and altered slightly in between each frame. See also go motion.

Storage Area Network (SAN) –  a high-speed network that connects computer storage devices, such as hard drives and tape libraries, to servers. A SAN allows multiple computers to access a centralized pool of storage. Files can be shared, copied, or moved quickly and efficiently on a SAN.

storyboard – a view of the workspace, showing thumbnails of the clips in a video editing program. Storyboards also refer to sketches or descriptions of scenes, often a sequence of pictures created by a production illustrator to communicate the desired general visual appearance on camera of a scene or movie, or a series of cartoon-like sketches illustrating key visual stages (shots, scenes) of planned production, accompanied by corresponding audio information, to be shot in a movie before production gets underway.

storyliner – commonly working on television series, storyliners create the plot twists for a given story line, keeping in mind the past storylines for a given character or pairing, and the work with the writers to bring those new plot elements to life.

story producer – also story editor. Non-standardized reality television term for a writer/producer who may be involved (at any level of pre- to post-production) in producing/editing source footage to create and nuance story. Other duties may include writing host dialogue, vo and dialogue and action pickups. During the post-production process, most either work directly with editors or provide detailed paper edits for editors to work from. The job consist of two parts, the production/shooting of the show and the post production/editing of the show. while shooting, a story producer tracks all of the story developments related to the cast, interviews the cast, and generally produces/directs the cast. in post production, the story producer is responsible for putting the episode together with an editor; building the episodes; making sure that all story lines and character arcs are clear and strong enough to make a good episode.

straight line region – portion of characteristic curve where slope does not change because the rate of density for a given log exposure change is constant or linear.

streaming –  1. video that can be played in portions over a network, before the entire file is delivered. 2. Continuous transmission of content that can’t be paused or rewound. Essentially like a live broadcast.

stress – In a typeface, the axis around which the strokes are drawn: oblique (negative or positive) or vertical. Not to be confused with the angle of the strokes themselves (for instance, italics are made with slanted strokes, but may not have oblique stress).

strike-through – the effect of ink soaking through the printed sheet.


stripe, magnetic – narrow band(s) of magnetic oxide usually coated toward the edges of the base side of motion picture film for accepting audio signal recordings in the form of magnetic impulses.

strobe – digital variation of fixed-speed slow motion, with image action broken down into a series of still frames updated and replaced by new ones at rapid speed.  see DVE.

stochastic screening – also known as FM (Frequency Modulated) screening. With conventional halftone screening, the variable dot size formed creates the optical illusion of various tonal values; however, the dot centre pitch distance is constant. In the case of FM screening systems, the dots are randomly distributed to create this tonal change illusion. The greater the number of dots located within a specific area, the darker the resultant tone. The dots produced in this way are usually smaller than conventional halftone dots, resulting in improved definition, although greater care and attention to detail is required in plate-making stage.

stock – A general term for any paper or board that is used as a printed surface.

stroke weight – In a typeface, the amount of contrast between thick and thin strokes. Different typefaces have distinguishing stroke-weight characteristics

studio – 1. a room designed for recording or broadcasting.  2. a company that makes movies. larger studios (such as the majors) have extensive in-house soundstages (also called studios) where filming can be done.

stunt – also gag. A non-trivial and often dangerous piece of physical action, often performed by a stunt performer.

Stunt Co-Ordinator – a person who arranges and plans stunts.

stunt double – a stunt performer who specifically takes the part of another actor for a stunt. Stunt doubles rarely (if ever) speak, are typically chosen to resemble the actor that they are replacing as much as possible. Contrast with body double and stand-in.

stunt performer – also stunt player, stunts. A specialist actor who performs stunts.

style sheet – In desktop publishing program, style sheets contain the typographic specifications to be associated with tagged text. They can be used to set up titles, headings, and the attributes of blocks of text, such as lists, tables, and text associated with illustrations. The use of style sheets is a fast and efficient way to insure that all comparable elements are consistent.

subbing layer –  adhesive layer that binds film emulsion to the base.

subcarrier (sc) – in NTSC or PAL video, a continuous sine wave of extremely accurate frequency which constitutes a portion of the video signal. The subcarrier is phase modulated to carry picture hue information and amplitude modulated to carry color saturation information. the NTSC subcarrier frequency is 3.579545 mHz, and the PAL-I frequency is 4.43361875 MHz. a sample of the subcarrier, called color burst, is included in the video signal during horizontal blanking. color burst serves as a phase reference against which the modulated subcarrier is compared in order to decode the color information.

submodule – a small circuit board that mounts on a larger module.

sub-sampling artifact – the dv25 codec samples four luminance values and only one from each color-difference component. It uses co-siting in a 4 pixel arrangement, which takes the color sample and first luminance sample from the same location, and repeats the same color value over the adjacent three pixels in the encoded image. this creates a y/c delay that can appear as blockiness or lower resolution in scenes with high saturation, and particularly red saturation. sub-sampling artifacts cannot be remedied.

subtitles – words which are superimposed over a film which mirror the dialog that is heard at the time. Most often subtitles are in a different language than that which is being spoken, but this is not always the case –  Trainspotting uses subtitles for humorous effect. Contrast with dubbing, inter-titles, close-captioned.

subtracting color – the formation of colors by the removal of selected portions of the white light spectrum by transparent filters or dye images.

subtractive color –  blue, yellow, and red the subtractive color primaries.

subtractive lighting –  this technique is typically used when shooting exteriors in available light. by using large flags, butterflies, or overheads, light is removed from the subject in order to increase the lighting ratio. It is sometimes referred to as “negative fill.”

subtractive process –  photographic process that uses one or more additive primary colors, e.g. cyan, magenta, and yellow, to control red, green, and blue light. The name is a misnomer, since the process uses additive primaries and not subtractive primaries. The mixing of pigments is called subtractive color mixing (as opposed to the additive mixing of incident light to achieve additive color mixing). The subtractive primary colors are blue, yellow, and red.

subtractive synthesis – the technique of arriving at a desired tone color by filtering waveforms rich in harmonics. Subtractive synthesis is the type generally used by analog synthesizers; it  starts with a single sound to produce an elaborate tone before deleting the harmonics.

sunlight –  light reaching the observer directly from the sun. To be distinguished from daylight and skylight, which include indirect light from clouds and refract the atmosphere.

super 16 –  this format offers a much greater picture area than that of standard 16mm and provides a wider 5:3 aspect as compared to the 4:3 television aspect ratio.

Super 8 mm –  formerly an amateur format, now a popular choice for special effects and teaching.

Super 35 –  35 mm camera format that utilizes entire frame area on film.

supercoat –  protective coating on film.

Super Panavision –  similar to Panavision 35, but photographed flat in 65 mm. the 70 mm prints produce and aspect ratio of 9:8, with 4-channel sound and a ratio of 2:1 with 6-channel sound.

super-VHS – (s-VHS, s-VHS-c) improved version of VHS and VHS-C videotape formats, characterized by separate carriers of chrominance and luminance information, yielding a sharper picture. A video format developed by JVC which has largely replaced the 3/4 inch format for low budget productions.  See VHS, VHS-C.

superimposition – also superposition. 1. Non-inherent titles or graphics appearing over an existing video picture, partially or completely hiding areas they cover. A picture superimposed on another can appear transparent. 2.  The adding or mixing of two video signals to produce and image with two or more pictures visible simultaneously. used when a keyer is not available to add graphics to video. sometimes used to refer to a key.

superscope – a 35mm anamorphic release print system adopted by rko radio pictures that produced a screen image with an aspect ratio of 2:1 or 47:20 when projected with a normal anamorphic lens. The original camera negative was photographed flat, but special printing produced the anamorphic print.

supervising sound editor – a chief sound editor.

supporting feature – also supporting attraction.  A feature film which appears (typically in a double-bill) with a feature presentation.

surface mount – a method of mounting subminiature integrated circuits and other components directly on the surface of a printed circuit board. Permits greater component density on boards, making the electronic equipment smaller.

surround sound – any multichannel audio system designed to provide both front and rear sound sources (in addition to left and right channels). Surround sound adds a third dimension to the program,  which creates the illusion of multi-directional sound through speaker placement and signal processing. See also Dolby, SDDS, DTS, THX.

sustain –  the third of the four segments in an ADSR envelope. The sustain portion of the envelope begins when the attack and decay portions have run their course, and continues until the key is released. The sustain control is used to determine the level at which the envelope will remain. While the attack, decay, and release controls are rate or time controls, the sustain control is a level control.

sustain pedal –  the electronic equivalent of a piano’s damper pedal. in most synthesizers, the sustain pedal latches the envelopes of any currently playing or subsequently played notes at their sustain levels, even if the keys are lifted.

sweetening –  audio post-production, at which time minor audio problems are corrected. Music, narration and sound effects are mixed with original sound elements.

sweeting – audio post production, at which time audio problems are corrected.

swell – the increase in motion picture film dimensions caused by the absorption of moisture during storage and use under high humidity conditions. Extreme humidity conditions and subsequent swelling of the film aggravates the abrasion susceptibility of the film surface.

swing gang – set dressers who dress and strike sets, as well as pick up and return the dressing. They work apart from the shooting crew, as they are always either prepping a set for shooting or striking it after it’s been shot.

swish pan – see whip pan.

switcher (production switcher) – device that allows transitions between different video pictures. May also contain special effects generators.  2.  Simplified SEG, permits video signal mixing from two or more sources — cameras, time base correctors, character generators — for dissolves, wipes, and other clean transition effects.

sword and sandal epic – a colloquialism for an epic film set in the times of roman empire or any other period, real or imagined, in which characters use sword and wear sandals. Often has biblical or fantasy elements

sword and sorcery – a colloquialism for a genre of film, usually set in days of old with magic as well as sword fighting.

sync – also called synchronization. 1. the portion of an encoded video signal that occurs during blanking and is used to synchronize the operation of cameras, monitors, and other equipment. Horizontal sync occurs within the blanking period in each horizontal scanning line, and vertical sync occurs within the vertical blanking period. 2. any of the signals used to generate and control a television picture, but, specifically, the portion of the composite video signal from zero to minus forty IRE units consisting of vertical and horizontal timing pulses and equalizing signals to maintain the proper relationship of the two fields of video making up each frame. Two devices are said to be in sync when they are locked together with respect to time, so that the events generated by each of them will always fall into predicable time relationships. Horizontal and vertical timing signals or electronic pulses, components of composite signals, are supplied separately in RGB systems. Aligns video origination (live camera, videotape) and reproduction (monitor or receiver) sources.

sync generator – Sync Pulse Generator, SPG.  Device that generates synchronizing pulses need by video source equipment to provide proper equipment or studio timing. pulses typically produced by a sync generator include subcarrier, burst flag, sync, blanking, h & v drives, color frame identification, and color black.

sync pulse – timing pulses added to a video signal to keep the entire video process synchronized in time.

sync track –  a timing reference signal recorded onto tape. see SMPTE time code, FSK.

synchronization –  a picture record and a sound record are said to be ‘in sync’ when they are placed relative to each other on a release print so that when they are projected, the action will coincide precisely with the accompanying sound.

synchronize –  align sound and image precisely for editing, projection, and printing.

synchronizer –  a mechanism employing a common rotary shaft that has sprockets which, by engaging perforations in the film, pass corresponding lengths of picture and sound film simultaneously, thus effectively keeping the two (or more) films in synchronism during the editing process.

synchronous – in step or in phase, as applied to two or more devices. A system in which all events occur in a predetermined timed sequence.

synchronous sound – audio recorded with images. When the mouth moves, the words come out. See lip sync, non-synchronous sound.

synopsis – a summary of the major plot points and characters of a script, generally in a page or two. contrast with treatment.

synthesizer –  a musical instrument that generates sound electronically and is designed according to certain principles developed by Robert Moog and others in the 1960s. A synthesizer is distinguished from an electronic piano or electronic organ by the fact that its sounds can be programmed by the user, and from a sampler by the fact that the sampler allows the user to make digital recordings of external sound sources.

system-common –  a type of MIDI data used to control certain aspects of the operation of the entire MIDI system. System-common messages include song position pointer, song select, tune request, and end-of-system-exclusive.

system-exclusive (sys-ex) – a type of MIDI data that allows messages to be sent over a MIDI cable that will be responded to only by devices of a specific type. Sys-ex data is used most commonly for sending patch parameter data to and from an editor or librarian program.

system real-time –  a type of MIDI data that is used for timing reference. because of its timing-critical nature, a system real-time byte can be inserted into the middle of any multi-byte MIDI message. System real-time messages include MIDI clock, start, stop, continue, active sensing, and system reset.