Steven E. Alford is a professor of Humanities at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
 


FILM GLOSSARY


FILM COMPONENTS

I. Shot: what is recorded by a single operation of the camera, from the time the camera starts until it
stops. (Frame: rectangle in which the shot appears.)
II. Scene: a group of shots with continuous action.
III. Sequence: a group of scenes forming a self-contained unity that is often intelligible in itself.

SHOTS
I. TYPES OF SHOTS
A. Close-up: camera is actually or apparently close to the subject. Function: emphasis
B. Extreme close-up: camera shoots only part of the subject. Function: extreme emphasis.
C. Long shot: Camera is at a distance of approximately fifty yards or more. Function: perspective
D. Medium shot: between close-up and long shot.

II. ANGLE OF SHOTS AND THEIR EFFECTS
A. Low angle shot: dominance or power
B. High angle shot: smallness, in various dimensions

III. STATIONARY CAMERA SHOTS
A. Pan: rotating horizontally on a fixed axis
1. Circular pan: 360o rotation
2. Swish pan: rapid, blurring pan
B. Tilt shot: vertical or downward movement
C. Zoom shot: with lens movement
D. MOBILE CAMERA SHOTS
E. Tracking shot: on "tracks"
F. Dolly shot: on dolly
G. Crane shot


TYPES OF SEQUENCES
I. Linear: one action links with another, creating a miniature drama with a beginning, middle, and end.
II. Associative: beginning, middle, and end are linked together by an object or series of objects.
III. Episodic: connections between scenes are expected to be made by viewer.

 

 


 

 

 

CUTS AND TRANSITIONS

I. CUT: The joining of two separate shots so that the first is instantaneously replaced by the first.

TYPES OF CUTS:
a. Simple or straight: one image instantaneously replaces another
b. Contrast: two opposite shots are joined
c. Parallel or Crosscutting: two actions are occurring simultaneously
d. Jump cut: continuous action is represented by its component elements

II. TRANSITION: A movement from one scene to another

TYPES OF TRANSITIONS:
a. Fade out and Fade in: Light decreases and the screen goes dark; light increases and the
screen becomes bright
b. Dissolve: One image is replaced by another

1. Metaphorical dissolve: symbolic association is established between images
2. Form dissolve: images with same shape or contours are merged
c. Wipe: A line travels across the screen vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.
1. Complementary wipes: scene begins and ends with wipes moving from opposite directions.
d. Iris (masking shot): everything is blacked out except for what is to be seen telescopically. Can
be irising in or out. LIGHTING

I. LIGHTING TYPES
A. High Key Lighting: The key light (the chief source of light) supplies most of the illumination, while
the fill light (an auxiliary light of lesser intensity) "fills in" areas left unlit by the key light and softens the
shadows cast by it. Uses: Comedies and Musicals. Affects: Tranquility and Peace.
B. Low Key Lighting: The key light supplies much less illumination, leaving a large part of the
setting in shadow. Uses: Horror Films and Melodramas (especially Film Noir). Affects: Eerie contrast
between light and dark.

II. LIGHTING ANGLES AND THEIR EFFECTS
A. Front lighting: softening effect
B. Back lighting: omits detail but adds depth
C. Top lighting: aura of youthfulness or spirituality
D. Side lighting: split personality, moral ambiguity, femme fatale
E. Bottom lighting: Gives object a sinister air