safe action. The area where it is safe to extend the action so that it’s visible on a television monitor.
safe title. The area where it is safe to place titles so they do not get cut off on a television monitor.
safety master. See protection master.
sampling rate. Rate at which an audio signal is sampled (read) during recording.
saturation. Amount of color in a video image or signal.
scoring. Session where musicians play composer’s score, cue by cue, while a tape of the show runs on a screen. The music is recorded and then edited into the show.
scratch track. Temporary VO track laid into a cut for editing and timing purposes that will be replaced with the voice of the hired narrator.
screen direction. The direction where a character or object enters or exits a shot.
scribe. A small, metallic, pencil-like tool with a replaceable steel point for inscribing missing key code numbers on the edge work print for the negative cutter.
script notes. Page opposite the lined script page that contains camera info and other notes.
scrub. Run sound back and forth to locate an exact right frame for marking or editing in.
SCSI. Small Computer System Interface. Cable used to transfer analog and digital media and data to digital editing systems and other computers.
SD. Standard definition. Television resolution that meets standards including a 4:3 aspect ratio but is lower quality than HD (High Definition) due to employing fewer scan lines and pixels per frame. See also HD.
SD. Secure Digital. Memory card format widely used in DV cameras and many handheld electronic devices.
SDDS. Sony Dynamic Digital Sound. An audio encoding system that competes with DD and DTS. See also Dolby Digital.
SDI. Serial Digital Interface. Transmittal of digital data in serial (time sequential) form. Commonly used to refer to television broadcast signals.
SDII. Sound Designer II. Standard Macintosh audio file format created by Apple. premastering. Creating a disk image for a DVD; part of the authoring process.
SDTV. Standard Definition TV format defined by its 525 or 625 scan lines, 4:3 aspect ratio, and analog sound.
seamless editing. See invisible editing.
SECAM. Sequential Color and Memory. Videotape standard used in France, Poland, Russia and most of Asia, and parts of Africa. It has 625 video scan lines, runs on a 50 hertz AC power cycle, and runs at 25 fps with a frame size of 720 x 576.
sequence. Term used for a cut (an edited sequence) on many digital editing systems.
session. Created by the sound editor working on a digital audio system, a session consists of the cut tracks and is where the editor works. A session can be a scene, reel, or an entire show depending on how the editor sets it up.
SFX. Sound effect(s).
shooting ratio. The amount of footage shot to compared to the amount of footage used in the final cut. 20:1 is average for a high budget feature film. 6:1 is a good ratio to shoot for, er figure on, for a low budget film or video.
short cut. A cut that has a brief duration – less than two seconds.
short form. TV show that is an hour or less such as a cartoon, comedy, or dramatic, series, or a music video.
shot. Picture: Camera start to camera stop. Sound: Sound recorder start to stop.
show master. Final tape of a show, ready for broadcast. Referred to by many other names including the edit master, broadcast tape, final tape, show tape, and tape master.
showrunner. Credited as executive producer, the person – usually a writer – on a TV series who oversees each episode from idea to completion and is responsible for its creative vision and path as well as presenting it to the network.
signal. Audio term for the electricity that flows through a mic – cabled or wireless – to a media storage device such a disk, drive, or tape.
simo. Dub that is made simultaneously with the original tape recording.
single perf. Sprocket holes on one side only. Found on 16mm gauge film and smaller.
single system. Production method where audio and video are recorded on the same format: film, tape, file or disk.
single strand. See A roll.
skip frame. An effect where alternate frames are printed so the film looks speeded up or pixilated, e.g. printing every other frame or every third frame.
slave. Control of one device such as a smart slate, tape deck or a digital editing system by another for the purpose of dubbing, jam syncing time code, playing a show to air, etc.
slide. Change an edit’s position in a cut by moving it up or down. Sliding an edit changes it externally, making it occur sooner or later in the cut, and causing the edits on either side of it to grow and shrink in duration by equal amounts. Sliding does not change the duration of the edit or the cut.
slip. Adjust an edit by changing where it starts and stops. Slipping changes the edit internally but does not change its duration.
slo mo. Effect where the pace of the action is decreased from what occurred in reality in front of the camera. This retardation is accomplished during editing or, more traditionally, during filming by overcranking – running the film through the camera at a faster rate than it will be played back. Opposite of speed up.
slug. Picture fill, composed of clear leader, that is used to fill in and keep sync in the picture reel where shots have been cut out (KEM rolls) or are missing, removed, or to be inserted (cut picture reels). A film term that is also applied to digital editing where tracks and shots have electronic slug which appears as black fill on the timeline.
smart slate. Electronic clap stick that generates time code which is jam synced to the Nagra (or other audio recorder). It displays time code on a red LED and greatly speeds up syncing.
smash cut. Variation on a short cut. An unexpected, lightning-quick cut designed to deliberately jar the audience by zapping the action from one place/object/person/image to another.
SMPTE leader. See academy leader.
SMPTE time code. Analog time code.
SMPTE. Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. An international technological society which invented time code in 1967 and which recommends and often effectively sets, the standards that manufacturers worldwide use for time code and for many other tape, film, and telecommunication applications.
sneakernet. As applied to postproduction this term means transferring media physically by external drive, tape, etc. from one computer to another.
soft cut. Short dissolve of one to four frames.
SOT. Reporter’s voice Sync on Tape. News editing term for sync sound.
sound editor. Editor who labors to perfect the show’s sound.
sound fill. See fill.
source music. Background music that a character hears in a scene from a source such as a radio, record, or CD. It’s pre-recorded music that is purchased on a one-time basis. Also referred to as canned or needle drop music.
SPDIF. Sony Philips Digital Interface. A standard digital-to-digital audio transfer file format utilized by digital video and audio editing machines, DAT machines, and other digital equipment.
special effects house. Facility where effects are created and finalized.
speed up. Effect where the pace of the action is increased from what occurred in reality in front of the camera. This acceleration is accomplished during editing or, more traditionally, during filming by undercranking – running the film through the camera at a slower rate than it will be played back. Opposite of slo mo.
split edit. A video editing term for overlap. In a split edit the audio and video edit do not start at the same time; either video or audio is delayed. Also called an L cut or a delayed edit.
split screen. Dividing the screen into two or more parts with different shots in each division.
spotting session. Meeting where the director views the completed show with the Sound Designer and Music Composer (in separate sessions) to map out the sound and music work to be done on the show.
square pixel. 1:1 pixel aspect ratio found on all computer screens and most computer-generated graphics. Must be compensated for when importing graphics to DV and running on TV because they use non-square pixels which display the graphics differently. See non-square pixel.
squawk box. Film sound reader.
Steenbeck. Flatbed film editing machine.
stem. Individual parts of the DME produced by the final mix: there’s a dialogue stem, a music stem, and a sound effects stem. See also DME.
step-printer. Film printer that advances both negative and print stock through the printer gate via an intermittent motion and shutter like that in a camera. A slow, complex, and highly precise machine, it’s used for special-effects jobs and others that entail the raw stock passing through the printer multiple times e.g. color intermediates, master positives, and traveling mattes. Also referred to as a step-contact printer.
stereo sound. Identical tracks that are separated and played to different speaker channels, usually left and right. LCRS is a sophisticated form of stereo audio and is the standard. Created by recording two tracks at the same time with a stereo mic. As opposed to mono sound.
still frame. See freeze frame.
still store. Device that stores a frame from each take of a scene used in telecine, color correcting, and building effects.
stinger. A music cue which runs only a few seconds.
stock shot. Shot used to establish a location that is independent of the show and can be used on other episodes or shows. Stock houses provide stock shots or they can be obtained during the shoot. Examples: the Walton’s barn, the NYPD Blue police station, the Indy 500 racetrack.
straight cut. When picture and sound are cut at the same frame as opposed to an overlap where picture and sound are cut at different times.
streamer. A diagonal line put on a tape or film to cue music for an orchestra at a scoring session or to cue a line for an actor in an ADR session.
streaming. A continuous, one-way transmission of data, usually audio or video, over a data network, typically the Web or a company’s intranet. Most frequently associated with playing audio or video as it’s downloaded from the Web (as opposed to storing it in a file on the computer before playing it). A fast computer and connection are required to view streaming media smoothly. Streaming may be in real time as from a live broadcast event or have a delay of a few seconds. Web browser plug-ins make streaming possible by decompressing and playing the Web file.
stripe. Add time code to a tape.
subliminal cut. A cut consisting of a few frames which zip by so fast that the viewer is only subliminally (subconsciously) aware of them.
sub dub. See mixdown.
submaster. See protection master.
superimposition. A “super” is an effect where two shots (or more) are held on top of each other full screen.
SVCD. Super Video Compact Disk. An upgraded VCD in most aspects which uses MPEG-2. See also VCD.
sweetening. Polishing or completing the sound work on a master video tape.
switcher. Machine used in broadcast, live tapings, and postproduction that allows the operator to select video and audio sources and make transitional effects between them.
sync block. See synchronizer.
sync pop. A 1000 Hz beep tone essential for keeping sync on a cut track reel for projecting or mixing. The pop is lined up with a marked frame on the picture leader or the #2 frame on the Academy leader. Digital systems also employ sync pops, especially when cut footage is being sent to sound editors.
synth. Short for synthesizer. See synthesizer.
synthesizer a.k.a. synth. An electronic instrument that produces an endless variety of sounds and music that may imitate instruments or create new sounds. There are hard (hardware) synths that plug in to DAWs (ProTools almost universally) and soft (software) synths that export the composer’s MIDI file into the DAW.