Film Terminology for Visual Texts

I am reading a lot of essays on the visual texts at the moment and some of you are still confused about film terminology. I have added a brief guide below.

1. The parts of a film

Frame – a single picture

Shot – a strip of film

Scene – a series of shots

Sequence – several connected scenes

2. Transitions

Cut – rapid change from one shot to the next

Dissolve – gradual merging of shots

Fade In – shot emerging from darkness

Fade Out – one shot disappearing into darkness

3. Variations

Cut-Away – temporary diversion from main action

P.O.V. – point of view of a character

Montage – shots spliced together

Superimposition – one shot appears on top of another

4. Camera perspectives

LS – Long Shot of a distant object

MS – Medium Shot of an object in perspective

CU – Close Up, for example of a human face

BCU – Big Close Up, for example of a facial feature

5. Camera movement

Pan – horizontal movement

Tilt – vertical movement

Track – camera moves parallel to object

Dolly – camera moves either towards or away from the object being filmed

6. Audio Component

Speech – either dialogue between characters or the monologue of a single character

V.O. – voice off from someone unseen or descriptive commentary accompanying action

Sound Effects – noises connected with the action

Music – added to the visuals to produce an emotional impact

Go here for a very comprehensive list of film terms.

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