Posted September 3, 2012 by Steve Young

video-termsSick of not knowing the terms that Hollywood loves to use? Would you like to have a conversation with your video producer? Just want to sound like you’re Christopher Nolan? Here are 101 video terms that you should know (or so we think)!

1) .avi
(Audio Video Interleave)- a multimedia container file format developed by Microsoft to allow playback of audio-with-video.

2) .flv
Flash video file format; used to deliver video over the Internet.

3) .mov
A video publishing file format developed by Apple for use with their QuickTime video players.

4) .wmv
(Windows Media Video)- An audio and video file encoded for use with Windows Media Player.

5) 1080i
A mode of High Definition television consisting of 1080 horizontal lines of non-progressive resolution and a wide-screen aspect ratio of 16:9. 1080i is currently the highest standard resolution for High Definition television available to the consumer market making 1080i the ideal signal for advertising.

6) 720p
A mode of High Definition television consisting of 720 horizontal lines of progressive resolution and an aspect ratio of 16:9. Images are displayed at the highest quality while transmitting motion without slowdown or flickering.


7) Ad Overlays
A small, semi-transparent overlay across the screen (usually on the bottom, but can be anywhere) of an online video, similar to what you’ll often see during TV shows.

8) Analog Camera
A camera that takes non-digital video. The term “analog” in video refers to a recording method that stores red, green and blue waves in a fixed number of rows; analog video is generally less crisp in detail than digital video. With modification, an analog camera can shoot digital video.

9) Animation
Rapid display of 2-D images or model positions to display the illusion of movement by way of the eye’s persistence of vision.

10) A-Roll
Camera footage that focuses on the main subject of the video. In productions with more than one camera, it refers to footage taken by the primary camera. In news, it refers to video that will become the main focus of the clip, such as that of a person being interviewed.

11) Autoplay
The function of a video player that starts playing a video automatically without the user needing to click any buttons.

12) Average view time
It refers to the average amount of time the video ad was played by users.


13) Bit Rate
The average number of bits that one second of video or audio data will consume.

14) Boom Microphone
A microphone designed to go on the end of a boom pole (see Boom pole); often used when a cinematographer does not want a microphone in the shot, but still needs to amplify certain sounds, such as voices.

15) Boom Pole
A long pole, usually metal, designed to hold a microphone above or to the side of a scene to capture sound but remain out of the visual field.

16) B-Roll
Extra video taken to “color” a story, set an overall scene or add visual detail. In productions with more than one news camera, B-roll is taken by the secondary camera. In news, B-roll is edited in with A-roll to prevent visual boredom.

17) Buffering Video
A buffer is a temporary holding pen in a computer’s memory for data for inputs (e.g., to software) or outputs (e.g., to a printer) until the process can deal with it. Video buffering occurs when a streaming video player saves portions of a streaming video file to local storage for playback.

18) Bug
An embedded graphic icon or logo used to brand a video program or player. Clicking on it will take the user to a website

19) Bumper Ad
Refers to a linear video ad with click-able call-to-action; format is usually shorter than full linear ads (i.e. 3-10 seconds) and call-to-action usually can load another video or can bring up a new site while pausing the content.


20) Captions
Text that appears over a video that labels a scene, identifies a location or person, or narrates dialogue on-screen. Captions can be either open or closed. Open captioning is displayed anytime the video is played; closed captioning is not seen unless it is called up by the receiving equipment (ex. Subtitles that can be turned on for different languages).

21) Codec
(Compressor/ Decompresser) – The technology used to compress an audio and/ or video file for storage or transmission and then decompress for playback.

22) Completes
Completes refer to whether the video played to completion.

23) Compression
Reducing the amount of data used to represent video images. A straightforward combination of image compression and motion compression. Compressed video can effectively reduce the bandwidth required to transmit digital video.

24) Conversion
The operation of changing data from one format to another so the output will be displayed in an appropriate manner for the device. Specifically for video this means the changing a video file, which is present in a special codec, into another video codec.

25) Cue Point
User defined points in the playback of a video when an event is designated to occur. In online video you can use cue points to trigger custom, synchronized functionality, such as animations, synchronized ad units, or closed captions.


26) Decoding
The decompression or ‘un-packaging’ of an encoded file for playback or use.

27) DivX
A codec based on MPEG-4 Part 2 developed by DivX, Inc.

28) DRM
(Digital Rights Management) – The technology used to control user access to licensed technology.


29) Embed
Adding an element from one document to another document; in online video this refers to taking video from a online video provider and transplanting it elsewhere on the web (websites, social networking sites, etc.) through the use of HTML code. Embed is a method which integrates plug-in technology with web pages.

30) Encoding
The compression of a file through the use of a codec to make it easier and smaller to store and transmit.


31) Flash
Commonly used to create animation, advertisements, various web page components, to integrate video into web pages, and more recently, to develop rich internet applications including adding video to websites.


32) Green screen
A screen placed in a video studio images can be projected onto. Television meteorologists frequently present the weather in front of a green screen or blue screen, and producers place maps over the blue portions of video footage, creating the appearance of the meteorologist standing in front of a large map. If the person standing in front of the screen wears the same color clothing as the screen, the projected images will appear on the person’s clothing.


33) H.264
Standard of video compression pioneered for the purpose of providing good quality video at half the bit rate allowing a larger market access to high quality video and other advertisements.

34) HD High-Definition
Increased display and resolution usually in terms of pixels, resolution, and aspect ratio for various broadcast signals and appliances such as televisions and DVD players.

35) HDV
A relatively inexpensive high-definition video recording format.

36) Hot Spot
An ad unit that is sold within the video content experience. Mouse action over the video highlights objects that can be clicked.

37) HTTP Streaming
The default protocol for streaming audio and video over the Internet. It involves the simultaneous download and viewing/listening of the file through HTTP.

38) Hyper-linked Video
A video in which specific objects are made selectable by some form of user interface, and the user’s interactions with these objects modify the presentation of the video.


39) In-Banner Video Ads
Leverage the banner space to deliver a video experience as opposed to another static or rich media format. The format relies on the existence of display ad inventory on the page for its delivery.

40) Infomercial
Form of advertisement used to inform the consumer of products but more commonly used to persuade the consumer to purchase a product. Originally a dimension of broadcast television, infomercials are growing in number over the Internet.

41) In-line Ads
Ads usually in the form of hyper-linked texts within the literary structure of a website.

42) In-Page Video Ads
Delivered most often as a standalone video ad and do not generally have other content associated with them. This format is typically home page or channel based and depends on real estate within the page dedicated for the video player.

43) In-Stream Video Ads
Played before, during or after the streaming video content that the consumer has requested. These ads cannot typically be stopped from being played. This format is frequently used to monetize the video content that the publisher is delivering. In-Stream ads can be played inside short or long form video and rely on video content for their delivery.

44) Interactive video
Online video can be made that allows consumers to manipulate video content by clicking on it. For instance a user could click to watch from different angles, click on a product in a programme to find out more information or to buy it and more.

45) In-Text Video Ads
Delivered from highlighted words and phrases within the text of web content. The ads are user activated and delivered only when a user chooses to move their mouse over a relevant word or phrase.


46) Keyframe
A position on a video timeline when an event occurs.

47) Keywords
Reference to content or meta element included in a webpage’s HTML code to aid in the page’s indexing. Keywords are used by search engines to link web browsers to a web page by taking the greatest number of keywords associated with a search.


48) Lavaliere Microphone
Also called a “lapel” microphone; a small microphone that clips onto a person’s clothing, generally placed within a foot or so of a person’s mouth to amplify voice.

49) Light Kit
A set of lights and related equipment such as tents to focus the light. Light kits vary widely in components and price.

50) Light Stand
A stand, similar to a tripod, to mount lights.

51) Long form video
Video clips over 5 minutes in length. When people refer to long form video, they usually refer to full length content like TV programmes or films


52) Metadata
Business-critical data such as advertiser name, format and version information. Digitized data of any type that can be used to improve a web video measurability, and indexing. Most sharing sites allow forms of metadata such as file descriptions consisting of keywords for web videos.

53) Mid-roll
A Linear video spot that appears in the middle of the video content.

54) Mid-stream Ads
Advertisement user sees while streaming an online video. Ads of this nature are less popular than typical ads and consumers are far less likely to watch them, opting instead to close their browsers.

55) MiniDV Tape
A small format digital video cassette.

56) Mobile Video
Media content that can be viewed via a mobile device such as a cell phone, PDA, or game console. Current formats for mobile video are 3GPP, MPEG-4, RTSP, and Flash Lite. Mobile video offers ideal marketing exposure for advertisers.

57) Monopod
A video camera stand that functions similarly to a tripod, but only has one leg.

58) Motion Graphics
Use of video or animation to create the illusion of movement. Often combined with audio for use in multimedia projects and displayed through electronic media technology such as digital video or digital projection.

59) MPEG-2
An older standard format for digital television signals set by the Moving Pictures Expert Group.

60) MPEG-4
A more recent standard format than MPEG-2, this format includes most MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 features and also contains support for external digital rights management and interaction.

61) Multi-title (video) Player
A video player that can play and display multiple videos.


62) Non-Linear Editing
An editing method that allows the editor to access any frame in a video clip with the same ease as any other. This is opposed to linear editing in which analogue video is physically cut and pasted. Non-Linear editing is with digital video and is therefore non destructive to the original video.

63) Nonlinear Video Ads
A Nonlinear Video ad product runs parallel to the video content so the user still has the option of viewing the content. Common Nonlinear ad products include overlays which are shown directly over the content video itself, and product placements which are ads placed within the video content itself. Nonlinear video ads can be delivered as text, graphical banners or buttons, or as video overlays.

64) NTSC
The analog television system in use in the U.S, Canada, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, and some other countries. It is named for the National Television System Committee.


65) Online Video
Any form of digital video that is available for use over the internet.

66) Overlay ad
A banner ad that appears in the bottom 20% of the video window. Click action initiates a Linear video spot or takes the user to a website. Sold on a CPM and CPC basis. Large advertisements that usually overlay the text of a website. Although they are typically larger than banners, Overlay Ads attract a larger consumer base than Mid-stream Ads.


67) P2 card
A type of memory card for a video camera.

68) Page View
A request to load a single page of an Internet site. On the World Wide Web, a page request would result from a web surfer clicking on a link on another HTML page pointing to the page in question.

69) Pay Per View
Normally seen used by television networks, a system in which viewers purchase the private telecast of the event. Pay Per View events are seen at a scheduled time and bring fantastic revenue to advertisers.

70) Player Controls
The buttons and other controls that operate the features and functions of a multimedia player.

71) Post Roll Ads
Air after an online media presentation has ended. A less effective method of web video marketing, post-roll ads are more likely to be ignored or unseen altogether.

72) Post-Production
General term for all stages of production completed after the recording of a work. Editing, effects, and music are just a few components of post production that make the process essential to producing an attractive market ready ad to the consumer.

73) Pre-Roll Ads
Similar to television ads, pre-roll ads stream before online media presentations. Attracting a larger consumer interest than post-roll or transitional ads, pre-roll ads are the most widely used form of web video marketing.

74) Production
The use of actors, scripts, graphics, and other architecture under attentive direction used to present a story. Also defined as the act of making products available for use with the most effective form being web video marketing.

75) Progressive Download
A technique for downloading Internet video and/or audio clips so that they can be viewed at the same time that they are being transferred to your computer. This provides some of the benefits of streaming media without requiring a special streaming server.

76) Pure Streaming
The delivery of media content over the internet without needing to first download the media. The media content is delivered directly to the user through a dedicated streaming server.


77) Replays
Refers to the number of times a user requested to see the video ad again (where available)

78) Rule of Thirds
This rule involves envisioning a tic-tac-toe board on top of a video shot, so the image is divided into nine squares. The cinematographer should choose one of the four points of line intersection as a focal point. According to Digital Photography School, “The theory is that if you place points of interest in the intersections or along the lines that your photo becomes more balanced and will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally.”


79) Sampling Rate
The sample rate is the number of samples per second used to store a sound; measured in hertz, Hz, or kilohertz, kHz.

80) SD Standard Definition
Features 480 interlaced lines of vertical picture resolution and a 4:3 aspect ratio. Standard Definition televisions have a lower pixel count than High Definition televisions and are more prone to ghosting, static noises, and poor reception.

81) Short form video
Video clips of less than 5 minutes in length. However short form video is usually between 30 seconds and 3 minutes in length. Short form video makes up the bulk of video content on the internet today.

82) Shotgun Microphone
A microphone that looks in shape somewhat similar to a gun. It only amplifies sound that the microphone directly points toward.

83) Soft Box
A box that fits around a light that diffuses the light so it appears “soft”.

84) Switcher
A device that allows a video producer to switch between multiple cameras to create a more visually interesting video and reduce editing time if the video is not live. Switching is used in most live television broadcasts.


85) Talking Heads
Advertisements or content presented without any extra animation or graphics. Talking heads usually refers to someone talking about their product with nothing else going on in the add.

86) Teleprompter
A screen placed in front of a person from which that person can read text while looking directly into the camera. The trademarked name is TelePrompTer.

87) Tickers
A ticker or crawler is a small screen space dedicated to presenting headlines, promotions and other vital pieces of information.

88) Timecode
An exact time used to identify a specific frame in a clip or production. Measured in hours, minutes, seconds, and frames.

89) Tripod
A three-legged stand for a camera to prevent unwanted movement.


90) Video Format
The file type of a video. Different video formats are used by different programs and/or operating systems. A few of the most popular formats for digital video are .avi (Microsoft), .mov (Quicktime), .wmv (Windows), and .flv (Flash)

91) Video Montage
A video created from photos through the use of transitions, and voiceovers. This is similar to a photo slideshow but is different in that a video montage is more sophisticated.

92) Video Player
Media player used for the playback of digital videos from media including optical discs (DVD, VCD), and computer files

93) Video SEO
(Video Search Engine Optimization) – The process of maximizing the indexability and ranking of a video within search engines.

94) Viewthrough
Specific to online video advertising, this is a metric that tells when people have viewed an entire advert from beginning to end.

95) Viral Video
Internet video that gains widespread attention that is delivered through vodcasts, email, blogs, IM, or other web media tools. Viral videos are largely known for being hundreds of times more effective than traditional advertising and being one of the most effective mediums of web video marketing.

96) Vlog – (Video BLog)
A video enabled blog; users can post video entries which are presented in reverse chronological order. A typical Vlog entry combines an embedded video or video link, along with supporting text and images.

97) VOD- Video on demand
Permits a customer to browse an online catalogue, to watch trailers and to then select a selected recording for playback.


98) Web Video Marketing
An innovative business strategy that employs the latest technology such as mobile devices and the most advanced internet resources including content delivery networks and microsites to provide superior service and comprehensive solutions to increase the operational efficiency of Customer Service, Media Communications, and Corporate Businesses.

99) Web Video Monetization
The process of adapting web video from a non-revenue generating asset into a revenue generating asset which integrates companies such as AOL, Revver, Brightroll, Metacafe, and DivX with a myriad of monetization tactics such as banner advertisements, direct sales of advertisement space, and web video rental or download fees. An essential step to successful web video marketing, businesses that fail to monetize web video often suffer a sharp decrease in ad revenue.

100) Webcast
A non-interactive, live broadcast over the web. An online distribution of audio and/or video to multiple viewers or listeners at the same time.


101) Zoom (optical, digital)
Optical zoom relies on the camera’s lens to bring the subject closer in the recorded video. Digital zoom does not use the lens, but rather enlarges a portion of the image digitally. While digital zoom can be more powerful than most optical zoom features, digital zoom may cause grainy images.


Photo Credit: RLHyde

About Steve Young

Steve Young is the Director of Product Marketing at SmartShoot. He enjoys writing about marketing, design and product development. Although he shares the same name as a famous quarterback he unfortunately does not share the same bank account, so please throw him a bone and share or comment on his posts. Connect with him on Twitter and Google+.

Keep in touch: @stevepyoung

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