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Jon Flacke
by Jon Flacke
Sep 17, 2014
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Talk Video to Me

A-roll, B-roll, Spicy Tuna Roll - what’s it all mean?

Like any industry, there is a lot of jargon to go along with video.  And if you’re not in the industry, it might be a bit overwhelming.  Or maybe you’re a marketing executive who just wants to know the lingo before you show up on set.  There’s a lot to be gained from getting to know the video language.  Getting a little more comfortable talking video nerd can help everyone better reach your marketing goal. 

A-Roll & B-Roll: Think of A-Roll as the main on camera talent.  If it’s an interview-based piece, we’re talking about all the parts when the viewer sees the interviewee on screen.  B-Roll is everything else. You know, those posh glamor shots of your sweet looking product seemingly floating in a gravity free, matrix-white environment.  We use B-roll to cover up the on screen talent while still hearing what they’re saying.  It keeps the viewer interested and provides context as well as additional information. 

Chroma Key: Refers to the replacement of one part of the video picture with another picture.  Often times this is accomplished by using a “green screen.”  In post production editors punch a hole in the picture where a certain color appears.  

Depth of Field: Let’s get artistic with it folks! Depth of Field is the range in front of a camera’s lens where objects appear in focus.  After this range objects appear to “fall off,” or become slightly blurred. 

Encoding: In video editing and production video encoding is the process of preparing the video for output, where the digital video is encoded to meet proper formats and specifications for recording and playback through the use of video encoder software.

Lower Third: A graphic placed in the lower area of the screen.  This graphic is often used the first time we see an individual in a video and may include their names and title. 

Post Production: You might hear somebody say “We’ll fix it in post.”  What they’re referring to is Post Production, or everything that happens after camera’s turn off.  We’re talking about editing, syncing, music, titling – everything that happens from the time cameras turn off until delivery of the final product. And if there’s ever an editor in earshot, you might want to avoid the saying “fix it in post.” 

Room Tone: In video production “Room Tone” is the silence recorded at a set location when no dialogue is spoken.  Every location has a distinct ambient sound.  Maybe it’s caused by the low hum of an HVAC system or refrigerator in the other room.  We’ll use the room tone later, in post, to smooth out any sound edit points. 

Rough Cut: Here we’re talking about a preliminary edit of the footage.  The story we’re telling is largely completed.  The sequence of footage and total length may change in future revisions.  Some elements, including the graphics package and sound effects may not be present in this cut. 

VO: Acronyms make the world go round.  VO becomes pretty self-explanatory when you drop the acronym.  Voice Over refers to spoken word audio that is presented over images or video.  The images or video may or may not include the individual who is speaking.   

Oh, and that Spicy Tuna Roll – that’s called craft services.