[an error occurred while processing this directive] the studiotour.com - Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms - under construction!

[T] = Theme Park term, [F] = Film-making term

2K / 4K / 8K [F] The number of horizontal pixels in a digital film frame (or photograph). 8K (8000 horizontal pixels) is the highest resolution currently in use.
Action Vehicle A car / van / bus / other vehicle that takes part in a stunt during a film / TV shoot.
ADR [F] Automated Dialogue Replacement. Also known as 'looping' this is the process where actors re-record their lines after original filming, either because the original production sound was not up to standard or due to external factors (aircraft noise in a period piece) which weren't noticed at the time of filming.
Animations [T] The department at Universal which takes care of the moving elements of tour attractions (e.g. Jaws, King Kong, Fast & the Furious etc.).
Animatronic [T] Originally Audio-Animatronic™, this term describes a robotic figure, particularly in a theme park environment, which is able to repeat a limited range of pre-programmed functions, typically in synchronisation with a soundtrack.
Aspect Ratio  
ARC [F] Aspect Ratio Converter
Art Director  
Audio [T] Sound heard by the audience during an attraction. This is tightly controlled, to ensure only sound relevant to that part of the ride is audible, and also to exclude sounds from the outside world where possible.
Audio-Animatronic ™  
Backlot The part of the movie studio consisting of landscaped areas and buildings used as a location for filming. See also Frontlot.
Best Boy  
Bluescreen Technique used to extend sets using computer-generated imagery. A portion of the set is covered in a pure blue material (coloured Chroma Blue). In post-production, the computer replaces the colour with digital scenery to place the actors in an enhanced location. See also Greenscreen.
Bump [T] A member of ride crew that replaces a crew member just coming to the end of their shift.
CAPS [F] Short for Computer Animation Production System. This is a proprietary collection of software programs, scanning camera systems, servers, networked computer workstations, and custom desks developed by The Walt Disney Company together with Pixar in the late-1980s. It computerised many aspects of the post-production process for animation, as well as the labour-intensive ink and paint process.
Cast Member [T] A member of staff seen by the public at a Disney theme park. A member of crew in public areas is said to be 'on stage'.
Caustics (Visual Effects)
CGI Computer-Generated Imagery. Term used to refer to a range of uses of computers in film & TV production, from the creation of a digital character blended into a live-action film, or a digital set extension, or any kind of enhancement of an image / sequence using a computer.
"Check the Gate"  
CinemaScope System for horizontally squshing a scene onto standard 35mm film, a stretching it to fit a wide screen in the theater. Uses a ratio of 2.35:1 (originally 2.66:1).
Clapboard (also known as a Clapperboard)
Closed Set  
Commissary [F] Staff canteen / restaurant at a movie studio.
Cut! Call by film director to stop the camera and sound recording, and to tell actors to stop performing, and crew to stop their activities.
Dark Ride [T] Theme park attraction featuring a themed environment inside a building through which guests travel in a vehicle, usually on a track. The ride may feature technological elements such as special lighting, projection, animatronic characters, automated scenery, wind, fire, smoke and other special effects. Some of the best examples can be found at Disney theme parks (Peter Pan's Flight, PIrates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion or Indiana Jones: Temple of the Forbidden Eye can all be found Disneyland in California).
The first dark rides appeared in the 1800s and were called Scenic Railways, taking visitors on boat rides to haunted houses or romantic escapes.
Digital Intermediate [F]

Full details coming soon.

Also known as DI.

Digital Projection  
Dolly [F] A wheeled platform on tracks used to carry a camera and (often) operator to enable the camera to move horizontally around a scene.
Dolly Grip [F] Crew member with responsibility for setting up the dolly track and platform, and for moving the dolly along the tracks during filming.
Dressed Set  
Dubbing Mixer During the post-production process, the Dubbing Mixer is responsible for mixing together dialogue and other sound effects, foley and music.
Element (Visual Effects) A component part of a final shot / sequence.
Elephant Doors [F] Large full-height door in a soundstage which enables large set pieces, equipment and vehicles to move freely in and out of the building. In the early days of Hollywood these doors were necessary for elephants to enter the stages for the historical epics which needed them.
Faux Fire  
Flame Retardant Suit A piece of clothing designed to be worn by actors and stunt performers which protects the body from flame and does not burn. See Nomex.
Foley [F] The process of recording specific sound effects synchronized with picture. A Foley Artist is skilled at copying the movements and physical attitude of an actor on screen to create sounds that help bring the production to life. Typical Foley work involves recording footsteps and sounds associated with handling props. It’s rarely a valuable use of time to record these with the original actors on set – the important thing then is to capture the dialogue as well as possible. Everything else can be added later. More Foley Stage.
Front Lot The part of the movie studio consisting of soundstages, workshops and office accommodation. See also Backlot.
Front Projection  
Gaffer [F]  
GlamorTram [T] (Universal Studios Hollywood) Distinctive Red/White striped tram vehicle designed specifically for the Universal Studios tour in 1964. More information about GlamorTrams.
Greenscreens See Bluescreen.
Grip Member of the camera team who's job is to deal with all of the systems used to hold the camera in position, from a tripod to a crane.
Hot Set  
"It's A Wrap"  
Key Grip See also Grip, Best Boy
Laser Acronym of "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of
Laser disk  
LIM Linear Induction Motors
Live Action  
Looping See ADR.
Matte Painting  
Matte Shot  
Motion Base  
Movietone Sound-on-film sound recording system that was developed in 1925 and bought by William Fox for the exclusive use of Fox Studios in July 1926.
Multiplane Camera Animation camera used by various animation studios which allows a series of separate animation cels to be placed at various distances from the camera, greatly enhancing the depth of a scene and enabling complex perspective effects. The Disney multiplane camera was built for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). The technology has been rendered obsolete by various digital animation tools, including the Disney CAPS system.
Nomex (Dupont Trade name) Inherently flame-retardant fibrous material used to make clothing for stunt work and for protection from fire.
Online Edit Final phase of the editing process when the pictures are reassembled at full resolution, following the offline edit at lower resolution.
Optical Printer  
Picture Car Vehicle used on camera during a movie shoot. Usually provided by a specialist company.
Pixel Short for Picture Element. The smallest dot of which a film image or photograph is composed.
Post Short for 'Post-Production'.
Post-Production The final phase of the production process, following principal photography, when special effects are added, the sound track is mixed, start and end credit sequences and other finishing touches are added.
Principal Photography The main phase of production involving the main actors being filmed. Pre-production (planning, set construction, location scouting etc.) precedes principal photography, and post-production follows.
Pre-Viz Short for Pre-Visualisation. A computer-generated model of a complex action sequence, enabling director, actors, stunt co-ordinators and cinematographers to plan
Props [F] A prop is any item that an actor holds or handles. Many film studios extend this definition to include items of furniture and other larger set dressing.
Rear Projection  
Rollercoaster [T]  
Rotoscope [F]  
Rushes [F]  
Saturated Lighting Rig  
Scenic Design  
Show Control  
SMPTE [T] [F] Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. Usually refers to a standard timecode format used to synchronise equipment.
[T] The timecode is transmitted by a show control computer and other devices (lighting control, sound playback, fire effects etc.] operate as programmed at their allotted time, as long as other safety devices confirm that it's safe to do so.
[F] The timecode is generated by the film/video recorder, and other equipment (e.g. sound recording) is automatically synchronised to the timecode, ensuring audio/video is played back in synch.
Sodium Vapour Process (SVP) [F]

Known as 'Yellowscreen' this was a process used by Disney, initally on Mary Poppins. Regular bluescreen (and now greenscreen) shots are subject to black lines around composited material under certain circumstances, especially in the case of fast-moving or blurry subjects. The Sodium Vapour process avoided this by shooting two pieces of film simultaneously, in one camera, via a beam-splitting lens. One piece of film was regular color photographic film. The other is sensitive only to narrow wavelength light produced by sodium lamps. Behind the subject to be composited is a screen illuminated only by sodium lamps. The resulting film produces an extremely accurate matte. Disney used the process on Song of the South (1946), Mary Poppins (1964), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Island at the Top of the World (1974), The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975), Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), Gus (1976), Freaky Friday (1976), Pete's Dragon (1977) and The Black Hole (1979). It was also used on Mysterious Island (1961) and Hitchcock's The Birds (1963) for close shots of the attacking birds, supervised by Disney animator Ub Iwerks.
Its last known use was in the 1990 film Dick Tracy.

Solid State  
Sound Stage  
Special Effects  
Spiel The script that an attraction host uses during the ride. Examples are the studio tour guide script and the Special Effects stages script.
Squib A small electrically-detonated explosive charge used to simulate bullet hits.
Staff Shop [F] Construction department which uses staff (a mixture of plaster of paris and hemp fibres) moulds to make a massive variety of set dressing items from fiberglass (e.g. scenic columns).
Strike Striking a set refers to the process of removing the set pieces from the stage.
Struck Set  
Timecode See SMPTE.
Travelling Matte  
Uncanny Valley  
Video Village Area on (or near) the film set with video monitors feeding views from the film cameras, enabling the director to see everything that's being shot and keep the proceedings moving forwards in comfort.
The Volume Term for a motion capture stage, used by Robert Zemeckis and James Cameron. The volume is surrounded by infra-red receptors which flood the space with thousands of infra-red dots which are reflected by the actors and props, to be picked up by the same receptors. A powerful computer is then able to model the actors positions and performances in 3D. These performances are then mapped onto virtual characters which behave in the same way the actors did. A virtual camera is then placed in the computer model to act as a window on the world. Set designers and lighting riggers work in the virtual world to make the world as believeable as it needs to be.
Wig Wag Lights Red fire-truck type light found beside the entrace to a soundstage. When the light is on, filming is underway inside.
Wild Walls A piece of scenery making up a film or TV set which can easily be removed to allow the camera access where necessary.
Wild A set or large prop that has removable sections to allow the camera access can be "wilded".
Wilhelm Scream

A stock 'scream' sound effect first recorded in 1951 for the film Distant Drums. It was rediscovered by sound designer Ben Burtt, who used it on Star Wars in 1977. It has since been used on hundreds of movies, including the rest of the Star Wars series, all of the Indiana Jones movies, Toy Story, and almost every modern action or fantasy film.
A partial list can be found at IMDB.com and a compilation video can be seen below:

Yellowscreen See Sodium Vapour Process.