Film terms: C

Overly technical name for a clothes peg

Call back
A second audition/interview for actors who made it through the first round.

Call sheet
A sheet containing information on the next day’s shooting schedule including call times, personnel and other notices. It is distributed by the production department.

Camera angle
Position/viewpoint chosen by the director with the advice and assistance of the cinematographer (unless the director’s a complete egomaniac) on how to film the shot.

Camera head
A device upon which you mount the camera enabling it to be panned or tilted. The head is attached to a tripod, dolly, crane or other camera mounting.

Camera left/right
When talking about movement within the shot. ‘The Actor walks off camera left.’

Camera light
A small light on the camera usually to provide extra illumination for subject’s eyes.

Camera motivation
All movements and placement of the camera should be for a reason and not just arbitrary because you don’t have a better idea. Normally motivated by a characters point of view.

Camera mounting
Devices upon which the camera is attached in order to facilitate the achievement of a shot.

Camera to subject axis
The invisible line that exists between the camera and the subject(s) in the frame.

Camera sheet
An information sheet which contains details on the days shot footage. Film or tape numbers, scene numbers takes etc.

A unit of light intensity


Carbon arc
A high intensity, low voltage lamp with two carbon rods between which the electricity current ‘arcs’ creating specular (hard) light. The rods burn down and can be adjusted by an electrician. A 225 Brute Fresnel is an example of a Carbon Arc light. Direct current only.

Century stand
Metal stand with three legs that twist out at the bottom. Holds flags, nets, lamps. The largest leg stands directly under the area of most weight to ensure maximum strength.

A clamp used for hanging lights from lighting bars.

Computer generated images. Planets blowing up, web men swinging through cities.. jar-jar binks?

Chalk marks
Marks on the ground which actors or crew can see, giving them a physical mark to aim for during movement. Chalk is easily removed.

Your wonderful producer should break out at least one bottle of crystal at every 100 slates. Low budgets will be “doing the Lambrini.”

Changing bag
A completely (hopefully) lightproof cloth bag used to load and unload film in and out of magazines.

Character arc
The journey and growth of a character from the beginning of the story until the end. Well-developed characters should, ideally, undergo some aspect of transformation. They can change, gaining insight and knowledge so that by the end of the film they are wiser, better or stronger people. For example, learning how to shoot guns better or stripping an AK-47. Less important in porn.

‘Key-ah-o-skew-ro’, a high contrast lighting style, very dark and very light together.

Chicken coop
A light box usually suspended from above, with tungsten bulbs inside

Chinese lantern
A wire-frame globe covered in white paper with a bulb inside. It creates very soft light.

The intensity of colour or its strength. From the Greek word for colour.

Chroma key
Color separation overlay.

Cinema verite
Documentary like shooting style

An aspect ratio of 2.35:1

Generating a film’s look through the art of lighting which creates depth, atmosphere and helps tell the story.

Circle of confusion
A focus measurement. Circles of confusion get bigger the more out of focus the lens becomes.

Clapper board (slate)
A board labelled with information about each shot.

The final dramatic point

A segment of footage within a non-linear editing environment

Close Up
Face shots or similar

Colour bars
A test signal, usually generated by the camera, consisting of eight colour bars from left to right:
White, yellow, cyan, green, magenta, red, blue, black.

Colour chart
Attached to the slate, a color reference for the processing laboratory.

Colour temperature
The color of light. The Measurement of light in degrees of Kelvin. 3200 kelvin for tungsten. 5400 kelvin for daylight. The lower the number, the more red/orange the color of the light. The higher the number, the bluer the light.

Composite print
A film print combing picture and sound.

Squashing data in efficient ways to make it smaller and more manageable.

The maintenance of consistent details over shots, scenes. For example, getting the drink in a glass the same in every shot in the scene.

Continuity script
A post-production record of the film’s contents.

The difference in brightness between the areas of highlight and shadow. Strong highlights and deep shadows together would indicate a high contrast image.

See Cucoloris…see it?

Moving the camera in the opposite direction of the action.

Extras and necessaries like polystyrene board and black wrap, gaffer tape and so on.

In films you can usually find them on the edge

Shooting the scene from different camera angles to make sure all the action is covered.

Crab dolly
Multi-directional dolly.

A mechanism for moving the camera particularly for high shots or vantage points with added movement.

Crash zoom
Using a zoom lens to rapidly change focal length. Yeah baby!

Cross cutting
Alternating between shots from two or more scenes creating parallel narratives. Also called intercutting.

Cross fade
Fading in one channel and fading out another at the same time.

Crossing the line
The line is an imaginary line drawn between two characters in shot. All shots in a sequence must stay on the same side of the imaginary 180 degree line in order to keep the characters looking in the same direction, i.e. at each other. The line is the scene axis. This gets confusing at times.

Cathode ray tube.

see century stand

Close shot

Colour temperature Blue. Abbreviation for the gel used to create a daylight effect. Correction gel.

Colour temperature orange. Abbreviation for the gel used to create a tungsten orange effect. Correction gel.

close up.

Patterned or shaped or perforated material used to create dappled or shadow effects on surfaces. Also known as a cookie.

A visual or verbal signal to begin an action/performance. For example a sign given by the director for an actor to walk into the shot.

A measurement, in amperes, of the total amount of electricity flowing.

A point at which one shot attaches to another in an edit.

A director’s command to stop shooting.

Cut away
A separate shot used to bridge two shots within a scene or bring attention to specific objects, information. Good cutaways can save you when you can’t connect two different or awkward shots. It is also used to highlight specific things. An bland example in E.N.G interviews with talking heads, there will be a cutaway to somebody’s hands in their lap.

Cut in
Moving in to a much closer shot of something already seen in a wider shot.

Grip flag

Cutting room
The place where footage is edited.

A large neutral backing formed by stretching a plain cloth horizontally

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