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Please find below a dynamic dictionary of terminology.

If you think any terms should be added or amended please email [email protected]


  • Academic Access
    Provision of viewing copies of archive footage for research and study in the context of under graduate, post graduate or private study. This usually means provision of the material at a licence fee which is lower than commercial rates, or under a licensing scheme. It is usual to impose conditions (e.g. material may only be viewed in the institution, and/or transmitted over secure networks). See also educational use
  • Access Fee
    Is charged where the archive seeks a financial return on its costs for managing and supply of footage. When an archive supplies its own copyright material, these costs are usually rolled up in the licence fee which the archive charges. Access Fee is often stipulated when third party copyright footage is supplied, when an Access Fee is charged by the archive to supply material (usually master) for which it claims no copyright or ownership. Clearance of the copyright is the responsibility of the person gaining access. This fee can be set at whatever level the archive chooses. See also Technical/Transfer Cost.
  • Acetate
    A form of celluloid film which replaced nitrate and is a safety stock.

  • Advertisements (Non Broadcast)
    Footage used in non transmission for promotional purposes of a commercial product or service. Examples are use of archive footage in an advertising video which the client may use at live events and exhibitions; in public relations materials; at trade, press and investor presentations; retail (point of sale, outdoor environments); in electronic media (e.g. CD-Rom, DVD) which are packaged with the client's products and not for retail sale; the client's internet, extranet and intranet sites. It might include Internet viral marketing. One would need to clarify the required uses in the client contract.
  • All Media
    The use of footage in all media including broadcast and sales with multiple options. Any exclusions (such as Theatrical use) must be stated in a contract's definition of "All Media" - otherwise the term means "absolutely everything" - in some (but not all) countries, this even includes media which have not been invented when the contract was signed.
  • Apple ProRes - also known as ProRes
    A proprietary moving image Codec devised by Apple Corp and widely used among the Film and TV industry. Highly regarded in providing a high quality compressed picture that is also good for general post-production. Also works well for full resolution archive clip delivery globally as supports all international TV standards. Works with SD through to High Definition and easily imported into majority of Edit cutting rooms, available in various ProRes flavours. LT, HQ & Proxy (lower quality) format.
  • Apple Quicktime, QT Pro (various)
    Omni present codec used and accepted internationally, suitable for importing directly into Non Linear systems that work straight onto the edit timeline. QT software is freely downloadable and bundled with many operating systems, QT players also handle MP4 H.264files for viewing.
  • AS11/DPP
    (see AVCintra 100, 200 ultra) The electronic file delivery standard for finished transmission ready material. Currently broadcasters receive a TX master on Video Tape. This tape is quality reviewed by the broadcaster for overall technical quality. The media on this tape is then encoded onto a transmission server system ready for TX. AS11 aims to cut tape physical delivery out of the loop and allow major post production facilities to feed directly into the broadcaster a transmission ready technically assessed programme. Other information is also contained in the file; the all important programme number, title and episode number through to a synopsis and description of the programme ready for on screen publicity. See: www.digitalproductionpartnership.co.uk
  • AVCintra 100, 200 ultra
    Devised originally by Panasonic Broadcast for their P2 range of tapeless cameras allowing high quality compressed images to be recorded on location with the ability to review, shot log and add valuable additional Metadata ready for the edit suite. AVC is now available in 100Mb (HD Broadcast quality) and 200Mb (future ready). AVCintra is acceptable to edit suites via an import toolset . NB. A variant of this file format will be the delivery file for all UK DPP broadcaster deliveries from October 2014, some channels are taking 'digital only' early. This format is known as AS11/DPP compliant.
  • AVI
    Considered a legacy file format dating back 20 years, this native format has minimal processing and therefore occupies much drive space, a compressed DV version also exists. Still supported on various media players, replay of stored archive files is still supported.
  • Avid DNX 185X
    A proprietary moving image Codec devised by Avid Corp and widely used among the Film & TV industry. Highly regarded as providing high quality compressed pictures good for post-production and archive clip distribution, not as commonly requested as the omni-present ProRes but an equal. Supports all worldwide TV standards in High Definition. A DNX 175 also exists for the feature film editing world working solely at 24 frames per second.
  • AVOD
    Advertising-based video on demand - Adverts before watching online services. For example Daily Motion, Youtube revenue is used to offset production and hosting costs.


  • Base
    The part of the film which holds the picture via the emulsion.
  • Bobbin
    (see Core)


  • Cable
    The provision of television via radio frequency signals transmitted to televisions through fixed optical fibres or coaxial cables or wireless microwave systems (including free, pay per view and subscription) for reception by the public. The means of delivery to the public through the "system" is not restricted to cable. In addition to cable, the system can also make use of microwave transmission. In both cases, however, the "cable or microwave system" is the cable operator's closed network. For example, a public broadcaster can also use a wireless microwave system.
  • Can
    A metal or plastic container for the film.
  • Captured Audience
    An audience exposed to the programme through a non broadcast format. The audience is exposed by the virtue of their physical presence at a screening, as in a cinema or lecture.
  • CD ROM/CDI Rights
    A "shorthand expression" commonly used to mean the right to transfer footage to a digital format and to combine the footage with other images, animation, video sound and software as required to create a computer based programme, and the right to produce, manufacture and distribute the Programme within the Territory in CD-RROM, CD-I. (The contract would have to be consulted, to determine the actual rights granted in a specific case.
  • Cloud Storage
    A method of storing and transferring digital files, not on an inhouse server.
  • Co-Production, International Co-production
    A film resulting from the joint efforts of two or more production companies. If these are based in different countries, the film is an International Co-production.
  • Core
    The Plastic centre to store film on.
  • Countdown Leader
    As leader but descending numbers from 12 usually to 3 to assist the projectionist as to the start or sync the film.

  • Corporate
    The images shown form part of an in-house training or conference video within a commercial institution promoting a particular product but where the participants are not paying to view the programme.
  • Copyright Date
    The day, month and year of a film's copyright registration.
  • Copyright Owner (Original), Copyrighted by.
    The person or corporate body in whom first is vested the rights of ownership and protection against unauthorized use of an individual film, whether published or unpublished. This may or may not require registration depending on the laws of the country concerned.
  • Credits, Titles
    A Credit is a text appearing on screen that consists of the name and function of a person or corporate body involved in the making of a film. The term usually refers to the production staff behind the camera, as opposed to Cast, the members of which are in front of the camera. In the U.S., a film’s title, credits and cast are often grouped together under the term Titles.


  • Digitisation
    Transferring a film from a physical object to a digital file via a scanner or a tape format by transcoding
  • Distributor, Distribution, Distributed by, Released by.
    The person or corporate body who acts as an agent between the production company and the exhibitors, and is usually responsible for coordinating all aspects of a film’s release.
  • Double Perf
    Film with sprocket holes down both sides on the edge
  • Download Rights
    Enabling the user to receive data to a local system from a remote system for personal viewing for limited time or perpetuity (commercial & non commercial, low & high quality).  Method whereby a person can receive data for personal viewing and hold it on their own computer either to own (DTO) or to view within a limited period (DTV). This may be a commercial transaction or free service.
  • DPX/Cineon
    The original high end film capture file format that has minimal processing giving each pixel 'one vote' this is an uncompressed format with all detail captured. The majority of film preservation scanning projects use this format as file master material for long term storage. The downside is each individual frame is a file in its own right with each hour of film scanning working out at over 1TB of data. In comparison a ProRes or Avid DNX would take up approx 70GB of space but retaining perceived image quality.
  • Drone
    Aerial footage captured by drones, unmanned vehicle.
  • Duration of Distribution Rights
    Contractual time period during which a distributor has the right to exploit a film.
  • DVCPro/DVCProHD/DV25
    These are file formats developed primarily for recording high quality images onto video tape in the field, allowing quick interchange of tapes/media and access to recorded images, a format widely adopted for News editing etc. This file format can also be used to record archive content and preserve on hard drives in the same form as they originated when filming.


  • Emulsion
    The part of the film that contains the light sensitive material to capture the picture.
  • Emulsion Scratches
    White tram-line damage of film track.
  • Excerpt, Clip.
    An Excerpt is a segment, usually a scene or sequence, taken from a complete, fully edited film. A Clip is usually shorter than an Excerpt and gives a less detailed sense of the complete work.
  • Exclusivity
    Sole grant of transmission rights within the agreed terms of a licence e.g. a territory, language, time period etc.


  • Fair Use
    A provision specific to US copyright law, which permits certain uses of copyright material without the owner's consent (e.g. certain limited documentary uses). Not to be confused with UK copyright law's "fair dealing."
  • Footage
    The length of the film, usually in feet.
  • Frame
    A single image on film – a number of which required to make one second of moving footage, between 18 and 25 commonly.
  • Free TV
    Transmission of any form of programme for reception without a charge being made to the viewer to view the programme. Often by means of "over the air broadcast", "basic cable transmission " or free "satellite transmission". As opposed for paid for cable (not as common a requirement as previously).


  • Gamma
    Midtones in video editing.
  • Gauge
    The size of film across, usually in millimetres.


  • Home Video/DVD/Games
    The distribution of the "material" on video cassette and/or video disc ('Videograms'), DVD, (and for Games, in particular, distribution by Internet for use in hand held and mobile devices) or on any future formats which may be played back by use of a playback device directly connected to or forming an integral part of a domestic television receiver or other device and which are intended for hire or sale to the public for private use only. 


  • IMX
    Rarely used file variant of Sony Digital Betacam tape allowing file type recording directly to convenient cassette tapes. Files of SD DigiBeta quality can be recorded, shared and then archived onto hard drives using this codec. Sony produced VT machines that could play SP, Digi and IMX allowing flexibility for Broadcasters.
  • In Flight/Transit TV
    Exhibition of the "material" to audiences as part of in-flight or other transit services (e.g. long distance coaches, and the clips that are shown in London taxis).
  • Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) rights
    IPTV is the use of Data Networks to Deliver Television Services. It represents a convergence of broadcast and broadband delivery technologies. IPTV services are delivered via: Closed Networks (Managed IPTV, Service Provider model) or Open Networks (Web TV, Open Access model).
  • Internet TV
    Television delivered by using the internet protocol over a network infrastructure which may include broadband. see Internet Protocol TV 
  • Internet/Web Rights
    "Secured streaming rights": use of the footage for viewing only in Internet protocol by secure means for TV broadcasts or user internet websites :e.g. educational  websites, museums, private websites, also can be commercial as in advertising campaigns being broadcast on television, viral marketing, and also available on the client website, for example.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol BS 1595
    An all-purpose cleaning fluid for film.


  • Joiner
    Instrument for joining two sections of film together (often mistakenly called a splicer).
  • Joining Tape
    Clear thin acetate strip used to bind to sections of film on a joiner.
  • JPEG2000
    File format that is the basis for Digital Cinema distribution and projection. Final master material (feature film) is converted to this visually impressive compressed format to produce secure deliverable files that are sent around ready for showing. The security is obtained by delivering separate electronic keys issued to tightly control distribution. The key and media have to be present together to enable viewing.


  • Leader
    A strip of empty film used at front and end to protect it, usually white.
  • Licence Fee
    A fee paid/charged to secure the rights for specific defined use of content.


  • Magnetic Track
    The area of the film track which holds the sound by magnetic process
  • Media Format
    The physical format/Platform/carrier of the content. The term is used in different contexts, e.g. a television channel, cinema screen or a dvd or beta.
  • Mobile
    Delivery through any telecommunication service employing wireless technology (including but not limited to GSM, EDGE, CDMA, UMTS, DVBH technologies.
  • Mobile Technology Rights
    The right to distribute and broadcast to wireless devices (such as mobile phones) via any telecommunication service employing wireless technology (including but not limited to: GSM, EDGE, CDMA, UMTS, DVBH technologies).
  • Most Favoured Nations Clause
    The common term for a contractual clause which requires that a license fee (or any other definition of an agreement, including revenue shares) in a contractual relationship will not be less than the highest fee paid to one or more third parties
  • Mould
    A bacteria that attacks the gelatine holding the emulsion to the base.
  • MP3
    Stands for MPEG Layer3, a very compressed sound file usually embedded into other lower bit rate file formats, DVD etc. Good for logging purposes as widely supported on PCs, music players etc. Any sound for final post should be delivered as a WAV file (see WAVE).
  • MP4/H.264
    Very compressed file format that allows off line collaborative working between edit suites and production personnel, works well on desktop and mobile viewing. Compressed but impressive results that allows offline/guide images to be shared around the production world quickly. Archive researchers are able to discover clips and share with the cutting room whilst on-going editing and before final clip ordering. The majority of archive collections make their libraries available for browsing using low bit rate MP4/H.264.

  • MXF
    Unlike all the other file formats, MXF is a 'container' or 'wrapper' that other file formats can exist in. MXF was devised to allow various professional media files to be more interchangeable in a range of TV products within the production workflow envisaged, from location filming through to production logging, viewing and then final post editing and delivery. A collaborative MXF workflow would enhance the production experience. Unfortunately incompatibility issues and file naming and numbering problems were numerous and took time to stabilize. The future goals of this initiative can be seen in DPP AS11 www.digitalproductionpartnership.co.uk


  • Nitrate
    A form of film celluloid banned in 1952 as highly flammable and replaced by acetate.
  • Non Commercial Exhibition
    Use of content in a non commercial context - e.g. a non fee charging museum exhibition.
  • Non Exclusivity
    Rights granted for a fee but not excluding the same rights being sold to someone else and on a shared basis and not solely to the licensee.
  • Non Theatrical Audience
    Not a live audience, e.g. viewing via television.


  • Optical Track
    The area of the film which holds the sound by electronic process
  • OTT
    An over-the-top media service is a streaming media service offered directly to viewers via the Internet. OTT bypasses cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms, the companies that traditionally act as a controller or distributor of such content.


  • Pay per View
    (often abbreviated PPV) offers a system by which a television audience can purchase programmes to view in their homes. The broadcaster shows the programme at a predetermined/programmed time. As opposed to Video on demand systems, which allow viewers to see the programme at any time. Programmes can be purchased using an on-screen guide, an automated telephone system, or through a live customer service representative.
  • Perpetuity
    A period of time that does not expire.
  • Podcasts
    A series of audio or video digital files distributed over the Internet by syndicated download, through Web feeds to any portable media players and personal computers. Often supplied free of charge (FOC) as radio or TV catch up.
  • Polyester
    A form of celluloid film introduced in the 1990's to replace acetate. It is safety and not prone to vinegar syndrome.
  • Pop Promos
    Visual performances representation on audio recordings. See also music video (same kind of production, used for promotional purpose).
  • Production Company
    The name of the company under whose financial, technical and organisation management a film is made.
  • Promotional Use
    Content supplied by a company (usually free of charge) promoting its programme, event, product or personalities. Its use may be limited to a certain context or time period.
  • Public Domain
    In legal terminology, material which is "in the public domain" means material which is not protected by copyright. For example, the term of copyright protection may have expired, or which was never protected by copyright (e.g. some countries' government publications). In common parlance, "in the public domain" also means "generally accessible to, or known by, all" - this use does not refer to copyright protection.
  • Public Exhibition
    Programme or footage shown to audiences in closed Exhibition Space (e.g. a cinema or conference hall) to which members of the public are given access either for an admission fee or free of charge. The exhibition may be presented in an indoor or outdoor environment.


  • REDraw R3D
    Proprietary format straight out of the Red camera with minimal processing and compression, this is a master file format containing the highest level of detail/resolution for large screen projection. These files are commonly transcoded to ProRes or DNX to enable the cutting room and post production to be cost effective. Big budget productions reload these master files for the final process of post (grading) to produce the very highest image quality allowing the grader the full latitude of image detail to work with.
  • Research Fee
    Fee charged for providing research services to source footage or information about footage.
  • RGB Values
    The red green and blue values of a given digitised film.
  • Reel
    A unit of ten minutes duration.
  • Rights
    legal or moral entitlements. 
  • Rights Managed (RM)
    Refers to a copyright license which, if purchased by a user, allows the one-time use of the photo as specified by the license. If the user wants to use the photo for other uses an additional license needs to be purchased.
  • Royalty Free (RF)
    Refers to a copyright license that allows the purchaser to pay a one-time fee to the licensor to use the work i.e. customers are able to use the stock footage/photos in different projects without having to pay additional licensing fees (restrictions apply in specific use case scenarios).


  • Satellite
    Television delivered by communication satellites (including free, pay per view and subscription) whether encrypted or not.
  • Scanning
    Making a digital copy of a film usually high res.
  • Scratches
    Dark tram-line damage of the film.
  • Single Perf / Double Perf
    Film with perforation holes down one side / Film with perforation holes down both sides.
  • Spool
    The metal holder of film usually used in projection.
  • Steenbeck
    Viewing/editing bench for film, actually a trade name but now generic.
  • Stock Shot, Stock Footage. Generic footage of locations, settings, actions, events, or personalities, often originally filmed for a specific documentary or fiction film, but later primarily intended for repeated use in different productions.
  • Streaming media
    A multimedia that is delivered and consumed in a continuous manner from a source, with little or no intermediate storage in network elements. Streaming refers to the delivery method of content, rather than the content itself.

  • Street Vision
    Audio-Visual content / Programme played to audience in fixed public in-door or outdoor area. See also Public Exhibition
  • Subscription TV
    Pay television or premium television refers to subscription-based TV services.Some providers offer channels owned by the same company in a single package.Premium services are almost always subscribed to a la carte.
  • SVOD
    Subscription Video on Demand - This refers to video streaming services that users must subscribe to in order to access. For example, users of Netflix must pay a monthly subscription fee in order to watch their content because it is an SVOD.


  • Tape
    Cassette or spool based electronic carrier for moving image.
  • Targa
    As TIFFs but also used in high quality moving image delivery with the ability to add Alpha channel (caption overlays).
  • Technical/Transfer Cost
    Costs charged by archive or copyright owner in addition to any licence fee to supply a copy of the requested footage to the client or licencee this generally covers the cost of film transfer, video duplication digital encoding or transfer. 
  • Television Commercials
    Short film made exclusively to promote a particular product most commonly broadcast on television and at cinema regionally nationally or in specified territories - shown in ad breaks during or in between programmes. Distinguish from advertiser funded programme, documercials and advertorials - all broadly television programming produced and paid for by an organisation often to convey a message.
  • Terrestrial TV
    The exhibition of the programme within the territory by free VHF and UHF television broadcast stations, the signals of which are intelligibly receivable without charge by means of home roof top or television set built-in antenna.
  • Territory
    Defined area (including land and waters), usually a particular country or countries but may also be defined as groups of counties or types of broadcast for example Europe, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa, World excluding USA , British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) etc.
  • Theatrical Audience
    Exhibition of the Programme to live audiences. A charge for admission may be made (e.g. in commercial cinemas) or not (e.g. in a museum auditorium) .
    Commonly used for print material this format allows high quality image to be manipulated in Photoshop ready for book publishing and giant poster printing.
  • Timeline
    The place in editing programmes where digital assets are stored, organised, cut and adjusted.
  • Track
    The area of the film which holds the sound.


  • Video Installation
    Use of moving footage in the context of an art work.
  • Video on Demand rights (VOD)
    The right to transmit a programme to a viewer by any distribution systems, provided that the viewer views the programme in "real time" at a time chosen by the viewer.
  • Vinegar Syndrome
    A sharp smelling fume from a film indicating a degrading of the base.


  • Watermark
    A low opacity image placed over a video or file for copyright protection or identification.
  • WAVE or WAV file
    The file format of choice for high quality sound recording, allows the use of professional timecode to be embedded. Accepted across the globe with the added benefit of playback on most PCs and MACs, helpful for logging purposes.
  • Web Distribution
    Delivery of audiovisual content through the Internet.
  • Web Rights
    see Internet Rights.


  • XDCam Sony
    A Sony MXF File format devised for location filming directly onto interchangeable optical disc cartridges, these discs could then be viewed and logged offline then fed directly to non-linear editing suites at faster than real time for immediate editing, making this format Ideal for reality, news and current affairs television production.