Glossary Of Film Making Terms - C



Cable Sync – A somewhat archaic method of sync sound shooting, where a cable runs from a Pilottone generator in the camera to the tape recorder.

The Call – This is the sequence of directions that begin a take, typically: “Roll Sound!” “Roll Camera!” “Mark it!” “And… Action!”

Camera Core – A 2 inch Core.

Camera Original – A slightly more adamant way of saying Original.

Camera Noise – The sound of the camera running. Even supposedly quiet cameras will make some noise.

Camera Reports – A form of paperwork used to log shots and takes and put down any notes either to the lab or for future organization in the editing stage. There is generally one camera report per camera roll. Camera reports can be used to communicate specific timing requests to the lab (for instance, if a shot if lit with unusual color gels, this can be noted to let the timer know not to correct the color). Camera reports are extremely helpful to analyze any problem with the footage, since they provides a written record of the coverage (the least of which is that if the slate has the wrong information written on it, which happens now and then, a note can be made in the camera reports to keep the assistant editor from getting confused about which take is which).

Camera Roll – Each roll that you shoot becomes a camera roll. It is often helpful to label them with a number in the order that they were shot. The usual way is with the abbreviation C.R. followed by a number. The lab will then assemble and print them in that order. This makes things less confusing when you first get back your footage.

Camera Stock – This is film. It is also called camera stock to distinguish it from Print Stock.

Camera Tape – Cloth tape specifically for use on film shoots, much like gaffer’s tape. Camera tape is typically 1 inch wide and white so that it can be used together with a sharpie for labeling magazines with the emulsion type and camera roll number. It is valid to use the terms gaffer’s tape and camera tape interchangeably (they are both really the same type of tape) depending on how the tape is being used. It is designed not to leave a sticky residue behind on the camera.

Canted Angle – see Dutch Tilt.

Cement Splice – A type of splice used primarily by negative cutters. In a cement splice the two pieces of film overlap each other and are fused together with film cement.

Changing Bag – A double chambered black bag with a zipper on one end and two elasticized arm holes on the other side, used for loading film into magazines.

Check Print – This is a print made from an internegative or an optical to verify the quality and success of an effect.

“Cheat” – When the camera is set up for a second shot at a different angle it is possible to move things around a little to improve the new composition, the difference in perspective and angle of the two shots hiding the fact that things are not exactly in the same place. Both actors and furniture on the set can be cheated. The term is often used as cheating something “into” a shot or “out of” a shot, as in telling an actor “We’re going to cheat you in a little,” and having them stand a little to one side so more of them is in the shot.

Cinch Marks – Not to be confused with sync marks. Cinch marks are small vertical scratches on a roll of film that are caused when the end of the film is pulled to tighten the roll, causing any dust on the film to make a small scratch. Too much drag on the supply while rewinding is one common way that cinching can occur.

Clamp Light – A type of lighting fixture designed to hold a screw-in light bulb, with a not-so-dependable spring clamp for mounting on the side of an open door, etc. Often includes an aluminum reflector dish as well.

Clapper or Clapstick – The Slate, or just the two sticks that are struck together to mark a sync sound take.

Clap Board – see The Slate.

C-Mount – A screw mount type of lens, commonly used on smaller 16mm cameras, like the Bolex.

Co-axial Magazine – A type of magazine with two chambers side by side, with the supply and take up rolls rather like wheels mounted on either end of the same axle.

Code Numbers – Inked-on edge numbers, usually added to a workprint and mag track after syncing, so that corresponding sound and picture can always be properly aligned during editing. They are also used for the general organization of the footage. Sometimes the term edge numbers are used, and although this is not incorrect, care should be taken that it is understood that you are talking about the inked-on numbers and not the Latent Edge Numbers.

Color Temperature – It is a measurement of the color of light, and important in that film is much more sensitive to color temperature than our eyes are. Is measured on scale that takes its name from the scientist Lord Kelvin

Conformations – Progressive versions of a film in the editing stage are known as conformations, often identified by date. Conformations are only of any significance on a large production where different editing departments should be sure to be working with the latest conformation.

Conforming – The word to describe the negative cutter’s matching of the original to the workprint.

Contact Printing – The method used by the lab to copy film. A contact print is made on a machine called (sensibly enough) a Contact Printer, in which the original film and unexposed print stock are sandwiched together, emulsion against emulsion, and are run at a constant speed past a light which shines through the original, exposing the print stock with the same image. All workprints, answer prints and release prints are contact prints. The only other type of printing is Optical Printing, which is usually done to add an effect or to blow up or make a reduction print.

Continuity – The seamlessness of detail from one shot to another within a scene. Continuity refers particularly to the physical elements, rather than to the choices in coverage that can result in a lack of seamlessness. Elements of continuity include any actions of the actor, the placement of props, the lighting, the costumes, and so on.

Coocoloris – A fancier way of saying Gobo or Cookie.

Cookie – A flat board, like a flag, but full of irregular holes used for creating a pattern of shadows when put in front of a light.

Core – A plastic hub used to hold film without a reel. There are 2 inch cores (small cores) and 3 inch cores (large cores). 2 inch cores can also be called camera cores.

Corrected Print – Same as a Timed Print.

Corrections – Further changes in the timing of a print are known as corrections.

Coverage – Coverage is used to describe the architecture of breaking down a script into the shots that will allow the scene to be cut together. Although coverage addresses the bare-bones question of getting shots that will cut together smoothly, it is important not to be too distracted from bigger aesthetic question of getting the right shots for the scene to work.

C.R. – Abbreviation for Camera Roll.

Critical End! – What to label your film can when turning it in at the lab when the roll ran out during a very important shot and you want to make sure you get every last frame possible.

Cross Modulation Test – Sometimes called “cross mod” for short. This is a test the Mixing House will do in conjunction with the lab you plan to use to make sure the optical track is exposed and developed for optimal sound quality.

Cross Processing – A technique used much more by still photographers. Cross processing is the use of color reversal film stock to be developed as a negative. A positive print struck from that negative will have strange and rich colors, intense contrast and on overall yellowish hue.

Crystal Sync – Specifically, a way of recording Sync Sound where the camera runs at correct speed with a quartz crystal-governed motor, and tape recorder records its pilottone using a built-in quartz crystal pilottone generator. The crystal is much like the kind used in a quartz watch. Unlike cable sync, the camera and tape recorder are not attached.

C.T.B. – C.T.B. stands for Color Temperature Blue. This is an abbreviation for the color correction gels used in lighting to convert the color temperature from tungsten to daylight. They come in gradients: Quarter Blue, Half Blue, Full Blue.

C.T.O. – C.T.O. stands for Color Temperature Orange. This is an abbreviation for the color correction gels used in lighting to convert the color temperature from daylight to tungsten. They come in gradients: Quarter Orange, Half Orange, Full Orange.

C-Stand – A type of light stand with fixed legs that swing out, or together when not in use, usually equipped with an arm, and typically used to hold a flag.

Cue Sheets – A road map, of sorts, for the mixer to find the sounds on your tracks during the mix. It is laid out as a grid with each track forming a column and time moving ahead in rows measured in 35mm footage (even if your film is 16mm you must convert the footage to 35mm).

Cut – 1.: What the director says to end the filming of a shot. 2.: The cutting apart of 2 shots at the frameline, or the point where the shots have been cut apart. 3.: In the different stages, or at the completion of editing the edited film itself can be referred to as “the cut” or “the edit.”

Cutaway – A shot, usually a closeup of some detail, or landscape, that is used break up a matching action sequence, and is often very helpful in editing to rescue you from an impossible break in continuity or coverage. A cutaway, as the name implies, is a shot that does not focus on some detail of the shot before or after it but cuts away from the action at hand, unlike an Insert Shot. However, the two terms are sometimes used vaguely or interchangeably, although this is not always a useful practice. The best cutaways are the ones that have some logic to them, that relate to the scene.

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