Glossary Of Film Making Terms - M



Macro Lens – A lens that can be used for extremely close to the subject. The focusing ring will keep going past the lowest setting (on the Switar lens a red ring will appear to let you know) all the way around again. When in macro the distances on the focusing ring no longer apply.


Mag – 1.: Short for Film Magazine. 2.: Short for Mag Track.


Magazine – An attachment to a camera with one or two light-proof chambers that hold 400 or 1,000 feet of film. One camera will typically have two or three magazines which can be loaded ahead of time.


Mag Stock, Mag Track or Magnetic Film – Mag track is a piece of film that is coated with an emulsion of magnetic oxide instead of silver halides. Basically, it is sound recording tape that is the same size as film, complete with perforations. For editing, all the sound, location sound and additional sound, is transferred to mag stock, where it is run on an editing machine in tandem with picture, one frame of picture equaling one frame of sound.


Mark – 1.: The clapping of the clapstick to create a Sync Mark (1.) for the shot. 2.: A piece of tape on the floor that indicates where an actor should stand.


“Mark it!” – What to say to the person with the slate to get them to clap the sticks together.


Master Shot – A single shot, usually a wide shot, that incorporates the whole scene from beginning to end. Typically a master shot will be filmed first, and then all the close-ups and other shots afterwards.


Matte Box – A square shade that goes in front of the lens, usually supported by a pair of rods that attach to the camera. A matte box often has filter holders for square glass filters. (Often helpful for doing a Matte Shot.)


Matte Shot – A double exposure that does not meld two images on top of each other, but masks off part of the frame for one exposure and the opposite area for another exposure. This is also known as a split screen. Matte shots can also be done as Opticals.


M&E – M&E stands for Music and Effects. After a mix a big production will have an M&E track made, which is used when the film is dubbed into other languages so that all the Music and Effects do not also have to be redone. An M&E track is only essential if you plan on dubbing your film into a different language.


Mix – This is the process of combining all your soundtracks into one, with all the sounds blended together at their correct volumes, together with any equalization, filtering, and effecting of the sound to give you the desired end result.


Mixer – 1.: A device for blending together sounds from multple sources with a volume control for each. 2.: The person who sits at the mixing console during the mix, who decides initially on how the sounds are to be combined (you are the one with final say), and operates the faders and other audio controls.


Mixing House – A sound studio specifically for mixing sound for film.


Mix Master – This is a copy of your sound mix on mag stock, or on DAT, which you sometimes have to request in addition to the optical track. It is always a good idea to get a copy of the mix on tape, which will be of much better quality than the optical track for transfer to video, or to save some mixing time in the event you have to remix.


M.O.S. – A shot, a sequence, or a film that is shot without sound, which is added later. M.O.S. stands for “Mit Out Sound,” and derives from an old Hollywood story about a German director asking for a shot to be filmed “mit out sound,” and the camera assistant complying with this request by writing “M.O.S.” on the slate.


The Movement – The parts of a camera or projector that move the film intermittently: the pulldown claw, the rollers before and after the loops, and the gears connecting these parts form the movement. If there is a registration pin, this is also part of the movement. Sometimes the shutter can also be considered part of the movement.


Moviola – An Upright Moviola. Moviola is the company that makes this machine. They also make flatbeds, but when someone says “Moviola” the generally mean an upright. This is a film viewer, often used on an editing bench.


Moviscop – Spelled Moviscop but pronounced “movie-scope.” This is a small, 16mm table-top viewer, often used on an editing bench.

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