Glossary Of Film Making Terms - P



Paper Tape – A skinny roll of tape used to tape down the ends of film when editing, called paper tape to distinguish it from splicing tape. (It should not be used for raw stock.)


Pan – A horizontal camera move on an axis, from right to left or left to right. In a pan the camera is turning on an axis rather than across space, as in a dolly shot. Not to be confused with Tilt, technically it is not correct to say “pan up” or “pan down,” when you really mean tilt.


Parallel Editing – The technique of intercutting between two simultaneous stories or scenes.


Perf – Perforations. The sprocket holes in a piece of film.


Pigeon – This is a heavy round disc with a lighting stud, used to position a light on the floor, much lower than a stand will go. Basically, it is a Hi Hat for lights.


Pilottone – A 60 Hz reference signal recorded onto the audio tape to allow transfer to mag precisely at sound speed, used for Sync Sound filming. (In Europe in it is 50Hz.)


Pitch – This is the distance between perforations along a roll of film. Print Stock has a slightly longer pitch than camera stock.


Picture – The workprint, to distinguish it from the mag tracks.


Pix – An abbreviation for Picture used on the leader.


Photo Flood – A photo flood is a high power screw-in light bulb that is often used in with a clamp light fixture. Photo floods are usually anywhere from 250 watts to 500 watts.


Plastic Leader – This is leader for putting at the head and tail of a print. It is, as one would guess, made out of plastic, and is more durable than Emulsion Leader and much less expensive, and so it is the better choice for a print. However, it cannot be Cement Spliced, so it should not used for your negative.


Polyester Base – Polyester base is a very durable type of film, that is virtually unrippable. Some people claim that it is harder to splice, but that is more a matter of getting used to the technique. Significantly, it cannot be Cement Spliced, making it impractical as original material (also, its durability could spell disaster for the delicate mechanism of a camera in the event of a jam). However, its durability makes it very advantageous for release prints.


P.O.V. Shot – Point of View Shot. A shot from the perspective of one of the characters, as if the audience were seeing the scene from their eyes. It is often important to get a Reaction Shot to establish that any given shot really is a P.O.V.


Practical – A practical is any photo flood-type of bulb, used within the shot, in a household lamp or otherwise visible. The term practical is sometimes used interchangeably with photo flood, even though it specifically refers to a light used in the shot.


Preroll – Preroll is extra time at the beginning of a sound take to accommodate the slow lock-up time of some production time code devices.


Pressure Plate – Part of the internal workings of a camera, the pressure plate is located on the other side of the film from the gate. It is a smooth, spring-loaded plate that holds the film on the film plane and acts as a brake, helping to hold the film steady while it is exposed.


Prime Lens – A prime lens is one with a single focal length, wide, normal or telephoto, as opposed to a Zoom Lens, which has a variable focal length. They often come in a set of different focal lengths. Prime lenses tend to be sharper, faster and will often focus closer than zoom lenses.


Print – 1.: A copy of another piece of film, typically made by Contact Printing. 2.: As a verb, to make a print.


Print Stock – Film used by the lab for making copies (prints). It is usually of a longer pitch than camera stock so as to be smoothly sandwiched against the camera stock on the printing machine. It is also much slower (with an A.S.A. of about 12) than camera stock, as light is less of a problem in printing than it is when it is being focused through a lens in a camera.


Printer’s Sync – This is the offsetting of sound 26 frames earlier than picture, corresponding to the distance between the sound reader and the gate of the projector. To be in sync on a projector all prints are lined up in printer’s sync. Usually the lab lines up the sound and picture in printer’s sync, putting the beep on the track 26 frames earlier than the “2” in the Academy Leader. This is known as pulling up the sound. If there was some reason for you to line up the sound yourself, it is very important to label the sync mark “printer’s sync” so that the sound is not accidentally pulled up twice.


Production Sound – This is the sync sound, or any other sort of wild track or room tone that was recorded at the shoot. The term is used in sound editing to distinguish between added backgrounds and effects and those from the shoot.


Projection Sync – Same as Printer’s Sync.


Pull Down – A transfer of sound slowed down from film speed, 24 film frames per second, to video speed, 29.97 video frames per second, which is the equivalent of 23.98 film frames per second. This must be done to line it up with a video transfer of picture when transferring sync sound to video.


Pulldown Claw – The pulldown claw is part of the camera movement, which advances the film from the exposed frame to the next unexposed frame while the camera’s shutter is closed.


Pull Processing – Pull processing is a special type of processing where the film is developed for a shorter time than normal, usually to make up for intended overexposure.


Pull Up – This term can be a little confusing since it has three meanings that all apply to sound. 1.: The process of offsetting the sound 26 frames ahead of picture when making a print (see Printer’s Sync). 2.: Pull Ups, as a noun, are transfers of the first 26 frames of sound from a reel that are spliced onto the outgoing sound of the previous reel so that sound is not lost when the film is printed with the sound pulled up, since 26 frames of sound are cut off when reels are joined. 3.: A transfer of the sound from a video, sped up from video speed, 29.97 video frames per second, which is the equivalent of 23.98 film frames per second, to film speed, 24 film frames per second. This must be done when the optical track is made after having mixed in video.


Push Processing – Push processing is a special type of processing where the film is developed for a longer time than normal, usually to make up for intended underexposure. It should be noted that only entire rolls can be pushed, not individual scenes. Pushing film will add some contrast and graininess.

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