F-Film Vocabulary

F-Film Vocabulary

Film Vocabulary, Film vocab, Writers, Cinematographers, Co-Producers, Director


A smooth, gradual transition from a normal image to complete blackness, or vice versa.


Refers to a light-hearted, gleeful, often fast-paced, crudely humorous, contrived and over the top comedy that broadly satirizes, pokes fun, exaggerates or gleefully presents an unlikely or improbable stock situation. Often characterized by slapstick, pratfalls and other physical antics; types of farces include screwball comedy, bedroom/sex farce/comedy; contrast to parody and satire.

Fake Shemp

Anyone appearing on screen whose face is not seen and who has no line; can include stand-ins and extras. The term originates with Sam Raimi and his colleagues, who borrowed it from Hollywood lore about a stand in used to finish Three Stooges films after Shemp Howard’s death.

Fast Motion

A shot in which time appear to move more quickly than normal. The process is commonly achieved by either deleting select frames or by under cranking.

Feature Film

A movie at least 40-45 minutes long intended for theatrical release. Contrast with short subject.


A term often used before the 1970s to refer to a 20 to 45 minute film.

Feature Presentation

The main or advertised movie during a screening.

Feel Good Film

Usually a light hearted, upbeat comedy or romance that ends with an audience pleasing conclusion; sometimes used derogatively.


An event at which films can often be premiered, exhibited, awarded and engaged in distribution deals, such as Cannes, Toronto, Sundance etc. AKA fest.

Femme Fatale

Literally; deadly lady; a slang term used to describe a character in a movie.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

A clichéd term popularized by pop artist/painter and Warhol in the late 60s, who predicted that everyone could be famous for 15 minutes and experience a moment of crowning glory.

Film Aesthetics

The examination or study of film as an art form.

Film Artifact

Unwanted film damage that could be a defect or error, dust, hair, specks, emulsion scratches, splices, reel change marks a hiss crackle or pop on the soundtrack, mottling of the image, scratches on the negative being printed positive etc.

Film Buyer

A person who arranges to purchase films from a distributor on behalf of an exhibitor.

Film clip

A short section of the film removed from a movie and often exhibited as trailer.

Film Developing

A process whereby images recorded on film stock are transferred to a negative print.

Film Grain

Film Grain the tiny particles of light sensitive material on film stock that record images. Finer grains give higher image quality but coarser grains allow a faster shutter speed. Graininess is an artifact which results from the use of coarse grains and gives images a slight mosaic appearance.

Film Magazines

Collateralized increasable Yield Bond a reel of film stock ready for use in a camera. The clapper loader is responsible for inserting these into a camera.

Film Noir

A French phrase literally meaning black film that develop in the early 40s, refers to a genre of mostly black and white films that blossomed in the post war era in American Cinema, with bleak subject matter and a somber, downbeat tone; the plot, low key lighting often in nigh scenes, camera angles, iconography, characters and other elements combined to present a dark atmosphere of pessimism, tension, cynicism or oppression.

Film Printing

The process of transferring images form a negative print to print.

Film Stock

The physical medium on which photographic images are recorded.


A comprehensive listing of films featuring the work of an actor/actress, director or other crew member; may also be a list of films for a specific genre or topic, a filmographer is another term for a film maker or a person who studies films.

Film makers

A collective term used to refer to people who have a significant degree of control over the creation of a movie. Directors, producers, screen writers and editors.

Film Review

Fact, biases etc. professional film reviewers are known as critics; a film review usually includes a brief synopsis. A balanced notation of both the film’s plusses and minuses, quotable wording and some judgments, more extensive, in depth films evaluations are called analytical essays.

Film Stock

Refers to film size or gauge (8mm, 16mm, 70mm, 15mm are for example) and film speed among other things also refers to raw unused, unexposed film, various kinds of film stock included tungsten and daylight film stock.

Film within a Film

A particular story telling approach, literally to have one film within another, in some cases, the characters are aware of the film within a film and brake the fourth wall and enter into or interact with it; aka subset film or picture with in a picture.

First assistant Camera

See focus puller


Glass, plastic or gelatinous substance placed before or behind a camera lens to change the effect and character of the lighting within the film’s frame.

Final Cut

The last edited version of a film as it will be released.

Fish –eye (lens)

An extreme types of super wide angle lens with a very short focal point (and nearly infinite depth of field) that exaggerates and distorts the linear dimensions of the image, giving it a sense of curvature.

Fish out of water tale

A film in which the main character’s faces culture shock by being placed in unfamiliar or new surroundings or situations.


A scene that breaks the chronological continuity of the main narrative by depicting events which happen in the future. Contrast with flashback.

Flash forward

Transitory, impermanent success or recognition; derives from panning from gold experience;

Flash in the pan

A section of a studio’s set consisting of a constructed wooden frame covered with materials such as plywood that is treated or covered with fabric, metal, paint, wallpapers etc.


The flickering image in early films gave rise to the generic terms flicks when referring to the movies; often used in condescending way, such as stating that a film is a horror-flick or chick -flick.


Refers to the unsteady, stroboscopic, fluctuating effect perceived by the viewer, often produced by an improperly photographed or projected film, similar to the old time movie effects.


A lamp that provides general diffuse lighting on a studio set.


A film that is a failure at the box office also knows as floppola, bomb, turkey. See also Greatest all time film flops.


A person responsible for creating foam latex prosthetic appliances form a sculpture created by a makeup artist.

Foam Technician

The sharpness of an image, or the adjustments made on a camera necessary to achieve this.


A group of approximately ten to twelve members of the public unrelated to a movie’s production who attend a sneak preview. A single focus group is usually composed of a selection of people whit in the boundaries of a movie’s intended audience. The group is extensively questioned by the film maker following the screening, and their opinions are incorporated into any further editing that may occur before the premiere.

Focus Group

A member of the camera crew who adjust the focus of the camera during filming.

Focus Puller

An acting role that is used for personality comparison or contrast, usually with the protagonist or main character, as a means to show the highlight a character trait.


In the post production and editing stage of a film’s production, the Foley artist creates or adds sound effects/noises e.g. footsteps, gunshots, kisses, punches, storm noises, slamming doors, explosions etc. to the film as it is projected, often with props that mimic the action.


The art of recreating incidental sound affects is synchronization with the visual component of a movie. Named after early practitioner jack Foley, Foley artists sometimes use bizarre objects and methods to achieve sound effects, e.g. snapping celery to mimic bones being broken. The sound are often exaggerated for extra effects – fight sequences are almost always accompanied by loud Foley added thuds and slaps.

Foley Editor

Edits the sound created by a Foley artist.

Foley Mixer

A sound mixer who works with a Foley artist to record sound effects.

Follow or Following Shot

A shot with framing that shifts to follow and keep a moving figure or subject on screen also known as a type of tracking shot.


Refers to a cinematic work that comes after, regardless of whether it is sequel or a prequel; contrast to a prequel, serial, series, sequel, spin-off or remake.


Any length, portion or sequence of film measured in feet; also refers to a particular sequences of events depicted in a motion picture.


Objects or action closest to the camera; contrast to background.

Forced Perspective

A technique used to create a sense of great distance or to make a space seem much bigger than it is, forced perspective is created by using objects that are vary in size, and placing them specific distances from one another, to create the effect
of objects fading into the distance.

Foreign Film

A feature length motion picture produced outside the US with a predominantly non English dialogue track.


To supply hints in the form of symbols, images, motifs, repetition, dialogue or mood with in a film about the outcome of the plot, or about an upcoming action that will take place, in order to prepare the viewer for later events, revelations, or plot developments; also, ominous music often foreshadows danger or builds suspense.

For your Consideration (FYC)

A phrase often used in special trade advertisements that are paid for by studios to promote Oscar worthy films and create Oscar buzz for Academy Award nominations, especially for borderline films and or lesser known indie efforts and lesser known performers that would probably be overlooked without the additional publicity.


The size or aspect ratio of a film frame.

Fourth Wall

Refers to the imaginary, illusory invisible plane through which the film viewer or audience in thought to look through toward the action; the fourth wall that separates the audience from the characters is broken through when the barrier between the fictional world of the film’s story and the real world of the audience is shattered – when an actor speaks directly to the viewers by making an aside.


An individual picture image which eventually spears on a print.

Frame Rate

Movies are created by taking a rapid sequence of pictures of action. By displaying these frames at the same rate at which they were recorded, the illusion of motion can be created. Frame rate is the number of frames captured or projected per second. The human optical system is only capable of capturing about 20 images per second; hence to give a realistic illusion of motion a frame greater than this is required. Most modern motion pictures are filmed and displayed at 24fps. Earlier films used lower frame rates and hence when played back on modern equipment, fast motion occurs due to under-cranking.

Freeze Frame

An optical printing effect whereby a single frame is repeated to give the illusion that all action has stopped. Often used by Martin Scorsese. Contrast with stop motion.

Front Projection

A film process developed in the 1950s in which actors and foreground objects were filmed in form of a projection screen, with a previously filmed background projected on to it. Example : the Dawn of Man sequence in 2001 : A Space Odyssey 1968.


The scale measurement of the size of the opening of the iris (the opening that lets light in) on a lens. Common F-Stop are 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 and 22 the smaller the number, the larger the opening and the more light that is allowed.

Full Screen

Full-screen is a term used to describe the shape of the picture a movie is displayed in order for it to fill regular TV screen as of 1998. At the time of writing, most TVs are squarer than the newer widescreen TVs on the market. With these older sets, for every 4 inches of horizontal screen size there are 3 inches of vertical size, hence a 4:3 aspect ratio. Widescreen TVs have 5 and 1/3 inches/cm horizontal size for each 3 of vertical. Rather than write that as 5.333:3, we use 16:9. So full screen = 4:3, wide screen= 16:9. When a move is played in full screen format for a 4:3 TV, the movie is almost always means is that much of the original picture has been thrown away, i.e. the pan and scan procedure has been used to pick the most appropriate pieces of the picture to keep because the old TV screen is the wrong shape to show the whole picture. In terms of home cinema, full screen is inferior to wide screen and is often considered to be an unacceptable format. The 4:3 shape TV is expected to become obsolete over the next decades as TV moves to digital and HDTV formats, which are widescreen based. DVDs often offer both full screen and wide screen formats, however many are already only available in widescreen and anamorphic format, so as to cater for the growing audience of home cinema enthusiasts who have already abandoned full screen.

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