H-Film Vocabulary

H-Film Vocabulary


Hair styles person responsible for maintaining actor’s hair styles during filming.

Handheld Shot

A shot taken with a handheld camera or deliberately made ot appear unstable, shaky or wobbly; often used to suggest either documentary footage, ‘realism’ news reporting, cinema verite or amateur cinematography; contrast with steady cam.


Slang for a normal indoor theatre.

Hays Production code

In the 1920s, the American public became alarmed at the increasingly frequent portrayal of violence, sex and lawlessness on movies screens. Wishing to abound government regulation, the motion picture producers and distributors of America created their own regulatory body and appointed Postmaster General Will H. Hays as head. His influence became so great that this body became known as the hays office. The Hays Production Code for motion pictures was introduced in 1934, and by today’s standards was extremely strict. It was mainly concerned with violence and sex, but had references to crime in general. After WWII the growing popularity of television provided the public with more viewing choice. The hays office came under increasing fire for restricting the creativity of film makers, a it had defined specific requirements for depicting certain events. For example, under the Hays code a film maker could not present revenge in modern times as being justified, nor could they depict details of how crimes were committed, or show a criminal profiting from crime. Following the Supreme Court’s Miracle decision in the 1950’s films were recognized a protected under the First Amendment, and as such the Hays Office’s demands were not legally enforceable. Films such as who’s afraid of Virginia Wool? And Blowup inspired MPPA president Jack Valenti to abolish the Hays Code as his first step in overhauling the certification system in 1967.

Head on Shot

A shot in which the action moves or comes directly toward or at the camera, to enhance the audience feeling of participation; works well with 3-D films; also may refer to a head shot.

Helicopter Shot

A moving shot, often breathtaking; an establishing shot from a bird’s eye view or prom overhead, usually taken from a helicopter – due to its maneuverability the shot may pan, arc or sweep through a landscape; many films open with a helicopter shot.


Terms used to refer to the director of a film. (AKA Helmer)


Refers to the major male and female protagonists in a film with whom the audience identifies and sympathized. Character traits often include being young, virtuos, handsome, pretty, etc. contrast with the antagonist or heavy ( the villain or evil force).


Generally a high contrast film print which provides the maximum contrast between the light and dark elements.

High Angle Shot

A shot in which the subject or scene is filmed from above and the camera point down on the action, often to make the subjects small, weak and vulnerable contrast to low angle shot.

High concept

Describes a film that includes and or exploits certain elements in order to attract a large audience.

High Definition

An on screen television image that will appear in a ratio of 16:9 compared to today’s analog signal ratio of 4:3; the image will be high definition due to increased lines of resolution.


An overall brightly lit scene with relatively few shadows.


The use of thin beams of light to illuminate selected or limited parts of the subject.


Slang term for the following verbs, meaning to increase to raise or to promote.

Hitting a Mark

An actor’s term for moving to the correct, predetermined position during rehearsals and during camera takes so that the camera can smoothly record the action ‘mark’ refers to pieces of crossed tape or the floor to signify positions.


An abbreviation for head of department, sometimes known in US as coordinators.


A word used on a continuity report to indicate that a particular take should be kept, but not developed.

Hold Over

The tem used by a director for an actor used for an extra day.

Hollywood Box

A stage plug type box without fuses.


A respectful imitation of the work of another director, as a way of paying tribute to another director or movie.


Usually a trailer, or truck and trailer combination out fitted for and used as the dressing room for actors when on location shots away form permanent soundstage.


A slang term denoting a dancer.

Horror Films

A popular film genre designed to frighten and thrill with familiar elements like monsters, killers, vampires, zombies, aliens etc.

Horse Opera

The short segment of TV show where the host of the program talks or discusses topics; common in reality TV, where a host summarizes what has happened before the show returns to the action.

Host Wraps

Dow Jones industrial Average

Hot Set

A set where set dressers and prop persons have finalized placing furniture and props for filming a scene is in the process of being shot; labeled thus to indicate thus to indicate that it should not be changed or disturbed.

Hybrid Film

A film or production that combines or intersect two or more distinct genre types and cannot be categorized by a single genre type.


Overzealous praise or adverting.

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