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8 Words That Mean Something Completely Different When Producing a Commercial

3 Min Read

As a video production and marketing company in Los Angeles, you wouldn’t think we’d run into communication problems.

We all speak the same language, right? But sometimes in video production, things aren’t always as straightforward as they seem…

1. Shots: a basic unit of video narrative.
as in, “That was a shot in the dark,” or “How many shots did you do last night?” Talk to anybody else, and the first one means taking a guess, and the second one probably involves alcohol. In video, these could mean we were filming after dusk.

2. Barn doors: metal flaps placed around traditional film lights to focus the beam as in, “Do you want the barn doors open or closed?” No, we’re not worried about animals escaping. We just want to know how much light is needed.

3. Bars: refers to color bars used during filming to check video signal as in, “What bars do you see?” If it’s at the end of a long day, we might turn to Yelp to answer this question. It’s more likely we’re just asking about signal, though.

4. Cans: slang for industry standard headphones as in, “Nice cans!” Professional admiration for technical equipment, that’s all. Promise.

5. Flood: widening a beam of light to make it less intrusive in the frame as in, “Flood in the basement!” No need to panic. We’re just bringing some light to where the sun doesn’t usually shine.

6. Truck: moving a camera on wheels in and out of a shot, rather than using the zoom function. As in, “We’ll need a truck for tomorrow’s job.” Wait a minute before calling U-Haul. We might just be preparing for a specific shot.

7. Wipe: to erase a digital media card by reformatting. As in, “Can you help me wipe this?” There are baby wipes and face wipes, but we don’t mean anything nearly as messy. Just a click of the button on a digital camera. But once it’s done, there’s no turning back, so check twice!

8. Zebra stripes: vibrating diagonal stripes superimposed on overexposed parts of an image on the viewfinders in, “I can’t get rid of these zebra stripes!” Understandable frustration, but no genetic engineering necessary. We love zebras (the animal) and their stripes as much as the next person.

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