Movie Terminology Glossary: C


Call Sheet

A listing of which actors will be required for which scenes, and when they will be required. Call sheets are created by assistant directors and others.

Cameo

A bit part played by a famous actor who would ordinarily not take such a small part. Originally meaning "a small piece of artwork", the term was borrowed by director Michael Anderson when attempting to attract famous actors to play bit parts in Around the World in 80 Days.

Camera

A device for recording images.

Camera Crew

The group of crewmembers directly involved with operation of the camera. Individual job titles include: clapper-loader, camera operator, assistant cameraman, director of photography, focus puller, grip, key grip, dolly grip, additional camera.

Fictional Movie(s): Ed Wood (1994), Living in Oblivion (1995)


Camera Loader

AKA: Clapper-Loader, Clapper Loader
The person who operates the clapboard at the beginning of a shot, also responsible for loading film stock into film magazines. The action of slapping the clapper was invented as a way of synchronizing the visual and audio components of a shot. Recent innovations in audio-visual synchronization have made this unnecessary, but it still occurs extensively. See also assistant cameraman.

Camera Operator

AKA: Cameraman
The person who operates the camera to the specifications dictated by the director of photography. A director or a director of photography sometimes assumes this role. (Luc Besson always operates the camera on films he directs.) See also Society of Operating Cameramen, Steadicam operator.

Fictional Movie(s): Living in Oblivion (1995)


Camp

AKA: Campy
A form of comedic parody where the clichéd conventions of a dramatic form like adventure are deliberately exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness. Often unfairly used to describe superhero films and shows as Batman is a prime example of this form of comedy.

On the web: List of "camp" titles at the IMDb.


Canadian Society of Cinematographers

AKA: CSC
Use of the abbreviation after a name indicates that the person is a member of the CSC.

On the web: Official Home Page


Cast

A collective term for the actors appearing in a particular movie.

Casting

The process of hiring actors to play the characters in a script, typically done by a casting director, but with some input from a director, producer, or studio. See also CSA.

Casting Couch

During the so-called "Golden Age" of Hollwood, it was not uncommon for would-be-stars to grant sexual favours to directors and/or producers in return for a role in films. These favours were usually rumoured to be on a couch in the filmmaker's office. The phrase "Casting Couch" has been popularized, and although the practise has diminished, the term remains in use.

Casting Director

AKA: Extras Casting, Casting Assistant, Casting Associate
The person who auditions and helps to select all of the speaking role actors in film, television shows or plays. The CD must possess a vast knowledge of the actor pool and be able to match a variety of actors with just the right role. Directors and producers rely on the Casting Director to assist them with assembling the perfect cast for their production. Casting Directors are also responsible for serving as the liason between the director, and the actors and their agents. CDs negotiate the deals with agents once the actors have been cast and are also responsible for the contracts and SAG of each actor.

Casting Society of America

AKA: CSA
The Casting Society of America is a professional organization of Casting Directors working in theatre, film, and television. The C.S.A. is not a union or a guild, therefore every Casting Director working in these mediums is not necessarily a member of this organization.

On the web: Official Home Page


Caterer

AKA: Catering
A person or company who provides the main meals for cast and crew either on set or on location. See also craft service.

Cel

A hand drawn sheet representing a single animation frame, usualy made of a clear material like cellulose or mylar to allow several layers of composition.

Cel Animation

A form of animation where hand drawn pictures are transposed on to plastic sheets, each with a different element such as characters and background, and layered on top of each other to create a complete scene. The composition is then photographed and incorporated in the finished film. It was the predominate of form of animation until the rise of computer generated animation in the mid 1990's.

Censorship

AKA: Censoring, Censor
Changes required of a movie by some person or body other than the studio or the filmmakers, usually a national or regional film classification board. See also certificate.

Centre International du Film pour l'Enfance et la Jeunesse

AKA: C.I.F.E.J., CIFEJ, International Centre of Films for Children and Young People
A 40-year-old international non-governmental organization whose goal is to promote quality films, television programmes and videos for children and young people around the world.

On the web: http://www.cifej.com


Certificates

AKA: Certificate, Ratings
Various countries or regions have film classification boards for reviewing movies and rating their content in terms of its suitability for particular audiences. For many countries, movies are required to be advertised as having a particular "certificate" or "rating", forewarning audiences of possible "objectionable content". The nature of this "objectionable content" is determined mainly by contemporary national, social, religious, and political standards. The usual criteria which determine a film's certificate are violence and sexuality, with "mature" (adult) situations and especially blasphemy and political issues often being considered more important outside the Western world. This is by no means a hard and fast rule; see the Hays Production Code for an example. In some cases, a film classification board exhibits censorship by demanding changes be made to a movie in order to receive a certain rating. As many movies are targetted at a particular age group, studios must balance the content of their films against the demands of the classification board. Negotiations are common; studios agree to make certain changes to films in order to receive the required rating. The IMDb uses the term "Certificate" as opposed to "Rating" to avoid confusion with "ratings" meaning the opinions of critics. See also: Banned, NC-17, PG, G, XXX.

On the web: MPAA Ratings Explanation, IMDb Certificate Section


CGI

AKA: Computer Generated Imagery
The use of computer graphics to create or enhance special effects.

Change Pages

When a script is being edited during production, changes are distributed to actors and the filmmakers on "change pages", which are usually a different color to the pages of the script.

Change-Over Marks

AKA: Change-Over, Reel Change, Reel Change Marks, Cigarette Burns
Most completed movies consist of more than one reel, and thus for an uninterrupted screening, at least two projectors must be used. Towards the end of a reel, one or more frames may include a small circle in one of the corners. These are signals to the projectionist that the current reel is approaching the end, and he or she should be ready to start the next projector, which should have the next reel prepared for projection. Also, many theaters have switched to a platter system which allows the entire film to be spliced together and put on a large platter. The film is fed through the center of the reel (unwinding from the inside out), then into the projector, and then back onto another platter. This process allows the film to be show back-to-back without having to rewind it.

Fictional Movie(s): Fight Club (1999)


Character Actor

An actor who specializes in playing a particular style of character, often stereotypical, offbeat, or humorous.

On the web: Search IMDb for Character Actors.


Children's Film Foundation

Training scheme in the UK to give schoolchildren experience of all aspects of film making. Now replaced by the Children's Film and Television Foundation

Choreographer

A person who plans and directs dance sequences within a movie.

Chromakeying

An electronic/computerized technique that allows for specific color elements (chroma) to be replaced with different picture elements. See also bluescreen and greenscreen.

Chute Cowboys

Slang term for experienced parachutists that either perform or assist with stunts involving parachutes.

Chyron

Text graphics which appear at the bottom of a screen used to describe time, place, or name of person on screen; can also describe the technology used to add the text to the bottom of the screen.

Cinch Marks

AKA: Scratches
Scratches on a print running parallel to the edge of the strip of film. Typically caused by improper reel winding which allows one coil of the print to slide against another.

Cinema

A place where screenings occur. Cinemas can be hardtops or ozoners.

Cinema Audio Society

AKA: CAS
A philanthropic, non-profit organization formed in 1964 for the purpose of sharing information with sound professionals in the motion picture and television industry. Use of the abbreviation after a name indicates that the person is a member of the CAS.

On the web: Official Home Page


Cinema Verité

Literally: Cinema Truth. A documentary style in which no directorial control is exerted. The term is frequently misused to describe new-wave "handheld" camera techniques.

Cinematographer

AKA: Cinematography, Cin
A person with expertise in the art of capturing images either electronically or on film stock through the application of visual recording devices and the selection and arrangement of lighting. The chief cinematographer for a movie is called the director of photography.

Factual Movie(s): Visions of Light (1992)
Fictional Movie(s): Living in Oblivion (1995)


Clapboard

AKA: Clapper, Slate
A small board which holds information identifying a shot. It typically contains the working title of the movie, the names of the director and director of photography, the scene and take numbers, the date, and the time. It is filmed at the beginning of a take. On the top of the clapboard is a hinged stick which is often "clapped" to provide audio/visual synchronization. See also clapper-loader, continuity report.

Fictional Movie(s): Postcards from the Edge (1990)


Clapper-Loader

See camera loader.

Classification and Ratings Administration

AKA: CARA
The division of the MPAA which is responsible for administering certificates.

On the web: CARA Home Page


Claymation

Animation of models constructed from clay or plasticine.

Clean Speech

A take in which all dialogue was performed without error.

Cliffhanger

A moment of high drama, frequently used at the end of serials. Named for the (now clichéd) practice of leaving a hero or heroine hanging onto the edge of a cliff.

On the web: List of cliffhanger titles at the IMDb.


Close Captioned

AKA: Close-Captioned, CC
A system which displays the current dialog on screen for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers. Contrast with subtitles, intertitles.

On the web: National Captioning Institute


Close-up

AKA: CU
A shot in which the subject is larger than the frame, revealing much detail. The abbreviation is often used in a slug line.

Cold open

A cold open, or teaser, is a short segment of a TV show's action, shown before the program's opening credits are shown. It serves to heighten a viewer's interest and to build dramatic tension before the show begins.

Colorist

An image artist who, during post-production of a movie or television show, utilizes computer-based alteration/correction programs to go through the movie/show frame by frame to insure color and light continuity. The colorist may also tweak colors to stylistically heighten them (think Sin City or Kill Bill I).

Compositing

The combining of visual elements from separate sources into single images (or sequences of images), often to create the illusion that all those elements are parts of the same scene. Examples might be incorporating rendered 3D images (CGI) into filmed material, or extracting elements shot in front of blue/green screen. Today most compositing is achieved through digital image manipulation.

Compositor

A person who works with compositing. See also digital compositor.

Co-Producer

A producer who performs a substantial portion of a creative producing function, or who is primarily responsible for one or more managerial producing functions. A co-producer has less responsibility than a producer for the completion of a project. Note that if a project has more than one producer, it doesn't mean that these individuals are "co-producers" in the technical sense of that term. See also executive producer, associate producer, line producer.

Color Consultant

A technical advisor with expertise in film stock and film developing, who provides advice for cinematographers and color timers.

Color Temperature

Term that describes the color of light sources; literally, the temperature at which a blackbody emits enough radiant energy to evoke a color equivalent to that coming from a given light source. A high color temperature corresponds to bluer light, a low color temperature to yellow light. The color temperature of daylight is around 5500K.

Color Timing

AKA: Color Correction, Color Timer, Color Corrected
A process which adjusts the final print so that colors match from shot to shot, regardless of the film stock and camera used to shoot the scene. So named because one aspect is adjusting the exposure time of each shot. Performed by a color timer. See also color consultant.

Colorization

AKA: Colorized
A film alteration process where an operator digitally alters a black and white image to include color. It is a controversial practice because many filmmakers and viewers believe it fundamentally alters an artistic creation. Early attempts at colorization in the 1980's were relatively crude in their shading range. Examples of this kind of alteration are versions of Casablanca and It's a Wonderful Life. Citizen Kane is notable in that Orson Welles was able to legally prevent its alteration.

Composer

A musician whose music appears in a movie's score. Most movies have at least some original music written for the score, usually after the relevant parts of the movie have been filmed. See also lyrics.

Composite Print

AKA: Synchronized Print
A print with a images and sound on the same strip of film. The sound component may be either a magnetic soundtrack or an optical soundtrack. See also advance.

Conductor

AKA: Musical Conductor, Orchestra Conductor
A person who directs the orchestra's performance of the score, often the composer.

Confédération Internationale des Cinémas d'Art et Essai

AKA: C.I.C.A.E., CICAE, Internationaler Verband der Filmkunsttheater

Construction Co-ordinator

AKA: Construction Foreman, Construction Manager
Financial responsibilities include budgeting, tracking costs, generating reports, etc. Through drawings, a construction co-ordinator is directed artistically by the Production Designer and Art Director to produce their "vision" in three dimensions. Also responsible for the physical integrity of the structures built by the construction department.

Continuity

AKA: Continuity Error
The degree to which a movie is self-consistent. For example, a scene where an actor is wearing a hat when seen from one camera angle and not from another would lack continuity. A person is often employed to check that continuity is maintained since reshooting embarrassing lapses in continuity can be prohibitively expensive. See also continuity report. In modern times, some continuity errors can be corrected through digital compositing. See the Terminator 2: Judgment Day trivia entry for an example.

On the web: IMDb Goofs Section


Continuity Report

AKA: Continuity Script
A detailed list of the events that occured during the filming of a scene. Typically recorded are production and crew identification, camera settings, environmental conditions, the status of each take, and exact details of the action that occurs. By recording all possible sources of variation, the report helps cut down continuity error between shots or even during reshooting.

Costume

The clothes worn by actors when being filmed.

Costume Designer

A person who designs the costumes for a movie.

Costume Supervisor

The person in charge of costumes, usually preparing them for use and making sure they are accurate and faithful to the designs. Other responsibilities include consulting with the designers and training, supervising, and scheduling the costume staff.

Costumer

AKA: Wardrobe, Assistant Wardrobe, Wardrobe Assistant
A person responsible for handling the costumes worn by actors.

Fictional Movie(s): Postcards from the Edge (1990)


Costumes

The person or department responsible for obtaining wardrobe items specified by the costume designer. Most items are borrowed from the studio's costume stock or rented from outside companies; others may be created specifically for the production.

Cowboy Shot

A shot framed from mid-thigh up. Got its name during the filming of many westerns, when this was a common framing used.

Craft Service

AKA: Crafts Service
The person (or people) available to assist the other crafts which include camera, sound, electricians, grips, props, art director, set decorator, hair and makeup, service the other crafts during the actual shooting of a motion picture, with tasks including providing snacks and cleaning the set.

Crane Shot

A shot taken by a camera on a crane; often used to show the actors/action from above. Cranes usually carry both the camera and a camera operator, but some can be operated by remote control.

Creative Consultant

A multi-faceted individual that works primarily for the director of a feature, who helps with the creative process of a film in more than one field (e.g. script, special effects, photography sound design, music, etc.) In many cases, creative consultants go unaccredited, like ghost writers, for various reasons.

Creator

AKA: Concept
The writer or other primary creative force behind a movie, series, or group of characters.

Crewmembers

AKA: Crew
A collective term for anyone involved with the production of a movie who does not appear in the movie. This term is usually used to refer to the more subordinate members of a production team (contrast with filmmakers.)

Critic

A person who publishes a review of a movie from either an artistic or entertainment point of view.

Crosscut

The technique of interweaving pieces of two or more scenes, usually in order to show simultaneous actions or illuminate themes.

Cut

A change in either camera angle or placement, location, or time. "Cut" is called during filming to indicate that the current take is over. See also shot, action. A "cut" of a movie is also a complete edited version.

On the web: IMDb Alternatve Versions Section
Fictional Movie(s): Ed Wood (1994)


Cyberpunk

A subgenre of science fiction that typically has elements which include a futuristic tone, massive urban areas in decay and poverty, partial environmental collapse, extremely powerful business corporations, random street gang violence with the overall presence of extremely powerful computer, robotic and information technology. Blade Runner is considered the definitive cyberpunk movie.

On the web: List of cyberpunk titles at the IMDb.