Movie Terminology Glossary: D


AKA: Rushes
The first positive prints made from the negatives photographed on the previous day. During filming, the director and some actors may view these dailies as an indication of how the filming and the actors' performances are progressing.


A shoot done during that day, that simulates night time, using filters, underexposure, and other techniques to create a feeling of darkness.

Deepfocus Shot

A shot in which both the foreground and the background are in focus. In other words, a shot with exceptional depth of field.


The concluding scenes of a movie where the story elements are finished and the characters' status after the climax is shown.

Depth of Field

A measure of the range along a camera's line of site in which objects will be in focus. See also aperture, shutter speed.


Someone who creates plans for visual aspects of a production (e.g. costume designer).


The process of working on a fleshing out a script, in hopes that it will be greenlighted for production.

Dialect Coach

A person who helps train an actor in diction and/or the use of accents to suit the character an actor is playing.

Dialogue Editor

A sound editor who specializes in editing dialogue.

Dialog Editor

Please see Dialogue Editor

Dialogue Coach

AKA: Dialogue Director
A person who helps train an actor in diction and/or the use of inflections, so that his or her speech fits the character and situation.

Diegetic sound

AKA:Actual sound
A sound that is created by something or someone visible on the screen or whose source is implied to be present by the action of the film.

Digital Compositing

A technique whereby separately filmed components are combined through digital editing. Contrast with optical printing.

Digital Compositor

A person who does compositing by digital means (at a computer), as opposed to using (pre-digital) optical or physical techniques.

Digital Editing

Editing a portion of a movie by digitizing one or more frames and altering them electronically or combining them with other digitized images, and then printing the modified frame.

Digital Imaging Technician

A person who provides on-set quality control, image manipulation & color correction, production continuity, trouble shooting and consultation to assist in fullfilling the requirements and vision of the cinematographer in film-style digital production.

Digital Theatre Systems

A company which has produced a digital soundtrack standard. Competitors include Dolby Digital and SDDS.

On the web: IMDb Sound Mix Section, Official DTS Home Page

Digital Versatile Disc

AKA: Digital Video Disc, DVD
Digital Versatile Discs resemble audio CDs in appearance, but have a much higher storage capacity. Hence, they can store rich digital media such as video in addition to audio and computer software. DVD was once called "Digital Video Disc" but the name change reflects its wider uses. As a video medium, DVD offers full length feature films to be stored with exceptional picture quality accompanied by high end digital sound, such as Dolby Digital and DTS. Thanks to the huge capacity of discs, DVD movies are often sold with extra features such as the option to view the movie in widescreen or fullscreen, or the option to listen to the movie or director commentaries.

On the web: IMDb DVD browser, DVD FAQ

Directing Animator

The animator responsible for creating the key poses or key frames of an animation.


AKA: Dir, Helmer
The principal creative artist on a movie set. A director is usually (but not always) the driving artistic source behind the filming process, and communicates to actors the way that he/she would like a particular scene played. A director's duties might also include casting, script editing, shot selection, shot composition, and editing. Typically, a director has complete artistic control over all aspects of the movie, but it is not uncommon for the director to be bound by agreements with either a producer or a studio. In some large productions, a director will delegate less important scenes to a second unit.

Factual Movie(s): Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991)
Fictional Movie(s): Living in Oblivion (1995), Ed Wood (1994), Stunt Man, The (1980)

Director of Photography

A cinematographer who is ultimately responsible for the process of recording a scene in the manner desired by the director. The Director of Photography has a number of possible duties: selection of film stock, cameras, and lenses; designing and selecting lighting, directing the gaffer's placement of lighting; shot composition (in consultation with the director); film developing and film printing.

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

Director's Cut

Contracts under the terms of the Hollywood Director's Guild usually allow 6 weeks for a director to assemble a cut of the movie without studio interference as he or she would like it to be seen. This director's cut is fully edited and has a synchronized soundtrack. This cut is usually not color corrected or density corrected and may not even have the final music and effects tracks. In more recent times the term Director's Cut has taken on a popular meaning that implies a polished final cut of the movie that the director has complete artistic control over.

Director's Guild of America


On the web: Official Home Page

Directors Guild-Producer Training Plan

AKA: Director's Guild of America Trainee, DGA Trainee
The Director's Guild of America has various training programs whereby successful applicants are placed in various productions and can gain experience working in the film or television industry.

On the web: Official Home Page


AKA: Lap Dissolve
An editing technique whereby the images of one shot is gradually replaced by the images of another.


AKA: Distrib, Distribution
The organization responsible for coordinating the distribution of the finished movie to exhibitors, as well as the sale of videos, laserdiscs, and other media versions of movies.

On the web: IMDb Distributors Section


AKA: Docu
A non-fiction narrative without actors. Typically a documentary is a journalistic record of an event, person, or place. See also: cinema verité.

On the web: List of documentaries at the IMDb.

Dogme 95

A filmmaking movement launched in 1995 by Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg, among others. The Dogme 95 Manifesto renounces special effects and other forms of "gimmickry" in favor of stripped-down techniques. In order to qualify for Dogme status, filmmakers must abide by the following ten rules (known as the "Vow of Chastity"):

1. Shooting must be done on location. Props and sets must not be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, a location must be chosen where this prop is to be found).
2. The sound must never be produced apart from the images or vice versa. (Music must not be used unless it occurs where the scene is being shot).
3. The camera must be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. (The film must not take place where the camera is standing; shooting must take place where the film takes place).
4. The film must be in color. Special lighting is not acceptable. (If there is too little light for exposure the scene must be cut or a single lamp be attached to the camera).
5. Optical work and filters are forbidden.
6. The film must not contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. must not occur.) 7. Temporal and geographical alienation are forbidden. (That is to say that the film takes place here and now.)
8. Genre movies are not acceptable.
9. The film format must be Academy 35mm.
10. The director must not be credited.

On the web: Dogme

Dolby Noise Reduction

AKA: Dolby, Dolby Labs, Dolby Digital, Dolby SR, Dolby 70mm, Dolby Stereo
Dolby Laboratories, Inc has produced a number of noise reduction and sound enhancement processes. Competitors include DTS and SDDS.

On the web: Official Home Page, IMDb Sound Mix Section


AKA: Dolly Shot, Dolly Up, Dolly In, Dolly Back, Pull back
A dolly is a small truck which rolls along dolly tracks carrying the camera,some of the camera crew and occasionally the director. "Dolly" is also the action of moving the camera towards (dolly up/in) or away from (dolly/pull back) the object that it is pointing at. The term often appears in screenplays. There is a subtle difference between the results of a zoom shot and a dolly shot. In a zoom, the relative positions and sizes of all objects in the frame remains the same, whereas in a dolly shot this will change as the camera moves. Alfred Hitchcock's much-imitated shot in Vertigo used a combination zoom-in and dolly back, resulting in a dramatic change in perspective.

Dolly Grip

A grip that moves a dolly.

Dolly Tracks

A set of tracks upon which a camera can be moved. See also dolly.

Dope Sheet

AKA: Camera Report
A list of scenes from the script that have already been filmed, or a list of the contents of an exposed reel of film stock. An accurate dope sheet is the responsibility of the assistant cameraman. See also clapboard, continuity report.


An actor who stands in for another actor in certain scenes, some of which may involve dangerous circumstances or require special skills (e.g. a stunt double). Sometimes body doubles are used in scenes that call for nudity or intimacy. Contrast with stand-in.

Double Bill

Two movies shown consecutively, typically for a discounted single admission price. Often the movies are sequels or are otherwise related (by genre, eg). See also feature presentation, supporting feature, and trailer.


A person who creates the plans for set construction. See also swing gang, production designer, and art director.


A wardrobe assistant who helps actors with their costumes.


AKA: Transportation Captain
A person who drives either equipment or passenger trucks, typically between location shootings, sets, and the studio. The chief driver is called the transportation captain. See also transportation co-ordinator.


AKA: Dubs, Dubbed
The technique of combining multiple sound components into one. The term is also used to refer to automatic dialog replacement of a new language.

Dutch Tilt

A shot composed with the horizon not parallel with the bottom of the frame. Used extensively in Batman, and frequently by Orson Welles.