Movie Terminology Glossary: F

Fade

AKA: Fade To Black, Fade In, Fade Out
A smooth, gradual transition from a normal image to complete blackness (fade out), or vice versa (fade in).

Fake Shemp

AKA: Shemp
Anyone appearing on screen whose face is not seen (either because of heavy makeup or camera angles) and who has no lines; can include stand-ins and extras. The term originated 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

AKA: Skip Frame
A shot in which time appears to move more quickly than normal. The process is commonly achieved by either deleting select frames (called "skip frames") or by undercranking. See also motion artifact, freeze frame, frame rate, judder.

Feature Film

AKA: Feature
A movie at least 40-45 minutes (2 reels) long intended for theatrical release. Contrast with short subject.

Feature Presentation

AKA: Main Attraction
The main or advertised movie during a screening. See also: double bill, trailer, supporting feature.

Featured Background

A term used to describe the perfomers who are placed in prominent positions in the background of the major action of a scene.

Femme Fatale

Literally: "Deadly Lady"; a slang term used to describe a character in a movie.

Festival

An event at which films can often premiere. Festivals can be used as by studios to show their wares and sell rights to distributors, or to officially mark a movie's release so as to make it eligible for award ceremonies with hard deadlines that can't be met if they waited for a general release. Some festivals are competitive, giving awards from a jury or selected by the audiences.

Film Buyer

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

Film Developing

AKA: Developed
A process whereby images recorded on film stock are transfered to a negative print. See also color timing.

Film Grain

AKA: Grain, Graininess, Grainy
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

A reel of film stock ready for use in a camera. The clapper-loader is responsible for inserting these into a camera.

Film Noir

Literally: "Black Film"; describes a genre of film which typically features dark, brooding characters, corruption, detectives, and the seedy side of the big city.

On the web: List of Film Noir at the IMDb.


Film Printing

The process of transfering images from a negative print to a print.

Film Stock

The physical medium on which photographic images are recorded. See also film grain.

Filmmakers

A collective term used to refer to people who have a significant degree of control over the creation of a movie: directors, producers, screenwriters, and editors.

First Assistant Camera

AKA: 1AC
See focus puller.

Flashback

A scene that breaks the chronological continuity of the main narrative by depicting events which happened in the past. Contrast with flashforward.

Flashforward

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

Foam Technician

AKA: Foam Runner
A person responsible for creating foam latex prosthetic appliances from a sculpture created by a makeup artist.

Focus

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

Focus Group

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 within the boundaries of a movie's intended audience. The group is extensively questioned by the filmmakers following the screening, and their opinions are incorporated into any further editing that may occur before the premiere.

Focus Puller

AKA: B Cameraman
A member of the camera crew who adjusts the focus of the camera during filming. See also assistant cameraman.

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


Foley

The art of recreating incidental sound effects (such as footsteps) in 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 sounds are often exaggerated for extra effect - fight sequences are almost always accompanied by loud foley added thuds and slaps.

Foley Artist

AKA: Foley Operator
A person who creates foley sound effects; named after early practitioner Jack Foley.

Foley Editor

Edits the sounds created by a foley artist.

Foley Mixer

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

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.

Frame

An individual picture image which eventually appears on a print.

Frame Rate

AKA: Frames Per Second, FPS
Movies are created by taking a rapid sequence of pictures (frames) 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 rate greater than this is required. Most modern motion pictures are filmed and displayed at 24 fps. Earlier films used lower frame rates, and hence when played back on modern equipment, fast motion occurs due to undercranking. See also: slow motion, fast motion, undercranking, overcranking, judder, motion artifact.

Freeze Frame

AKA: Freeze
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.

Fullscreen

AKA: 4:3
Fullscreen is a term used to describe the shape of the picture a movie is displayed in order for it to fill a regular (as of 1998) TV screen. 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/cm of horizontal screen size there are 3 inches/cm 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 fullscreen=4:3, widescreen=16:9. When a movie is played in fullscreen format for a 4:3 TV, the movie is almost always adjusted to fit. You may be familiar with the phrase "this movie has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to fit your TV." What that 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, fullscreen is inferior to widescreen and is often considered to be an unacceptable format. The 4:3 shape TV is expected to become obsolete over the next decade as TV moves to digital and HDTV formats, which are widescreen based. DVDs often offer both fullscreen and widescreen 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 fullscreen.

Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique

AKA: FIPRESCI, International Federation of Film Critics, Internationaler Verband der Filmkritiker, Federación Internacional de la Prensa Cinematográfica

On the web: Official Home Page


Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Film

AKA: FIAPF, International Federation of Film Producers Association, Internationaler Verband der Filmproduzenten, Federazione internazionale associazioni produttori di film

Fédération Internationale des Ciné-Clubs

AKA: FICC, International Federation of Film Societies

On the web: Official Home Page