Movie Terminology Glossary: M
A term used by Alfred Hitchcock to refer to an item, event, or piece of knowledge that the characters in a film consider extremely important, but which the audience either doesn't know of or doesn't care about. Examples: the engine plans in The 39 Steps, the statue with the microfilms in North by Northwest, and the contents of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.
A composite print in which the soundtrack is recorded on the attached strip of magnetic tape. Largely obsolete due to high cost and maintenance difficulties.
studios (MGM/UA, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Universal, and Disney).
The decorations placed directly on the skin or hair of an actor for cosmetic or artistic effect. Practitioners are called artists or supervisors. See also body makeup, special makeup effects, prosthetic appliances.
A film which features hand to hand combat, usually using various Asian combat systems like Karate and the Chinese fighting styles popularly known in the west as Kung Fu. "Chop-socky" is a slang and scornful term for martial-arts movies.
On the web: List of Martial Arts titles at the IMDb.
shot of the day's shoot... because the next "shot" is in a Martini glass. See also Abby Singer.
A person who creates artwork (usually for the background of a shot) which is included in the movie either via a matte shot or optical printing.
matte artist is combined with live action. Contrast this with back projection or a travelling matte.
actors to draw experiences from their own personal lives that correlate to the character they are playing - an extremely demanding process emotionally. In some cases, "method" actors take the theory even further by arranging events in their private lives to resemble the lives of their characters. See the trivia entries for Down and Out in Beverly Hills and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for examples, and the trivia entry for Marathon Man for an amusing anecdote.
A device which converts sound into electrical impulses, usually for recording or amplification.
Studios which are large but not as large as the majors: Embassy, Gramercy, etc.
A television series with a set number of episodes which tell a complete story, usually filmed at the same time. Contrast with serial.
shot or scene. These can include shot selection, shot composition, production design and set decoration, as well as technical camera properties such as shutter speed, aperture, frame rate, and depth of field. Mise-en-scene is often contrasted with montage, where the artistic "look" of a scene is constructed through visual editing.
scene, through the use of visual editing. Often contrasted with mise-en-scene.
A take that is filmed without recording sound at the same time. MOS stands for "mit out sound"--it is purported that director Erich Von Stroheim couldn't pronounce "without sound" correctly due to his accent.
The visual interference patterns between a shot's frame rate and a filmed object's periodic motion or change. If a shot is filmed with a frame rate R, any images of periodic events of a frequency greater than R/2 (the "Nyquist Limit") will be misrepresented on film. A commonly-occuring example of this artifact is the illusion of spoked wheels appearing to turn in the wrong direction or at the wrong rate. Incorrect frame rates and synchronization can also cause strobing during shots of projected movies or of television screens. See also artifact, judder.
Shots of objects that quickly move in the camera's frame, and/or shots with a slow shutter speed are likely to produce a "smearing" effect, since the object is in a range of positions during a single exposure.
animation technique in which the actions of an animated object are derived automatically from the motion of a real-world actor or object. See also rotoscoping.
camera setup which records the motion of a camera during a shot so that visual effects can be easily synchronized with the photographed scene.
The Motion Picture Association of America and its international counterpart, the Motion Picture Association serve as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries, domestically through the MPAA and internationally through the MPA. Before 1994, the MPA was known as the Motion Picture Export Association of America.
The Motion Picture Association of America and its international counterpart, the Motion Picture Association serve as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries, domestically through the MPAA and internationally through the MPA. Through the Classifications and Ratings Administration (CARA), the MPAA issues certificates.
On the web: Official Home Page
editors, which now also includes re-recording mixers, projectionists, recordists, mic boom operators, engineers, and story analysts.
On the web: Official Home Page
The use of computer programs to combine and synthesize real footage with CGI effects. The person that makes the integration possible between CG with live action footage is called "Matchmove artist", "Matchmover", "Integration artist" or "Camera tracking artist".
editing on the score, live vocals, songs and source music of a movie.
composer's score for the musicians to play from at the score recording sessions.
A person who coordinates the work of the composer, the editor, and sound mixers. Alternately, a person who researches, obtains rights to, and supplies songs for a production.
On the web: List of musicals at the IMDb.