Jargon: Video Acronyms and Abbreviations

AFM audio frequency modulation

The analog soundtrack of the 8mm and Hi8 video formats. [See PCM]

AGC automatic gain control

A circuit on most camcorders that automatically adjusts a microphone’s gain (volume) to match environmental sound levels.

CCD charge coupled device

Light-sensitive computer chip in video cameras that converts light into electrical flows.

CODEC compressor/decompressor

A piece of software that converts a raw stream of uncompressed video to a compressed form. The same piece of software can also play the compressed video on-screen.

DV Digital Video

With a capital "D" and a capital "V," DV is a specific video format; both a tape format (like Hi8) and a data format specification.

DVD digital versatile disc

An optical data storage format that resembles CD but holds much more data. There are a number of DVD application formats, including video, audio and DVD-ROM.

EDL edit decision list

Handwritten or computer-generated compilation of all edits (marked by their time codes in points and out points) planned for execution in a video production.

EIS electronic image stabilization

A process that limits shaky camera shots with digital processing found within a camcorder. [See OIS]

FPS frames per second

Measures the rate or speed of video or film. Film is typically shot and played back at 24fps. Video is recorded and played back at 30fps.

IEEE 1394 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Pronounced "eye-triple-E thirteen-ninety-four," the institute establishes standards and protocols for a wide range of computer and communications technologies, including IEEE 1394, which is a specification FireWire data transmission widely used in DV. Sony refers to the ports on its products with the proprietary term, "i.LINK.

NLE nonlinear editor/editing

Hard-drive based editing system defined by its ability to randomly access and insert video in any order at any time. This is in contrast to linear tape-to-tape editing, which requires rewinding and fast forwarding in order to access material.

NTSC National Television Standards Committee

U.S. television broadcasting specifications. NTSC refers to all video systems conforming to this 525-line 59.94-field-per-second signal standard. [See PAL, SECAM]

OIS optical image stabilization

A process of limiting shaky camera shots with mechanical movement of the optical system within a camcorder. [See EIS]

PAL phase alternate line

625-line 50-field-per-second television signal standard used in Europe and South America. Incompatible with NTSC. [See NTSC, SECAM]

PCM pulse code modulation

A popular method of encoding digital audio. [See AFM]

POV point of view

The apparent position of the observer in a shoot that defines the camera’s position.

PZM pressure zone microphone

Small, sensitive condenser mike, usually attached to a 5-inch-square metal backing plate. Senses air pressure changes in tiny gap between the mike element and the plate.

RCA Recording Corporation of America

A popular cable connector used for home audio as well as video components. The standard connection for direct audio/video inputs and outputs. RCA connectors are also known as phono plugs and jacks.

RGB red, green, blue

Video signal transmission system that differentiates and processes all color information in separate red, green and blue components the primary colors of light for optimum image quality. Also defines type of color monitor.

SECAM sequential color and memory

625-line 25-frame-per-second television signal standard used in France and the Soviet Republic. Incompatible with NTSC; PAL and SECAM are partially compatible. [See NTSC, PAL]

SEG special effects generator

Permits video signal mixing from two or more sources cameras, time-base correctors and character generators for dissolves, wipes and other transition effects.

SMPTE Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers

Time-code standard that addresses every frame on a videotape with a unique number (in hours, minutes, seconds, frames) to aid logging and editing. Format used for film, video and audio. The SMPTE sanctions standards for recording systems in North America.

VCR videocassette recorder

Multifunction machine intended primarily for recording and playback of videotape that is stored in cassettes.

VHS video home system

Predominant half-inch videotape format developed by Matsushita and licensed by JVC.

XLR ground-left-right

Three-pin plug for three-conductor "balanced" audio cable, employed with high-quality microphones, mixers and other audio equipment.

Y/C video signal type

Also known as S-video. Employed with Hi8 and S-VHS video formats and analog output -on digital camcorders. Transmits luminance (Y) and chrominance (C) portions separately via multiple wires.

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.

Related Content