Are you a good cutter* at dubbing* after viewing the rushes*? Or are you more of an auteur* who is into the small details of Mise-En-Scene*? Videomaker makes sense of some movie terms with our production glossaries.
- [image:blog_post:30721]Cowboy – One of my favorite terms is "The Cowboy Shot" – and just about anyone who has watched movies knows exactly what this shot looks like. From so-called Spaghetti westerns like The Good the Bad and The Ugly to 3:10 to Yuma and more modern-era films like Back to the Future a Cowboy shot is a classic shot seen in the movies. If the cinematographer asks to "Shoot it Cowboy" everyone knows it's a shot in which two protagonists face off – with one in the foreground, his back usually to the camera while the other is seen in the distance, often framed through the legs or elbow-crook of the arm of the foreground subject. Often a Cowboy shot shows a "bigger than life" perspective shooting up at the character in question. This classic shot isn't limited to just the Western genre; it is seen even in animation and comedies. The animated movie, "Rango," starring an unlikely rain-forest lizard dumped into a town of desert-dwelling reptiles, has a Cowboy shot when he faces off with his protagonist.
- Doppelganger – a German word meaning double-walker, referring to one's "other self" or one's double or shadow. This character can have the good-vs-evil personality as in Gollum in The Lord of the Rings or can be a second person "the evil twin" bent on undoing the hero's good efforts.
- Martini Shot – A fun term heard on a movie set for the "last shot of the day" because the next shot is going to be in a shot-glass, or a Martini glass, for more refined tastes. [CORRECTION] The terminology for this shot follows what is also known as The Abby Shot or Abby Singer, said to be coined by production manager Abby Singer, who is said to have called the last shot of the day, but then the cinematographer might then call for one more shot – so the second to the last shot is the Abby Singer, the last shot is The Martini… shaken, not stirred!
- [image:blog_post:30722]Redheads and Blonds – these aren't characters, or a shot, but a tool: they are light fixtures used on a movie set. A Blonde is typically hotter than the Redhead, Blonde's rate 1000 to 2000 watts, and a Redhead is a more common smaller wattage light, usually around 650 to 1000watts. You might see a Redhead used as a key flood light, but can be used as fill or backlights. Blondes are used for lighting very large areas on a scene.
- CLIDVIC (Climb from Despair to Victory). Formula for Rocky and all the Rocky rip-offs. Breaks plot into three parts: (1) Defeat and despair; (2) Rigorous training, usually shown in the form of would-be MTV videos; (3) Victory, preferably ending in freeze-frame of triumphant hero.
- Dirt Equals Virtue: In technology movies, a small, dingy, cluttered little lab and eccentric personnel equal high principles; large, well-lighted facilities mask sinister motives. (Examples: Doc Brown's lab in Back to the Future versus the sterile environment of Gen-sys in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.)
- Engine Equalization Law: Movie phenomenon which allows a 100hp Escort to outrun a 300hp Corvette, or vice versa, and allows large, lumbering Cadillac stretch limousines filled with bad guys to keep up with heroes in exotic sports cars.
Finally, for more fun and interesting topics, check out TVTroped.org to find out terms for characters you didn't even know had terminology reference.
- Lighting Terms: www.videomaker.com/article/13008
- Production Terms: www.videomaker.com/article/9090
- Editing terms: www.videomaker.com/article/8872
- Camcorder Terms: www.videomaker.com/article/9634
- Shooting Terms: www.videomaker.com/article/10667
- Audio Acquisition Terms: www.videomaker.com/article/9753
- Microphone Terms: www.videomaker.com/article/8397
Your homework this week is to learn some new terms and use them next time you're on a shoot! Happy Shooting!
- Auteur: literally the director, who is regarded as the "author" of a film because he/she has primary control and responsibility for the final product.
- Cutter: The person responsible for assembling the various visual and audial components of a film into a coherent and effective whole.
- Mise-En-Scene: The aura emanating from details of setting, scenery, and staging.
- Rushes: Also called "Dailies." The lengths of footage taken during the course of filming and processed as the shooting of a film proceeds.
Cowboy image "The standoff_StarringPMOrbán-and-President Barosso" courtesy of: www_.neurope.eu