Video Vocabulary and Links


New York Film Academy Student resources page (great for getting ideas and news)

Video Copilot perfect source for learning tips and techniques on Premiere.

General Vocabulary for Video Editing:

Resource from New York Film Academy


A short extract from a film.


A transition where one shot is instantly followed by another.

Continuity Editing

Visual editing where shots are cut together in a clear and linear flow of uninterrupted action. This type of cutting seeks to maintain a continuous sense of time and space.

Continuity Error

When the action or elements of a scene don’t match across shots. For example, when a character breaks a glass window but in a later shot, the window is shown undamaged.

Cross Cutting

A technique used to give the illusion that two storylines of action are happening at the same time by rapidly cutting back and forth between them.


The interruption of a continuously filmed action with a shot that’s peripherally related to the principal action.


When the end of one shot overlaps the start of the next one to create a gradual scene transition.


The process of taking raw footage to select and combine shots to create a complete motion picture.

Establishing Shot

A shot that gives viewers an idea of where the scene is taking place. These usually involve a shot from a long distance, such as a bird’s eye view.

Eyeline Match

A technique based on the idea that viewers want to see what on-screen characters are seeing. For example, if a character is looking intently at an off-screen object, the following shot will be of that object.


A visual effect used to indicate a change in place and time. This involves a gradual brightening as a shot opens or a gradual darkening as the shot goes black or to another color. Sound also fades in and out to convey the change.


A wipe that takes the shape of a shrinking or growing circle, depending on if the scene is opening or ending. Rarely used today but very common during the silent era.

J Cuts

An editing technique that allows the audience to first hear audio from a shot, and then see it.

Jump Cut

An abrupt cut that creates a lack of continuity between shots by leaving out parts of the action.

L Cut

An editing changeover between one shot and another in film, where the visual and audio shift at different times. Also called a split edit.

Matched Cut

A cut joining two shots with matching compositional elements. This helps to establish a strong continuity of action.


A sequence of shots assembled in the juxtaposition of one another to create an emotional impact, condense a story,  or convey an idea. A famous example is “Psycho’s” shower scene. 


Graphics or text that moves up or down the screen. This technique is typically used for credits by having text move from bottom to top.

Rough Cut

The first editing pass was done for a film. (The former sentence is not entirely accurate as an Assembly Cut is the first editing pass done for a film, but it depends on how one defines editing, so I think this is o.k.).  A rough cut receives further polishing and editing before making its way out to audiences.


scene is generally thought of as the action in a single location and continuous amount of time.

Sequence Shot

A long take composed of one-shot that extends for an entire scene or sequence. Usually requires complex camera movements and action. Here is a notable example from GoodFellas. (This isn’t a term that is particularly important for an editor to know.)

Shot Reverse Shot

The alternating of over-the-shoulder-shots, usually used during a conversation between two characters.


The process of adding sound effects and music and/or enhancing the existing audio with effects.


The transition from one shot to another with a visible pattern or element. No longer used in today’s films but very common in early cinema.


Shot size refers to how close the camera is to the subject. There are six basic shot sizes:

Extreme Long Shot

Extreme long shot. Often used at the beginning of a scene to show where the scene will take place. For this reason, this type of shot is often called an establishing shot.

Long Shot

Long shot. In a long shot, it is usually possible to discern individuals but there is also a great deal of background.

Full Shot

Full shot. A full shot shows a character from head to toe. This type of shot is often used as a ‘master shot’ for the scene, showing all the action that occurs.

Mid Shot

Mid shot. A mid shot is often used when filming conversations. It is one of the most frequently used shots in film and television.

Close up.

Close up. A close up usually shows a character’s face. Often used when shooting conversations, this is also one of the most frequently used shot sizes in film and television.

Extreme close up.

Extreme close ups are used to show small details, such as a character’s eyes.


Camera angle refers to the angle at which the subject is shot and makes an important contribution to cinematic storytelling.


Overshot. The camera is positioned directly above the subject. This is often used in establishing shots, where the camera flies over city streets.

High Angle

High angle. The camera is positioned above the subject, looking down at an angle. This angle makes the subject appear smaller, powerless and more vulnerable.

Eye Level

Eye level. This is the most commonly used camera angle in film and television. Whereas most other camera angles are highly stylised, an eye level shot creates a sense realism because this is how we see the world.

Low Angle

Low angle. The camera is positioned below eye level, looking up, to imply a sense of power and dominance.


Undershot. The camera is positioned directly beneath the subject, looking up. Often coupled with point-of-view shots when the character is looking up at something.