Shoot Terminology
Mark Horton avatar
Written by Mark Horton
Updated over a week ago

Here is a quick glossary of some of the most common words you might hear in a conversation about filming.

Shot Sizes

Shot: The whole image you see on your camera's display.

Shot size: How much of the scene is included in the shot. There are three main shot sizes: wide, mid and close-up.

Wide shot: A shot that shows your entire subject and their surroundings. It helps establish who your subject is and where they are.

Mid shot: Your shot is a medium distance from your subject. If you're filming a person, a mid shot frames your subject from their waist to the top fo their head. This works perfectly for interviews and pieces to camera.

Close up: The shot is close to your subject, focusing on important details. If you are filming a person, a close up will help focus your audience's’ attention onto your subject.

Shot composition: The process of choosing what shot size you want and all the other visual elements you want in your frame, such as background, props, etc.

Camera movements

Pan: Rotating your camera left or right whilst filming, for best results this is done on a tripod with a fluid head.

Tilt: Angling your camera up or down whilst filming, for best results this is done on a tripod with a fluid head.

Tracking Shot: A shot in which your camera follows your subject as they move.

Pulling focus: this is when your subject is brought into focus during a shot by manually turning the focus ring on your lens.

Fluid head: A type of tripod head that uses hydraulic fluid inside to allow smooth movements when panning and tilting.

On set

Rolling: The word you yell when you would like people to know you’re filming and that they should be quiet.

Cut: The word you yell to let people know you’ve finished filming and they can resume talking.

Talent: The person or people in front of camera being filmed.

Subject: The main thing you are focusing on in your shot. This is often referring to the person being filmed.

Headroom: The amount of space above your talent's head in the shot.


Atmos: Refers to ambient noise that is picked up by the camera when no one is talking. It is best practice to record 30 seconds of atmos at the end of your clip to fill in any pauses or even allow an editor to potentially cut out background noise.

VO: Stands for voice-over. It’s where you hear someone speaking in your video but cannot see who is speaking. Similar to narration.

Feedback: Any buzzing or hissing noises you might hear when filming with a mic. This is often caused by interfering audio signals or damaged mic leads.

Peaking: When your audio is too loud and begins to distort. If you’re looking at the audio levels on the back of your camera you will see them hit red. The solution is to adjust your audio levels on camera to prevent too much noise coming through to your camera.


Cutaways: Is footage that you cut away to. This traditionally works where someone who is being filmed mentions a specific thing and then we see what they are referring to on screen.

Underexposed: When your shot is too dark.

Overexposed: When your shot is too bright.

Moire/Strobing: If you notice a wavy or glittery pattern on your talents clothing. It occurs when your talent is wearing clothing with a tight weave or pattern, or notoriously, stripes.

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