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

Here are a few terms to help you learn the lingo and speak the language of our post-production team.


Techniques used by an editor to join two clips (video files such as .mp4, .wmv or .mov) or assets (such as text or image).

Transitions are important for giving your video appropriate style and pacing. For example, a hype reel with upbeat music will best suit faster transitions with more noticeable effects.
Here are some of the most common video transitions:

  • Cut: Two clips appear after one another without an effect. Otherwise known as a “hard cut”.

  • Jump cut: An abrupt change between two identical shots where the position of the talent changes, while the position of the camera stays the same.For example, jump cuts are often used in long pieces to camera with no cutaways available, where cuts need to be made.

  • Dip to white or black: A transition that smoothly fades into a colour (traditionally black or white) before going into the next image.

  • Cross dissolve: One shot softly transitions into the next.

  • Camera shake: Transition between clips is highlighted with a dramatic shake. Great for revealing something (e.g. exciting news) to your audience.

  • Punch in/Punch out: The next clip starts zoomed in or out to hide the cut. This transition allows breaks in footage to be hidden without the use of a cutaway or jump cut.

  • Swish pan: Clip is quickly pulled off the screen in any direction.

  • Dolly in/Dolly out: Combination of zoom and fade stylised to look as if the camera is moving forward or backwards while fading in or out. 2 seperate GIFs


  • Colour correction: An editor adjusts the brightness and colour of your video to create a natural looking clip by balancing the exposure (how bright or dark your image is) and white balance (making the colours in your video look natural).

  • Split screen: Screen is divided to show different clips or assets on each side.

  • Slow motion: Video footage slowed down to highlight a particular motion.

  • Speed ramp/Time remapping: Slowing down and speeding up your footage gradually, in order to produce dramatic and creative effects.

  • Multicam shoot: Shoot with multiple cameras capturing multiple angles.

  • Timecode: Any single moment in a clip or video, expressed as hh:mm:ss.


Assets: Anything an editor might need to put together your video such as footage, logos, music, images, etc.

  • Animation: Pictures are manipulated to appear as moving images.

  • Cutaway: Footage that you cut away to, as a visual reference of your script. Is your talent talking about Star Wars? Accompany it with an image or clip!

  • VO/Voice over: You hear someone speaking in your video but cannot see who is speaking, like having a narrator.

  • Top and Tail: Adding a logo, slide or animation played at the beginning and end of your video.

  • Piece to camera/PTC: A video clip in which a presenter speaks directly to the audience by keeping eye contact with the camera.

  • Noddies: Shots of reactions and gestures that demonstrate active listening. They’re frequently used in 2-person interviews.

  • Time-lapse: An amount of time displayed over a shorter length of video by speeding up the original clip. It’s often utilised to show great change or activity.

  • Atmos: Sounds of the environment that your scene is taking place in. In the case of the beach, this would be the crashing of waves and shrieks of seagulls. In an office, this could be the humming of the air conditioning or kitchen fridge.


Text, symbols or designs placed on top of your video footage. This can include the following:

Overlay: An asset that sits over the top of your main video. The images on the top left of screen in news programs are a common example of overlay.

  • Lower third: A title on screen introducing the person speaking. It generally includes their full name and position in the company.Text on screen: Any text added on top of your video footage.Watermark: Logo or text that is present throughout the entire video, most commonly in the bottom right corner with lowered opacity.

  • Text on screen: Any text added on top of your video footage.

  • Watermark: Logo or text that is present throughout the entire video, most commonly in the bottom right corner with lowered opacity.

  • Slide: A full screen still image, similar to a Powerpoint slide, that can contain graphics and text.

  • Superimpose: Placement of an image or text that interacts with the video or image it sits above, for example a Snapchat or Instagram filter.


  • Moraying/Moire: A ‘shimmer’ or ‘strobe’ caused by a tightly printed pattern or material that cannot be captured properly by the camera sensor.

  • Strobing: Flickering of a screen or light when the recorded frame rate doesn’t match the screen or light Hz rate

  • Aspect Ratio: The shape of your video. The ratio of width to height in a video or a screen. It indicates the orientation of your video: landscape, square or vertical. It is commonly written as two numbers separated by a colon, for example 16:9 or 1:1.To find the ‘Optimal Video Dimensions’ for you, check out our handy article.

  • 16:9: A rectangular aspect ratio in landscape/horizontal, these are your average video dimensions.

  • 9:16: A rectangular aspect ratio in portrait/vertical, this ratio is used to fit a phone display when held upright.

  • 1:1: A square aspect ratio with equal height to width.

  • Audio Distortion: Audio that sounds ‘fuzzy’, ‘gritty’ or includes a high-pitched tone, often the result of incorrectly set audio levels, or interference between the transmitter and receiver.

With this terminology you’re now ready to ‘speak editor’ in your next project brief!
Want to learn the lingo of a video strategist? Our video ‘Plan Terminology’ article is your next step.

Need help or have questions? Contact us. We'd love to help!

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