A Glossary of Essential Video Production Terms

By Islandmoss Productions |

Corporate Video Production

Every industry has its own language and terms. These words and phrases can be confusing to anyone who is not part of the daily operations of a specific industry, and the video production business is no exception.

To help you understand the terms, acronyms, and phrases regularly used when working with a video production company, Islandmoss Productions has created this handy reference guide. Here you’ll find valuable information allowing you to comprehend and communicate your production needs effectively.

Pre-production or “before production.”

Pre-production is getting everything organized before you shoot that first bit of video. This is the most crucial step as it ensures that your video is produced smoothly, on time, and within budget. Resist the urge to cut corners as it will come back to haunt you at some point of the production.

Pre-production includes:

Concept development




Developing a ‘shot’ list

Identifying (and hiring) talent

Location scouting or site visits

Crew scheduling

Any other planning element specific to your video can also be included here. However, some of these points may vary depending on the type of production.


Production has two meanings. When it’s used with video, as in video production, it’s a general term that means the whole process of making a video. And, when it’s used alone, it’s describing the process.


It refers to supplemental shots that illustrate what the video is about. The B-roll has two roles:

a. It adds extra visuals that make the video more visually appealing than say for example, watching someone talk.

b. It covers up the jump cuts that happen when the editor takes a lengthy interview and chops it up so what is left is only the important bits. Every time you do a cut into a shot the image jumps, and in interviews, it will be the person’s head that jumps or moves position. This can be very jarring to the viewer. So by adding B-roll over these “jump cuts” the interview and edit are seamless to the viewer.

Closeup (CU).

It is a tightly framed camera shot in which the principal subject is viewed at close range, appearing large and dominant on screen. Pulled back slightly is a “medium closeup”  (MCU) while zoomed in very close is an “extreme closeup” (ECU or XCU).

Medium shot (MS).

It refers to viewing the subjects from a medium distance. For example, filming a person from the waist up.

Long shot (LS).

Camera view of a subject or scene from a distance, showing a broad perspective.

Over-the-Shoulder Shot.

This is a camera angle with the view of the primary subject and the back of another person’s shoulder and head in the foreground. It is often used in interview situations.

Point-of-View Shot (POV).

A camera shot whereby the video camera assumes a subject’s view, so the viewers see what the subject sees.

Establishing Shot.

A shot that opens a scene to establish the surroundings of the subject. Usually, it’s a wide or distant perspective that orients viewers to the overall setting and surroundings.


This is the space between the top of a subject’s head and a monitor’s upper-screen edge. If there is too much headroom, it makes the subject appear to fall out of the frame. If there is not enough headroom, the subject appears to be “squished” in the frame.


This is used mostly in interview situations where the camera’s view includes two subjects.


A horizontal camera pivot, from right to left or left to right, from a stationary position.


A vertical camera move - either up or down from a single axis when using a tripod.


A camera move that uses the internal mechanisms of the camera. It is a focal length move from wide-angle to telephoto, or vice versa, in one continuous move. “Zoom in” and “zoom out” are common terms.

That’s a Wrap.

This is typically used when the video shoot is completed for the day.

If you’re looking for a video production company in Ottawa, ON, reach out to the experts at Islandmoss Productions. We have over thirty years of experience in video production and are committed to excellence at all stages of the production process. We offer complete creative and technical video services that meet your requirements and exceed your expectations. Moreover, we deliver your videos on time, and within the budget you set.

To learn about our services, please click hereread our customer reviews here, or get in touch with us here.