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Glossary of video production industry jargon

Colour grade

Need to warm up a skin tone or increase the tint of a landscape or backdrop? Colour grading is the process for enhancing the colour, tone and style of any footage. Subtle changes can dramatically affect the final result, making this a vital and sometimes painstaking aspect of the post-production process.

Kinetic Typography

The techie name for ‘words on screen that move’. A highly effective way of taking your key messages and giving them a bit of animated impact.

Explainer video

Exactly what is says on the tin – an explanation delivered in a short and concise video form. Often animated these provide basic instructions or facts about a product or service. The cleaner and simpler the better. This is everything your audience needs to know about your product or service in a concise little video nutshell. If you can boil the kettle in less time then it’s way too long. Let’s keep it snappy!

Motion design

Graphics or graphic design styles that are brought to life through animated movement (often with accompanying sound effects). Motion design is effectively an extension of graphic design and has become increasingly more sophisticated thanks to digital technology.


This is the stage for making sure everyone is reading from the same hymn sheet. An illustrator will take the original concept and script and draw a sequence of frames that show how each scene or filmic element flows from one to the next. It’s the route map for the film production journey.

Talking Head

Extended interview footage of a person generally shot from a close-up angle in order to show expressions and emotions. The subject may either be looking directly at the camera or, more commonly, towards an adjacent interviewer.


Abbreviation for ‘visual effects’. These are generally added in post-production and are the bits of a film that would be physically impossible or just too darn risky, expensive or problematic to try and create during the live shoot. Types of VFX include compositing (i.e. stitching different visual elements together), adding in painted landscapes or backdrops, and computer-generated imagery or CGI. Think Lord of the Rings or pretty much any superhero movie.

Viral Video

What do strange dances, babies doing cute baby things, cats falling off walls, car crashes, natural disasters, extraordinary marriage proposals and adrenalin junkies all have in common? They have all ‘gone viral’ at some stage. High in shock, awe, comedy, or tear-jerk factor, the viral is a video that achieves ballistic levels of web-based sharing through platforms like Youtube. A home video gold nugget as often as not, the viral is also the holy grail for marketers and PRs.

Vox pop

a short interview clip that gives a person’s reaction or opinion on the subject matter. Commonly used in TV and radio news, ‘vox pop’ stems from the Latin ‘vox populi’ or ‘voice of the people’. Vox pops can also be used effectively to show third party endorsement of your product or service.

Whiteboard Animation

A whiteboard animation shows an illustration or series of illustrations taking shape on a page or surface in real time or as a time-lapse. This animation style is great for breaking down complex subjects or telling stories in a fun and entertaining way. Whiteboard animations are usually hand drawn illustration based animation.

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