Glossary of Film / Video Terms (T-Z)

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T-GRAIN Emulsion: Emulsion made up of tablet-like crystals rather than conventional silver halides crystals; produces high-speed films with fine grain. Proprietary technology developed by Eastman Kodak Company, also a trademark.

T-Stop: Like F-number, measures the diameter of the lens opening. T-stop factors in the loss of light through the glass lens elements.

Tail Ends, Tails: The end of a film. The film must be rewound before projection if it is tails out.

Take-up Reel: The reel, which the already projected film winds up on.

TECHNISCOPE: A system designed to produce 35 mm anamorphic prints from a 35 mm negative having images approximately one half the height of regular negative images and produced by using a special one half frame (2 perforation) pulldown camera. During printing, the negative image was blown up to normal height and squeezed to normal print image width to produce a regular anamorphic print that provided a projected aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The system was designed primarily to conserve negative raw stock.

Telecine: A device for transferring motion picture film to an electronic state.

Thin: As applied to a photographic image, having low density. As applied to the physical properties of film, thin base film materials provide for more film per given roll diameter.

Timing: A laboratory process that involves balancing the color of a film to achieve consistent color and density from scene to scene. Also, includes adjusting exposure settings in duplication.

Timecode: A frame numbering system adopted by SMPTE that assigns a number to each frame of video which indicates hours, minutes, seconds and frames (e.g., 01:42:13:26).

Toe: Bottom portion of the characteristic curve, where slope increases gradually with constant changes in exposure.

Tonality: Smooth transition from one tone to another (light to dark).

Tone-scale neutrality and linearity: The ability of a film to reproduce truly neutral gray tones from black to white (this is a function of how the contrast ratio from red to green to blue in the negative aligns with the ratios in the print).  Closely correlated is the linearity of the film’s characteristic curve in all three-color records from shadows to highlights. Poor linearity can lead to poor neutrality in smaller ranges of the tone-scale.  Performance here can also be related to flesh-to-neutral reproduction and film latitude.

Trailer: A length of film usually found on the end of each release print reel identifying subject, part, or reel number and containing several feet of projection leader. Also a short roll of film containing coming attractions or other messages of interest.

Transmittance: Amount of incident light transmitted by a medium; commonly expressed as percent transmittance.

Travelling Matte: A process shot in which foreground action is superimposed on a separately photographed background by optical printing.

Trims: Manual printer controls used for overall color correction. Also, unused portions of shots taken for a film; usually kept until the production is complete.

Tungsten: Artificial lighting with a color temperature of approximately 3200K.


Uprezzing (Upsampling): Resizing a digital image to a larger size.

Ultraviolet Light: Energy produced by the (invisible) part of the electromagnetic spectrum with wavelengths of 100 to 400 nanometers. Popularly known as “black light.” UV radiation produces fluorescence in many materials.

Underexposure: A condition in which too little light reaches the film, producing a thin negative or a dark reversal or print.

Unsteadiness: An objectionable amount of vertical motion in the screen image.


Video Dailies: Synched videotapes with burn-in used for editing and confirming a day’s shoot.

Visual Density: Spectral Sensitivity of the receptor that approximates that of the human eye.


Wavelength: A unit of measurement, from on crest to the next, in the spectrum, stated as nanometer (one billionth of a meter).

Wide Area Network (WAN): A network that spans a large geographical area.

Widescreen: A general term for form of film presentation in which the picture shown has an aspect ratio greater than 1.33:1.

Winding: Designation of the relationship of perforation and emulsion position for film as it leaves a spool or core.

Workflow: A group of processes—employing hardware, software, and people—that, when put into action, delivers an end result, or a portion of an end result.

Workprint: Any picture or sound track print, usually a positive, intended for use in the editing process. A series of trail cuttings leads to the finished version of a film. The purpose is to preserve the original intact (and undamaged) until the cutting points have been established.



Yellow: Minus-blue subtractive primary used in the three-color process.


Zero-Frame Reference Mark: Dot which identifies the frame directly below as the zero-frame specified by both the human-readable key number and the machine-readable bar code.