Return to Glossary

Video Glossary



Audio Glossary

Permanent link to this article:


16:9: See also “Aspect Ratio”: 16:9 is the ratio describing the number of pixels (display dots) across a screen or frame of digital video vs. the number of pixels going up and down. 16:9 is associated with two High Definition video standards (1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080 pixels). [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


4:3: See also “Aspect Ratio”: 4:3 is the ratio describing the number of pixels (display dots) across a screen or frame of digital video vs. the number of pixels going up and down. 4:3 is associated with Standard Definition Video (720 x 480 pixels). [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

8-bit Uncompressed Video

8-bit Uncompressed Video: Video that uses a single 8-bit number to represent the primary color (red, green, blue) of each pixel. One eight-bit number describes red, one describes green, and one describes blue (so three 8-bit numbers are needed for each pixel). 8-bit uncompressed video means the RGB or the red, green, and blue values are …

10-bit Uncompressed Video

10-bit Uncompressed Video: Digital video data that has not been compressed or was created without compression. 10-bit uncompressed video means that the RGB or the red, green, and blue values can be represented in a range from 0 to 1023. These video files can be quite large. 10-bit uncompressed video is associated with higher-quality and …

AC Power Adapter

AC Power Adapter: A power adapter for electronic equipment, including field recorders, video cameras, and laptop computers.  Plugging the adapter into the wall converts “Alternating Current” or “AC” power to Direct Current or “DC” power.  It is used to charge batteries and sometimes run the recorder. Usually this adapter converts voltages supplied by electrical companies …

Access Version

Access Version: a copy of an interview that has been optimized for access. This typically means heavy use of compression in order to optimize access and usage across a network. This is the version that is made accessible to users. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

Apple ProRes 422

Apple ProRes 422: Intermediate video codec created by Apple and primarily utilized by Apple’s video editing system Final Cut Pro. This is a high-end video codec designed for video production but, due to its proprietary nature is not necessarily a preservation format. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Aspect Ratio

Aspect Ratio: The ratio of width to height with regard to a frame of digital video. Common Aspect Ratios for digital video include 4:3, which is standard, and 16:9 which is widescreen and commonly high definition. Widescreen video is often “letterboxed” to present a 16:9 video on a 4:3 screen. And there is a process, …

AVC (Advanced Video Encoding)

AVC (Advanced Video Encoding): A common high definition video compression standard otherwise known as H.264/ MPEG-4 AVC.  Common for recording and distributing high definition video. Although AVC is a lossy compression algorithm, it is very efficient compared to MPEG-2 and yields high quality video signal with minimal visual loss. This is a ubiquitous format today. …

AVC Intra

AVC Intra: A common video codec developed by Panasonic in compliance with the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC standard. Like AVC as defined above, AVC Intra is an efficient lossy compression algorithm that yields a high quality video signal with minimal visual loss. Although this is a ubiquitous format today, it is not an open access format as …

AVCHD (Advanced Video Coding High Definition)

AVCHD (Advanced Video Coding High Definition): Professional, high definition video codec jointly developed by Sony and Panasonic.  Also utilizes H.264/MPEG-4 AVC standard. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


AVI: “Audio Video Interleaved.” Primary digital video file format used by Microsoft Windows. An .avi file can contain a variety of codecs but usually yields high quality video and  typically generates a large file. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


Bandwidth: Refers to the rate audio or video data is transmitted or the amount of audio or video data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time. It is normally associated with delivering media over the Internet or via an internal network. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Batch Convert

Batch Convert: Process of taking any number of files of one type (i.e. wave, mov, avi, mp3, etc.) and changing them into another type. Can involve a change in format or a change in quality settings, transcoding, or convert from stereo to mono. Moving from type to type is not a two-way street however; any changes …


Bit: A bit is the simplest component in computing. Bits are given a value of either 1 or 0 based on the voltage they are carrying at the time. These bits make up each and every part of the programs and processes that computers encounter. Sequences of bits in particular orders define the what, where, and …

Bit Depth

Bit Depth: Refers to the number of bits used to represent a single sample. For example, 16-bit is a common sample size. While 8-bit samples take up less memory (and hard disk space), they are inherently noisier than 16- or 24-bit samples. The higher the bid depth, the better the recording, but also, the larger …

Bit Rate

Bit Rate: Bitrate measures the quantity of data in a given unit of time (usually measured in seconds). In general, the greater the bitrate is the higher the quality will be, however, the greater bitrate will also yield a larger data footprint. Bitrate measurement of digital audio is based on the following equation and is …

Blu Ray Disc

Blu Ray Disc: A standard created by Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK, and Thomson for encoding high definition video for optical disc playback. Based on MPEG-4 AVC – part of the MPEG-4 standard also known as H.264 (High Profile and Main Profile). Blu Ray Discs are …

BNC connector

BNC connector: An alternative to traditional RF coaxial cables, BNC connector cables are mostly used for composite video on commercial video devises. They can easily be connected to a traditional RF jack via an adapter. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Image Source: Tweet

Buffer (Data)

Buffer (Data): The buffer refers to an amount of memory separated from the rest that acts as a holding tank for information as it is taken from one source to another. The changes made to any file are stored in the buffer before actually being saved to the file being worked on. This works in …

Broadcast Wave Format (BWF)

Broadcast Wave Format (BWF): This format is derived from the ubiquitous Wave audio format. The format was created for professionals, enabling the ability to embed standardized metadata into the file itself. The extension for the BWF is also .wav. [Video Glossary] Tweet


Byte: A Byte refers to a set of 8 bits. An 8-bit sample requires one byte of memory to store, while a 16-bit sample requires two bytes of memory to store. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Card Reader

Card Reader: Used as a medium to transfer files from a memory card to a computer without having to link the hardware the data originated on directly to a computer. Most commonly connected to the computer utilizing usb 2 connections. Most readers can both read and write to multiple formats. [ Audio Glossary ] [ …


Channel: Single channel recording is known as monaural or mono recording. Stereo recording involves the recording of 2 channels (left and right). In interviewing situations, the two channels associated with stereo recording allow the separation and isolation of channels for the interviewer and the interviewee. Stereo recording is ideal from a sound quality situation involving …

Chroma Key Compositing

Chroma Key Compositing: Technique of combining and replacing multiple layers of video. Commonly referred to as “green screening,” capturing a video with a green screen background enables an editor or producer to “replace” the background with an image and leave the foreground intact. This allows a video production to customize the backgrounds. This is very …

Chrominance (Chroma)

Chrominance (Chroma): The color components of video signal. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


Clipboard: Area on a computer where any information copied or cut is stored. Generally anything cut from one area in a program or operating system can then be pasted into another, provided that it remains in the clipboard. For audio or video data to be pasted from a cut or copy, the program that is …


Codec: Software solution that compresses and decompresses an audio or video file for digital playback. Often proprietary, the goal of a particular codec is to compress a recording in order to make the file size smaller while simultaneously retaining as much quality as possible. An “efficient codec” is a codec that excels at lowering file …

Compact Flash

Compact Flash: A flash-based mass storage medium that is used in portable recorders. The capacity of this device is ever increasing as are the transfer speeds. Transfer speeds do not affect audio recording, however, they do greatly impact the speed at which the recorded interview can be transferred to the computer. Compact flash is the …

Component Video

Component Video: Analog delivery of video that divides video delivery into component parts (red, green, blue). Often associated with the three RCA cables or connectors that coincide with the colors. Component Video is higher quality than Composite Video. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Composite Video

Composite Video: Analog delivery of video that combines the luminance and chrominance signals into one signal. Often associated with the yellow RCA cable, combined with the white and red audio cables. Composite video is lower quality than Component Video. [Video Glossary] Tweet


Compression: Plain and simply, compression makes your digital media files smaller in terms of file size but you lose some quality. By analogy, imagine taking every 15th word out of this definition. You would still get most of the meaning, but might miss a little. Real digital compression involves a similar process, but selects words …

Compression Ratio (Data)

Compression Ratio (Data): A ratio of 1) the size of the uncompressed file to 2) the size of the file following compression. For example, a 14: 1 compression ratio means that the file is 14 times smaller than the size of the uncompressed recording. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Constant Bit Rate (CBR)

Constant Bit Rate (CBR): Mode for encoding audio or video in which the bitrate for each frame or unit is restricted to remain constant.  Bitrate has a direct correlation to file size and quality. The higher the bitrate the better the quality (and the larger the file size). Variable bitrate (VBR) provides an alternative that …

Container Format

Container Format: Audio or video format that serves as a “wrapper” containing multiple streams of data. Examples include WAVE, AVI, MOV, or MXF files. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


Digitize: Conversion of analog materials to digital data. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

Device Driver

Device Driver: The device driver supplies the information needed for a computer to exchange information back and forth between itself and outside hardware. These drivers are almost always provided with the hardware that requires them and manufacturers provide these drivers on their websites free of charge. This system allows for hardware to be updated on …

Destructive Editing

Destructive Editing: Refers to editing within a digital audio or video program where any changes made to the file are processed when executed. For example, if a cut is made from a file in Sony Sound Forge, the cut is processed to the file that was loaded at the time. Changes rendered in a destructive …


Digitization: This is the process of representing an analog source as a discrete set of points (samples). As analog sources are continuous in all respects, digitized versions of them are approximations of the assumed values actually represented in the analog original. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Drag and Drop

Drag and Drop: Allows for easy manipulation of text or other selectable material on a computer. To perform, simply select an area of the information you wish to move and, while the mouse pointer is over the selected area, press and hold the left mouse button. While holding, the selection can be moved to wherever …

Dropped Frame

Dropped Frame: An error occurring in the transfer or playback of digital video where frames are skipped due to failure in maintaining a steady stream of data. This is usually network or hardware related. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


DV: Obviously short for “Digital Video,” the term DV refers to a specific format for encoding (recording and playing back) digital video. DV codec utilizes intraframe compression and uncompressed audio and was a common method for recording Standard Definition video utilizing MiniDV cassette tape. DV is also associated with the more professional DVCAM, DVCPRO, DVCPRO50 …


DVD: Optical storage format made ubiquitous in the delivery of standard definition digital video (encoded utilizing MPEG-2). Although DVDs are convenient, they are not recommended for long term preservation. [ Video Glossary ] Image Source: Tweet


DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM: Optical storage formats that served as the “data” alternative to the video encoded DVD. Could contain 4.7 Gigabytes of data until the multilayer variants emerged which increased capacity to 8.5 Gigabytes. Not recommended for preservation. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

File Association

File Association: A way computers knows that certain types of files, identified by their extension (.wav,  .mov, .avi, .mp4, .mp3, .txt, etc.), should work with certain programs. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

File Format

File Format: The type of file saved on a computer, usually a “container” that contains various streams of information. When dealing with audio, .wav is the most common uncompressed format. For digital video, the more common formats include .mov and .avi. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


Filename: Name given to a computer file. Usually chosen when a file is saved. The file type is generally denoted by a three letter/number suffix on the end, i.e. .mp3. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


Firewire: Commercial term referring to an IEEE 1394, a data connection used for high-speed transfer of data including digital audio and video. Firewire is the brand name for Apple Inc.’s IEEE 1394. The original incarnation of Firewire is now known as Firewire 400 because of its transfer rate. New innovations now utilize Firewire 800 connections …

Flash Video (Adobe)

Flash Video (Adobe): A popular but proprietary video format created by Adobe. Flash video requires playback in Adobe players and is not recommended as a preservation format. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Flash Memory

Flash Memory: A kind of computer memory used to store data in thousands of applications. It is found in USB and SD drives (the picture shows an open USB drive – the larger black chip is the flash memory card). Allows for the easy transport of gigabytes of data and contains no moving parts, adding to …


Frame: Digital video is made of moving images that are viewed in rapid succession. A “frame” is a single still image that serves as a single unit in the creation of digital video. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Frames Rate

Frames Rate: Frames per second (FPS). Measurement for video that involves measuring the number of frames passing by per second.  The human eye can perceive up to 10-12 individual images per second and still perceive individuality. However, faster frame rates such as 30 fps creates the illusion of motion that is undetectable to the human …

GB (Gigabyte)

GB (Gigabyte): Unit of measure for data file size. 1 gigabyte (gb) – 1000 megabytes. 1000 gigabytes = 1 Terabyte. The “Ask Doug” video is about ….   [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet


Generation: In terms of digital audio and video, this often refers to a version derived from the original and often involves compression and hence a loss in quality. An example would the creation of “web” or “access” versions of an original audio or video interview. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

“Green Screen”

“Green Screen”: A video technique that lets you replace the solid green background used in a video of a person (top picture) with any other custom background (bottom picture). Software replaces each green pixel with the corresponding pixel from the custom background. It provides the illusion of location. It is more commonly know as the system …


H.264: Also known as H.264/AVC (Advanced Video Encoding)/MPEG-4. Popular compression standard for encoding digital video. Although it is lossy compression, H.264 is more efficient than earlier MPEG-2 retaining significant quality of video while keeping file sizes relatively small. H.264 is a codec standard for encoding Blu-ray Discs as well as for video on Apple’s Itunes …

HD (Video)

HD (Video): See “High Definition Video” [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

HDD (Hard Disk Drive)

HDD (Hard Disk Drive): A data storage system found in almost all computers. It stores data on rapidly rotating magnetic platters. Now available in Gigabytes and in Terabytes. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Image Source: Tweet

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface)

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface): Interface for transferring high definition video and high quality digital audio. Common connection included on contemporary HD televisions, computers, and other digital video devices. HDMI cables carry both audio and video. [ Video Glossary ] Image Source: Tweet


HDV: High definition digital video format commonly used by cameras to record to DV cassette tape. This format was developed by JVC but is commonly found in Canon and Sony cameras as well. HDV is based primarily on lossy MPEG-2 compression which is based on older technology and is not as efficient as H.264/AVC/MPEG-4 compression. …

High Definition Video

High Definition Video: Video captured or delivered in higher resolutions than standard definition video (720 by 480). Resolutions include 1280×720 pixels (720p), 1920×1280 pixels (1080i/1080p). High Definition video can be delivered captured or delivered in both file-based (tapeless) or a tape-based system and, due to wide adoption, has become the standard for capturing digital video. …

IEEE 1394 (Firewire)

IEEE 1394 (Firewire): More commonly referred to as “Firewire,” refers to a high speed transfer interface developed by Apple. Firewire was fast enough to transfer digital video and became a standard interface for connecting consumer and professional digital video cameras to computers enabled with Firewire ports. Firewire 400 refers to the speed of data transfer …

Instantiation (or Instance)

Instantiation (or Instance): Refers to individual versions of the same recording or oral history interview. For example, the 1) original and 2) web-access versions are instantiations of the same interview. Element commonly used in the PBCore metadata schema to document technical metadata for multiple versions of the same recording or ora history interview. [ Audio Glossary …

Interlaced Video

Interlaced Video: A kind of video signal/display technology designed to reduce flicker. Interlaced was effective mostly on older, analog televisions, and requires special decoding to work on newer digital displays and TVs. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Intermediate Codec

Intermediate Codec: Video codec utilized mostly during video editing or production. Not associated with preservation codecs, these typically are proprietary and at risk of obsolescence. Examples include Apple’s ProRes422. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Key Frame

Key Frame: Used in video editing systems to mark timings–or the beginning and end point–of a transition or an effect. For example, a title that is added to a video must be set to begin (fade in) and end (fade out) with specific frames in the video editing timeline. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


Letterbox: A video effect used to preserve aspect ratio when video, originally captured in widescreen format, is presented on a standard-width display. The result is a video signal that has black bars above and below the video to compensate eliminating the need to stretch and therefore distort the video.  As televisions, computers and monitors are moving …


“Lossless”: (See “Compression”) Data compression method that utilizes an algorithm that compacts data into a smaller sized data package and enables the identical restoration of original quality. This compression method is less common for digital audio and video because it yields greater file sizes. As digital preservation becomes more vital, the need for greater adoption …


“Lossy”: (See “Compression”) Data compression method that utilizes an algorithm that compacts data into a smaller sized data package. This compression method is more common for digital audio and video because it yields much smaller file sizes. However, this method inherently degrades the original quality. Certain compression codecs such as H.264 and MPEG-3 have become …


Luma: (sometimes called luminance) Signal used in video systems that represents the brightness in an image. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

MB (Megabyte)

MB (Megabyte): Unit of measure for data file size. 1 megabyte = 1000 kilobytes. 1 gigabyte (gb) = 1000 megabytes. 1000 gigabytes = 1 Terabyte. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

M-JPEG (Motion JPEG)

M-JPEG (Motion JPEG): Codec for encoding digital video. Usually associated with high-quality professional video, M-JPEG contains the option to encode utilizing lossless compression which retains the original visual quality of video recording while compacting the data into a smaller sized file. Lossless M-JPEG wrapped in an MXF container is emerging as a professional preservation standard …

Monitor (video)

Monitor (video): A video screen used to watch the video signal during video capture. [ Video Glossary ] Image Source: Tweet

MOV (.mov)

MOV (.mov): A primary digital video format developed and utilized by Apple and native to Quicktime systems. MOV files contain multiple streams of audiovisual or text data. A MOV file can contain standard or high definition video encoded using extremely high bitrates and a variety of codecs including H.264. MOV is also interchangeable with the …


MPEG: A standard for encoding digital video that uses lossy compression. Several generations have been produced, each a bit better than the next. MPEG-2: MPEG-2 became the standard for encoding video for DVD and therefore became ubiquitous. It is the primary compression system for HDV formatted digital video. Rarely utilized as an audio-only format. [Video] …

Nondestructive Editing

Nondestructive Editing: Opposite of Destructive Editing. When edits are made to an audio or video file in a program that uses nondestructive editing, the audio or video file in question is not actually changed. The program just places markers in the file telling it to skip certain portions or to make whatever changes have been …

NTSC (National Television System Committee)

NTSC (National Television System Committee): One of two standard analog TV signal used for decades, until HD/Digital took over. Broadcast television stations adopted NTSC in most of North America and parts of South America as well as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. Video conforming to the NTSC standard could not be played back …


Original: Typically the first version of a recording created. The original, also referred to as a “master” should be the primary focus of preservation initiatives and should serve as the source for future derivative versions. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

PAL (Phase Alternating Line)

PAL (Phase Alternating Line): An analog broadcast television standard primarily adopted by European countries. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Phono Connection (RCA Connector)

Phono Connection (RCA Connector): Used in many audio and video applications to transmit analog signals. Better known as RCA cables or connections. Traditionally the audio cables were red and white cables and the composite video cables were yellow, combined with the red and white audio cables. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Image …


Pixel: The individual elements or “dots” making up a picture on a screen. Video resolution is measured in horizontal and vertical pixels. In a 1440 x 900 display screen each row has 1440 pixels, each column 900. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


Plug-In: A software tool that adds specific capabilities to a primary software application. An example would be a “noise reduction” plug-in that would be added on to audio editing software such as Sound Forge or Peak. Plug-ins are useful for processing various aspects of both digital audio and digital video. [ Audio Glossary ] [ …


Podcast: Podcasts are typically thematically linked episodes of either audio or video programs. They are regularly downloaded to users’ computers or mobile devices if the user subscribes to the regular podcast. Or a user can choose to download individual programs. They are considered broadcast media, and typically use RSS or the internet for syndication. [ …

Progressive Download

Progressive Download: A common method for delivering compressed audio and video over a network. Progressive Download is useful because users can start watching/listening without waiting for the whole file to arrive. And, as a bonus, it does not require an expensive streaming server. Progressive download delivers media in a way that emulates streaming media, so …

Progressive Video

Progressive Video: Prepares video for delivery on more contemporary screen technologies. It uses a scanning method to reduce flicker (as opposed to Interlaced Video). [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Proprietary Format

Proprietary Format: Proprietary format is a digital technology, like a codec, or other software, that is owned and by a particular corporation. Even if it is great technology, if you use it, you are at the whim of the company that owns it. Working in proprietary formats at either the recording or the archiving phases …


Quicktime: Proprietary system for video created by Apple. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Image Source: Tweet

RCA Connector

RCA Connector: Used in many audio and video applications to transmit analog signals. Name comes from the RCA corporation who introduced the original design. (see Phono Connection) [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Record Indicator

Record Indicator: Used on almost all recorders to alert the user that recording is indeed taking place. In newer recorders there tend to be two or more indicators used at a time. Sometimes a red light will come on as well as an on screen symbol or word to represent recording. [ Audio Glossary ] …


Render: To create a “final” video version in video editing software that includes edits, transitions,and titles in accordance with chosen settings. From an oral history archival perspective, it is common to have to stitch together, in sequence, interviews that span multiple data files. Editors lay out the individual data files in a timeline that is …


Resolution: In general, this refers to a unit of measure regarding the amount and precision of digital information in a particular digital file. In an audio context, this refers to bit-depth. Common bit depths for recording and preserving oral history include 16- and 24-bit resolution. In a video context, image resolution refers to pixel and …


RGB (Red Green Blue): Computer/TV/electronic display screens create color by generating red, green, and blue dots of light at various intensities. Our eyes then mix these images together to create various colors. [ Video Glossary ] Image source: Tweet

Rule of Thirds

Rule of Thirds: General guideline for composing visual images in video that envisions the composition as a 3 x 3 grid and positions the focal point of the image in relation to these grid intersections. First image is not in compliance with the Rule of Thirds, 2nd is! [Video]   First two images: Third …

Secure Digital (SD) Card

Secure Digital (SD) Card: SD cards are one of the most common flash-based memory cards on the market. They range from 4MB to 4GB on the SD standard and from 4GB to 32GB on the SDHC standard. Always make sure that your recorder or card reader is compatible with the standard you have chosen. [ …

Standard Definition Video

Standard Definition Video: Once the ubiquitous standard for video. It applies to video captured or delivered in 720 (wide) x 480 (long) resolution (i.e. number of pixels on each dimension of the display). It is an NTSC standard delivered with a 4:3 aspect ratio.  Standard Definition is no longer the preferred standard for capture and …

Still Frame

Still Frame: To export a single video frame as a still image. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


Streaming: Common method for delivering compressed audio and video over a network in a continuous stream and experienced in real time. This method is the alternative to local use of the media following download of the video file. Streaming requires a specific streaming server for delivery and a compatible player on the user side to …


S-Video: Super-Video or Separate-Video is an analog delivery of video that divides chrominance (color) and luminance (brightness) into two signals. Produces a higher-quality image than composite video, but not as high as component video. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


Synchronize: The matching up of audio and video components during creation, post-production,and play-back . [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ]   Tweet


Terabyte: Unit of measure for data file size. 1 terabyte = 1000 gigabytes. 1 gigabyte (gb) = 1000 megabytes. To give you an idea of how much storage these numbers indicate, 10 megabytes can hold a very high-quality picture. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

Three Point Lighting

Three Point Lighting: Basic technique for lighting a video interview which emphasizes the use of three lights placed in strategic positions. Components of three-point lighting include the Key Light, the Fill Light, and the Back Light. [ Video Glossary ] Image Source: Tweet

Time code

Time code: Exact and specific time, starting from 00:00:00, correlating to a particular frame or moment of media. This is usually measured in (HH: MM: SS). A time code can be used effectively to connect textual transcripts to corresponding moments in the audio or video recording. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


Title: Describes text overlays in video production. Often used in the lower third to identify speakers in productions. [ Video Glossary ] Image Source: Tweet


Track: A track is a single stream of information; they work just the way a single set of rails guides a single train. In an audio context, track refers to an individual channel (in stereo there are two tracks/channels, in mono there is one track/channel). In a video context, track refers to individual streams of …


Transcode: Conversion of an audio or video data file from one form of encoding to another. Usually, an audio or video data file is transcoded in order to create a new instantiation in a format differing from the original for access or preservation purposes. Since “transcoding” involves re-encoding, it commonly introduces loss or degradation in …


Transcribe: Creation of a verbatim textual representation of a recorded interview. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet


Transition: Technique utilized in video editing to move the visual image from one scene to the next. Examples include “dissolve” or “fade out.” [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Uncompressed Video

Uncompressed Video: Digital video data was 1) created without compression and 2) not compressed after it was created. 8-bit uncompressed video means that the RGB (or the red, green and blue) values for each pixel are each represented by 8 bits. Eight bits can represent numbers from 0-255. So the red, green and blue values …

VBR (Variable Bit Rate)

VBR (Variable Bit Rate): To look good, close-ups may require more detailed information than distant panoramic scenes. VBR lets you adjust the capture rate so you get higher quality recording, and large files, only when you need it. VBR provides an alternative to Constant Bit Rate, and allows for efficient monitoring of audio or video …

VHS (Video Home System)

VHS (Video Home System): Was a ubiquitous analog video format that has become obsolete due to digital technology. Cassette based, VHS was a standard definition format that now poses a preservation risk and should be digitized. [ Video Glossary ] [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet


Video: The electronic capture, recording, storage, transmission, and reconstruction of a sequence of still images that create the illusion of motion. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

Video Capture

Video Capture: Recording of video on a camera or, in an archival context, the transfer of a tape-based recording into a digital data environment. [ Video Glossary ] [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

Video Editing Software

Video Editing Software: Computer software designed for capturing and manipulating digital video. Popular editors include: • Adobe Premier (Mac/Windows) • Sony Vegas (Windows) • Apple Final Cut Pro (Mac) • Apple iMovie (Mac) • Avid Studio (Mac/PC) • Avid Media Composer (Mac/PC) In an oral history context, video editing might involve adding titles, adding transitions, …

White Balance

White Balance: Important adjustment for video cameras to adapt the interpretation of color to the lighting system being used in a particular video shoot. Many cameras now have sophisticated automatic white balancing, which can be effective much of the time. It is recommended that you practice with your cameras and learn how your particular camera …


Widesreen: Video captured utilizing a 16:9 ratio of width to height per frame of video. Associated with High Definition video (1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080 pixels). [ Video Glossary ] Tweet

“Wrapper” Format

“Wrapper” Format: Audio or video format that serves as a “container” containing multiple streams of data. Examples include WAVE, AVI, MOV, or MXF files. [ Audio Glossary ] [ Video Glossary ] [ Archive Glossary ] Tweet

YUV Sampling

YUV Sampling: (Chroma Subsampling) A type of image reduction whereby the colors (chroma information) are compressed to a greater extent than brightness (luma information). This is done because the human eye is less adept at distinguishing color differences than luminance, allowing for a lower-resolution image without visual difference. [ Video Glossary ] Tweet


XLR: XLR inputs are the highest-quality analog inputs. The connection is a “balanced” signal. With a balanced connection, it is possible to link analog audio devices, including mics, to a recorder through impedance-balanced cables. Usually associated with professional-level audio and video equipment, these allow for longer cable lengths and reduce the addition of external noise …