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ADR – Automatic Dialogue Replacement. This is the process of replacing poorly recorded dialogue lines or simply ones that need a tweak or even change of words - after the visual was done. The audio is usually recorded in a dedicated sound studio and can also be done on location in a quiet room or maybe in a film studio when all the crew and equipment are quiet.

Because there is no picture recorded at the same time, you can take advantage of "close mic" techniques where the sound quality can improve as the mic is closer to the actor.

Although it's called automatic dialogue replacement it's not as automated as it sounds. It's also called "looping" a line.

Alpha Channel – see key.

Apple Box – a special type of box for the movie industry that comes in 4 sizes from "pancake", "1/4" apple, "1/2" apple to "full" apple box. The respective heights are 1", 2", 4" and 8". They are sturdy and used for everything from raising shorter actors and furniture to placing props and levelling camera track. A baby spigot can be screwed in the pancake size to make a really low lighting stand.

Arri – short for Arnold and Ritcher. A German company and a market leader in film/TV lighting and film cameras.

Arrilite – a type of Arri open-face lamphead.

Autocue – a marker leader in teleprompters. Often a teleprompter gets called an "Autocue" similar to the "Hoover/vacuum cleaner" effect.

Autopole (Polejack) – Manfrotto's product name for a variable length pole which uses pressure to secure it between two parallel walls without needing support stands. Can also be used vertically.

Avenger – see Manfrotto.



Baby Pin – see spigot.

Barn Doors – a very common light control attachment on professional lamp heads. Used to flag or block the light from illuminating certain areas. Does the same as a flag except it's right next to the lamphead so it's not as accurate. i.e. You get softer transitions from light to dark.
It's name originates from when the first film studios were barns and the light was controlled by opening/closing the barn doors to the appropriate amount.

Bogen – see Manfrotto.

Bokeh – the term used for describing the way a lens renders out of focus parts of the image. The way points of light blur when out of focus. The aperture construction of the lens greatly affects how the bokeh appears.

Boom – a lighting or sound boom is a device where a lamp or microphone can be suspended from an extended counterbalanced shaft. Often used to rig a fixture over the subject being filmed.

Bowens – an English company and a market leader in photographic studio flashes.

Black wrap – is a type of strong black tinfoil used for cutting-off and directing light. Also useful for blocking light leakage from the gaps near lamp barndoors etc. - be careful not to block the lamp's ventilation.
Blackwrap or tinfoil is also very useful placed above a lamp which is close to a ceiling as it blocks the heat from burning the ceiling.

Blonde – a common name for a 2,000W open-face lamphead. The original lamps were yellow in colour. The Arrilite 2,000W is a "blonde" even though it's blue!

Bluescreen – (or blue screen) similar process to greenscreen but using blue. See greenscreen.
The industry used spelling "bluescreen" is usually one word to denote a process rather than just a "blue" screen. Bluescreen was used most often in the 1970's and 1980's before digital effects came into regular use. Although blue is still used, greenscreen is the preferred option.

Blu-Ray or BD – the next generation optical disc for playback of media. First there was CD, then DVD, and now Blu-Ray. The higher storage capacity means more can fit onto a Blu-Ray disc versus DVD and CD so HD video is perfectly suited for Blu-Ray. Blu-Ray is synonymous with HD video but usually carries a lot of SD video too. e.g. The main feature may be in HD on a Blu-Ray but the extras are usually SD video.

BNC – a type of connector used for video cables and sometimes audio.

Butterfly – a large frame with stretched fabric used to block, diffuse or otherwise control light. Used to create a large soft light source, to diffuse overhead sunlight and also to block light entering windows from outside. Can be mounted overhead or to the side of a subject using roller stands or c-stands.



Cannon – see XLR.

CGI – Computer Graphics Imagery (a catch-all term for compositing, 3D animation etc. which is combined with live action material).

Channel – device controlling a dimmer or group of dimmers.

Chromakey (or chroma key) – see greenscreen.

Circuit – everything downstream of a trip switch or dimmer, from the trip switch/dimmer to the lamps.

Clapperboard – (or clapper board) used for administration to keep track of shots by writing new details on the board for every take and recording the board at the start of each. Especially useful when editing later. The clap sound plus visual is used as a synchronising point for audio and video. Clapperboards used to use chalk and now use dry wipe markers. Digislates are also commonly used.

CODECcoder-decoder. A computer program which encodes and decodes a digital data stream to a given specification. MP3 and MPEG2 and H.264 are all CODECs which encode/decode audio/video in a certain way to give a specified result.
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Composite – a type of video signal and also a term for the combined elements of a greenscreen "key" foreground and "other source" background.

Cove – see cyclorama.

C-stand – "Century" stand. A versatile type of stand which can be placed in groups close together without the legs causing problems. Used for many grip applications.

CTB – Colour Temperature Blue. A type of colour correction gel used to change the the colour of a lamp type. CTB is used to change the yellow/orange of tungsten to the bluish light of daylight and HMI.

CTO – Colour Temperature Orange. A type of colour correction gel used to change the the colour of a lamp type. CTO is used to change the blue of HMI and daylight to the yellow/orange light of tungsten.

CTS – Colour Temperature Straw. A type of colour correction gel used to change the the colour of a lamp type. CTS is used to change the blue of HMI and daylight to a more straw colour than CTO.

Cyc – see cyclorama.

Cyclorama – a studio floor to wall, or wall to wall gentle curve designed so that the viewer cannot see a corner. Also sometimes made from curtains stretched on rails. Gives that lovely "limbo" look you see so often in fashion photoshoots.



Daylight – is exactly what it says it is! It's mentioned here in the context of it's colour. When lighting crew mention daylight lamps they mean that the light has the bluish tint of midday light as opposed to the yellowish tint of indoor tungsten lamps. It's measured in degrees Kelvin and is taken to mean 5600°K, sometimes 6000°K. HMI, fluorescent, and LED bulbs are available in "daylight".

Dichroic Filter – a type of light filter (usually glass based) which changes the colour of light by reflecting away the unwanted colour rather than absorbing it as gels would. Because it reflects away the unwanted light spectrum energy it doesn't get too hot and therefore can be used closer to light sources.

Diffuse Light – see soft light.

Digislate – a jargon phrase for a timecode displaying clapperboard.

Dimmer – used for altering the power level into a lamphead and so raising or lowering the level of light output. You can put multiple lamps on one dimmer circuit up to the dimmer's max wattage but this means they cannot be separately controlled.
To separately control different lamps they need to be on individual dimmer circuits. DMX is the common control standard.

Director of Photography – person responsible for visual look of production in association with the production designer. Decides camera locations, lenses used, camera movements and lighting choices in consultation with the Director. Is considered the head of the technical crew.

DMX – a digital control standard for lighting controllers/dimmers. If a lamp has DMX control it is compatible with all the standard lighting control consoles or desks.

Dolly – not something to play house with. It's the wheeled platform on which the camera rides when gliding along a track or it is the wheeled base attached to tripod legs for easy rolling of a tripod or jib around a studio floor.

DoP – see Director of Photography.

Dot – usually spoken of in combination with fingers, flags and nets. It is a round dot-like piece of fabric on a narrow rod held in a grip head which is used to alter the quality of light falling on a subject. Either blocking the light like a flag, softening it like a silk, or reducing it's intensity like a net.

Dry Hire – hire of facilities without crew or operators.

DV – a digital video recording standard for videotape and computer media. It is the standard used for MiniDV, Sony's DV-Cam and Panasonic's DVC-Pro. They all have the same picture and sound quality capability but differ in robustness of format and resistance to tape drop out.



Eggcrate – a type of grid placed in-front of a light source which directs the beam of light. Similar to barn doors in principle but gives more control. Commonly used with broad area lamps used for soft lighting.



Fall-off – a term to describe the gradation from light to no light. Lamps usually emit a beam which will light an object with different levels of brightness - with the centre point brightest and the edges gradually, or rapidly, getting darker until there is no light hitting the object.
A soft or slow fall-off describes a gradual change in light level on the object from centre to edge. A rapid or sharp fall-off describes a fast change from full light level to no light.

Filmgear – a lighting manufacturer based in China who make film/TV lamps similar to Arri and KinoFlo.

Filter – Camera filters are placed in front of a lens, usually in a matte box. They alter the picture the camera sees for dramatic effect or technical reasons. Filters placed in front of lamps are usually called gels.

Fixture – a term often used for lamps.

Flag – a piece of black metal or black felt on a frame. Controls light by blocking it's path to create hard or soft shadow and light areas depending on how close or far it is from the light source. Also used as a verb e.g. "to flag off that light beam".

Fluorescent – A type of lamp and bulb which is great for giving broad soft light in tight spaces but doesn't have as much "throw" (illumination power) as strong tungsten lamps bounced or diffused. Generally a close distance tool.

FLV – The Adobe Flash file format for video. Most video you see on the web such as YouTube and the video on this website is in FLV (FLash Video) format.

Fresnel – a type of lens used in film/TV lamps for projecting the light beam evenly, also used in lighthouse lamps.



Gaffer – the head of the electricians (set lighting technicians) who is responsible for rigging and adjusting lamps and power cables. Reports to the DoP (Director of Photography).

Gels – polyester heat resistant material for changing the colour or intensity of light from a lamp. Also called lighting filters - as opposed to camera filters which are attached to the front of lenses.

Genlock – a way of synchronising video sources to have the same picture timing. Also called Ref Video or reference video.

Gobo – device used to create patterns of light (or logos or full colour images) by projecting the output of a lamp (with a lens) onto a set or side of building etc.
The gobo is made of steel or glass and is inserted between the bulb and the lamp's lens so that a sharp image can be projected from the lamp. Some lamps allow gobos to be rotated and changed using DMX controllers.
Custom gobos can be made with company logos, PR messages etc.

Green Room – a TV industry term for the hospitality area where guests are kept before and after being in studio.

Greenscreen – (or green screen) a process where subjects are shot in front of a coloured backdrop. The backdrop is used as a "key" then replaced with another image either in real-time as with TV weather presenters or most often afterwards in post-production. The term is interchangeable with bluescreen depending on the backdrop colour.
The industry used spelling "greenscreen" is usually one word to denote a process rather than just a "green" screen.
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Grip – Person responsible for mounting cameras in awkward places, carrying the camera, laying camera track ...plus adjusting light coming from natural sources like the sun and artificial sources such as the lamps that lighting technicians (electricians, gaffers) set-up.
Grips set-up flags, butterflies, frames and other light control devices which are not attached directly to a lamp.
When it comes to "who does what with lighting?" - as a simplification the basic job of electricians is to add light while for grips it's to take light away.

Grip Head – a type of clamp normally seen on a c-stand. It is designed to firmly hold a number of different round tube sizes. Flags, scrims, gobos and other light control devices are commonly clamped in grip heads.



H.264 – A MPEG4 based video compression format. It's the latest and greatest and the recent Flash players now support it. The video on this website is in H.264 format.

Hard Light – light which travels mostly straight in direction and casts distinct shadows. Used for high contrast lighting.

HD – Hi-Definition in the context of HD TV or HD video. Images have much more detail in them compared to lower resolution SD or small web video.
HD is regarded as a resolution higher than a video frame size of 720 pixels wide by 576 pixels high (which is the standard European PAL resolution or SD).
There are various HD formats including height by widths of 720x1280 and 1080x1920. When SD frame sizes were spoken of - the width was usually mentioned first, now with HD the frame height figure is usually mentioned first.

HGV – Heavy goods vehicle.

HMI (MSD) – a high power type of lamp often used to simulate daylight. Its colour for white is measured in degrees Kelvin and is taken to be 5600°K. This would look like a bluish tint when camera are set for indoor white balance.

It outputs light which is 4 times as bright as the equivalent tungsten lamp in wattage.
e.g. A 1.2KW HMI lamp will be as bright as a 4.8KW tungsten.

Hyperfocal Distance – the distance from a lens beyond which every object in the lens's view appears in focus..



IFTA – Irish Film and Television Awards.

IP44 – a rating for electrical connectors which states the level of foreign object ingress protection of the connector. IP44 is a common rating for 16amp BS4343 connectors used for film + video lighting. IP stands for International Protection.
See also...



Jib – a form of camera crane. Usually used where the operator stay on the ground rather than rides on top. Usually one operator rather then the multiple ones needed for a crane.

Junior – a type of lamp and also a spigot size.



Kelvin – is a metric standard for measuring temperature. It's usage in motion pictures is for lighting where it's used to describe the colour temperature of "white light". It's defined as the temperature a black object needs to be heated in order for it to glow with light or a certain colour. Black objects glow red first, then yellow, then greenish (sort of), then blue as they get hotter.

Key (key channel / key image) – the information (usually in the form of a monochrome image) which tells the software/hardware where to make transparent and where to make opaque. Essentially it specifies how pixels colours should be merged with one another when two pixels are overlaid.
Can be generated from a greenscreen with a "keyer" (software or hardware).
Also called an Alpha Channel or Matte or Mask.

Kino Flo – a market leader for TV/film fluorescent lighting. Sometimes the "Hoover/vacuum cleaner" effect applies where all fluorescents get called KinoFlos.



Lamp – the light fixture. It's much easier to prevent confusion by calling a lamp a lamp rather than a "light". Light is what comes out of a lamp!

Lamphead – see lamp.

LED – L ight E mitting D iode. Little circuit board resistor which glows and uses very little power. They have been common for many years as indicator lights on equipment. More recently very bright LEDs have been developed so they are now finding a use as lamps. They come in both tungsten and daylight versions. Low wattage so often very light in weight.

LitePad – a type of LED motion picture lamp. Can fit into very tight corners.

"Locked Off" – a film jargon phrase for a shot where the camera doesn't move during the shot.

Looping – see ADR.



M8 / M10 / M12 – a metric standard of screw thread sizes commonly used in the film industry. The number is a measurment of the diameter of the screw in mm.
Because of Ireland's connection with UK and particularly USA standards there is still a lot of imperial thread standards used such as 3/8" and 1 1/8" threads.

Manfrotto – an Italian company and a market leader in grip equipment. It's photography line uses the brand Manfrotto or Bogen and it's film/TV uses the brand Avenger.

Mask – see key.

Matte – see key.

Matte Box – those big black things you see on the front of expensive cameras. They carry glass filters and prevent light reflecting into the lens to increase contrast. The wisdom goes that if you want to make a camera look top-end professional – put a matte box on it!

Matthews – an American company and a market leader in film/TV grip equipment.

Metadata – metadata is simply data which describes other data. The Genre, Year , Track, Name, Album Name tags which are used with MP3 audio files are all metadata - they describe what the audio file contains. It is becoming increasingly important in the computer file world we now use for video and audio data.

Microdolly – as it's name suggests it's an extremely lightweight and portable camera track and dolly system. It'll get you shots in places and at a speed where you couldn't put up a heavy duty camera track and dolly.

Mizar – a type of film/TV lamp. Also the name that Arri 300W fresnels sometimes get called.

Motion Control – a computer controlled camera support system which can repeat motion moves exactly to enable complex visual effects.

Motion Tracking – a process where small objects or marks (such as ping pong balls or reflective tape crosses) are placed in the staging area so they will be "in-shot" when filming. During the post-production stage these marks are tracked by software (and then removed) to indicate what type of camera movements were recorded.
With this information, CGI objects or backgrounds can be inserted into the rushes.

MXFMaterial eXchange Format. An industry standard video/audio file format which makes it easier to use video and audio data on different camcorders and edit systems.

MSD – see HMI.



Nikon – an industry leader in photographic cameras and lenses.



OB – Outside Broadcast. A live TV studio in a truck. All the equipment needed to have a live TV studio - except moveable to different locations in big HGV lorries. Used at sports events and more.

Open-face – a type of lamphead which has no lens. Great for soft boxes and bouncing light off reflectors.

Overhead – see butterfly.



Pancake – see apple box.

Pantograph – used for suspending lamps and monitors from the ceiling pipe grid. When properly balanced with springs - the load it carries can be easily moved up and down for the perfect position. Makes suspended lamp adjustment a very quick process.

PAL – Phase Alternate Line. The European analog colour TV transmission standard as opposed to NTSC or SECAM.

PAR – Parabolic Reflector. A very efficient lamp, reflector and lens assembly which projects light with a long "throw". Car headlamps are PARs.

Pedestal – a type of camera support which you only really see in high traffic dedicated TV studios. They are very expensive and are designed for very fast camera height and positioning changes during live TV studio programming. They can roll smoothly along a purpose built TV studio floor without needing camera track.

Pepper – a brand of film/TV lighting who are known for small lampheads. Hence the "Hoover/vacuum cleaner" effect whereby smaller lower wattage such as Arri's 150W fresnel are known as "peppers".

Photoshop'd – jargon phrase for manipulating image after the shoot. Comes from the software that is most used for doing this.

Pin – see spigot.

Pink Noise – a test signal used for calibrating audio equipment in different locations. It consists of a random noise signal with equally audible volume energy from all the frequencies that the human ear can hear. Now that's a mouthfull!
You will often find it used for aligning the levels of multichannel speakers for surround sound. THX optimizers on DVD and BluRay discs use pink noise.

Polejack – see Autopole.

Post / Posting – jargon shorthand for post-production.

Post-Production – the part of the motion picture (film/TV/video) making process which occurs after the primary shooting stage. This is when editing happens, music is composed and sound mixed, visual effects is considered post-production too.

Poly Boards – 2.5cm (1") or 5cm (2") thick polystyrene boards used for controlling light. A common size is 2.43m (8') by 1.21m (4') white on one side plus painted black on the reverse.

Practical – a lamp which is in-shot on a set and is a regular domestic or business lamp as opposed to a film/TV lamp.

Production Management – a production manager organises the shoot based on the brief from the producer and director.

Product Wrangling – a product wrangler or standby probs is responsible for making props or products look great ...from adding a cool ice-effect to a pint of beer through to styling a pizza for a cover shoot.

Pro-jib – a small jib which can be operated by one person. Operated from the camera-end rather than the far end of the counterbalanced system.

Prop – an item used in-shot. Do not refer to actors or presenters as props!



Redhead – a common name for a 800W open-face lamphead. The original lamps were red in colour. The Arrilite 800W is a "redhead" even though it's blue!

Rig / Rigging – the process and/or equipment for suspending or erecting lamps and other shooting gear in a desired place.

Rosco – a company which makes gels, light control products and also LED lamps such as LitePads.

Rostrum Camera – a type of setup with a moving platform underneath a vertical camera. It can be used for animation and many visual effects but it's main use is to add movement and interest to inanimate objects such as documents in a crime documentary. Pans and zooms across maps, photographs and paintings are other common uses.

Runner – a general assistant not specifically trained in other tasks. "Runs" and get things which are needed now but may have been forgotten. Generally the first job in the TV industry. Although it seems a simple job it needs someone trained in the right attitude and awareness. A well trained runner can be worth their weight in gold and a bad one...

Rushes – jargon term for the recorded takes "filmed" or "shot". The rushes refers to material before it is edited just after it comes from the camera and is ready to view.
It's name originates from film-based shoots where the shot negative was "rushed" to the lab for development and "rushed" back to the crew for viewing.



Sand Bags – a portable flexible weight for propping up items and weighing down stand bases for safety. Usually made of two bags which can be draped over both sides of a tubular stand.

Scissor Clamp – for attaching lamps etc. to office-type suspended tile ceiling grids.

Scrim – either made of a metal mesh for use directly on a lamp next to the bulb, or a lightweight fabric mesh when used further away on a c-stand. It's used to control and reduce the intensity of light from a lamp.

Scanner – a type of "moving light" lamp which consists of a high powered lamp with lens, colour filter and gobo wheels; that projects it's light into a computer controlled mirror which can move extremely fast due to it's light weight. A scanner can move it's light beams much faster than a moving head lamp which has to move the weight of an entire lamp head on a motorised yoke.

SD – Standard Definition video, what you see on regular colour TV.

SDI – Serial Digital Interface. A type of digital video signal normally carried on cables with BNC connectors. Ouput from from many models of professional video camera, OB trucks and VTRs. Professional video monitors often have a BNC input.

Setup – a term used measuring how complicated a shoot is or how fast a slow a shoot is progressing. When someone asks "how many setups?" they mean how many different camera setups are to be shot (or were shot) during a day's work. A wide shot and closeup shot can be done from the same camera position so it's not a measurment of shots or number of takes.

A setup is counted when the camera is moved to a new position as that is usually when the most physical work is required and then its usually smaller adjustments until the next camera setup. Commercials and feature films would usually do a lower number of setups per day than TV drama or lower cost programming as the budget allows finer quality work without as much time pressure.

It's also a term for the lowest black level of a video signal.

Silk – a fabric used to diffuse light passing through it.

Snoot – an attachment for a lamp which narrows the light projected to a small area. Used instead of barn doors for controlling light.

Soft Box – a diffuser for lamps which attaches onto the lamphead instead of barndoors. They are delicate and not for rough use but make diffusing light sources easier than having to rig extra stands with diffuser frames in front of the lamps.

Soft Light – light which is diffuse in nature and almost shadowless. Used for low contrast lighting.

Sound Stage – a term used for movie shooting studios. A "stage" is the equivalent of a TV "studio" and the name "sound" stage was used to differentiate studios which could facilitate sound recording (because they were acoustically treated) from stages/studios which were designed during the silent movie era. A large TV studio commonly has a permanent lighting rig, multiple cameras, plus control and engineering rooms and is designed for quick rigging of different sets. A large sound stage is typically empty with lighting and all equipment bespoke to each project. Elaborate sets which aren't easily moved are regularly built in them. If it's built for drama shooting - it's called a sound stage and if it's built for TV programming it's called a studio. Both TV programming and drama/movie production can be made in either "studios" or "stages" but usually in the facility specialised for the task.

Spigot – the attachment point (or "pin") at top of lighting stand or attached to protrude from a clamp. Lamps, grip heads and other motion picture equipment are attached and locked together by spigots.
C–stands, lightweight lamps, light stands and clamps use the "baby" 5/8" size spigot. Heavier-duty lamps, stand and clamps use the "junior" 1 1/8" size spigot.

Spill (light) – excess light emitting from a lamp or which bounces off an object and falls on an unwanted area.

Spill (light) on greenscreen – light reflected from the greenscreen wihich hits the actor and causes them to be lit with green. Usually caused byy having the actor too close to the greenscrenn or a greenscreen lit too brightly.

Splits jargon term for two short electrical cables which split from one 16amp professional water resistant electrical connector to another two 16amp connectors (pug/socket). Used for splitting electricity to power separate lamps.

Standby Props – see product wrangler.

Strobe – a word often used for photography studio flash lampheads. Also a type of light that flashes rapidly.



Tails jargon term for a short electrical cable which converts 16amp professional water resistant electrical connectors to the 13amp domestic connector (pug/socket).

Take – a term for the recording between starting and stopping the camera; or the attempts at recording a usable section of material. A second attempt would be called "take 2" and so on.

TC – Time code (or time code).

Telepromter – (or tele-prompter) very useful gadget that attaches to the front of the camera lens to display the script for the on–screen talent to read. Regularly used in news studios where almost all cameras have teleprompters attached. Often called an "Autocue".

If you watch television news closely you can see the newsreaders' eyes moving back and forth as they read the script from the telepromter. If the camera was closer to the newsreader the eye movement would be more pronounced while with the newsreader further away (smaller in frame) you would see less eye movement.
The head and shoulders composition used for news programming makes teleprompter useage unnoticeable to most viewers. With wider shots (as in chat shows like RTE's The Late Late Show or daytime programming) it's very difficult to see teleprompter use by the host presenter. That may change with HD transmission though!

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Throw – a way of describing the distance a light travels from a lamp while still providing sufficient brightness.

Timecode – a system used for video and audio whereby every frame is given a unique number or "time" code.

Track – for smooth gliding movement of a camera across a predetermined area. A grip normally sets them up wherever the director wants them.

Tungsten – a type of light blub filament. It is mostly used for indoor lighting and has a characteristic yellowish tinge as opposed to daylight's bluish tinge. Its colour is measured in degrees Kelvin and is usually 3200°K for domestic lamps and 3400°K for professional lamps.



Wet Hire – hire of facilities with crew to operate the facilities for you.

White Light – there is no such thing as pure white light in nature. All white light has a bias towards another colour – our eyes just compensate for the bias so that our brain thinks something is lit with white light. Film, photo and video equipment is not clever enough to adjust in this way so making sure white light that come from lamps plus different types of daylight are matched is an important task. This means that lamps and gels will often quote their colour temperature in degrees Kelvin.



XDCAM – a production and post-production video file format from Sony. It is Sony's first professional format to use optical discs and memory cards (rather than videotape) for recording video.
It comes in various flavours - XDCAM, XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX, XDCAM 422 - each with improvements from the last version.

XLR – a type of cable connector mostly used for audio in it's 3 pin version and DC power in it's 4 pin version. DMX lighting control also uses XLR connector cables. Also called a Cannon connector.



4:2:2 – look for this specification when choosing shoot and post-production formats if you intend to use greenscreen and/or grade your images.
The complicated explanation is that it's the chroma sub-sampling ratio expressed as "4" being full resolution for luminance (black and white) and "2" being half resolution for the colour channels.

In standard definition the horizontal resolution (picture width) is 720 pixels so at a 4:2:2 sampling ratio the colour resolution would be 360 pixels across the image. That means the greenscreen key can only be as sharp as 360 pixels of resolution allows it to be.
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4:4:4 – uncompressed colour. The best quality you can get for shooting formats. Great for greenscreen but can have huge data rates so is rarely used.