This is still a work in progress, but below is the first section of our film dictionary. Our goal was to create the most in depth film and television dictionary the interweb has ever seen! This dictionary will always be added to and worked on. If you have a suggestion for for the dictionary, get in contact with us.
Film & Television Dictionary – Letter B
B-Cam: The name given to a second camera on a shoot, A-Cam is generally shooting the most important angle. B-Cam can also be shooting pick up shots or B-Roll at another location.
Backdrop: Imagery used in the background of talent and objects to set the scene in a studio setting. A backdrop can be as simple as a black or white cloth that you use when shooting a tutorial or a photo shoot or it can be elaborate scenery such as a park or skyline.
Background: 1) The area of a scene behind the main object or actors. 2) This is the non speaking talent that appears in the background of a scene to help create the atmosphere.
Back Light: A light used to help separate the talent from the background, usually adding a nice rim of light around the edge of the talents head and shoulders. These can be used to separate anything. “Hey, throw some back light on that plant”
Barn Doors: Barn doors are used on film lights to help shape the light, they can be opened or closed depending on how much light is required for the scene. Barn doors can either be attached to the lighting fixture or they can be removable on some sources.
Beat: A beat is a moment of pause taken in an actors dialogue that is open to interpretation, but can often be a moment of reflection, realization or change in emotion.
Behind-the-Scenes: Refers to the happenings on a set behind the camera, often a secondary camera crew will film behind the scenes extras that will appear on the DVD or Blu-ray. They may include how the film came together, how certain stunts and special effects were done and can include interviews with cast and crew.
Below-the-Line: Refers to the members of production that do not have creative input in the making of the film. These include the assistant directors, line producer, gaffer, key grip and many more.
Best Boy Electric: Second in command in the electric department, reports to the gaffer. Learn more about working as a best boy here.
Best Boy Grip: Second in command in the grip department, report to the key grip. Learn more about working as a best boy here.
Billing: Refers to the order of how credits are presented for creative works. Information given in billing usually consists of the companies, actors, directors, producers, and other crew members.
Bit Part (Player): A bit part is a supporting acting role with at least one line of dialogue.
Black List: Stems from a 1940s investigation into Hollywood and Communism, famously blacklisted were the Hollywood Ten. The list consisted mainly of screenwriters who were thought to have communist ties. Today to keep a blacklist is to have a list of people you no longer wish to work with, usually due to poor behavior and unfair treatment on set. The Blacklist is also a website, & podcast that rounds up the best unproduced Hollywood scripts every year. Check it out here.
Blimp: 1) A cover that fits over a film camera to avoid camera noise disrupting a take. The act of ‘Blimping’ is to take something and wrap it around the camera to reduce its noise. “Hey, can you blimp the camera with a sound blanket?” 2) A cover that fits over a shotgun microphone to reduce noises caused by wind.
Blocking: A blocking is done before a scene is shot. The director takes the actors through the scene for the heads of departments so they can see where the action plays out. Then the talent leaves the floor and it is given over to the lighting department and art department. You can learn more about Blocking here.
Blue Screen: A blue screen is used in the same vein as a green screen, most commonly used in weather maps and special effects. In post production the blue screen is removed and replaced with images or effects.
Boom Mic: A boom mic is a tool used by the sound department to capture sound on set. The boom mic is attached to a boom pole and held either above or below the talent, out of frame, to capture their dialogue. See also Shotgun Mic.
Boom Operator or Boom Op: The boom op is an assistant to the sound mixer and is the person who operates the boom mic. In smaller sets, the sound mixer will also often times operate the boom pole in addition to recording the audio
Bounce Board: A board with a reflective surface used to bounce light onto a subject or object. Commonly used with exterior shoots to bounce the light coming from the sun. You can purchase 5-in-1 bounce boards or make them from materials such as styrofoam. You can also use 6×6, 8×8, 12×12 & 20×20 bounces.
Box Office: This term is commonly used when talking about the amount of money a film has made during its release into theaters.
Breakdown Sheet: A breakdown sheet is used to organize the elements of a script that has been broken down. It is separated into categories such as talent, props, vehicles, animals, make up, wardrobe etc. Each breakdown sheet should represent a scene in the script. Some scenes will need more than one sheet.
Bridge Shot: A shot used to cover a jump in time or place.
Budget: A budget is a financial breakdown of all costs associated with a production. A budget can start with the amount of money in total that the production has and then be broken down and allocated to certain areas of production such as above the line, below the line, pre-production and post production. It can also be built from scratch and then funding can be sourced to help create the project.