Sound Dept. Glossary

Sound Dept. Glossary

"2 T's" – From the top of an actor's head to just under the bust line

"360" – Camera spins 360 degrees around the set, seeing "the world"

"Breaking dialog" – When an exterior noise source (sirens, chatter, dropping pipeline) is louder than an actor's dialog level, decible-wise

"Breaking frame" – The Boom Op, the Stick, or the Mic: crashing through framelines into "the picture"

"Check the gate" – 1st AD says this when the company has finished shooting a particular setup. It asks camera to say aloud whether all is well with the last take so that the company knows to move on to the next setup. Camera will say, "Good gate," or ask for another take.

"Copy" or "Copy that." – The required response upon receipt and understanding of information / instruction.

"Give me a line, please." – Said by Boom Operator to Camera Operator requesting the Camera Operator talk the boom out of frame.

"Hold the roll" – The 1st. called roll but something went south so, stop & stand-by

"Last Looks" – Called by the 1st AD, last moments before rolling. Hair, Make-Up, Wardrobe, Props, & Sound (if the actor's wired) final checks for principle & backround actors seen in shot.

"Make it Safe" – Prepare gear to walk away from it for a period of time. Think weather, elements of location (on city street or in a contained space)

"Reset - back to 1" "still rolling" – All moving parts return to first positions for another take w/o cutting.

"Tag 'em" – Place wireless microphones upon the speaking actors.

"What are you wearing?" What MM lens is on the camera – Asking the 1st AC or operator what mm lens is on the camera

50-50 – A type of two-shot that shows 50% of each of the actors' faces: they're facing each other.

Ankle strap – Various elastic materials deigned for wrapping around an actor's ankle to secure and hide body mic transmitters

Background – Non-speaking actors/ "extras" playing location appropriate people in the scene.

Base Camp – Honeywagon, production, wardrobe, hair & makeup, artist campers parking

Blue paper tape – Preferred by set-dressers/art dept. for securing anything (cables, plant mics, antennae) anywhere on set because it won't damage the paint

Body Mic / Wireless – A wireless mic placed on an actor to capture dialog and/or effects. For narrative work, these mics and the packs are always hidden. Documentaries may or may not hide these mics. Ask what they want. News presenters's body mics are not hidden. 

Box Truck – A "box" with cab that comes in various sizes and includes a lift gate

Clip or Belt Clip – A modular piece of the transmitter adjustable for mic placement

Comms – Shorthand for 'communications'

Company Move – Everyone and everything moves to a different location.

Comtek – Make of wireless transmitters / receivers typically provided by sound and given to production personnel who need to hear production dialog to do their jobs. Generic term for such a device.

Cover Set – An interior set, available for shooting "cover" in the event of inclimate exterior conditions (weather, spontaneous parades, etc)

Cowboy – Frame is from the top of a cowboy hat to just below the waist (where a pistol holder ends)

Dog or Dead Cat – Heavier wind protection for Zepplins, also "the fuzzy," looks sheepdoggy

Double Boom – Use two boom mics for a scene, Utilty acting as 2nd boom

Ear Wig – Wireless "hearing aid" hidden in actors' ear to hear music to sing / play by or dance to so rhythm and key are correct take to take. See also 'Playback'

ECU – extreme close-up

Establishing shot – So way MOS

Eyeline – An actor's line of sight

Film Break – At the discreation of production, the times when both camera and sound turn their media in for delivery to post production. Typically at lunch and at wrap.

First Team – Principle actors

Foot foam – Various materials used for quieting shoes/footsteps. Typically some thickness of foam with adhesive backing. Always work with a costumer and 2nd AD (their sandboxs)

FX – Shorthand for "effects" like the sound of a paper bag crumpling, rainfall or traffic passing

Grace – Grace is the technical contractual term that allows production to finish a shot without incurring a Meal Penalty before breaking for lunch. If lens changes during Grace, it's a new shot and Meal Penalty accrues.

Guide track – A heads up that sound is recording for post-reference, not production tracks because the sound you hear will be awful. Clever way to CYA.

Haircut – Top of frame is just above an actor's eyebrows

Head Slate (Sound) – Head slate consists of a verbal list of information 1) Sound Roll 2) Date 3) Reference Tone. Some of us just include Reference Tone in our slates having offered monetary reward to anyone in post who actually listens to the head slate and...crickets. Sigh.

Honeywagon – Trailer with bathrooms and (usually) production "offices"

IFB – "Interruptible Foldback" (archaic). One-way wireless communications. Typically consists of the mono mix broadcast to sound team, video village, Assistant Directors and PA's.

ISO Tracks – "Isolated" Track = one track per mic used in the mix.

Joe's – Super sticky 2-sided tape/gunk. Wide variety of use.

Lift Gate – Motorized, hydrolic or electric heavy-duty platform at the back of a box truck or trailer used to raise and lower cargo to / from the truck. The platform also tilts.

Location Scout – Department heads + Director + DP visit all locations in order to assess what equipment / logistics will be needed there. Toward creating a budget.

Lock-Up – The procedure whereby Assistant Directors and Production Assistants control pedestrian / crew movement / speaking while rehearsing or rolling

M.O.S. – Sound doesn't roll, picture only. (various histories include the initials mean "minus optical stripe", "motor only sync" but NOT "MIT out sound")

Marks – Signified stopping points for actors, camera positions, eyelines-usually colored paper tape, different colors for each type (person, dolly, etc.)

Matching headroom – When more than one camera is working for the same shot, regardless of the lens, the distance from the top of the actor's head to the top of the frameline is the same.

Media – The device used to store and transport digital files

Mix  – A single track that combines the multiple mics that may be deployed to capture a scene.

Mixer (equipment) – Device to take in, control, route and mix sound signals. AKA console. AKA board.

One liner or Oneline – Prepared by 1st AD, this schedule breaks down each working day, the scenes to be shot, a brief description of each scene, characters in each scene by cast #, how many pages in each scene, the locations, notes "Company Moves" "Rolling Moves", and total pages to be shot that day. The first draft of this is "White" a second draft is "Blue", third draft "Pink". The color code of the script is also named.

Over-cover – Brand name of furry wind protection for body mics

Pink Script/Pink Pages – Refers to "revisions" to the subject document. White (unrevised), Blue, Pink, Yellow, Green, Goldenrod, Buff, Salmon, Cherry, Second Blue Revision, Second Pink Revision and so on…

Plant Mic – A mic placed on set to capture dialog and/or effects.

Playback  – Pre-recorded music with time code played back to speakers or ear wigs so actors can move (dance) or sing consistently from take to take. Or mood music played for inspiration. No time code.

Pop Screen / Wind Screen / Foamy –For use in interior locations, foam wind protection capped onto a mic. Super tiny for body mics.

Pre-call – Denoted on the back of a call sheet, indicates that your dept. should report before the front page call-time, e.g. what time your dept. is on the clock (load-ins, playback/live music, etc) early. Check the back of the call sheet every day for pre-calls. Trust us.

Prop – An object with which an actor or performer interacts (e.g., a glass, a book or a weapon). Larger items adding to the scene, (e.g. chairs) are considered part of the set. When actor is scripted to remove an object from backpack or handbag, it's likely a prop.

PSM – Production Sound Mixer. Department head responsible for the sound department.

Reference Tone/Tone – A reference tone is a pure tone corresponding to a known frequency, and produced at a stable sound pressure level (volume). Typically for sound in this application: 1Khz at -20dB = 0Vu

Rehearsal – Almost an anomoly now...Private/Director's rehearsal where its actors, scripty, DP, props only. Marking rehearsal where the crew comes in, camera dept. puts marks down, & all depts figure out what needs to happen to make the scene

RF – Radio frequency. A flavor of "wave" used to transmit information. Look up "white space" in radio frequency, oy.

Rolling Move – Walking to the next set with carts (hence, 'rolling') as opposed to loading to trucks.

RX – Receiver

Safety – That portion of a camera's frame that is seen on the monitors but will not be included in the final picture. The best boom operators dance in that small space without breaking frame with mic or pole. Almost obsolete because the visual people only want to see what will likely make it to the final screen and no more.

Second Sticks – 2nd AC or operator will call for Second Sticks if there is an issue with first sticks (clapp stick doesn't engage or slate is out of frame)

Second Team – Stand-Ins for principle cast (First Team)

Series – More than 1 take without cutting

Sides – The days' scenes, printed, reduced to 1/4 size & collated

Signal to Noise – The percentage of desirable sound (the dialog) relative to undesirable sound (system noise or background ambient noise of traffic / air conditioners / construction)

Sock – The lightest-wieght exterior wind protection cover for a Zepplin, sockish

Tail sticks – Verbally and physically slating the take at the end before camera and sound cut.

Teamster – Teamsters are the Masters of Transportation. Fail to respect at your peril.

Ten-one / 10-1 – Faux cop-speak for, "Gotta use the restroom."

Thigh strap – Never work. But you can try.

Top-stick – Wardrobe friendly double sided tape used all ways in body mic rigs

Track – A single destination for a single sound signal to be recorded. / Also shorthand for dolly track

Tram – Brand of lavalier mic standard in the 90's and making a comeback. Sono-Trim is a newer version of that lavalier style and electronics.

Transpore – Brand of hpoallergenic surgical tape applicable to use from skin to int. car mounts for mic placement. Pre-scored for easy tearing to size. When too old = residue remains.

TX – Transmitter

V.O. – Voice Over

Vampire – Body mic mount with two sharp pins used for clothing attachments

Video Village – Monitors and chairs for Director, Script Supervisor, Writers and Producers. The chairs are the responsibility of Props Department. Monitors = Camera Department

Waist Strap – Various materials designed to wrap around an actor's waist holding/hiding a body mic transmitter

Zepplin – Exterior wind mount protection for the boom mic