The 360° Video Handbook


180° rule

A cinematography technique to ensure eyelines remain consistent across edits. it works by drawing an imaginary line between principal subjects on set, and keeping all coverage of those subjects on one or the other side of that line.



A camera angle that encompasses two people in a scene.


2nd AC (2nd assistant camera)

Crewperson responsible for operating the slate, keeping a camera log, and managing the raw film stock and footage shot.



One of the ways video is compressed is by removing color data that is less noticeable by the human eye. These numbers identify the “chroma subsampling” in different compression schemes (how that color data is removed). Lower numbers indicate more data is thrown out to make smaller files.


Difficult to understand or obscure.

AD (assistant director)

The crewmember responsible for running the set during production, ensuring the production runs on schedule and all requisite shots are captured.


ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement)

The process of re-recording dialogue by the original actor in post-production in a way that matches the recorded video. It is employed to correct sound issues or reflect dialogue changes (also called “looping”).



Background sound that captures an environment such as the general murmur of a crowd, birds and insects in a rainforest, or the pitter-patter of rain.



Pertaining to audio reproduction that captures the spatial acoustic qualities of recorded sound.


Ambisonic microphone

A microphone that employs multiple sensors to capture a 360 sphere of sound (see also, tetrahdral microphone).



A method of storing ambisonic audio data in the SN3D format.


AR (augmented reality)

The superimposition of video images onto a user’s view of a real-world setting.



An extremely rough edit of shots that places them in the order they appear in the script.


Aspect ratio

The display ratio of resolution pixels along the x axis to the y axis (i.e. HD video of 1920 x 1080 pixels has a 16:9 aspect ratio).


Background plate

A duplicate set up of a shot where an unwanted object (tripod, interviewer, crewmember, etc.) has been removed.



Units of action within a scene.



The budgetary field that accounts for ‘non-creative’ crew in film production (e.g. everyone except the producer, director, writer, cinematographer, composer, editor, etc.).



Position and choreograph actor movements in a scene.



An artifact of data compression whereby areas of the image look pixelated.



Adapted from military slang, a bogeya person or object who accidentally appears in the frame during a shot.


Boom-mounted shotgun mic

A directional microphone (that captures sound in a conical field reminiscent of a shotgun’s blast area) attached to the end of a long, light-weight pole.


Camera dollies

Wheeled camera mounts, either on tracks or fully mobile, that facilitate smooth camera motion.


Cardioid mic

A microphone with a primary sensitivity in front of the microphone, but which also records audio to the left and right.


CGI (computer-generated imagery)

Synthetic images created by computer.



Prescribing movement for actions that require precise execution, such as dance or combat



Audio recorded with a mic placed very close to the subject (often directly attached to the clothes or body).


Closed-ear headphones

Headphones that fully encompass the ear to reduce the interference of sound from the listener’s environment.


Close-up (CU)

A limited view that narrows in on a key feature of a subject: an actors face, a smoking gun on the floor, etc.


Color aberrations

The optical consequence of a lens that fails to handle color waveforms equally. It can result in blurred images or noticeable colored edges or “fringes.”


Color correction

The adjustment of color in post-production to match different shots and enhance the picture.


Color fidelity

The accuracy with which a digital camera captures the color of the photographed subject.


Color temperatures

The apparent color of light measured in degrees kelvin (K), i.e. Daylight emits a blueish 5600K light, and Tungsten filaments (traditionally used in film lights) emit an orange 3200K light.



The post-production process of combining two or more images. Could be as simple as a title superimposed over an image, or as complex a digitally generated explosion rotoscoped over a filmed miniature spaceship in front of a hand-painted painting of outer space. Also can refer to the result of that process; a composite, or a composite image.



The layout and relative position of the objects within a shot.



A process of lowering overall image quality by reducing the amount of data in a file in order to make it more accessible to playback engines.



Multiple shots from multiple angles to capture the events in a scene (i.e. master shot, medium shots, close-ups, inserts, etc.).



The point where the left and right eye projections meet in the screen to simulate the 3D effect. Also, the amount of stereo separation between the left and right channels that controls the stereo effect.


CRI (color rendering index)

The measure of how close to true white a light bulb appears.



A transition effect where one clip fades out as another clip fades in.



A projection where a spherical image is viewed as a cube, and where the six faces of the cube are unfolded into a rectangle. The cube faces can be arranged in different ways for different purposes. In a cubemap, distortions present in a lat-long are corrected, giving an accurate scale to objects at the apex (top) and nadir (bottom) of the scene.



A trigger for a action or line of dialogue.



Shot of an object within the location of the scene, but not seen in the previous shots, such as seagulls during a beach scene, or the cheering crowd at a concert. Cutaways provide editing options and help to enhance the sense of presence in a scene.


Cuts (edits)

The point where one shot ends and another shot begins.



The accumulated footage shot in a day on set (traditionally reviewed at the end of each day).


DAW (digital audio workstation)

Software designed to process and edit audio tracks.



An environment with little or no reflections or reverberations of the sound.


Depth budget

The amount of three-dimensional depth you can utilize in a scene without tiring your viewer.


Depth map

Digital data representing the distance of the objects in the scene from the camera.


Director of photography / DP

Crewperson responsible for designing the shotlist and lighting state, advising on camera selection, and directing the camera and lighting departments on set.


DIT (digital imaging technician)

Crewperson responsible for managing workflow of a production, ingesting and labeling footage from takes, monitoring image quality and color, and troubleshooting digital issues.


Directing action inward

Framing a subject with action, people or objects that draws your attention to the center of the frame.



Developer kit version 2 of the Oculus Rift HMD, which works on Macs as well as Windows computers. The shipping “consumer version” (CV1) does not support Mac.



Closer to the audience/camera.


DSLR (digital single-lens reflex)

A digital camera that uses a mirror to reflect the view coming through the lens onto the camera sensor, which enables the viewfinder to see the exact image the camera will capture (i.e. a professional still camera like the Canon 5D or Nikon D-series).



A single video file that contains the combined footage from two fisheye-lensed cameras, usually positioned side-by-side.


Dub master

A final version of your program ready for conversion into a distribution format. The term comes from the old days when videos were distributed on tapes or DVDs and a master was created to be used as the source for those duplicates or “dubs.”


Dutch angle

When the camera is tilted slightly left or right, so the horizon appears to be diagonal.


Dynamic range

The varying degrees of brightness that can be captured by a camera or displayed by a playback device. You can think of it as the number of grays that can be represented before areas of the image appear all-black (in the shadows) or all-white (in the highlights).



Stretching a spherical image into a flat, rectangular format. (i.e. the way a world map represents the spherical Earth).



The measurement of the brightness and range (latitude) of light being captured by the camera. Exposure is governed by camera settings that either control the overall amount of light that reaches the sensor (using aperture and shutter speed), or directly adjust the sensor’s sensitivity to the light that reaches it (ISO).


Field of view

The angle of space viewable from a given lens position.



An extreme wide-angle lens, with image distortion occuring at the edges of the frame.



A frame of solid black fabric used to partially block a light source.



Say something nice about someone. But in this context, I mean less contrast between the dark and light areas of the image.


Focal length

A lens property; i.e. wide-angle or telephoto; different length lens lengths frame the subject differently, creating a different experience of a scene for the viewer. Also,can refer to the distance between the lens and its point of focus.



The process of reproducing sound effects in a controlled environment synchronized to actions onscreen. For example footsteps, or grunts.


Frame size

The pixel dimension of a video element (i.e. HD is 1920 x 1080).


G&E (grip and electric)

The production departments on set responsible for the operation of grip and lighting equipment. They work under the director of photography.



The chief electrician on set, responsible for contributing to and implementing the director of photography’s lighting vision.



Using a signal generator to synchronize the shutters across multiple cameras so they all operate in precise alignment.


Global shutter

A camera shutter that opens and closes all-at-once, exposing the entire sensor simultaneously (as opposed to a rolling shutter which opens a little at a time like a door opening).


Green screen

A subject shot against a background of a particular shade of green so the background can be removed and replaced in post-production.



Extra footage before the beginning and/or after the ending of the used portion of a shot.


Higher-order ambisonics

Ambisonic audio with more than 4 channels.


HMD (head-mounted display)

Goggles or a headset designed to optimize 360° video viewing.



(from Star Trek) A chamber where a person is immersed in a holographic simulation of a physical environment indistinguishable from real life.


Hostess tray shot

A shot captured by a camera rigged to the outside of a car’s driver side, or passenger side window, supported by a device reminiscent of the trays used at drive-in restaurants in the ‘50’s.



An active, or interactive area of the frame.


Hypercardioid / shotgun

A microphone polar pattern that picks up sound primarily to the front, with less sensitivity to the side and rear.


Hyperstereo effect

An optical distortion that makes the viewer feel gigantic. Occurs when the interaxial distance of stereo cameras appears greater than ordinary human distance based on the relative distance to the subject.


Image stabilization

A process to reduce shakiness caused by an unstable camera.



The process of capturing, transferring, and storing media in an organized manner in preparation for editing and output.



Close-up shot of an object or detail previously seen in a wider angle.



The mechanic equivalent of Interpupilary; the distance between the lenses of a camera in stereoscopic photography.


Interpupillary distance

The distance between the pupils of the eye / lenses of a camera in stereoscopic photography.



A process to create animations by identifying parameter values(such as an object’s size or its position in the frame) at differing points in time, and interpolating the intervening values.



Similar to dynamic range; The range of brightness that can be captured by a camera usually measured in ƒ-stops).


Latlong (latitudinal-longitudinal)

Stretching a spherical image into a flat rectangle (similar to the way a world map represents the spherical Earth). Also called equirectangular.


Lavalier mic

A small microphone attached to a lapel or discretely hidden in an actors wardrobe.


Leading lines

Subtly stimulating invisible lines that direct attention or convey meaning in a frame’s composition.


Leap cut

An edit optionally executed by the audience by interacting with a hot spot in the frame. Often used to move the viewer from one place/point of view within a scene to another. 



The adjustable sensitivity settings of microphones. Levels are set (and changed as necessary) to best capture the vocals of an actors performance.



A system of detection that ‘bounces’ light off objects to record the layout of a space; the laser equivalent of RADAR.


Lighting and grip equipment

All the equipment required to rig and control the lights during production, including lights, lighting stands, C-stands, cables, silks, flags, sandbags, reflectors, etc. Grip equipment also encompasses auxiliary camera gear, such as dollies (& their tracks), cranes, jibs, etc.



Distribute video playback in real-time.



Static. Refers to the adjustable parts of a tripod being locked in place.


Long lens (telephoto lens)

Magnifies objects in the distance, narrows the field of view, and optically ‘flattens’ an image.



An artifact of data compression whereby visual information deemed unnecessary is discarded, resulting in noise.



Titles displaying an interview subject’s name and title. Traditionally placed in the bottom third of the video screen.


Magic window

A method of viewing 360 content where a rectangular frame acts as a portal to the larger, spherical recording. The viewer can navigate to a different perspective by scrolling (on a computer), or by tilting the viewing device (on a smartphone or tablet).



A position on set (defined during blocking) where an actor is supposed to be at precise moments during a scene. On set, a mark might be a piece of tape on the ground to indicate where an actor should be standing.



Blocking a portion of the image.


Master shot

A shot, typically wide, that captures all the action across the duration of a scene.


Match cut

An edit where action within the scene is continued in real time across the edit point; such as seeing a door begin to close from one angle, and then continuing to close from another angle.


Medium shots

A view sized from an actor’s waist up to the top of her head.


Motion tracking

A technique for recording the movement of an object within a scene, to hide or paint that object or to affix a composited element to a corresponding position.



Undesirable variations of brightness and/or color in an image that typically occur when recording at high ISOs in digital cameras.



Sound that is untethered to anything occurring in the scene.



The point of origin where a viewer enters a 360° scene, also serves as a frame of reference for orienting discussions about the scene.


Offline edit

An interim editing process where creative decisions are made using proxy versions of the full-resoultion files (when processing the full-res files would otherwise be too cumbersome). Requires a subsequent online edit where the high-res files are conformed to match the offline version. (Also can refer to the result of that first step; the offline edit.)


Omnidirectional mic

A microphone that picks up sound evenly in all directions.


Omnidirectional stereo camera

A rig with a large number of cameras arranged in a ring (like the Jaunt One or GoPro Odyssey).


Optical stabilization

Mechanical camera mechanism that counteract camera-shake. (Not to be confused with digital stabilization which occurs after the image is recorded and impacts image quality.)


OTS MCU (over the shoulder medium close-up)

Shot that include part of a character in the foreground (often out of focus), with the principal subject framed from the chest to the top of the head. This is one of the most common types of shots for dialogue scenes.



When a sound is louder than the recording device can measure, the waveform will be clipped, distorting the sound unnaturally. Sometimes called "peaking." 


Paint out

Digitally remove an object from a scene.


Page peels

A tranisition effect where the image displayed appears to fold off the screen, resembling the turning of a page in a book.



Set the position in space for where audio appears to originate.



Control that allows you to position the source of sound in space. In stereo environments sound can simply be panned from left to right, but with surround sound and spatialization, panning can be done in full three-dimensional coordinates.



The optical effect where an object’s position appears to differ when viewed from different positions, i.e. the left eye vs. the right.



Short bursts of loud sound in an audio track. These are visible in an audio waveform as lines that stick up higher than the average audio levels. 



The use of photography to survey and map a location from a variety of angles.



A part of a composite, usually intended as a background, though here it refers to a duplicate version of the main shot with the offending objects removed. The name comes from old-fashioned analog visual effects where the background was painted onto a sheet of plate glass. 


Playback devices

The method for displaying a video. (i.e. HMD, magic window, etc.).



Software that synchronizes audio and video files by aligning the audio waveforms of the different files.


Post (post-production)

Work undertaken after principle photography wraps. Often refers to digital corrections.


POV (point of view) shot

A shot that represents a character’s perspective within the scene.


Practical (diagetic)

Occurring in the reality of the scene; heard by the characters within the scene (as opposed to sound only heard by the audience). For example, music played on a radio.


Practical light

A light that is illuminating a scene but that is also part of the set, so it can be seen by the camera without revealing the artifice of the filmmaking act.


Production designer (PD)

Crewperson responsible for all visual aspects of what is seen by the camera; (i.e. sets & locations, props, wardrobe etc.).



A high-quality video compression format created by Apple that supports up to 8K resolution.



An interpreted, object-oriented programming language similar to PERL, that has gained popularity because of its clear syntax and readability.


Quick stitch

A rapid, albeit potentially imperfect, stitch of 360° footage. In multi camera rigs, this may be achieved without utilizing information from every camera’s lens. See also: Stitch



A shot where the camera focus is shifted during the scene (while the camera is rolling) to shift attention to a different subject or track a subject as it moves.


Refresh rate

The frequency at which an image is drawn on screen during playback, expressed as the number of cycles per second (hertz). For example: 90hz.


Rig removal

The process of compositing or painting out the camera support (tripod, dolly, slider, etc.) visible in the 360 image.



The number of pixels in an image, typically presented as a ratio of the total pixels on x axis to the total pixels on the y axis (i.e. 1920 x 1080 for HD).



Term meaning “record,” dating back to a time when physical film was rolled on an axle past the gate of a camera.


Room tone

An extended clip of sound recorded in the scene location without any additional sounds included.



Digitally modifying video by tracing objects within the image one frame at a time.


Rule of thirds

The concept that divides a traditional film or television frame into nine squares to guide the optimal composition of subjects.



Music added to enhance the mood of the video.


SD (secure digital) card

A compact, portable memory card typically used in cameras and sound recording devices.



A camera position for a given scene. You might shoot more than one shot from a single set-up (wide shot and close-up).


Shock mount

A microphone holder engineered to absorb physical bumps or vibrations to prevent movement from disturbing the audio signal.


Six degrees of freedom

The ability to move left-right, up-down, and forward-backward (in addition to being able to rotate around the x, y, and z axes). Provides significantly more immersion than basic 360 video.



A card or device positioned in front of the camera at the beginning of each shot to document all relevant shot information for easy identification during post. Usually operated by the 2nd AC, who reads the relevant information aloud and then activates the clapper bar to provide a synchronization point for audio and video files.



A tripod ‘head’ mounted on a fixed track that enables the camera to smoothly move left and right or forward and back.


Sourced sound

Sound elements that are tied to a specific object or source onscreen.



Mix in post-production to distribute sounds into positions in a sphere around the listener.


Spherical projection

Video that is displayed in a seamless 360 degree sphere. Also called rectilinear.


Spin budget

The accumulated total degrees of head movement you can ask of your audience over a period of time.


Split edit

An editing technique in which the audio and visual components of a shot do not transition at the same time; so the sound occurs before the picture appears, or the sound lingers on after the picture has cut to a new shot.


Stealing a location

Shooting in a location without first obtaining permission and/or the requisite permits.



Video shot with two parallel cameras (or in the case of 360° video, multiple pairs of parallel cameras) Commonly referred to as 3D. 


Stereo separation

The slight variations in image from the two perspectives that enable 3-dimensional viewing. The closer to the camera, the larger the variations.


Stitch (stitching)

Combine multiple images/videos into one panoramic image/video (also sometimes refers to a seam in a panoramic image, or the completed panorama itself).


Stitch lines

The seams in a 360° video where footage from one camera has been combined with another.



ƒ-stops are the measurement of, and mechanism for controlling how much light is let through the lens to reach a camera sensor (i.e. ƒ22, ƒ16, ƒ8, ƒ4, ƒ2, ƒ1.4, etc. Larger numbers mean less light)


Subsequence or compound clip

Multiple clips which have been grouped into a single object for ease of workflow within an editing program. Also called a "nested clip."


Synchronize (sync or synch)

Match audio and video (or in some cases, matching the video from multiple cameras) to play back simultaneously.



Individual instance of a shot; a take = each time the camera is started and stopped.


Tetrahedral mic

A microphone with four recording capsules that captures a rendering of the sound in all directions around the mic.



A numerical code that identifies videos by the hour, minute, second, and frame in the format HH:MM:SS:FF (eg. 23:59:59:23).



Further away from the audience/camera.


Video assist

A mechanism to watch in real-time what is being recorded by the camera.



Volumetric video recording

A method of capturing a scene in which the spatial layout is recorded instead of just the light that comes through the lens, enabling representation of the scene in a digital, 3-dimensional space.



A lens or focal length that shows more in the frame than a typical human field of view. (As opposed to a telephoto lens which narrows the view to less than the basic human field of view.). At the extreme, wide-angle lenses create distortion at the edges and are called "fisheye" lenses.


Wide-shot (WS)

A expansive view that takes in the entirety of a scene or location.



A transition effect where the image displayed slides offscreen, revealing the new scene behind.



A shot where the lens is zoomed (focal length is changed) at the same time as the camera is physically moved (dollied) creating an optical effect where the background appears to shift around the subject.


Zone-based stereo camera

A rig utilizing pairs of cameras pointing in different directions.