5 Filmmaking Terms You Need To Know


When I’m working with clients, they’ll always ask me to define certain terms. And I love that! Just like natives of a country love that you’re trying to speak their language.

So I thought it’d be fun to lay it all out, for y’all.

These are 5 filmmaking terms you need to know when making a video for your startup.

1. B-Roll

Wikipedia defines as: supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot.

For your videos, the main shot will typically be the interview. But nobody wants to just watch a talking head for two minutes! B-Roll gives the piece some context and keeps the viewer engaged.

2. Bokeh (Boh-ka)

Wikipedia defines as: the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens.

 5 filmmaking terms you need to know for videos with your startup. Speak the language.

So that blurred background is what you’re looking for? Call it Bokeh.

Like, “Do you think we could get a little more bokeh in the background”.

3. Post

The term “post”, is referring to post-production/editing.

While filming, you’ll hear “we can fix that in post”. That means that they are shooting with editing in mind. Sometimes you can take shortcuts because you know it can be fixed in the editing process.

One question to ask (and look smart), would be “Is that something you can fix in post, or should we re-shoot?”.

4. Room Tone

Wikipedia defines as: the “silence” recorded at a location or space when no dialogue is spoken.

Your video will have gaps when there is no dialogue, just B-Roll. You want to keep the background sound consistent for smoother transitions that won’t be jarring to the viewer.

So when the director asks for silence, that’s why.

5. Rule of Thirds

Wikipedia defines as: the rule of thirds is applied by aligning a subject with the guide lines and their intersecting points, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line, or allowing linear features in the image flow from section to section.

This term is used by photographers as well and refers to the composition of your shots (showing scale). Things just look more interesting using the rule of thirds.

But why should you care? If you’re creating the storyboard, each drawing should abide to the rule of thirds. And once you have a better understanding of what you’re looking for, it makes it easier to communicate with your video production company.

That’s a Wrap!

Ok, wrap’s another term. But seriously, this article is done.

Hope you use these terms during your next video and start speaking the language!

What would you add to this list? Any obvious terms I missed? Let’s hear from you in the comments below.


Lance Miller

Level Set Films, San Francisco Bay Area

Lance Miller is a filmmaker and owner of Level Set Films, a video production company in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also teaches what he's learned about business on his site Freedom Everything.