Video editing terms and definitions

Even if it’s not the case, professionals just love using abbreviations, jargon, slang, and terms completely incomprehensible to amateurs. The manuals and instructions are usually written in a clear manner, but lack of knowledge of video production vocabulary will keep you away from the specialized internet communities and forums. We can’t let it happen!

Here is the third part of our video editing glossary, and we hope it will be as useful and informative as the first two.

Transition terms

Cut is one of the basic notions in cinematography, it’s a transition from one frame to another, switching the shots.

Usually, it looks very natural and smooth, unless you apply some more creative type of it, for example, jump cut. It’s a technique when the characters of the recording (actors, objects) as if “jump” suddenly to another spot of the same location. This effect may be achieved by cutting several seconds out of the shooting and merging the rest.

Don’t mistake it for the J-cut, though. The latter is not short for the “jump cut”, as one could have thought, but a technique when the audio of the frame overlaps with the video from the preceding frame. In simpler terms, that’s an effect when we first hear, let us say, a singing, and then see the singer themself.

L-cut is quite the opposite, it’s an effect when the audio lasts for a while even when the frame has already changed. Using the example from the previous term, it’s when we still can hear the singing even after the cam has already moved away from the stage.

All these cuts are different types of frame transitions. Let’s now have a look at what else you can do with the help of video editing software.

Video editor

Most widespread post production terms

Slow motion, as the very term implies, means the slowed-down action (usually with the help of a speed-changing tool). Its opposite is fast motion when the action is speeded up.

The abovementioned effect concerns the shooting recorded at a normal speed and then played back with the altered pace (slowed down or speeded up). The opposite technique, when you record your clip at a very low frame rate and then play it back at the normal speed is called a time-lapse.

Tilt is the camera movement along the vertical axis, and it’d really better be done during the shooting, as this effect is hardly achieved in post-production. Unless you have a handy and multifunctional Video Editor.

This tool also allows you to change the video’s color scheme and apply different fades (gradual frame intensity). When the image appears from the totally black screen, it’s a fade-in. The opposite process, when the visual dissolves in the darkness, is called a fade-out.

Let’s go on to the different video positioning now. The easiest way to order two recordings is just placing them side by side, or doing a split-screen. This technique has recently been on a peak of popularity, especially in TikTok Duets or other social media. These two shootings are played back simultaneously, which gives us the effect of one screen just divided into two halves.

Picture in picture (pip) is a little bit more complicated, but also more picturesque. One video acts as a background, while another, a smaller one, is placed right over it.

Last but not least, the overlay technique may be considered a variation of PiP, the previous one. But in that case, the smaller video, or some element, for example, a button, is not in the center of the screen (and our attention), but rather somewhere in the corner. The background video transmits the main message, while the second recording provides some additional information.

That’s enough for today! Now you can read editing manuals and hold a conversation with pros.