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Must Know Video Editing Terminology

From A-Z there are a whole bunch of video editing terms that you should know to help you make sense of the video production industry. We’ve outlined some of the most popular video editing terminology to assist you in understanding everything from day-to-day production tasks to what it takes to edit b-roll or basic camera footage. Check out the video editing terms listed below and let us know if there are any important video editing terms or phrases that we may have missed!

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Aspect Ratio

The definition of aspect ratio is the width and height description of a cinema or TV screen or the size in which a film or video has been shot and should be projected. There is no predefined measurement for aspect ratio therefore they can be provided in centimeters, inches, yards or other forms of measurement.


B-roll is supplemental video footage that is shot with the purpose of being used in various areas of a film to make smooth scenes even when there is an issue with the original footage. B-roll footage can also be used to support the existing dialogue, such as when a video interview is conducted and the subject is speaking. 

Bit Rate (Data Rate)

A term used to describe every second of video and also referred to as the data rate, bit rate describes how much data is used each second. Bit rates are usually measured in kilobits per second (Kbps).


A method of inserting a video image that comes from one source into the image of another source using a “key color.” Chromakey is commonly used when displaying the news graphics behind talent.

Close Up

A close up is the term used to describe a shot that is taken such that the subject fills the frame tightly. A close up of a subject would include the whole face in the frame.

Color Temperature

Measured in Kelvin units with a range from cool to warm, the color temperature in video editing refers to the amount of visible light that is found in the shot. Cool color temperatures are more along the bluish tint and warm color temperatures will appear along a more red or orange hue.


The editing process that involves combining images with video editing software.


The process of reducing the total amount of data that is in a video file, compression is used to make video upload and download processes go more quickly. Compression will take some time to achieve but saves time later when working with the video and allows for more videos to be saved to a storage device.


When text or graphics are included along the bottom of the video footage, such as news announcements or other horizontal graphics, they are called a “crawl.” The term is in reference to the slow movement they make across the bottom of the screen.

Crop Factor

A term used to describe the ratio of sensor imaging area to a full frame sensor, crop factor is usually reported in a number between 1.3 and 2.0. To get the focal length for a lens/sensor combination, you would simply multiply the focal length of your lens by the crop factor ratio.


The term used to describe a simultaneous action in which audio or video source fades in from one and out from another such that for a brief period they overlap is called cross-fade or sometimes referred to as dissolve.

Cut-in (Insert Shot)

A cut-in shot is used to describe a camera shot that includes objects that a subject makes contact with or manipulates. Often used with b-roll, they tend to stray away from the subject for a period of time and add value to b-roll shots.


A camera shot that includes something that is not the principal action but can be related peripherally and is usually used in place of a jump cut or as transitional footage. Video editing terminology is meant to be descriptive and useful. 

Filter Effect

A digital editing effect that is used in post-production to colorize or change the clip in some manner. Various filter effects are used throughout film editing.


The reproduction of sound for film that may include a wide range of actual sounds such as a door slamming, nature, chewing, or other sounds that are not easily captured naturally during production. Foley sounds are reproduced later in the studio and synchronized with the original audio. 

Frame Rate

A term used to define the speed at which the shutter cycles through as it opens and closes or when a sensor captures 1 second of video, the frame rate is commonly expressed in frames per second as fps.

High Definition Media Interface (HDMI)

A connector that is used to transmit audio and HD video to a television display, HDMI refers to the cord connection that is used to share a video production with your audience.


A reference used when editing film footage to cause the audio from the next shot come in before the video does, j-cut gets the name from the shape that is made in the editing program timeline when the action takes place.

Jump Cut

An amateur look, the jump cutis used to create abrupt changes between clips. The jump cut will cause the appearance of jumping across the screen to different spots and can be disruptive to the audience.


A process in which the edited video results in the video image changing to another shot while the initial audio continues into the clip, the L-cut is the opposite action of the J-cut and gets the name similarly from the appearance that the timeline shows in the editing software when the cut occurs.

Linear Editing

A term used to describe editing of VCR tapes between two VCRs, this term gets the name linear from the fact that scenes are recorded chronologically as they appear on the tape.

Lip Sync

When video and audio are synchronized properly and the lip movements are in line with the audible dialogue and speech recording.

Lower Third

The video editing terminology used to describe the lower third of the screen in which titles for a production and any other important elements are shown by news broadcasters, YouTubers and video editors in the lower portion of the screen so as not to distract but also to be fully seen.

Memory Bank

Similar to a memory box, a term used to describe capturing a time or event in the life of a person on video rather than with the keeping and sharing of physical objects. A memory bank video will often include natural recordings and may be set to various styles of music to show important moments in life.


The video editing terminology used to describe a sequence of shots in which they are assembled such that they are in juxtaposition of each other and communicate the mood or theme or idea of the video. Generally a montage is bridged with cross-fades and will include music that the film is set to for added emotion.


A form of special effect that is electronic and involves the use of individual pixels that make up an image and are then expanded into large blocks such that they create a checkerboard effect on the screen.

Non-Linear Editing (NLE)

A term used to describe the digital random access editing that takes place when footage is stored on a hard drive versus on tape. This process allows scenes to be easily arranged so that they do not need to be rewound.

Pixel Aspect Ratio

The term used to describe the pixels that are used to produce an image, the pixel aspect ratio is the ratio of width and height of the video in pixels.


An electronic effect that involves the use of normal video images that are transformed so that they produce a collage of flat, single-colored areas that have zero graduation of color or brightness.

Raw Footage

The term used to describe video footage that has not been edited yet. This is the footage that came straight from the camcorder.

Real Time

In video editing terminology the term used to describe what is happening now, not later or without delay. Real time footage occurs when there is no waiting of any sort. Real time effects are produced when the computer creates the effect immediately, showing it right away without delay.

Render Time

The term used to describe the amount of time it takes an editing computer to composite a single video file so that the sequence, and transitions can play in full motion without interruption.


The term used to describe the total number of pixels either horizontal or vertical that are contained in a video. Most of the time, video resolutions are described as the total amount of pixels that appear vertically such as 720p or 480p.


The graphics that you see or text that you see moving up or down the screen such as in the ending from bottom to top.

Rough Cut

A set of footage that has made it through a basic pass of edits and is approximate in terms of sequence, length and finished content.

Sound Bite

A segment of audio that is recorded for use in editing. Sound bites are commonly taken from interviews for later use.

Sound Effects

When using video editing terminology, the term used to describe various audio pieces that are incorporated into the video soundtrack so that they appear real. Sound effects may include various actions to produce the perceived sound, such as blowing air in a microphone to simulate the sound of wind when paired with a hurricane video.


The term used to describe the use of various graphics that are shown over an existing video picture such that they cover areas full or partially.


The process in post-production editing that involves the addition of sound effects or music so that the previously captured existing audio is enhanced and any filters or added effects can be achieved.

Sync (Synchronization)

The process of pairing the audio and video images so that they are aligned.

Timeline Editing

The process of using a computer-based means of editing so that the length of a clip representing video and audio on the screen are seen in proportional bars.


A process that involves the use of on-screen text that is used as credits or to show captions or
alphanumeric means of communicating on the video.


The use of audio that comes from a narrator that is not visible on the screen, a voiceover is heard as the background images and full video play.

More video editing terminology

there is certainly more video editing terminology, but this covers the basics, we hope our list was helpful to you. feel free to browse our blog for more information on the subject.