Taken from Chapter Three of "Thinking About Movies" by P Lehman and W Luhr.
cut (intercut, cross-cut) A cut marks the abrupt transition from the end of one shot to the beginning of the next shot. A shot is said to be intercut into another when the film returns to the first shot, as when we see a close shot of a character's face, then a flashback memory that the character is having is intercut into the facial shot, and when the flashback is over, the film returns to the facial shot. Cross-cutting occurs when the film cuts back and forth between, or among, parallel actions, as in a chase scene.
deep focus cinematography Keeping the focus and clarity of the image constant from objects appearing close to the camera to those far into the rear of the frame, which enables the viewer to see more space within the shot, including the background details and actions.
dissolve (match dissolve) A transition from one shot to the next in which the images overlap for a time, sometimes used to ease the visual abruptness of the transition (as from a darkly lit cave scene to a brightly lit snowfall scene) and at other times used to suggest an association between two images (as from a letter addressed to a character to a shot of that character reading the letter) A match dissolve is one in which graphic elements of the two images match, as with the close shot in Psycho of the murdered woman's eye and the shower drain.
editing (montage and cutting) The ways in which several pieces of film are joined together. Montage is the French term for editing, or cutting, but also carries connotations of the creation of meaning through editing patterns. Hollywood Montage commonly refers to the rapid cutting together of multiple shots, often using many dissolves, to create the effect of the rapic chronicling of the passage of time, as from a character's youth to maturity.
establishing (or master) shot An extreme long shot that shows (or establishes) the entire space in which the ensuing scene will take place. Many scenes begin with such shots to orient the viewer, Sometimes there are two establishing shots, one exterior and one interior.
eyeline match The establishment often through cutting, of the direction of the character's gaze. At times a shot will show a character looking, and a second shot will show what the character is looking at. At other times the term is used to refer to the directionality of character's lines of vision within shots.
flashback A jump in narrative time from the present into the past. Rather than proceeding chronologically through the story, flashbacks allow filmmakers to jump back and forth between past and present events.
formalism A film theory that emphasizes the formal properties of cinema that shape the way movies are made. Formalists recognize, for
example, that organizing screen space is an artisitic activity that differs from our daily perception of real life. Major formal theorists include Sergei Einstein and Rudolph Arnheim.
invisible style A norm of filmmaking in which style is not usually noticed, based on the assumption that narrative is always more important than style and should dominate it. Such devices are not crossing the 180 degree line and cutting on action, reaction, and dialogue contribute to this invisible style.
the 180 degree line An imaginary line drawn between the camera and the actors/action which the camera does not cross in order to prevent viewer disorientation and maintain an invisible style.
realism A film theory which emphasizes the recording nature of cinema, as well as the connection between the camera and what is in front of it in real life. Major realists include Andre` Bazin and Siegfried Krucauer.
scene A scene is a narrative unit determined by unity of time and space. The events in the scene occur in one place at a time, A later scene, for example may occur in the same place at a different time.
shot (close shot or close-up, medium, long, two-shot, tracking, and dolly) A shot is an image in the film uninterrupted by cuts or other transitional devices. The terms close shot (or close-up), medium shot, and long shot indicate the distance of the camera from the central object being photographed With a person, a close shot generally shows the face and perhaps the shoulders; a medium shot shows the person from the waist up; a long shot will show the person's full body. A two-shot is one that features two characters equally. Tracking or dolly (or dollie) shots are ones in which the camera moves. It was traditionally mounted on a moving platform, or dolly, and would follow or "track" a moving object, such as a walking character or galloping horse. Tracking or dolly shots can also move through a set (like a hounted house) in which nothing is moving, giving a complex depth to the shot.
shot/reverse shot editing A pattern of editing which shows, first one character and then a cut to a reverse shot that allows us a nearly opposite view, typically another character who is talking or interacting with the first. Many scenes simply go back and forth between such shots until all significant dialogue has been spoken and the action has occurred.
stylistic norm The stylistic features of filmmaking at a particular time. Departures from the stylistic norm can be used to good effect by creative filmmakers because they come as a surprise.
Fitting these vocabulary into conceptual examples from films and clips in class will be a main part of the first exam.