of subtitling terminology
are indicated by italics.
A technique for video and audio transmission and recording, where the
signals can vary continuously in pitch and intensity. They need a certain bandwidth
to be transmitted.
or film format: The ratio between the height of the projected image and
its width. Film for commercial use can be of different widths: 16 mm, 35 mm or
70 mm. The sprocket holes and sound track(s)
are along the edges of the film.
Silent movies had a picture size of 18 x 24 mm, or proportions of 3:4 or
1:1.33 (like a normal TV screen). Older 35 mm sound films have an aspect ratio
of 15.25 x 21 mm or 1:1.37 (“normal” format, today mainly used for TV and
video use on 16 or 35 mm film). Widescreen films are usually shot in a format
of 1:1.66 on 35 mm film, but can be projected in formats like 1:1.75 or 1:2 by
masking off upper and lower parts of the projection window. Panavision (Cinemascope),
Techniscope and Technovision all use the 1:2.35 format on 35 mm film. 70 mm
films are rare today and use an aspect ratio of 1:2.2 or 1:2.35. Other
techniques like SuperScope, VistaVision, Todd-AO, AgaScope, Dyaliscope,
Technirama, Super Technirama 70 and Super Panavision 70 have fallen into
ratio, TV The
“normal” television image aspect ratio is approximately 4:3, depending on
the masking in the television set. Widescreen ratios, 15:9 or 16:9, are now
being progressively introduced. (For some obscure reason, television ratios
are always given in the form width x height instead of the standard height x
The frequency spectrum needed for an analogue signal to be
transmitted by antenna or cable. A PAL or SECAM signal needs 7
Mhz (7 000 000 Hz), a telephone voice needs 4 Khz (4 000 Hz).
A professional system for video and audio recording, mainly used for ENG.
A now obsolete home video system.
Also known as the blanking interval; lines outside the visible image on
a television screen; used to transmit concealed signals such as teletext
or a VITC time code.
Text that has been inserted in the original picture by the maker of the
film or programme (or a title that replaces it). Note that in the USA the word
usually denotes subtitles for the hard of hearing.
A device that transforms digital signals into typographic
characters. It can be located either in the television broadcasting system (e.g.
for open subtitles) or inside a TV receiver (for closed subtitles
Trade name for a widescreen film aspect ratio, today usually
Subtitle of the teletext type that can be viewed by means of a decoder
and character generator in the television set.
Converting information into digital form.
A technique for reducing the number of bits in a digital signal,
by reducing the quality of the record (keeping only what the eye and ear can
perceive) or by reducing redundancy (keeping only what changes from one image
to the next, leaving the background unchanged). One example is MPEG 2.
See: timing, spotting. The process of defining the in and out
times of individual subtitles.
A sudden change from one image to another. Hard cuts are sharply
different scenes, e.g. day to night. Soft cuts are less startling changes of
scene or colour, a fade or a pan. Cuts play an important role for subtitling.
1. An electronic apparatus that transforms digital signals into
information that can be used, like letters or words. 2. An apparatus attached
to a TV set that permits viewing of encoded satellite or cable programmes or closed
subtitles, often called “black box”.
DIGItal BETAcam. A
professional video recording and cassette system using digital technology.
A technique for signal transmission and recording where, in contrast to
analogue technology, each value of a video and audio signal is
transformed into binary information with only two levels, 1 and 0. This
permits transmission, recording, copying and storage without any loss of
Text that is an integral part of the picture, e.g. shop or road signs.
Digital Video Broadcasting. A working group aiming to set a standard
for video picture compression, based on MPEG.
Digital Versatile Disk. Somewhat
like a CD-ROM disk, but with an exceedingly high storage capacity of
very many gigabytes,
sufficient for several films and many sound and subtitle channels.
Enhanced Definition Television. A system that retains the present 625 (PAL/SECAM)
or 525 (NTSC) lines whilst providing better image quality and
widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio.
Electronic News Gathering, a generic name for all kinds of gathering,
editing and transmission of news material for television.
A set of typographic characters that share certain design
characteristics. It belongs to a typeface family: It can have different styles,
italic, bold, etc.
(film or TV)
See aspect ratio.
1. In motion pictures, one of the successive pictures on the film strip.
2. A single traversal of the scanning electronic beam of all the lines in the
picture, composing the image.
The speed of a movie or video. For most
films, it is 24 frames a second; in PAL/SECAM, 625 lines in 1/25
second, in NTSC, 525 lines in 1/30 second.
High Definition Multiplexed Analogue Component. European standard for
television HDTV, a 1250-line, 16:9 aspect ratio, 50 frames/second,
analogue transmission system.
High Definition TeleVision, a technique for improving the quality of
the TV image quality and increasing its size. It usually works with 1125 or
1250 scanning lines instead of 625 or 525 and has around five times as many
luminous points. The aspect ratio is usually widescreen, 15:9 or 16:9.
A High Frequency modulator transforms video and audio signals to
the high frequency band used for television transmission. A HF decoder
(e.g. in a TV set) transforms this HF signal into the frequencies used by the
screen and the audio equipment.
Predecessor of subtitle; in the days of silent movies, explanatory text
or dialogue written on paper or cardboard, photographed and inserted between takes
or sequences of the film to keep audiences informed about what was said or
Adjusting the horizontal spacing between letters.
A method of subtitling cinema film by means of a high power, very
narrow laser beam, developed in the late 1980s.
Longitudinal Time Code. A time code recorded alongside the images on a
magnetic recording, often on one of the sound tracks.
A script of a film or TV show containing subtitels of the actors’
lines in the original or a pivot language, to be used by subtitlers
translating into other languages. The master list gives the essence of what is
said as well as suggesting a proper length of the subtitle.
A device that converts a signal from one form to another, e.g. from
digital to analogue, or from low frequency, LF, to high frequency, HF.
“Typewriter font”: each letter occupies the same space.
Mp3 MPEG1 audio layer 3. A technique for compressing digital sound. One of many formats for stocking sound.
A compression technique now mainly used for computer animations and videos on
CD-ROMs. It gained its name from the Motion
Picture Expert Group (within the ISO, the International Standardization Organization) which met to discuss the necessary technical specifications.
MPEG 2 The standard system currently in use mainly in TV companies to compress video data down to a minimum of 10% of its original size.
MPEG3 is intended for HDTV and video-on-demand, as then huge amounts of data have to be transmitted. It is today especially used for audio compression: a very high rate of compression can be reached without great loss of quality.
Subtitling a film or TV programme in several languages to be shown on
the screen or distributed simultaneously.
several different signals within the same bandwidth.
MUltiple Sub-nyquist Encoding. Japanese HDTV transmission
standard, 1125 lines, 50 frames/second, 15:9 aspect ratio.
Near-Instantaneously Companding Audio Multiplex, an improved stereo
National Television System Committee, the US colour television system
based on 525 scanning lines, 30 frames/second, 4:3 aspect
ratio, also used in Canada, Japan and parts of South America.
Subtitle which is an integral part of the film or programme and cannot
be removed according to the wishes of the viewer.
A method of subtitling cinema film by copying photographed subtitles
onto the film print, in use in different forms since the 1930s.
Phase Alternation Lines. The colour television system, based on 625 scanning
lines, 25 frames/second, 4:3 aspect ratio, used in many
countries of the world.
See: aspect ratio, film
method of subtitling cinema film by impressing the photographic type plate
subtitles directly onto the film copy after chemically removing the emulsion;
in use since the 1930s.
The language used in the master list for preparation of multilingual
PICture ELement. The smallest point of light or colour of an image.
A copy of the text (sometimes with descriptions of the action, language
notes, etc.) of a film or TV show, prepared or edited after shooting. See also
See post-production script.
The text prepared for the shooting of a film or television show, in
most cases not suitable for subtitling, as dialogue as well as the order or
existence of sequences may have been changed. See post-production script.
The space occupied by each letter is a function of its design: a “W”
takes much more space than an “i”.
Used to describe letters that have straight lines without short “adorning”
serifs, at the ends. Considered more readable in subtitles.
The lines that build up the image on the TV screen, 625 lines in the PAL
and SECAM systems (of which 50 are used for information outside the
image), 525 in NTSC and 1250 or 1125 in HDTV.
Syndicat des Constructeurs d’Appareils Radiorécepteurs et
Téléviseurs/Péri-(circum-)télévision. In most European countries simply
called SCART connector. A
multiconnector that is used to connect
many kinds of audiovisual equipment.
SÉquentiel Couleur À Mémoire. Colour television system, based on 625
scanning lines, 25 frames/second, 4:3 aspect ratio, but
differing from PAL; used in France, some African countries and the
countries of the former Soviet Union.
serif The short strokes that mark the ends of the straight (and some of the curved) lines of a letter. Cf. sans serif.
translation and spotting, the
subtitler or an editor reviews the film or program in a simulation session: a
screening with the subtitles on the video screen just as they will appear on
the final product. Modifications of text and timing can be made during the
Synonyms: timing, cueing. Formerly, a mechanical procedure
carried out independently of the content and nuances of the dialogue by
technicians (repérage). Now used to describe the process of defining the in
and out times of individual subtitles.
Abbreviation of stereophonic, two-channel sound equipment. In the
subtitling context, one of the channels can be used for a timecode.
Text which represents what is being said on the screen whether it is a
visible, open subtitle or a closed teletext subtitle which can
be added to the picture if viewers so wish, provided they have a teletext decoder
in their television set.
Super-VHS. An improved version of VHS with consumer, not
An uninterrupted shot taken by a movie or TV camera.
Also known as a scanner: a TV camera coupled to a film projector and
used to convert film images into signals suitable for transmission on
A system by means of which written information is superimposed on a
television signal and broadcast. The signals, concealed in the blanking
lines, activate a character generator in the television set,
which creates the characters and mixes them into the television picture when a
specified teletext page is selected.
When a magnetic or digital recording is time coded, a “clock” is
recorded alongside each frame in
the form 10:41:32.06 , hours:minutes:seconds.frames. (Note that the last two
digits do not represent 1/100s of a
second! There are 24 frames/second in a normal film, 25 frames/second for PAL
and SECAM video and some films, and 30 frames/second for NTSC video.) When the
recording is played, the signal is read and the time code information picked
up and used by e.g. the subtitling equipment. It can be displayed in or
outside the image.
Synonym: spotting or cueing. The process of defining the
in and out times of individual subtitles.
A video cassette recording system for professional use, made by Sony.
There are two versions, high-band, for transmission use principally in ENG,
and low-band, where the quality can be lower.
Video Cassette Recorder. (Also a brand name for a type of home video
cassette, now obsolete.)
Video Home System. Video recording and cassette system, also used in
professional contexts where the image and sound quality does not demand
~ signal, ~ system, ~ camera, ~ disc, etc.
Having to do with the transmission or recording of images and sounds and
presenting them as an image on a screen.
(sometimes abbreviated V-2000) A now obsolete home video system.
See: VHS, S-VHS, Betacam-SP, Digibeta, U-Matic, VCR, Betamax and
is a term mostly used for open-reel magnetic tape of different widths (2",
1" or 2") for broadcast purposes, but is also found in video
Vertical Interval Time Code; a time code usually found on lines
19 to 21 of the blanking lines; highly suitable for subtitle
preparation on a VCR because it remains accurate with slow motion and stills.
See: aspect ratio, film, and aspect ratio, TV.
A feature in word processor and subtitling programs which automatically
takes a word that will not fit onto one line down to the next line.