A&B Rolls – The negative of an edited film, cut to correspond to picture, built into 2 rolls, A and B, to allow for invisible splices, instant changes of the timing lights and fades and dissolves without the need for opticals. The A roll will have all the odd numbered shots, with black leader in place of all the missing shots. The B roll will have all the even numbered shots, with black leader in place of all the shots on the A roll. The negative is printed in three passes through the contact printer, one for each roll and another for the soundtrack. Only after all the elements have been exposed onto the print stock is the print developed.
Academy Aperture – In 35mm this is the full frame exposed by the camera, with an aspect ratio of 1.33. When the film is projected there is a mask in the projector’s gate to change the aspect ratio to 1.85 or 1.66, cropping the top and bottom of the image. Older films were not shot to be masked and should be projected without a mask. The Academy Aperture is sometimes called the Full Academy Aperture.
Academy Leader – This is standard countdown leader, counting down 8 to 3 and then with one frame of 2, at which point there is a single frame beep on the sound track. It is used at the beginning of a film for the lab to line up sound (using the beep) and later for the projectionist to know when to turn on the lamp and hopefully not miss the opening of the film. A common mistake is to count the footage from the 2, but actually frame zero is the one right before the first 8, a single frame with the words “Picture Start.” Academy Leader is sometimes also known as S.M.P.T.E. leader.
A.D.R. – Automated Dialogue Recording. This is just Dubbing, done in addition to or as a substitution for Location Sound. The term A.D.R., being something of a mysterious acronym, has a certain appeal, as it obscures the fact that dubbing was involved when it appears in the credits of your film. This might have something to do with the current prevalence of the term.
Anamorphic – A method of creating a wide screen image with standard film, using a special lens on the camera and projector that compresses the width of the image that is exposed on the film and then expands it when projected.
Answer Print – This is the first corrected print made from the A&B Rolls, printed with the optical track. It is sometimes called a married print because it is the first time that picture and sound are wed together on the same piece of print stock. If you are not overly optimistic about the results of the timing, you can call this the First Answer Print. When there are further corrections in timing the next print is known as the Second Answer Print, followed by a Third Answer Print and so on.
Aperture – This is the same as the Iris.
Apple Box – This is a wooden box, often helpful on the set to raise up equipment, for the camera person to stand on if the tripod is up very high etc. Often you will find them used as seats by the less involved participants. There are also half apples and quarter apples, which as you might expect, are half and one quarter as thick respectively.
Arm – A metal rod that is attached to a C-Stand which can extend off to the side.
Aspect Ratio – The proportions of the frame. In 16mm and 35mm the camera photographs a slightly square image, with an aspect ratio of 1.33 to 1. Aspect Ratios are usually shorted to leave out the “- to 1,” taking for granted that it will always be in relation to 1, an so “1.33 to 1” can just be called “1.33” In 35mm 1.33 is known as the Academy Aperture. In 35mm the image is usually shot with the Academy Aperture and then masked in the projector to produce a wider image: 1.85 in the U.S. and 1.66 in Europe.
A.S.A. – This is the sensitivity to light of a particular type of film. It is the specific number used to measure Film Speed. It is the same as I.E. and I.S.O. A.S.A. stands for American Standards Association, the organization that standardized the scale of measurement of film speed.
– – This is the emulsion position of the film. There are two possibilities, just as there are two sides to a piece of film. Camera original is B-Wind. A print struck from it will be A-Wind. This is because film is printed emulsion against emulsion.
To tell if a piece of film is A-Wind or B-Wind hold it up with the emulsion facing you. If it is A-Wind the image will read correctly, if it is B-Wind it will be mirror image. A-Wind and B-Wind material usually cannot be mixed, unless you don’t mind things being mirror image or some material being soft in focus as a result of being printed base-to-emulsion (the solution is usually optical printing). But mostly, issues of A-Wind and B-Wind do not come up all that frequently. It usually only comes up when you have just completed your sound mix and the mixing house asks if you need a B-Wind track. If it is to be used with the negative from your camera the answer is “yes.”