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-   -   What are we? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/general-hd-720-1080-acquisition/59867-what-we.html)

David Kennett February 4th, 2006 12:06 PM

What are we?
Over the years I've cringed a little when I hear someone say they're "filming" something, when they are obviously "taping" it. Now it seems both of these terms are becoming inaccurate. I'm betting that the future of sound and motion picture recording will involve neither "film" nor "tape". Are we to call ourselves "discmakers", or "cardmakers"?. Memory card that is!

How did we get hung up on these terms anyway? Motion picture "film" involves putting a photosensitive "film" an a transparent "ribbon". Kodak and Fuji are the "filmmakers". We who "shoot" (not to be confused with terrorists), and "edit" (not to be confused with publishers), are really moviemakers, are we not.

Back when 3M made "videotape", I phoned and asked for the tape department, and I was asked "sticky or magnetic?". Come to think of it, Why did we start calling it magnetic recording "tape" instead of recording "ribbon", or "film". But then the "filmmakers" already had 35mm magnetic "film". It had sprocket holes, so I guess that made it "film".

At one time we had "The Society of Motion Picture Engineers" (SMPE). Later they decided to change the name to "The Society of Motion Picture and TELEVISION Engineers" (SMPTE). What! Television isn"t a motion picture?

If "filmmakers" are those who make "movies", then "farmers" could be called "stomachmakers". Think about it awhile. It tracks!

"Motion picture", "movie", "moviemaker" are all terms describing the process or the result - not the medium on which we place the results of our labor. Can we use these - or do we need something new?

We're not alone in this! We all read newsPAPERS (which have PRINT on the paper), but the printer uses rolls of newsPRINT (which is paper withOUT print on it.

I think we need to quit "filming" and "taping"!

Emre Safak February 4th, 2006 12:40 PM

I don't like to say "cut!" or "print!" on the set because it does not apply to me. I just yell "stop".

Matt Davis February 4th, 2006 01:17 PM

Could be worse...

Originally Posted by David Kennett
I've cringed a little when I hear someone say they're "filming" something, when they are obviously "taping" it. I think we need to quit "filming" and "taping"!

If one can stomach the verbification of nouns, we use videoing quite a lot.

One term I really hate, but acquiesse because it's both understandable by the laypeople and almost accurate is 'videographer' though it seems to call up entirely the wrong image.

And who decided that one 'ingests' video? Why isn't it uploading or copying? Or even digitising if you want to be precious. And what of 'print to tape'? And why is a folder or directory on a computer suddenly called a bin in an NLE? To make editors feel at home? So make an icon that looks like a muslin bag, not a folder. And why do video clip icons have perforations? Yada yada yada.

And don't get me started about audio software that faithfully recreates knobs and sliders in stunning complexity that just inherit all the worst bits if manipulated with a mouse. It's like trying to operate a mixing desk with chopsticks.

But Nurse says I must rest now. There's nice stuff too. Non-geeks used to love 'Scuzzy' (SCSI) and warm to 'Bitsie' (BITC).

I think there's milage in 'movies' - pictures that move. You can shoot a movie, you can record a movie, you can cut a movie (less letters than slice or disect). Movie makers, movie editors, and so on. Yes it's cutesy, but it has a bit of history and needn't make a distinction between film, tape or data.

Mike Marriage February 4th, 2006 01:23 PM

I still call "cut" as a force of habit. Don't call "check the gate" anymore though. :)

Dylan Pank February 4th, 2006 03:15 PM


Originally Posted by David Kennett
I think we need to quit "filming" and "taping"!

Erm... how about "shooting" - or will that be silly if no-one has any guns?

Bill McMullen February 4th, 2006 05:39 PM

It's a tough call, but I think now it's more important to say 'filming' something if it's actually being filmed, as it can allude to the cost or quality affixed to actually using film. Not to say that video isn't high quality or is inexpensive, but realistically, when I hear someone is still on film, I know it's serious, or at least it's costing them like it's serious. I think you know what I'm getting at.

So, in my work, which is most often video, I will use the term 'shooting,' as it's referring to the camera, rather than the medium.

Richard Alvarez February 4th, 2006 06:21 PM

"What are we?"

Quite a question. I happen to be a 'storyteller'.

I am also a 'filmmaker' as I have shot on film, and will undoubtedly do so again, at least for a while. So I feel comfortable saying I am a "Filmmaker" even if my last 'movie' was shot on tape.

When I'm behind the viewfinder, I can be a cameraman, regardless of format. I can be the director of photography, even if I'm not operating the camera.

Certainly, when I am shooting video, I am also a videographer in addition to being a cameraman and possibly the director of photography. But if a passerby asks "What are you FILMING" I will reply "We are SHOOTING a movie" and let the distinction slide. The truly curious will ask if it's film or video or HD or whatever.

Nate Weaver February 4th, 2006 08:04 PM

Are we not men?

We are Devo.

Peter Ferling February 4th, 2006 08:50 PM

It will always be "filming", or "video taping" depending on the setting. Then again, it also depends on the level of profession. That is, folks not in the know or outsiders, will witness the "filming" of actors shot on a location, or will think "video taping" when Uncle Bob shoots junior's birthday party, or when I'm shooting a corporate event. Never mind that in todays world that all three events just described may actually be shot using the same camera!

Perhaps then, it's a means to seperate the boys from the men, the pros from the hobbiest, and cream from the cr*p. So film on you lucky dog's, and be happy that your ain't video taping!


William Hohauser February 4th, 2006 11:02 PM

Words that still work:
"Rolling" - Tape still rolls, P2.... well
"Quiet on the Set!!!!!!!!" - this will never go away.

Words that command attention despite the technical inconsistancies:
"Cut" - been using this for shooting even though no one has had to cut a tape for editing in 40 years. Sound better than "Button!" or "Trigger!"
"We're filming" - as in "we're filming, please don't walk in front of the camera".
"Print" - Sounds good. Makes no sense, even in editing.

Useless term still used on the set:
"Speed" - this has become archaic since digital video and sound recording took hold.

I suppose that the day when actual film becomes a specialty item, we'll still be calling digitally projected entertainment movies or films.

When working on a series for a cable network, everyone talks about "air dates" even though "air" implies broadcasting which is not happening.

How many shot-on-video films have a "Director of Photography"? A photograph traditionally denotes something recorded on light-sensitive material so the title is absurd in a digital production. But since word "photograph" can be thought as a combination of the words "Photon" and "Graph", the word "photograph" therefore can be defined as "light written down in specific way". This defines digital video is a method of writing down light. Digital video is data and data is spoken of as being written. So digital filmaking is a form of photography.

I'm now accepting job offers for my new career as a political speechwriter.

Jason Lowe February 7th, 2006 09:31 AM


Originally Posted by Nate Weaver
Are we not men?

We are Devo.

My first thought too :)

In the post 9/11 world, I avoid the word "shooting". A lot of my taping (filming? videographing?) is of railroads, and if I say I'm going off to "shoot some trains" this weekend, some overly-sensitive eavesrdropper might turn me in to DHS.

Jaime Valles February 7th, 2006 10:33 AM

I make motion pictures. Motion pictures are called "films" nowadays. It doesn't matter if the camera involved is recording onto a reel of actual celluloid film, to a videotape, or a P2 card. You're still recording moving images, therefore you are "filming".

No? Then why don't we call still-photographers "filmmakers"? They ARE taking pictures on film (unless, of course, it's a digital still camera). But we call them "photographers" because they are producing photographs. We call ourselves "filmmakers" because we are producing films, regardless of the recording medium.

When movie theaters have all-digital projectors, and all hollywood movies are shot digitally, they will still be called films. It has become a word with several meanings. From Dictionary.com:

film (n.)
1. A thin skin or membrane.

2. A thin, opaque, abnormal coating on the cornea of the eye.

3. A thin covering or coating: a film of dust on the piano.

4. A thin, flexible, transparent sheet, as of plastic, used in wrapping or packaging.

5. a) A thin sheet or strip of flexible material, such as a cellulose derivative or a thermoplastic resin, coated with a photosensitive emulsion and used to make photographic negatives or transparencies.
b) A thin sheet or strip of developed photographic negatives or transparencies.

6. a)A movie.
b) Movies considered as a group.

7. A coating of magnetic alloys on glass used in manufacturing computer storage devices.

Those are the fist definitions. But then it says this:

Word History: One indication of the gulf between us and our Victorian predecessors is that the Oxford English Dictionary fascicle containing the word film, published in 1896, does not have the sense “a motion picture.” The one hint of the future to be found among still familiar older senses of the word, such as “a thin skin or membranous coating” or “an abnormal thin coating on the cornea,” is the sense of film used in photography, a sense referring to a coating of material, such as gelatin, that could substitute for a photographic plate or be used on a plate or on photographic paper. Thus a word that has been with us since Old English times took on this new use, first recorded in 1845, which has since developed and now refers to an art form, a sense first recorded in 1920.

Nice food for thought!

Richard Alvarez February 7th, 2006 11:01 AM


I like your reasoning. Perhaps it should be extended further.

Videotape, is a plastic FILM coated with a thin FILM of mettalic crystals. Therefore, we ARE shooting film.

Pressing the analogy to hard drives, might be a bit of a stretch. Unless one considers the disks as also being coated with a thin MAGNETIC film??? P2 cards might bust the analogy - ditto any other solid state memory card.

On the other hand, even those 'movies' shot on tape now, are released on film.

Steve House February 7th, 2006 11:55 AM


Originally Posted by William Hohauser
Words that still work:
Useless term still used on the set:
"Speed" - this has become archaic since digital video and sound recording took hold.


I think "Speed" still applies, meaning recording active, signals are good, ready to capture the action.

Nick Jushchyshyn February 7th, 2006 02:47 PM

Many of the terms used today are handed down from terms that are not "technically" applicable anymore.

In visual effects we get raw "plates" from the shoot, even though it's been a good 100 years since shooting images on glass plates was the common approach.
We still have matte paintings, even though the concept of actually matting off the camera to handle compositing has long since been replaced by modern approaches ..... heck, how often are matte BOXES actually used to hold mattes anymore, since vinettes and such effects are typically handled in post.

I was ammused, though, the last time I was on a CineAlta F950 shoot, the director would still call "roll camera" and a guy capturing to a RAID array via FCP would answer "speed" to indicate that capture had started.

Anyway, long story short, continuing to use phrases like "filming", "cut" and such wouldn't be the first time that terms from older technolgies were adopted by entirely new processes.

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