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Glossary - S

All terms

Sabre Artist Someone who produces special effects by combining software programmes
Sag – Screen Actors Guild Screen Actors Guild
Saturation The depth of colour in film
Scenic Artist The person responsible for backdrops and murals, answers to the production designer
Score The music written specifically for a film
Screen Test An actor’s filmed audition
Screenplay A script written specifically for film as opposed to TV
Screenwriter The author of the screenplay, whether adapted or original

The screenplay, text version of the project

Script Consultant

Script Doctor - A professional screenwriter brought in to tweak or re-write various aspects of the screenplay or script

Script Doctor A professional screenwriter brought in to tweak or re-write various aspects of the screenplay or script
Script Supervisor The person responsible for the continuity on the production, liaising closely with all departments. Also writes a daily production report
Second AD

Second Assistant Director - Someone who works specifically for the first AD, often co-ordinating with the cast

Second Assistant Director Someone who works specifically for the first AD, often co-ordinating with the cast
Second Unit The smaller crew of a large-scale film used to shoot the secondary scenes, as opposed to the principal photography
Sequence Shot

Long Take - A particularly lengthy or uninterrupted shot

Set The physical area used for filming
Set Decorator The person responsible for providing the dressing for the set, which could include curtains, furniture, crockery and artwork
Set Designer The person who designs the scenery and the set
Set Dresser The person who actually physically puts the objects in place on the set
Set-Piece A scene or sequence which could stand alone, often one of physical action such as a car chase
Shingle A production company
Shiny Floor Show Large scale entertainment show filmed in a studio
Shooting Ratio The proportion of footage shot compared to amount actually seen in the final product
Shooting Script A document created by the director from the screenplay, which breaks the scenes down into individual shots of set-ups
Short Legs A very low tripod
Shot List A round-up of all the shots due to be filmed over one day’s filming
Shotgun Microphone One which can pick up sounds from a long distance away, often used in wildlife recording
Shoulder Mount

A camera rig designed to rest on a cameraman’s shoulder with two forward handles to move and hold the camera in place while on the move.



A montage of an actor, crew member or company's work, used to secure future jobs

Showrunner A senior role in TV drama, the showrunner has a say in many of the creative decisions. Often the creator or writer of the drama with an executive producer credit
Shutter Speed The length of time during which a single frame is exposed to light
Side Lighting When a person or object is lit from the side
Sight Line The imaginary line between the subject and the object
Simulcast When a broadcaster transmits from an already existing broadcast event, eg going live to a rock concert or press conference
Slate Board

Clapper Board - A board with information about a shot used to synchronise picture and sound

Sleeper Hit A film or TV production that does well through word-of-mouth rather than expensive or advance promotion
Slugline Written in capitals, a three-part summary that occurs at the beginning of every scene in a screenplay to denote firstly whether the action is interior or exterior (INT or EXT); secondly the location of the scene, eg IN PAUL’S KITCHEN; thirdly the particular time of day at which that scene occurs, eg DAWN
Snoot A tube or funnel fitted over the end of a light source to narrow the field of illumination

(sometimes called a Bodymount) A camera frame that is rigged to the body of the actor, facing them directly, so when they walk, they do not appear to move, but everything around them does.

Soap An ongoing drama series
Sound Assistant Supports the sound department and looks after the audio equipment
Sound Bite Short snippet of an interview or statement
Sound Designer The person responsible for everything the audience hears
Sound Mixer The person who records all sounds on set or on location
Sound Recordist The person responsible for everything to do with the sound quality
Source Music Music that is generated by something or someone visible on screen, eg a band or a radio
Spec Script

(also known as a speculative screenplay) Called this because they are a non-commissioned or unsolicited screenplay. 

Special Effects Visual or audio effects created mechanically using props or optically using the camera
Special Effects Designer Someone who creates all the special effects used, working closely with HoDs and the director from early in the pre-production process
Special Effects Supervisor Department head in charge of the whole special effects team
Spill Unwanted light in the shot
Squib A special effects prop, a small device which detonates to create the noise of a tiny explosion or bullet, often worn by the actor. Can also contain fake blood released when detonated

A single chord that adds dramatic impact to a scene in a film to raise tension.

Stand-In A body double used to line up shots or for nude scenes
Steadicam A mount which stabilises the camera so that it is not affected by any movement made by the operator. A brand name which has become a generic term
Stills Photographs of the film taken during shooting
Sting When sound is used to punctuate segments of a film
Stock Footage Library or archive footage that can be used in other productions, sometimes in exchange for a fee
Stop-Motion An animation method which films one or two frames at a time. The objects are moved fractionally between frames resulting in the impression of movement, such as Wallace and Gromit
Story Editor

(sometimes known as a supervising producer) A member of the screenwriting staff who edits stories for screenplays.


Storyboard A sketch or series of sketches laying out how the project will play out, often scene by scene
Strike To remove a piece of equipment from the set
Stunt Co-Ordinator Plans, designs and oversees all stunts within a production. Also hires the stunt performers
Stunt Engineer Someone who creates all special equipment and rigging needed in stunts
Stunt Performer The person who performs the dangerous stunts in film or TV
Subtitling Visual translation or transcription of the dialogue that appears at the bottom of the screen
Swish Pan When one or more cameras move extremely quickly to create a blur
Sword And Sandal Epic Slang term for a historical or biblical film such as Ben Hur