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Terms and Glossary

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Cable equalisation

The process of altering the frequency response of a video amplifier to compensate for high frequency losses in coaxial cable

Capstan Motor

The rotating motor driven shaft that governs the linear speed of the tape in video or audio tape transports.


Term for artwork, lettering or diagrams used in video programmes.


Microphone with a directional pick-up pattern.


Recording medium with both take-up and supply spools enclosed in a semi dustproof container


Charge Coupled Device. Light sensitive chip used for optical scanning.


International Radio Consultative Committee. An international standards committee. (This organization is now known as ITU)


Camera Control Unit. Allows remote control of many camera engineering functions.


Compact Disc. Laser read disc digitally encoded for perfect reproduction.

Chroma Key

Technique which allows a vision mixer to substitute a saturated colour (blue or yellow) in a picture for another source (captions, slides, film).


Part of video signal that conveys colour information.

Cliff Effect

(Also referred to as the 'Digital Cliff') This is a phenomenon found in digital video systems that describes the sudden deterioration of picture quality due to excessive bit errors, often caused by excessive cable lengths. The digital signal will be perfect even though one of its signal parameters is approaching or passing the specified limits. At a given moment however, the parameter will reach a point where the data can no longer be interpreted correctly, and the picture will be totally unrecognisable

Closed Caption

A system of encoding word characters onto certain lines of a video stream which can be decoded and displayed by a compatible television. Provides program subtitles for the hearing impaired


The cloud refers to remote services accessible via the internet.


An acronym of Compression, Decompression. A device or piece of software which takes one file or signal format and translates it to another with an ideally undetectable loss of quality

Coded orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (COFDM)

The modulation scheme selected by the DVB committee for digital terrestrial broadcast television.


The magnetising force required to reduce the magnetism of a sample to zero (used when testing tape).

Colour Bars

Specific strips of colour used to test image quality.

Colour Black

An analog video signal that displays a black screen. This signal is often used as a reference signal for timing purposes

Compact Flash CF Card

A low-cost consumer camera card used in higher-end DSLR cameras and the Canon XF305 and C300.


Recording of colour signal in separate component parts, e.g. chrominance and luminance, to avoid artefacts caused by composite methods.

Component analogue

The non-encoded analog output of a camera, video tape recorder, etc., consisting of the three primary colour signals: red, green, and blue (RGB) that together convey all necessary picture information. In some component video formats these three components have been translated into a luminance signal and two colour difference signals, for example Y, B-Y, R-Y

Component Colour

Structure of a video signal wherein the R, G, and B signals are kept separate from one another or wherein luminance and two band-limited color-difference signals are kept separate from one another. The separation may be achieved by separate channels, or by time-division multiplexing, or by a combination of both

Component Digital

A digital representation of a component analog signal set, most often Y, B-Y, R-Y. The encoding parameters are specified by CCIR-601. CCIR-656 and SMPTE 125M specify the parallel interface


Signal comprising luminance and chrominance using one of the coding standards, e.g. PAL.

Composite Analogue

An encoded video signal such as NTSC or PAL video that includes horizontal and vertical synchronising information

Composite Colour

Structure of a video signal wherein the luminance and two band-limited color-difference signals are simultaneously present in the channel. The format may be achieved by frequency-division multiplexing, quadrature modulation, etc

Composite Digital

A digitally encoded video signal, such as NTSC or PAL video that includes horizontal and vertical synchronising information


A mathematical method of reducing the amount of digital information needed to re-create a television picture or frame.

Conditional access (CA)

A cryptographic technique for controlling which receivers are able to access a particular signal.


Re-link the edit sequence to the high resolution master media after a low resolution edit.

Constant Bitrate CBR

As the name suggests, this is where the bitrate remains the same throughout the duration of the clip.

Content protection (CP)

Cryptographic and design techniques used to limit how data flows within a receiving device and between devices. This is generally used to restrict copying of copyright-protected material.


A gain control range between dark and light levels.

Control Track

The portion along the video tape which contains the synchronisation information to control playback.


Accuracy of colour registration.


Interference of one signal with another.


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