What’s a gaffer? Can one “NURB” out? Did B-roll get cut from the A-team?

Video production terminology can be complicated if you’re not in the industry. Whether you’re a video veteran or your company is just starting to work with a video production partner, this ever-expanding glossary might hold some useful gems. May this common video production terminology glossary be enlightening.

2D Animation

The process of creating 2-dimensional, or 2D, (height x width) objects that are put into motion in video. Historically, these animations were meticulously hand-drawn frame by frame, then compiled into a 24 frame per minute video sequence. Compare this to a flip book animation you might have created on a pad of sticky notes. Now animation programs, like Toon Boom or Adobe Character Animator, make the process quicker and more robust.

Watch our animation demo reel for examples.

3D Animation

The process of creating 3-dimensional, or 3D, (height x width x depth) objects that are put in motion in video. Though 3D animation historically involved manipulating real objects like clay on film to create stop-motion or claymation, in the modern world this is typically done through computer animation programs, like 3DS Max, Maya, Blender, or Cinema 4D.

3D animation is highly versatile in use and look and feel. For example, it can range from cartoon-like (like Ice Age) to nearly matching real life (like Rocket Raccoon on Guardians of the Galaxy). As technology rapidly advances, it’s becoming increasingly popular outside of entertainment. Animation attracts attention across all ages for industries ranging across product manufacturing, medical and biotech, real estate, and service-based companies.

Extra credit: This “How to Use Animation for Business” article evaluates common ways to use 2D and 3D animation across different industries. With each point are real life video examples we’ve produced for our customers.

NURBS (Non-uniform rational B-spline)

A NURBS is a mathematical model in computer graphics that generates and represents curves or surfaces. In video production, this is an animation and 3D modeling term. Used to map surfaces in 3-dimensional (3D) space, NURBS are great for representing geometric shapes, especially hard surface modeling (like cars or your iphone). Put simply, picture a few dots in space. Those dots are connected by a line. Handles on each dot control the direction and curve of the line as it relates to connected dots in space. Together, these dots and lines become the surface of an object in 3D space. Here’s a screen capture from one of our animators.

NURBS definition | Video Production Terminology

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