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Dictionary of Film Terms

The Aesthetic Companion to Film Art – Fifth Edition

Frank Beaver

Now in its fifth edition, Frank Beaver’s Dictionary of Film Terms has become an indispensable reference tool for the study of films and filmmaking. This trusted and practical handbook clearly and concisely defines the essential terms of film analysis and film art, with a special focus on the aesthetic parameters and values of filmmaking.
The updated and expanded edition includes new definitions ranging from «bullet-time» optical effects, to the coming-of-age narrative, and LED lighting technology in science fiction films such as Gravity. More than 200 film title references not cited in previous editions have been added. Many classic and contemporary photo stills are included to illustrate terms. Extensive cross-referencing among individual definitions ensures easy access to interrelated terms, and a comprehensive topical index relates to larger concepts of film art.
This up-to-date and comprehensive resource is a useful companion for film students and filmgoers, who will find it illuminating in its range and clarity.
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Background music Music that appears on the sound track as accompaniment to a film scene. Background music may be specially supplied accompaniment, or it may appear to originate from a source within the scene, e.g., an orchestra, a phonograph, or a radio. (The latter type of background music is referred to by musical composers as source music. Film theorists often refer to source music as diegetic music.) In feature films, background music is usually employed to reinforce mood or emphasize action. The amount of background music varies according to the filmmaker’s intentions, often appearing liberally in screen melodramas, for example, and less noticeably in the works of realist directors. Classical background music can play a major role in developing and underscoring the emotional tenor within a film or in individual scenes. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 appears as background music throughout the poignant British romance drama Brief Encounter (1945). The emotionally charged climactic scenes of the biopic Yves Saint Laurent (2014) have as background music opera arias sung by Maria Callas.

Back light (see Lighting: Actor light)

← 27 | 28 → Back projection (see Rear screen projection)

Backstage musical (see Musical film)

Back story A term for the incorporation of new narrative details within a screenplay as the plot develops—details that enrich the plot and help further define the characters. The introduction of new information—through dialogue, flashbacks, etc.—as the story progresses is a means by which a screenplay gains...

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