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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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Pace The rhythm of the film. “Pace” refers to both the internal movement of characters and objects within the film shot, and to the rhythm of the film that is supplied by editing. Frenetic movement within the frame and brief, staccato shots give a sense of considerable pace to the film—for example, in the desperate running sequences of Run Lola Run (1998). Little internal movement and lengthy shots add a measured, leisurely pace to the film’s progress. See External rhythm, Internal rhythm, Formal editing.

Pan The movement of the camera across a scene horizontally (left to right or right to left) while mounted on a fixed base. A pan, like a tilt, is frequently used to scan a scene and to follow character movement in a limited location. Establishing shots will often include pans, and sometimes tilts, to provide a more extensive view of an environment. In character movement, the camera can pan to follow an actor’s walk across a room and then tilt down when the actor sinks into an easy chair. Pans and tilts, while for the most part utilitarian, allow the director to present a scene or follow actions fully without edits that might destroy a desired mood. Rapidly effected pans are also ← 205 | 206 → often used dynamically to reveal character reactions or to reveal and emphasize important information (“revelation pans”). Pans can also be incorporated into subjective shots as the camera assumes the eyes of a character and surveys a room...

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