Movie Terminology Glossary: L


AKA: Blocking
A person responsible for working out the action before filming begins, including where the characters should be, and the camera angles.

Layout Artist

A person responsible for staging every shot and plotting the action that will take place within each scene, whether it be live action or CGI-based.

Lead Character Technical Director

Oversees the work of a team of character technical directors, partners closely with the Lead Artist to address all issues related to the creation of animated film and/or game characters. Responsible for setting and maintaining the aesthetic and technical quality bar for the character creation team.

Lead Role

AKA: Lead, Female Lead, Male Lead
The most important character in a movie, often distinguished by gender.


AKA:Lead man, Lead person
Member of the art department who is in charge of swing gangs and/or set dressers and reports to the set decorator.


Of a movie: continuing to return large box-office figures.

Legal Services

AKA: Legal Counsel
An attorney or a law firm which is responsible for a broad range of legal services related to filmmaking (film, television, music, digital media and entertainment), including, but not limited to the counseling, drafting and negotiation of subscription and investment agreeemnts, development and production agreements, cast (actor) and crew agreements, distribution agreements, and other related agreements, as well as intellectual property concerns.


An optical device used by a camera to focus an image onto film stock or image sensor.


AKA: Letterboxed, Letterbox
As the aspect ratio of movies are rarely the same as the aspect ratio of a television screen, when showing movies on TV it is necessary to make sacrifices. "Letterboxing" is a video mastering process whereby a film source with an aspect ratio greater than that of the video master (4:3 for NTSC/PAL and 16:9 for HDTV) is transferred to the video master in such a way that no film image is cut off to the left or the right, requiring the addition of (usually) black bars at the top and at the bottom of the image so that it entirely fills the screen--in other words, the technique of shrinking the image just enough so that its entire width appears on screen, with black areas above and below the image. The advantage of this technique is that the film images are shown as originally intended by the film's creators, not interfering with their shot composition and artistic intentions. The disadvantage is that the entire image must be shrunk, which makes viewing on smaller TVs more difficult. Contrast with pan and scan (for DVD, also anamorphic widescreen).


AKA: Lights
Most productions use artificial lighting when filming for various technical and artistic reasons, both on location or on a set. Lighting is designed by the director of photography in consultation with the director, and is the responsibility of the electrical department.

Lighting Crew

AKA: Lighting technician, Lighting technicians
A group of technicians who install, operate, and maintain lighting.

Lighting Department

The section of a production's crew responsible for lighting and other electrical matters during filming. Individual positions within in this department include: Gaffer, Best Boy, Lighting Board Operator, Lamp Operator, Rigging Gaffer, Riggers and genny operator.

Lighting Board Operator

A member of the electrical department who runs a console that controls the level or intensity of the lights, creating a look for the show. This can be simple or complex, involving intensity matching for shot continuity, on-screen effects, moving light control and synchronized work with other departments, like special effects and visual effects.

Lighting Technician

A member of the electrical department that is responsible for operating lights and lighting equipment on a set.

Line Producer

A producer who is responsible for managing every person and issue during the making of a film. Line producers only work on one film at a time. See also: unit production manager, associate producer, co-producer, executive producer.

Lined Script

A copy of the shooting script which is prepared by the script supervisor during production to indicate, via notations and vertical lines drawn directly onto the script pages, exactly what coverage has been shot. A given vertical line indicates, via the line's start and end point, what script material is covered in a particular shot, and whether given dialog or action is on-screen or off-screen in the shot, indicated by the line changing between straight and wavy respectively. Different colored lines usually represent certain types of shots: close-up, insert, steadicam, etc. Each vertical line is also notated with the slate of the shot (e.g. "3C"), the printed takes (e.g. "1, 3, and 4"), and a brief shot description (e.g. "M2S Rolf & Liza"). The lined script also frequently incorporates the script supervisor's script notes on the facing pages for a given scene. The lined script is used by the film editor as a reference to what coverage was shot and to changes made to the script during production. Lined scripts give editors a quick view of all available coverage at a glance, so that he or she can make quick editing decisions without having to sort through all the footage repeatedly.

Live Area

A camera's viewfinder actually shows (and records on film stock) a greater area of the scene than will appear in the final product. Markings are etched in the viewfinder to indicate to the camera operator the extents of the "viewable" film (called the live area). An area beyond that (called the safe area) is also marked; it is in this area that the camera operator might direct the boom operator to place the boom microphone.

Location Filming

AKA: Location, On Location, Location Shooting
Filming which occurs at a place not constructed specifically for the production. Typically this is either outdoors, a well-known location, or a real place which suffices.

Location Manager

A person who manages various aspects of filming a movie on location, such as arranging with authorities for permission to shoot in specific places. The Location Manager is not based on set and therefore has an Assistant Location Manager who represents the department and manages the department's interests on set where the Location Manager's permission is not required or where elements of the Location Managers job has been delegated the Assistant Location Manager to oversee.

Location mixer

A sound mixer responsible for mixing sounds recorded on location.

Location Scout

A person who looks for suitable locations for filming.

Lock it down

AKA: Lock it up, a lock up
A direction given by the assistant director for everyone on the set to be quiet, move out of frame, and to secure the set against anything or one interrupting the shot as it is happening. It is called just prior to speed. The phrase can also be used to securing a location for filming.

Long shot

A camera shot from a great distance, usually showing the characters as very small in comparison to their surroundings.

Look development lead

A person who works in a Digital/CG department and is responsible for wrangling the information from departments upstream like Modeling, Textures, Concept Art, Shaders and Effects and coming up with the final visual design on the look of characters, props, effects and sets that will eventually be used by lighters downstream on final shots. Usually referred to as lookdev.


See Automatic Dialogue Replacement.


A writer of song lyrics.


The words sung in a song; also refers to their writer.