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The central display on a video screen. A loss of 10-15% of the edges of the image is to be expected because of overscanning on video monitors. Designers should plan to stay in the “safe-area” when creating graphics for video. Also known as Safe-Title Area.  Defined by SMPTE standards as 10% smaller than the maximum image size.

Safe Title Area

The area of a viewing monitor deemed to be readable on all domestic television sets and therefore safe for text. Defined by SMPTE standards as 20% smaller than the maximum image size.

 Safety Film

A photographic film whose base is fire-resistant or slow burning. At the present time, the terms "safety film" and "acetate film" are synonymous.


Safe Area Generator. A piece of equipment that displays lines on a monitor corresponding to safe action, and safe title cut off. Often it will also show aspect ratios, center cross and definable references

SAM  (Session Account Manager)

Part of the TCS which allows administrators to set up user access to TCS Workstations. Users are given access to specific TCS functionality at specific TCS Workstations.


Process by which an analog signal is measured, often millions of times per second for video, in order to convert the analog signal to digital. The official sampling standard for standard definition television is ITU-R 601.
For TV pictures eight or 10 bits are normally used; for sound, 16 or 20-bits are common, and 24-bits are being introduced. The ITU-R 601 standard defines the sampling of video components based on 13.5 MHz, and AES/EBU defines sampling of 44.1 and 48 kHz for audio.

Sampling Frequency

The number of discrete sample measurements made in a given period of time. Often expressed in megahertz for video.

SAP Separate Audio Program

SAPS  (Signal Acquisition and Processing System)

The financial package TCS talks to.


Properly, a celestial body orbiting another of larger size. Commonly used to describe communications transceivers which are in geostationary orbit around the earth.

Satellite Time

Often referred to as space segment, referring to the amount of time booked on a communications satellite. In most cases, satellite time is sold in one-hour increments.

Satellite vs. Terrestrial Network

In general, satellite networks are used for videoconferencing where terrestrial networks are unavailable, such as remote areas or overseas locations. Terrestrial networks are generally preferred, all other things being equal, because they offer shorter signal transmission delays than satellite networks.


A derivative of the Vidicon pickup tube capable of excellent resolution, resistance to lag and ghosting, and good low-light capability.


Refers to the intensity of a color (hue).  Highly saturated yellows are illegal colors in NTSC.  A measure of the dilution of a pure color with white light. The amount of color in a picture.

SAV  (Start of Active Video)

A synchronizing signal used in component digital video.

SBE  (Society of Broadcast Engineers)


SC/H Phase  (Subcarrier-to-Horizontal Sync Phase)

A basic relationship between the color reference and the horizontal sync that is useful to monitor during videotape editing.  When playback of a video hits an edit point, the video may jump horizontally if the SC/H Phase error exceeds ± 40 degrees (RS-170A specification).

Scalable Coding

The ability to encode a visual sequence so as to enable the decoding of the digital data stream at various spatial and/or temporal resolutions. Scalable compression techniques typically filter the image into separate bands of spatial and/or temporal data. Appropriate data reduction techniques are then applied to each band to match the response characteristics of human vision.

Scalable Video:

Refers to video compression that can handle a range of bandwidths, scaling smoothly over them.


Changing the size of something.

Scan Converter

A digital signal processor that converts the high scan rate output of the computer display card to a high-quality broadcast video signal rate. Scan converters differ from encoding boards and boxes in that they usually can take a variety of scan rates from many computer systems, and they are usually in the higher price range: $8000 to $12,000.

Scan Line

A complete horizontal row of pixels on the display surface of a CRT.


The process of breaking down an image into a series of elements representing light values and transmitting these elements in time sequence. The process of telecine transfer, or film digitizing.

Scan Rate

The speed at which the electron beam scans the picture tube. Computer displays operate on different scan rates than standard video.


The rotating head drum used in helical scan recorders. (See Helical Recording).


The rapid trace of the electron beam horizontally (from left to right) across the picture tube to "paint" each field of a video frame.


A single element of a film or program, with unique location action and camera. A scene can comprise of many events.

 Scene by Scene

Applying different enhancements to each scene of a program.


The cornerstone file of the TCS. A timeline in cellular format which is used to schedule products and, through merging with the On-Air Schedule, drives the Automation System.


A GUI designed to support advanced planning.

SCR  (System Clock Reference)

A time stamp in the program stream from which decoded timing is derived.


1. To transpose or invert digital data according to a prearranged scheme in order to break up the low-frequency patterns associated with serial digital signals. 2. The digital signal is shuffled to produce a better spectral distribution.
See also: Encryption.


A translucent diffuser placed over a light to soften its intensity

SCSI  (Small Computer Systems Interface)

A very widely used high data rate general purpose parallel interface. A maximum of eight devices can be connected to one bus, for example a controller, and up to seven disks or devices of different sorts-Winchester disks, optical disks, tape drives, etc.-and may be shared between several computers.
SCSI specifies a cabling standard (50-way), a protocol for sending and receiving commands and their format. It is intended as a device-independent interface so the host computer needs no details about the peripherals it controls. But with two versions (single ended and balanced), two types of connectors and numerous variations in the level of implementation of the interface, SCSI devices cannot "plug and play" on a computer with which they have not been tested. Also, with total bus cabling for the popular single ended configuration limited to 18 feet (6 meters), all devices must be close.
SCSI is popular and has continued development over a number of years resulting in the following range of maximum transfer rates:

Standard SCSI: 5 Mbps (max.)
Fast SCSI: 10 Mbps (max.)
Ultra SCSI: 20 Mbps (max.)
For each of these there is the 8-bit normal "narrow" bus (1 byte per transfer) or the 16-bit Wide bus (2 bytes per transfer), so Wide Ultra SCSI could transfer data at a maximum rate of 40 Mbps. Note that these are peak rates. Continuous rates will be considerably less. Also, achieving this will depend on the performance of the connected device.

Differential SCSI

An electrical signal configuration where information is sent simultaneously through sets of wires in a cable. Information is interpreted by the difference in voltage between the wires. Differential interfaces permit cable lengths up to 75 feet (25 meters).

Single-Ended SCSI

An electrical signal configuration where information is sent through one wire in a cable. Information is interpreted by the change in the voltage of the signal. Single-ended interfaces permit cable lengths up to 18 feet (6 meters).An intelligent controller standard used to connect peripherals like CD-ROM drives and printers to microcomputers.

SDDI  (Serial Digital Data Interface)

A way of compressing digital video for use on SDI-based equipment proposed by Sony. Now incorporated into Serial digital transport interface.
see: Serial digital transport interface.

SDI  (Serial Digital Interface)

The standard based on a 270 Mbps transfer rate. This is a 10-bit, scrambled, polarity independent interface, with common scrambling for both component ITU-R 601 and composite digital video and four channels of (embedded) digital audio. Most new broadcast digital equipment includes SDI which greatly simplifies its installation and signal distribution. It uses the standard 75 ohm BNC connector and coax cable as is commonly used for analog video, and can transmit the signal over 600 feet (200 meters) depending on cable type.

SDT  (Service Description Table

Contains data describing the services in the system including the names of the service and service provider.

SDTI  (Serial Digital Transport Interface)

SMPTE 305M. Allows faster-than-realtime transfers between various servers and between acquisition tapes, disk-based editing systems and servers, with both 270 Mb and 360 Mb are supported. With typical realtime compressed video transfer rates in the 18 Mbps to 25 Mbps to 50 Mbps range, SDTI's 200+ Mbps payload can accommodate transfers up to four times normal speed.

The SMPTE 305M standard describes the assembly and disassembly of a stream of 10-bit data words that conform to SDI rules. Payload data words can be up to 9 bits. The 10th bit is a complement of the 9th to prevent illegal SDI values from occurring. The basic payload is inserted between SAV and EAV although an appendix permits additional data in the SDI ancillary data space as well. A header immediately after EAV provides a series of flags and data IDs to indicate what's coming as well as line counts and CRCs to check data continuity.


Standard Definition Television. Usually refers to PAL or NTSC 601 standards.

Search Time

The amount of time required by a computer or disc player to locate specific data in the storage medium.

SECAM  (Sequential with Memory)

Systeme Electronique Pour Colour Avec Memorie.  Another color TV format similar to PAL. This color television system developed in France, and used there and in most of the former communist-block countries and a few other areas including parts of Africa.  The major differences between the two are that in SECAM the chroma is FM modulated and the R'-Y' and B'-Y' signals are transmitted line sequentially. SECAM stands for Sequentiel Couleur Avec Memoire or Sequential Color with Memory.

Secondary Correction

In color processing terminology "secondary" corrections are those that only affect a specific color within an image. The da Vinci 888 provides both a conventional 6 vector secondary system and a unique user definable Kilovector secondary system.


A subdivision of a table.  If there is a change in the table, only the section affected is transmitted.


The physical data block of a CD-ROM, hard-disk, or other computer storage device.


1. This is usually a part of a program or show.  A program can have an opening segment, may have any number of middle or numbered segments and would usually have a closing segment.  A single segment would not normally be aired by itself. 2. A segment of a segmented (or divided) program. It will have a unique SOM, DUR, and EOM from other segments located on the same cassette.

Selective Synchronization

A multi-track audio recording term: circuit that temporarily coverts a record head into a playback head to facilitate multi-track overdubbing.

Send-Only Picture Processor

In videoconferencing systems, a transmit-only picture processor, acting as a coder.


A measure of the minimum amount of light required to produce a peak white signal at a specified lens aperture. The less light required, the greater the sensitivity. (See Peak White).


A coded video sequence that commences with a sequence header and is followed by one or more groups of pictures and is ended by a sequence end code.

Sequential Switcher

In Closed Circuit TV systems, a switcher that automatically displays camera pictures in a set sequential order pre-determined by the user.

Serial Communications

Multi-pin digital communication lines allowing several communications to occur sequentially along each conductor enabling the connected devices to talk and to receive at the same time.

Serial Control

Remote control of a device over a data line down which the control signals are sent one after the other. i.e. serially. In common use on most VTRs.

Serial Digital

Digital information that is transmitted in serial form. Often used informally to refer to serial digital television signals.

Serial Digital Data Interface  (See SDDI)

Serial Digital Interface  ( See SDI)

Serial Digital Transport Interface  (See SDTI)

Serial Digital Video

Composite (D2) or Component (D1) digital video passed down a single coaxial cable. The current standard calls for a 270 Mbit per second sampling rate and provides for 10 bit video, although 8 bits are commonly used.

Serial Interface

A digital communications interface in which data is transmitted and received sequentially along a single wire or pair of wires. Common serial interface standards are RS-232 and RS-422.

Serial Port       

The input/output port used as a simple asynchronous serial data communications interface. Serial ports are used to connect the Device Server to the devices controlled by the server.

Serial Storage Architecture  (SSA)

A high speed data interface developed by IBM and used to connect numbers of storage devices (disks) with systems. Three technology generations are planned: 20 Mbps and 40 Mbps are now available, and 100 Mbps is expected to follow.

Serial Video Processing

A video mixing architecture where a series of video multipliers, each combining two video signals, is cascaded or arranged in a serial fashion. The output of one multiplier feeds the input of the next, and so on, permitting effects to be built up, one on top of the other.


A device that converts parallel digital information to serial.

Serration Pulses

Vertical serrations are a series of small notches (pulses) found within the blanking for vertical sync.  The serrations are used to help stabilize a monitor or television receiver's horizontal sync circuits during the time that no horizontal picture information is displayed.

Server (File)

A storage system that provides data files to all connected users of a local network. Typically the file server is a computer with large disk storage which is able to record or send files as requested by the other connected (client) computers-the file server often appearing as another disk on their systems.   A computer on a network that answers requests for information, such as Web servers, FTP servers and secure servers. The term server is also used  to refer to the software that makes serving information possible.

The data files are typically around a few kilobytes in size and are expected to be delivered within moments of request.

Server (Video)

A storage system that provides audio and video storage for a network of clients. While there are some analog systems based on optical disks, most used in professional and broadcast applications are based on digital disk storage.
Aside from those used for video on demand (VOD), video servers are applied in three areas of television operation: transmission, post production and news. Compared to general purpose file servers, video severs must handle far more data, files are larger and must be continuously delivered.
There is no general specification for video servers and so the performance between models varies greatly according to storage capacity, number of channels, compression ratio and degree of access to store material-the latter having a profound influence.
Store sizes are very large, typically up to 500 Gigabytes or more. Operation depends entirely on connected devices, edit suites, automation systems, secondary servers, etc., so the effectiveness of the necessary remote control and video networking is vital to success.


A sequence of programs under the control of a provider for broadcast to subscribers. Also, an aggregation of elementals with a finite beginning and ending point. A service could begin at noon and end at 8 PM and consist of a single video elemental but an assortment of audio and subtitling elementals, but usually this is done on a daily basis. It differs from a Virtual Channel because it is finite.

Service Acquisition and Processing System  (SAPS)


1.A file created by a da Vinci user, for a specific job. It stores a Desktop, Configuration and up to 9999 events with their VSRs. 2. A single booking at a Post Production Facility

Session Account Manager  (SAM)

Session Base Memory

The most significant memory in a session because it is the reference to which the zero and reset keys go. It can hold any parameters that are event by event programmable, including secondaries and output settings.

Set-Top Box  (STB)

These receivers (named because they typically sit on top of a television set) convert and display broadcasts from one frequency or type-analog cable, digital cable, or digital television) to a standard frequency (typically channel 3 or 4) for display on a standard analog television set.


Also known as "black level" or "video black" or "7.5 IRE level in NTSC".  Setup is the voltage level of black in composite video and is 7.5 IRE (53.5 mV) above the blanking level in NTSC composite and Betacam.

SFN Trellis Diagram  (Single Frequency Network)

The time sequence of the bits (DVB-S) is predefined by convolutional coding and, like the state diagram of a finite automaton, is represented as a trellis diagram.


Special Effects.


Silicon Graphics Interface

Shading, Video

Shading is a term that goes back to the time of black and white. The video operator would have the ability to not only address the amplitude (white levels) but the black levels (pedestal). In some instances, there were parabolic controls that would permit the change of the gray scale areas between white levels and black levels. In color, this operations is performed by a colorist and involves all three color signals - Red, Blue and Green.

Short Form

Products that are scheduled for playout, but are not listed in the Electronic Program Guide (EPG).  For example, commercials or promos.  See Long Form.

Short-Form Materials

Interstitial, promos, spots, etc. are considered Short-Form Material when compared to Long-Form Materials, which are the Main events/feature programs etc.


The file extension for Web pages that contain server side includes (SSIs).


The pseudo-random placement of video information on digital videotape that prevents gross errors on the tape from creating fixed patterns (loss of information) in the video signal.

SI  (Service Information)

Digital data describing the delivery system, content and scheduling/timing of broadcast data streams.

SID  (Signal Identification Display)

Device that displays information on an LED panel identifying the source of a signal displayed on a picture monitor.

SIF  (Source Input Format)

Side Converting

The process which changes the number of pixels and/or frame rate and/or scanning format used to represent an image by interpolating existing pixels to create new ones at closer spacing or by removing pixels. Side converting is done from standard resolution to standard resolution and high definition to high definition.
See also: Down converting, up converting.

Side Panels

Image of a standard 4:3 picture on a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio television screen, typically with black bars on the side. Used to maintain the original aspect ratio of the source material.
See also: Letterbox.


The Association of Computing Machinery (ACM)'s Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH). Internet: www.siggraph.org

Signaling Rate

The bandwidth of a digital transmission system expressed in terms of the maximum number of bits that can be transported over a given period of time. The signaling rate is typically much higher than the average data transfer rate for the system due to software overhead for network control, packet overhead, etc.

Signal Routing Systems

Devices used alone or in matrixed groups for the purpose of routing selected input A/V signals to selected outputs.  See also DVS.

Signal-to-Noise Ratio  (S/N)

Refers to the ratio of the signal voltage level of the luminance and chrominance signals to the amount of noise present and is expressed in decibels (dB).  The higher the S/N ratio, the higher fidelity of the video.

Simple Profile

MPEG image streams using only I and P frames is less efficient than coding with B frames. This profile, however, requires less buffer memory for decoding.


Half-duplex; one-way communication, as opposed to Full duplex or two-way communication. In reference to videoconferencing, simplex means that one location is sending video, audio, and data; the other location can receive the signal, but cannot send one simultaneously. A role of sending and receiving changes alternatively with time sharing.


Representation of a system, sub-system, situation, or device, with a degree of realism. The simulation mode enables learners to learn the operation of equipment without damaging it or harming themselves or others. Extremely useful in training applications for potentially dangerous activities.


To broadcast the same program over two different transmission systems. Currently, some AM and FM stations simulcast the same program for part of the day, and some radio stations simulcast the audio from televised music events.
Although not initially required by the FCC, it is believed that most television stations will simulcast their DTV and NTSC signal. Simulcasting will be required towards the end of the DTV transition period to protect the public interest.

Single-Frequency Network

Transmitter network in which all he transmitters use the same frequency.  The coverage areas overlap.  Reflections are minimized by guard intervals.  The transmitters are separated by up to 60 km.  The special feature of these networks is efficient frequency utilization.

SIT  (Silicon Intensifier Target)

A silicon target in an image pick-up tube designed for and used in extremely low-light applications.


A schedule control function that causes a selected event to be skipped without actually deleting it or its linked parameters from the schedule.

Skip Frame

An optical printing effect eliminating selected frames of the original scene to speed up the action.


A series of consecutive macroblocks. A slice is the basic synchronizing unit for reconstruction of the image data and typically consists of all the blocks in one horizontal picture interval-typically 16 lines of the picture.


An undesirable artifact of CCD chips that appears as a vertical stripe and is a distortion of high brightness values. All CCDs can produce smear, but the mechanism of its generation and the severity of image impairment that results varies with the type of imager. Some modern CCDs have reduced smear to the point that it can only be measured by sensitive instruments and is no longer visible to the eye.


A little bit. A term often used to mean “change it by just enough to notice”, and often resulting in cries of “That’s it !” (Eureka) before and technical people have had a chance to touch anything.  (A term frequently used by Carollee Bloomfield)

SMPTE  (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers)

A professional organization that sets standards for American television. 595 W. Hartsdale Ave., White Plains, NY, 10607-1824. Tel: 914-761-1100. Fax: 914-761-3115. Email: smpte@smpte.org Internet: www.smpte.org <BR .

SMPTE 125M  (formally RP-125)

The SMPTE-recommended practice for a bit parallel digital interface for component video signals. SMPTE 125M defines the parameters required to generate and distribute component video signals on a parallel interface.


(M) NTSC video specification for the United States.


The SMPTE-recommended practice for a bit parallel digital interface for composite video signals. SMPTE 244M defines the parameters required to generate and distribute composite video signals on a parallel interface.


The SMPTE-recommended practice for 525-line serial digital component and composite interfaces.


The SMPTE-recommended practice for formatting AES/EBU audio and auxiliary data into digital video ancillary data space.


The SMPTE-recommended practice for bit-serial digital interface for high-definition television systems.


The SMPTE standard defining the data representation of the 720x483 progressive signal at 59.94 Hz.


The SMPTE standard defining the serial interfaces for both 4:2:2P (progressive) on two-SMPTE 259M links and 4:2:0P (progressive) on a single SMPTE 259M link (at 360Mbps).


The SMPTE-recommended practice for 24-bit digital audio format for HDTV bit-serial interface. Allows eight embedded AES/EBU audio channel pairs.


The SMPTE standard (proposed as of printing) for Serial Digital Transport Interface.


The SMPTE standard for synchronous serial interface (SSI) for MPEG-2 digital transport streams; used as the "standard" for the output from the ATSC systems multiplexer and the input to DTV transmitters.

SMS  (Subscriber Management System)

Manages the subscriber information. Determines which viewers are entitled to see which products. Takes care of billing subscribers.


(Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) The standard Internet protocol for transferring electronic mail messages.


A gradual introduction of a sound, a dissolve, music, etc. so that its presence is not immediately obvious to the audience.

SOBD (Start of Broadcast Day)


 1. The opposite of "hard": 2. Low contrast: 3. Unsharp. Out of focus.  4. da Vinci soft knobs, keys and menus, have functions that change according to the operating mode.


A RAID system implemented by low level software in the host system instead of a dedicated RAID controller. While saving on hardware, operation consumes some of the host's power.
See also: RAID.


Sun Corporation name for their UNIX-based user environment that includes the UNIX operating system.  TCS platform.  See Sunup and TCS.

Solid State

Any electronic circuit or circuit component which does not employ gasses, vacuums, or liquids to facilitate its desired effect.

SOM  (Start of Message)

The start location of tapes at record or playback. The SOM is indicated using time code data recorded on tapes.


Synchronous optical network. A set of standards for the digital transmission of information over fiber optics. Based on increments of 51 Mbps. It was developed to cost effectively support broadband services and multi-vendor internetworking.

Sound Bite   See Bite


Also called wanderers or robots (bots), spiders are programs that search the Internet for new, publicly accessible resources such as Web pages and files in public FTP archives. Spiders contribute their discoveries to a database, which Internet users can search by using search engines such as Lycos or WebCrawler.


                         Telecine made by Philips. Multi format (16 mm, S16 mm, 35 mm, S 35 mm), multi standard (601 SDTV, HDTV and data) line array

                         CCD device with internal primary color correction.


Any type of cement or mechanical fastening by which two separate lengths of film are united end-to-end so they function as a single piece of film when passing through a camera, film processing machine, or projector.


One type of material, often a commercial, stored on a tape or disk. A spot is used as one event on a playlist.

Spot Reel.  

Tape which contain assembled material event from a specified part of a playlist for purposes of simultaneous playback with the system schedule at transmission time. Spot reels are used as transmission backups.  Also referred to as a compile reel.


A toothed driving wheel used to move film through various machines by engaging with the perforation holes. These perforations in film, are also known therefore as sprocket holes.


(Structured Query Language). The standardized query language for requesting information from a database.

Sound Pressure Wave

A series of compressions and rarefactions of molecules set in motion by a vibrating object.

Source Stream

A single, non-multiplexed stream of samples before compression coding.

Spatial resolution

The number of pixels horizontally and vertically in a digital image.

Special Effects Generator

A unit used in video production to mix, switch, and otherwise process various video signals to create a final signal know as the program signal.

Spectral Response

A measure of the sensor’s ability to convert light energy to electrical energy as a function of the wavelength of the light. Ideally, a sensor should be equally sensitive to all the frequencies within the visible spectrum; however, sensors tend to respond to a greater degree to certain wavelengths particularly toward the red-infrared portions of the spectrum.


The concatenation performed on the system level or two different elementary streams.  It is understood that the resulting stream must conform totally to the Digital Television Standard.

Split Screen

1. An electronic effect in which two different pictures appear side by side on the same screen. 2. In CCTV systems, a method of displaying two or more cameras simultaneously on one video screen.

Split Edit

Occurs when different edit “in” points are selected for the audio and video from a single source. Either the audio or the video is delayed from the start of the edit. The audio may either be advanced (the video is delayed) or delayed from the “video in” point. Split edits are among the most common editing transitions.

Spot Filter

A specially designed neutral density filter that effectively increases the aperture range of a lens, used in situations where illumination conditions vary to the extreme. Spot filters have a gradually increasing density toward their centers. As a lens iris is stopped down, the portion of the filter remaining uncovered is increasingly dense. At the smallest apertures, only the densest portion of the filter is showing, producing an effective aperture opening that may let light in at a level many times less than the registered f/stop.

Sprite Graphics

A small graphic picture that can be moved around the screen independently to produce animation.


In MPEG-4, static background scenes. Sprites can have dimensions much larger than what will be seen in any single frame.

Spurious  (sometimes associated with radiation)

Lacking authenticity or validity in essence or origin; not genuine; false. Of illegitimate origin. Similar in appearance but unlike in structure or function.   If it is spurious radiation, count on a fine from the FCC

SRAM (Static Random Access Memory)

SRAM Cards

A new digital storage media. The credit card shaped devices contain high-density memory chips capable of storing digital information. SRAMs are all electronic devices with no moving parts, making them potentially much more reliable and efficient than other storage devices. SRAMs have fairly low capacity, but future developments will make them a promising in-camera storage option for digital still cameras.

SSA  (Serial Storage Architecture)


A packet-based binary protocol that provides encrypted connections to remote hosts or servers.


 (Server side includes). A type of HTML comment that directs the Web server to dynamically generate data for the Web page upon request.

SSP  Service Selector Panel)


A common video test signal pattern that is used to check linearity of luminance and chrominance gain, differential gain and differential phase.  On an NTSC signal generator, the staircase is a series of equal width luminance steps of 0, 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100 IRE plus a constant amplitude chroma signal at color burst phase.  Low stairs refers to the chroma amplitude set at 20 and High stairs indicates 40 units.

Standard Definition Television (SDTV)

This term is used to signify a digital television system in which the quality is approximately equivalent to that of NTSC.  This equivalent quality may be achieved from pictures sourced at the 4:2:2 level of ITU-R Recommendation 601 and subjected to processing as part of the bit rate compression.  The results should be such that when judged across a representative sample of program material, subjective equivalence with NTSC is achieved.  Also called standard digital television.  See also conventional definition television and ITU-R Recommendation 1125.

Standby Source

Device or system providing the signal content for a Alternate Event.

Start Codes

32-bit codes embedded in the coded bit st4eam that are unique.  They are used for several purposes including identifying some of the layers in the coding syntax.  Start codes consist of a 24-bit prefix (0x000001) and an 8-bit stream_id.

Static RAM

This type of memory chip in general behaves like dynamic RAM (DRAM) except that static RAMs retain data in a six-transistor cell needing only power to operate (DRAMs require clocks as well). Because of this, current available capacity is 4 Mbits-lower than DRAM-and costs are higher, but speed is also greater.

Statistical Multiplexing

Increases the overall efficiency of a multi-channel digital television transmission multiplex by varying the bit-rate of each of its channels to take only that share of the total multiplex bit-rate it needs at any one time. The share apportioned to each channel is predicted statistically with reference to its current and recent-past demands.
See also: Multiplex.


17-MHz clock regenerated from PCR for a jitter-free readout of MPEG data.

STD  (System Target Decoder)

STD  Input Buffer

A first-in, first-out buffer at the input of a system target decoder for storage of compressed data from elementary streams before decoding.

STE  (Society of Television Engineers)

Oldest Professional Television Society in existence.

Steady Gate

A pin-registered device manufactured by Steady Film for precise telecine transfers. Provides more stable images than EPR, but does not operate in real time.

 Step Printer

A printer in which each frame of the negative and raw stock is stationary at the time of exposure.

Stereo Separation

Gives a pure left or pure right figure. The number needs to be greater than 40dB and typically 41 dB.

Still Picture

A coded still picture consists of a video sequence containing exactly one coded picture which is intra-coded.  This picture has an associated PTS and the presentation time of succeeding pictures, if any, is later than that of the still picture by at lease two picture periods.

Still Store

Device which stores individual video frames, either in analog or digital form, allowing extremely fast access time. Commonly used to display reference frames for color matching, and so usually they have a “browse” or catalog function.

Still-Video Format

The Mavica® still image format that stores a video image; 50 low-resolution field images or 25 high-resolution frame images can be stored on a 2-inch floppy disk.


Usually a musical audio bite of a second or so in duration used to accent part of the program.  An example would be a dissident cord played at the end of an announcement.  It also can refer to the music played with the billboards.


Studio - transmitter - link. The system used to connect the studio to the transmitter when the studios are not co-located with the transmitter. TSL is the opposite - Transmitter- studio - link.

Storage Capacity

Using the ITU-R 601 4:2:2 digital coding standard, each picture occupies a large amount of storage space-especially when related to computer storage devices such as DRAM and disks. So much so that the numbers can become confusing unless a few benchmark statistics are remembered. Fortunately, the units of mega, giga, tera and penta make it easy to express the very large numbers involved. The capacities can all be worked out directly from the 601 standard. Bearing in mind that sync words and blanking can be regenerated and added at the output, only the active picture area need be stored.

For the 525 line TV standard the line data is: 720(Y) + 360(Cr) + 360(Cb) = 1,440 pixels/line
487 active lines/picture there are 1,440 x 487 = 701,280 pixels/picture
(sampling at 8-bits, a picture takes 701.3 kbytes)
1 sec takes 701.3 x 30 = 21,039 kbytes, or 21 Mbytes

For the 625 line TV standard the active picture is: 720(Y) + 360(Cr) + 360(Cb) = 1,440 pixels/line
With 576 active lines/picture there are 1,440 x 576 = 829,440 pixels/picture
(sampling at 8-bits, a picture takes 830 kbytes)
1 second takes 830 x 25 = 20,750 kbytes, or 21 Mbytes
So both 525 and 625 line systems require approximately the same amount of storage for a given time:
1 minute takes 21 x 60 = 1,260 Mbytes, or 1.26 Gbytes
1 hour takes 1.26 x 60 = 76 Gbytes

Useful numbers (referred to non-compressed video):
1 Gbyte will hold 47 seconds.
1 hour takes 76 Gbytes.

Storage Media

Type of physical material used to record and playback material.

Storage Server

Multicassette system used to store near-term material in digital format.


A picture-book showing every scene and shot in a project, generally showing the dialogue for each shot. Originally drawn on large cardboard sheets for review, now produced and displayed on the computer screen. The artwork for storyboards ranges from crude for small projects to sophisticated for feature films.


1. To transmit multimedia files that begin playing upon arrival of the first packets, without needing to wait for all the data to arrive. 2. To send data in such a way as to simulate real-time delivery of multimedia.

Streaming media

Multimedia content-such as video, audio, text, or animation-that is displayed by a client a client as it is received from the Internet, broadcast network, or local storage.


1. (Film) A narrow band of magnetic coating (for audio) or developing solution applied to a length of motion picture film.  2. (Video) To record a signal (usually black) and control track on the entire duration of a tape, so that it can be edited in Insert mode

Studio Profile

Part of the implementation of the MPEG-2 compression scheme used by Sony BKSI series encoder/decoder.  See MPEG-2.


In NTSC, refers to the 3.579545 MHz sine wave that is modulated atop the monochrome luminance signal to create color video.  The greater the amplitude of this sine wave at a specific point, then the greater the color saturation.  The specific hue (color) is determined by the phase of the subcarrier sine wave at a point in comparison to a reference sine wave called the color burst.

The 3.59 MHz (In NTSC) signal that is used as a color reference signal. A sample of the Subcarrier (shifted in phase by 180 degrees) that was present when a frame of video was created is placed before the start of each horizontal line. This sample is usually 9 cycles long and is called the Color Burst. In a displayed picture, all of the colors present in a particular horizontal line are derived from the phase differences between the color burst and the subcarrier.


A spatial resolution smaller than that of pixels. Although digital images are composed of pixels it can be very useful to resolve image detail to smaller than pixel size, i.e., sub-pixel. For example, the data for generating a smooth curve on television needs to be created to a finer accuracy than the pixel grid itself, otherwise the curve will look jagged. Again, when tracking an object in a scene or executing a DVE move, the size and position of the manipulated picture must be calculated, and the picture resolved, to a far finer accuracy than the pixels, otherwise the move will appear jerky.
See also: Pixel.

Subscriber Management System

Vendor supplying the scheduling, contract management and user interface application software for the MBS core product and other derivative projects.  See TCS.


Receiving a service for a fixed period (often monthly). Subscriptions can be multi-tiered from very basic to high-access.


Subtitling is translation and condensed interpretation of the dialogue displayed as text overlaid on the video picture.

Sub-titling,  Character Set

The national character set is of vital importance - an incorrect character in a subtitle is very disturbing to the viewer, since he reads the subtitles subconsciously. All types of characters and accents etc. must therefore be supported.

Subtitling, MPEG 2 - DVB

The new digital transmission formats allow for transmission of several additional services besides audio & video. Typical systems today carry subtitles for up to 8 languages.

Early entrances to this field uses proprietary formats for the subtitle data. Today manufacturers are going for the DVB standard. This standard allows for several methods of transmission of subtitles.

                    DVB - Subtitling (Character coded)

                    DVB - Subtitling (Bitmap)

                    DVB - Teletext

                    (In the US possibly DVB - Line 21

Using the DVB subtitling standard with bitmaps, the broadcaster has full control of the appearance of the subtitles. Fonts, sizes, colour and the broadcaster then defines anti-aliasing.

Subtitling, Multilingual

 Using Teletext, DVB subtitling or similar methods, several languages can be transmitted simultaneously on one channel. The subtitles can be displayed in the selected language using either a decoder and character generator at the head end of a cable TV system, at a local transmitter, or in the viewer's decoder (Teletext, DVB etc).

Subtitling, Open / In-Vision

With open subtitling, the subtitles are overlaid on the picture before transmission of the video signal.

Subtitling, Teletext

Teletext is transmission of data information in the blanking interval of a video signal. The data is read by a decoder in the receiver and displayed with a simple built-in character generator. The readout is controlled by the viewer, who can select his preferred language among those transmitted.

Subtractive Color System

Color reproduction system used in reflected art. Colors are produced by mixing appropriate amounts of the subtractive primary pigments (dyes or inks) of cyan, magenta, and yellow.


A video signal in which the 7.5 IRE "setup" level has been removed, and the remainder of the video contrast stretched so that absolute black is 0 IRE rather than 7.5 IRE. This allows certain video devices such as mixers, switchers, and keyers to do a better job of superimposing two video signals.


The actual duration of a product from SOM to EOM. A supercut may contain any number of logical cuts.


See superimpose

Super D1

Sony cassette component digital videotape format. 10-bit compressed 4:4:4 recording. It offers eight times the quality of D1.


To overlap the image from one source over the image from anther source. 

Super Kilovectors

Even more powerful digital secondary correction process available in all da Vincis from 2K onwards. Super Kilovectors allow secondary color corrections to be qualified by hue, saturation and luminance with variable softness for each parameter. Once defined hue, saturation, luminance and contrast can be modified. The qualification can be utilized in other Power Tiers, Defocus or exported as a matte.

 Super Vector

The standard processing set for the da Vinci 2K. This consists of two primary sets, two Kilovector sets and two power window shapes.


Super VGA (SVGA) and Other Standards Beyond VGA

VGA was the last well-defined and universally accepted standard for video. Later on many companies came into the market and created new cards with more resolution and color depths than standard VGA (but almost always, backwards compatible with VGA).

Most video cards (and monitors for that matter) today advertise themselves as being Super VGA (SVGA). What does a card saying it is SVGA really mean? Unfortunately, it doesn't mean much of anything. SVGA refers collectively to any and all of a host of resolutions, color modes and poorly-accepted pseudo-standards that have been created to expand on the capabilities of VGA. Therefore, knowing that a card that supports "Super VGA" really tells you nothing at all. In the current world of multiple video standards you have to find out specifically what resolutions, color depths and refresh rates each card supports. You must also make sure that the monitor you are using supports the modes your video card produces; here too "Super VGA compatible" on the monitor doesn't help you.

To make matters more confusing, another term is sometimes used: Ultra VGA or UVGA. Like SVGA, this term really means nothing also. :^) Some people like to refer to VGA as 640x480 resolution, SVGA as 800x600, and UVGA as 1024x768. This is overly simplistic however, and really is not something that you can rely upon.


S-VHS.  The Super-VHS high-band video recording format is a consumer, desktop video and industrial production format which utilizes a component Y/C signal format.  It offers better picture resolution, better signal-to-noise performance and elimination of cross-color and dot crawl interference.


The standard Y/C signal connection used in S-VHS, 8mm and Hi8mm video equipment.  It offers separation of the luminance (Y) and chrominance (C) signals, which eliminates many of the anomalies of standard composite video.


Ratings surveys in which local markets are simultaneously measured by a rating service. Most recognized of these services is Nielsen Media Research, who surveys all 210 local television markets in November, February, May and July (Honolulu, Fairbanks and Juneau are excluded in July). These months are known as sweep months, and the data are used by local stations and cable systems to set local ad rates and to make program decisions. The term "sweep" dates back to the beginning of local television measurements in the 1950s and refers to how Nielsen Media Research mailed and processed diaries to sample households starting with the East Coast and sweeping across the nation.


Electronically improving the quality of an audio or video signal, such as by adding sound effects, laugh tracks, and captions, often done in post production, at which time minor audio problems are corrected. Music, narration and sound effects are mixed with original sound elements.

Swing Generator

There are two explanations that come to mind.

One, there are programs that calculate the flow in all the power lines in a system given the loads and the generation.  In that case, the swing generator is the one unit in the calculation that the computer can play with the make the answer come out.  If you constrain every single generator, it can't solve the equation.

The second and more likely explanation is that swing generators are the ones that move up and down to follow the second to second changes in load.  As you know, generation and load have to be in balance all the time.  If they get out of balance, frequency deviates from 60 Hz and generators will fall out of step with the grid.  The power grid is centrally controlled.  A control area (usually a single power company) telemeters all of the flows across it's tie lines to other companies.

The "net" flow is calculated and the grid computer adjusts the generators to keep the net flow on setpoint.  If you turn on a light, the net flow goes "in" by that amount.  The grid control computer picks the cheapest generator running in automatic and raises it up by that amount.  The net flow goes back to target until load changes again.  The whole cycle repeats every 2 to 8 seconds.  The swing generators are those that are running in automatic and responding to commands from the grid control computer.

When you sync a generator to the system you have to match it in frequency and voltage before you close the breaker.  The system is running at 60 Hz and the incoming generator has to match it exactly.  It's like meshing two gears on the fly.  One you close the breaker, you increase the driving torque on the prime mover and that is proportional to the load on the unit.


An event type that allows automatic switching without threading or playing.


 Usually the Technical Director in television in the US or Vision Mixer in the UK. It is also a device with a series of input selectors that permits one or more selected inputs to be combined, manipulated and sent out on the program line.

Switch Only Event       

An event type used to incorporate material from external sources (such as live    feeds or network feeds) and control devices, through a GPI.

Switch X- Point   

 A secondary event type allows multiple switching crosspoints to be controlled by    one primary event. Performance is limited to the capabilities of the device.

Switched Network

A network in which any site can communicate with any other site. When a videoconference is conducted over a switched network, communication lines are made by “dialing” the other parties in the same manner as normal phone calls are made. The toll telephone network is referred to as the "public switched network."

Switched vs. Point-to-Point Network

Videoconferencing applications built around low-bandwidth codecs can take advantage of the new switched 56 Kbps networks that allow users the flexibility to dial any other compatible videoconferencing system on the network, just like a telephone call. These networks are particularly suited to applications that cannot take advantage of existing private networks, or cannot justify the installation of dedicated transmission networks. Switched 384 Kbps networks are also available in some locations.


1. Device with a series of input selectors that permits one or more selected inputs to be combined, manipulated and sent out on the program line. 2. A device capable of routing audio and video inputs to a dynamically specifiable output destination.

Sync (Synchronize)

Synchronization  Two picture records or a picture record and a sound record are said to be "in sync" when they are placed relative to each other on a release print so they can be projected in correct temporal or spatial relationship. When this condition is not met, the two records are said to be "out of sync."  Could also refer to the horizontal and vertical drive timing signal pulses found in a video signal. Also used to refer to "composite sync" containing both horizontal and vertical sync pules.  40 IRE units in amplitude.

Sync Generator

A pulse generator which produces video sync signals. A master sync generator would be used to provide sync signals (gen-lock) to integrate the functioning of several pieces of video equipment in relation to each other and the video signal.

Sync Roll

Allows one to perform a series of manual edits between synchronous program material shot on two or more reels (i.e. output of two or three cameras recorded during a live studio segment). Each edit made is stored for latter reference.


A transmission procedure by which the bit and character stream are slaved to accurately synchronized clocks, both at the receiving and sending end.

SUNY (-byte)

Synchronization byte in TS header.

System Header

The system header is a data structure that carries information summarizing the system characteristics of the Digital Television Standard multiplexed bit stream.

System Monitor

Monitors heartbeats and delivers messages notifying of failures in external systems. Monitors the health of a facility. Acts as the message routing system.

System Target Decoder (STD)

A hypothetical reference model of a decoding process used to describe the semantics of the Digital Television Standard multiplexed bit stream.

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