Audio-Visual Glossary



VACUUM TUBE: A sealed glass or metal tube completely evacuated of air or filled with gas at low pressure, used to control the flow of electrons. Some audio electronic equipment is still being made that uses the tube rather than a transistor.


VAMP: 1) The repeating part of a tune (song) as it ends, usually the chorus or part of the chorus.

2) To vamp is to play that part over and over.


VAPOURWARE: Refers to computer hardware or software that exists only in the minds of the designers and marketing people. Not yet produced - nothing to really show or to sell.


VARIABLE BIT RATE, VARIABLE BIT RATE PROCESS: Some forms of digital compression, such as MPEG2, have the capability of changing the rate or frequency at which bits appear in a bit stream (the “bit rate”). “Bit rate” is measured in units of information (“bits”) per unit of time, as in “bits per second.” MPEG2 can change the rate of the bit stream to accommodate different video images. For example, some images may require a lot of information bits to digitise the picture - as in a fast-action movie scene. Other images may not require so many bits - as in a night time shot without much motion on screen. A “variable bit rate” process “allocates” more bits to the action scene than to the night scene mentioned above. One use of the variable bit rate process is that longer movies can be put onto a DVD.


VARIABLE D: A patented invention (and trademark) of Electro-Voice where several ports (slotted openings) are put down the case of the microphone. And, because of dense foam installed behind the ports, the ports are less and less sensitive to high frequencies - as they get further away from the diaphragm. This arrangement reduces the bass boost caused by proximity effect to 5 dB instead of 15 dB boost present without these ports. This type of microphone and how it works is fully covered in the LRH recommended book: “Microphones, Design and Application,” by Lou Burroughs.


VARIABLE HIGH-PASS FILTER: An electronic circuit in audio mixing equipment that removes low frequencies and allows only higher frequencies to pass. The Mixer can adjust where the filter separates the two - it is “variable.” Found on mixboards and other mixing equipment.


VARIABLE LOW-PASS FILTER: An electronic circuit in audio mixing that removes high frequencies and allows only lower frequencies to pass. The Mixer can adjust where the filter separates the two – it is “variable.” Found on mixboards and other mixing equipment.




VARI-SPEED: A control on a tape machine that enables one to “vary” (make faster or slower) the speed at which a recording or playback of the sound is done. Found on professional recording machines and computerised audio workstations.


VASP: Standing for Value Added Service Provider - Refers to the company, organisation or person that provides digital media services over the Internet.


VBR: Abbreviation for Variable Bit Rate. See VARIABLE BIT RATE.


VCA: A Voltage-Controlled Amplifier is an audio signal amplifier whose output volume is changed based on the changes in volume of some other sound in a different circuit. It works like this - if one records a flute and wants that flute to change in volume just the same way the piano recorded earlier had been mixed to change volume throughout a song, one can run the flute sound through a mixboard channel which has a VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier). When the voltage from the piano’s channel changes (as already adjusted by the Mixer), the flute’s channel will now change the same way - the voltage from the piano’s channel is being read by the flute’s channel and will respond the way the piano’s channel volume is responding.


VCD: A Video Compact Disc is a compact disc that stores video. It is possible to put video information onto a CD. CD-V can hold approximately 5 to 6 minutes of full motion video and about 20 minutes of audio tracks. Requires a special player or CD-V drive.

For more technical information, read on… A VCD contains video and audio compressed using MPEG-1 file format technology. Movies are generally compressed to around 352 x 240 pixels (NTSC) resulting in about 1 GB of data, which spans over two CD’s. While they aren't common in the USA, VCD’s are more common in other countries where many popular electronics companies sell dedicated VCD players. DVD technology surpasses the quality of VCD technology, mostly due to the increased storage capacity of DVD media and the fact that MPEG2 is used rather than MPEG1.


VCF: A Voltage-Controlled Filter is an electronic circuit used to prevent some frequencies from passing, while allowing others to pass and even be increased in volume. The frequencies that are cut off, and the ones that are allowed to pass the VCF are adjusted using an external device that supplies a small amount of electrical current. Such a current supplies what is called a “control voltage.” VCF’s are used in music synthesisers to create different sounds.


VCO: A Voltage-Controlled Oscillator is an electronic circuit in an analogue synthesiser that generates an audio signal. (An analogue synthesiser is one that uses many separate electronic circuits to make its sounds, instead of the computer chips that do so in a digital synthesiser.) The VCO circuit is controlled by another oscillator that generates a small electrical current - a control voltage. The principal oscillator puts out an audio signal and the other circuit generates a voltage that causes the sound to change in pitch, up and down. Because the principal oscillator is adjusted in pitch by a separately generated voltage, it’s called a “voltage-controlled oscillator.” The synthesiser operator adjusts how much the pitch changes, and how rapidly up and down it does so.


VCR: Video Cassette Recorder. Usually refers to the type of ˝ inch VHS video player used in consumer homes. Professional versions are also called VCRs. Any video deck using a videocassette can be called a VCR.


VCR PLUS: The marketing term used to label a feature on consumer video decks. It is in regards to being able to programme these decks to automatically record TV programmes, without the home consumer present. He can programme his deck, telling it what channels to record and when.


VCR PLUS+ : The same as “VCR PLUS” but a more modern version, and simpler for the home consumer to use.


V-DOSC SPEAKERS: A brand of professional P.A. system loudspeaker. French abbreviation for V (a “v” shape used in the speakers design) and Diffuseur d’Ondes Sonores Cylindriques. The French full name means (roughly translated) “diffused cylindrical sound waves.” This is a recently developed (1990s) means of producing sound out of a loudspeaker. This new tech has been patented in France since 1992 and in the US since 1996 whereby the finalised name for this tech became “Wavefront Sculpture Technology.” The name (both the French origin as well as the US name) refers to the sound field created by the speaker, which is shaped as a portion of a pie or wedge. The technology within the loudspeaker itself that produces this type of sound field is referred to as “DOSC Waveguide” which is also patented. The V-DOSC is one type of loudspeaker, and is not the brand name manufacturer. The full name of the loudspeaker is “L’Acoustics V-DOSC. The manufacturer is Heil Acoustics in Paris, run by the inventor, Christian Heil. In the U.S. the patent is held by Jeffrey Cox. Other speaker types made by the same include the L’Acoustics ARCS and the L’Acoustics D-V-DOSC. Both of these loudspeakers use the patented DOSC Waveguide technology but unlike the V-DOSC which is designed to be used as PA for medium to long throw application, the ARCS are intended to be used for medium to short throw applications such as centre clusters, centre fills, etc. The D-V DOSC (D stands for “Diminuer” which is French for “reduce,” “cut down in size”, “make smaller”) is used for short throw PA applications such as front fills, side fills and under-balcony applications.


VECTOR: “Vector” comes from Latin meaning, “to convey or carry.” It is a quantity that has both size (or strength, number, volume, speed, etc.) and direction. Both quantity and direction must be present for a vector to exist. For example, a vector can be drawn of an airplane travelling at 250 miles per hour in a westerly direction. It has mass, speed and direction, so its motion can be described as a vector.


VECTOR-BASED ART: A computer format for images that is based on and made up of lines (“vectors”). The computer creates and stores images using and in reference to the individual lines that make up an image. One example of why it is important to know which image format a computer uses is on e-mail lines when sending artwork to an outside company. One needs to know what type of artwork the company uses, and ensure the images being sent are in the correct format. (Compare BITMAP, definition 2.)


VECTOR SCOPE: (See VECTOR.) A vector scope is a piece of electronic testing equipment used to measure video signals. It has a small TV screen upon which one can see a pattern of video signals and determine if the brightness, colour and contrast are correctly adjusted. The measured signals are positioned in different areas of the scope’s screen. They appear as lines, patterns and bright dots in exact relationship to each other and in relationship to the centre of the screen. Their size and relationship in terms of location on the screen is how the scope displays the brightness, colour and other information present in a video signal. The video signals are looked at on the vector scope by a technician, and the equipment adjusted for optimum recording and-or playback.


VEILED, VEILING: In sound heard over loudspeakers, pertaining to a deficiency of detail and clarity; lacking high frequencies (slightly dull) and slight restriction of dynamics (compression). May be caused by a very slight overall distortion in the sound. One cannot hear the individual notes and instruments clearly. The music sounds as if you might have put a veil over the speakers. Can also be said of a mix or bad recording or copy.


VENUE: A place for large gatherings to come to, such as an event or performance. Comes from a Latin word meaning “to come.”




VGA: Video Graphics Array. A type of video screen that will display multiple colours. (Early computer displays were only capable of displaying 4 colours.) A VGA screen can display at least 256 colours. It has high resolution so can display computer graphics and will accept the type of signal required to display them. Most modern computers have VGA screens. Note, a VGA is a computer type image - it will not make a picture on TVs like those used for home TV and video viewing. One must use a special converter to get the computer VGA signal to play over a normal TV set. Usually these are poor and the computer signal does not look very good on a normal TV.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Consumer audiovisual products so equipped are labelled VGA to denote they deal with computer-type images and graphics, while the computer industry often uses the term “RGB H-V” (Red, Green, Blue Horizontal - Vertical - where the H-V signal is the synch information that keeps the image stable.


VGA, COMPONENT VIDEO CONVERTER or ADAPTER: This is a device that allows computer images to be routed to a conventional TV screen. Computer displays are different from televisions, so a converter is required to adapt the computer’s signal into a type a TV will accept. Thomson (formerly RCA) makes a high quality one for $130.00 - called the RCA VHDC300.


VHF: Very High Frequency. Said of TV stations channels 1 - 12. (The rest of the channels are UHF - Ultra High Frequency).


VHS: Video Home System. A type of 12mm (˝inch) wide videocassette recorder, or the videocassette itself commonly used by home consumers.


VIDEO: Images produced by the use of electronic circuits, as opposed to film.


VIDEO CARD: Any computer circuit board that can plug into the back of a computer enabling it to display motion video. Some video cards only let one watch a video programme while others allow a full computerised picture editing and special effects facilities right on the computer. In some applications a separate “sound card” is required, especially to have high quality audio output from the computer.


VIDEO CD (games): Common in the Far East. This type of CD holds video games. Can be played on computers. Will not play on an audio CD player.


VIDEO COMPRESSION: When the digital information comprising a video picture signal is reduced in amount of data to be able to fit it into a storage or display medium. Video compression is used to put video information on the Internet, and even to put video pictures on a DVD. (See COMPRESSION 3 for full definition and description.)


VIDEO COMPRESSIONS: A Video Compressions is a specialist who, when a film is transferred to the DVD format, regulates the amount of compression being applied to the film’s pictures. Picture sequences with lots of action or shots which are important to produce with the utmost clarity and resolution are given less compression. Those scenes which have less motion are usually given more compression. The reason this is done when making a DVD is that the disc can only hold so much information. If no compression was applied to the entire film, only about 15 minutes of the film would be able to fit on the DVD. So some compression is required. If done incorrectly, the motion in heavily compressed action scenes can jerk and the picture quality would be poor. So, less compression is applied to these specifically, while more static shots can be more heavily compressed without noticeably degrading the image.


VIDEO D.A.: Video Distribution Amplifier. In setting up a video production line or facility, especially at live events, it is often necessary to send signals to several distant locations at the same time. The reason why this requires a video DA is made clear by this example: With a single water faucet trying to split up its water to several hoses, the power of the water diminishes with each hose added. The same principle applies when one video signal is split up and sent to too many locations, especially long distances away. A distribution amplifier is used when such splits are required. It enables all locations to receive the signal with no loss in strength and minimal loss in quality. It “distributes” the signal.


VIDEO DISPLAY: A screen that displays video images. Can be said of any computer or video screen that can do so.


VIDEO EDIT: The assembly of all video shots for a video type product done by a computerised editing station. At Gold the same computerised editing stations edit videos as well as films. The computer editing stations are called Avids. Avid is the brand name of the computer. To differentiate between a film and a video, edits done for a film on an Avid are called “Avid Edits” but an edit of a video property is simply called the “video edit.”


VIDEO EDIT MASTER: Once a video edit has been done, using the Camera Masters as the source material, the final edited tape created by the Editor is the VIDEO EDIT MASTER. (See MASTERS, TYPES OF for a full list of all video masters used at Gold.)


VIDEO EQUALISER: A feature on higher quality models of home consumer DVD equipment that optimises picture brightness, colour and sharpness. The settings are adjustable and one can usually store them in a memory to use with different DVD’s played. The concept is just the same as an audio equaliser’s purpose, only to improve picture quality disc to disc or to improve the general look of the picture.








VIDEO GUNS: These are “light guns” - they shoot out different colours of lights from the front of a video projector. Also, there are guns inside a television that shoot streams of electrons at the picture screen to create the image. There is one gun for the colour red, one for the green and one for blue. These combine to make a colour video picture. There are newer types of video projectors (using digital technology) that have just one gun - all the colours are projected on the screen with just the one gun.


VIDEO HARD DISC CAMERAS: “Video hard disc cameras” are large professional level models used for studio production. They do not record to recording tape like all other video cameras. Instead they have an internal hard drive (computer storage disc) and the images are stored there. The images can then be instantly transferred into an editing computer; and therefore the images stay fully digital throughout the entire production process all the way to broadcast or the creation of a DVD. There are also home consumer versions of digital video cameras that work similarly.


VIDEO, history of: The word “video” comes from the Latin word meaning, “to see.” It is the electronic recording, displaying and manipulating of images, as well as storing them for later use. The use of film for moving pictures had been going on for many years before efforts to use electricity and magnetism were worked with to capture images. Also, television broadcasts with no means to store the signal were being done long before workable videotape recorders existed. Videotape did not get off the ground until the very late 50s. Prior to that, many years earlier, Boris Richeouloff, on June 27, 1922, filed for a patent in Russia on what might be considered the first magnetic videotape recorder. There were just three problems: First, video didn’t yet exist. Second, neither did magnetic tape. Third, the design described in the patent was totally unworkable. Nevertheless, the Russian patent was issued on Halloween of 1927. Forty years before his patent application, the French writer and artist Albert Robida had already published predictive descriptions and illustrations of video players. Some trace of the concept goes back even farther, to Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island in 1874. John Logie Baird, an inventor who had previously come up with medicated socks and once attempted to create a diamond out of coal dust (blacking out a city in the process!), achieved the first recognisable video image of a human face in 1925. No actual videotape recorder existed until 1928, when John Hammond, Jr. filed for a U.S. patent on a videotape recorder. As for magnetic tape upon which to store such an image, this too had been being developed starting in the late 1800s. Oberlin Smith filed a patent notice on a primitive recording process based on magnetism in 1878. The actual beginnings of recording tape however, started several years later when Valdemar Poulsen, a Danish engineer, began selling what could be construed as the first telephone answering machines. These were magnetic recorders using wire as their recording medium. Editing involved snipping the wire and tying it together again! Wire led to flattened steel ribbons, which, in turn, led to Joseph O’Neill applying for a U.S. patent in 1926 for “a strip of paper or other cheap material on which is deposited…magnetic material, such as metal particles, dust or fine shavings, held together by a suitable conductive binder”. Thus the origin of magnetic tape upon which audio and visual images could be recorded. As for the first real videotape recorder, after John Hammond, Jr’s 1928 patent, many years later a prototype at Bing Crosby Enterprises managed to capture some crude images in 1951. The first machine good enough to sell was introduced by Ampex in 1956, but it was not actually announced or put into use. There were actually two other technologies earlier than these early 50s recorders. Even before Baird’s first electronically captured image of a face in 1925, a man named Herbert Ives at Bell Telephone Laboratories had made a proposal. He called it “chemical amplification.” He was looking for some way to store television images and thought that he could so chemically. Ives’ later experiments involved a ventriloquist’s dummy named “Stooky Bill.” He had some success storing Stooky Bill’s image, but when he switched to a human subject (a requirement if ever his system was to store TV shows, etc.), the experiment was a bust because such strong and hot lighting of the subject was required. Ives therefore proposed shooting on film first and transferring immediately to television video for broadcast using the camera. That way the images were at least stored on film though no way to store them electronically was yet possible. This technique using film first was actually used in the television coverage of the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936. To increase brightness for viewers, Ives proposed using the televised picture to expose film again at the receiving end. This would give a film print of the original television signal received that could then be brightly projected on a large screen. The idea of recording onto film and then recording television pictures off of film took off. TV-type picture tubes were used to do this. The picture tubes were originally known as “kinescopes,” so film shot off them became known as “kinescope recordings.” (“Kine” is Greek for “movement” and the word “scope” refers to the picture tube itself.) Eventually such shots became known simply as “Kines” (KIN-eez) and are the only records that exist of some very old television shows. The use of kines at television stations and networks continued well into the era of eventual videotape recording. But the history of video recording has yet another aspect. The fellow mentioned earlier, John Baird, who in 1925 managed to record a brief image electronically of a man’s face, had used a disc upon which to record his image. Actually, Baird came up with two very different forms of videodisc recording, only one of which is even relatively well known. It went by the name “Phonovision” with equipment called the “Phonovisor” and “Phonoscope.” Television, in the 1920s, was very crude compared to the modern version. Baird’s early equipment offered just eight frames of video per second. (A modern video has 30 frames per second.) Baird’s primitive video signal needed no more than a telephone call to transfer its information. The signal Baird was recording was really only a few thousand cycles per second - no more than an audio signal! From a technical standpoint then such a video signal could be recorded just like music on a phonograph record - a disc with grooves in it. This is essentially what Baird did - he recorded his crude video images to disc. His images could also be sent down phone wires - anything, which could be done with audio, could also be done with his video signal. And Baird did all of those things in his many tests. There are surviving Phonovision discs that have been played back in recent times to create 1927-quality television. In 1927, the London Times wrote an article about the possibility of “Television by Gramophone” - meaning one could watch TV by playing a record as one could at the time for music. But by 1935 obtaining acceptable quality pictures from records or wax discs was clearly not going to happen. However, Baird had proved he could at least record and store video information. In 1935, a television committee appointed by the British Postmaster General to study the subject of recording video, reported to Parliament that television’s quality “should be not less than 240 lines per picture, with a minimum picture frequency of 25 [frames] per second”. That’s less than today’s television, but it was far beyond the extant recording technology. Not even 240-line television could be recorded on a phonograph record. Therefore, for many years video “recording” was a dead issue. It wouldn’t be until the Ampex team in the late 50’s came up with their whole new way of recording television picture signals to actual magnetic tape that non-film video recording would be revived. Today, the technology has advanced to full digital cameras and recording.




VIDEO MONITOR: A TV, but without any receiver so it can’t receive a TV broadcast signal. It is meant to only be hooked up to a video deck or DVD player - or used in professional studios. It is called a monitor because professional users use it to observe and ensure - monitor - the accuracy of the various technical aspects of the video image. Sometimes called a TV monitor.




VIDEOPHILE: The word comes from “video” from Latin meaning “to see,” and “phile,” which comes from the Greek word “philos” meaning “dear” or “beloved.” A “videophile” is therefore “one who loves sights or loves to see.” While anyone who enjoys watching video (video film releases on DVD, High Definition TV, etc.) could be broadly classed as a videophile, the word specifically refers to someone who has extensively involved himself in the field of TV-Video for personal enjoyment either as a major hobby or as a profession.


VIDEO REFERENCE, VIDEO SYNCH (video synch signal):

1)           Also called “house sync” or “video sync.” An electronic timing signal used by professional studio audiovisual equipment. It allows the equipment to run with exact timing. Each piece of video equipment, including the TV screens, use the reference signal as a stable datum so they work together and share their picture information accurately as regards to time. It gives a common timing relationship to each. The synch signal is synchronising the “sending equipment” with the “receiving equipment.” The sending equipment has a certain rate (timing of the pictures) and this must be duplicated by the receiving TV set to correctly display those pictures. If there was no video reference signal in a studio, the pictures would jump and roll unstably on the TV screen, and the various machines would not run in synch together. The pictures are kept stable with a timing signal - video reference. The video reference signal is sent to each piece of equipment in addition to the picture information.

2)           For home tv’s, a synch signal is also sent together with the broadcast. Synch signal is required by the t.v. as it is receiving picture information and the t.v. needs to be given the timing reference signal used by the station broadcasting. The t.v. uses it to stably produce the picture on its screen.


VIDEO SERVER: A large computer that can hold loads of video footage. It can “serve” its contents to many different locations. Used in professional applications as well as consumer homes to supply video footage or programming to many users or locations within a facility or home.


VIDEO SHADER OR SHADER: A broadcast technician, sometimes the technical director, who balances and peaks (makes sure the colours are the brightest possible) the cameras during an event or televised performance. A nickname for a video control engineer, who is in charge of video but not audio.


VIDEO SWITCHER, VIDEO SWITCHING: A piece of electronic equipment that accepts several different sources of video image and enables an operator to select one or more of them to record and-or display. Multiple video sources in professional video studios are switched via a video switcher so the operator or editor can see the sources individually and sometimes in combination. 2) Home consumer theatre components used for controlling the sound also have the ability to switch video as well. As such, when the consumer presses “DVD” on his remote control, the DVD plays and the TV correctly receives the DVD signal. If “TV” is pressed, the TV will now receive local TV broadcasts. The video is switched via the sound component, such as an Audio-Video Receiver or Digital Controller. It should be noted that poor quality switchers degrade the quality of the picture.




VIDEO TELECONFERENCING: The use of video cameras to hold a conference in one location and to see and hear another conference in another location. Usually integrated into a computer system. Signals are carried over phone lines or the Internet. Used often in business, hospitals, etc.


Video types: Composite, component and digital




VINTAGE: A classic microphone, guitar, guitar amp, tube amplifier, etc. Said of high quality equipment, from earlier time periods, which created memorable sound. Vintage equipment is usually quite valuable and rare.


VIOLA: A stringed musical instrument that looks like a violin and is played like a violin, but is larger than a violin so must be stood upright (between the knees) in order to be played. A bow is used.


VIRGIN TAPE: Any recording tape that has never been used before. It is fresh, out of the box.


VIRTUAL (music): It exists in a computer, but not in the real world. When dealing with computers and synthesisers in the creation of music, if the sounds and music being played are just being stored on computer or in the synthesiser and not yet recorded to an external recorder (tape recorder, digital recorder) the sounds are said to be “virtual” (they don’t “really” exist yet outside the computer or synthesiser).


VIRTUAL REALITY: A simulated apparently real, apparently 3 dimensional environment that a user can seem to experience and manipulate as if it were real, in the physical universe. The user sees the environment on display on computerised display screens, computerised screen “goggles” or screens in helmets. Special devices such as gloves the person wears or clothing can be fitted with motion detection devices and input the person’s motions into the computer so one can see himself on screen in the virtual reality environment.      

VIRTUAL MEMORY: Memory in a computer that appears to have larger storage capacity than it really has. There can be some form of secondary storage (like an additional hard drive).


VIRTUAL SETS: Computer systems now exist enabling complete sets to be entirely created behind and around actors, but the actors are only in front of a blue or green screen, and the set does not exist. It looks entirely real to the home audience. Panasonic has demonstrated a system suitable for broadcast video.    


VIRTUAL SURROUND SOUND: Home consumer systems having no surround speakers can, on many home systems, be set to “virtual surround,” a setting which places the surround information in the left and right channels. Therefore 3 channels are used, left - centre - right (no surrounds). Panasonic DVD players market an “Advanced Virtual Surround Sound.”       


VIRTUAL TRACKS: Music that has been only recorded within the synthesiser or computer that actually generated the sound. The sounds have not yet gone outside the units. They have not been recorded to another machine.


VIRTUAL VCR: When watching TV or video programme over the Internet or Cable TV the home consumer can press “play”, “pause”, “fast forward” etc. on his remote control or computer and the programme being viewed will respond as such - just like a VCR works. Said especially of Video on Demand (V.o.D.) service. The videos watched can be controlled just like they are being played over a VCR, even though they are being sent to the consumer’s home via the Internet or via Cable DTV service.


VIRUS: A self-replicating highly undesirable computer programme released into a computer system for mischievous or downright destructive reasons. Once triggered by some pre-programmed event (often time or date related), the results vary from humorous or annoying messages, to the destruction of data or whole operating systems.


VISCERAL: Powerful sound which produces a bodily sensation of pressure or concussion to the chest. (The word “visceral” refers to the internal organs of the body, especially those in the chest cavity.) Drums and bass notes can be visceral, especially when played on large speaker systems at realistic volumes.


VITC: (Pronounced “vitsie”). Vertical Interval Time Code. One of the several formats of time code - a signal used to provide speed and position references for A.V. equipment. VITC is recorded in the section of the video signal that is not part of the visible image. Specifically, it is recorded in the blanking interval - the very brief time between the visible video images where the screen is actually blank (black). (More data on VITC and the other time code formats, is included at SYNCHRONISATION SIGNALS.)




VNR: Abbreviation for Video News Release. A news media term used when video footage exists for a reported event.


VO: VOICEOVER. When an announcer (person) speaks during a video or film, but you don’t see the person on the screen, his voice is said to be “over” the pictures. Thus “voiceover”.


VOCAL BOOTH: A small soundproof room where a person’s voice can be recorded. There are temporary vocal booths that can be set up almost anywhere, as well as permanent booths in recording studios.


VOCAL MICROPHONE, VOCAL MIC: A handheld microphone that is designed to be used for a person's voice. Usually refers to a singer’s microphone used live or in a recording studio. Vocal microphones are usually specially designed so the singer can handle the microphone and not have the sound of his hands picked up and amplified. Often these types of microphones have their low bass frequencies intentionally reduced to help prevent breath “pops” from being heard and to help reduce “proximity effect” - the effect that occurs when a microphone is brought close to the mouth, the bass frequencies of the voice come up in volume. A vocal microphone will also usually have a slight high frequency boost to help with clarity.


VOCODER: An audio special effect used in music that produces a robot-like sound when processing a voice. Examples can be found in some disco and modern music, such as the Beastie Boys “Intergalactic.”


VOD: Abbreviation for Video on Demand. Home consumers can now pay to have videos of movies “on demand,” meaning the movie they wish to see, when they wish to see it, any time of the day or night. VOD also gives the user the ability to pause, fast forward, play, etc., just like a video deck. Video on Demand is now offered either by satellite or optical fibre cable.


VOICE-ACTIVATED EQUIPMENT: Any electronic device that starts or stops or does some other function in response to someone speaking nearby. Some dictaphones start and stop when one starts and stops talking. There are remote controls (which control audiovisual equipment) that are voice activated. One can say “TV” and the TV will turn on.


VOICE COIL: The large coil of wire as part of and behind a loudspeaker inside the speaker cabinet which, when electrical signal is sent to it, acts as a magnet and thereby moves the speaker so as to create sound.


VOICE-MATCHED: Speakers that are “voice-matched” have a similar timbre or tonal quality. Voice-matched speakers produce more accurate sound. Often speakers are tested using elaborate audio testing equipment as well as being closely listened to before they are sold to the consumer. Many speakers use a number of individual speakers in their cabinets to create their overall sound. Each should be “voice matched” to do a good job of such.


VOICE OF THE THEATRE: The theatre loudspeaker system developed in the 1940s by the Altec Lansing Corporation for motion picture theatres. Their more modern day speakers are called “JBL” (for the man, “J. B. Lansing.”)




VOICING: Loudspeaker and audio equipment designers “voice” their products. This is a process where the designer listens to loudspeakers or audio equipment he is familiar with and that sounds very good. He then seeks to make his new design sound better with no perceived flaws compared to his reference. He may have others listen to his product as well and do adjustments to the sound’s quality produced based on their feedback. This is called “voicing.”


VOLATILE: Refers to a computer or synthesiser memory device which loses any data it contains when its power (electricity) is turned off. Many computers and computerised devices have internal batteries that enable their data to remain stored for long periods of time or they have memory devices that do not lose memory just because no electricity is present.


VOLUME CONTROL: The knob that one used to adjust the loudness of an audio programme. Also called “level control,” “gain control,” or “volume pot.”


VOLUME UNIT: The full name for VU. (See VU.)




VOWEL COLOURATION: In describing sound coming from a loudspeaker, a form of midrange or low-treble coloration which gives a “vowel- like” sound to the music. Like saying the sound “owww” or “awww” or “auwwww.” Music recorded in odd small spaces can sometimes pick up this kind of character. Poor quality loudspeakers can add this quality to the sound they are reproducing.


VSB, 8VSB: (This is a technical definition regarding digital television broadcasting. 8VSB is the US and Canadian standard and the EU standard is COFDM - both are defined in this entry.) “VSB” is an abbreviation for Vestigial Side Band, and 8VSB is “8 level Vestigial Sideband.” “8VSB” is the U.S. standard for Digital Television over-the-air broadcasting (DTV). Tests have been conducted by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) in the U.S. on the method of broadcasting for DTV. Reports show that neither 8VSB nor COFDM Digital TV broadcast methods are optimum, and it is possible that a different system of DTV broadcasting will be developed and employed eventually. What are “8VSB” and “COFDM” exactly? TV and radio broadcasts use carrier waves. Different stations have different frequencies of carrier waves they are authorised to use. In the “8VSB” method of broadcasting, “side bands” are created when sound and pictures are added to a carrier wave. Side bands are essentially “reflections” of the carrier wave itself and are physically located just to the outside of the carrier wave (on either side of it). The “side bands” are called “vestigial“ because a side band is a “vestige” (a trace or visible evidence of) the original carrier wave. Vestigial side bands, in addition to the original carrier wave, also can carry information. There can be many side bands for a carrier wave. The US Government has stipulated that a given broadcast is allowed up to “8-levels” of side bands, thus the term “8VSB.” (SIDE BAND is further defined in a separate entry.) COFDM, the non-US broadcasting method for Digital TV, is an abbreviation for Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing. That’s a jaw-cracking term, but it can be broken down and understood. First of all “Coded” is in reference to digital bit streams that comprise the audio, video, video synch signal and other information being broadcast. The digital information that comprises the data streams are the codes referred to. “Orthogonal” comes from Greek and means “at right angles to.” It has to do with how the colour signals appear on a video measurement scope (called a vector scope) - the colour signals appear at right angles to each other when one looks at them on the visual screen of the scope. In other words, the frequencies that carry colour are separated from each other by 90 degrees in their phase relationships. “Frequency Division Multiplexing” means to transmit many signals on the same frequency band by dividing the sound, picture and other information into many different individual frequencies and then broadcasting them as individual signals within the band of frequencies used by a television channel. (Stations broadcasting don’t just use one single frequency upon which to broadcast, but they have an allotted range of frequencies they may use - these being a TV channel’s “bandwidth.”) There is enough bandwidth available to have thousands of individual frequencies for the video, audio and other digital data in the COFDM method of broadcasting. It does not produce side bands to broadcast, but rather is using individual frequencies within the TV station’s allowed bandwidth. 8VSB, on the other hand, produces side bands of the main carrier wave. Why the difference between the various countries? A major factor is that the TV stations already have equipment that has been broadcasting in these methods for years and it’s how each country is set up to send and receive TV. The 8VSB standard broadcasts the programme’s picture, sound, video synch and metadata on 8 levels of side bands. The Non-U.S. COFDM standard broadcasts the same but each portion of the overall broadcast is broken down into different frequencies within a given bandwidth. One of the stated problems with the 8VSB signal is that, because it broadcasts on only 8 different side band frequencies, if one of those side bands is blocked or interfered with as it travels to the consumer, 1/8th of the picture and-or audio is gone. Sometimes the signal can be cancelled out totally and one gets no picture or sound at all! A COFDM broadcast is much less susceptible to signal cancellation as its many various parts of the programme broadcast are sent and received on so many different frequencies that even if a few get blocked the receiving television usually has enough data from the rest to correct the errors. However, very complex and sophisticated receivers are required to properly decode the COFDM signal and it requires a lot more power to broadcast. Reportedly the correct type of antenna can greatly minimise any problem with receiving an 8VSB broadcast. Such antennas have been designed by US video engineers, including Peter Putman of PHP Communications in Doylestown, Pennsylvania (215-345-8004). COFDM is broadly used in Europe and some parts of South America. However, the 8VSB standard more easily conforms to the established U.S. National Television Standards Committee (NTSC) bandwidth and the TV stations’ broadcasting equipment, as well as the DTV televisions already sold in the US. No one, in the USA at least, appears fully happy with either system - as test reports indicate 8VSB has reception and signal cancellation problems and COFDM signals are difficult to decode and require complex receivers and as well require more power to broadcast. While both versions continue to be used, the broadcasting industry is attempting to improve one of the systems for use or to come up with another method altogether.


V-SOFT: An abbreviation for Video-Software, a brand name of computer software that allows video to be streamed over a computer network. It is primarily for connecting up all the computers in a local facility so they can work together in that location. For example, if a large video production facility does a video edit, V-Soft can be used to allow another edit bay or studio at the facility to access it.

For more technical data, read on…    V-Soft software is best suited for Local Area Networks (LANs), which connect computer terminals within a studio complex. However, it is possible to use V-Soft in a Wide Area Network (WAN) if the WAN can support high volume digital transmissions. V-Soft supports MPEG1 as well as all forms of MPEG2 compression.


VST: An abbreviation for Virtual Studio Technology. A format of computer plug-in software designed for MIDI recording, editing and mixing. VST cards can be used with MIDI to add special effects such as reverb and delay, compression and equalisation. When one sees a type of sound card that supports VST, it means that the card is designed to be used with MIDI, as opposed to the larger digital audio workstations such as SADiE and Protools. Equipment manuals for DAW’s usually state which formats their system will support. If not clearly stated in the manual, the manufacturer should be consulted.


VTL: Vacuum Tube Logic. This is a brand name of a type of audio electronic equipment - both for professional and home use. It is famous for its use of the vacuum tube. The company is located in Chino California. David Manley started the company in the 80s and designed much of the equipment, but he is no longer affiliated with the business. It is now owned and operated by his son, Luke Manley.      


VTR: Video Tape Recorder. This is the term used to refer to any videotape machine used in the professional studio world as opposed to those used by home consumers. It is a device which permits video and audio signals to be recorded on magnetic tape and played back with high quality. A video machine is called a VTR in professional circles, especially when working in a broadcast truck where they are called off as “VTR 1,” “VTR 2,” etc.


VU: Means “Volume Unit.” A volume unit is equal to 1 decibel. (More data at DECIBEL, ZERO VU.)




Vyvx: Short for Williams Vyvx Services, Incorporated. (No meaning for the word Vyvx is known as per managers and engineers contacted at Vyvx.) A satellite broadcast and fibre optics cable service provider. Vyvx has satellite broadcast facilities in several cities across the U.S. They also have a huge network of fibre optic cable that connects many major cities across the USA.