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Translating TV newroom jargon

TV journalists and producers use a lot of jargon in the industry. It can be baffling to those who’ve never stepped foot in a newsroom. So, to help those who often connect with broadcast media, here is a cheat-sheet so your message is never lost in translation:

BOUNCE – This refers to a reporter surprising the subject on camera and throwing them questions. It’s commonly used outside court or when a negative story about a high-profile person breaks and they’re trying to avoid the media.

B ROLL – Cut-away vision or extra pictures giving a story more context. It helps the story by covering extra lines of script but is secondary to the primary focus of the story.

BUTTSOT – Two grabs pushed together.

GRAB – A sound bite from an interview, usually between 4 seconds and 15 seconds in length.

GRAB SLAB – Multiple grabs stitched together.

GVS – General vision. This could be anything from building exteriors to a road where an accident happened, a crowded shopping centre or the police activity at a crime scene.

IV – Interview.

LVO – Live voice over. This broadcast directive is a type of news item. The presenter usually reads the script as pictures appear on screen and is usually 20 to 30 seconds long.

MCU – Medium close-up. A camera directive that frames the presenter or reporter from the chest up.

NATOST – Natural sound on tape. A more specific type of SOT, the natural background sounds captured on a recording.

OTS – Over the shoulder. Refers to the pictures and words behind the news reader when they introduce a package.

PKG – Pack or Package. These pre-cut news items are scripted packages voiced by a journalist with pictures and talent and are usually between 60 and 120 seconds in length.

SOT – Sound on tape. This is the sound on a recording. It could be the talent, background noise, a busy road or ambient crowd noises.

THROW – When a presenter passes the story over to a reporter, often on scene.

UPSOT – Sound up on tape. Instructions in a tv script for the editor or technical director to bring up the sound from the vision.

VO – Voice over. The reporter’s scripted voice over pictures.

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