Proper Jargon: Media

In any field of study or in any occupation, there are specific terms which must be used to properly communicate the ideas of one individual to another. Broadcasting and Media Production are no exception. Now, I won’t go into good communication skills here, but rather knowing what some words mean as opposed to others you might think are appropriate. I’ll list some words and their meaning and if they’re archaic and what connotations it might have.

Tape vs Recording: When you “record” something to some form of video or audio medium. People still use this word frequently. It still means what people mean it to mean, but the phrase doesn’t apply much anymore. Rush Limbaugh uses it very frequently when his engineers play audio soundbites. He’ll say “Stop the tape!” or “Roll the tape back.” But there is no tape. It is most likely just sound files on a DAW that one guy presses to start and stop. I use it when I record to MiniDV tapes, which is still proper, but people ask me to “tape a DVD” which drives me nuts! In the end, it’s most proper if the medium is actually a tape, but I imagine the definition of the word will eventually change to “record” in a few years. Since the younger “mp3″ generation will never know people once used magnetic tape, all they’ll know it was something their dad says for some reason.”

PowerPoint vs Slideshow: This might not be as common outside of places that do many presentations, but a PowerPoint is exactly that, a PowerPoint Presentation; a digital slideshow of pictures or multimedia clips used to address an audience typically advanced by a presenter. A PowerPoint Presentation could be a slideshow, but when you hear “slideshow,” first I think of “sideshow” then I think of the old slide projectors which always had upside down or backward slides in it. The difference between a slideshow and a PPT slideshow would be that the slideshow could be a video presentation of stills and short video clips used at a wedding or birthday whereas the PPT kind is something someone is advancing on his own. If someone says the PowerPoint will play, and it’s actually a video slideshow, I get confused. It is important if you think about it. Do you need someone to advance the presentation, or do you want it to play on its own?

CDs vs DVDs: Compact Discs and Digital Versatile Discs (not Digital Video Discs) are different. First is because of their capacity. A CD can hold 700MB of data and a DVD can hold 4.7-8.5GB of data. Second is their purpose. A CD is used for one of two things, generally. Either to play music on a CD player, or as a one-time storage device (except for CD-RWs). DVDs are more versatile, hence the name. They can play music, be used as storage, play videos or movies, and you can even have dual layered double sided kinds which have more storage and playback capabilities. If you make a CD for someone, you’ll likely think it’s a Music CD you can play in your car. But if you make a DVD, it’s a video or movie for them to watch at home.

Video: People probably think of videos today as YouTube or other websites. If you make a video for someone, as I usually do, some of them use DVD and video interchangeably. That makes my head explode! A video, by itself, to me, is a file on a computer which needs to be played back with some kind of software. A DVD has to be played with a DVD player, or DVD playing software and hardware.

MP3 vs All audio formats: MP3s are good for a standard  for user-friendly small sized audio files. But there are many other kinds: aiff, wav, m4a, wma, ogg, aac, ac3, CDDA, and others. Which is which? What are they good for? It all depends on the final purpose really. If you don’t need high resolution audio uploaded online or easily transferrable from one place to another, mp3 is safe and easiest to come across. WAV and AIFF are uncompressed and could take up more space, but are sometimes accepted in most “mp3” players. The others can be more specialized, and if you are reading this and don’t understand that, then just use an MP3.

I plan on doing some more of these posts on jargon and gobbledygook in the future. leave your thoughts or ideas on kinds to do if you like.

One thought on “Proper Jargon: Media

  1. Hi Israel, I will have to agree with you in that we use jargon and words that are out of date, but if you know at what we are refering, the word will convey the meaning.

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