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Terms Of Endurement. Humor is cheaper than therapy.

Television Engineering/Videography

ATR: Abrupt Termination Response - the result of STL (Sudden Total Loss) that often includes screaming, moaning, hair-pulling and long bursts of salty language.

ATV: Antique Technology Verification - a statement such as "Gee, we haven't carried parts for that model since the late 60s," that confirms one's equipment is somewhat outdated.

Camera Stabilizer: See Component Level Adjustment.

CCD: Cost Containment Decision - a managerial process that precedes the purchase of inferior equipment. See LCD.

Character Generator: Broadly speaking, a live shoot. Specifically, any visual or verbal cue - such as a director announcing "we're on the air" - that transforms the gathered citizenry into camera-hogging and obnoxious fools.

Color Correction: The immediate and animated retraction of a statement that turns management or clientele pale green or bright red, such as "we've exceeded the budget" or "we can't make deadline."

Component Level Adjustment: A process that employs rocks, scrap lumber or whatever else is handy to bring individual pieces of gear to a level position on the often lunar-like topography of an on-location shoot.

CRT: Caffeine Reaction Time - the time between ingestion of copious helpings of coffee and the restoration of mental activity.

Cuts-only: One possible scenario for time spent working on inaccessible equipment. As opposed to "cuts, crush wounds, and fractured limbs."

De-Icer: A device that keeps the transmitting equipment toasty warm when serviced regularly by a freezing engineer.

Detail Correction: A misleading term used by management or clientele that translates to a complete overhaul of the project - from shoot to final edit.

Digital Effects: The effects of upgrading to an all-digital facility, including a sudden shrinkage of the budget and a corresponding increase in the number of complex manuals in the engineering office.

Direct Box: Slang for an emergency overnight or courier delivery of replacement parts for crucial equipment that has failed on an on-location shoot.

Dock: v. (1) To impact a loading platform with a van or truck filled with expensive gear. n. (2) The loading platform that goes "crunch" when impacted by a van or truck filled with expensive gear.

EBS: Engineer's Back Syndrome, also called "Rack Back" - a pathological condition, not unlike carpal tunnel syndrome, that is caused by the continuous removal and re-installation of rack-mounted gear.

Editing Controller: That which dictates the amount of quality time spent editing any given project. Examples would include "budget" and "time."

ENG Mixer: A small, informal gathering that follows the field coverage of a news event and during which crew members of competing facilities enjoy each others' camaraderie, brag about their current jobs, and simultaneously hint that they are on the lookout for better employment opportunities.

Fader: An employee whose blood caffeine level has decreased to the point of ineffectiveness.

Fiber: A sensible and reliable way to ensure gastrointestinal regularity during remote on-location work.

Fixed Lens: A lens assembly whose focusing mechanism has become frozen due to contamination by sand, salt air or spilled food or drink.

Head Refurbish: Slang for any of a multitude of stress-release methods, including but not limited to libation, video games, sensory deprivation tanks, primal screaming and extended unconsciousness.

Headset: Slang for the mental state immediately preceding or following a Head Refurbish, i.e., "My headset is better after 18-hours of non-stop bungee jumping."

Heat Exchanger: A highly technological explanation used to deflect wrath away from the responsible party and toward innocent gear.

Imaging Device: Any device used to render a self-conscious talent better looking than he or she actually is, including lighting, makeup, toupees, wigs, and cosmetic dentistry or surgery.

Instrumental Pickup: The gathering process used to clear the set of debris after taping a rough and publicity starved thrash band.

LCD: Lowest Cost Device - descriptive of a piece of gear selected by management for it's attractive price and which proves true the saying, "you get what you pay for."

Level Compensation: A worthless title or position awarded an employee by management to try to compensate for an inadequate salary.

Noise Reduction: Any of a variety of ways to silence a meddling or ill-behaved client, including but not limited to food (preferably peanut butter), magazines, video games and duct tape.

NTSC: Not The Same Company - descriptive of the general atmosphere after a change in ownership - despite the new management's assurance that, "Nothing's going to change. It's business as usual."

PAL: Purposefully Ambiguous Language - any type of vague technical explanation used to manipulate management.

Pan Head: Slang for one who takes out frustration by pounding his or her head with Magnalite brand cookware. See Tilt Head.

Portable Mixer: A mixing console that seems light during pre-purchase examination but whose weight increases exponentially over time during actual use.

Profanity Delay: The time between a catastrophic technical snafu and the utterance of a linguistic unmentionable.

Prompting System: Any of a variety of methods used to attract the immediate attention of someone committing a serious gaffe, such as parking a camera shot on the Mayor's wife's chest, telling off-color jokes within the pickup range of a live mic, etc. See Signal enhancement.

Pulse Delay: The period of time between a technical director's implementation of a Prompting System and the resumption of his or her heartbeat.

SECAM: Sudden and Enigmatic Chromatic Aberration Mode - an anomaly of chip cameras that seems to occur only at crucial moments.

Signal Enhancement: Any means, including but not limited to wild gesturing and the lobbing of heavy projectiles, with which to increase the impact of an urgent message from a technical director to a cameraperson or talent. See Prompting system.

Solid State: Descriptive of the body of an ENG videographer covering a tense all-night standoff in the middle of a blizzard.

STL: Sudden Total Loss - the instantaneous and complete loss of any crucial data or signal - at the worst possible moment.

TBC: Total Brain Crash - a mysterious mental impairment that often occurs directly following an STL.

Test Slide: A sudden forceful application of the brakes of an ENG or EFP vehicle used to confirm that the gear has been properly secured.

Tilt Head: A slang term for the alignment of a Pan Head's skull along the vertical axis.

Time Modification: The traditional strategy of greatly exaggerating the amount of time needed to perform a given task, thus making one look like a hero when the job is completed earlier than expected.

Transmission line: A stock excuse used by ENG crew members who are late because they stopped for coffee and doughnuts - "Sorry we're late. It was the transmission again."

UHF: Unverifiable Hardware Failure - an equipment anomaly that one suspects - but cannot prove - is caused by a particular piece of hardware.

VHF: Verifiable Hardware Failure - an equipment anomaly that can be traced to a piece of hardware that is either smoking or in flames.

Videodisc: The slang name for a pathological spinal condition caused by hauling heavy ENG and EFP gear.

Wireless Mic: A microphone whose shielded cable has been ripped out accidentally.

Zoom Lens: Slang for a contact lens sucked free of its host eyeball and sent hurtling toward the ground as a result of a videographer positioning him or herself too close to the open door of a rapidly moving helicopter.