Every industry has a lingo. Whether you're an engineer or a firefighter, verbal shortcuts, acronyms and slang pepper our workdays. The graphics world is no exception. Here are a few terms you might hear while working with a graphic artist or a program producer on your PowerPoint presentation.
This technical term is also referred to as "stair-stepping" or "jaggies." It can occur on the rounded edges of lettering or placed objects, particularly those with diagonal lines.
The area of your projected or viewed image. Referred to as a width-by-height ratio such as 4:3 or 16:9. A standard US video monitor is 4:3, widescreen is 16:9. These ratios translate into pixel dimensions, which then translate into inches when setting up your presentation document.
On graphics saved with less than one million colors, large areas of color may become defined as colored sections rather than one continuous field. A photographic sky may split into light blue, medium blue and dark blue, for example.
B-A-T stands for Big (Blank) Text. The "A" is interchangeable with a few different words, so we'll leave the most common three-lettered one up to your imagination!
The B-A-T slide is simply a slide with a few words or perhaps a short quotation in big, bold text. It could be a "chapter" header like "Economics" or "Summary." There is a current trend to use more B-A-Ts than bulleted slides. Many communications experts believe these types of slides have more impact and retention potential on the audience.
The presentation process of starting with a title or headline, then introducing other elements to the slide such as bullet points, artwork or photographs.
Bullets or Readers:
The standard bullet point slide is more simply referred to as a bullet or bullets. Older graphic artists and producers, particularly those with backgrounds in video production, may refer to bulleted slides as "readers." This term comes from the use of a device called a character generator (CG) that "reads" text over a camera shot or background artwork.
Making the type size, charts or other objects bigger to improve readability.
A common alternative term for a presentation.
Another term for slides, often used by European presenters.
MTL or Cover:
MTL stands for Meeting Theme Logo. The MTL is typically your first and last slide in a presentation. It may have your corporate logo, the name of your presentation, artwork that matches your conference or meeting signage, or a combination of all of these things. The MTL may be part of an opening loop of material as the audience arrives in the staging area.
The MTL may also be referred to as a "cover" within the presentation, and appear as two presenters hand off to each other or any other place where there is a change in the show flow.
On shows using cameras for image magnification (I-Mag), the video director will usually freeze an image of the MTL to use onscreen when there is not a suitable camera angle.
Points and Picas:
These two "P" words all have to do with sizing. Points and Picas refer to the height of lettering. You may hear an artist discuss an increase in "point size" to make a slide more readable to the audience.
Pica (pie-kah) is a printing term and heard less often. It may come up if creating handouts is part of the presentation job, but most artists stick with points these days.
As many digital photographers already know, Pixels are the tiny squares making up your presentation. Creating a presentation for 16x9 widescreen monitors will require your artist to translate pixel dimensions into inches in the PowerPoint page setup.
With the newer versions of PowerPoint, ping (.png) files are supported. Graphic artists may use pings for placing logos or other special artwork into the presentation because they include a transparency channel allowing the artwork to "float" over the background.
In some lower budget productions, a second computer may use PowerPoint as a makeshift TelePrompTer. The operator will create high-contrast slides bright yellow letters over black for example and enter large bulleted points to keep the presenter on track with key points.
The second computer is wired to a video monitor that only the presenter can see.
Spoken more often by producers, the rollout is any plan for distributing your presentation to audience members or other interested parties after your show is completed. It could be via e-mail, duplicated CDs, print or many other electronic methods.
Safe Action and Safe Title Areas:
These are technical video terms and refer to the area within 10% and 20% of your screen edges, respectively. It is a safety measure to ensure your graphics will not be cutoff on any edge due to a poorly adjusted video monitor. Not as applicable when using projection, although scrims and drapes may block portions of the full image.
This may be as simple as your MTL, or it could be something more complex like an animated, timed loop of moving art and images. The walk-in look is what your audience will see while being seated prior to your presentation.
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Gary Lewis is a graphic designer with over twenty years of experience in television production, post production and presentation design.
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