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PAL: Phase Alternate Line. Video/broadcast standard developed in Germany, and used primarily in Europe and Australasia. Delivers 625 lines at 25 fps (frames per second).
Pan (1): Horizontal camera movement.
Pan (2): The amount which a signal is divided between two pathways. For example, on an audio mixer, an input source can be panned across two stereo channels. Related info: Stereo
Pan and Scan: A method of converting widescreen film or video to 4x3 aspect ratio in order to be displayed on traditional television sets. The most important area of the frame is selected and the rest discarded. More info: Pan & scan, Aspect ratios
Pan Pot: Pan Potentiometer. A component which pans a signal across two pathways. Typically a knob or slider. The knob on a domestic stereo which pans between left and right speakers is a pan pot.
Parametric Equalizer: A type of audio equalizer which provides user-adjustable parameters such as frequency and bandwidth. More info: Parametric Equalisers, Sound Equalization
Patch Panel: AKA jackfield, a panel containing a series of connection points for electronic equipment. This allows equipment to be inter-connected in various configurations. More info: Patch Panel
Pattern Generator: A device capable of outputting various television test patterns. Used to test and calibrate vision equipment.
PCM: Pulse Code Modulation. A digital audio format.
Peak: The highest level of strength of a signal. If the "peak" or "clip" light on an audio mixer is activated, this means the respective bus (channel) is peaking at a dangerous level.
Pedestal (1): A movable mount for studio cameras. More info: Pedestal shot
Pedestal (2): The black level of a video signal.
Pepper Light: A small light, around 200w, used to light small spaces or to highlight certain features. More info: Pepper Lights
Persistence of Vision: A widely-accepted but scientifically unfounded theory which states that the human eye (and/or brain) always retains images for a fraction of a second. More info: Persistence of Vision
Phantom Power: A means of distributing a DC current through audio cables to provide power for microphones and other equipment. More info: Phantom power
Phasing: In audio work, an effect which utilizes phased wave interaction to create various sweeping sounds. Related info: Phasing Effect
Pink noise:Random noise, similar to white noise, that contains equal sound pressure level in each octave band.More info: Pink noise, Noise colors
Pixel: Picture Element.
Podcast: A portmanteau (fusion) of broadcasting and iPod. A system of syndicating multimedia content via the Internet for personal computers and portable devices. More info: Podcasting
Pot: See Potentiometer.
Potentiometer: Variable resistor. Potentiometers are used to adjust the level of a signal and are typically controlled by a knob or slider.
Power Amplifier: A device which accepts a relatively low level audio signal and boosts it to a level at which it can be output to a loudspeaker.
Power reset: Disconnecting power from a device (usually by turning it off), in order to purge all charges and reset the device to it's default settings.
PPM: Peak Program Meter. An audio level meter. More info: PPM Meters
Pre-Roll: The "lead-in" time at the beginning of a tape edit. When performing an edit, the tapes are rewound a few seconds, then played back before the edit begins. This ensures that the tapes are running at exactly the right speed.
Production: The process of creating a media product, or in some cases, the product itself.More info: The Production Process, Pre-production, Production, Post-production
PZM: Pressure Zone Microphone, AKA boundary effect microphone. This type of mic uses a flat surface to pick up the pressure waves bouncing of a "boundary" such as the floor, a table, wall, etc. These mics are often used in conference situations — the mic lies flat and unobtrusive in the middle of the table. More info: PZM mics