Pack slip

A lateral slip of select tape windings causing high or low spots (when viewed with tape reel laying flat on one side) in an otherwise smooth tape pack. Pack slip can cause subsequent edge damage when the tape is played, as it will unwind unevenly and may make contact with the tape reel flange. [BAVC]

PAL (Phase Alternate Line)

The European standard for color television transmission, calling for 625 lines of information, scanned at a rate of 25 frames per second. [BAVC]

Paper edit

Rough edit decision list made by screening original material, but without actually performing edits. [BAVC]


A chemical process which forms a protective coating on a metal. Used to coat and protect each particle in a Metal Particle (MP) tape. [AMIA]

PC (Personal Computer)

1. A self-contained or networked work station with its own processing and input/output devices. 2. Slang for the Windows operating system, in contrast to other operating systems like Macintosh, UNIX or Linux.[Variable Media]


1. In the video waveform, the signal level corresponding to black. Also called setup. 2. A pulse (usually with a flat peak) that elevates the base level of another waveform. See Blanking Level. [BAVC]


Abbreviation for Polyethylene Naphthalate.


In the variable media paradigm, "performed" works include not only dance, music, theater, and performance art, but also works for which the process is as important as the product. For such works, the variable media questionnaire ascertains instructions that actors, curators, or installers must follow to complete the work, in addition to more conventional performance considerations such as cast, set and props. [Variable Media]


Abbreviation for Polyethylene Terephthalate.

Phase (chroma Phase, Hue, Tint)

The relative timing of a signal in relation to another signal. If the time for one cycle of a signal is represented as a 360 degree along a time axis, the phase position for the second signal is called phase angle expressed in degrees. The subcarrier phase TV colors can be adjusted and this changes the hue of the colors themselves. Color phase is the timing relationship in a video signal that is measured in degrees and keeps the hue of a color signal correct. [BAVC]

Physical damage

Any distortion of the magnetic tape which prevents proper head to tape contact and is therefore detrimental to the tape playback. These distortions can include edge damage, wrinkles, cinches, and tape stretch. [BAVC]


An old technology carryover term for the magnetic particles contained in tape binder. [BAVC]


Short for the mostly obsolete term PIcture (X) ELement. A digital image is made up of rows and columns of points of light. Each indivisible point of light is called a pixel. Each pixel can represent a number of different shades or colors, depending upon how much storage space is allocated for it. [UPF]

Plasma screen

A plasma screen, (or plasma display panel or PDP) is an emissive flat panel display where visible light is created by phosphors excited by a plasma discharge of neon and xenon between two flat panels of glass. They became publicly available in 1997. [EAI]


The viewing of recorded video footage or reproduction of recording video signal via a magnetic pickup device. [BAVC]

Playback demagnetization

A loss of magnetization and thus a degradation of recorded information caused by repeated playing of a recorded tape. [BAVC]

Playback hardware

Equipment needed to play back video. Usually a DVD player or VCR. [EAI]

PLUGE (Picture Line-Up Generation Equipment)

Also called Black Set. Used for aligning monitors and other video devices. In some versions of color bars, PLUGE is the black set at the bottom of the red bar that contains bars that are blacker than black, black, and whiter than black. Used to adjust monitor brightness by watching the PLUGE so that the whiter than black bar is just visible and both the black and blacker than black bars are no longer distinct. [BAVC]


A browser utility developed by a third party, typically for viewing special Web formats such as Flash animations or Realplayer videos. [Variable Media]

Polyethylene naphthalate

The base used for thin digital videotapes. [AMIA]

Polyethylene terephthalate

The polymeric substrate material used for most magnetic


A long organic molecule made up of small, repeating units (literally, many mers). Analogous to a freight train, where each individual unit is represented by a freight car. At very high magnification, a chunk of polymer would resemble a bowl of cooked spaghetti. Plastic materials are polymers. The strength and toughness of plastics is due, in part, to the length of its polymer molecules. If the chains (links in the freight train) are broken by hydrolysis, the shorter chains will impart less strength to the plastic. If enough polymer chains are broken, the plastic will become weak, powdery, or gooey. See Binder. [BAVC]

Poly-Si (silicon) LCD

A popular LCD technology for the top of the line LCD projectors, which results in increased color saturation, with contrast ratios above 200:1. [Projector People]

Popped strand

A strand of tape protruding from the edge of a wound tape pack.[BAVC]


In 1965, Sony introduced the Portapack, a portable set for the recording of video films, on the American market. This relatively light half-inch video unit consisted of a camera and a portable black-and-white tape deck. The advent of the Portapak in fact meant the breakthrough of the artistic use of the medium of video. The apparatus was relatively inexpensive and its operation did not require much technical know-how, so that a substantial group of artists could set to work with the medium. [Montevideo]

Power zoom

A zoom lens with the zoom in and out controlled by a motor, usually adjusted from the control panel or a remote control. This is as compared to Digital zoom, which does this same function Digitally. [Projector People]


The total of measures and actions aimed at consolidating the condition of an object, counteracting detected decay or preventing further decay that can be expected with certainty to occur within the foreseeable future.[Montevideo]

Preservation master

The common term for a tape that is created through the process of re-mastering. Preservation masters are ideally only accessed when a duplication master is no longer useful for making viewing copies. [Texas Commission on the Arts]

Print through

The condition where low frequency signals on one tape winding imprint themselves on the immediate adjacent tape windings. It is most noticeable on audio recordings where a ghost of a recording can be heard slightly before playback of the actual recording. [BAVC]

Processing amplifier

Electronic device that processes the video signals fed through it by allowing adjustment of the signal levels and providing stable horizontal and vertical sync. [BAVC]

Professional grade

A higher grade for equipment than consumer grade. Professional grade equipment has more controls, allowing operators a wider range of quality possibilities. A consumer grade video camera, for instance, has one light sensitive device, while a professional grade camera has three, one red, one blue, and one green. [EAI]