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A video tap is an accessory for a
motion picture camera A movie camera, film camera or cine-camera is a type of photographic camera which takes a rapid sequence of photographs on an image sensor or on a film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art ...
used in
filmmaking Filmmaking (film production) is the process by which a is . Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages, starting with an initial story, idea, or commission. It then continues through , , pre-production, shooting, sound recordi ...
to provide a video signal from the camera lens. Video taps are used to allow the
film crew A film crew is a group of people, hired by a , for the purpose of . The crew is distinguished from the , as the cast are understood to be the actors who appear in front of the camera or for characters in the film. The crew is also separate ...
to see what is in the camera's frame without having to look through the
viewfinder In photography, a viewfinder is what the photographer looks through to compose, and, in many cases, to focus the picture. Most viewfinders are separate, and suffer parallax Parallax is a displacement or difference in the apparent positionTh ...

viewfinder
, as well as allowing video to be recorded and can be used to create an immediate
rough cut In filmmaking, the rough cut is the second of three stages of offline editing. The term originates from the early days of filmmaking when film stock was physically cut and reassembled, but is still used to describe projects that are recorded and ed ...
, if needed. Since a video tap normally attaches to a camera's existing viewfinder using a
beam splitter File:Beamsplitter-2.jpg, 255px, Beam splitters A beam splitter (or beamsplitter) is an optical instrument, optical device that splits a beam of light in two. It is a crucial part of many optical experimental and measurement systems, such as Interf ...

beam splitter
, the video appears dark and
frame rate Frame rate (expressed in or FPS) is the frequency Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit of time A unit of time is any particular time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and ...
flicker is visible. Sometimes the tap will include frame lines and burned in
timecode A timecode (alternatively, time code) is a sequence of numeric codes generated at regular intervals by a timing synchronization system. Timecode is used in video production, show control and other applications which require temporal coordination ...
and
keykode Eastman Kodak Color motion picture film, motion picture color negative. All of these slices are from the same side of the same piece of negative, cropped and stacked for simplicity. (A) Human-readable Keykode number (the number to the far right ad ...
. Film and video technology {{film-tech-stub