Frequently Asked Questions
We know you have them, here are answers to the common ones.
What does M.O.S. stand for?
The term M.O.S. generally appears on a slate when a scene is filmed without sound. Hollywood legend defines the term as Mit Out Sound. Weve heard many fascinating explanations of the terms origins.
M.O.S. may have originally stood for:
Mit Out Sound
Mit Out Sprechen
Minus Optical Signal
Minus Optical Sound
Minus Optical Stripe
Muted on Screen
Mute on Sound
Mic off Stage
Music on Side
Motor Only Shot
Motor Only Sync
Many MovieSlate users have written to us, disappointed by our referring to M.O.S. as Motor Only Shot (a Wikipedia explanation that seemed logical to us techies).
Were also quite fond of this amusing passage from Tony Bills excellent Movie Speak book...
M.O.S. A shot or scene filmed without recording sound; an event that, ironically, often seems to throw the sound department into an Okay-but-youll-be-sorry snit.
Industry mythology has M.O.S. deriving from the request of a long-gone German-speaking director variously indentified as Erich von Stroheim, Josef von Sternberg, or Ernst Lubitsch to film a scene mit out sprechen (without speaking) or mit out sound.
I dont think so. There is a less colorful but vastly more plausible origin for M.O.S.: In the early decades of sound, until the 1950s, the sound track was recorded on an optical rather than magnetic track (now always called the mag track). When film was delivered to the lab for processing with a blank sound track, it was noted that it was being send Minus Optical Stripe. Makes much more sense to me, although I understand the appeal of the apocryphal version.
One of many FAQs offered.