Filmmaker Tools

Construct your own Video Slate

You've seen the clapper slate boards used in motion picture production and you want one These can be purchased from various stores such as Mole Richardson's supply store: "Studio Depot" (http://www.studiodepot.com) in Hollywood, CA or FILM TOOLS in Burbank, CA.

For video productions that are not recording sound to a separate tape, there is no true need for a clapper (the wooden bars that "clap" together to help the editor link the sound of the "clap" with the gates visually closing. This is important when film and audio tape are separate and need to be linked). You can create this visual and audial link with your hands clapping together in front of the camera.

Most of the time a slate wil get the job done. So if you can't but one and want to make one, here's a plan.

You'll need:

ONE - 9" x 11" rectangle of showerboard (This is a smooth white gloss painted on masonite. It can be purchased and cut at a lumber store. Try the scrap bin first. A full sheet is 4 by 8 feet and makes 40 slate sheets.)

ONE - 8.5" x 11" Transparency Sheet a.k.a. Overhead Sheet

ONE - SLATE SHEET (Print this JPG file and take this sheet to a copy machine that can copy onto the clear plastic overhead you have. Most copy machines in schools can copy onto overhead sheets. Read the direction of the machine. Plastic melted in a machine is very expensive to fix. You may want to make additional overhead copies now for replacements later on.)

GAFFER'S TAPE (cloth) or MASKING TAPE (paper)

BLACK or BLUE DRY ERASE MARKERS (RED stains too much)

ONE 3" X 3" square of any color felt.

ONE Rubberband

CONSTRUCTION:

Once you get the showerboard cut and make your overhead copy of the SLATE SHEET, take the sheet and tape it flush to the board.

You can drill a hole in one corner to run a small rope to make a lanyard.

On the end of the dry erase marker, take the piece of felt and attach it to the end of the marker. This is your eraser.

As the sheet gets used, you can replace it with a new overhead by taking the tape off and taping a new one on the board.

USE:

Things that stay the same, like the title of the production, the director and the camera name/camera operator's name can be written on tape and taped on (or under the sheet).

NR is NOISE REDUCTION
If dB is reduced note ON.

DF is for DROP FRAME
NDF is NON DROP FRAME
Most all consumer DV cameras are DF.

SOUND is usually channel 1 and 2 unless you have other mics

NOTE:

Those of you who have edited on computer and had sound become out of synchronization (sync) with the video may think a clapper would be just the thing to help you. Yet, this requires capturing the extra footage for each take. You may want to put you attention to you capture preferences. Once you get the bugs work out of your editing system, (capture audio at the 48kHZ rate) you should not need the clapper.

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