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Old March 11th, 2008, 11:43 PM   #1
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Slates - Clapboards

Where do most people go to purchase a clapboard? As with everything else in DV, the prices seem to vary quite a bit depending on where you go. I've checked ebay, and everyone selling clapboards on there seems to be from China, so the shipping's like 15 bucks, and locally I can't find anything under $70-$100. Thanks all.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 12:23 AM   #2
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I bought mine from Media Monkey (http://www.gomediamonkey.com/proddet...d=MEDSlateENG).

I'm very happy with its quality, and the service I received from them was excellent. I needed it shipped express and they were very helpful and followed up to amke sure that all was OK.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 07:04 AM   #3
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I actually made mine out of a flat piece of PVC and some wood. I got the PVC at a junkyard, but you might be able to find something at a hardware store. I got some black tape and lettering for the words scene and take. I also took a piece of wood, fabricated a hinge, sprayed it black and white, and attached it to the top. I'll try to get some pictures up later.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 07:09 PM   #4
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I bought a cheap dry-erase whiteboard for $5, and made the clapsticks out of some pine. Printed some diagonal-stripe strips on photo paper and glued them to the clapsticks for focusing. A regular Sanford Sharpie marker was used to make the permanent, non-erasable graphics on the whiteboard. With the exception of the whiteboard, it was all materials on hand, and a pleasant afternoon's work.

Martin
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Old March 12th, 2008, 11:50 PM   #5
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ClapBoard

Some great Ideas. I'm sure if I understood what the purpose of these things are, I would feel like I need to get/make one.
For spotting shoot breaks while fast scanning footage?
Simply date and scene information? Synching sound and video "clap" if capturing audio via another source is one part of it right?
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Old March 13th, 2008, 12:02 AM   #6
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Unbelieveably, and delightfully, slates still are a very useful tool. Not all cameras can use time code.

Single cam: Let's say you import to a NLE program and the audio is on one track and video on another. You move things around and uh oh.... synch is off. Your slated start is a fast and easy way to get back into synch. Slate every scene start!

Multi cam: In a multi cam setting that often can be the ONLY way to synch them, depending on the camera(s).
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Old March 13th, 2008, 07:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Bates View Post
Some great Ideas. I'm sure if I understood what the purpose of these things are, I would feel like I need to get/make one.
The original usage was for film cameras. Hollywood movie productions capture their audio and video to different machines. Each day of shooting, the film and audio is sent to be made into a daily, a tape of the day's work. The daily guy can then match up the audio with the video, because he can hear the scene and take spoken on the audio, and read it from the film. The sharp clap serves as a specific sync point.
For digital video, the same principle applies. The slate marks the scene visually so you can identify it and allows audio to be synced (either multicam, external recorder, or if you move the audio in editing, as Chris said.)
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Old March 13th, 2008, 05:57 PM   #8
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Slates are so wonderfully simple and reliable. They ALWAYS work, the batteries never go dead, and it's a wonderful way to focus the entire attention of the crew to the scene being shot. It's a tradition, like the youngest member of the cannon crew being the one who lights the fuse.

Martin
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Old March 13th, 2008, 06:12 PM   #9
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I love these forums because it seems like no matter what you're looking for someone's built their own version of it. I'd love to see some pictures of your guys' homemade slates if you've got any. Thanks.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 06:41 PM   #10
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we stock the standard slate or the engraved slate, 45 or 75 plus shipping call and talk to Laura
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Old March 13th, 2008, 07:07 PM   #11
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The first picture is my first attempt: a piece of cheap plywood sprayed with chalkboard paint.
The other one is a piece of translucent PVC sheet and two pine sticks. I used two shower curtain magnets originally to close the sticks, but those were too weak. I replaced one with a neodymium magnet, now it closes with a nice *snap*. The hinge is made from stainless steel and a few bolts from an inline skate. The bolts have one male part, and an equally long female part. This way, they can be tightened without squeezing the hinge together (or else, it wouldn't be a hinge.)
Attached Thumbnails
Slates - Clapboards-img_2126.jpg   Slates - Clapboards-img_2131.jpg  

Slates - Clapboards-img_2133.jpg   Slates - Clapboards-img_2134.jpg  

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Old March 14th, 2008, 02:57 PM   #12
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FYI, here in "Hollywood" (it always makes me feel a bit silly for using the term as such, accurate though it may be) we are still using slates on nearly all productions, film or digital. The reason being that we although the camera manufacturers continue to include audio recording on their high-end HD cameras, we have managed to maintain the dual-system for sound recording rather than encumber the camera with another set of cables for the most part, and even then it is likely that the recordist will be making a safety version at their cart which still needs syncing if used. They will instead mount a Comtex (wireless headset receiver, same as those used by the director, script supervisor etc at the monitors) on the camera to feed a reference audio track while the primary audio is being captured on their cart.

Generally we also use timecode slates to further streamline the process. A "clockit" box is added to the camera which maintains sync. At the moment the clapper closes, the timecode display will switch to 00:00:00:00, which gives an additional visual determination of sync. And most have a backlight which can rear-glow the info written on it for low-light situations, although many AC's use a flashlight to illuminate the board.

As far as it being a cherished tradition, I think that most of us would be happy to see it go. It's a sometimes uneasy crossover between camera and sound departments (they own it, we operate it); as an operator, you generally have to set your frame then help the assistant maneuver the slate into the right spot (and the 1st has to pull to it as it is often closer than the actors); having to tail-slate a shot because the opening frame is inaccessible, such as when on a crane, requires everyone having to remember throughout the take not to cut at the end; several times a day the first clap will be screwed up for one reason or another and we have to call for "second sticks", etc etc. In the digital acquisition world, the DP may be making final adjustments to the iris or lighting or something in the background when the damn slate comes in.

Finally, the reason that Martin mentions, about the whole crew "focusing in" when the slate arrives, is actually the thing that directors and actors tend to dislike most about it. They may be ready to cook, do their thing, and everything has to stopfor the camera and sound roll, the announcement of speed, the callout of the scene numbers and the clap, then the announcment that the operator has refound his frame and is "set". This is why many directors and influential actors are embracing digital because they choose instead to just keep the camera rolling between takes. This way as soon as the director has run in and given his notes, he can simply call "action" and off we go. Actors (especially in comedies) are now free to try multiple variations ("alts") of their lines without it requiring a new take. Many times this will mean a massive reset of extras and prop people running in, but it keeps the energy going somehow. Those it hurts the most are the camera and boom ops, if it is a handheld or Steadicam shot, as we have to muster through endlessly long shooting periods without rest.

So this then is the brave new world of digital acquisition--operators and boom guys turning purple on set, assistant editors wading through hours of footage trying to find the actual shots and creating subclips, shooting ratios going through the roof...but who cares, it's just digital!
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Old March 14th, 2008, 06:46 PM   #13
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The advantage of working with "pros". Most shoots around here involve pick-up crews. Having somebody get in front with a slate and calling the shot reminds them to SHUT UP AND PAY ATTENTION. Besides, awarding the clapper job to a newbie is a cheap form of bribery.

Martin
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Old March 14th, 2008, 07:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Carlson View Post
The first picture is my first attempt: a piece of cheap plywood sprayed with chalkboard paint.
The other one is a piece of translucent PVC sheet and two pine sticks. I used two shower curtain magnets originally to close the sticks, but those were too weak. I replaced one with a neodymium magnet, now it closes with a nice *snap*. The hinge is made from stainless steel and a few bolts from an inline skate. The bolts have one male part, and an equally long female part. This way, they can be tightened without squeezing the hinge together (or else, it wouldn't be a hinge.)
Looks nice. Is the PVC sheet fastened to the back of the bottom pine stick, or did you route a groove for the sheet to fit in?
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Old March 14th, 2008, 07:46 PM   #15
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Cut a grove and attached it with some polyurethane glue. That way the bottom stick makes a lip on the back to hold on to.
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