The Importance of the Perfect Slate

The main purpose of slating during film production is to sync sound with image, using the iconic filmmaking clapperboard. A spike in the audio’s waveform appears in the post-production timeline making it easy for editors to match image to sound. The slate contains other critical information to the editing process including the production’s name, scene, take, date, director and camera operator. Here are some pro-tips on how to achieve the perfect slate and refine the post-production process.



It’s all in the Details

In order to make the editor’s job as hassle-free as possible, the slate should clearly display all the information relevant to the production: hold is so that it almost fills the frame with no fingers covering up the information! Write legibly and large. While this may seem obvious, the slate needs to be clearly visible in the center of the frame, in focus, starting with sticks open. Fingers need to be clear of the sticks as you clap. Leaving fingers in the middle of the sticks sends a different message – it tells the editor that this scene is recorded without sound and they needn’t worry about syncing. Just before hitting the slate, call out “Mark!” or “Marker!” – This tells the editor that the next loud noise they hear is the slate closing. Angling the slate down to avoid glare is another tip and try to keep your hands still!


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