b. The slate may actually be a plain piece of slate with the data
lettered on it in white chalk.
It may also be ruled into blocks in which
For shooting sound sequences, the slate
includes a clap stick which is closed sharply at the end of the filming of the
slate. For shooting silent sequences, a simple slate is all that is needed.
c. When using a slate, place it in front of the camera ad run off
approximately 5 feet (1.52m).
Remember that you must focus on the slate.
Usually the focusing distance can be estimated but if you are in doubt, measure
the distance to the slate, and then set the focus.
The slate should be
photographed so that it fills the complete frame. If the slate is too far away
from the lens, the lettering will be so small that the editor will have
difficulty in reading it. Then, after photographing the slate, don't forget to
refocus on the scene to be photographed.
d. A typical slate is shown in Figure 3-1.
This slate is a good field
slate for documentation work. It is a combination information slate and color
This slate is valuable to the film processing laboratory to
determine color balance.
e. When you are photographing from a script, slate each scene.
are filming without a script, use a slate only at the beginning of the roll.
If, for any reason, you don't have time to photograph the slate at the
beginning of roll, photograph it at the end of the roll. This is known as "end
f. All documentation footage must have a slate.
This applies to both
film and television.
Many TV cameramen will only "audio slate," that is,
record the slate over the microphone. This provides no visual slate. If for
any reason the sound is lost, the slate is lost. Always use a slate which is
visible on the screen.
Figure 3-2 shows a typical sound slate as used in
motion picture filming. This type of slate is only required for double system
Although you, the cameraman, do not derive any particular value from the
slate, the film editor will be hampered, if not completely lost, when slates
are not used. This is particularly true when your scenes are not shot in the
same order as written in the script. In the field under tactical conditions,
the slate is just as important except for different reasons. A roll of motion
picture film or TV tape with no slate may very well be worthless to the
If he doesn't know what the roll relates to, he cannot make a
decision. Always slate your film or TV tape.