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#1 Sean Azze

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 01:25 AM

I figure the information written on a slate indicates to the editor which take is which, but whats the purpose of clapping it if the sound is already in sync?

Thanks
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 01:35 AM

I figure the information written on a slate indicates to the editor which take is which, but whats the purpose of clapping it if the sound is already in sync?

Thanks


Often separate back-up audio is recorded, like to DAT, so the editor has the option of using the sound on the HD tape or the separate sound. So the clap (and timecode, if it's a smart slate) is more in case the back-up audio has to be used.

Plus, at least if there's some sort of sync problem, especially in a downconversion, you can more easily SEE that there's a problem when the slating comes up in the footage. Downconversions to Digital Betacam can all go through a single SDI cable, but downconversions to analog Beta-SP may involve audio, timecode, and picture travelling separately, so you may want to double-check the sync.

Edited by David Mullen, 03 January 2006 - 01:38 AM.

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#3 Sean Azze

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Posted 03 January 2006 - 02:07 AM

Wow, never would have thought of that. I guess its like disinfecting the needle before a lethal injection :lol:

Thanks a lot.
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#4 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 01:39 PM

Plus it's more "Movie Like", lol... Plus #2 it gives your actors the "Q" they really need to know its time to roll. Plus it seems professional..... More than anything, I think HD and video shoots use them just for the image... And why not? at like $200 you can't beat it.
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#5 Keith Mottram

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 02:16 PM

Plus #2 it gives your actors the "Q" they really need to know its time to roll.


That would be calling 'action' landon. otherwise there would be a terrible mess. slates are very important for editors as it gives a level comunication with the other departments. it is also important for other people who need to log on set (the sound recordist, continuety etc)

keith
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 04:03 PM

That would be calling 'action' landon. otherwise there would be a terrible mess. slates are very important for editors as it gives a level comunication with the other departments. it is also important for other people who need to log on set (the sound recordist, continuety etc)

keith


Slates are always valuable editorially, but the question really was why clap them if you're recording sound directly into the HD camera.
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 06:28 PM

Hi,

To be honest I'd always clap the slate.

If you're going to wave something in front of the camera anyway, why not have the extra backup...

Phil
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#8 Keith Mottram

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 06:58 PM

but the question really was why clap them if you're recording sound directly into the HD camera.


to wake people up....

keith
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#9 Robert Edge

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 08:00 PM

to wake people up....

keith


That gave me a smile.

As Phil more or less points out, the original question assumed that a slate is being used anyway to record information about the take. That being the case, clapping is like chicken soup - couldn't hurt - and might even, if there us some kind of unanticipated screw-up, help.

To me, the more interesting question is what you really give up if you shoot slateless. There is an awful lot of documentary, news and reality TV show footage shot without a slate. This includes footage that is being recorded dual system to a separate, time code capable, audio recorder as the primary source of audio.

I have a practical interest in this question because I'm planning a super 16 film that, for various reasons, I want to shoot slateless. Provided that I keep an eye on time code drift, I don't see the downside, although of course redundancy is a nice thing to have.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 10:31 PM

Well, it's helpful to have slates when something goes wrong, like when watching dailies and seeing a scratch on a roll. The slate will tell you the camera roll number and the script supervisor's notes and the camera reports will tell you which mag was used for that roll so you can check it, maybe get it swapped out.

If you get lab reports that a shot has been ruined, tracking things down will go faster if slates were used. You can quickly find out, for example, that it was Sc. 43, Take 4 thru 6 that was ruined (otherwise, with a slateless roll, all the lab could tell you was the footage count where the problem occurred -- if there's no head slate at the top of the roll, they may even have a problem telling you which camera roll number it was). You can check your notes and see if one of the other takes was circled, or if there was surrounding coverage so that you can cut around the shot, and thus save doing a reshoot.

Remember that shooting film is partially about learning to control a complex chain of events so that one can track down where something went wrong.

Plus you'll need to break down all the shots into their scene numbers and takes before editing can begin, or else you'll be constantly looking through your footage to find something.
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#11 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 12:04 AM

Hi,

To be honest I'd always clap the slate.

If you're going to wave something in front of the camera anyway, why not have the extra backup...

Phil

The only instance where I've seen the slate put in and not clapped is music video's. Obviously, if you're not recording sound, but syncing to a song, there is no reason to clap it. In all other situations I would think that clapping it is the right move.
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#12 Robert Edge

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 07:39 PM

David, much obliged for your comments.

I'll be working in a situation where the camera and the audio recorder are recording the same time code. I want to know how far I can go in logging to the code rather than using a slate. I'll be discussing that, along with a number of other post-production issues, with a lab and post house next week, and that discussion will include the issues that you have graciously taken the time to highlight.

One of the issues that you raised (dailies) made me smile. I'll be filming a good part of this project in a highly remote place. There isn't a hope in hell that I will be seeing dailies :)
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#13 Keith Mottram

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 07:55 PM

beware the wonders of technology. the amount of times i've heard "but they were all slaved"! unless there is a really good reason not to clap the slate do it- i dont care if everything looks sweet, what do you actually have to lose with a little well placed clap.

keith
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#14 Robert Edge

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 08:43 PM

Keith,

The issue is the slate, not the clapping.

Using a slate is a problem in documentary, news, rock concert and, in some cases, reality TV programming.

I suspect that it can also be an issue in fiction filmmaking if one wants a high degree of improvisation and a highly reactive cameraman and sound recorder.

The technology has been around for a long time, but there are clearly issues about using it, some of them connected to post production and software and some of them connected to tradition.

Thankfully, I have a fairly specific issue to deal with. I need to know what the implications are, for the lab and post-production, of using an Aaton camera that can jam Aaton time code to an audio recorder.

David has pointed out some non-sound camera issues. While some of the issues that he has pointed out don't apply to me in the near term, they are issues that I most definitely intend to raise when I speak with the lab and post house, and I appreciate him raising them.

Cheers
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#15 Stephen Williams

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 03:24 AM

Thankfully, I have a fairly specific issue to deal with. I need to know what the implications are, for the lab and post-production, of using an Aaton camera that can jam Aaton time code to an audio recorder.

Cheers


Hi,

Aaton code was designed to do exactly what you want to do. For a documentry with 1 camera there is little to go wrong. (Make sure the asa of the film is correctly set on the camera)

Stephen
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#16 Keith Mottram

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 08:49 AM

Keith,

The issue is the slate, not the clapping.

Using a slate is a problem in documentary, news, rock concert and, in some cases, reality TV programming.

I suspect that it can also be an issue in fiction filmmaking if one wants a high degree of improvisation and a highly reactive cameraman and sound recorder.

The technology has been around for a long time, but there are clearly issues about using it, some of them connected to post production and software and some of them connected to tradition.

Thankfully, I have a fairly specific issue to deal with. I need to know what the implications are, for the lab and post-production, of using an Aaton camera that can jam Aaton time code to an audio recorder.

David has pointed out some non-sound camera issues. While some of the issues that he has pointed out don't apply to me in the near term, they are issues that I most definitely intend to raise when I speak with the lab and post house, and I appreciate him raising them.

Cheers


if you cant use a slate, you cant use a slate- this is obvious. however, i have directed multicam concert footage and if i could of had slates i would of. why? because slaving cameras together is never reliable. of course it should be, but from my experience it isn't. ditto slaving tc from dat to camera etc. i have not had enough experience of aaton code to know quite how reliable it is, i would assume it to be top notch, but again where's the harm in a slate? with regards to doco and stuff like that if there is a problem with slates due to the fact that you need to shoot as quickly as possible, then why not use an end slate? apart from sync issues slates are great for communication between all the departments.

keith
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#17 Robert Edge

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 11:49 AM

There is an interesting discussion about this issue on the Cinematography Mailing List:
http://www.google.co.....t%20slate.htm

What I like about the discussion is that it captures the different perspectives of directors, cinematographers, sound recordists and post production people.

My perspective is the same as that of the directors discussed in the thread. The difference is that I will be using Aaton in-camera time code, which is supposed to make the workarounds discussed in the thread unnecessary.

I have to speak with post-production people who know how to deal with Aaton code about its reliability and any pitfalls. If I have to, I'll use a workaround as a backup, but as should be clear from the CML thread, using a slate, or something approximating a slate, is not cost free. There is a cost in working style, utilization of manpower, time, and, for that matter, film stock. The question is whether I want to pay that cost for the sake of backup redundancy.

I suppose that I could bring a backup camera and backup lights and a backup sound recorder and a backup computer and on and on. Like a lot of things in life, it's a question of risk assessment and trade-offs.

If I conclude that Aaton code is unreliable, I guess I'll have to do something about it. However, I'm not going to complicate my life if there is a 1 per cent chance of a problem. There's enough work to do without creating a make-work project :)
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#18 Keith Mottram

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 01:01 PM

There is an interesting discussion about this issue on the Cinematography Mailing List:
http://www.google.co.....t%20slate.htm

What I like about the discussion is that it captures the different perspectives of directors, cinematographers, sound recordists and post production people.

My perspective is the same as that of the directors discussed in the thread. The difference is that I will be using Aaton in-camera time code, which is supposed to make the workarounds discussed in the thread unnecessary.

I have to speak with post-production people who know how to deal with Aaton code about its reliability and any pitfalls. If I have to, I'll use a workaround as a backup, but as should be clear from the CML thread, using a slate, or something approximating a slate, is not cost free. There is a cost in working style, utilization of manpower, time, and, for that matter, film stock. The question is whether I want to pay that cost for the sake of backup redundancy.

I suppose that I could bring a backup camera and backup lights and a backup sound recorder and a backup computer and on and on. Like a lot of things in life, it's a question of risk assessment and trade-offs.

If I conclude that Aaton code is unreliable, I guess I'll have to do something about it. However, I'm not going to complicate my life if there is a 1 per cent chance of a problem. There's enough work to do without creating a make-work project :)


I think a simpler backup wouldn't be costly- an old school slate (non TC) or one of those little beeping things which i can never remember the name of (the ones that light flash with a tone)- anyone know what their called. i mean you surely will have someone free to clap, and for piece of mind your not burning much stock for a backup, which as i've said before also has other advantages. or is there something i'm missing?
Keith

Edited by keith mottram, 19 January 2006 - 01:05 PM.

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#19 Robert Edge

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 01:41 PM

Keith,

It sounds like you are talking about a bloop slate.

The CML thread is worth reading. It contains a good discussion about the rationale for slateless shooting, it canvasses several options and it contains some interesting information about the history of sychronization.

There are two posts in the thread from people who use Aaton in-camera code that suggest that Stephen Williams is dead on. See, for example, the last post in the thread.

I do appreciate your advice and I won't hesitate to go with a backup if I conclude that I need one, but judging from the CML thread there isn't a backup that isn't an interference, a nuisance, of questionable utility or all three.

Time to speak with some post-production people about this.

I gather that the link that I previously posted to the CML thread goes through Google. Here is a more direct link:
http://www.cinematog.....out slate.htm
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#20 Landon D. Parks

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 01:54 AM

PLUS: Slates will also help me to sort out which clip is which in the archive. If the slate is the head picture on all the files, I don't have to open a file to see which take it is, It's right in the preview image of the clip.

As to the clapping, I think it's just traditional and professional-like. It makes no name acotrs working on small films feel like there on a "Big Production"... you know

"Roll Camera"
"Roll Sound"
"Scene ?, Take ?"
> Slate is clapped >
"stand By"
"And ACTION"

Nice chain of events huh? Plus as I said, it will make the cast and crew feel like there on a bigger production.

PLUS: A slate with clap stick is what, $150? It's really worth more than it cost's...

Edited by Landon D. Parks, 20 January 2006 - 01:57 AM.

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