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#1 Dan McCormick

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 09:09 AM

Hey

I've just finished a couple of short shoots (student films) as clapper loader, they both went pretty well. I was wondering though, if the board is supposed to be a certain amount of feet away (5 feet on 50mm etc.) but the focus is 20 feet away, should he board go back until it is in focus or should the puller get it on focus at 5 feet and then go back to their first focus mark??

Thanks

Dan McCormick
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#2 Rory Hanrahan

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 09:24 AM

I don't know if this is the "correct" answer, but I tell the clapper to be closer to the camera, and quickly pull focus back to the main action while he/she is clearing frame. The only reason I like to do it this way is that the clapper will get out of frame quicker by being close to camera. There's nothing worse than watching the dailies and seeing the slate-person scurrying away in an ultra-wide shot. Seems to waste a lot of time.
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#3 Drew Hoffman

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 01:39 PM

The ideal place for the board to be is close enough to clearly read the board (most importantly, the roll/scene/take ID) and be able to catch the sticks snapping. If the focus of the subject in the scene is farther than where you're placing the board, the 1st should focus to your board and readjust after you get out of the way.
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#4 Jon Kukla

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 06:51 PM

On student films it might be different, especially if you're trying to use every available foot of film, but on a professional shoot, the board should always be in focus before it's marked. A good rule of thumb for getting the right distance in feet for the board (assuming a normal-sized board) is to divide the focal length by 10 for 35mm and 5 for 16mm. Another good trick is to see if the focus puller has any marks nearby that distance where you could place the slate, since the focus puller will not have to hunt for the focus.
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#5 Michael Collier

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 09:52 PM

On my last short, I didn't focus on the boards. In fairness, I am also the editor, its a short, so I will be able to know which shots are which (they are in focus enough to see whats going on, just not sharp focus) We didn't have a follow focus, so finding focus from one to the other would be hell (and waste film)

Another trick I would do is have the clapper clap right by my focus mark (off to the side if I didn't want him slapping the slate by my actors) and just zoom in to fill frame, then quickly pull out and re-frame. Then again, I am steeped in ENG run and gun, so I can find my frame quickly before calling action. The only problem was finding a good path for the clapper to take to minimize clear time. In the wider shots that meant ducking behind a wall or a desk or into a side-room. Worked ok, and the out-of focus slates are still readable.
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#6 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 03:37 PM

I've never worried about it as long everything on the slate is readable and nobody has complained.
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#7 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 09 November 2006 - 03:57 PM

The slate needs to be big enough in frame and sharp enough that the editor can read the number and see the exact frame that the sticks are clapped. If this doesn't happen, then the slate is useless.

A 2nd AC needs to learn how far away to put the board so that it fills the frame with whatever focal length lens is being used. The 1st AC should pull the focus back for the board.
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#8 Chris Keth

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 12:29 AM

The slate needs to be big enough in frame and sharp enough that the editor can read the number and see the exact frame that the sticks are clapped. If this doesn't happen, then the slate is useless.

A 2nd AC needs to learn how far away to put the board so that it fills the frame with whatever focal length lens is being used. The 1st AC should pull the focus back for the board.


Yup, I always figured that if the slate is readable, the clap is plenty useable. Otherwise, the editor is an ass or is blind.
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