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Proper Slating Technique...


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#1 Dave Collins

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 11:40 PM

Hi, first, I'm new here and this is my first topic (yay!).

Anyway, the reason I'm posting here, is because I'm 1st AC on a small indie film (so indie in fact, that I'm also Key Grip, and half Best Boy Electric, Special Effects Supervisor, and Visual Effects Artist). Anyway, the DP wasn't there, so I was manning the camera and had a random grip as my AC.

Now, when he asked how to slate, we had just about everyone giving him advice on how to "Properly" slate a take. So many people in fact, that it was decided that we would research it and return this sat with results.

So, from what I was taught, the way you slate is (just talking regular, not MOS to tail-slates):

Firstly: 1 hand on the bottom to hold the weight of the slate(especially for digital slates), 1 had on the sticks. To slate, release the stick so that it clacks with the other. Hold in frame for a beat, then pull out. Also, what you say is (if on the first take of the roll or card) "Project Name, Roll #, Scene ## Take #", but if not the first take, then "Scene ## take #".

Now, everyone else had variations, such as: Using 1 hand to slate always, writing descriptions in the roll area (Director didn't realize the roll was used for anything), using phonetics, not using phonetics, etc.

Anyway, it seemed that each of us had a different way, based on where we learned about it, so I was wondering:

What is the "Proper" way to slate a take, as in, if I went to work on the set of "Next Blockbuster Movie" as an AC, what would they expect in a slate?
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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 05:39 AM

The proper way is however they tell you to do it on set.
For myself, I often instruct, if it's ok, to skip reading out project name. We know what project it is and hopefully the editors will be able to figure it out as it should be written over everything (including the slate).

I also prefer the proper phonetic alphabet. None of that "apple, baker, elephant" bs-- suppose it was the army in me.

I'd probably have asked ms Brezca, to knock it off after I noticed they were distracting the actors, but that's just me and apparently Tarantino is ok with it (and it's his movie so his call in the end ) but here you can get an idea.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=Ul04AA3R4d0
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#3 Tom Jensen

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 11:24 AM

I think there is a huge thread on this already somewhere.
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#4 Jax McLennan

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 05:17 AM

You write on the slate what your scripty tells you they want on it.

In terms of calling it, the only things you need are 'Sc#, Shot#, Take#'. It depends where you are, in some areas they prefer to number shots, others they prefer to letter shots.. either way it's the same - '24-1 Take 1' Clap. Or '24-Apple Take 3' Clap.

And yes, there is a thread here somewhere touching on proper slating technique.

Edited by Jax McLennan, 02 June 2012 - 05:18 AM.

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#5 Tom Jensen

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 03:57 PM

Touching on? I think it was pretty thorough and went on like a drug store novel. 10-15 pages of detail.
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#6 Chris Keth

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 11:10 PM

I'd probably have asked ms Brezca, to knock it off after I noticed they were distracting the actors, but that's just me and apparently Tarantino is ok with it (and it's his movie so his call in the end ) but here you can get an idea.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=Ul04AA3R4d0


I know you posted it with a caveat, but I really hate seeing that video around this forum. Not every kid who comes here to read knows that stunt will get you fired on the majority of professional sets.

I don't really understand the large quantity of discussion over "proper" slate technique. It's simple: keep it accurate and legible. They're expensive and the sound mixer will be pissed if you break it so take care of the slate. When the camera is up to speed you just say "A mark" if you're marking a-camera, "B mark" if you're B-camera, etc. and then hit the sticks. Do this stuff loud if it's loud or you're far from the mike and quiet if it's quiet or if you're close to the mic.
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rebotnix Technologies

Glidecam

Rig Wheels Passport

Aerial Filmworks

Technodolly

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Visual Products

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The Slider

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Willys Widgets

Tai Audio

CineLab

Opal

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS