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Slate Question...


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#1 Dave Collins

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:09 AM

So, I'm going to be 1st AC for a feature starting this weekend. It's independent and a bit low budget, but It's my first time as a 1st AC (Usually, I'm 2nd AC or Key Grip). Anyway, I said I'd bring a slate since I own one, but I wanna go a little on the fancy side.

Basically, my idea is to print labels with the Directors name, the DP's name (my friend who got me the gig), and the production name (were shooting for like 2 months, so this will also save me from having to re-write it constantly, since we will only have a 2nd AC part of the time), Anyway, I don't know what type of stickers/tape would leave a residue or possibly ruin my slate (it's fairly new, used maybe 3 or 4 times).

Has anyone done this or something similar before? What would you guys suggest?

Also, if anyone has any 1st AC advice, I'd be happy to take it (like I said, I've been a 2nd AC and Key Grip many times, but I'm starting to move up the chain).

Oh, my slate is a Pearstone Acrylic Dry Erase Slate.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:35 AM

I suspect that regardless of whether you stick anything on it, eventually you will want to clean your slate with some sort of solvent, as it'll get grimy after successive dry-erases and start to look shabby. My approach is to clean the goo and ink off it with the solvent known as turpentine substitute, white spirit, or mineral spirits, depending where you are in the world. This works better than methanol, although most brands stink, so I then end up cleaning the white spirit off with some sort of dilute methanol derivative (methylated spirits, medical alcohol, etc). The alcohols won't attack most forms of tape or sticky label goo, so you can't go straight to that.

Assuming that your slate is actually made of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA, "acrylic"), and assuming the solvents you buy are actually what they claim to be on the bottle, these solvents will not attack it. You should test on an inconspicuous area, particularly to ensure they don't affect the black engraved areas or any colour treatment on the sticks themselves, but I've never had a problem.

Do not use acetone, since acetone is an aggressive and fast-acting solvent for PMMA and will completely destroy the surface finish. Acetone is actually used as a solvent adhesive for acrylic fabrication.

Do not use 100% alcohol as this can theoretically - although I've never seen it in tests - supposedly cause acrylic to craze. I think unless you leave it submerged for hours it is unlikely to be a problem.

Another emergency field trick is to stick some duct tape onto the surface and try to pull the grime off with that - if you're going to be an AC, or really anyone on a camera department, you should have a couple of rolls of suitable tape within arm's length.

P
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#3 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 06:26 AM

I just use gaffers tape where you can see the writing (painters tape). Looks fine and peels off easily.
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#4 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 11:21 AM

I always used to use white camera tape, but these days my ACs all seem to use Brother P Touch printers.
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#5 stephen taylorwehr

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:34 PM

Yes, as an assistant buying a P-touch label maker that can handle the 1" cartridges is a great and proffessional tool to have in your kit. Esspecially for a feature you should always use the P-touch to print out labels for the slate and filter tags, etc. P-touch cartridges are pricey but that should be included in your expendables list that production pays for. This whole issue is also more your 2nd AC's concern. As a first, you should never have to deal with slates.
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