Monday 4 February 2013

Tale of 12 clapperboards

Clapperboard: a device used in filmmaking and video production to assist in the synchronizing of picture and sound, and to designate and mark particular scenes and takes recorded during a production. 

The sharp "clap" noise that the clapperboard makes can be identified easily on the audio track, and the shutting of the clapstick can be identified easily on the separate visual track. The two tracks can then be precisely synchronised by matching the sound and movement.

The first 8mins 57secs of The Player (1992) is a single shot which starts with
the clapperboard in view, and in use, in front of a large photo of silent era
filmmakers in action, people who didn't have any use for a clapperboard,
but who kept a violinist on site to establish mood and pace for the actors

Other names for the clapperboard include clapper, clapboard, slate, slate board, sync slate, time slate, sticks, board, and marker.

They look simple, but there's stuff to know about clapperboards. These twelve boards each have a story. To read those stories, you have to go to The Black and Blue, a great blog by Evan Luzi for Camera Assistants. Don't be shy, writers can learn useful stuff, too.

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