Film Slate Information

The basic information about a Film Slate, what it includes, and how it functions during production.

Misha Tenenbaum avatar
Written by Misha Tenenbaum
Updated over a week ago

A Film Slate or Clapper Board 🎬 is used at the beginning of each Take.

What is a Take?

A Take refers to each recorded version of a performance from a specific camera setup.

The film slate contains details of the take, which helps the filmmaker during the post-production stage know what footage they are reviewing.

Common information found on film slates includes:

  • Production - The name or title of the production (project)

  • Roll or Reel - The roll or reel that you’re currently shooting on, which could refer to an actual film or digital media card.

  • Scene Number - Based on the scene number listed in the script.

  • Camera Setup - Typically listed as a letter within the Scene box on the slate and is usually listed after the Scene number. The letter changes whenever a new shot is set up, usually because the camera changes positions.

  • Take - The current take of the shot.

  • Director - Name of the director of the production

  • Camera - Name of the cinematographer of the production

  • Date - The month, day, and year of the production.

  • Day / Night - Referencing if the shot occurs during the day or night in the movie, not real life.

  • INT / EXT - Referencing if the shot is taking place inside (interior) or outside (exterior)

  • MOS / SYNC - Referencing if the shot is recording audio or not. More information below.

The "Clap" of the sticks on the top of the slate are used as a visual and audio reference for post-production when syncing picture with sound. Some slates have digital timecode to assist with the syncing of audio too. Sometimes, the AC will call out "Soft Sticks" before clapping the sticks softly. This is done when the slate is positioned very close to an actor, to not startle or disturb them as they prepare for the scene. This call also gives post-production a heads up when reviewing footage that the "clap" will be more subtle.

A Tail Slate is placed upside down in the frame at the end of the shot. This can happen for various reasons, such as a complicated camera movement making it difficult to get the slate at the beginning of the shot or a need to shoot quickly due to a special moment.

Tail Slate

Production Sound is just as important as picture, but sound is not recorded for every shot. Because of this, the slate must include information to let post-production know if audio is recorded or not.

  • SYNC - A scene filmed with sound synced to picture.

  • MOS - A scene filmed without sound.

Sometimes, a slate might not include the notation MOS, but instead the AC will hold their hand between the sticks of the slate instead of “CLAPPING” to give a visual indicator that a scene is not recording sync sound.

No sound MOS

Multiple Takes in One Shot

Sometimes filmmakers will instruct an actor to do a specific action or say a few lines of dialogue multiple times before calling “cut.” These multiple takes typically live on one media file and are called a SERIES (SER for short.) It is the filmmaker's job to select the strongest performance from the clip.

Multiple Takes

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