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Proper Slating Technique

As stupid as it may sound, the proper slating is important to keep your project on time and on budget, even if it does take a little bit of time during production.


Proper Slating Technique

I edit a little bit of everything, from short films to event videos.  When I am tasked to edit short films or similar projects, most often I am handed footage with no notes or slates. This makes editing the footage a long and time consuming problems. It is ultimately money wasted.

In example, I was hired to cut a low budget feature length movie. It was to be about 90 min and I was handed a script and a hard drive with the footage on it. Sounds simple right? No. The takes were all slated…but with numbers that did not correlate with the script. I didn’t get a list of the takes that they wanted to use and so I was forced to figure out which scene was the best. To say the least it was a nightmare. A slate and a script supervisor would have made this process extremely fast.

The Second Assistant Camera

To clarify, the 1st AC pulls focus and sets up camera and the 2nd AC assists the 1st and slates each shot.

A great resource that I have found for Assistant Cameraman (Person[s] who slates each scene and pulls focus) is Evan Luzi of the partially famous blog The Black and Blue . Along with Evan, this video below hows the basics of the slate:

Not only does the use of a slate and using the proper process facilitate an efficient environment, but it is almost like the film version of “ready, set, go!”. Essentially telling everyone to triple check that their jobs have been done. Though the process is a bit different than “lights, camera, action!”

1st assistant director (AD): Roll sound!
Boom Operator/Sound Mixer: Sound speed!
1st A.D.: Roll camera!
1st Assistant Camera (AC): Camera speed, hit it.
2nd AC: [Calls out scene designation]. Marker!
**Slate gets clapped, 2nd AC scurries away**
Camera Operator: Set.
Director: Action!

The Script Supervisor

Now most of you may not know what this person does on set. This is the on set editor, watching the scene play out and writing on the script what shots should play in what order. They are also there to check continuity for each scene, such as clothes props and other similar things. This person saves time and money in editing by giving the editor a road map to create the film efficiently and easily.

To be completely honest this is a very specialized field that I have yet to have experience in so if you would like to learn more about this position I invite you to head on over to The Script Goddess Blog. Along with that blog, the video below shows quick glance of a script supervisor on the set of Numb3rs:

Do you have any tips on how to create a more efficient production? Tell us in the comments below!

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One Response so far.

  1. Tim Johnson says:

    Very informative! I’ve never seen a site like this. Good job!!!

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