March 28, 2016 at 5:28PM, Edited March 28, 6:05PM


Do you use a slate when working by yourself?

Hey everyone,
I'm planning on making a short promotion video for a week long event this summer. I will be shooting all day, every day, by myself mostly with a shoulder rig, and always with an external audio recorder. Should I slate my shots? I'm thinking about whether or not I'd need the information on the slate, not the snyc. My primary reason for using this information would be to match my audio recordings with the correct video clip for editing.

My concern is that the slate will be too awkward to carry around and use with a shoulder rig (so basically one handed), but I don't really know any other way to label each shot. What do you guys think?

Also, I'm very new to all of this, so if I'm completely missing some obvious point here, please feel free to tell me that I'm an idiot.


Why not use plural eyes?

March 28, 2016 at 5:37PM

Cary Knoop

The problem isn't actually syncing. I've used a large carabiner for that in the past. I'm thinking about how I'm going to figure out which audio recording goes with which video recording on my computer. I'd imagine (but I don't know) that it would take a lot of time to do that if you shot a lot of video beforehand, especially if you had to listen to a couple seconds of each video/audio track to see if they match. The only reason why I said slate was because I figure if I have a board with writing on it for organization and a carabiner for syncing, then I might as well just get a slate and kill two birds with one stone. I should have mentioned that I'm new to all of this, so if I'm missing some obvious point, then that's why.

Adam Hocutt

March 28, 2016 at 5:47PM

You can probably say what you are shooting so you have it on the audio and on the video. I used to do that way back in the day when I worked more by myself. So for example, if I was doing an interview, "Interview John Doe, take 1". You'll be able to hear yourself on the audio recording and camera recording.

And ditto on the Pluraleyes, awesome tool!

Tony Adalbert

March 30, 2016 at 7:21AM

Good point. That would really simplify everything as well. I did that for a tutorial I shot a few days ago, but for some reason I didn't think about using it more often. I'm good for the actual syncing of the audio, but I would like to give plural eyes a try sometime. Everyone really seems to like it.

Adam Hocutt

March 30, 2016 at 9:17AM

That's pretty much what I have done on a shoot (with two cameras and an external recorder). I just dropped it into plural eyes and went through everything in Premiere Pro. Though it worked pretty fine for me (still more work than if I had it labeled) on a relatively small scale.

Robert Friedriszik

April 25, 2016 at 12:57PM

MovieSlate8 has a time-delayed clapper:

If you are going to shoot a lot of clips, you are going to have to organize a lot of clips. Slating the information is a natural part of the discipline of knowing what you are shooting and why, and doing so in a way that stays organized, even if you have to drop things for a month and come back to the project later. I think it's worth it!

March 29, 2016 at 2:18AM


Cool! I'm actually glad to hear that it really is the tool for the job in spite of my concerns over its bulkiness. Slates are just stinking awesome. Thanks for your clarification!

Adam Hocutt

March 29, 2016 at 7:48PM

I would definitely use a slate. I worked as the DP on a short film a few months back and no one had a slate on set. I talked to the director about it and he didn't seem to care even a bit. He sure did hate himself once it took him a week to get all of his clips and audio organized in post, and it was only a 5 minute film.

March 30, 2016 at 9:44AM

Jon Cibella
Director/Director of Photography

Did he do anything to organize his footage? I don't know if you saw it, but another person on this post said that he used to verbally announce the clip information (shot/take/etc.) so that it would be recorded to the audio recorder and the audio track on the camera, but there was no actual "slating". Did your director at least do something like that?

Adam Hocutt

March 30, 2016 at 9:51AM

I did see that post, and the director didn't do anything to even act as a slate. He just said that he'd take care of it in post. I couldn't convince him and it wasn't my problem. So please please please, use a slate. It will save you so many headaches later in the production. I bought one on Amazon for $15 and it works great.

Jon Cibella

March 30, 2016 at 10:36AM

Yeah, I'm definitely going to slate my footage some how. I think I'll get one and see what it's like vs. doing a verbal slate. As for syncing, I'll either use the actual slate sticks or this large carabiner that I've used in the past. Thanks!

Adam Hocutt

March 30, 2016 at 4:13PM

Then he was just naive.
I hardly use slates, but I yell audio slates and if possible have an AD takes notes on the (audio) takes. (Not just noting file number and take, but also whether or not image/audio was good or bad.) Just as fast as no slate, as long as you have audio on camera.


April 3, 2016 at 10:24AM

Adam, can you explain how you use your carabiner as a slate? Is it just for the click?

March 31, 2016 at 9:29AM


Yeah, it's a climbing carabiner, so it makes a pretty good click. It helps when you need to have the snap at the beginning for syncing, but you can't clap because you're holding a shoulder rig. This thread was made as a part of my trying to figure out how best to get the slate information (scene/take/etc) in the frame with only one hand available. This is the actual carabiner I've used. The lock is nice because it gives your thumb something to grip when you pull the lever back before releasing it.

Adam Hocutt

March 31, 2016 at 11:00AM, Edited March 31, 11:00AM

Oh, sorry, I didn't actually explain anything. You hold it with your left hand. The solid back side of the carabiner is in your palm, and the hinged side is pointing down with the hinge next to your wrist. Then, you put your thumb on the rough screw lock thing, pull up the "door", and let it snap back down.

Adam Hocutt

March 31, 2016 at 11:25AM

Our scenes may be somewhat unique, but I find it easiest to run the main audio from the beginning to the end of the scene and then just run the cameras (up to 3) as needed. It all syncs up in post (thanks to Premiere, but Plural Eyes does the same) and I chop it up as necessary. I do run a tone at the beginning so all mikes have sync, but lately I've gotten lazy and don't do a fresh tone when restarting a cam in the middle of the audio (new take, or hit our 20 minute DSLR limit). Premiere has been pretty good for that.

So for me, I'm not seeing the value of a slate (for our short scenes). But pointing the camera at the scene when I press record is invaluable when ingesting media later.

March 31, 2016 at 10:02AM

The LazyCat

What do you mean by "pointing the camera at the scene"? Do you mean that you don't use the clapper sticks on the slate, but that you do use the information on the whiteboard part? I don't actually have a problem with syncing. My issue is that I'm not sure how best to get the labeling information (scene/take/etc) in the frame of the camera if you have a shoulder rig (so, only one hand available) and no crew to hold the slate in front of the camera.

Adam Hocutt

March 31, 2016 at 11:04AM

I don't use a slate. What I do is setting very precisely the time and date on both the recorder and the camera (to the second) and I always start to rec the same device first (usually the sound) so when I put everything in my editing software i just list the clip by "time of creation" and each sound is on top of the video clips it is supposed to be sync with. If I want a clap I just snap with my finger in front of the camera and it's enough for sync.
Of course the best would be to plug the recorder to the camera so you get the sound in the camera but I guess you can't do it otherwise you would do it :-)

April 1, 2016 at 7:10AM


That's really efficient! I like how it just automatically puts everything where it should be in the file system. Thanks!

Adam Hocutt

April 2, 2016 at 12:40PM

You are alone.
I would minimize the amount of arms I'd need to grow to carry stuff around during shooting.
Unless you're a hindu god, my educated guess is that you have 2 arms.

Make sure you record sound on camera as well, so you can call/yell the shots:
"Shot 26 Take 4 Action!"
Now you can still tell which shot belongs to which audio track.

Problem solved.
Added extra weigh to carry: 0


April 1, 2016 at 12:13PM, Edited April 1, 12:13PM

Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

Lol, probably the most common sense way of putting it. Thanks! Verbally stating the information is one of the best things I've read/can think of doing.

Adam Hocutt

April 2, 2016 at 12:43PM

Can you put your fingers in the shot? If you can then you can do a number system using your hands to code, with your carabiner clip that should get you some sort of semblance in your edit.

April 1, 2016 at 5:12PM

Chris Hackett
Director, Director of Photography, Writer

I can, and I had actually considered that a while ago, but it's really hard to clearly represent letters and large numbers (anything over 10). Thanks for the help though!

Adam Hocutt

April 2, 2016 at 12:46PM

Didn't go through all the answers but couldn't you just state the cut or whatever verbally in the beginning of each shot? With either a Clapperboard of like that you'd have to play the first few seconds of your footage.
After each shot you just fill in a Google spreadsheet on your phone (or something similar) what you just filmed and how it went. That way you wouldn't have to go through the whole footage but just see the first few seconds of the video and audio recordings.

Something else that could go with that is just having one big recording on you audio recorder instead of a lot of small ones. That way you can just drop the audio file and the video files that turned out good into plural eyes and just cut away the unnecessary audio parts.

April 25, 2016 at 1:03PM

Robert Friedriszik

Your Comment