July 16, 2016 at 5:40AM, Edited July 16, 5:44AM



Recently I've been clapper on set and they ask me to write down the the lens size, Iso and other features in a logbook for the camera. There is this one column that says slate and I don't know what to write there?
I know you are meant to put a number I just don't know what to do, Please help!!


Slates and Takes

The slate number should start at 1 for the first shot of the first day, and increment every time the camera position and/or lens is changed. Sometimes a director will ask instead for the slate number to match the numbers on their shotlist or storyboards, but this is a bad idea because inevitably shots will be dropped or added and it becomes very confusing. Besides, if the slate number simply starts at 1 and goes up, the DIT can easily tell if a shot is missing from their hard drive due to a card being overlooked or some technical fault.

The take number should reset to 1 each time the slate number changes, and increment every time the camera stops rolling, with certain exceptions and variations outlined below.

(The American system differs in that it omits slate numbers. Instead a letter is appended to the scene number, so the first shot filmed of scene 7 would be 7, then 7A, 7B, 7C, etc.)

Excerpted from: http://neiloseman.com/?p=4727

Are you based in the UK?

July 16, 2016 at 6:12AM


Thank you for this I'm still trying to understand it all. I still find it a little confusing.
Because I keep seeing other people change the slate number like at all different takes.
Like for instance if it was Scene 2, Shot 10, Take 2 I get confused as to what to write for the Slate Number in the log book for the camera.
Sorry to confuse I appreciate the help.

I'm not in the UK. I'm In Australia an we usually use the American System .

July 16, 2016 at 6:32AM


Ahhhh, your thanks are appreciated, but really the correct way to show appreciation for a posting is to upvote it. Without upvotes, we'd all have a score of 1.

To answer your question, you start the Slate at 1, and then every time you move the camera and/or change the lens, you increment the Slate #. If you do a false take, you increment the Take # but not the Slate #. If you have a good take and you move to the next take, shot, or scene, you advance the Slate #.

July 16, 2016 at 7:35AM


Okay I think I'm slowly starting to understand this . Honestly I appreciate so much!! So for example do I change the slate if the Tripod moves to another spot or if the the lens size size changes to, just go up in numbers of the slate from 1?

sorry to bother you but honestly thank you

July 16, 2016 at 8:08AM


Yes - if either the position or lens on the camera changes, it's a new slate. Speaking as an editor, it is VERY useful to have a clear distinction between similar shots right in the clip name.

As a Clapper, It's helpful for you to know why you are tracking this information. Eventually the footage will be logged, each clip getting a name consisting of

1) The scene number
2) The slate number
3) The take number

Resulting in a name like: SC023_S011_T04

This clip is then the fourth take (T04) from a particular camera setup (S011) from the 23rd scene (SC023) of the script. All of these coordinates are vital, because there are many, many fourth takes, Scene 23 might have a ton of angles and dozens of clips, but there is just one slate 11.

Sometimes it can be unclear if there is a new slate, say for instance if the camera is hand-held or on a steadicam and the shot get's refined and altered through a few takes. Sometimes the action/blocking also changes without the camera setup changing. When in doubt, just ask the DOP if it's a new slate/setup. Better to be a slight nuisance on set than to send ripples of confusion down into post production.

July 18, 2016 at 10:27AM


On a related note - where can I buy a slate that has a "slate" section (as opposed to a "shot" section) ? None of the ones on B&H and Amazon have that...

July 18, 2016 at 11:09AM


Movieslate 8 (for iOS) has a Slate section.

Michael Tiemann

July 18, 2016 at 8:35PM, Edited July 18, 8:35PM

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