The clapperboard or clapboard slate (A.K.A. film slate) is a combination of the chalkboard slate or in newer versions a white board that holds information identifying the next scene of a video or film in production. And the clapstick found on the top of the Clapboard is used to align and sync the sound and picture. In the early days of film, one person would hold a slate for the camera with the scene information, while another clapped two hinged sticks together in front of the camera. The combination of the two into one unit made it possible for one person to perform both tasks.
Older traditional clapperboards consisted of a wooden slate and a hinged clapstick attached to the top of the slate. Todays modern clapperboards generally use a pair of wooden sticks atop whiteboard or translucent acrylic glass slates which do not require additional lighting from the camera side to be legible. Some versions are also backlit. Smart slates or digislates are electronic SMPTE time code versions with LED numbers. The clapsticks traditionally have diagonally interleaved lines of black and white to ensure a clear visual of the clap in most lighting conditions.
In recent years sticks with calibrated color stripes or a Macbeth Color Grid have become the new standard in clapperboards. In some productions, particularly those created in the digital domain, electronically superimposed versions of a clapperboard have supplanted the real thing.
In use, the details of the next take are written on the slate of the clapperboard.
This typically includes the date, the production title, the name of the director, the name of the director of photography (DP) and the scene information—which follows two popular systems:
Today we will talk about some of the newest version of Clapperboards.
Prices for a Clapperboard will very depending on the type of construction to the materials used to very sophisticated digital clapperboards. There is even a Clapperboard app for the Apple IPad.
Pearstone Video Clapboard
Today’s Clapperboard will mostly be made of Acrylic like the Flashpoint Clapper priced at $45 to $95 at Adorama. This Clapperboard is riveted, and has a weighted magnetic arm that pivots on a hinged point to meet the main part of the board, providing a ‘clap’ sound on the broad matching surface. The magnetic closure keeps the Clapper arm firmly in position when not in use. The construction is tough enough to withstand professional use.
Flashpoint also has a B&W version of the same Clapperboard priced at $39.00 at Adorama.
Along the same lines of Clapperboards, Pearstone also has a very good collection of Clapperboards with a color striped clapper priced at $29.95 at B&H Photo Video.
With all of these white Acrylic Clapperboards, I recommend that you use only Black Dry Erase Markers so that your information will clearly standout.
Deneche Time Code Slate
The next and much more expensive step up in Clapperboards is the Clapperboards with the LED Time Code Slates. There are several brands available but the best is made by Denecke.
These Time Code Slates will start from $1147.00 and go up from there. For someone who is working on a full production video, these time code slates are irreplaceable. The clapperboard has a time code generator and displays the generated time code on the front of the slate. By means of a plug connection from the Slate to the Camera, you can accurately sync your camera and the slate together. Prices for these types of Clapperboard can go as high as $5000.00 but considering that these slates are designed to be used with multiple cameras all synced together, these Clapperboards are a very wise investment.
Then we have the iKan T-Slat Clapper Board that is designed to accommodate an Apple Ipad or most other digital tablets. Priced at $69.00 and again available at Adorama this smart and easy to use Clapperboard is starting to become a standard Clapperboard in the News industry.
Last but not least are the Ipad Clapperboards. There are several of these apps that can be downloaded from a Free App from Joseph Allen. A professional upgrade will run you about $5.00.
Also from the Apple App Store is an App called MovieSlate. This app will work on both the Ipad and Iphone. At $24.99, this Ipad Clapperboard is one of the most comprehensive ones currently available without spending $100.00 or more. And for an additional $49.99 you can add a Timecode Sync Plugin. This optional plugin provides a real-time and continuous timecode syncing between your slat and your video camera via the headphone jack or via WiFi.
So if you are looking to get into a more studio type of video production or your shooting multiple takes of the same scene in your video, then having a Clapperboard is a must have, and will make your post production life so much easyer.
For more information on the Clapperboards that I mentioned in this article, please follow the links below.
Flashpoint Clapper Adorama http://www.adorama.com/FPCBCI.html
Pearstone Clapper at B&H Photo Video http://www.bhphotovideo.com
Denecke Denecke LED Clappers. http://www.denecke.com/Products/tcslates/tcslates.htm
iKan Video Products: http://ikancorp.com/productdetail.php?id=400
Movie Slate: http://www.movie-slate.com/