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Proper Slate Procedures


Peter Enright
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I just have some questions on slating. I have been reading Elkins camera assistant book. On the slating procedures it explains that a second will call out mark and then slate. I was always under the impression that one goes "scene 1 apple take 1 mark," "scene 1 apple take 2 mark" etc. Also when is a scene just considered scene 1 or 2 (no letter needed after number)? I know when you cut for a different angle within the scene a letter follows. Is it usually the first shot of the scene that does not have a letter that is filmed that day? the master? or does each shot that runs through the whole scene (master, close, etc) get labeled just as the scene number?

 

Thanks

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Hey, honestly I think its on preference. What I am used to is saying just mark because the sound guys will say the take letter and number before hand. I would talk to the sound department and the scripty and see what they like the most.

 

As for the first shot of a scene, it starts with just a number, for example, sc.12 then as you start coverage it moves on to sc.12A etc.

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I just have some questions on slating. I have been reading Elkins camera assistant book. On the slating procedures it explains that a second will call out mark and then slate. I was always under the impression that one goes "scene 1 apple take 1 mark," "scene 1 apple take 2 mark" etc.

 

As Nick rightly wrote, there's not one fixed or standard procedure that's used all the times, it depends on the kind of production, personal preference and country. For instance in Italy quite often it's someone from the grip dpt. managing the slate (which in my opinion is a silly habit), and it's the a camera operator that calls out "mark".

 

Also when is a scene just considered scene 1 or 2 (no letter needed after number)? I know when you cut for a different angle within the scene a letter follows. Is it usually the first shot of the scene that does not have a letter that is filmed that day? the master? or does each shot that runs through the whole scene (master, close, etc) get labeled just as the scene number?

 

On features and tv series I've always seen a letter following the number of the scene to identify a different setup (so the slate would be scene number, setup letter, take number), and the first one would always have the letter "a", unless it was an insert. However, I was once on a British production and it was slightly different, because they used a slate number and the take number, and then the 2nd AC matched the slate number to the scene/setup numbers on a different camera continuity report, but I don't know if that's the standard procedure in the UK or if it's just the production I was on. I've also been on a few commercials where they wouldn't use any letter and just use a different number for each setup (the numbers on the slate matched the numbers of the storyboards that were displayed on a white board).

 

(by the way, you can find tons of advice on proper slating tecnique here )

Edited by Francesco Bonomo
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A lot of this will be preference, and not necessarily yours. I like number and number, so Scene 1 Shot 1, because I really hate all those "apple, Bananna, coconut" crap-- just my own pet peeve I suppose. When there are letters, I ask the clapper to do the phonetic alphabet (alpha bravo charlie) as at least that is a little standard-- but that's just me.

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Here in TV land, we typically work with two cameras. The mixer has a voice slate mike, so what the 2nd AC's say is "A camera mark" and "B camera mark". Or, if there's only room for one, "Common mark".

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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I once had a loader named Mark, and on one particular shot the mixer had the boom operator ask me to hit loud sticks because of the placement of the camera, and the distance within the shot. I yelled Mark loud, and sure enough he walked right in the shot and yelled What back. Since that time I stress the proper terminology of "MARKER".

Larry

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I once had a loader named Mark, and on one particular shot the mixer had the boom operator ask me to hit loud sticks because of the placement of the camera, and the distance within the shot. I yelled Mark loud, and sure enough he walked right in the shot and yelled What back. Since that time I stress the proper terminology of "MARKER".

Larry

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Usually it's not your choice anyway, you do put whatever the script supervisor wants onto the slate. The sound mixer will slate his own audio so you only need to say "A mark" and hit the sticks. If it's more convenient, you can common mark and that will go something like "A B common mark." If you're generally rolling multiple cameras but only roll one on a shot, you might want to call it "A only mark" just so it's known that B didn't roll.

 

The straight scene number (Sc. 10) is usually reserved for the master (whether or not it is the first shot you actually shoot), then subsequent shots will be 10A, 10B, etc. Not all scripties do it this way but most do.

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What really irritates me is when I'm putting takes onto some hideously expensive and limited-capacity flash-based recording system and everyone turns over together.

 

Please!

 

Start sound.

State take. You can call it blow-sixty-nine-job if you like.

Start camera.

Clap sticks.

Eff off out of shot with maximum possible dispatch.

 

And if I have to say "settle" between the sticks going and calling action, someone's getting fired. I don't know if there's anyone on the average set who hasn't seen that little rectangular thing with the hingey bit and the chevrons at the top, but its presence in the shot means that we are about to commence, so kindly shut up and stand still.

 

P

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I heard from a friend that he once had a script supervisor who had the slate marked with letters before and after each scene number, on account of how many rewrites the screenplay had gone through the shooting script had scenes such as 2A, 3 (omitted), 3A (omitted), 3B, 4, 4A etc.

 

So, if you were to shoot your master it would be Scene 2A, followed by your second angle that would be A2A, third angle B2A. The 2nd AC would call: "Ay-two", "ay-two-ay", "bee-two-ay" etc. So a full slate mark could be something straightforward:

 

"Scene 25, take one - marker." (25)

 

- to something less straightforward:

 

"Scene see-41-ay, take one - marker." (C41A)

 

A very concise method, but easily confusing.

Edited by Chris D Walker
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What's great about this is that it shows the camaraderie and atmosphere that Tarantino (with Brezca and DP Robert Richardson) created on the set -- fresh, spontaneous, unpredictable, and lighthearted even while working hard. The actors would know that those qualities were valued and that they were free to play and be unpredictable themselves. And the sequence of calling out the names of other directors evokes a real sense of lineage and family.

 

So, (imagine Joker voice) Why so serious? (As long as it is not overdone).

 

I always try to create comfort for everyone on the set.

I believe, that making everyone - from your lead actor to the girl that makes your coffee - feel comfortable and a full respected part of the "family", is one of the main jobs of a director.

My crew and cast always honored and appreciated it, by working even harder and pushing the barriers a bit further.

 

Frank

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When I work as a 2nd, I get the scene and shot number from the scripty. We slate using the radio phonetic alphabet (excluding I, O, and S). Sound speeds, I'll voice slate it, then 1st calls "mark it" after he/she rolls, I clap the sticks, and dash away.

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What's great about this is that it shows the camaraderie and atmosphere that Tarantino (with Brezca and DP Robert Richardson) created on the set

Well, it shows the camaraderie that existed for the two-second snippets of time when all that was shot.

Nothing lies more than BTS material.

P

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  • 2 weeks later...

What really irritates me is when I'm putting takes onto some hideously expensive and limited-capacity flash-based recording system and everyone turns over together.

 

Please!

 

Start sound.

State take. You can call it blow-sixty-nine-job if you like.

Start camera.

Clap sticks.

Eff off out of shot with maximum possible dispatch.

 

And if I have to say "settle" between the sticks going and calling action, someone's getting fired. I don't know if there's anyone on the average set who hasn't seen that little rectangular thing with the hingey bit and the chevrons at the top, but its presence in the shot means that we are about to commence, so kindly shut up and stand still.

 

P

 

BEST. RANT. EVER.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The best thing you can do is discuss the procedure with scripty and sound before the start of the day. Sometimes the sound guy is doing "single-system", which means he/she is monitoring the sound, but sending it to camera. In that case, the camera see's and hears the slate clapping. Wether you call out the scene/take is up to you and scripty, but it's redundant. Also note that "single system" can also be the sound guy/gal recording to a Sound devices (or Dat...etc) and not sending a signal to camera, in which case they might need you to call out the scene/take #'s for slating reasons in post. Sometimes they have a mic attached to their recorder and they call out the slate info, so you just have to call out "marker"

 

Make sure you hold the slate completely still when you clap it. Hold for half a second and then get the hell out of there!

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  • 3 months later...

Posted this as part of another post elsewhere but this seems more appropriate.

 

Is the slating procedure in the UK completely different from America? We do not have 'Five Apple - Take 1' etc instead we use the 'Scene [xx] -> Shot [xx] - Take [xx]' format, or at least that is all I have known. Is there a reason for the difference? We use the standard calls for all other slating procedures e.g. second sticks, pick-up, MOS, tail slate and so forth?

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