clapper-br (No Date) ‘Cinema clapper board’
This week we managed to complete a large variety of practical tasks. It was it really informative and exciting to do such a range of tasks, and improve and recap on knowledge already learned throughout the project.

The first task this week was all about ‘slating’. we not only learnt all about how to use a clapper board correctly, but how to use it in different situations and scenarios. I will be showing and evaluating what we did for a practical task, as well as the knowledge I have gained throughout this task.

Why do we use a clapper board?

To be entirely honest, At first I didn’t understand the importance of a clapper board, and how much it effects the editing process of making film. I now understand that clapper boards are sued and are helpful throughout the entire process of filming and editing.

  • Firstly, clapper boards are used the sync the audio with the film. When you edit, you need to sync together the audio and video tracks. You use the clapper board to do this. When you physically clap the clapper board, it creates a spike in the audio. When you see the spike in the audio, you can sync this with when you physically see the clapper board being clapped in the video. This means that you can sync the video and audio together exactly.
  • All of the information is presented at the front
  • extremely important when editing for editing to show what type of shot the take is relating to
  • it shows what shots you have taken and what you still have left to film

What is on the front of the clapper board?


Name what the production is going to be called.


Looking through the script, it is the scene itself. Scenes will contain multiple shots, and there will be multiple scenes in a film.


The amount of time you have filmed the scene.


The term ‘roll’ actually stems from the days when we used film roll. You could now write down ‘SD card 1’, or if you are shooting on multiple cameras you could say ‘Camera A’ and ‘Camera B’.


The date the filming of this shot is taking place.


There are two options for what you would write for sound. The first option is ‘Sync’. This means that you will sync the sound and audio later on in the production. The other option is ‘MOS’. This means that no sound is being recorded

Production Company:

If you had a slightly longer project, you may want to create company name for your production. You can keep this name and put it on future films and creative things you may create in the future. It is almost like a way to brand your work for those viewing it.


The Director that is working when this shot was being filmed.

Camera Operator:

The Camera Operator filming the shot.


How to show different shots in the scene:

Throughout a scene there is likely to be more that one shot. This is easily displayed on the clapper board. When there is going to be more than one shot in a scene, you will use letters to represent which shot you are filming. For example, if you are filming Scene four, you would note this down in the ‘Scene’ box. If you are filming the first shot in that scene, you would add the letter ‘A’ after 4. This shows that this is the first shot of the scene.

For each scene, you would take the next letter in the alphabet. I also now understand that you shouldnt use the letters ‘I’ and ‘O’. At first I didn’t understand why you wouldn’t use these two letters, but it has now been explained to me and I understand that these two letters can be confused with numbers (1 and 0) and an I can also look like an ‘L’. This is why it reduces the risk of confusion if you just refrain from using these two letters.

If there are more that 24 shots in the scene, you would then go back to the beginning of the alphabet and begin to double up the letters. By this I mean you write whichever scene you are filming is, and then ‘AA’ etc.


What happens on set before the acting begins on set?

Director: “sound?”

This is where the Sound Mixer can confirm that the sound is setup and ready to start recording audio. If there are any problems, these issues will be vocalised and sorted now.

Sound Mixer: “sound ready”

Director: “camera?”

This is where the Camera Operator can confirm that the camera is ready and setup to begin filming.If there are any problems, these issues will be vocalised and sorted now.

Camera Operator: “camera ready”

Director: “roll sound”

Sound Mixer: “sound rolling”

Director: “roll camera”

Camera Operator: “camera rolling”

Director: “mark it”

Slate Operator: ” Scene ? take ? marker ”

The slate operator will then mark it by clapping the clapper board. The slate operator will then exit the scene. Once everything is settled and the director is ready:

Director: “Action”

The filming will then take place. When the filming is complete, the director will wait a few moments before saying “Cut!”

Practical Task:

For our the practical class this week we had to create four different shots, each showing a different way of using a clapperboard to mark a scene. Doing this task will not only help to develop my understanding of how to use a clapper board, but will also help to develop my skills using the editing software ‘Avid’, as I will be syncing the Audio and Video there, as well as putting the clips together.



Head Slate:

A head slate is when you mark the shot before you have started filming. Before the scene begins the director will tell the slate operator to mark the scene. As showed in the footage we filmed, the slate operator will come into shot, mark the scene by clearly stating the scene and take number. They will then proceed to clap the clapper, wait a moment, and then make their way out of shot.

Unfortunately, our group made a poor decision when thinking about where to film our scene. Whilst we did think about the semiology of the scene (lockers to represent a school learning environment to relate to us teaching the audience how to use the clapper board effectively ) the lighting of the area was very poor. With little natural light in the area, we were relying solely of the tungsten lights that were already present, and little natural light coming from a glass door nearby. This means that our shots look dark and grainy. On the positive side, the clapperboard is in shot at all time, The scene is marked clearly with a clear voice and load clap. The slate operator also comes into the scene with the clapper board open to reduce confusion for the editor.


Headslate but a different shot:

The second shot that we filmed was to show a head slate but at a different angle. We decided to film this shot as  when shooting more than one shot in a scene you have to show this on the clapper board. As you can see on the clapper board under ‘scene’ I the slate operator has written ‘1B’. This is because the first shot is ‘1A’. This represents that there has been a change in shot, and that it is the second shot in the scene.

Unfortunately, like I mentioned previously, the lighting in the slip is also very bad. This means that the slate is actually quite hard to read. To improve this in the future, we need to check that the area has good enough lighting to successfully light the slate and the shot itself, or bring some of own artificial lighting to improve the shot.

On a more positive not, the clapperboard is completely in focus and in shot, it is also close enough to the camera for you to clearly see each detail in shot at a quick glance, meaning that the editor doesn’t have to spend time trying to work out what has been written. Also, the slate operator can into the scene with the clapperboard open, which is extremely positive as this means there is no visual confusion as to whether or not the clapperboard has been clapped yet.


Tail slate:

If somehow you forget to mark the shot using a clapper board at the beginning of the shot, you can do this after. Using the clapper board at the end of the shot instead of the beginning of the shot is called a ‘tail slate’ (TLS). When doing this, you will use the clapper board in the exact same way as you would when marking the shot before filming, but you will just turn the clapper board the other way round.

As you can see in the footage that our group filmed, the director will call for the slate operator to mark the scene after the shot has been filmed. The slate operator will then come onto the screen and mark the scene like normal, but as you can see the slate is now upside down.

Like previously, the lighting is still low, but the clapperboard is completely in focus and in shot. The scene number and take is clearly stated before the clapper is capped. It is also worth noting that the director left a moment after before cutting the scene, as it ensured that the scene had definitely been marked.


Shot with no sound:

The final shot that my group filmed was to show what you need to do if a shot has no sound. Like before, the director will call for the slate operator to mark the scene. In the sound box will be written ‘MOS’, instead of ‘sync’, like previously. AS you can see, the slate operator will come into the scene, but this time with her found fingers between the clapper and the board itself, to show that there is no sound in the scene.

Because the sot has been filmed in an area with bad lighting, you cannot see what is written on the actors note pad. It simply says ‘This shows a scene with now sound.’

Reflection on this task:

Overall I think that this task was extremely successful. The clapperboard was completely in shot and in focus in each scene. Also, I managed to sync the audio and video well using the editing software Avid. I found this hard to understand at first, but once I got started I really enjoyed the challenge.

As I have said, the lighting in the footage that we shot was not the best. In the future we will take more time when choosing a location, and we will make sure to consider the lighting of the area as well as the semiology of the area.


Experimentation: Lighting work.

Another thing we got a chance to do this week has been to experiment more with lighting. As we learnt in week 2 unit 1, one of the most common forms of lighting is called ‘Three point lighting.’ This involves:

  • a back light
  • a fill light
  • a key light

Our group decided to bend and change the average rules of there point lighting to create our own effects. We also got the chance to experience using different filters, which really helped to create a range of really unique shots. To refresh my memory, I decided to look back to my previous blog to understand the what each type of lighting contributes to in three point lighting:

Back light:

This light is used to separate the subject from the background. Sometimes a person may look like they are blending into the background behind them. This is often how this is prevented.

Fill Light:

The fill light is used to fill in any shadows that may have been created by the key light. If this light wasn’t present the subject may appear too dark, which can ruin the whole atmosphere of the photo or scene.

Key Light:

The key light is the main light that is used to focus on the subject. I remember this by thinking that the key light is key.


Our Shots:

Red tint using the gold reflector at different distances.

The first shot we decided to take was to use a red tint shining onto the subject whilst using a gold reflector to the side of the subject. As you can see, in the first shot, the gold is slightly softer and less prominent in the shot. This is because the reflector was further away from the subject in the first shot. In the second shot we decided to try and move the reflector slightly closer to the subject to see if we could creative a more intense golden glow on the subject. The shadows around the subjects neck also shape her face well, which is actually slimming.

Overall I really like these shots. I think that the first shot shows the subjects in a slightly softer way. Using a red tint reduced the strength of the light, meaning that the subjects features are softened, and look less harsh.I also think that the second shot is really successful, but in a different way. The intense golden glow is shining on the subject, creating a golden glow over the subject.

Red jel directly on subject. No reflector.

Our group decided to take a risk for the next set of photos. We decided to use a dark red jel over the key light, shining it directly onto the subject. This created an extremely spooky glow. This type of lighting is commonly used in Horror movies. The lighting in this shot is so extreme that the audience can associate this lighting to the character being extremely intense and scary. The red lighting is often associated with danger and blood. Using this intense light helps the audience to associate the subject to dark and negative things. I really love this show, simply because how bold and intense the shots have come out.

Light under the subject, no reflector . Small light behind

We decided not to use any filters and reflectors for the next set of shots. We decided to place the key light directly under the subject, to create a ghost like feel to the shots.

Interestingly, at first the subject had her glasses on. After looking at the shots we had taken, we saw that the glasses were creating an unusual shadow on the subjects forehead. We decided to try to use the same lighting but when the subject had her glasses taken off. I feel as if this created a much more effective shot, as there was nothing getting in the way, or effecting the lighting in any way at all.

I think that this lighting has created a ghostly feel, make the subject look angelic and hypnotising. This type of lighting would be perfect to use in a film featuring ghosts or spirits, as you could create a really emotional scene between for a example a family member coming to see someone who needs them.

Back light behind subject with a key light facing a silver reflector

In the next set of shots we decided to use both a back light and a key light to create depth volume in the shots. The silver reflector created a subtle silver glow on the subject.

I love the use of the backlight in these shots, it picks up each individual strand of hair and gives the subject a gorgeous glow. It also brings her out from the black background, which means that the viewers eye would immediately be drawn to her.

The only this I believe could be improved within these shots is by using lighting to give the subject more shadows in her face. This would help define her features and give slightly more definition to the face. To do this we could have tried to move the key light more the the side of the subjects face. Because our group loved this type of shot so much, we did decide to try this idea out:


Back light to the side of subject with a main light directly on the subject and no reflector.

I honestly love these two shots, I think that the back light slightly to the side of the subject pulls the subject out from the background.  I think using the light to the side of the subject has bought out more of the subjects features. The shadows around the forehead and nose defines the features really effectively. In the future I would really like to experiment more with shadows. AS I learnt in the previous weeks, shadows are an extremely important part of Film Noir, and this is genre I have grown more and more interested with over time.

Unfortunately, in the second shot, you can see the backlight slightly in the corner of the shot. In the future, we must be careful to keep the lighting equipment out of the shots, as now we could either crop or get ride of the shot completely.


Back light to the side of subject and no reflector. A fill light is used in the second shot.

In the first shot, we used a back light slightly more to the side of the subject and no reflector. After reviewing the shot we decided that although this shot was effective due to the intense contrast between light and shadow, we could improve the show to make it even more effective. To do this we decided to as a really soft fill light to lighten up the shadow that was before slightly too dark. The second shot is actually, in my personal opinion, on of my favourite shots that we have taken throughout this task. This is because I really love the extreme difference between light and shade.


Back light behind subject with a blue jel and silver reflector under subject. Key light facing the silver reflector.

For the final set of shots we decided that we wanted to experiment with another jel. We also decided to use a reflector to really see how far we could take this lighting experiment. These shots are someone successful. This because I really love the use of the blue jet over the backlight. It creates a really eerie feel, which could be really effective in maybe Sci-Fi or even in some type of Murder Mystery. I don’t thin that using a key light facing a silver reflector under the subject was very effective. it takes all of the colour out of the subject and reduces the definition of the subjects features.

Coming back:

I was thinking about these two shots whilst at work today. I have now realised that this intense lighting from the silver reflector could be really effective when trying to create a scary character, possibly in a Horror movie. It is really eye opening to think that lighting can completely change and audiences opinion on a character or moment.


Overall I found this experimental task really exciting. It was so fun to be able to experiment with different types of jels and lights with no limitations. I felt like our group was really able to express our thoughts and creativity through lighting, which is something that I never thought I would be able to do before.


Harvard Referencing: (No Date) ‘Cinema clapper board’ Available at: (Last Accessed: 10th November 2016)