Monday, May 5, 2014

Slate Operator
By Leigh-Ann Hammond

Hi folks, Leigh-Ann here introducing myself to you!  I have been a part of Butterfleye Films since almost the beginning.  I joined the team just as we started filming our first movie, “Attack of the Atomic Zombies” (2011).  I came on board as the “ABE”.  What the hell is that you ask?  Well, basically it’s the name Tony came up with for me, “Assistant Bitch Extraordinaire”. (Nope, not offended by it – I was there to help in any way I could.)  Over time I have become a member of the board and all around ‘in-the-office girl’.  I get to take care of the paperwork behind the scene.  It doesn't sound exciting but it is very necessary. I am also a writer (under the name Elle Gardner) and have written for BF – I took lead on writing MissedOpportunities. Occasionally you may see me in the background as well.

But what do I do during filming?  Aside from running around helping set things up, a little hair or make up, that kind of thing, I am also the Primary Slate Operator.  A busy little job that serves a big role when we get to editing. 

Clapper Slate
Slate It

So the slate does a few things… first, it documents which scene is being filmed, what take we are on and which camera we are using.  All of this helps the editor keep things straight.  Sometimes a scene can take ten or more takes to get it right, we make a note of which take was the best and then the editor uses the slate prompts to find that best take. 

But there is something else.  See the lines at the top of the slate that make an arrow??  Well, when you close the top to the slate it makes a clapping sound.  That sound is used by the editor to make sure that the sound and the video are lined up during the editing process.  When the arrow is lined up with the clap, you know you have found the sweet spot.  Especially helpful if you are using external sound to go with the film. 

As you know, we are a modern company and you know something… there’s an app for that!  Yup, for iPhones or Android there are tons of apps you can download.  Our app of choice is the simple free on of Film Clapper Board.  So when your hands are full of multitasking, you can always pull your phone out of your pocket and still get the job done, they even come with the clapping sound effect!

Now, when you shoot 15 scenes a day, 8 takes a scene on average, you get a lot of clapping going on.  So much so that it could drive an editor MAD!!!  Tony is not only our editor here at Butterfleye, but he is also a musical genius.  So out of insanity he created this little number.  We hope you enjoy!

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