Figure 13-16.The slate.
required to put the new car together, you probably would
not be entirely grateful. Maybe you could assemble it (if
you were an experienced mechanic), but you know that
more information would save you time, frustration,
duplication of effort, and help tremendously toward a
successful outcome. On the other hand, if every part
were clearly identified and the exact relationship to
every other part was unmistakably described, you would
certainly appreciate the gift much more. Being faced
with several thousand feet of unidentified videotape is
very much the same kind of situation.
The slate you use to identify video scenes may take
several forms. In emergencies you may even write scene
identification on a scrap of paper and film it before
shooting the scene; however, in most instances, your
slate is more formal. Your regular slate is made to show
whatever information is necessary. Generally, this
includes the command or unit, title or subject, name of
the cameraperson (identifies who is responsible for
filming or videotaping the good or bad footage), date,
location, and camera serial number (fig. 13-16). If you
are part of a large organization that has several crews,
then also include the unit number. In short, the slate
should contain information needed for proper
identification of each scene on your film.
The biggest problem encountered by imaging
personnel in the Department of Defense during
Operation Desert Storm was the lack of identification of
exposed imagery. There were literally boxes of film and
videotape lining the passageways in the Pentagon. Most
of this imagery was of little value because it was not
identified, or it was labeled inaccurately.
Accurate records are almost as important as good
video coverage in achieving a professional product.
Imaging products must be labeled, so the subject matter
and subject location are easily identifiable on the tape.
Often, there is no opportunity for personal contact
between the cameraperson and editor; therefore, records
identifying the filmed image content are the only
information available. Logically, the better the records,
the more useful the videotape. The opposite rule is also
true. Inaccurate records can make the video coverage
useless. Do not let that happen to your work.
The slate may actually be a piece of slate with the
data written or lettered on it in white chalk. Quite often
the slate is white with an acetate surface, and the data
is written on it with a black grease pencil. When you
slate a scene, hold the slate in front of the camera lens
and record it for about 10 seconds for videotape or 3 feet
for motion-picture film.
Of the information you place on your slate should
be clearly printed in large, block letters. Film your slate
so it fills the complete frame. If your slate is not full
frame, the lettering may be too small to read when the
tape is viewed.