Cinematographer John Brawley explains why slating is important and also how to do it the right way:
I’ve been chatting with some of my own crew and some directors about slating technique and protocol and it seems in this digital age some discipline and technique has been overlooked…. and it occurred to me that it takes a huge amount of subtle knowledge to be able to slate properly. One director was bemoaning the fact that they had to keep staring at the loader’s face on the split right before every take during an important emotional scene. They also took an interminably long time to actually announce the slate as well, totally distracting the beginning of the take. ”Doesn’t anyone know how to slate ? Don’t they know how they can influence the beginning of a scene ? That they can set the tone for the actors ? Why are they taking so long to announce the slate and get out of there ? What ever happened to the discipline of the film days where you’d get the slate and only the slate in shot and get the hell out of there ???” It was a full blown rant…..
Like a butler, you need to be totally present yet not noticed. The way you speak, the manner with which you slate can greatly affect actor performance and the on set ambience. You’re also a constant visual representative of the camera department.
Spot on post with some great tips. Make sure to read the comments also where others contribute their own thoughts and experiences. Finally, check out my own series of posts on slating.