Filmmaking Lesson #3: The Slate Piece is Gold

slate piece blog

Slate’s are a lifesaver. OK, not the slate itself.

In fact, with the advancements in digital filmmaking a lot of small crews aren’t even using a slate, opting to clap their hands to sync the sound instead. Whether you use or don’t use a slate is up to you, but in case you’re interested I added this nice little video below from No Film School on how to use a slate like a pro.

In this post however, I want to talk about the precious few moments of time that happens when the camera rolls before the slate and after the director yells ‘Action!’ This few moments is called the ‘Slate Piece.’

On a typical set the camera rolls along with the sound for a few moments before everything is ready and the slate person then goes up to do their job. Often times the cameras are already pointed where they need to be with the actors or subjects in focus, and usually, in my experience, it is a perfect candid relaxed moment; the director hasn’t yelled ‘Action!’ so everybody is chill waiting for the clapboard to come and go. These are gold moments. 

During the editing phase of one of my first films I came to this intense scene between two actors and I realized I needed a cutaway shot from one guy to the other, but in looking through the takes I couldn’t find a sufficient cut. I was completely stuck. I needed a moment where the actor looked at his hands, adjusted his shirt, looked around the room, or scratched his nose; something, anything. But in every take the actor was flat and I couldn’t find anything to cut to.

So what to do? Go back and shoot the scene again? Not an option. (Most of the time this isn’t an option.)

So I went back to the raw footage of the shots before the slate entered and started scrolling through the takes and suddenly, there it was.

The actor, waiting on the crew to finish, looked over to the corner of the room and rubbed his forehead. A perfect unscripted, unplanned moment. I snatched it up, placed it in the film, and the scene played out well.

Since then, I have made it a habit to roll the cameras early. Of course if you are shooting on actual film, then this might not be an option for you (film is expensive!). However, if you are shooting digitally you can do this all day. Roll early while the actors are settling in to their first positions. You never know when they might do something interesting that later on will be a huge blessing in the editing room.

lumindeo blog writer

Gift Ideas for the Camera-Lover In Your Life

camera-lover gift ideas

Just one week until Valentines day and if you’re anything like me, you’ve waited till the last minute to shop! We have a few (or 10) ideas that will hopefully help you find the perfect gift for the camera-lover in your life.

1. Absolutely anything from Artifact Uprising.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 9.18.12 AM

Seriously, these guys know how to make a beautiful print.
And you really need to print out some of those awesome photos you’ve got sitting in your phone.
I personally love the wooden clipboard calendars. A beautiful keepsake your Valentine can enjoy all year long for $29.99.

2. This adorable Canon SLR-shaped USB flashdrive.

camera shape usb

It’s just fun, and who doesn’t always need more flash drives? (There is also a Nikon version.)
$8.99 right now on Amazon.

3. Sterling Silver Camera Necklace from ALWAYZWITHLOVE on Etsy.

camera necklace

Simple and elegant camera-lover jewelry, $40 for any MomTog in your life.

4. Personalized Leather Camera Strap from Viveo on Etsy.

custom camera strap

Choose different colors or styles. $44 to make a custom gift everyone needs.

5. instax mini 90 NEO Classic camera from Fuji film.

instax camera

I have one of these, and I just love it. It’s a great throwback to analog cameras with a variety of shooting modes that gives you the ability to use light creatively. Also, who doesn’t love the part when the little photo pops out and you wait for you photo to show up? Tons of fun for $135 on Amazon.

6. The OlloClip 4-in-1 lens for iphone.

olloclip camera lens

With 4 lens options (fisheye, wideangle, macro 10x, macro 15x) to choose from, this little lens takes your iphone photos to a whole new level. An awesome deal for $79.99.

7. The new GoPro HERO4 Session.

gopro hero4 camera

With GoPro’s newest, smallest camera, you have endless video possibilities.
It’s waterproof, durable, and has an easy one-button control. So much potential is such a tiny camera for $199.

8. This ONA Bowery Camera Bag.

ona camera bag

This stylish bag holds one camera body and two lenses, moveable dividers, and several pockets for wallet/keys/accessories as well as being waterproof and durable. Get one from B & H for $149.

9. Have Their Favorite Instagrams Printed with Social Print Studio.

instagram camera prints

I’ve used this service many, many times. Several of the walls in my home are covered in my instagram photos.
My favorite products are the squares and mini squares. I even have a couple magnets!
They have great quality for not much expense. I suggest using their app to order your prints.

10. A Vintage Canon Moleskine from The Print Bee on Etsy.

camera moleskine

Everyone needs a handy journal to jot down all your brilliant ideas. Especially one that fits right in your back pocket!

So there you have it. I hope you got some good ideas for your special camera-loving someone.
Let us know in the comments if you can think of any others to add to the list!