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Fan Productions Creating our own Trek canon!

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Old January 19 2012, 06:58 PM   #166
USS Intrepid
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

VulcanLoveSlave wrote: View Post
Set Extension

Which sort of brings me to the point of this post:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BKdyMbdIug

This is an example of how the pros are saving time and money. And you can't even tell! So, I'm thinking, with the CGI skill of some of the fans out there, there is no reason why this can't save you time and money as well. You build enough of the set that your characters can interact, throw green screens up (lighting them evenly) and you can do some set extensions to make it look real.
We've done this a little bit on Intrepid, albeit with mixed results. Indeed, it was part of our game plan when we started out all the way back in 2003. It's a pretty useful tool.
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Old January 20 2012, 01:14 AM   #167
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I think it worked very well with Intrepid. Even though I have some idea of how such things are done, I never found myself distracted by obviously painted in backgrounds. The itch to be "perfect" really can sabotage a set up that's perfectly good.
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Old January 20 2012, 07:17 PM   #168
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

USS Intrepid wrote: View Post
VulcanLoveSlave wrote: View Post
Set Extension

Which sort of brings me to the point of this post:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BKdyMbdIug

This is an example of how the pros are saving time and money. And you can't even tell! So, I'm thinking, with the CGI skill of some of the fans out there, there is no reason why this can't save you time and money as well. You build enough of the set that your characters can interact, throw green screens up (lighting them evenly) and you can do some set extensions to make it look real.
We've done this a little bit on Intrepid, albeit with mixed results. Indeed, it was part of our game plan when we started out all the way back in 2003. It's a pretty useful tool.
I checked out the Intrepid website. Unfortunately I'm at work and the comps here have audio disabled, but I really dig your premise. I look forward to watching it
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Old January 20 2012, 10:58 PM   #169
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

VulcanLoveSlave wrote: View Post
I checked out the Intrepid website. Unfortunately I'm at work and the comps here have audio disabled, but I really dig your premise. I look forward to watching it
Be warned, it's *rough*. Especially the early stuff.
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Old March 6 2012, 12:05 PM   #170
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Overdue for a new topic. Let's talk about something pretty elementary but I rarely see discussed...
THE SLATE (CLAPPERBOARD)

The guy or gal snapping the "clapper" shut at the start of a take is so commonplace that it's cliché. But even some beginning filmmakers don't quite understand its full purpose.

Let's talk about the Clapper first. The two bars at the top are called the "sticks" or "clapper sticks" and the reason they're snapped together on-camera is to give the editor an audible and visible cue for synchronizing sound and picture (especially important if you're recording sound to a different device than the camera).

The Slate (so-called because in the past it was a slate surface on which you wrote in chalk) is used to visually include the information related to a given take within the take itself. This allows footage to be easily identified when reviewing or editing. It's actually fairly important for this reason. If camera logs or other records get lost, the critical information is built into the take.

Typically, a slate contains the following info:
  • PRODUCTION NAME/#: What movie or episode this is
  • ROLL: The number of the film roll/tape/ or memory card being recorded to
  • SCENE: The scene # being shot, as identified in the shooting script
  • TAKE: Which take # of the indicated scene is being shot
  • DATE: The date of the shoot
  • DAY/NITE: This is used to indicate if the scene is supposed to take place in daytime or nighttime, not when it was actually shot. Sometimes you shoot "day for night" (footage shot in daylight and processed to simulate night), etc.
Traditionally, slates also contain the name of the Director and the Cinematographer.

Below is a typical slate.


Slate for a synced sound take with camera info

Slates may also contain additional information, such as:
  • MOS: Some Slates feature the text MOS, which is circled if the shot is NOT being recorded with sync sound or if the shot contains no sound that matters. However, it's easier to indicate MOS just by having the person slating place their fingers between the clapper bars, which shows that there will be no clap, ergo MOS.
  • CAMERA TYPE: If different cameras are being used, the camera name is often written on the slate. This is useful when identifying what needs to be done with footage when you're mixing camera types or need to match the camera in later shots.
In these POLARIS slates you'll also see the following:
  • LENS: The lens size size being used
  • F.L.: The Focal Length of the take
  • ISO: The "film speed", or the digital equivalent setting on the camera
  • F/: The F-stop (such as F/5.6)
This information is typically recorded in the Camera Log made by the camera crew, but in some cases you put it on the slate. Why? In these cases, it's because there will be visual effects added to the shots, and this information is recorded on the slate so that the visual effects people can see it on the shots they're working on.


MOS (no sound) slate. MOS is indicated by
the 2nd Assistant Camera's fingers holding the clapper open.
SLATE PROTOCOL

Typically, the Slate is handled by the Second Assistant Camera (2nd AC) or "clapper loader" (more common in Europe) who fills in the Slate and hold it in front of the camera and claps the clapper.

Here's the way it's called on many shoots:
A.D. (Assistant Director): Roll Camera.
CAMERA OPERATOR: Speed.*
A.D. Roll Sound.
SOUND RECORDIST: Speed.*
A.D. Mark it.**
2nd ASST. CAMERA: Scene 25 Foxtrot, Take 2. (CLAP)

*Means the device is recording at speed.
**Means "Do the slate thing."
Once the the Slate is cleared of the scene, the Director can call Action at her discretion.

NOTES:

When slating any shot where sound is being recorded, the person handling the Slate reads off the scene and take number before clapping. This ensures that the scene and take information is recorded on the soundtrack in addition to the clap for synchronization.

It's REALLY IMPORTANT to make sure the Camera and Sound are rolling for a few seconds before you "mark it" with the slate, otherwise you risk the slate not being on camera or the clap sound not being recorded.

Because the slate is designed to be easy to erase, it's also easy to erase things that don't change. As such, it's pretty common to stick tape to the slate with information that doesn't change much or at all.

THE TAIL SLATE
Finally there's one additional slating convention. The TAIL SLATE is done when, for whatever reason, it's not possible or convenient to film the Slate at the head of the take. In such a case the shot is done without a slate at the start but, before the Director yells "Cut", a "Tail Slate" is called for. The 2nd Camera Assistant does the Slate thing BUT to indicate it's a Tail Slate, the Slate is held UPSIDE-DOWN. (CLICK HERE to see an example of a Tail Slate from "Spock's Brain".)


Oh, and the thing used to wipe the Slate is called the MOUSE.
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Last edited by Maurice; March 7 2012 at 10:48 AM. Reason: Corrected a nomenclature error regarding title of person who handles the Slate.
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Old March 6 2012, 08:22 PM   #171
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Maurice, this is as perfect and as informative an explanation of slates as I've ever been given in the past five years on the innumerable shows I've been on. Thank you.

Some other examples (if I may share) of slates:





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Old March 6 2012, 08:36 PM   #172
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Can you comment on precisely how the synchronization process works? For example, should the peak of the clapping sound ever be offset by any number of frames from the frame on which the clapper strikes the slate, and if so under what circumstances? Is there ever any ambiguity regarding the frame on which the clapper strikes the slate?

Also, in a long scene, is drift in synchronization ever a problem?

Thanks.
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Old March 6 2012, 08:47 PM   #173
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

There are also some pretty good slate apps for the iPad. I don't think they'll always replace my physical slate, but they're still pretty neat.

Also, don't know if this is a British thing, but the physical slate I have has a space labelled 'slate'. I've never been entirely sure what the correct usage of this is, but I tend to use it as an incremental count on the number of shots we've slated throughout the day.
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Old March 6 2012, 08:50 PM   #174
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

^Which ones would you recommend?
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Old March 6 2012, 08:55 PM   #175
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

I've got three. SyncSlate, Marker Slate, and Movie*Slate. Of the three, I mainly use Movie*Slate, though the others are quite a bit cheaper. I rather like that Movie*Slate stores all the shot data for later use, and also access the GPS/WIFI to log your location.

That said, the others may do some or all of this, but like I said, I haven't really used the others.
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Old March 6 2012, 09:21 PM   #176
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Excellent. Thanks for the info and recommendation!
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Old March 6 2012, 09:27 PM   #177
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

@doubleohfive: Those colored stripes on top are another useful feature, since they provide valuable clues to the people in post production (VFX, color-grading, compositing, ...).
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Old March 6 2012, 09:53 PM   #178
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Can you comment on precisely how the synchronization process works? For example, should the peak of the clapping sound ever be offset by any number of frames from the frame on which the clapper strikes the slate, and if so under what circumstances? Is there ever any ambiguity regarding the frame on which the clapper strikes the slate?

Also, in a long scene, is drift in synchronization ever a problem?

Thanks.
Ahhh, you anticipated my next comment. The thing I've noticed with digital video is that the audible "clap" of the clapper bars never actually seems to line up with the video as recorded on the camera. In fact, on the Canon SLRs I've shot with, the "clap" seems to happen about two frames BEFORE the bars close. Why this is, I don't know.

Drift can and is a problem with digital video, especially with sync sound. I use a program called DualEyes to replace the camera audio with the second sound in post, and that software does drift correction on its own.

USS Intrepid wrote: View Post
Also, don't know if this is a British thing, but the physical slate I have has a space labelled 'slate'. I've never been entirely sure what the correct usage of this is, but I tend to use it as an incremental count on the number of shots we've slated throughout the day.
Nick, do you have a pic of this slate?

lennier1 wrote: View Post
@doubleohfive: Those colored stripes on top are another useful feature, since they provide valuable clues to the people in post production (VFX, color-grading, compositing, ...).
Those are good to have. Frequently I tape a printed set of COLOR BARS to the back of the slate and have the Camera Assistant show that to the camera before flipping the slate around to mark the take.
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Old March 6 2012, 10:06 PM   #179
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Maurice wrote: View Post
lennier1 wrote: View Post
@doubleohfive: Those colored stripes on top are another useful feature, since they provide valuable clues to the people in post production (VFX, color-grading, compositing, ...).
Those are good to have. Frequently I tape a printed set of COLOR BARS to the back of the slate and have the Camera Assistant show that to the camera before flipping the slate around to mark the take.
Exactly!
There's a whole truckload of tasks which are a lot easier to tackle once you have that information.
Being able to extrapolate the delta in colors makes it even easier, but even something like http://www.st-bilder.de/gallery/mode...axy-66226.html is already a good start (extremes, mid-tones and the like).
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Old March 6 2012, 10:08 PM   #180
Maurice
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Re: Fan Filmmaker's Primer

Oh one other thing...
The meaning and origin of MOS

The popular explanation of MOS to indicate a take without sound is that MOS (spoken as "M.O.S." not "moss") is an acronym for "Mit Out Sprechen" (without speaking) or "Mit Out Sound", and sometimes bla— er, attributed to Erich von Stroheim or some other German director.

Other possible explanations are that it meant "Minus Optical Stripe" or "Minus Optical Sound" or even "Motor Only Sync" or a half dozen other things. The truth seems to be lost in the mists of time, so don't let anyone bullshit you into thinking they have the definitive answer... unless they're Erich von Stroheim.

A list of possible MOS origins (click).
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