Hans and I need a slate for this weekend's shoot, so I went shopping. I thought for a moment about getting a blackboard-type chalk slate, as has been used for movies as long as I can remember... that would be very cool. But blackboards aren't functional, not really. Whenever I've slated with chalk, it's messy, it's not always easy to draw on, and there's that awful risk of scratching the chalk just the wrong way.... aaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!—
Yeah, not good. So I decided on an acrylic white board slate. Unlike a lot of the amateur slates—some of which are literally emblazoned with huge block letters: "HOLLYWOOD PRODUCTION"—the slate I bought assumes that anybody looking at the slate knows where all the relevant data belongs and leaves you as much white board real estate to draw it in (which might drive some people batty, but—hard as it may be to believe—I'm actually a minimalist in many respects). And the true mark of a pro slate—it even has a box for the FPS.
Best of all, the clappers themselves are made out of oak, and include a magnet to ensure a nice resounding SMACK! when you need to synch up the sound track [sic] to your film:
Total cost, including shipping: $88.39
Here are its juicy specs:
The acrylic accepts dry-erase markers and can be back-lit for low light shots. The acrylic is rounded on all edges so it won't cut your hands.
The 1" thick sticks has laminate stripes (not paint that wears) in the basic Kodak colors or classic black and white. The bracket is tension-adjustable. There are magnets in the tips of the sticks to ensure a definite close and good sound. The layout is engraved so it will last no matter what and is far superior over screen printed method.
These slates measure 11" wide by 9 1/4" tall, and fit, of course, in all frontboxes.
Directly as supplied to many studio and film sets. This is the industry standard for a long-lasting, hard working slate. Made in the USA.
Dry Erase Marker
We recommend Marks-A-Lot brand dry erase markers. These markers are readily available at most office supply stores. (Some other markers, such as the evil Sanford EXPO, will STAIN the board.)