The clapperboard, or slate, is one of the most iconic symbols in cinema, yet it presents a vague notion to those who don’t know its specific use in filmmaking. Beyond its very simple, recognizable appearance, lies a more complex system which is key in the filmmaking process – and still remains relevant to this day since its invention some time around the 1920s.
What is the clapperboard and what is it used for?
The clapperboard is a device of simple construction, consisting of a small board – that is nowadays made of translucent acrylic glass, but used to be made of slate, hence its alternative name - attached to a pair of clap sticks, usually made of wood. It is held in front of the camera before (sometimes after) every take and the sticks are clapped before the action unfolds.
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