The Free Production Slate

Everyone needs to be slating during their production, no matter how inexpensive. To the unaware, slating is the practice of recording basic scene information at the beginning or end (the "tail slate" is always shot upside down) of each take. We have all seen clapperboard type slates that slap two wooden sticks together for an audio marker, even if we've never been on a film set.

Those sticks are great for syncing sound, but most of us just need a simple marking system, so we can identify our footage in post. Writing a on a sheet of paper works (and is very microbudget), but is a little TOO ghetto. Dry erase slates are the nicest, and an a nice acrylic one can be found at B&H for 8 bucks. Not bad.

A slightly better and more informative slate (meaning there are more boxes of info to fill out) is the EasySlate, which comes with an interview and production version, a back focus chart, and a version for notes. Throw in markers, an eraser and a nice bag and you have it all. Sadly, the EasySlate will set you back 60 clams, which is way too much for a laminated card with no clapper sticks.

As suspected, someone else has already created a free version of these very same slates that you can print out and laminate yourself, putting you in in dry erase slating heaven. Dubbed the "Cheap Slate", this is a great low-budget answer to a very important need. I just wish I could find the creator's name somewhere on his simple website. He deserves credit for putting time into this.

UPDATE! I went to a FedEx/Kinko's and had them print the production and interview slates on both sides of heavy card stock. I used landscaped versions of the slates, so they'd be bigger. I then trimmed the the card, laminated and trimmed again. I now have a handy double-sided, multipurpose dry erase slate for a total cost of $4.51. I could have saved about a dollar if I printed in black and white, but the color gives it a more pro feel. It was worth the splurge.


I was Googling around looking for a new clapboard/slate and ran across the EasySlate. When I started Googling around for reviews...I ran across your blog post!

Thanks so much for posting about the EasySlate, I ended buying a set myself from B&H! ...and I think I'll pass along the info on my blog! :)
Scott Eggleston said…
Glad I could help, John. I do find it funny that even after all my dissing for being high priced (and offering a frugal alternative), you still went for the EasySlate anyway!
John-Clay said…
Yes, I guess that it does seem odd :)

However after comparing the free version against the EasySlate I noticed that there is quite a difference and the layout of the EasySlate works better for what I need...AND the price from B&H is $45 with free shipping.
Nice blog about dry clapper board
i like it thanks for this information