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Thread: Question about slating systems in the 1960's

  1. #1
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    Default Question about slating systems in the 1960's

    Hi everyone,
    I'm a script supervisor doing prep for a feature film set in the film industry in the early 1960's. I've been trying to find out what slating system was in use in LA at the time. The internet has yielded nothing in terms of photographs or any other information about this.

    If anyone can point me to a resource or knows anyone who may have worked in film in LA around that time, I would really appreciate hearing from you.

    Thank you.

    Aparna

  2. #2
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    There is no "standard" slate. Just about every production has it's own slate, custom made to the needs of the production. You can get slates (or clapperboards) from a number of sources. In the 50s and early 60s you will find that they were still using the black slates with white (chalk) writing, the white slates didn't really come into common use until the 80s.
    ...and no, that's not experience talking about the 60s, I was but a child then.

  3. #3
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    As you can see HERE in the photo of Hitchcock, it looks like the classic black and white board.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for chipping in, guys. I'm not so much concerned with the style of the slates (art department is all over that one) as the content. Basically, I'm trying to figure out if they used the American or English slating system.

    That clapperboard from Psycho is for a camera test rather than use during the actual shoot, so it's not much use.

    The obvious answer is that the American system was in use (it being, after all, America) but I found another Hitchcock clapper board (from Alfred Hitchcock Presents) which uses the English system. All in all, I remain confused. I have sent inquiries to camera assistants, script supervisors and editors and am still waiting on anything useful. I thought I'd try internet fora while I waited.

  5. #5
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    Perhaps if you explain the difference, it would educate me.

  6. #6
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    The English system uses consecutive slates. So on the first day of shoot, you start with 1 take 1, 1 take 2, 1 take 3 etc. and when the camera setup changes you move on to 2 take 1, 2 take 2 and so on. This happens regardless of the scene number you're shooting (which the script supervisor keeps track of by lining the script and filling out shooting logs for the editorial department).

    In the American system the scene number is incorporated into the slate, making it a much more intuitive system for later reference. So if you start the first day shooting scene 35, the first slate would be 35A; when the camera setup changes, you'd move on to 35B and so on until the scene is covered. Then you start on A again with the next scene.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the explanation.

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    No problem. You wouldn't happen to be able to answer my question, would you?

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    You can see on THIS picture the scene number and take number from this Hollywood film shot in 1960 so I would suspect you are right in your assumtion that they used the American system.

  10. #10
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    Hmmm. That, to me, says they used the English system. The caption says the photograph was taken on the first day of shooting and I don't see "scene" written anywhere on that clapper board. I think he's holding up a board that says "1 take 2."

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