From our ongoing exploration of ways to become a faster and more efficient camera assistant, today’s tip is:
2. Cut Down on What You Say When Slating a Shot
Beginning camera assistants (ACs) have a tendency to do two things wrong when slating: they speak too slow and they announce everything on the slate. I know this because I was guilty of it and, as I trained others, noticed how they would fall into the same trap.
What I always try to explain to new 2nd AC’s is to only read the most essential information — scene & take — then yell “mark” and get out of there. You should be all business in front of the lens.
Depending on the circumstance, you can take it even further. For instance, if you know the sound mixer is reading off the slate onto their own recordings or marking them with metadata, you can get away with saying “mark” (…instead of marker you save time by one syllable) and clapping the sticks.
As an exercise, let’s take a look at how you could cut down on one particular shot:
- “Scene Twenty-Seven Apple, Take Two, Marker!”
- “Twenty-Seven Apple, Take Two, Marker!”
- “Twenty-Seven Apple, Take Two, Mark!”
- “Take Two, Mark!”
Even the third option takes much less time than the first. And let’s not forget another important thing: say it fast! Do your best impression of an auctioneer while still being clear.
How do you make sure you’re out of frame quickly when slating?