Filming talking heads fast Q+A 5: Do we need a clapper board and everything?

We need the sound of the clap (or rather the spike on the wave form) for syncing external sound capture with the video. We rarely, if ever, have needed to match the external audio with a ‘visual’ clap i.e. the clapper being clapped in front of the camera with the scene and take refs. If we are being good and keeping our audio and video file notes for each clip we really don’t need the scene and take numbers written on the clapper board either. This can really just waste precious time - even if our cameraman insists!

However we do make ourselves go through a little routine at the start of each take. This is a vital little ritual as the sheer degree of multi-tasking can make it easy to miss something obvious like making sure the audio device is recording. And we make sure to carefully rehearse the presenter on the routine too so everyone is one the same page.

The sequence goes like this:

1. Camera operator “Camera Rolling”
2. Audio operator says “Audio Rolling”
3. Clapper board clapped (or hands slapped for audio spike)
4. Crew comes to silent rest position
5. Presenter assumes ‘smile position’
6. Director indicates with fingers slowly... ‘one, two, three…’
7. Autocue rolls (if used)
8. Presenter starts speaking

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