1. msbaylor's Avatar
    Slate Comparison


    I am currently a film student (graduating soon) & using a slate is critical when using a multi-cam setup. So I have decided to review the three Slate apps in the iTunes App Store (at least these were the only ones I could find...)

    Some of the items I was looking for:
    -Visual feedback for editing
    -Audio correlates with video feedback (if available)
    -Adequate information on slate
    -Ease of use
    Last edited by msbaylor; 04-29-2009 at 04:24 AM.
    04-29-2009 04:12 AM
  2. msbaylor's Avatar
    Pros:
    -Pratical Use
    -Has MOS option (and other numerous options)
    -Timecode can count in user predefined frame rate.
    -Takes are easily changed (as well as sub-takes)


    Cons:
    -UI Not aesthetically pleasing (which is fine for me, but some might not find it so much)
    -No timecode reset
    -Must enter preference screen to change Scene number
    -No Int./Ext notation on slate
    -Quality of take – not really implemented into app.



    4/5

    LlamaSlate is the Slate app least likely to “look” like a slate. However, in my personal opinion it is the best slating application. The man difference between this application over the other (besides the way it looks) is how the slate is started. When you tap “Start Slate” the app will go through a series of scenes depending on the different options you select. I will describe this below.

    The main screen that you see when your open the application allows you to quickly change the take number & letter (e.g. 1a, 1b), to start slate, to End slate & a button to select the quality of the take.


    By tapping on the “i” icon, there are several options: Production Name, Director's name, Scene number (must edit in “i” screen,) Take number, Frames/second, Countdown on/off, Date & Time on/off, MOS on/off. You also have the option to select a sound: Silent, Beeper Only, Bloops, Claps, or Tinks. And there is a button to reset the Warning (which show up one time when you first use the app.)


    Back to the main screen, the top box is your scene, this can only be changed in the options screen, however, the take can be changed via the main screen. The buttons for editing the take are in vertical pairs. So the left set increases or decreases the take number and the right set increases or decreases the sub scene (the letter).


    Obviously tapping start slate, starts the slate sequence. Tapping “End Slate” does the same sequence except backwards. By tapping on the quality button, you can select the quality of the take. As far the quality option goes, I am unsure to how this plays into the application itself, that is to say if it actually does anything.

    As you change the take number the first and second top boxes will change colors. This helps differentiate between the takes if you cannot see the numbers clearly.

    Now I'll go into the the whole Slate sequence. Depending on how you have the app configured, the slating sequence will be different. For me I have the frame rate set at 24 frames/sec., Countdown on, Date+Time on, and the sounds setting set to “Boops” (personal favorite that picks up best over mics)

    After tapping “Start Slate” You'll have the countdown which has a single tone “boop”sound along with each second (3,2,1) Each number flickers 3 shades of gray/black as well.


    The count down is followed with the Production slate:


    then the Director's slate appears:


    Then the date & time appear, which is followed by the timecode count. The frame rate is accurate to which you set it to. Now the timecode correlates to the time of day. This is one of the only things I do not like about this application – the inability to reset the timecode.



    After the timecode you will see the Scene number & the take number appear on the screen. The background of the take & scene screens correlate to the background colors when you change them in the app itself. There are also two different tones that occur here, that can help in matching up cameras


    Finally after the scene & take numbers, there will be a rapid flashing of colors (that also correlate to the scene & take numbers). This quick flashing of colors is what helps sync up the cameras.

    Overall:

    I think this is the best application for actually making it a practical tool to camera use. The only thing I would really like to see, is the ability to reset the timecode to a predefined time in the preference tab.
    Last edited by msbaylor; 04-29-2009 at 04:19 AM.
    04-29-2009 04:16 AM
  3. msbaylor's Avatar
    Pros:
    -A significant amount of data can be put on slate.
    -Can customize timecode
    -On screen editing
    -Aesthetically pleasing UI

    Cons:
    -Only one set frame rate.
    -Customizing timecode can only occur when it is running (defeats the purpose really)
    -No MOS
    -Small area to make the clapper open & close
    -The beeping sound for when the clapper closes, is really a weird sound and is too low of a tone. Would be nicer if is was higher in tone.



    3/5

    iSlate utilities the landscape format of the iPhone to give you the information on the slate. At the top you have your Roll number, the Scene number, & the Take number. Below that you have the FPS, time code generator (TCG) and the Cam number. Then below that you have the Production company name, & below that, the Director's name and finally below that you have the Camera name or operator and the date (current date).



    The roll and Scene numbers all have to be edited by using the keyboard, but the Take number can be advanced by tapping on the TCG directly below the take number.. The TCG uses the current time (00.00.00.00). However if you tap on the TCG you can customize the TCG – reset is to “00.00.00.00” or adjust it via the “+” or “-”. By tapping on “sync” it matches the TCG to the current time. I thought the “+” or “-” were pointless as you had to have the TCG running in order to edit it & if the TCG is counting up while you are attempting to change it, it is a bit counter intuitive...


    I think there is adequate amount of space for the Production name and director's name. The text gets smaller the more you type in (auto-sizing text)

    I found that you could not change the FPS as it is set on 30fps While for you might be able to shoot in 30, I would assume most shoot in 24, 24p, or 29.97. So it would be nice to change it.

    This app has a nice feature in editing. You do not have to go into an options menu to edit the information on the slate, rather, you you just tap on the text and a keyboard appears to that you can edit it.. You can also change the take number by tapping the area above the text “Take” to increase the take number or below it to decrease the take number.


    To actually use the slate, you tap on the hinge point of the bars. When the slate is “open” the TCG begins, when it is “closed” it stops. Upon the slate closing it emits a beep noise, which matches the closing of the slate bar.

    Overall:
    This application much like the Slate app have look better more than they actually function. While I definitely think that this app is better than the Slate app, I think that it use some work – change frame rate, tap-to-advance scene count (& hold to edit); TCG to begin at 00.00.00.00, have MOS, have Int./Ext. Selection.
    04-29-2009 04:22 AM
  4. msbaylor's Avatar
    Pros:
    -Aesthetically pleasing UI
    -Can be a black or white slate
    -a visual and auditory beep occur when the clapper moves.
    -Take & Scene numbers can be increased by tapping on the numbers
    -Can use a beep or a clap sound

    Cons:
    -Upright in only vertical viewing
    -Longer production name will run out of room
    -The beep & clapper are not in sync on the first time after opening the application.
    -Only way to decrease scene & take numbers is by changing them in the preferences screen.



    2.5/5

    Slate has a nice and sleek interface, however, for some of the longer words, it is hard to fit on the screen. The application itself is a vertical slate.


    By tapping on the “i” in the lower right-hand corner, you can change the Production Name, the Directors name, the scene number, and which take you want to start off on. You can also change the color of the slate – black or white as well as the sound it emits – beep of clap sound.


    So back the main slate view. At the top you have : “Prod.” and then the Production name you entered via the options screen. Below that you have the Time Code Generator (TCG) The TCG reflects the time of day in 24-hour time, so you have: hours, minutes, seconds, & milliseconds. Below the TCG, You have your Scene & take numbers. By tapping on each number, you increase the count by one. In order to reset either count, you must go into the options menu and reset the count manually by typing “0”. Below the Scene & take number you have the Director's name.

    When you tap on the striped bars on the slate an animation begins in which the bar moves up and down and a white & black screen appear with the lettering “beep” and is accompanied by the beeping sound. If you have selected to use the clapping sound then the screen & sound will reflect this.


    If you must exit the application and then return to it, the scene numbers & take numbers will be saved.


    Overall:

    The application looks nice, however, I am not a fan of the vertical use of the slate as longer text will be truncated. Sometimes the “beep” of “clap” screen does not happen at the same as the beep or clap is emitted. The application itself does not have a lot of options. I would've like to have Int/Ext, Cam, MOS, etc. I would also like to see the chose of having the TCG start from 00:00:00.00 . In my honest opinion the app is more show than usable.
    04-29-2009 04:24 AM
  5. vincethesoundguy's Avatar
    Thanks for the great information Matt. I realize this was posted last year but do you know of any timecode applications for the I-pad, and have you checked them out yet?
    05-19-2010 09:48 AM
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