DIY $7 Film Slate

A cheap slate for seven dollars

I can’t claim credit for this one – my extremely talented and resourceful production designer got the idea to use an inexpensive slate “prop” and modify it slightly to allow the use of erasable whiteboard markers. These are usually a bit more than seven dollars, and we didn’t have the time to wait for one to arrive in the mail for the shoot in question.

There are only two pieces of “hardware” which are required to make this, along with a few pieces of duct tape, a sharpie, a ruler, and whatever whiteboard markers and erasers you are planning to use on the finished slate.

You will need to buy these two items from a Five Below discount shop:

Apologies for not giving a product link for the slate prop – I had trouble finding it on the Five Below site. I assure you, it does exist…

Assembly Instructions

  1. Break the frame of the whiteboard, and remove the cardboard backing and the broken frame. You should now have a piece of unencumbered whiteboard.

  2. Position the whiteboard over the slate prop’s useless slate writing. You can’t write on the slate with chalk, so it is pretty useless as-is. Center it as best you can, then use strips of duct or gaff tape to attach the whiteboard surface to the clapper.

  3. Use the ruler as a straight-edge to draw sharpie lines to denote the different markable areas on your slate. In the best penmanship you can muster, label them with the sharpie.

It is a pretty simple hack, but quite effective for giving your editor a bit of A/V sync assistance.

My production designer holding the finished slate My production designer holding the finished slate