Hey Filmmakers Chung Dha here, this here is my clapperboard that I DIY modded it to have a lot of improvements so it can be used on set avoiding a lot of issues, but also make certain things faster. Under here is just a very basic and affordable clapperboard you can easily buy from Amazon or anywhere else and there aren’t any clapperboards you can just buy with all the features built in. 

Clapperboard with mods

Purchase items needed for the mods
Clapperboard – https://amzn.to/3PSnLsc
Heavy duty velcro – https://amzn.to/3vl17PL
Velcro for tags – https://amzn.to/3HZKvVB
Laminator – https://amzn.to/3PSpOMU
Bicycle light USB rechargeable – https://amzn.to/3BYDNLB
Masking Tapes – https://amzn.to/3C0vJtQ
Whiteboard marker – https://amzn.to/3GglTGD
100x cleaning cloth – https://amzn.to/3Ggm2d9

The first thing you must mod or actually fix, is this hinge section of the clapperboard. If you ever used a cheap clapperboard before, you might have had the nut and bolts fall off the clapperboard, however just tightening them when you get it also does not prevent this issue as when you tighten all 3 bolts then the whole clapper is locked.

The fix for this is just to add 2 washers on the bottom of the bolts, under the metal frame. This allows you to still tighten all the bolts, but without locking up the clapper and the nuts and bolt won’t easily fall apart. Before you tighten it all, I suggest adding a washing line between the frame and the clapper. This washing line allows me to clip the slate with a carabiner onto me, so I don’t have to hold it in my hand all the time.

Clapperboard gaffer tape trick

A tip to keep your clapperboard more pristine for a long time is to use gaffer tape, as you can also use whiteboard markers on gaffer tape and wipe it away. But also you can use permanent markers on the gaffer tape for the production, names and dates as those won’t need to change during the day and especially on multi day production as whiteboard markers might accidentally be wiped away also.

Wet weather clapperboard tags

The elephant in the room, you might have noticed the big tags on my slate. Instead of using whiteboard markers for this part, I have converted my clapperboard to a wet weather clapperboard. The reason for this is if you have ever filmed during a rainy production, you will notice after a while the whiteboard marker will struggle writing on to the slate. So my tags are actually velcro onto the slate and the rain won’t affect it.

Wet weather clapperboard tags

On the back of the slate I have all the tags I need to switch with. I made the tags myself, I designed them and printed them out on just a single a4 paper, then had to cut out all the tags so we can laminate them loose from each other as there needs to be enough plastic between the tags to seal them from the elements. Then cut out each and pasted velcro tape on each of them. You can find the PDF for this here, but I designed it specifically for this clapperboard, if you have a different one the size might not be that compatible.

Download wet weather clapperboard tags here

Then this here is just a focus chart, if a lens needs back focussing this be the best tool to check focus. But this part can also be used to clip in camera logs or even just the script printed out.

Focus Chart

All this is held with two corrugated plastic sheets which are lightweight and just use gaffer tape to make the hinge and use velcro to keep it shut.

Mini slate / insert slate

Now on the back here I have a mini slate or insert slate, especially for close up shots your normal slate can be too big, so this smaller slate can be used instead, so you don’t need to grab a 2nd smaller slate. This small slate is also just printed on paper and laminated. And can be used with a whiteboard marker.

Masking tape markers

Then these strips of colorful masking tape are for marking actors, they are masking tape instead of gaffers tape as these are the least destructive tape there is as gaffers tape still has a strong glue that can peel off paint from certain surfaces.

Then I have several places with velcro to stick my whiteboard marker and cleaning cloth to. This way they are kept safely on the clapperboard and won’t get lost easily. It’s really annoying when everybody has to wait for the clapper loader because either the cleaning cloth or the marker has gone missing. 

Clapperboard light

For night shoots or very dark locations I have velcro on a bicycle light so the slate, which can help as of course a light to view things, but also help with shining onto the clapperboard.

Then I store my clapperboard in a big pouch which I velcro onto the lid of my 1st AC Bag / Pelican Case. Though I often work as 1st AC and my clapperboard isn’t always needed, it is still a great backup to have around.

But in an upcoming video I will show you what I have in my 1st AC bag as it might differ from a lot of others as this is what I noticed I needed to have around to help the production run more smoothly. So please subscribe if you want to get notified for that video. Thank you all for watching and I will see you in the next video bye bye.

DIY Clapperboard Mods

About The Author
- Awarded Cinematographer , Photographer and Graphic Designer.

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