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Clapperboard (or slate) is used in movie primarily for two purposes:

  1. To assist in synchronizing picture and sound (with the help of a clap). It makes the editor's life easy.
  2. Cataloging of the recordings i.e. designate and mark particular scenes and takes recorded during a production.

I understand it is a crucial and an essential tool which is still used in the film-making process. It has evolved from traditional wooden slate to the modern digital version.

Why hasn't anything better replaced the slate? By better I mean a tool or a technique (an automated one perhaps) which works by itself without an assistance of a human? Something which can fullfil the same purpose of the slate (Cataloging and synchronization while editing).

Or are we just using it for its legacy?

Alfred Hitchcock holding a clapperboard

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Why hasn't anything better replaced the slate? By better I mean a tool or a technique (an automated one perhaps) which works by itself without an assistance of a human? Something which can fullfil the same purpose of the slate (Cataloging and synchronization while editing).

Because it's almost perfect.

Movies aren't filmed in order so a human has to do something to indicate what is being filmed.

Multiple takes might be required none of which, other than the first can be anticipated. Shots might be comprised of multiple takes.

This information has to be logged somewhere on screen so the editor can sync everything up, not just for sound but shot matching as well.

The information need to be changable at a moments notice as they move from one scene/shot/take to another. Oh, and the mechanism has to be portable as well.

If something better had been invented it would be being used. That's not to say it won't but until then, it's perfect.

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  • Read Walt's comment on this question. It mentions an answer. Yours doesn't answer my question though. :-) – Pale Blue Dot Sep 23 '16 at 15:28
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    Yes, it does. You asked why hasn't anything better replaced it and I gave you an answer. Perhaps you didn't phrase the question correctly. If you asked *What alternatives are there?" That would be different. – Paulie_D Sep 23 '16 at 15:47

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