May 4, 2011, 3:34 a.m.
posted by sunlight
Slate Your Cuts
Every editing system includes a way to create text and place it on screen. You can use this feature to add a visual tracking system to your cuts. Much like you use a slate with raw footage [Hack #9], you can use your system's ability to add titles.
A slate is easy to create and takes only a couple of minutes. Yet, many people don't take the small amount of time to do so, only to discover they are completely confused, after a few weeks of editing, as to which tape has which cut. To build a slate, you need to place text on screen:
Clip New Title…
Effects tab Video Generators Text Text
Titles Centered Centered Multiple
Edit Movie Make titles or credits title at the beginning
File New Title…
Once you are able to type, add the information that is pertinent to your project and save the slate. At a minimum, you should include the project's title and the date of the cut. You might also want to include the version of the cut (e.g., Cut 4), the total running time (TRT), the audio configuration (e.g., Channels 1 & 2—Stereo Mix), and the editor's name.
Some editors and producers like to add an artistic flare to their slates. If that's your cup of tea, feel free to go wild and express yourself. Just don't forget to include the necessary information. Figure shows a basic slate over a black background, as well as a more creative version.
After finishing your slate, place it at the head of your timeline. Although some editing systems allow you to add a slate on output, I recommend placing the slate, as it provides a secondary means of determining the version of a cut (the first being the title of the timeline). Figure shows an Avid timeline with a slate at the head.
If you get in the habit of slating every cut you output from your editing system, as well as creating a copy of the timeline associated with it, you will always have the opportunity to go back to any cut of a project.