Spotlight Audio 4/2021
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    It couldn’t be a more basic piece of technology — two sticks joined together with a hinge. However, the clapperboard has allowed pictures and audio to work together since the beginning of the age of sound films. Find out more about this wonderfully simple deviceVorrichtungdevice now.

    This device is used in filming to mark the beginning and end of a shotEinstellungshot. Australian film producer F. W. Thring (1882–1936) is said to have invented the clapperboard. It was certainly in use in the era of silent filmStummfilmsilent films in the early 20th century.

    Originally a wood and slateSchieferslate construction, today’s clapperboard is made of white acrylic — like a whiteboard — or is a digital device. Many still have the hingedklappbar, scharnierthinged sticks at the top. As filming begins, the second assistant camera holds the board in front of the camera and drops the top stick to make a clapping sound.

    The information on the board includes the date, the number of the film roll or digital media card, the production name or number, the name of the director, the scene number, the name of the cameraman and the takehier: Aufnahmetake number. When a feature filmSpielfilmfeature film is being made, the sound and images are created separately. The information on the clapperboard and the sound of the top stick being dropped make it possible to synchronize the sounds and images when the film is edited.

    In 1972, director Sydney Pollack filmed the singer Aretha Franklin recording a live album at a church in Los Angeles. He did not use a clapperboard during the two days of filming, which made it impos­sible to coordinate around 2,000 pieces of film with the soundtrack. In 2007, the producer Alan Elliott bought the footageFilmmaterialfootage and — after a long edit — was finally able to synchronize it with the sound to create the film Amazing Grace. It was released worldwide in 2019.

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