TRIBE7 SLATE– a modern clapperboard that pays homage to the past

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Tribe7, the company responsible for the BLACKWING7 large format lenses has a new camera SLATE available.

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SLATE is a compact programmable 7.5″ clapperboard with a 800 x 480 resolution black & white E-Paper screen that has a 1.66 aspect ratio (other SLATE sizes are in development). It also has black & white sticks and it comes with a carry pouch. SLATE is quite unique as it was designed to be a reusable, digitally reconfigurable clapperboard that requires no charging or external power to operate.

The whole concept behind SLATE was to blend old technology with new technology. By doing this you can pay homage to honor the traditional process of ‘Slating a take’ with sticks that clap and being able to physically write on it, with the added benefit of enhancing the flexibility and ease of use by utilizing E-paper display technology.

I like this concept of blending old with new, as sometimes we forget about some of the older techniques that made filmmaking such an organic process. In saying that, if you are going to do that, the product still needs to be functional and worth using in the modern-day world. It would have been nice if there was some way of getting timecode displayed through an app on the SLATE as well, but then that would have also dramatically increased the price.

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SLATE was designed for a lifetime of use, both on and off set. It is manufactured out of tough ABS polymer with a hard-coated anti-glare screen. It is self-powered so no batteries, USB charging, or power cables are required. As it is self-powered it is always on standby, ready for programming. An internal Lithium battery supports programming for >7 years with typical use.

You can also attach black & white or color-accurate labels to allow your SLATE sticks to be modified to suit your application needs.

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SLATE is 1.9cm deep / 0.75″ and it weighs just 290g / 0.64lb. It has an operating temperature 0°C to +50°C.

How do you program the SLATE?

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All you need to do is install the BLACKSLATE7 iOS app on your smartphone (an Android app is in development and should be available soon).

You then select a pre-loaded clapperboard template from the app and transfer it to SLATE using your phone’s built-in near-field communication (NFC) interface. This is the same technology used for contactless payments.

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You also have the ability to create and select any custom clapperboard image or photo from your phone’s image library, then upload, scale, and format it in the app to achieve the look you want.

How do you use the SLATE?

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You need to physically write your scene, take and camera settings directly on SLATE with a dry-wipe marker pen. You can then wipe off and re-apply to make a change, just like a traditional clapperboard. Even erasable liquid chalk markers can be used for a more retro look. SLATE was designed for environmentally-friendly cleaning. Only water and a microfibre cloth are needed to return your SLATE to its original condition.

You only need to re-program your SLATE template when changing production, location, or application.

Who is Tribe7?

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Tribe7 was founded as a collaboration between Artist and Academy Award nominated cinematographer Bradford Young, ASC & Neil Fanthom, Former Strategy & Technology Executive at ARRI.

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The BLACKWING7 large format lenses are available in a choice of 3 looks:

S: Medium Focus Roll-Off, Medium Flare
T: Heavy Focus Roll-Off, Medium Flare
X: Heaviest Focus Roll-Off, High Flare

How much is the SLATE?

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The SLATE retails for $277 USD. It is available to order, however, currently, it is out of stock.

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Replacement black & white stick labels, screen printed in an ultra-matt finish, and calibrated color target quality stick labels, screen printed in an ultra-matt finish are available as optional extras for $11 USD each.

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