Cinema and Television


When shooting a movie, images and sound must be recorded separately. The image is recorded on film by the camera, and the sound is recorded on an analog tape recorder or, as is more recently done, on a digital tape such as DAT tape. Because they are recorded on two different devices, you need a suitable way to synchronize them. The best way to synchronize these two aspects is through a clapperboard, also known as a black and white board which is the most traditional way to achieve and manage synchronization.

What is a clapperboard?

The clapperboard is an instrument that is used in the cinema that is made of a double plate, the first one and a quarter of a size the second one, which are joined through a hinge, and which are generally made of wood, acrylic or some other rigid material.


A very simple definition of what the clapperboard means is to say that it is a board in which each shot of a film must be recorded, and then identify its parts when mounting the images with sound. It is a tool that allows us to make a proper synchronization of the image taken in a camera with its respective audio.

Also exist in the market, the electronic clapboards that are those that have like added value the characteristic that can be shown through displays the time code to be able to make the edition easier and to be able to synchronize with greater facility the movie from the determined moment of time.

Clapperboard characteristics

The most outstanding characteristics are the following:


Years before the clapperboard that is known today existed, there was already a very similar device with a form of a slate which was placed at the beginning of each film shot in order to be able to see in the foreground the plane and what the shot was about. With the birth of the sound, the “clack” was added to the blackboard. This invention is attributed to the Australian Frank W. Thring, who in the 1920s, when sound began to be used in films, invented a way to facilitate the work of the teams and the direct shooting, inventing the clapperboard.

What is the clapperboard for?

Within the shooting of a film, the clapperboard has several uses, among which we can mention the following:


The clapperboard is of great importance both in cinema and in video and digital cinema because together with the script are responsible for facilitating the search for the right shot. It is also important because it is through it, that each part of the film is recorded, using the sound of the clapperboard to synchronize the movements of the actors with what is said in the film.

How to make a clapperboard

Below we mention a series of steps for you to make a clapperboard:

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Clapperboard. Recovered on 23 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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