Skip to main content

What does a clapper do?

This week on DeliBytes, Ali shows us what does a clapper do?

Check out the video above or on YouTube and if you like it, share it! We also summarised the tips below, so have a read if you don’t have time to watch.

No doubt you have seen one of these fun little film-making icons called a clapper board used on video production before but a lot of people don’t actually know what they’re for.

A clapper board isn’t just for show it’s actually a central for syncing audio to video in situations where the audio has been recorded separate from the camera that sound files that have been taped through an external recorder like the Zoom H4N which is what we use here at The Deli.

The clapper comes into play as the audio and visual signpost guide for sound and video syncing the crew member in charge of it all is the clapper loader he usually works closely with the continuity crew to enter and index the video audio data for the editor to have a reference when they eventually have to match up the separate files together so the clapper loader would make sure that before each take the clapper has all the relevant information listed on it.

The take number, the shot the scene and anything else that would visually be labeled for sorting shots in post-production. When cameras and sound roll the clapper loader then positions the clapper so that it’s clear in the frame and then vocally calls out the labeled information for the audio.

Once both camera and sound crew confirmed that they’ve recorded the visual and auditory cue this is where the all-important clap comes in. The clap is the syncing point in both video and audio files it then becomes the editors job to use that point in the video where the clapper flap hits the board to match up with the sound of the clap itself.

Now obviously not everyone has a clapper board of their disposal and you’ll find that these days there are also a number of programs or tools in editing software that can actually automatically match and sync sound using audio waveforms but it doesn’t really matter what you’re using to sync sound as long as there’s a clear point with a sharp hitting noise in the beginning or end of a take even if it’s just a clap of the hands it can effectively be used to sync audio with this basic technique.

So let us know if you have any questions or if there’s anything you’d like us to cover about the aspects of video production or the video strategy either in the comments below or you can check
out our website.