SL DigiSlate

SL Digislate main screenshot

SL Digislate main screen

I wrote this app at the request of someone using my other app, “On the Level 3″. I know that there are several film slate applications available on the Apple App Store, but it looked like no one has written one for the Android Market. I looked at what the app store versions had to offer and set out to craft my own version with an eye towards a person using this in an actual film production. I made sure that this app would be just as functional and easy to use as a real slate.  If you are looking for instructions on how to use SL DigiSlate, go here.

Please note: This app is specifically designed for use by film and television camera assistants. If you don’t understand what the different settings are, please do not ask me to explain them to you. There is plenty of information on the internet.

Important: An app like this is a constant work in progress. As you think of features or additions, please let me know so I can try to incorporate them.

I hope that as people use this app, they will let me know what features they would like me to include in future updates.

By popular demand I’ve added a shot logging feature! This took a lot longer to implement than I originally thought it would. Again, I wanted to keep it as simple and functional as I can. You can scroll both horzontally and vertically through the list (a pain in the butt process from a UI programming perspective!), edit individual shots in the list, backup and restore your information, and email your shot log.

Someone had asked me to add a feature where the timecode display would continue running even after the clapper is closed. This option can be found in the SETTINGS MENU.

I also added support for tablets, so I’m really interested in hearing how this works for everyone.

I also noted that one of the apps in the App Store had a color bars setting. This is something that I would have loved to include, but due to the fact that this app can run on a variety of phones and devices, all with unique and differing displays, it didn’t seem practical. In fact using color bars from a phone would most likely result in strange color shifts when your project is color corrected using those color bars as a reference.

As always, I look forward to your comments and suggestions.
Best,
Stephen Lebed
Visual Effects Supervisor/Developer
Mechnology

Version History:
v2.7 – Fixed graphical glitches for the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Dell Streak.
v2.6 – Optimized graphics
v2.5 - Added multi choices for the clapper sound.  Media volume is automatically set to full volume when app is running and is restored to previous volume on exiting app.
Added option to invert slate colors for dark shooting situations.
Added production title and current date to subject line in email.
Added auto increment to take number when clapper is reset.
Added a 5 second countdown timer before the clapper is triggered.

Thanks to everyone who sent me suggestion for this release!

v2.1 – Added louder clapper sound file.
v2.0 – Added shot logging, support for Android tablets like the Dell Streak, and the ability to have the clock continue running when the clapper is down.
v1.2 – Added Series label option to Take.
v1.1 – Added reset buttons for Roll, Scene, and Take (Thanks for the suggestion Freddie!)
v1.0 – Initial release
IMPORTANT NEWS!!!  You can now purchase SL DigiSlate through PayPal!  If you live in a part of the world where the Android Market isn’t available, you now have a new way to get this app.  Just send your payment of $9.99 to srlebed@gmail.com at Paypal, and I’ll email the app directly.  I hope this will make it easier for all the people who have been asking to buy this app around the world.

26 comments

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  1. blake scott says:

    Just updated program and now it does not work

    1. Stephen Lebed says:

      Hi Blake, I could use a little more info. Does it not startup? Does it start up and just die after a few seconds? Does it die when you go to the list or prefs? What device and os are you running it on?

      Thanks,
      Stephen

  2. Kevan O'Brien says:

    Any chance of getting 24fps ltc out on the headphone connector so as to sync to a field recorder?
    I know an iPhone app does but I wish to keep with my Android.

    Great application though!

  3. Lowe Runo says:

    Just downloaded the Slate App. So far so good. I was wondering, can the volume on the clapper be made any louder? I see you revised it once in v2.1

    1. Stephen Lebed says:

      Hi Lowe. I’ve made the sound samples I’m using as loud as possible without clipping. Unfortunately the sound is coming out of the built in speaker of the phone which is limited to begin with. The latest version of the app forces the volume to its maximum level and restores it to its previous level when you exit the app.

  4. Benjamin Zimbric says:

    I would second the request for the timecode coming out of the headphone jack as to facilitate syncing with other devices. This would make this an awesomely powerful production tool and end my flirting with the nauseating Ipad crowd and their overpriced device. You would definitely get my $9.99. Nice price by the way.

  5. oleg says:

    can you jam to apcoming tc from microphone input ?

    1. Stephen Lebed says:

      This is a function that I’m trying to add, but its tricky without the proper equipment at my disposal.

  6. Benjamin Zimbric says:

    I would be more than happy to help test if you need someone. I have access to equipment you can try to sync to.

  7. Stephen Lebed says:

    Hi Ben,

    I don’t suppose you live in the Los Angeles area? That would make your offer very appealing.

    1. olegf says:

      without ability to jam the gadget not really worth allot .
      would be even nicer if you will bee able to jam multiply slates after one was jamed tru bluetooth

      in La you have Coffey sound and Lsc who deal with a production audio and i guess hundreds of businesses to loan DENECKE or AMBIENT time code generators .
      if not , you just can record tc from any tc output to your computer and play it back for your reference
      if you need any help with equip , try post on jWSOUND .NET , I guess you will get allot of replies and local California help .
      sorry but im on the other side of the pond
      best
      Oleg Kaizerman
      sound mixer
      Israel

    2. Bob Dreebin says:

      Big hello… you are on the right path, but the program MUST be able to accept a time code jam from any number of time code generators… Denecke in S. Calif. should be able to help you…. You need to get the Time code into the phone device somehow, some way or it is simply arbitrary time code. The whole idea is to use the slate to sync sound recorded on another recorder with the image being shot…. The code must come from the recorder or from the camera, to a jammed recorder, to a slate… they must all be the same… I never go the camera to sound route, but some due… our recording gear is really stable time code wise… and we can and do control it. I am not sure that the phone would hold accurate code for too long though…. Normal slates hold for many many hours…

      You really need to use either the data plug USB MINI or the headphone plug somehow to get the time code in to the phone or Ipad… then we can load OUR time code into it… otherwise it is simply an arbitrary set of rolling numbers. Close, but not usable by editors.

      I am LA based work wise if you need further assistance, but you should really contact time code specialists… can’t see how Denecke would want to help business wise, takes a chunk out of their business…

      1. Stephen Lebed says:

        Hi Bob,

        Thanks for the words of encouragement. I agree with you about trying to get TC working in the slate. I’m happy to say that I was loaned a couple of TC generators and readers from my friend Robert over at 24Frame.com , so now I can work on getting a TC module up and running. It’s still going to take a bit of work because we have to make sure it works on all the devices that android runs on, not a simple task for one guy.

  8. Benjamin Zimbric says:

    Sorry would love to help but I’m in NYC. I may have a friend or two out in LA. I’ll check.

  9. Benjamin Zimbric says:

    Just ordered my android phone. Any progress on the tc output on the headphone jack? What do you need to help you on your way? I really wish I had your skill at programming.

  10. Hal Davey says:

    Stephen;
    I now have my EXOPC Win7 slate and it is a beauty.
    (http://www.exopc.com/en/exopc-slate.php)
    It is the leading edge of the Win 7 tablet market, and has been picked up by Microsoft to sell in their stores. The EXOPC is being sold in several countries under different names (ciara Vibe, etc)
    An app like SL DigiSlate to run on them under Win 7 would be much appreciated.
    Cheers,
    Hal Davey

  11. Juan Carlos Llaurado says:

    Thanks for such a great app.
    I´m having some troubles with the app getting stuck if i don´t close it by using the exit button.
    If by chance i press the back or the home button on my HTC Magic, Android 2.1, the app seems to remain running in the background but i can´t start it up again unless i force quit its process.
    Is it possible to add a reminder to avoid this happening without user confirmation?

  12. Chris says:

    Great effort but it is limited by not being able to jam to or from.
    This feature would turn it from ok to a great app.

  13. Paul V. says:

    Hi Steve,

    Nice job on the app.

    I have a suggestion that may be useful – Since the clapper’s original design was for purely mechanical purposes, a digital slate does not need the mechanism. What do you think about putting color bars where the top clapper is and a grey scale for the bottom and have the screen go completely blank (white or red) for a frame or two (leaving the time code window showing) in sync with the beep? I think that it would make it a lot easier for us to use on a phone since it would much easier to see in post.

    I agree it would be cool to jam via Bluetooth, but thats is in the wish basket already….FYI it is running fine on the Motorola Atrix…

    Cheers, Paul

    1. Stephen Lebed says:

      Great to hear that its running fine on the Atrix! I’m hesitant about adding colors bar because every devices screen is a different color temperature, and there isn’t a standard way to calibrate them. I’ll look into creating a mode where the whole screen changes in some way to help make it easier to read from a smaller display.

  14. Tom says:

    Are there any new updates coming down the pipe? Focus charts might be nice. I have some high res ones via laptop but having it in your app would be so much nicer.

    1. Stephen Lebed says:

      I’m planning on rewriting the slate and the level app to make them more efficient and extensible. I like the idea of adding a focus chart. I’m not sure how that would work since the slate itself would be a good to focus on itself, but I’ll see what I can do.

  15. Robert Miles says:

    Hi Stephen. There seems to be a lot of interest in a very simple ‘sync’ device known in the trade as a ‘Bloop Box’. All this does is flash a light (or screen) with an associated audio ‘click’. Would be very handy on those sep sound shoots working with DSLR’s.

    1. Stephen Lebed says:

      That sound like a good idea. Let me look into that.

  16. jts says:

    description aobout the upcomming scene
    would be greate, which continues an each takes. for expl:

    murder in forest // scene 24 // take 1 // good
    murder in forest // scene 24 // take 2 // bad
    murder in forest // scene 24 // take 3 // bad
    murder in forest // scene 24 // take 4 // good

    police office, wrong call // scene 22 // take 1 // bad
    police office, wrong call // scene 22 // take 2 // good

    (in shot list)

    then you can prepare scenes before shoting, and when goes shoting you just pick up the right scene from the list and go shoting tekes.
    and export shot list to xml.

    and take photo of curent scene for the makeup artist, wich added in shot list near the scene.

  17. Francisco says:

    You are probably aware of this, but if not, enjoy: http://x42.github.io/libltc/

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