The Clapper Loader works within the Camera Department. They are usually the 2nd AC (Second Assistant Camera), which means they report to the 1st AC (First Assistant Camera). In larger film shoots, the Clapper Loader is the 3rd AC.
Their Head of Department (HOD) is the Director of Photography. The Clapper Loader works closely with the Script Supervisor, First Assistant Director, and Sound Recordist to ensure the correct information is on the Clapper (otherwise known as the Slate).
For every take, the Clapper Loader slates the shot. They make sure the information on the slate is correct:
– what scene, shot, take we are shooting;
– whether it is day or night, synched sound or MOS;
– the camera settings: e.g. what lens, f-stop, ISO, and White Balance the camera operator is using;
– the sound file number
They place the clapper in front of the camera so it is in focus when the Camera Operator presses record. The information on the slate is recorded by the Script Supervisor and DIT. A good clapper loader makes life easier for the Editor, which makes Postproduction much smoother.
This is a good introductory position for the camera department. But it is hard work to stay on top of the information. You need to have a key eye for detail, be hardworking and quick.