From the very first time I saw an iPad, I thought it would make a great slate. It offered a bright display that could easily be modified for a huge variety of applications, and indeed many different slate apps started to arrive shortly after the iPad was released. The most popular app is simply called Movie-Slate and includes many functions, from detailed camera notes, to music video song syncing, and even timecode jamming.
However, the action of actually clapping the slate was quite limited on these software tools. On set a loud clap is very important for easy syncing in post. So a couple of different companies have released physical slates that can interface with the iPad to improve their performance. iKan’s T-Slate has a very simple design, and works as both a regular slate and an iPad holder. The pad is simply held on with a case and strap. AC Evan Luzi runs a great blog called The Black and Blue, and he has written up a review of the T-Slate, as well as iPad slates in general.
Another option is the MamboFrame, which has a slot for the iPad to slide into. Their design is very slick and solidly built – definitely worth checking out. With options like these, the next time you need a slate, you might be leaving your Expo markers at home.