Video: Clapper Board

This week’s project isn’t complicated. It isn’t even that exciting. It is, however, an example of using woodworking to solve problems, which is why I started doing it in the first place.

As someone just starting out on YouTube, I’m using equipment I already have on hand. Beginners rarely have a need for pro-level equipment, and I can’t afford the good stuff right now anyway, so the point is moot. But that means I have to work around the limitations of that cheap equipment.

One of those limitations is audio quality. Most cameras have terrible built-in microphones. You can buy better ones, but they’re expensive. A lapel mic is cheap, but you’re either tethered to the camera (bad and also dangerous) or you need to buy a wireless kit (expensive). So I record audio separately using a little voice recorder gizmo, then synchronize audio and video in post-production. The easiest way to synch is to add a cue or marker — some sort of signal to tell you that a specific point in the audio and video go together. Up until now, I had been using a hand clap, as you can see at the beginning of this video.

The clapboard is made from a single piece of 1/2″ shop grade birch plywood. Using the table saw, I cut a bridle joint, then used the bandsaw to carve away the waste and round the pieces. A little hand sanding improves the fit and a 3/8″ dowel serves as the hinge pin. I keep my dowels in an old gum container because it’s easy to grab and I don’t like throwing things away.

Let me know what you think, and work safe!