I have always been very much interested in the behind-the-scenes aspect of film-making; all the gear that goes into a single shoot. As a college student I even had the opportunity to show movies on 35mm film. As a result of all this I wanted to make something that looked like it belonged on a movie set.
One of the most recognizable tools using in film making is the clapperboard, or "film slate" as it is sometimes known. This tool has been around since the beginning of movie-making and is used to synchronize the sound and image during a shoot. Modern slates have a digital display in addition to the scene, take, etc. which is use to display the timecode. My idea was to make a slate that would replace the timecode with the current time of day. I also wanted it to look as realistic as possible and incorporate as many features of an actual film slate as possible.
I started by looking around for existing film slates that are used for the intended purpose. Denecke, Inc. makes a large range of timecode equipment for the movie industry and I decided to base my design around the TS-3, which is their full featured time slate.