The slate is just a slide that identifies the clip. There's sometimes a countdown that ends at 2. When there's a countdown you usually put an audio pop or beep at the two second mark. Then there's black, then the spot fades in at 0. That beep is called a 2 Pop.
Slates may also be proceeded by color bars.
You must follow the specifications exactly or the video will be rejected.
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You are quite correct in suggesting that, "if I just put some text on layers with AE on a black background", I would suggest a white background, it doesn't really matter, however, the white will differentiate more considering that they want 7 secs of black after the "slate" or "details about the spot".
Forget about the "clap". Just make sure that your audio levels are correct.
As well as the information they are requesting ie Title, Client and Duration you could also include other information like Frame Rate, Interlaced or Progressive, Producer.
It is generally formatted simply like:
Title: Man Bites Dog
Client: Whimpering Dog
Frame Rate: 29.97
I would suggest the "slate" should be 10 sec in duration, so the file you send them will consist of 10sec of "slate" followed by 7 sec of black, followed by "The spot" (the part that goes to air, followed by 7 sec of black.
Hope this helps.
Rick and Racer_300m - - -
Thanks both for the speedy and solid responses. I will certainly follow all advise. (I guess I have to find a "2 Pop").
Comcast isn't requesting a countdown, just 7 seconds of black. I mentioned the countdown because some broadcasters do require one with the 2 Pop. Some require bars and tone. You just must follow the guidelines. Your audio and video levels also have a spec that must be followed. It's usually supplied in a white paper from the broadcaster.