The shot had to start really close on the food buffet, and then pull out for the action of scene.
Sure we could start with the camera on wide angle, use the clapboard, and then reset the camera for that extreme close-up beginning… but all that takes precious film-rolling-thru-the-camera time.
Sure we could tail-slate – using the clapboard upsidedown at the end of the scene; however, if not well-practised, tail slates can be forgotten, providing an editing nightmare… or the camera can be in just as an inaccessible position at the end of the scene as it was at the beginning.
I like what our camera department did… using one of those touristy clapboard keychains, and very small writing – the keychain clapboard was just the right size to fill the frame of the extreme closeup. We saved precious film stock, we got a good “clap” (proportionally that is!), we got the shot.
Who’dve thought those touristy things you buy (like keychains) could actually be used on real film set!