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Do you ever have trouble remembering your lines?
How about an entire speech or page of statistics?
It can be tough, but there is a smarter way…Use a teleprompter.
Teleprompters are not just for Presidents and News Anchors.
Find out what a one does, how it works, and why you need it on your next shoot.
What is a teleprompter?
A teleprompter is a device that allows a speaker to read from a script whilst maintaining eye contact with the camera and without the camera or audience seeing the visual text, creating a natural delivery.
Created in the 1950’s they were originally handwritten or typed and controlled by a technician.
As technology advanced the introduction of reflective glass meant the text could be reflected off a piece of glass directly in front of the camera lens.
The design and position of the glass prevent the camera or audience from seeing it whilst allowing the speaker to look directly into the camera and hold eye contact.
How does one work?
Modern teleprompters use software that allows the creation or uploading of a script.
This is then output as a video to the monitor which is reflected through the glass in the traditional way.
The direction and speed can be set using the software or controlled by a technician or the speaker themselves.
With the release of tablets and the iPad, teleprompting software has evolved further and has been simplified to run the script from an app and projected straight from the device.
This can be mounted beneath the teleprompter glass in place of the teleprompter monitor. The iPad/tablet can also be mounted above the lens for straight reading.
Models like the Prompt-it Maxi from Australian brand Prompt-it require no tools, can be set up on any tripod, and is compatible with most tablets and iPad models. The Maxi Teleprompter provides a 33 ft reading range and its portrait orientation allows for reduced left/right eye movement. This professional piece of equipment includes a sun hood, cleaning kit, and carry case and costs under £200
Why use a teleprompter?
Take a look at this video to see exactly why you should use a teleprompter.
As you can see we had real trouble remembering our lines without the prompt.
This means more takes, more editing, more time and this leads to higher costs.
A teleprompter makes you come across professional and natural without having to remember an entire speech.
- If you have a lot of text to read out or some very technical information or statistics that is not easy to memorise then a teleprompter can really help.
It will prevent you from stumbling or getting lost which reduces the number of takes and if recording live reduces the chance of making a mistake in front of an audience.
By making fewer mistakes you reduce the number of takes, this speeds up the shoot and edit, which saves you money.
When not to use one
Budget is always a factor when filming and a prompter might not be at the top of your list. Luckily with the cheaper iPad options, it may not cost as much as you think.
Another consideration is your environment, if you are recording an information video or tutorial in your studio then it will not affect the atmosphere but if you were presenting a TED talk as the leader in your industry or to a small intimate audience, then a teleprompter might not be appropriate.
Do you need one?
With the advances in technology and availability of iPad solutions, using a teleprompter is easier and more economical than ever. They speed up your production and editing time and can save you money. If the budget allows then a teleprompter is definitely recommended.