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Old October 27th, 2008, 09:06 AM   #1
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Teleprompter Help -- Extended Narration/Indoors/Xh-A1 Camera

Hello,
I am planning on doing some indoor production that will require extended narration. I plan on using a teleprompter, and I think I've picked one out that will serve my needs. Its about 2250, which is in my price range (a bit more than I wanted to spend....but I'm ready to bite the bullet) I just wanted to check with everyone here to see if there was a better product for the same amount of money. I've used this particular teleprompter on a shoot before and like how it worked. Renting isn't really an option because I'm planning on using this in a number of upcoming productions.

It is called the LC-150 MP, and it can be found at the bottom of this page:
Mirror Image - LCD Starter Series

Here is a link to the spec page:
http://www.teleprompters.com/pdfs-2/...%20art%202.pdf

I'm planning on using this teleprompter with a Canon XH-A1 camera. What do you guys think? Do you think this is the best I can buy for my price range? (Under 2500) or do you recommend something else? Any help you guys could give would be great!! :)

-Jordan
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Old October 27th, 2008, 09:35 AM   #2
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Take a peek at the Prompter People website as well. I'm intending to purchase one of theirs early next year.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 09:46 AM   #3
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Thanks for the suggestion Shaun -- Do you think this one compares to the one I listed before?

Teleprompters - Prompter People

or this one?

http://www.prompterpeople.com/proline_11eng.php
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Old October 27th, 2008, 10:11 AM   #4
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I believe you were looking at a 15", correct? In which case, this one:
Teleprompters - Prompter People
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Old October 27th, 2008, 04:45 PM   #5
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We use the Prompter People teleprompter system.

Teleprompters - Prompter People

That setup is very well designed and built tough enough to hammer circus tent stakes in hard ground.

It also adapts to a wide range of cameras.

We use the glass beamsplitter. The image that comes through is clean enough to allow perfect green screen keys.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 08:08 PM   #6
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If you don't need a fully singing and dancing prompter, and can position a screen adjacent to the camera lens rather than over it, I have a suggestion that can save you a bunch of money.

We did everything we needed with a laptop computer and an external mouse. MS word has a facility for smooth, variable speed scrolling so we loaded up the text in a Word doc and had someone adjust the scroll speed with a mouse. If you have an extra LCD monitor laying about you could clone the laptop's display so both the talent and the operator can both have their own direct view of it. I don't remember how the settings were configured on the laptop as it was several years ago, but it can't be too hard to suss it out.

I know it's not what you asked for but it might give you need.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 10:16 PM   #7
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Good suggestion Tripp.

The issue with what Tripp proposes (which is probably good enough for a LOT of productions) is that you don't get that DOWN THE BARREL OF THE LENS delivery that a prompter gives you. You may not notice it in a medium shot or wider but in a Medium-Close Up or tighter, you can see ANY deviation from DOWN THE BARREL.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 11:01 PM   #8
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teleprompter

To get that DOWN THE BARREL OF THE LENS LOOK, I found a free sample of one way plastic online, waited a few days for that to show up and made a simple 4 sided box from foamcore and put the mirror inside it at a 45 degree angle. I then cut a hole in the back to fit my XH-A1 lens hood, which I used as a template to draw the outline of the hole to cut.

I painted the inside flat black with spray paint before I installed the mirror. The lenshood fits snugly into the hole. I used some black tape around the opening. Maybe you won't need that.

I rested the bottom open side (the other open side faces the camera) on top of a 17" lcd monitor which I adjusted to look face up. (pretend your table top is an lcd monitor).

So now I have a free 17" teleprompter than I made from some foam core, spray paint, elmers glue and that free mirror. I could buy a custom sized one way mirror for a few bucks. And you really don't need a one way mirror, a piece of clear plexi or glass will work, although I think one way might work better. I prefer plastic for less weight and more strength.

Compare the cost of my 17" teleprompter with any commercial model of the same size, or even 1/2 that size.

Next I needed the teleprompter software. A quick google finds many versions.

I bought videocue pro, which does more than teleprompting. They even made a modification of the software because I asked them for a particular feature. It costs less than many single teleprompter software solutions.

The main thing is that it works and I had all the parts laying around, so it was free. I connect the monitor to the external monitor jack on my macbook or I-mac, so I have two video displays. Videocue will reverse the image.

I haven't attached it to the camera, other than by using the lens hood. I rest the LCD monitor on something that is around tripod head height. I could set it on a tripod. Maybe I will do that next. Good idea. You can use bigger or smaller monitors, get a great result that works very well and not spend much money doing it.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 02:23 AM   #9
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Just because everyone is (as usual) talking about the MECHANICAL side of this - I thought I'd be my typical self and discuss the aesthetic side of these beasts.

Understand that setting up a teleprompter will typically get you a teleprompter performance.

That's typically a relatively dry presentation. Especially if the performer isn't a prompter pro.

In my experience, it takes a WHOLE lot of talent to use a teleprompter and sound more like a real human being than like the puppet newscasters we're accustomed to seeing on TV.

I own the Presentation Prompter system myself, and take it along on quite a few shoots - then do my best to keep it in the case.

There's a place for prompting. But it's also useful to remember that Johnny Carson and Jay Leno spent a lot of years using CUE CARDS rather than prompting. I think that's because a good presenter with an outline and his or her own words, is typically a lot more interesting than someone trying to read scrolling text into a camera.

YMMV.
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Old October 28th, 2008, 09:48 AM   #10
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I agree that you don't want amateurs trying to read a teleprompter. Better to use an interview technique for that. But if you need a 'prompter for talking heads (the curse of corporate video), the Prompter People is great.
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Old October 31st, 2008, 08:54 PM   #11
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Bill and Bill make a good point. Pros know how to use a prompter. Those that aren't pros or politicians likely have never seen one. Look at the camera and read? Yikes!!

I used to be a meat puppet and will never go on camera again. For what I do, VO is more compelling... Well that, and I'm old and now look like the dog's dinner.

I need a dram now.
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Old October 31st, 2008, 09:28 PM   #12
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I'm with Bill, Bill and Tripp on this subject.

In the right circumstances, a teleprompter or autocue can be a terrific aid - but equally it can produce robotic performances, unless you have someone who is either experienced or a natural in front of the camera.

The key is good communication. Get your talent or interviewees to use their own words...or learn a short outline script.

And keep it conversational - that way the audience can relate to what is being said. Too often scripts are written that cover all the key points - but communicate nothing.

And do you really need extended in-vision narration? If so, you can always cut it up, mixing wide, mid and tight shots.

The benefit of this approach is that your presenter(s) can learn short sections rather than trying to remember great chuncks of text.....and by cutting and varying the shots you'll add pace to the production - and that will help hold the attention of the audience.

That's my 2 cents worth....
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