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Old September 2nd, 2004, 04:38 PM   #1
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Teleprompter Advice

Has anyone used the ProPrompter? Either version?

http://www.proprompter.com/

I'm sick of doing the "hold a sheet of printed out paper above the camera" act with my clients. It's tedious, always has problems, and looks unprofessional. The same goes for using a laptop with PowerPoint and holding it up next to a camera.

I was curious if the Pro Prompter really had a large enough display that people could actually read off of it comfortably.

These guys also have what looks to be a decent teleprompter, but one of the models got a bad review in DV magazine....

http://www.prompterpeople.com/

Thanks for the advice,
Ted

PS- Please don't issue advice back that you would just use your laptop with PowerPoint- I just told you I hate that. I have enough money to invest in this so don't come back with skimpy alternatives either, thanks.
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Old September 2nd, 2004, 09:36 PM   #2
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Now that you've told us what you want to hear...

The pocket pc teleprompters are not very useful.

You really need something with a 14" or larger screen.

Today, a prompter with a LCD is the way to go if you can afford it.

I like (and purchased) a free-standing prompter where the camera lens peaks in the back through a black cloth. It does require two supports, one for the prompter and one for the camera but unless you are moving the camera a lot, it works well.

What I didn't have to do was dedicate a setup to the prompter as is necessary where the tripod carries the entire rig.

The advantage of a LCD screen driven from a computer is that you can avoid the scan converter that some manufacturers like to impose on their users. VGA to Video to a composite monitor isn't pleasant to set up.

There are setups that will hold your laptop in a position to be viewed through the prompter. What I've heard is that they aren't very satisfactory.

The most important issue in my mind is the software. Much of it is just plain poorly done. Make certain you demo the software before you buy. It really becomes the most important point once you are up and running. Be especially careful of those packages that don't accept standard computer files as source documents.

Last item. It is good to get a remote control for the prompter software so your talent can speed up or slow down the display. Reading from a prompter requires experience to not scan the screen with the eyes. Adding a too slow or fast roll to the text will create havoc.
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 12:00 AM   #3
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Get a real teleprompter, one with the flat screen monitor if you can afford it. Even though it may cost more, it will be lighter in weight and you won't have to have a bigger tripod. I use our teleprompter with a DSR500 on an O'Connor 50, which is rated at 50 pounds. So it's marginal, but the legs are sturdy enough and the head holds it OK, so it's not a problem. An LCD screen would probably knock 20 pounds of weight off when you add in the counterweights. The bracket and monitor probably weigh about 20 pounds or more in addition. If you can't afford a heavy enough tripod, you'd have to go with a free standing setup, but that would eliminate the ability to pan or tilt if necessary (and it is more than one would think).

I can't remember the software we use, but it's good and easy to use. We installed it on a Sony Vaio laptop. I think the software was only about $700 or so.

That Pocket PC prompter looks cool, but from what I could learn about it, it's designed for being in very close and for the talent to control it himself. There's no real way for an operator to run it. It would be very handy for TV news people doing hand held things up close to the reporter, etc. I see they now have an LCD screen model, and that would be much more useable. However, the screen doesn't look all that big. We have a monitor that's about a 12" viewing area, and I consider that the minimum size.
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 01:35 AM   #4
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Thanks guys,

That is what I wanted to hear. the ProPrompter LCD version has a 7" screen, which I thought would be too small. I like your answers that you liked the 14" and 12" screens as minimum sizes.

Can you tell me which brands you bought or where you got them from? Also, the software from ProPrompter was only $100 and works with PC and Mac OS X. I plan to demo that before purchasing it- looks pretty nice, and is remote operational as well.

Ted
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 11:17 AM   #5
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I don't remember the brand and I won't be back to the college until next Tuesday.

Bill is correct about the embedded vs the stand-alone prompter. I would have used either a Vinten pedestal or a Hercules tripod (which can almost hold a car) if I had gone embedded.
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Old September 3rd, 2004, 11:38 AM   #6
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Take a look at prompterpeople.com. They have some nicely made units at affordable prices.
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Old December 18th, 2004, 11:07 AM   #7
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A couple of days ago a fellow named Brian Lawler posted instructions on building your own teleprompter.

It seems limited, but for the carpentry-inclined would be a pretty quick solution. The talent controls the speed of text presentation, and the text changes a page at a time (instead of scrolling), so you may still see some eyeline shift.

Michael

ps: I've posted this on the most recent, not the most specific, thread on teleprompters.
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