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Old June 13th, 2011, 05:54 AM   #1
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Teleprompters

Does anyone have recent experience of teleprompters, specifically the cheap ones utilising iPad? I checked through the archive but there is nothing after 2009.

My question is this: how is the image quality when using these devices? Are there advantages to renting in a 'proper ' unit or do the iPad based devices work OK (for a small scale, simple project)?

Thanks,

Nick.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 07:17 AM   #2
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Re: Teleprompters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Wilcox-Brown View Post
Does anyone have recent experience of teleprompters, specifically the cheap ones utilising iPad? I checked through the archive but there is nothing after 2009.

My question is this: how is the image quality when using these devices? Are there advantages to renting in a 'proper ' unit or do the iPad based devices work OK (for a small scale, simple project)?

Thanks,

Nick.
I just use my laptop with EasyPrompter - The free, web-based, plugin-free, browser independent, online and offline teleprompter and auto-cue software

You can adjust the font size and the scroll speed.

John
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Old June 13th, 2011, 07:57 AM   #3
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Re: Teleprompters

I have to say that is the most horrible bit of prompter software I've seen! Why would you want a web based prompter - Surely, you need one that has an edit screen, and then full screen prompt only output? Or have I got it wrong. The aim is to have the biggest text possible on your screen, not a window?


Is there some feature that lets this happen?
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Old June 13th, 2011, 09:43 AM   #4
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Re: Teleprompters

We are using ProPrompter 4.x made by Lenox Softworks, Inc.
ProPrompter

PropPrompter has all the essential features mentioned above and works on both Mac and Windows. In our application, we use a laptop driving a second 23 inch LCD screen VESA mounted on a light stand. Field portable with adjustable height, simple, reasonably priced and effective for what we do.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 09:54 AM   #5
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Re: Teleprompters

A few years back I bought an inexpensive prompter program called PROMPT! from movieclip.biz - ready made video
Though I'll normally hire a prompter person (with gear) when I know I'll need a prompter, having something on my laptop has been incredibly helpful on numerous occasions, particularly when someone comes in with a complicated sound bite and can't seem to get it straight. (If they can't get through the first sentence in their first 10 tries, that's a pretty clear indication that they need help.) I usually prop the laptop just below the camera lens and control the prompter software using a mouse. It's a whole lot better than when someone comes in with a pile of cue cards, which typically result in a lot of extraneous eye movement and noise switching pages.
Though Prompt! is a little clunky on the editing side, I've been very happy with it, and considering its cost keeping it on the laptop has been a no-brainer.
Personally I'd avoid anything that doesn't give you speed control using a mouse or external keypad, since you really want to be able to control it from several feet away.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 10:27 AM   #6
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Re: Teleprompters

I've been looking at iPad prompters as well, both software and hardware.

On the software side I'm looking for something that will allow me to program in the number of seconds rather than a simple speed setting. Sometimes I need precise reads. Ironically Telestream Videocue allows me to do that but there's no iPad equivalent.

I've counted 26 Teleprompter apps in the App Store for iPads and most don't have lite versions to try or have anything that sounds like a speed in seconds control.

On the hardware side I see:
LCD4Video (the cheapest it seems)
ProPrompter (also has iPad app)
PrompterPeople
TelMaxTeleprompters (used to be called Cheapprompter)
iKan
AutoCue (seems to be one of the more expensive)
Datavision iPrompter
Q-Gear

But short of seeing them all at trade shows, there's no way to really know which have good build quality and ease of setup.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 02:31 PM   #7
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Re: Teleprompters

Thanks for all the feedback. I think Craig's comment makes a lot of sense: "But short of seeing them all at trade shows, there's no way to really know which have good build quality and ease of setup."

Taking a pragmatic approach (as I am trying to get upto speed with the new EX3), I'm going to try working with Prompt! and ProPrompter on the laptop for this moment. I will re-visit the iPad versions when I have a little more time (and a client with budget!)
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Old June 13th, 2011, 05:16 PM   #8
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Re: Teleprompters

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Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
I have to say that is the most horrible bit of prompter software I've seen! Why would you want a web based prompter - Surely, you need one that has an edit screen, and then full screen prompt only output? Or have I got it wrong. The aim is to have the biggest text possible on your screen, not a window?


Is there some feature that lets this happen?
It's not web based. You had to follow the link to the portable version. It's an applet you download.

EasyPrompter - Portable Offline Version: the best free OFFLINE teleprompter.

I have an older version from when it was in Beta.

John
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Old June 14th, 2011, 09:38 AM   #9
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Re: Teleprompters

The route we took, admittedly some years ago, was to buy one of Autocue's genuine CRT units which they were replacing with flat screens. With a bit of ingenuity and a 13" screen we converted ours to a flat screen operation.

The software was mac-based and the owner threw in an old Mac laptop with the software loaded.

The only thing we didn't do was to buy the camera mount. It was intended for a Betacam-sp camera like the BVW507 and needed a much stronger tripod than those we use now. Instead we bought a freestanding former snare drum stand which works excellently.

In my view none of the systems works as well as those with a half-silvered screen.
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Old June 14th, 2011, 10:19 AM   #10
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Re: Teleprompters

Can you ever get acceptable results with the subject reading from cards (close to the lens) compared to a prompter? I think a test is in order. Maybe it's been done and someone has a link?
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Old June 14th, 2011, 11:04 AM   #11
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Re: Teleprompters

Keith there are many reports but, like comparisons between one brand of video camera and another, or DSLR v Video camera, they're invariably coloured by the experience, view and opinion of the writer.

The test is, anyway, largely academic since the effectiveness of any prompting system is affected in a major way by the skill of the user.

I'm sure we've all seen examples of "wooden" presenters on TV using "proper" (on-axis) Autocue; equally I'm sure there'll be examples of skilled presenters using side by side or above the lens (off-axis) systems which look really professional.

In my opinion the only definitive thing that can be said about the systems is that it's likely that more people with less practice will look natural using an on-axis system than will appear natural using an off-axis system.

Last edited by Philip Howells; June 15th, 2011 at 12:49 AM.
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Old June 14th, 2011, 11:34 AM   #12
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Re: Teleprompters

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Originally Posted by Keith Dobie View Post
Can you ever get acceptable results with the subject reading from cards (close to the lens) compared to a prompter? I think a test is in order. Maybe it's been done and someone has a link?
I guess it depends what you mean by acceptable.
If you need to be dead-on into the lens, then you need to be shooting through glass and using a prompter.
That said, I have one client who has non-actors doing little stand-ups in remote exterior terrains (no amenities such as power or roads nearby), usually hand-held. It may be a bit of a walk to get to the location, so we need to go light. After failed initial attempts to get the talent to memorize what they needed to say, we took to taping their lines to a french flag (just above the lens) and to the bottom for the lens shade (for below the lens.) Though the eyelines aren't dead-on, they are acceptable. We've done this a number of times, and print with 14pt narrow text and minimal line spacing, no more than about 5" wide.
Obviously there's no scrolling going on, so the quantity of the text for each take is limited.
If I try to do cue cards and someone moving them, I will most likely not get what I would call an acceptable eyeline.
One additional note -- it works a lot better if the talent has excellent vision -- and the camera can be further away while keeping the text small. It's all a matter of geometry -- if ALL the text is VERY close to the lens, then you get away with it nicely if the camera is far enough from the subject that the difference in sightline is only a degree or two. Bring the camera closer, or let the text mover a few inches further from the lens, and the sightline is less acceptable.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 05:17 PM   #13
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Re: Teleprompters

Thanks for all the input on this. I just found this thread that has been helpful and maybe useful to others?

iPad teleprompter
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Old June 15th, 2011, 06:15 PM   #14
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Re: Teleprompters

With most modern prompters, you'll be able to let the talent or an assistant vary the speed of the roll by letting him adjust the little wheel on the mouse. The roll will speed up or slow down, depending on which direction he rolls the control. For heads and shoulders shots, we usually let the talent control his own speed.
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Old June 15th, 2011, 06:29 PM   #15
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Re: Teleprompters

If you have matte box rails on your camera I can recommend the Pad Prompter as the on camera unit. For software I have been using Teleprompt+

This has been a great lightweight set up that works. Although you can use an iPhone to control the Teleprompt+ on the iPad, I've found that using the Apple bluetooth keyboard a better option - and it's much easier to edit or type in scripts.
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