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Old February 1st, 2013, 11:44 AM   #1
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Prompter -- Questions and options

Hi all,

I will be making a newscast type of shooting in a few weeks ans I am wondering, first of all where to put the prompter? Above or below the lens?

As for the prompter itself, which is best. The real McCoy, a tablet with an app or plain ol' words on a cardboard.

Thanks
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Old February 1st, 2013, 12:35 PM   #2
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

Phil, depending on the importance of the shoot, you may want to consider renting a prompter, that way the speakers eyes and focus will be in the proper place.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 12:56 PM   #3
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

Make one...not that difficult

Proprompter software is good... ProPrompter ...run on a laptop and reflect onto glass through which you shoot...
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Old February 1st, 2013, 01:01 PM   #4
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

Using a real teleprompter with half silvered glass is the best of all options because you are shooting 'through' the glass and the eyes are looking right in to the lens. They can be had pretty cheap if you look around.

We currently use Prompt Dog as our prompter software. It's not that expensive.

If there are times we can't use the real prompter we have a small 7" monitor we place directly below the lens. As long as the talent always looks directly at the screen and never looks up at the lens it's pretty hard to tell they weren't looking at the camera, unless they are so close the angles become more acute. If that's the case, you really need a shoot through prompter.

Of to the side is not as good.

Above the lens is harder to mount and still be centred.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 01:30 PM   #5
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

Anyone know where I can get some beam-splitting glass for a home made prompter??
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Old February 1st, 2013, 02:10 PM   #6
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

After having owned a "real" teleprompter, I can tell you there is no substitute. Make sure the talent is a good 10 feet or more from the camera. The closer they are the more you will see their eyes move. If you absolutely can't get a real in-front-of-the-lens teleprompter then put it below the lens and have the talent as far away as possible. Think of David Letterman reading cue cards - he's at least 20 feet away and the cards are held below the camera lens.

I've used free prompter software and expensive prompter software, but the best I found for my needs was Teleprompt+ for the iPad. Only $9.99, but you need a VGA adapter for the iPad (again, about $10.)

Peter - a simple Google search brought up dozens of sources for beam spitter glass.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 02:12 PM   #7
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

PromptDog, looks AWESOME, thanks Dave!

I know that building it's own might seems easy but for a guy like me, who do not possess an engineering mind at all, an out-of-box solution is preferable.

Thanks all
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Old February 1st, 2013, 02:20 PM   #8
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

Just found this

http://www.amazon.com/iPad-Teleprompter-R810-5-Splitter-Glass/dp/B005GAKDYM
Quick a dirt cheap alternative
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Old February 1st, 2013, 05:11 PM   #9
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

Phil, who's going to read it?

If they're new at this, it's vitally important you keep them in the loop and get practise reading it with a good operator .. days even weeks
in advance of the shoot. It's not easy, and with a new system, distances, lights and scrolling speed all come into it.

Cheers.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 11:53 AM   #10
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Renton Maclachlan View Post
Make one...not that difficult

Proprompter software is good... ProPrompter ...run on a laptop and reflect onto glass through which you shoot...
Second that! I made one with ordinary window glass on a bracket. Plain glass reflects enough for the talent to read. I covered the surrounding area with a big piece of black velvet. The laptop with Proprompter was laying flat on the ground, reflecting up to the glass. Scroll speed was controlled by blue tooth wireless mouse wheel, which the talent had in his hand offscreen.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 12:51 PM   #11
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

The thinnest window glass you can get is necessary, otherwise you get a double image...one from each face of the glass...I know! With thin glass the double image is hardly detectable.

Also...I moved away from using my laptop to using an LCD computer screen as the laptop fan would come on 20 secs out of every minute and it it was only about 1.5m from the microphones! No point going to all this trouble to have fan noise in your audio! I still run it from my laptop but proprompter pro can run two screens, so I put the laptop into a sound deadened box further away, and control it via a wireless mouse. As I don't use the laptop anymore, the hinged flap shown on the plan is also redundant.

I've attached a pic of the plans I made it to, only I've changed the legs to vertical and cut slots for the leg screws rather than holes, so that the box can more easily be raised or lowered... and have locked the bottom of the legs on a sheet of mdf so it can be easily slid around on the carpet of my studio.

Clearly the teleprompter is not easily portable!!
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 01:11 PM   #12
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

the problem with most portables solution is the size of screen.
You need to count on the fact that many people need glasses to read and don't want to wear glasses for a shot if not needed.
so forget about small screen (iphones) , got for 10" 4/3 ratio screen (16/9 is not tall enough and by favorizing text being larger than tall, it will also generates more eye movements.)
Tablets have a great form factor, providing screen, power, cpu , all integrated, but it is difficult to find a great software for them.
You need image flipping and mirroring , speed control (usually by another remote device), easy editing (i have never seen a pre-written speech not edited at last minute on the fly).

I finally made my own with a cheap ebay VGA LCD screen (with flip/mirror feature), a wireless usb VGA adapter ( iogear) and a laptop.
the screen is mounted horizontally under the lens and reflects into a 40/60 acrylic glass.
the text is controlled from a laptop, so you can get an operator for the cam, one for the text and both can freely move. for the software, dogprompter is ok, or you can even get rid of laptop and use an iphone and a vga cable if you need to do all by yourself.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 02:06 PM   #13
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

Depending on how long this is to be you might want to have your talent practice occasionally glancing away from the screen to either their left or right. I have watched one talk show a number of times and for the monolog portions the talent was staring directly into the camera for a good 10-15 minutes or more. That gets just a little "weird" as you get the feeling the talent is staring right at you. It was unnatural to have someone looking "directly at you" for that period of time. But obviously he didn't know the scrip at all, so hence had to read it line for line.

Good luck with your project !!!
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 04:24 PM   #14
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

There's another way to do it. A few years ago there was a pro lady presenter in Sydney who specialised in travel and corporate video programs
shot on location.

Before the shoot, she'd get the script and record it onto a small recorder, in her style at her presentation speed. She takes this recorder on the shoot
and plays it, through an earpiece hidden behind her hair. She learnt to deliver her presentation to camera, keeping a few seconds behind the playback.

She even learned how to cope with last minute script changes. She could record on location and also took very technical jobs with difficult pronounciations.

The first time I saw her do this, I was amazed how good she was, attractive, relaxed, informative, clever and rich!
She was making an absolute fortune, raking it in!

Doesn't sound like this fits in this situation but it's something to think about for a presenter in a big market.

Cheers.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 10:17 AM   #15
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Re: Prompter -- Questions and options

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
Phil, who's going to read it?

If they're new at this, it's vitally important you keep them in the loop and get practise reading it with a good operator .. days even weeks
in advance of the shoot. It's not easy, and with a new system, distances, lights and scrolling speed all come into it.

Cheers.
This is the most important post here. No matter what you use for the prompter it is not easy to do well. If the talent has never done it they usually assume it is easy and don't put the advance time into learning the material as they should. If it is a cold read it will show.

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