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Anyone have experience with prompting.com, also known as electronic script prompting?

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Noam Osband
Anyone have experience with prompting.com, also known as electronic script prompting?
on Jul 19, 2011 at 3:40:56 pm

I'm about to buy a 17" prompter from Electronic Script Prompting. electronic.com

That said, before such a big purchase, I'd love to know if it's a good company to buy from. I've found no review online. Anyone have an experience or opinion to share?


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Mark Suszko
Re: Anyone have experience with prompting.com, also known as electronic script prompting?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:45:55 pm

The downside of prompters with only a VGA connection is that if you want to connect additional monitors as repeaters or whatever, it gets expensive, compared to running some coax off a BNC t-connector. That said, if you never plan on needing that ability, or the ability to put a straight video signal onto the prompter, it may not mean anything to you.

Second, get the pargest prompter head you can practically afford. This increases the range from which the prompting can be read. The tiny and cheap prompter heads are tempting as cost-savers but you soon find that your talent winds up squinting at much more than arm's length from the lens. Sure, you can make the fonts bigger, but that means the words have to scroll faster and you get fewer words on the screen at the same time; both of these dramically affect readability, in terms of being able to sound conversational while readign the script.


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Todd Terry
Re: Anyone have experience with prompting.com, also known as electronic script prompting?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 2:27:24 pm

Eh... I'm going to break with Mark's almost-always excellent advice just a little bit.

Just my own personal taste, but my recommendation is not to get the biggest prompter screen that you can afford, but rather the biggest prompter that you need. And no bigger than that.

It all depends on what your usual usage is. When we use a teleprompter, we find that usually we are fairly close to the talent. Ergo, the quite small prompter that we use is more than adequate. If we used a very big one at close range, you'd get the "shifty eyes" effect as you'd be able to see the talent reading the script.

In our particular city, of the four broadcast television stations that have local newscasts, three of them do it right.... but one of the stations uses prompters that are too big for the camera distance at which they have blocked their shots. You can easily see the talent's eyes scanning back and forth, reading the script.

Real pros who are used to prompters can usually avoid that, they know to read it by looking at an entire line at one time and using peripheral vision. But people are aren't used to prompting, or non-professionals, can get very shifty-eyed if you're not careful.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Anyone have experience with prompting.com, also known as electronic script prompting?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:18:10 pm

The bigger screen allows you to put the camera further back to make it easier to get the background softer thru depth of field control.

If you work the large prompter close-up, it is relatively easy to change the screen framing in the software to concentrate the text more in the center, and eliminate the "eyes shifting" problem. Those yahoos at the station you cited didn't think of that, I reckon.


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Todd Terry
Re: Anyone have experience with prompting.com, also known as electronic script prompting?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:40:29 pm

True and valid points...

I don't worry about trying to increase camera distance in order to control DoF because I usually shoot 35mm format with prime lenses so shallow DoF is not an issue. As for changing the screen framing so you can use a small image in a large prompter, the only issue there would be to make sure one's prompting software will do resizing and re-centering. Ours definitely will not, but it's pretty low-end software.

Our prompter only has about an 8" screen, but I haven't had any troubles with it because of small size. This morning we had a shoot with it, about 10' from the talent (who was also an older gentleman), and he read it fine. I'd probably recommend one a little bigger though for most people... but I wouldn't recommend a really sizable one, except maybe on a full-size studio/pedestal camera that you know has to be read from pretty far distances.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Noam Osband
Re: Anyone have experience with prompting.com, also known as electronic script prompting?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:47:53 pm

I'm planning on using it to conduct interviews, putting my face on the teleprompter so I can have eye contact with the person while they are still looking directly into the camera.

That being the case, I'm inclined to gt a 17" teleprompter so they have as large a face as possible to look at when I'm speaking to them. Although, I do worry about the pain of shlepping around a 17" teleprompter.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Anyone have experience with prompting.com, also known as electronic script prompting?
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:50:05 pm

The LCD ones are easy to schlepp around, most fold up the mirror. The CRT ones are of course heavier, but we use a special flight case with wheels, easy to roll around, so not much of an issue, and the case doubles as a seat or lowtable to run the prompter laptop from once set up.


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