FORUMS: list search recent posts

teleprompter recommendation

COW Forums : Corporate Video

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Bob Cole
teleprompter recommendation
on Dec 15, 2008 at 8:01:59 pm

I've resisted buying a teleprompter because I value the services of a trained operator. But I have a few clients who could benefit from a teleprompter but can't afford "the works" -- meaning, the professional operator with his/her professional gear.

I'm having a hard time figuring out which prompters work best. I've searched these forums, but found very little on the topic.

How big should the screen be? What features should I be looking for? Is there such a thing as a portable prompter which works well? Which features could I afford to skimp on, if I confine the shooting to about 12' distant, indoors?

I'd be pairing this with a Sony Z1 HDV camera for now; I have a Sachtler 18 which could handle the camera and a medium-sized prompter.

Thanks gents and ladies.

Bob C



Return to posts index


Mark Suszko
Re: teleprompter recommendation
on Dec 15, 2008 at 8:35:58 pm

How large?
As big as you can afford, so that you can work from further distances. I'm about to build one 42 inches wide for a special application.

This size thing may be the number one issue. Any prompter is useable at eight to 10 feet. Now, say your talent is nearsighted, but the shot requires a long throw of 20 feet to the lens. With a smaller monitor, what you end up having to do is make the text larger on the screen.

This is a trap however, because with fewer but larger words on the screen, you have to scroll much faster, and sentences are no longer completely visible but seen only as fragments. This definitely makes clear and smooth reading harder for non-profesional presenters, if you don't want to sound like you're reading.

We read by decoding the overall shapes of words and sentences. When you give inexperienced people text that's all caps, you break up the familar shape of the word, and they fall back to decoding each letter first, then stitching the word together, before they can say it. The dif fern ce is a few mic roseconds to a se cond, but you can de fini tely sen se it as a view er. Like that last sentence.

The same applies to reading whole sentences or paragraphs: the subconscious is already decoding the complete line by shape alone, before the conscious has caught up to it, and the brain is already figuring where to put emphasis, pauses, breaths, etc. based on experience. So a bigger screen lets you put up more text at one time and scroll it much slower, and this is what you want for best results at any distance.

LCD based units are the norm now, but if weight and being compact are not a huge issue, like in a permanent setup in a studio, CRT's are still OK and may be cheaper. CRT's with a standard composite-in also allow you to add on repeater monitors anywhere you can throw a simple BNC cable and splitter. With some LCD-based units, you'd need a VGA Adapter cable, or scan converter to do the same thing. Whether or not this is a huge issue for you depends on your specific usage situation. LCD based units are harder to read outdoors over a CRT, for example, and generally cost more. If you move around a lot though, it is hard to deny LCD for their low weight and compact travel size.

Also, don't believe anybody that says a monitor next to the lens or above it or below it is "good enough". You can always tell the difference by viewing, and a real beamsplitting mirror with a lens behind it is the only way to go.

For prompting software on the PC side, I love DRS-Digitrax, they have a couple at various price points and they work great on almost any machine you throw at them.


Return to posts index

Bill Davis
Re: teleprompter recommendation
on Dec 16, 2008 at 5:26:35 am

Personally, I use a Prompter People Universal 17.

Runs around 1500.00.

Yes, you can certainly make your own. But the point of purchasing commercially developed tools is that all the R&D is done for you. When I took delivery I was pleased that not only was the prompter rig well-built - but there were a lot of extras like the milled aluminum blocks that easily allow you to adapt smaller cameras to be positioned correctly.

Plus the software has been under constant development. That's valuable. For instance, when I first started using the system, you needed to invest in an expensive VGA reverser so that the prompter operator at the laptop and the talent could BOTH see the correctly oriented text simultaneously. Today, the software does the split/reverse without any adaptor.

I also realized that since my larger clients were quite prepared to pay between $250 and $300 for a typical prompter rental - the cost of the unit represented only 7-8 rentals (thinking pre-tax dollars) before it would have paid for itself.

It's done that probably a dozen times over since I bought it.

So personally I think it's a great investment if you have the practice to support it.

My 2 cents.





Return to posts index


James Dow
Re: teleprompter recommendation
on Apr 29, 2009 at 2:07:53 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Also, don't believe anybody that says a monitor next to the lens or above it or below it is "good enough". You can always tell the difference by viewing, and a real beamsplitting mirror with a lens behind it is the only way to go."

Yes, but there are times when it is "good enough."

If you don't need your "talent" to be looking directly into the lens, then a LCD monitor positioned where an interviewer would be standing and some cheap prompter software to scroll a word document can do the trick. There are lots of situations where I don't want a "news anchor" straight on read. If your on-camera subject has something prepared, or just can't remember their lines, this approach works much better than cue-cards, and isn't very expensive to implement. If you need to have your subject looking straight into the lens, then I would agree with Mark.

Now, if you still need to rent a teleprompter please call my friend Mark.



JPD


Return to posts index

Gary Elley
Re: teleprompter recommendation
on May 13, 2009 at 10:25:40 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Also, don't believe anybody that says a monitor next to the lens or above it or below it is "good enough". You can always tell the difference by viewing, and a real beamsplitting mirror with a lens behind it is the only way to go."

I too own the Universal model (15") from PrompterPeople and can throughly recommend it. However if your budget doesn't stretch that far, but you still want to follow Mark's advice and look down the camera barrel, then you might like to read the DIY solution instructions at http://www.promptdog.com/downloads/diy_teleprompter.zip

Hope this helps.

Gary



Return to posts index

Daniel Pennington
Re: teleprompter recommendation
on Dec 6, 2009 at 7:04:42 pm

I built my own DYI prompter and I'm very happy with the effect. I bought a 97 dollar piece of beam splitter glass from SEETHROUGHMIRRORS.com. I've positioned a monitor flat with the glass angled at a 45 degrees above it. The results are awesome. Now I'm trying to figure out how to quickly and efficiently flip powerpoint slides so you can read them properly.

If budget is an issue...make your own. It works great.


Return to posts index


Mark Suszko
Re: teleprompter recommendation
on Dec 6, 2009 at 7:12:29 pm

If you have photoshop, you can easily create and save a batch action that will flip the slides for you. The down side is you first must have Powerpoint export the slides as image files like jpeg into a single folder. Open photoshop, select the right folder, run the batch action, which will just take a minute, then your folder is full of pre-flipped slides. You then create a new blank powerpoint presentation and import each pre-flipped graphic as a single page to itself. Now you are ready to go, unless they want to change a slide now,.....

I am doing this for a special prompter I had made, but just until the new scan converter arrives; it will do the horizontal flip for me for any VGA input, so no prep work on the slides will be needed after that. I think it wound up being around $250.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]