How does teleprompter work? Do I need the teleprompter ?

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You may have thought about using a teleprompter if you’ve ever found it difficult to read something on camera while staring into the camera. This generally results in either clumsy attempts to memorize your lines or shifty-eyed glances back to your script. A teleprompter is a tool that allows you to read a script while facing directly into the lens.

Why wouldn’t you want to read something while maintaining eye contact with your audience? It may sound like a dream come true. Nevertheless, using a teleprompter has drawbacks, just like anything else in life. To assist you in determining whether or if a teleprompter might be useful in your personal video production process, let’s discuss them.

A teleprompter: what is it?

A teleprompter consists of two surfaces: a piece of transparent glass placed at a 45-degree angle in front of the camera lens reflects the script so you can read it, and a computer display mounted horizontally that shows the script (usually on an iPad or other small digital display).

The most popular settings for teleprompters to be used are broadcast television news and chat show studios. They’re not only for pros, though; for YouTube and TikTok producers, reading a script while keeping your eyes focused on the camera may save a ton of time in post-production by allowing you to get the necessary footage in fewer takes.

Is a teleprompter needed?

Many factors, including your comfort level in front of the camera and your preferences for the material you read and the delivery style, will determine whether or not you require a teleprompter.

you do not have need of teleprompter if:

If you use a smartphone to record videos, you might not require a teleprompter. You may download several free teleprompter applications for smartphones.

You would rather wing it around a thin outline, or have none at all. If that’s your skill, a teleprompter could just impede you.

You’re okay with jump cuts. That might not be your style, even if other video artists might choose longer shots (and less editing).

Continue reading if you believe a teleprompter might help your video productivity.

Outlines vs. scripts: Benefits and drawbacks

What you decide to display on a teleprompter is the most crucial consideration when determining whether or not to include one into your workflow. Some individuals work better when there are only bullet points and the words are added on the spot. Others do optimally when every word is written down. Ultimately, it all boils down to your level of comfort.

Writing for anything that will be read aloud might differ greatly from writing for something that will be read quietly, and full scripts take a lot more work up front than outlines. The greatest error I see YouTubers making with complete scripts is not accounting for that. What people say on camera frequently comes off as stiff and makes me want to find something else to watch when they don’t write with an ear for how something sounds out loud.

For many of us, the ability to read a screenplay without sounding like we’re reading might be difficult. And with practice, like with any ability, it gets easier.

However, it takes a whole new set of abilities and skills to capture an entire video with just an outline; for some, this is difficult, while for others, it comes effortlessly. It might not be worth the significant additional work to write out a whole screenplay in front of someone who is skilled at ad libbing.

Start modestly if you’ve never read from a script before. Write one down and film a video with your selfie camera using a free teleprompter smartphone software. Try it out for yourself for a low cost, and then determine whether to purchase the gear required to include a full-size teleprompter into your camera setup. To determine if using an outline helps you more, you might want to try it first.

Constructing your teleprompter system

Since recording with a camera like that makes it nearly hard to get close enough to your screen without having to obviously glance to the side and break eye contact with your viewers, the majority of teleprompters are made for professional cameras with large lenses.

However, there are alternatives available to you whether your camera is a simple webcam or a smartphone, and they are often far less expensive. However, the disadvantage of these choices is that you will be gazing down at your camera rather than directly at it. The free video recorder software CapCut for cell phones features an integrated teleprompter function, while the free online app Teleprompter Mirror can scroll over your script without downloading.

You can also use teleprompter devices with a camera or smartphone, but in my opinion, the trouble and cost of changing your eyeline by a few inches is not worth it. A well-liked alternative is the Little Prompter ($150), which you can connect to a separate webcam or use as an extra smartphone camera. It may even be hung over your laptop monitor.

If you do determine that you need a teleprompter—whether or not you have a professional camera—the first thing to consider is how you will show your script. Since the script is mirrored on the teleprompter glass, the person in front of the camera sees a mirror image, a standard text editor is insufficient.

Even while you might be tempted to get a teleprompter and display that are even larger, remember that larger displays require larger eye movements in order to read everything. Your eye movements will most likely be captured on video if you are near the camera. Large teleprompters that can hold a 16-inch screen or more are best suited for broader shots or situations when you need to have many people on screen at a distance from the camera.

Which devices will be needed ?

The $199 Glide Gear TMP 100, which I own and highly recommend, is reasonably priced and robust enough to support an expensive camera. Although the camera mount isn’t vertically adjustable, I still went with it because of its sturdy design, and I upgraded it with an Arca Swiss fast release plate to raise it to a suitable level. I presently have my Fujifilm X-T4 placed around three feet away from my face, with an 18mm focal length. Additionally, I use the teleprompter with my 12mm lens, which has a field of vision comparable to an 18mm lens on a full frame camera. However, I have to make sure the lens is as near to the glass as possible in order for the text to be seen.

How to use a teleprompter?

The Professional’s Guide to Teleprompter Usage Large-scale events and TV studios frequently use teleprompter operators. For the persons on camera, this person prepares the scripts, runs the program, makes necessary text modifications, and manually scrolls the text across the screen while they talk.

However, as the majority of YouTubers are one-person shows, we will be in charge of operating the teleprompter while we record. Your script won’t fit in one view since it’s ideal to use larger font sizes so you can see it at a distance. Instead, you’ll need to scroll the words on the display as you talk. It does need some mental capacity to be able to control the text scroll while speaking.

Final thoughts

Remember that the main reason you should use a teleprompter is to save time. It can wind up taking more time in the end because of the additional setup, scriptwriting, scrolling, and other teleprompter-specific chores. Pay attention to how long it takes you overall, and ask yourself if it really does expedite your manufacturing process.

Even said, a lot of the time-consuming activities might save a significant amount of time later on in post-production editing, which is where most of us wind up squandering time. The more time in post-production the better your recording is.

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