We’ve gone from cardboard cue cards to mobile teleprompter app in just a few years.
Traditionally a teleprompter was a way for newsreaders and presenters to not have to learn the script. Starting with the old fashioned Cue Cards – words written on card and held under a camera –
The teleprompter was developed as an electronic version, scrolling text so the presenter could read the script whilst looking straight down the lens of the camera and still engaging the audience.
Working in the television industry for many years I’ve developed a lot of respect for presenters. It’s the epitome of multi tasking. You have to read this, walk here, talk to them, read this again, and change to this other camera whilst all the time keeping the viewers at home from turning over to your competitors. So learning a complex script is something that if they can avoid they would. Of course this depends on the content and the presenter, I’ve seen Peter Snow and Jeremy Vine do long set pieces to camera with only a few guides.
There is no substitute for knowing your stuff. Learning your script off by heart means you can focus on the performance and the delivery. Apparently Anthony Hopkins reads his script over 250 times. He says that in that time he develops the character and starts to hear the voice and the context in his head which enables a better performance and delivery.
I’ve worked in many TV studios where the presenter is struggling and stumbling as they read the script parrot fashion from the words on the Teleprompter. If they know their stuff, take the prompter away and they fly. Some people like the prompter there just for safety, as a reminder or to just prompt them on the key points.. Some people have a few postcards kept close by with the salient points. A great idea is to use the Derren Brown Mnemonics system, but that takes a while to learn.
Teleprompters of the future
Today we have so many different electronic devices that can help us we might as well use them. Today we don’t have the time to learn the script for the 5 videos we have to record just this morning. Today we are using video extensively for marketing, for fun, for promotions and for education.
We decided to make a Teleprompter app for iPhone and iPad that will help you to make better videos. We knew that it would be no replacement for the “in studio Teleprompter”. That expensive device has to be fitted to an expensive camera and usually has a separate operator to adjust the speed as you go.
We thought we would take what we’ve learned and add it to our teleprompter app. It can’t match the capabilities of the expensive TV land prompter. For a start there is no way for you to read and look straight down the camera lens because the devices lens is to the side of the screen. However, you can use this app anywhere! On an iPhone or an iPad. In the field when you are going to do a quick blog or need to do a promotional video it’s a perfect tool to import your script and start recording.
Eyeline is important
When engaging the audience always look straight down the lens. If you keep looking away it can look a bit odd. Especially if the camera is close up.
Our app can also be rotated to suit your dominant eye, the text can be adjusted to suit your size and speed and it can be used to read directly or act as a prompt for stuff you almost know. We think the automatic pause feature will allow you to catch your breath and/or stop those rambling aimless videos that can sometimes happen.
So learn your stuff or lean on the technology – either way the only thing that matters is that you create engaging, quality content.