How a teleprompter works

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How a teleprompter works

A traditional camera mounted teleprompter or autocue allows the presenter to look directly into the camera lens while reading their script, achieving direct eye contact with their audience. This way the audience feels they are being spoken to directly, providing a much greater impact.

How it works

The script is reflected from the monitor or tablet onto specially produced titanium coated glass, known as "beam splitter glass" inside the teleprompter hood. It is essentially a two-way mirror, one side of the glass allows 70% of light to be transmitted through the glass while 30% is reflected off of the glass back to the presenter.

Silhouette courtesy of Freepik

The presenter then sees their script on the glass while the camera sees nothing as only one side of the glass is mirrored. Most beam splitter glass will have a coloured sticker or similar symbol to display the mirrored side. This side of the glass should always be handled with care and seek advice should cleaning be required.

Depending on the setup, once in use, the teleprompter script can be scrolled by the reader via various controllers (foot pedals, Bluetooth hand controls etc.) or by a separate operator using a multitude of methods from a desktop mouse to a sophisticated controller in high-end studio settings. The operator will be on set or in a separate location listening and scrolling the script, keeping pace with the speaker.

The script itself will typically be converted from a Microsoft word (.docx) or Rich text file (.rtf) and imported into teleprompting software on a PC. The software then outputs the script onto the teleprompter monitor and flips the script horizontally so that it displays correctly on the prompter glass. Alternatively tablets and mobile phones can be used as an easier, more portable prompter monitor solution with a wide range of teleprompting apps available. EyePrompt's own DSLR Tablet teleprompter is an example of this.

Teleprompters (or autocues) can come in a multitude of different configurations and set ups, such as free standing, direct read, and manual conference or presidential teleprompters. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to learn more about these types of teleprompters soon!

Thanks for reading.