What is a teleprompter
A teleprompter, also known as a prompter or an autocue is a piece of equipment that allows a person to read a script to camera while maintaining eye contact with the viewer, giving a more personal experience for the viewer - as if the presenter is speaking directly to them and gives the impression the presenter has memorised their speech or are speaking from the heart.
Most commonly seen are on-camera teleprompters, these are used in televisions studios and the like so that the presenter can look directly into the camera lens while reading the script.
Another common teleprompter often seen used by presidents and politicians are conference teleprompters, these devices consist of a monitor laid on the ground and a piece of reflective glass on positioned on a stand above, reflecting the script to the speaker while they look out at their audience, removing the need to look down at notes and disconnect from the audience.
Teleprompters of today have much wider usage and function, such as iPad teleprompters or iPhone teleprompters for location shoots or news reports, free standing teleprompters for stage shows such as a music concert or comedy gigs, interrotron devices for interviews and many more.
The principle of how a teleprompter works is simple and unchanged to this day, an on-camera teleprompter is positioned onto the lens with a piece of reflective glass facing the presenter. The camera can then shoot through the glass clearly, while the presenter sees the script on the reflective side of the glass.
To understand more about how a teleprompter works, please read our blog entry here: How a teleprompter works.
The original teleprompters in the 1950's and for many years after used hand written or scripts typed on a typewriter and manually fed under a smaller camera by a teleprompter operator, which fed the image to the teleprompter monitor itself. They were also far more impractical and expensive due to their size and far less portable than those of today. Teleprompters were almost always only rented for decades due to the expertise required to operate and maintain them.
Prompting has come a long way. Today, with the advent of technology, anyone can afford and use a teleprompter via multiple means to achieve a professional level production. Teleprompter scripts are now entered into software on a computer or an iPad app with various speed controls, text formatting options and so on. A lot of the apps for tablet teleprompters offer self-shooting functions in the corner of the screen, allowing you to give a presentation with video and also your own small talent feedback monitor.
Whether your production is a simple YouTube video or a speech to an international convention, a teleprompter will provide you with the means to get your message across pitch perfectly.