Video productions use teleprompters to provide presenters with an easy way to read their scripts while maintaining eye contact with the audience. Unlike cue cards, teleprompters are positioned strategically so that the presenter won’t have to glance away from the camera, making them an invaluable device for almost any production.
Teleprompters make it easier for presenters to deliver their lines perfectly. When there’s just too much material to memorize and not enough time to memorize them, which is usually the case with certain types of productions, having a teleprompter helps minimize errors or embarrassing mishaps.
If you’re looking to invest in a good teleprompter for your own video productions, there is a wide range of teleprompters that are currently available on the market. Once you’ve purchased your own, you can maximize its use in shoots with these helpful tips.
10 Teleprompter Tips for Video Shoots
17Set up your teleprompter properly
Just like the rest of your audio and video equipment, you’ll have to set up your teleprompter properly before the shoot. Find the most optimum position by setting up the rest of your equipment—the lights, speakers, and background set, for example—first before marking where the presenter will stand (or sit). Also, make sure to choose a tripod that can hold the combined weight of your camera and teleprompter. If this is not possible, you may need to use a separate tripod for each device.
Ensuring good sightline is also imperative. Once you have the presenter on set, have them stand in front of the camera so you can adjust the height of the teleprompter to make it parallel to their eyes.
Lastly, once you’ve set everything up, don’t forget to check if your teleprompter is working by doing a quick test run. After all, you don’t want your shoot to be interrupted (or ruined) because of a broken teleprompter.
16Use a script that’s easy to understand
Since your teleprompter can only display a few words or lines on the screen, your script should be clear and concise. Keep sentences short and simple, and use synonyms for certain words. You can even use abbreviations. And most of all, put an emphasis on key information by bolding or underlining certain words. It would also help to add punctuations like commas or dashes to indicate areas where a pause is required.
15Have your presenter rehearse their lines
Give them a copy of your prepared script and practice with them. Observe their pronunciation, delivery, and intonation—this can help you ensure that they deliver it correctly once the camera starts rolling. If they’re having trouble memorizing or remember the script, encourage them to use the “chunking” method, which is a learning strategy that involves breaking up an entire mass of information into smaller “chunks” to make the entire thing easier to process. They’ll be able to remember the script better when it’s grouped into smaller, more manageable units of information.
14Instruct your presenter to minimize eye movement
Maintaining eye contact with the camera technically won’t be a problem when using teleprompters. However, since the presenter will be reading from the screen, there’s a tendency for them to look “shifty” as their eyes travel back and forth (or up and down) across the screen while reading. To avoid this, instruct them to avoid excessive eye movements by reading and understanding an entire sentence before reading it out loud, as opposed to reading the script word for word as it appears on the screen.
13Limit your body movements
It’s most likely that your speaker will constantly be moving their eyes and body while they deliver the script from the teleprompter. While it’s normal for people to do certain gestures and movements while speaking, it’s important that they don’t do it too much. Any video content that involves the use of a teleprompter usually has a more serious tone, so being excessively animated can distract the audience (or even the speaker themselves) from what is actually being said.
At the same time, however, you want your presenter to act natural and relaxed to ensure the best possible outcome. Give them the freedom to do so, but make sure to remind them to keep the movements to a minimum—no walking around, no excessive arm movements or gestures, and no exaggerated head movements.
12Set a convenient pace for your presenter
Most teleprompters allow you to adjust the scrolling speed, which is convenient considering that speech pace usually varies from person to person. The scrolling speed should always be customized to meet the presenter’s individual pace, as this will make them more comfortable and ensure fewer mistakes.
Make sure that they deliver their lines at just the right pace. Before the shoot, let your presenter practice with the teleprompter operator. This will help them determine the appropriate scrolling speed that will allow the presenter to comfortably read and deliver their lines.
11Adjust the font size
Needless to say, you’re going to want to make it as easy as possible for your presenter to read and deliver their lines. After all, the success of your production depends on it. Apart from adjusting the scrolling speed, you will also have to adjust your font size to one that suits the needs of your presenter. Clearly, a bigger font size will make it easier for your speaker to see what they’re reading on the screen, but they may also prefer a slightly smaller font so that more words can fit into the frame, which will enable them to see more of what’s coming up.
10Monitor your audio
Don’t forget to ensure good audio quality. As with any production, it’s best to fix any audio issues before the shoot begins. However, it’s still important to continuously monitor your audio with dedicated earphones or headphones to enable you to detect problems as they occur.
Your audience might be mesmerized by your video’s visuals, but if they can’t hear what your actor (or speaker) is saying or if the audio quality is poor, they’ll either get frustrated or lose interest in your video content.
9Make the atmosphere comfortable
This is not only for your presenter but for your crew members as well. Even if you’re shooting with a teleprompter, you may still encounter certain issues in the process. If your speaker gets nervous before they face the camera, give them positive encouragement. Play some music, do some warm-up exercises, or do anything that’ll bring up everyone’s energy levels all throughout the shoot.
It can even be as simple as ensuring proper temperature in the room (neither too hot nor too cold) so that everyone can feel comfortable.
8Always have extra copies of your script
Obviously, you want to make sure to purchase a high-quality teleprompter that is both durable and reliable to ensure that no issues will occur. But then again, you never know when you might run into a problem with any kind of technology, particularly when shooting on location in unpredictable environments, so make sure to print out hard copies of the script. Print more than enough copies for everyone involved, as this will serve as your safety net in case you are unable to use your teleprompter.
What are the best Android apps for teleprompters?
Many of today’s video production crews use more budget-friendly alternatives for their shooting equipment, especially when creating video blogs (or vlogs). As with professional productions where there’s a need to address the audience directly through the camera lens, vlogging mainly involves talking to viewers for long periods of time and can definitely benefit from having a teleprompter-type of device that can assist them in delivering their script and following through with their predetermined topic flow when recording.
Fortunately, there are several applications that can turn your Android device into a makeshift teleprompter. Simply download them onto your smartphone or tablet, and you can enjoy the convenience of having your own inexpensive teleprompter.
Simple Teleprompter is a free app that gives you the option to customize it according to your needs. It lets you type your script directly on it, import text from .txt files, save, revise, and delete old scripts. To increase its efficiency, it also allows you to modify the text scrolling speed, the font, and colors, as well as utilize features like auto-start, mirroring, and screen orientation locking.
BIGVU is a real-time teleprompter assistant that allows for easy recall of necessary content, names and surnames of people, and anything else that you may need to remember while recording. You can create your onscreen script, complete with the text and title, by tapping on the “Script” button. Once you’re done, just tap the check mark, and your script will be ready for you when you are.
Bonus: If you’re shooting on a green screen, you can use BIGVU’s virtual studio feature to change the background. It is also downloadable on your Apple devices, including your iPod touch!
This easy-to-use application also helps turn your mobile device into a professional teleprompter. Parrot Teleprompter has a wide variety of functions that will help you recall your lines and deliver them smoothly. These include the following:
- Scrolling speed modification
- Landscape and mirrored orientations
- A variety of text sizes
- Opacity and foreground/background color modification
- Unlimited script creation
- Direct script writing and revision
Oratory functions as a widget that you can use along with apps such as Facebook Messenger. With its responsive and user-friendly performance, the widget is helpful for creating composed presentations while you’re doing live videos. Oratory lets you:
- Adjust the widget size and screen position (left or right side of the screen)
- Change your script’s font size and scrolling speed
- Pick a widget color
- Modify the background clarity
The only downside to this app, however, is that you get ads in the free version. But if you choose to download the premium version, you lose the ads and will be able to have more customization options for the text and background, as well as the ability to swipe between multiple scripts while you’re recording.
3Teleprompter Pro Lite
Available for both Android and iOS devices, Teleprompter Pro Lite is packed with features that are closely similar to that of professional teleprompters. Some of these include an importing option for scripts, its mirrored and full-screen modes, changes in font size and brightness level, background customization, and modification of scrolling speed.
The app’s premium version also has an option for adding an infinite number of scripts or text. Presentations, speeches, news anchors, film directors, performers, business experts, or other forms of public speaking—whatever it is or whoever it’s for, Teleprompter Pro Lite can serve as a great assistant.