What is a Teleprompter

TelePrompting or autocue devices the presenter reads from are called head-up displays, because the presenter can maintain eye contact with the audience as they do not need to look down to refer to notes.

Prompting head-up rigged with presenter display

Prompting Head-up on Pedestal with Presenter Display

There are two main areas in which prompting is used.

Firstly in the television studio where the prompting device is rigged to the camera support (on camera head-up).

Secondly in the conference hall where Conference Glass head-ups are usually used. Sometimes we also feed large flat screens which we hide behind Large Screen Honeycomb Hides. These large screen are positioned behind the audience and allow the presenter freedom to move round the stage. The  Large Screen Honeycomb Hides reduce the viewing angle so most of the audience can’t read the screens.

These two main areas have now been joined by many more such as corporate television, web-casting, new car or other types of product launches and  music concerts.

Prompting with Conference Glasses

Conference Glasses

 

The head-up display is fed via a BNC cable from the prompting source, which these days is usually a laptop with prompting software running on it.

 

 

 

Head-up displays are usually fed with composite video so either the laptop should have a composite video output scan converter built into it or the normal VGA signals are fed via an external scan converter.

Thus a simple prompting system is composed of a computer, a scan converter  and at least one head-up device.

Composite video is usually used as you can distribute it further and more easily on BNC cable than using a VGA or HDMI cables.

There is also less risk of signal interference with cameras from composite feeds and studio wall boxes are designed to handle composite feeds.

SDI prompting signals are appearing more often now as studios are generally digital so a VGA to SDI converter will be required in this case.

Tips on Tablet based prompting 

iPad rigged

 

Getting started? – Your first decision is to decide what type of tablet or phone device you wish to use – Apple, Android or Windows as you first need to download a prompting software application. Our rigging will fit all variants of tablets.

 

Select the Prompting Rig most suitable to your needs. The design of our two tablet based systems provides the ability to use either 15mm or 19mm bars or camera plate mountings to rig on pretty much any kind of camera from DSLR and PTZ cameras to Jimmy Jibs and Steadicams to handheld or tripod mounted conventional video and film rigs!

 

 

Tablet and Phone Software options

  • Apple Tablets seem to be the most prolific tools used and we recommend the picoPrompt App which is a £14.99 download from the Apple Store. When combined with Teleprompter Techniques’ i-Scroll and i-Glue devices you have the kind of variable scrolling functionality that you would expect to have on conventional device which means the Presenter is in control of the script rather than vice versa (never a good idea).
  • Android – there are a number of packages available. The one we use is called i-Prompt Pro which is a free download. The limitation is that we are not aware of a good variable scrolling device for Android
  • Windows – once again there are a number of packages available on the web to download but again the limitation is that we are not aware of a good variable scrolling device for Windows

 

Limitations in using tablet systems? Editing scripts changes with dedicated tablet software can be a pain as you have to de-rig the tablet, turn mirror mode off, make the changes, re-mirror and re-rig. Alternatively you can link with a wireless or Bluetooth key board which makes the operation very simple.

 

Using Windigi Software in a tablet workflow. We have a workflow where we can create scripts and stage directions in our software WinDigi which has far more functionality than the tablet based software, save the script to an FTP server, download the script from the server to two tablets running the picoPrompt App and using the i-scroll / glue device run two head ups simultaneously – that is pretty much a traditional style workflow!