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The Importance of Using a Teleprompter

A teleprompter , often known as an autocue or a prompter Autocue is a device that allows a speaker to read out a script while maintaining an eye contact with his audience. Since the speaker doesn’t have to glance down to look up notes in a notebook the speaker appears as if they have taken notes of the message, or to be speaking naturally.

Teleprompters were traditionally employed in two different situations – by TV presenters who need to stare straight into the camera while they read the script as well as by presidents, politicians , and public speakers who wish to to maintain the natural gaze contact with audiences, rather than just looking to their notepads. In recent years the use of teleprompters has expanded to include any scripted production including powerpoint presentations, video bloggers and even actors performing on stage in order to keep track of their lines.

The basic principles of a teleprompter hasn’t changed since the time they were invented in the 1950s, then patent-pending and licensed by two entrepreneurs during the 50s: Autocue and QTV in the UK and QTV in the US frequently called the first Prompter People. The principle behind it is the fact that text projected on a screen that is positioned under a piece of reflective glass, also known as beamsplitter. The glass is translucent in one direction, which allows the camera to shoot straight across the back of it or appear to be invisible to the audience. It is reflective on the otherside, to let the person reading the script be able to see reflections of the text. The image has to be reversed on the monitor to ensure that, when it’s reflected back by the glass that it’s to be the correct way for an audience member to be able to understand.

Before the advent of computers, scripts were handwritten or typed onto sheets of paper. Paper was moved through a teleprompter crew in the supervision of a tiny CCTV type camera which transmitted the screen to the teleprompter’s display. Teleprompter monitors, as TV monitors of the days before, were massive and heavy.

Nowadays, the script is uploaded electronically the computer that runs special teleprompter software , such as Autocue’s QMaster/QBox QPro or QStart programs. The computer then creates an output video of the script, and then sends it through Composite video SDI and VGA to the monitor for the teleprompter. For more advanced devices, the PC transmits the script via IP to a different scrolling device known as the QBox which creates the video output for the display. This means that you are able to transmit and control your script from a PC located in New York, over the internet or to a teleprompter found in Tokyo!

It is the speed of speech and its direction that are or is managed by an administrator, or the presenter. The operator listens carefully to the presenter in order to ensure that they are speaking exactly the same pace as the presenter speaks and not force on the person speaking to follow a particular speed. The presenter can also scroll on their own using the use of a hand-held remote or foot pedal.

In general, each teleprompter within the television studio will show the same script. All presenters will see the same information on each camera. But, now there’s the possibility for each presenter to manage their own teleprompter independently which means they can move through a different part of the script while another presenter is on air.

Since the past few years, thanks to the advent of the iPad and other tablets, iPad teleprompters have become very popular as inexpensive portable prompters. The script is downloaded or typed in to a teleprompting program on the iPad like iAutocue The iPad is then placed under the glass teleprompter in lieu of the display. Since the script already appears displayed on the teleprompter screen and is therefore not required for a separate computer or laptop, and the teleprompting software, and all of it is stored inside the iPad itself. If you are shooting on location or with a simple piece of camera, this drastically simplifies the use and cost of the equipment. This makes it highly convenient and cost-effective for video bloggers and schools.