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Benefits of Teleprompters

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A teleprompter , often known as an autocue or a prompter Autocue is a tool that allows a speaker to read a script and maintain an eye contact with his audience. Since the speaker doesn’t have to turn his or her back to read notes on paper the speaker appears to be able to recall the words, or to be speaking naturally.

Teleprompters are typically employed in two different situations – by TV presenters who wish to direct their eyes directly at the camera while reading the script or by politicians, presidents and public speakers who wish to to maintain an gaze contact with audiences, rather than just looking to their notepads. In recent years the use of teleprompters has expanded to encompass any scripted video production including powerpoint presentations, video bloggers and even actors performing on stage to make sure they keep track of their lines.

The fundamental mechanics of a teleprompter are the same since the time they were invented by a patent and later licensed by two businessmen in the early 1950s: Autocue and QTV in the UK and QTV in the US which is often 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 be able to shoot straight through the back, or to appear invisibly to the audience. It is reflective on the otherside, to let the person reading the script observe the reflection of text. The image needs to be reversed on the monitor to ensure that, when it is reflected by the glass it is visible to be the correct way for viewers to see.

Before the advent of computers, scripts were handwritten or typed onto sheets of paper. Paper was read by a teleprompter user under an extremely small CCTV type camera which transmitted the images of the script to the teleprompter’s monitor. Teleprompter monitors, as TV monitors of the days before, were massive and heavy.

Nowadays, the script is electronically entered to a computer running specific teleprompter software like Autocue’s QMaster/QBox QPro or QStart programs. The computer generates an output video of the script, and then sends it over Composite video SDI and VGA to the monitor for the teleprompter. With more advanced systems, the computer sends the script via IP to a different scrolling device, called 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 and to a teleprompter found in Tokyo!

In the direction and speed, the script are or is operated by an operator, or the presenter. The teleprompter crew is able to listen to the presenter in order to ensure that they speak the same pace the presenter speaks instead of forcing on the person speaking to follow a specific speed. Or, the presenter could scroll by themselves using the use of a hand-held remote or foot pedal.

The majority of teleprompters in TV studios will display the same script. All presenters will see exactly the same information on each camera. But, now there’s the ability for each presenter’s teleprompter to be controlled by their own teleprompter independently which means they can move forward to a different section of the script while another presenter is on air.

In recent times, due to the introduction of the iPad as well as other tablet devices, iPad teleprompters have become very popular as inexpensive portable prompters. The script is downloaded or typed into to a teleprompting program on the iPad such as iAutocue and the iPad is then positioned on top of the teleprompter glass instead of the display. Since the script is already in the teleprompter’s monitor it is not necessary to purchase a separate computer or laptop with the teleprompting software, and all of it is stored inside the iPad itself. When filming on location, or with a simple piece of camera, this drastically minimizes the size and complexity that equipment requires, which makes it highly accessible and affordable for students and video bloggers.