With all of the cool gear out there, some items get overlooked. A piece of gear that can be a necessity for shoots is a teleprompter. There are a lot of teleprompters out there and each of them have their pros and cons. For us, we wanted something light, easy to set up/break down, reliable, and easy to read. Using an iPad would be a plus.
This past week 522 was shooting a large corporation that was putting together an important message for internal members and the public. Presidents, vice presidents and other VIPs don’t always have time to memorize a script. That’s where a teleprompter comes in and cue cards won’t do the trick.
Let’s start with the hardware. The whole rig can’t weigh more than 10 lbs. This will impress those, like myself, that had to haul around a traditional teleprompter that weighed about 50lbs… Oh the intern days. Not only is it light, but it can easily fit into an average size Pelican case. The setup is a breeze. Whether shooting on a DSLR, EX3 or anything in between, it only takes 10-15 minutes to put together and placed up on sticks. The EX3 is the biggest camera we have used, so not sure how much larger you are able to go. The baseplate is Ikan’s and works extremely well. The ability to raise, lower and move side to side gives it a very custom feel. The glass works great and gives an amazing reflection when the iPad’s brightness is set to its maximum level. As far as hardware goes, this thing is rock solid and just flat out works.
Now, for the software. I personally have used the Elite Prompter numerous times and really enjoy it. A few features that stand out to me are the ability to import via dropbox, ability to email modified scripts, and the ease of changing scripts on the fly (we all know this happens). You are given all the usual font options such as size, color, bolding, underlining and the font itself. This is nice when you want your talent to really emphasize certain words. You are able to scroll through the text with a wireless bluetooth keyboard or by setting a speed in the options and letting it roll. I’ve used both and the keyboard is the route I’d go. Furthermore, there is even a feature called “cue points.” This allows you to create chapter markers that you can skip to via keyboard. I put one before every paragraph. This speeds up the process when the talent needs to repeat a certain section. This is amazing and I have yet to see it available anywhere else.
Like any piece of gear, it takes practice to get used to it. Although it is extremely easy to use, I highly recommend you practice setting up, breaking down, and using the software before taking on a client site. Feel free to ask more questions or checkout the video below. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Until the next piece of gear….