Teleprompters are the unsung heroes of modern video production. Newscasters, sportscasters, vloggers, and social media influencers use a teleprompter so that they don’t look and sound dumb in front of the camera. Teleprompters are also very valuable for students trying to figure out how to make professional-looking video projects.
Why is a teleprompter so valuable as a video production tool? For one, it helps you, as a speaker, to stay on topic and fluently deliver the lines in front of a camera. Both the portability and low cost of these prompters make them ideal for the budget of any aspiring vlogger or videographer. What’s more, they require little learning curve or effort to begin using.
Are you someone who’s looking to make a video for fun, perhaps in the hopes of striking gold as a social media superstar? Well, we’re not promising anything, but a teleprompter is something that you absolutely need. This article will describe the best teleprompter setup for beginners and some tips on using a teleprompter.
Best Teleprompter Setup for Beginners
Assuming you’re a complete newbie and just starting, you can get away with a complete DIY setup using an iPhone, iPad, or Macbook. There are several ways to do this, and we will talk about each one.
If you’re new to Mac or iOS devices, Pages is the rough equivalent of Microsoft Word. It’s a word processor that lets you create word documents and comes readily bundled with any Apple device.
But if you already knew about this, did you know you can turn your iOS device into a makeshift teleprompter using Pages? Well, if you don’t, here’s how to do it.
- Open your document by using pages on iOS or iPad.
- Find the three-dot icon on the upper right corner of the screen and press it.
- You’ll see a couple of options, but zero in and choose Presenter Mode.
- If you want to change the font settings, just click on the small Aa icon or the big Aa icon.
- Choose and turn on Auto Scroll.
- Upon turning on Auto Scroll, you may choose to adjust the text scroll speed.
- You now have a pretty good stopgap teleprompter!
Using Pages as a teleprompter has its advantages, but it also has its downsides. For example, when practicing, you can’t go back to the text you missed; you must begin the script from the top, taking a lot of valuable time.
To address this issue, the answer might be a third-party solution such as Cue Prompter. The Cue Prompter is a free web-based teleprompter that allows your web browser to function as a teleprompter. It’s so easy to use you can begin right now! Here’s how you do it:
- Open a web browser and type CuePrompter.com.
- As soon as you access the website, you’d see a blank text box where you’re supposed to paste your script. Since this is an online teleprompter, there is no option to upload a text script.
- After pasting the script, Cue Prompter offers you several options below. It includes Prompter Width, Text Size, Screen Size, Colors, and Reverse Mirror. The Reverse Mirror option is only helpful if you project your device into a teleprompter mirror glass.
- When you finish dabbling with the settings, it will take you to a different page. That’s the page where you can control everything that’s going on with the teleprompter.
- You can start by pressing Spacebar. It starts scrolling your text, but if the scrolling speed is too slow, you can tap the controls on the webpage or press the Up Arrow button.
- Unlike Pages, you scroll the script back up to where you’d like it to be, and the audience wouldn’t even know!
Using Teleprompter Apps
Free web-based solutions like CuePrompter are all fine and dandy when filming videos at home, but what if you’re stuck in a location with no Internet or WiFi signal? The answer is a teleprompter app!
A teleprompter app is pretty much like CuePrompter, but it could still function offline. Some have free options, but if you’re a little bit serious about this stuff, go for the paid version and get crazy with it. Some of the best teleprompter apps out there are:
- Teleprompter° (MK App Solutions)
- Teleprompter Pro (Purple Wizard)
- BigVU (BigVU Video Studio)
- Parrot Teleprompter (Padcaster)
- Teleprompter Mirror
- Prompster Pro (Dante Media LLC)
- PromptSmart Pro (PromptSmart)
Best Teleprompter Setup
Unless you’re shooting in a studio with a fancy and professional setup, you should probably be content to shoot most videos at home. Not that there’s something wrong with that. It’s more affordable and comfortable, and you can pretty much stretch the limits of your imagination under familiar surroundings.
What is the best teleprompter setup that you can have in such a scenario? It’s easier than you might think! Let’s say you’ve got your studio ready to go, with lights, a camera, and everything. All you need to do is grab a chair and laptop. The laptop, in this case, is your teleprompter screen. Be sure to stack up the level of the laptop and station it under the camera. This way, your reading looks more natural, and you don’t have to look down as much at the laptop screen.
Of course, there are more permanent teleprompter setups, but if you’re just starting out, the one described above isn’t too bad. You can probably go for better equipment later, such as a laptop stand, tripod, or a professional teleprompter setup from brands such as Glide Gear or Ikan.
Tips on Using a Teleprompter for Beginners
While it’s true that a teleprompter will make your life easier, it won’t do the reading for you. It also won’t make up for a beginner’s lack of experience and skill. If you’re a novice when it comes to using a teleprompter, here are some things you can do to nail your next teleprompter gig.
- Make the Script as Simple as Possible
When using a teleprompter, especially for the first time, you may assume that it’s just as easy as reading a book or text from a screen. Well, it’s not. It always takes some getting used to.
That is why you need to simplify the script by using simple words whenever possible and shortening the paragraphs to two or three sentences. Convoluted sentences and punctuation marks that work on paper (such as colons and semicolons) but not in a screenplay should be avoided. It would also be best to remove formatting because the text, when played on teleprompters, won’t be formatted either. And if possible, only include one idea per sentence and use asterisks instead of bullet points.
- Practice Makes Perfect
Practice is the only way you add up experience hours using a teleprompter. Even in professional video production, there is no substitute for good practice. Practicing out loud allows you to find the rhythm of the words– the ebbs and the flows– so that they come off your mouth naturally. You can also ascertain when to add proper emphasis and enunciation, which are elementary but should always be prioritized.
- Put the Teleprompter at the Right Spot
Finding the optimal spot for the teleprompter is very important. Presenting effectively requires making frequent eye contact with the audience; glancing down at your script interrupts this flow. If you glance down at the teleprompter screen, the connection with the audience may be ruined.
Find the sweet spot where you can glance at the script without looking like you’re breaking eye contact with the camera. For this, have a second crew member sit in as an observer during your rehearsals and provide feedback on whether or not your eye contact was effective. After that, you’ll be able to start making the necessary changes for a hitch-free presentation.
It’s also important to practice using a teleprompter at the same spot where you deliver or record the speech. Doing this will help you fine-tune things such as the optimal font size and colors you’re seeing from your point of view.
- Include Cues
The script should not only include seas of text; cues are also beneficial, especially for beginners. For example, you may include signals like PAUSE, START, END, and many more if you like. The goal is to make the speech or presentation more natural, and knowing these cues should be able to improve that.
- Remember who’s the star of the show
Teleprompters are just tools to make you look good, but you’re the real star of the show. Don’t give the teleprompter more importance than necessary. Just go out there and slay it!
There is no need to fret about the best teleprompter setup if you’re just starting to get your feet wet in video production. You can achieve your goal even while using ordinary things around your house– boxes or books as laptop stands and a comfortable chair for you to sit on. If you can afford the fancy stuff, that’s better, but the point is you don’t need much other than a camera, laptop (smartphone and tablets will also do), and lights to get started.