TeleScreen-32 Pro PC TelePrompter Software
Teleprompting sessions are generally very intense and usually plagued with good-hearted intentions that may go wrong.  Prompter operator assumptions are a natural trait that sometimes leads to unfortunate session failures.  We truly hope this doesn't happen to you, so let's explore a few common mistakes that have caused real teleprompter sessions to end in a teleprompting disaster. The following are actual situations that have been recorded in our customer logs, many times over.


Software License Issues
After loading the corrected script, the lighting and sound are good, the talent is ready and your producer says "action".  The well-composed talent starts reading the script until the fourth or fifth line scrolls on the talent's screen.

The talent then says, "What is a 'StudioPrompter', that wasn't in my copy?" After a few minutes the teleprompter operator explains to the talent, "I'm not sure what is wrong but we will fix it... wait a few minutes or we'll call you back for a re-shoot."

Solution:
Recently the operators PC's hard drive had to be reformatted due to a virus infection. The operator reinstalled the downloaded StudioPrompter software from the DRS-Digitrax's web site. The operator assumed  all was okay for the upcoming shoot. Our operator had not tested the re-installation of StudioPrompter. In particular, the binary license file was not copied to the new installation folder and StudioPrompter ran in the "demo mode" during their failed shoot. 

Had the operator tested the reinstalled StudioPrompter program, they would have noticed the "demo mode" active then applied the license. This shoot could have finished flawlessly with piles of smiles.

Operator Issues
Another day, another session... The talent, teleprompter operator and director are ready.  After a few sentences that talent said "Can you backup a few lines and let me try again?" The teleprompter operator explains, "okay... let me backup a bit" as he nervously hits the down arrow key. 

As the talent was waiting, she noticed the script was slowing down, but not reversing to the requested re-start position in the script. The teleprompter operator nervously explained to the director, "The program is not responding correctly." The operator out of frustration hits the [Esc] key and returns to the editor and explains to the talent, "TeleScreen is not working right but we can start the script again."

After starting from the beginning of the script the talent asked "Can you slow it down a bit?" The operator noded his head and said "Sure" as he hits the [<] key to slow the scrolling down. After a moment or two the operator explains again to the director, "The TeleScreen program is not working at all and I don't know what's wrong with the %^$#^3^# thing...."

After 30 minutes plus, the talent unhappily explained she had to leave; she thought the session would only last 10 or 15 minutes max as the director had told her.  End of a bad session; at $220 an hour the talent was upset and may not come back...

Solution:
Being familiar with your teleprompter program is an absolute requirement. In this case, the operator had used XYZ prompter for a hundred years and was very knowledgeable about XYZ's teleprompter program and interface.

The eager operator assumed that all prompting programs were created the equal and that the functionality of a newly purchased  TeleScreen-32 Pro, was that same as XYZ prompter.

This assumption maybe a problem for a few overly confident teleprompter operators, mostly verterans. The teleprompter operator should have taken a few minutes to review the differences listed in the TeleScreen-32's tutorial or it's help system and the shoot would have finished flawlessly.

Here are the keyboard short-cuts from TeleScreen-32's Help system:

[Alt][P]
To start scrolling from the main menu.
[PgUp-Dn]
Increase or decrease the speed delay in large amounts.
[Up-Dn]
Increase or decrease the speed delay in small amounts.
[Esc]
Most of the time you can use [Esc] to close the play or align  screen, or cancel an operation.
[R]
When scrolling text use Rkey to reverse the scroll until R is released.
[P]
When scrolling text press P to resume forward scroll after reverse scroll.
[Left Arrow]
When scrolling text use Left Arrow to reverse the scroll until Left Arrow is released.
[Right Arrow]
When scrolling text press RightArrow to resume forward scroll after using reverse scroll with Left Arrow .
[Spacebar]
When scrolling text, use the Spacebarto toggle Pause on and off.
[Ctrl] [0-99]
When scrolling text, use this two key combination to hyper jump to a jump marker in your text, while scrolling.


Problem Hardware Issues:
The director says lights, camera, and action! The script starts rolling and all seems well. The director explains, "Can you speed it up, this is a 60 second spot"... The teleprompter operator taps the up arrow in an attempt to speed the scrolling up. After a few seconds the teleprompter operator states, "it's going as fast as possible". The upset director shouts "CUT" then turns to the operator and asks; "please, what's it going to take to make this work? can't you control the speed?"  The nervous operator replies "give me a second, I can speed it up." 

After a few minutes the embarrassed operator explains, "This is as fast as I can make it". The scrolling was still slow and too slow to be useable for the segment.  The quick thinking director made up a story about the bad defective teleprompting software and then explained the dilemma to the talent. He assured the talent that a re-shoot tomorrow would go much smoother and the job would get done. The talent stated that she would not be town tomorrow. She would go to another video production company to get the project's talking head segments done.

Solution:
The PC was in the 32-bit color display mode with very little video memory (laptop - 4 megs video ram) on the video card.  The PC's display resolution was set to 2048 x 1572. The operator assumed the hardware capabilities and settings of the PC he was using were satisfactory and should work.

When there is not enough video ram the teleprompter program will use conventional ram or swap disk for video ram. This will overwork the PC trying to push the graphic scrolling screen and result in a very sluggish PC performance. Had the teleprompter operator made the proper adjustment to the PC's color depth (setting to 16-bit color) or a smaller screen resolution (800x600), this session would have been saved and everyone would have gone home happy.

So please...
If you are a teleprompter operator, please do not assume anything. Practice and understand your prompter software and hardware, then practice some more. Do this BEFORE your next teleprompting session and you too will be a guaranteed success!


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