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.
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."
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
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.
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
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
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."
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^#
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;
$220 an hour the talent was upset and may not come back...
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
about XYZ's teleprompter program and interface.
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
Here are the keyboard
short-cuts from TeleScreen-32's Help system:
To start scrolling from the main menu.
Increase or decrease the speed delay in large amounts.
Increase or decrease the speed delay in small amounts.
Most of the time you can use [Esc] to close the play or align
screen, or cancel an operation.
When scrolling text use Rkey to reverse the scroll until R is released.
When scrolling text press P to resume forward scroll after reverse
When scrolling text use Left Arrow to reverse the scroll until Left
Arrow is released.
When scrolling text press RightArrow to resume forward scroll after
using reverse scroll with Left Arrow .
When scrolling text, use the Spacebarto toggle Pause on and off.
When scrolling text, use this two key combination to hyper jump to a
jump marker in your text, while scrolling.
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
work? can't you control the speed?" The nervous operator replies
a second, I can speed it up."
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
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.
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.
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.
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!