TeleScreen-32 Pro PC TelePrompter Software

There are a large variety of hardware manufacturers selling equipment that range from $500 to $6000 depending on the size and type of monitor and refinements of design and mounting hardware. The three basic teleprompter designs are camera mounted, free standing and podium.

A major consideration of teleprompter design is the size of the monitor and the distance the talent will be from the monitor. Our basic rule of thumb is that a 9 inch monitor can be comfortably read at a distance of 10 feet and a 15 inch monitor at 20 feet. The weight of the teleprompter equipment is a consideration for the carrying capacity of the camera tripod to be used. In a broadcast studio situation, where cameras are mounted on hydraulic or pneumatic pedestals, 15 to 20 inch monitors are frequently used because the weight capacity of the pedestal is such that it can handle weight far greater than that of the camera tripod used at remote location shoots.

The freestanding teleprompter will generally have a monitor in the 12 to 15 inch range. Of course this unit stands independently in front of the camera and a cloth hood fits over the camera lens. The disadvantage here is that the camera movement is restricted to a very narrow range of motion. For example, it permits zooming in from a medium shot to a close up. If the talent were seated behind a desk and wished to get up and walk around to the front of the desk, the free standing unit would not allow the camera operator to track this movement. The advantage of the free standing unit is that there is a minimum of set up time and it doesn't place any weight on the tripod.

The camera mounted unit gives complete freedom of motion. The experience is that most tripods we encounter at remote locations will not handle too much weight and thus a 9 inch teleprompter is most suitable. Remember that the weight of the monitor must be counterbalanced to provide smooth camera motion so the entire unit you are placing on the tripod will easily add 20 pounds.

The podium prompter consists of 2 panes of reflective glass mounted on a thin adjustable rod, about 6 feet in length, which is attached to a box containing a suitably sized monitor. The glass panel is almost invisible to the audience because it has no frame. The computer signal is being fed to both monitors simultaneously so the talent can turn from side to side without a break in the reading, thus giving the audience the impression that the presenter is looking directly at them. This type of prompter is also referred to as a presidential prompter or a rostrum or presenter's prompter. You will see them frequently used at political events and award shows.

The podium prompter situation demands thorough rehearsal if the operator and the presenter are going to remain in sync. This is the situation in which ad libbing or eliminating sections of the speech by the presenter can create confusion for the operator. Of course it is in this very situation that getting the presenter to thoroughly rehearse is many times impossible.

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