How to use a Teleprompter (or prompter) for Corporate Video
While shooting a corporate video, it might become necessary to use a teleprompter (often shortened to just “prompter”). And today, prompter use is much easier and more available than it was twenty or thirty years ago. The first prompter was built in 1950 and trademarked into the TelePrompTer company. The use of the word became so common, the trademark became genericized. When I first started in the industry in the late 80’s, the first prompter I used had a paper roll that we printed onto and was magnified up with something akin to an overhead projector.
The principle of the prompter is to angle a coated piece of glass in front of the camera lens that will reflect on one side and not on the other. This special glass gives you the ability to project images or light onto the surface away from the lens and facing the actor. As technology improved, paper was used less and actual televisions were set under the angled glass (with reversed text). This was sometime big and bulky.
It’s only recently with the advent of tablets and smart phones, that prompters have truly reach a small size. An angled special plate of glass is still needed, although some people will place the tablet or smart phone next to the lens.
2 Different Types of Prompters
Today, you can break down prompters into two main uses:
- On Camera
- Off Camera
The on camera prompter is perfect for spokesperson work or long technical or education material for internal corporate videos. The off camera prompter, often referred to as a “presidential” prompter, is used for live public speaking. Eisenhower was the first president to use one at the 1954 State of the Union address. The audience cannot see the text on the glass because of the special glass coating which reflects on one side only.
Prompter Use in Corporate Video
For corporate video, usually the prompter is used for shooting Standups. This is where we have a spokesperson talking directly to camera– maybe announcing a corporate event, describing a new product or doing training. But occasionally, especially for training videos, we might be shooting a demonstration where two people are talking to each other and the wording needs to be precise. We will place an ipad prompter in front of the face of the other person who is off camera. This allows us to edit like two people are talking back and forth. This is demonstrated in the video at the top of this blog.
Other forms of prompting through the years include cue cards and audio prompting. Cue cards are pretty self explanatory– large poster boards with the script handwritten with marker on them. For audio prompting, it can be quite a skill. An ear piece is used in one ear and the script is spoken– the talent times it to speak just behind the words, so he or she is always playing catch up. For awhile, when prompting was much more difficult to do, actors would be trained on having an ear prompter which they controlled in their shoe with their toe. Pretty amazing skill set to have.
Whatever your need for corporate video, prompter use or any other production help, SFilms in Dallas and Fort Worth can help you. Give us a call.