Your Own Personal Teleprompter
It’s not easy to perform naturally on-camera while at the same time keeping your remarks interesting, brief and concise. A teleprompter can help you accomplish all those things — that is, if you have the right combination of tools and use them correctly.
We’ve all seen the teleprompters used by politicians as they give speeches, and you’re no doubt aware that television news anchors use them as well. Those systems are elaborate and expensive and require a second person to operate, but you can replicate the essentials yourself for about $300. It takes three pieces of equipment.
First is an iPad or other tablet with a teleprompter app. My app (iCue) costs $4.99 on the App Store; there are plenty of other choices ranging from free to $30 or more. (Note that the $300 cost estimate in the previous paragraph assumes you already own a tablet. If you don’t, well…...uh, dude… seriously.)
Next comes the teleprompter itself. Mine is the Ultra Light 12 iPad Pro ($499) made by Prompter People, but there’s a nifty new prompter made by Glide Gear that you can pick ip for $198 on Amazon. The most important part is the special "beam-splitter" glass which acts as a one-way mirror, reflecting the text on one side while allowing the camera to see through it on the other.
The third piece of equipment is a Bluetooth foot pedal such as the AirTurn Duo ($99). You use this to control the speed of the text as it scrolls in the app. This is vital because otherwise the prompter app will scroll at a constant fixed speed which can make you sound like a robot.
Presidents and news anchors utilize an unseen helper on a remote computer controlling the text speed, slowing and accelerating it to match the speaker. The foot pedal performs the same function. You simply sync it to the prompter app; then you can start and stop the text just by tapping the pedal with your unseen foot.
This makes all the difference in the world. Speak at your normal speed. Slow down, speed up, pause as you naturally would. Your tapping foot controls the prompter so you can focus on delivering your message. Controlling the pedal can be a bit awkward at first, but you’ll get the hang of it, and before long it becomes second nature — sort of like using the brake pedal on a car.
Check out this week’s video for a demonstration of the whole system in action.