Teleprompters are not just reserved for broadcast news and politicians; they can be a vital part of almost any video production looking for a professional presentation.
So when is a teleprompter required? What are the best circumstances for utilizing a teleprompter? And what are the potential drawbacks if not using one?
Before answering these questions, let’s answer the most basic one; what is a teleprompter? In the simplest terms, it is a piece of mirrored glass mounted in front of the camera lens. It enables an individual to read text projected onto the glass while still maintaining eye contact with the camera. The text projection is controlled by a computer and can be scrolled to stay at the pace a subject speaks at.
A teleprompter should be utilized anytime on-screen talent needs to deliver a scripted message directly to camera. Even if the on-camera talent is able to memorize his or her lines, a teleprompter should be used if a script is beyond one sentence in length. Memorizing material can cause inconsistent delivery of message, and be quite time consuming on set. A teleprompter ensures that your on-screen talent are able to stay on script, keep a good pace and relax so they can focus on HOW they say the words.
So is it worth the extra cost? YES. Even if you have to cut back on something else in the budget. A lot of time can be lost on set, as talent (especially if it is an executive) works to remember their lines take after take. The alternative to a teleprompter – cue cards – will never allow your talent to give the proper focus to your audience (the camera). Finally, a teleprompter ensures that your message is clearly delivered; at a good pace and that your talent is engaged – looking and sounding their best.