Flexible Teleprompters On Set - Pad Prompter Autocue System
Whether or not you should invest your hard earned cash in a teleprompter (autocue) system obviously depends on your video production needs, your clients, and what type of videos you’re producing (commercial, interviews, corporate, documentaries etc.). It’s not the most essential piece of gear in a videographer’s tool bag, but an autocue system does have its benefits. The problem with most teleprompters however is that they are usually bulky, expensive, and not very mobile; hardly the perfect combination for the solo camera operator or even a small video team.
Luckily, videographers and camera crews alike live in a great time for video production, with lots of inexpensive teleprompter alternatives out in the market, namely to be used in conjunction with a tablet. For the past months, our production company here in Vienna, Austria has been using and testing the Pad Prompter from “Onetakeonely”.
Padprompter Autocue Set Up
But before we get into the autocue’s specifics, let’s go over some advantages and reasons why a videographer or camera team would need to invest in a teleprompter system. Of course it’s not the most essential piece of equipment your video crew could have, but depending on what you’re shooting (such as testimonials) it could save you and your production a lot of headaches.
Why a Teleprompter?
Prepare Speech in Advance
An autocue system is great for filming people who are a bit on the shy side and aren’t great at improvising or “speaking freely” while being filmed. Using a teleprompter virtually eliminates this problem since you’ll be able to prepare your text in advance. As long as your talent can read, you’ll be good to go.
Get Rid of uhs and ahs
Even in situations where the speaker feels comfortable in front of a camera, you still might have those painful times on set where the talent will “stutter”, “uh, ah & uhm” in between words the entire time. Having an autocue on those video shoots is priceless.
Teleprompter in Action on a Corporate Shoot
Pace the Speech
Some people have the tendency to whip through their memorized texts as if it’s a life or death situation. A great advantage of having a teleprompter operator on set as part of your video production crew is that he/she can control the pace at which the speakers deliver their speech.
Maintain Eye Contact
An autocue system on set really pays off on those video shoots where it’s essential that the speakers look directly at the camera. By placing the teleprompter in front of the camera lens, the presenter will be addressing the viewer directly. Great for product shoots or testimonial / interview style corporate videos.
We’ve all been there: You have a high-end corporate testimonial shoot planned where you'll be filming the CEO of a company, and they didn’t take time out of their schedule to memorize or at least go over the text/material they have to present on camera. From my past experience, it seems like the higher up on the corporate ladder your speaker is, the "lazier" they are in terms of memorizing their text beforehand.
OK maybe it’s not always laziness and I'm sure they’re very busy, but still, it happens more often than not that our camera team puts hours of work setting up the interview / testimonial location only to have an executive come unprepared and with only 10 minutes time to spare for us. Which brings me to the next point:
Time is Money
I cannot stress enough what a huge time saver it is to have a teleprompter on set when it comes to pre-prepared text for corporate testimonial and interview shoots. As an example: Recently our video crew had a corporate shoot very similar to the CEO situation mentioned above. We set everything up, and the executive came in with only 10-15 minutes to spare for us to film him, usually a nightmare of a situation. We got it done in about 5.
The autocue system was the reason we pulled it off so quickly. It was promptly set up and ready to go by our teleprompter operator. Our operator had everything planned out ahead of time and under control, just waiting for the CEO to arrive and deliver his lines perfectly.
Camera Operator with an Autocue System
Lets face it, first impressions matter, especially when it comes to high-end corporate clients. An autocue system on set will not only make your video production shoots look and feel more professional, but your corporate (or non-corporate) clients will greatly appreciate the efficiency and time saving aspect of the entire experience.
What Our Camera Team Uses:
Since our video shoots here in Vienna usually consist of a small video crew on set, I needed something really compact, inclusive, and self-contained. So we eventually ended up deciding on the Pad Prompter from “Onetakeonly”. I love how everything comes in one component in this item and unlike traditional bulky teleprompter systems, there’s no need to purchase/attach a monitor or any bracketing systems to it.
Setting up and taking down is extremely fast and easy, usually taking just a minute or so, an absolute must for our shooting needs. And due to how flexible and lightweight the entire system is, our camera team can easily lug it around and change its position on set without a problem. Not to mention that it’s well made and looks very professional.
Teleprompter On Set in Combination with the iPad
The Pad Prompter comes with a neoprene case and it's available in two configurations: To be mounted on a standard lightstand, or a rod mount version. Our video crew uses it with an iPad, but Onetakeonly offers the system with different inserts so you can adapt other brands of tablets on it. It’s built with a 70/30 beam splitter glass and not acrylic like many other similar inexpensive autocue systems available on the market. This makes the text sharper and much easier to read.
It’s important to note that in order to use any tablet-based teleprompter system, you’ll need to install a third-party autocue plug-in on your tablet. There are many options on the market with varying price ranges. We’ve tested a few and find that “Teleprompt+ 3” works really well (it's also recommended by Onetakeonly on their website).
All in all, both our video team and our corporate clients have been extremely satisfied with this teleprompter system and we’d recommend it.
Posted by Vitor Goncalves
Vitor is a filmmaker, cameraman and editor based in Vienna, Austria. He is the owner of Reel Arts Media.